The Tunisian South

From Tozeur to Tataouine via the vast sandy desert, the Tunisian South is a true world of its own whose diversity will amaze you. Explore mountains, the oases or the Berber villages, go hiking, bivouac under the stars… and even play golf.

Sand desert and oases

Walk among the immensity of the desert dunes, bivouac under a starry sky, taste the nomads’ traditional bread, stop for a rest under a stand of palm trees in the middle of nowhere...the Sahara is a magical experience. What a reward to suddenly discover a giant dune, a hot water lake or a field of desert roses!

Whether you go on a long trek with camels or stay in a comfortable camp, the poetry of the sunrise over the dunes will leave you with an indelible memory.

Another place, another experience: now you’re sat aboard a carriage in a giant oasis. You stop to visit a cultivated garden where fruits and vegetables grow in the shade of the tall palms; before your eyes, a man climbs one of them with incredible speed to harvest bunches of dates.

All around, you will discover incredible landscapes: chotts, sandy villages, mountain oases...

Holidays in Tozeur:

Hotels, campings and guesthouses in the Tunisian South:

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In the Dahar mountains

By 4x4, by motorbike or by bike, follow the small roads or tracks around Matmata and Tataouine: a rugged world known as the “desert of stone”. Or go hiking on the Great Dahat Crossing circuit.

Deep into the majestic Dahar mountains, you will spot Berber villages perched in the heights and the amazing Ksour or fortified granaries.

You will sleep in troglodyte houses and listen to the inhabitants telling you the legends of the region...


A comfortable camp magically situated in the middle of the Sahara : Camp Mars in Tembaïne to the south of Douz.

An adventure course with zipline in a palm grove: Sahara Lounge in Tozeur.

If you are visiting the Dahar region (South-East), download the free application Destination Dahar (on App Store and Google Play).

Take part in the Z'Ammour Trekking around the Berber village of Zammour in the Dahar: trekking but also mountain bike race and various animations. 

Attend the manufacturing of traditional bricks typical of the architecture of Tozeur and Nefta. 

Play golf in an oasis! Tozeur Oasis Golf faces the giant palm grove in a majestic setting. Read more about golfing in Tunisia.


What to see in the Tunisian South?

The Tunisian Sahara is not limited solely to the sand desert; it’s a fairytale universe of infinite variety. Desert of sand, desert of stone, oases… the list of unusual spots is long.

Tozeur and Nefta, giant oases

Two large medinas can be found in the oasis region, Tozeur and Nefta, veritable labyrinths of narrow streets.

These oasis towns are large medinas rising out of the desert, backed by giant palm groves.

Their narrow streets run between high brick walls, making strange labyrinths protected from the glare of the summer sun. Lift your eyes to appreciate the extraordinary decorative elements of chevrons and lozenges, simply formed by bricks arranged in relief. 

You can visit the museum Dar Cheraïet (ancient objects collection), the Eden Palm park at the heart of the palm grove, or the Sahara Lounge “accro-palm” park. 

Tozeur, the oasis city:

Attend the date picking

Date picking in the oases is a true spectacle! 

The mountain oases

Another one not to miss are the mountain oases in the South-West: waterfalls and palm groves springing miraculously from a landscape of sand-coloured mountains.

The foothills of the Saharan Atlas, in the extreme west, form unique landscapes.

In this mineral universe oases appear deep into the mountains: Chebika and its oued (river) tumbling down the mountain, Tamerza and its waterfall, Mides suspended above an imposing canyon.

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Chott el-Jerid, a vast saltwater lake

Still to cross is the “desert of salt”, the Chott el-Jerid: a vast white and glittering expanse left by the evaporation of a saltwater lake.

This vast 5000 km2 depression is covered with a crust of glittering salt, the remains of a former saltwater lake – however, certain sections are still flooded in winter and draw gatherings of pink flamingos.

Douz and the Sahara Museum

Covered in a fine blanket of white sand, like a snowy landscape, and surrounded by rows of dunes and graceful clumps of palm trees, Douz offers the gentlest of approaches to the desert.

It is one of the main gateways to the sandy desert.

The Sahara Museum presents the way of life of the region's nomads: life in tents, camel breeding, costumes and jewellery...

At the end of December, the International Sahara Festival is an opportunity to admire traditional competitions: camel races, games, hunting with sloughi dogs etc.

The Great Eastern Sand Sea

Paved roads will take you as far as one of the gateways to the sandy desert: Douz, Nefta, Ksar Ghilane or, in the extreme south, El Borma. Then, you will begin to enter the Grand Erg Oriental or Great Eastern Sand Sea (in Tunisia, it extends over 40,000 square kilometres).

Stay in an established camp within an ocean of sand dunes, and experience the pleasure of watching the dawn break above the dunes.

Tembaine, the magic of the Sahara:

Discover the desert (© ONTT)

The Ksour of the Dahar region

These former collective granaries are typical of the Dahar region in the Tunisian South East: nomads would store their harvests here to shelter them from looters.

Some occupy the summit of steep peaks; the largest resemble enormous stone-coloured beehives rising up in the middle of desert plateaus. Each family would have a chamber to store their harvest. 

Explore one: climb a ladder to enter one of the superimposed chambers (“ghorfas”) where harvests were once stored. 

Guermessa, citadel village

The citadel of Guermessa is one of the most spectacular spots of the Dahar.

Chenini and Douiret, berber villages 

In the Ksour region, Chenini and Douiret are two Berber villages perched upon rocky hilltops. The ancient houses are partly dug into the mountainside.

Giant tombs can be found at the foot of Chenini’s mosque; a legend resembling the one of the Seven Sleepers (or People of the Cave) is told about them. In Douiret, you can visit an ancient subterranean or troglodyte mosque

The subterranean houses of Matmata

One of the most stunning sites in Tunisia: craters dug into the arid hills hide veritable subterranean houses.

Visit other nearby Berber villages such as Tamezret

The underground oil presses

Visit an underground oil press in Matmata or the Dahar region.

The Star Wars sets

Discover the fictional village of “Mos Espa” in the heart of the sand dunes: it’s the real film set of one of the Star Wars episodes, still intact at a place called Ong Jmel close to Nefta.

One of the subterranean houses of Matmata also makes an appearance in the saga: the Lars family home

In fact, this region of south-eastern Tunisia inspired the name of the planet Tatooine! More precisely, the city of Tataouine which is surrounded by the unusual and fascinating landscapes of the Dahar Mountains.

Read more: Star Wars in Tunisia, to the birthplace of the Skywalkers.

The petrified sand of Debebcha

Not far from the Chott el-Jerid, in Debebcha, strange mounds rise up: dunes of petrified sand

The moonscape of Aïn Charchara

What to visit near the Tunisian Sahara?

What else is there to see after a trip to the Tunisian South? The Sahara is a world apart which is worth a long visit for itself alone.

Nevertheless, you can prolong your visit by visiting historical sites, for example the archaeological site of Sbeïtla (Roman and Byzantine era) or the medina of Kairouan.

And if you’re in the mood for freshness and luxury after having explored these arid regions, nothing better than a stay by the sea in one of Djerba Island’s or Zarzis’ beautiful hotels to finish your trip. 

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