Hiking in the island of Djerba

Published : 24-09-2018

The great island of Southern Tunisia offers a setting full of charm for hiking trails between palm trees, olive trees and old Menzels.

Djerba is not a mountainous place… In the great island of Southern Tunisia, hiking on steep paths is out of the question! But you just have to move a bit away from the coast and great hotels to find an ideal setting for long walks.
The island is furrowed with tracks and small roads. Roaming the island through these roads is a good way to learn more about the traditional heritage of Djerba.

Traditionally, Djerba is a scattered-habitat region. This means that human presence is everywhere, but also nowhere.
All along your way, you will enjoy the peace of the silent sceneries, preserved and full of charm. You will encounter magnificent abandoned rural properties, small mosques with a touching simplicity, centuries-old olive trees fields… but also inhabitants who will be glad to exchange a few words, or tell you the story of a local saint.

Weaving workshop
With their triangular pediments, those former workshops made renown wool blankets.

Typical of the countryside mosques of Djerba: the small pinnacle-shaped minaret, and the stairs once used to make the call for prayer in the Ibadite cult.

Houses from ancient rural properties – the Menzels, can frequently be encountered.

Olive trees
Djerba is a land of centuries-old olive trees with gnarled trunks.

Borj Ben Ayed
In the 18th century, the fearsome governor Ben Ayed hade a sumptuous palace in the heart of Djerba built for him. It has now fallen to ruins. This strange place inspired a disturbing work from the famous Belgian street artist Roa. The ruins can be found not far from the Fadhloun mosque, in front of the El Gaed – or El Gayed – mosque. (Other buildings in Djerba carry the name of Ben Ayed).

Street art in the countryside
Since the “Djerbahood” event in 2014 (see the video), street-art is hot in Djerba. Unexpected works can surprise walkers right around the corner. At the same time, a local association launched a project to embellish bus shelters.

Many wells are standing in the countryside like a victory on the climate’s dryness.

Djerba is a refuge for many birds, like this hoopoe.

It is very easy to make your own discovery circuit in Djerba: tracks are well recorded on GPS apps (for example, the offline app maps.me). The North-East quarter of the island, around Midoun and Mahboubine, is particularly rich in curiosities because it is also the most fertile area.
And of course, the beautiful beaches are still very close for a refreshing break.

… So go get your backpacks!

To learn more:

The island of Djerba

Visiting the Fadhloun mosque

Djerbahood, ephemeral capital of street art

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