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Africa > North Africa > Tunisia > Saharan Tunisia > Tozeur

Tozeur

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Tozeur is a city in Tunisia. Her architectural style is unique, playing with bricks of sand and clay. The women wear black robes with a bright blue band, unlike those from Nefta to the south with white bands.

Get in[edit]

The airport of Tozeur

By plane[edit]

1 Tozeur-Nefta International Airport (TOE IATA). The small airport sees flights from the capital Tunis several times a week (120 TD, 1 hr 10 min), as well as a one weekly flight from Paris, all handled by the national carrier Tunisair. Tozeur–Nefta International Airport (Q656500) on Wikidata Tozeur–Nefta International Airport on Wikipedia

By train[edit]

An overnight run by SNCFT train connects with Tunis and Gafsa. Trains leave to (and arrive from) Tunis twice a day, usually very early in the morning (at 6AM) or in the evening.

The train station 2 Gare de Tozeur is located close to city centre.

By bus[edit]

There are plenty of long distance buses from most major cities in Tunisia. Louages can also be taken to Tozeur (for example, passing by Gafsa and going on to Nefta). The bus and louage station in Tozeur are located near each other, closer to city center than the gare.

Busses run 3-5 times a day direct for Tunis, on a 7-hour, 26-DT drive. Generally, taking the train (in 1st or Confort class, around 30 DT) is a much better option than the bus.

If you are heading south, you can take a bus direct to Douz or Gabes.

By louage[edit]

For the louage, transport south to Douz requires a change at Kibilli (Kebili) and from there to Douz. Each leg should take just under 2 hours, though the wait in Kibilli may be 1-2 hours for another louage. Louages are more frequent before mid-day.

Get around[edit]

Map of Tozeur

Taxis are unmetered in Tozeur; you will have to agree on a price before the journey begins. Prices should be around 2 DT for a short trip (around a kilometer or less), and more accordingly.

Another option is in horse drawn 'carriage', though this is more of a tourist experience than a typical means of transportation. These can be found in most places although the parking area is near Residence Karim and the hospital in the south.

Bicycle rental is also common, and an excellent way to explore the impressive palmerie. Test ride the bicycle before paying, and investigate if there are better/newer bicycles then the one offered - you are rarely offered the best bicycle. Haggling and visiting several rental shops is recommended.

There are also a few car rental agencies:

  • Avis, Avenue Farhat Hatched, Tozeur: 76-452-377
  • Olympic rent car, Route touristique, Tozeur: 98-235-345
  • Galaxy rent car, Avenue Chebbi, Tozeur: 93-444-555

These agencies might not have websites or online booking systems, so calling is recommended. Once in Tozeur, your hotel can also help you find a rental agency.

See[edit]

The Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace (1999) film set
  • Star Wars. This site was used for multiple Star Wars movies. Scenes in the town 'Mos Espa' or 'Mos Eisley' have been filmed here. Tours are available from local guides. Prices should be about the same for any half-day tour from Tozeur.
  • Medina (Ouled el Hadef). Get lost in the compact and laid-back medina, with the many sign post. This is a largely residential and underrated medina and you won't be bothered - friendly kids will smile and most people passing by will greet you happily. Admire the beautiful houses typical of the region, built with sand and clay bricks, often with very intricate designs. Look out for a triangular shaped design - it is believed to bring good luck, and people once tossed coins onto the bricks making the patterns. Some of the roofs of the tunnels in the medina are made of palm wood - they are rather fibrous, and others, of apricot tree wood, which are normally used for richer families. Look out for the "jalousies" - dark apricot wood made peeping windows from the second floor where ladies used to sit. These allowed them to watch the people in the street without being watched, it being socially rare for ladies to be outside of the house much in the pass. The mosque doors are green and rounded whereas residences have are squared doors with beautiful nail designs - including jars (used to conserve palm products), Jewish stars and candles (for the substantial Jewish community that used to live here), and even bicycles (for locals who bike a lot). One of the houses belongs to a French family and you can see a "coq gaulois" perched on one of the house walls.
  • Palmerie. One of the largest palmeries in Tunisia. Easy access from the eastern and southern side of the medina. Go in with a GPS as you could get lost in the many roads, but most people on the way are friendly, and the watch dogs are rather shy, keeping to their area and not interfering or barking if you're on the main road. Makes for a nice walk in the early morning or late evening when it is not too hot. In October, locals come from all over to help work the plantations.
  • Bled El Hadhar. Where the old Roman settlement was, this area is slightly off the main part of Tozeur but about a 10-minute walk from Avenue Abul El Kacem Chebbi. Has a few mosques and mausoleums.
  • Belvedere Rocks (Ras El ain). A strange mix of sand art and old playground - but climb to the top of the four sculptured heads and it gives you a view over the palm groves. About a 25-minute walk from the tourist information center on following Avenue Abul El Kacem Chebbi away from the city center. In the summer, most watering holes are dried up, but in winter, there are pools around the area.
  • Dry lakes. The nearby Chott el-Jerid is an impressive lake, completely dry for most of the year. Few people specifically make an effort to see this, as anybody driving to Douz will drive along a raised causeway over the lake bed. Have your camera handy. The white sand comes from the salt that is gathered and exported by Tunisia.

