My friend and I were a bit apprehensive about going to Tunisia as lone women. We didn't need to worry. To begin with the overwhelming hustle and bustle of Sousse was a bit scary and some men do comment as you pass. The thing to do is not make eye contact and totally ignore all contact. Don't fall for the 'Hello I work in your hotel line' That's a real common one and they are trying to get you to talk and therefore get at your money somehow...If you look like a victim you will be treated like one!!! It is no different then it is in London's market areas. Keep your head up and firmly say NO THANKS!! or nothing at all. Shopping in the Medina was wonderful but again you need to be strong and confident. Stick to your planned shopping and NEVER have your purse/wallet in sight. It is best to fold notes individually and place in a difficult to access bag close to your body at all times...
Sousse and surrounding areas are not the cleanest place... It is obviously dusty from sand... obviously sand can not be avoided in a desert country!!! it also has a lot of rubbish strewn around and there are many derelict half built buildings . You need to remember that this is Africa!!! and Tunisia is a developing country which recently experienced political and cultural turmoil... The priorities there are not like they are in Britain or the western world... I doubt they get weekly refuse collections or street cleaners and they strive to scrape a living rather than care about the environment. Saying that parts of the beach are truly filthy and I would not have sunbathed on it, however if you stay at the Tej than you don't need the beach as the pools and bathing areas are superb.
We went on two trips out into the country of Sousse including a trip to the villages in the mountains.. This was amazing and really made us see how starkly beautiful the countryside is. I was blown away with the magical feel of the place. The total lack of health and safety was also incredibly amusing and eye opening.
The Tej Marhaba hotel is wonderful...It is right in the middle of the city and therefore the hub of all that is going on... Ideal if you want the vibrancy of the town.. not so good if you were hoping for a quiet area!! Yes some of the reviews on here are correct in saying it is a little scruffy in places and while we were there in November 2013 much of it was being refurbished [obviously that needs to be done at some point] The reception bar is very attractive and we spent most of our time meeting people here. Our room was fine and we looked out to the side of the hotel so not the best view but it was sunny on the balcony so that was fine. The lovely maid changed sheets and towels every day and she was incredibly friendly. Toilets were clean and the shower was better than mine at home!
The food was plentiful. A lot of choice but a little stodgy for my tastes. Saying that however there was salad choices at every meal. Our waiter Makram was absolutely wonderful... Nothing was too much trouble for him. If you are lucky enough to get him as your waiter then don't be afraid to ask for anything you might like such as ice cream. He will do his best to get it for you. He seemed to really care and when we didn't turn up for breakfast one day he was truly worried about us.
The staff who arrange the entertainment [called the animation team] were fantastic and Sofien the gorgeous young animation man really made our holiday complete. His friendly manner and amazing sense of humour was fantastic. We had many an interesting conversation in the bar and I learnt so much about how tunisians live from this wonderful young man. Please don't be afraid to have honest conversations with the locals if the opportunity arises. Obviously risk assess the situation and circumstance first, but if you do chat you will find them the most friendly and interesting people. We had a very interesting chat about the current political situation [or lack of it] with a young man in a cafe who wanted nothing from us but some honest company. It is also useful to remember that these people earn an absolute pittance... and it is not easy living in this country at the moment. It taught me a lot about Islam and the view of women in this country too. Learning the difference in cultures is fascinating and if you remain tolerant and accepting you can build true respect.
The hotel was full of older British tourists staying there to avoid the cold British winter and they too made the holiday complete for us. If you really want to make the most of your holiday then speak to fellow tourists. They will advise you of their experience and support where they can. We met the wonderful polish Yorkshire man Victor, who was the best dancer ever, the crazy dutch lady Nicole, the internet farmer Sarah and the wonderful couple from North Devon Wendy and Jim, all who will stay ion our memories for a long time. Thanks to all!!!
All in all it was a wonderful holiday. Our next plan is to visit Morrocco and this visit to Tunisia has been a good trial run for the madness of that country. If I come back to Sousse I will definately stay at the Tej again... It felt like home after just one week. I would strongly recommend a visit... Heather and Trish from Plymouth xxx
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- Also Known As:
- Hotel Tej Marhaba
- Tej Marhaba Sousse