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“A trip not to be missed”
Review of Tunisian Sahara

Ranked #56 of 332 things to do in Tunisia
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Owner description: The largest desert in the world, extending between 800 and 1,200 miles and at least 3,000 miles from east to west, covers one-fourth the area of Africa including the lands of Algeria, Morocco, Libya, Tunisia and Egypt.
Reviewed August 27, 2013

An enjoyable trip with an opportunity to see the real Tunisia and not just the tourist resorts.
Don't get me wrong, it was a long trip covering 700km over 36 hours but saw many sites.
For me, the trip into the Sahara on camel back was the highlight. A word of advice though, we stopped half way for a break from our camels and before we knew it we had bottles of coke thrust into our hands with the tops coming off before you had the chance to realise what was happening. These drinks were then sold at the elevated price of 5TD (about £2.30) so not the end of the world but a bit underhand.
The jeep safari into the desert to see the Star Wars set was also excellent.
We stopped at the salt lakes and a horse drawn carriage ride into the desert oasis to see how dates are cultivated.
We stopped on the way to see El Djem, a Roman amphitheatre where Gladiator was filmed and the great mosque on the way back.
It was a long journey with a lot of travelling and early mornings but we saw so much we wouldn't have been able to see otherwise. I would not have liked to hire a car and done that journey independently. Even passing through the towns and seeing how the true Tunisians lived was interesting if not an eye opener.
A lot of memories and good photographs.

1  Thank Mercedesblack
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed August 19, 2013

Purchased this trip from our Thomas Cooke holiday rep in August 2013. Overall pleased that we made the effort to see more of the real Tunisia, rather than stay put in the hotel complex. Visited some great sights and our two boys (aged seven and eight) enjoyed the camel ride and visit to the Star Wars set. That said, you have to pity the coach driver, who has to complete a 700 mile road trip in just two days! Whilst a good driver, to be able to reach all the sights on time, he and all the other coaches (in convey) pushed speed limits and overtaking to the limit...

1  Thank Simondjames999
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 1, 2013

We booked our trip at the hotel with our Thomas Cook rep. However, we wanted to go mainly to see the set of Star Wars and were given bad information. There is two choices of days to go on the trip which we were told they are the same with only minor differences... false. The one we were advised towards (Mon+Tues) only went to a small part of the Star Wars set unlike the other day (Fri+Sat) where we would have seen the whole deal.
I enjoyed the trip do not get me wrong. Some things we did were once in a lifetime like the camel ride on the Sahara desert and visiting the berber home. The hotel we stayed in for the night was good although very expensive to buy drinks. Drinks throughout the trip for that matter were not included, not even water, and was always expensive to pick up on the way.
There was a lot of coach riding... a lot. I would not recommend it for children. I made friends with a couple and their child on the coach and they really struggled to keep him happy. The guide was very stern and had no patience for parents trying their best to be on time and find decent changing units.
They got us up at 4am to watch the sun rise over the salt lake, however we did not get there in time despite leaving on time. The salt lake was therefore incredibly disappointing... boring and nothing much to see without the intended purpose to stop there.
Overall... I didn't enjoy it much... there was too many disappointments along the way to salvage my feelings for it. For the money we paid (£160) for the two of us, I really expected more, at the very least complimentary water along the way. But you can't deny the amazing one time experiences... it just depends how much you're willing to pay to experience them alongside some real let downs.

2  Thank Nina H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 23, 2013

Maybe wit not camel, ok you can ride a camel a while but definitely go through with ATV. Stay one night at least. Take your camera for sure. Enjoy it

1  Thank DeranDeniz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 6, 2013

My partner and I bought this from our Thomas Cook rep at the hotel but they act only as an agent on behalf of the excursion provider ( price was 190tdn+27tdn for camel and horse and carrige rides per person which is around 92 pounds per person in total ). They do it twice a week - Mon+Tue and Fri+Sat ( if you are Star Wars fan you need to go for Fri/Sat one as they do a different programme on Mon+Tue. Our rep didn't tell us but we were lucky as we had our one during the weekend.
Both days you spend most of the time on a coach ( every day tooks around 12,5h from pick up to getting to the last location ). First day you go to El Djem where you can see 3rd largest ampitheatre that was inspiration for the Gladiator movie ( you have only 1hour to explore ), the next visit was to the town Matmata where you have lunch ( which I didn't like as you don't have a choice ) and then they take you to see a typical family living in the caves ( about 15 mins stop). They mention on the bus that Star Wars was filmed in the village but you are not taken to see that particular place. Last stop was in Douz where you get dressed as Bodouin and you ride a camel or travel by horse and carriage ( cca 1 hour ). After that you get dropped in the hotel nearby ( the hotel we stayed in was lovely 4 star, just the food was a bit limited in my opinion but it was a buffet style ). The second day you have to wake up at 4 as at 4.30 you have breakfast at 5 you set off to see the sunrise over the salt lake of Chott El Jerid, we didn't see mirages however it was still beautiful. After a while there is the next stop in Tozeur where you get into horse and carridge for a bit, you see their typical oases ( I expected something different ), which is basically palm trees ''farm'' and they show you and explain how they produce dates and at the end you can also buy some of their products ( if you like dates, they are really excellent ). After that you are put into jeeps which take you into the sand dunes where Star Wars set is, exciting driving through sand dunes you will never forget ( on Sat trip ). After that you are back on the coach for quite a long time, then there is a lunch at one of the hotels ( set one ) and there is only one more stop in Kairouan which I think is completely pointless as the only thing the guide suggests is to go at the top of the carpet shop for 20 mins to see the Grand Mosque from the distance. To make it worth a while I think that the guide should take everyone around or maybe inside otherwise its completely pointless visit. After that the coach just drive you back to the hotel.
It is long time spend on the coach and I was not impressed how only limited time we got at each stop but the hightlight of the first day is the camel ride and the second day driving over the sand dunes. The guide was nice enough but I think he should use some script when he's talking to the mic as there were a few times that it didn't make any sense what he was saying. They use only one bus driver which is quite dangerous as he drives almost the whole time with only short breaks which makes me think is it even legal? The driving experience in Tunisia is quite scary so if you can don't sit at the front as you would be stressed out. Also the food is included in the price but you have to pay for drinks which I think it's a bit not fair specially if you have already paid for AI for your holiday ( make sure you take with you bottles of water for the trip )
Suggestions for the excursion provider: defiinitely you need two drivers, leave more time at the places, choose hotels that do a buffet style so people can choose what they want to eat, make at least one drink with the each meal included in the price, don't send people on the top of the carpet shop and don't divide the price for trip and extra for camels and horse and carriages, make it simple upfront because people have to pay it anyway.

4  Thank Lee_familyUK
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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