Nearby villages[edit]

Many people who come to Tozeur do so for the three abandoned villages nearby, Chebika, Tamerza, and Mides. These three villages are easily accessible through the numerous local tour operators who sell seats per person to these villages and many other local attractions. For a half-day trip, expect to pay 30-35 DT per person. The 4x4's hold 6 or more people, so if you have a group of four or more, hire the whole 4x4 for yourself - about 120-150 DT.

The allure of these three villages is that they were abandoned during floods in 1969, and offer a window to what life was like in oasis villages back then. In reality, the mud and stone buildings are unoccupied and falling down, tourists swarm the sites in hordes, and local children will offer to sell you crystals throughout your journey. The sites are still worthwhile, though the journey there may be more spectacular than the villages - you drive into the Atlas mountains, and are only 1 km from Algeria.

  • Chebika. is on the edge of a cliff and offers magnificent views. Guides for Chebika can be found waiting in the area when the cars pull up and will expect a tip (~10 DT for 30 minutes, a climb up where you can see the whole oasis and surroundings, as well as down to the natural pools). This can be done by oneself without a guide, however, but the road up isn't marked out clearly.
  • Mides. has a few palm groves and gardens, as well as a gorgeous water carved gorge. If you do go, and are up for a hike, a beautiful 4½ km gorge runs from Mides to Tamerza, and is worth the walk. Hiring a guide should cost no more than 40-50 DT total (per guide), though they may price the hike per person. Syndicated, official guides may (or may not) be found at Mides, and/or the Syndicat d'Initiative along the main road, which has various hours. Attempt to contact them before hand-one number given for them is 76-485-288. If you start the tour in the afternoon, begin the hike as early as possible, to allow for any problems or twisted ankles. The gorge will get dark long before the surrounding area.
  • Tamerza. is along the river bed and a good view can be found overlooking the town from the main road. Multiple natural swimming pools and waterfalls are along the drive. Bring swimming trunks and a towel. The signs leading to "The Great Waterfall" will bring you to an area which has a few tiny cascades pouring into the riverbed. Great for cooling off!

If you do use a tour operator for transportation, it is recommended you pay half up front, and get a receipt that includes words like 'seatbelts' and 'driver speaks English' and anything else you find important. All this may be promised, but if you pay in advance in full, it will probably not be delivered.

If you have your own car, or a rental car, there is no reason you cannot do most, or all of this journey. All but a 100 m shortcut to Mides is on paved roads, and if you simply do not take the shortcut, you will be fine. Getting lost is nearly impossible, and following the massive number of tour companies will get you to the sites.

Do[edit]

  • Camel tour. Go on a camel tour. One reputable operator is Amara Themri (tel +216 97280133 / 23 131 483). As always, pay for a one-hour tour before you embark on a multi-day tour if you have never ridden a camel before.
  • Hammam. Enjoy the hammam. Hours vary, as the local hammams accommodate men and women in a single hammam, though not at the same time. One of the doors is for men, the other for women. Hammam Shabia is recommended, and is just north of Hotel/Residence El-Amen. Bring your own towel and soap, and bathing suit, as people wear this or their underwear in the hammam. 2-3 DT for the hammam, and 2-4 dinar for a massage, though the 'tourist tax' may raise this price to about 8 DT total for everything.

Buy[edit]

There is a market selling all kind of tourist souvenirs on the central square near the mosque.

Eat[edit]

Tozeur has several restaurants that feature camel, or dromedarie. If this interests you, now is your chance. Camel has a flavor similar to that of lamb. Camel is offered with couscous, or as a steak or kebab.

Towards Ras El Ain

  • Le Palais
  • Pizzeria la Fontana

Along Avenue Abou El Kaccem Chebbi

  • Le Soleil
  • Tozourous
  • Dar dada

Along Avenue Farhat Hached

  • Tozeriana
  • Aquarium
  • Alkaram

Medina Area

  • La république
  • Le Minaret
  • La Medina
  • Le Sud

Others

  • Chak-wak
  • Les Andalous
  • Le Petit prince

Drink[edit]

If you are looking for alcohol, you must head to a bar in a tourist hotel. Try (unverified) either the Hotel Continental or the Grand Hotel de l'Oasis.

Many restaurants serve non-alcoholic beer, including the popular Turkish beer, Efes (which normally has alcohol).

  • Chak Wak Parc, In the Palmeraie (Head south from the Gouvernorat building into the oasis until you see a large dinosaur statue). During the day an amusement park, this place turns into a cool bar at night, frequented by tourists and locals alike. You can enjoy local draft beer and Tunisian live music here. Bonfires in winter create a warm atmosphere. DT8 for a draft beer.

Sleep[edit]

Most hotels are located along Ave. Abdulkacem Chebbi, about 700 m south of the bus station. A taxi from the bus station should be no more than 2-3 DT. Once you investigate one hotel, it is easy enough to walk to a few others. Street numbers for this avenue run west to east, with the lower numbers to the west.

Guest houses[edit]

  • Residence Tozeur. rabah_hayet@yahoo.fr
  • Dar Saida Beya
  • Kastilia Suites. 76 461 133.
  • Diar Abou Habibi. diarhabibi@gnet.tn

Budget[edit]

  • Hotel Warda. residencewarda@gmail.com. 76 452 597
  • Hotel Karim, 150 Ave. Abdulkacem Chebbi. Check-out: 11. Basic but clean, it has a nice tiled courtyard and helpful staff. Roof gives a nice view of stars at night. Rooms trap heat exceedingly in the summer. The receptionist is extremely kind and will go out of the way to help you - genuinely wanting you to have a good time and not just promoting the services of his friends. Breakfast consists of unlimited coffee and hot milk, and baguettes (maybe in peak season with many tourists). There is no wifi, but the receptionist knows the wifi code of the cafe at the back. 20 DT single no aircon, 27 DT single with aircon.

Mid-range[edit]

  • Residence el-Arich, 93 Ave. Abdulkacem Chebbi. Considered the best bargain for mid-rangehotels - clean rooms and a helpful reception desk. ,55 DT single, 55 _80 DT double. can book via messenger or f/b . they do reply in hours sometimes sooner
  • Residence L'oued [dead link]. 76 463 036.
  • Hafsi
  • Sarra [dead link]
  • Oasis. info.oasistozeur@yadis.com
  • Ramia. 76 454 555
  • Dar Ghaouar. 76 454 255
  • Borj El Aali. hotel_borjelaali@yahoo.fr
  • Du Jardin [dead link]

Splurge[edit]

Connect[edit]

A small internet cafe is located 30 m south of the bus station. 3G signal is strong in the city and also in the entire region, including the desert and salt lake.

Go next[edit]


This city travel guide to Tozeur is a usable article. It has information on how to get there and on restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.