Highlights of Tunisia Trip Notes

Highlights of Tunisia

Last Modified: 17 Jun 2015
Highlights of Tunisia
Trip code: XLKA
Validity: 01 Jan 2015 to 30 Apr 2016
Table of Contents
StyleGroup sizeVisas
MapYour fellow travellersIssues on your trip
ItineraryAccommodationHealth
Also available to purchaseMealsSafety
Culture shock rating TransportTravel insurance
Physical ratingJoining point Responsible Travel
Money ExchangeArrival complicationsA couple of rules
Spending moneyFinish point The Intrepid Foundation
TippingEmergency contactCarbon offset
Important notesEmergency fundsFeedback
Style
Comfort
  • ‘Comfort travel’ means encountering all that the real world has to offer, but with an added degree of, well… comfort. We use more private transport, the travel pace more relaxed, the accommodation a touch nicer. And by paying a little more up front, you’ll be treated to more included meals, more leader-led activities and get a greater immersion in all things local.
Map
Highlights of Tunisia
Itinerary
Days 1-2 Tunis/Carthage
On arrival at Tunis Airport, you are met by our representative and transferred to your hotel.
After breakfast you will start your sightseeing tour with a visit to the medina (old quarter) of Tunis, which the largest in North Africa (larger than those in Fez, Algiers or Cairo). Lunch is optional but we recommended a place called Hamouda Pacha, a very typical Tunisian restaurant located in the medina. After lunch we spend some time in the medina, wandering around its colourful souks and discovering the exquisite craftsmanship of the country's artisans.
We start our day with a visit to the UNESCO World Heritage site of Carthage, which was founded in 814 BC and was the oldest Phoenician settlement on the coast of North Africa. Many wars were waged against the other Mediterranean powers such as the Greeks and the Romans before the city was ultimately conquered by the Romans in 146 BC. Although partially hidden due to ongoing development over ensuing years, monuments such as the Antonine baths, Roman amphitheatre and the Punic ports hark back to the glories of a bygone era, whilst some of the best relics can be found in the archaeological museum of Carthage. We continue to Sidi Bou Said Andalous village and stroll through narrow streets lined with whitewashed houses with blue shutters and doors. Here we can also check out the various art galleries or try a bambalouni (a light and crispy Tunisian style doughnut) in one of the cafés that offer superb views of the Gulf of Tunis.
Accommodation
Hotel (2 nts)
Day 3 Kairouan
Today we will visit the Bardo Museum, the finest museum in the country and one of the best archaeological museums in the Mediterranean region. Housed in an old palace that once belonged to the Husseinite beys, who were former rulers of Tunisia, it is especially known for its beautiful and extensive collection of mosaics that date back to Roman times.
Before arriving to Dougga ruins, you go to Testour where you stop for a short visit of the Andalucian style Mosque and village square.
You will then proceed to the archaeological site of Dougga, one of the best-preserved Roman cities in Africa. Built on an elevated site overlooking a fertile plain, it was the capital of both the Punic and Roman states. Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1997, Dougga was originally a Punic town that sided with the Romans against Carthage and was granted some degree of independence as a reward. It became an influential agricultural centre, controlling important trade routes to Carthage, on the coast. Its important marble quarries and fresh water supplies contributed to making it a prosperous and successful town. After an optional lunch at nearby Thugga, we continue to the holy city of Kairouan.
Accommodation
Hotel (1 nt)
Days 4-5 Tozeur
The oasis town of Tozeur, four hours away to the south-west, is lined by extensive palm groves.You will visit the Eden Palm, a museum which describes all aspects of the Palm tree in a beautiful authentic building. You will also have the opportunity to ride a camel around the beautiful Oasis of Tozeur. After this the day is free to explore and enjoy the scenery around Tozeur.
The tour leader will discuss the options on arrival in Tozeur.
Tonight you will enjoy a local speciality - lamb cooked in a clay pot - at Kmar restaurant or Dar Deda
Accommodation
Hotel (2 nts)
Day 6 Matmata
After breakfast you will depart to Matmata, crossing the dry salt lake of Chott el Jerid en route.
Matmata is famous for its troglodytes, houses built underground to protect the Berbers from intense heat in the summer. These Berber villages are exciting places to explore and one of these, together with the surrounding lunar-type landscape, was the set for the mythical planet of Tatooine (which got its name from the nearby town of Tataouine) in George Lucas' landmark movie, 'Star Wars'. Scenes from Steven Spielberg's 'Raiders of the Lost Ark' were also filmed here.
Before getting to your Hotel in Matmata, you will go for a short visit to the Berber village of Toujene nearby (32km from Matmata) with its outstanding sceneries. A guided visit will bring you to some troglodyte dwellings including a very old oil press, used for centuries to press olives.
Days 7-8 Sousse
Today we travel to Sousse, Tunisia’s 3rd largest city. On the way we stop at El Jem to take in the World Heritage listed amphitheatre, a structure that dates from 238 AD and is the second largest of its kind in the world after the Colosseum in Rome. We visit the newly-opened small museum and investigate the excavations extending behind the museum where beautiful mosaics have been found.
We then continue to Monastir once a busy fishing town and now a relaxing seaside town. Take an optional excursion to check out the well preserved Ribat, once used to search the sea of possible attackers.
Day 8
You will have an entire day to appreciate the attractions of Sousse. In the morning, you go to explore the newly renovated archaeological museum, housed in the Kasbah of Sousse Medina, one of the best well preserved Kasbahs in Tunisia. You will then have a full day to explore the city. You may visit the Great Mosque dating back from the Aghlabid period (9th century), the fort of the Ribat, similar to the one in Monastir, with its beautiful high tower where you can have a panoramic view of the town.
In Sousse, you can also explore one of the best preserved Medina in Tunisia, nice long white sandy beaches and the beautiful Marina of Port El Kantaoui nearby.
Optional Activities
  • Ribat of Monastir - USD10
  • Pirate boat excursion - USD20
  • Great Mosque - USD10
  • Ribat Monument - USD10
Accommodation
Hotel (2 nts)
Days 9-10 Tunis
On the way to Tunis you'll stop in the city of Nabeul, famous for its ceramic workshops in the Medina. You then continue to the small fishing town of Kelibia where you can explore the fort, dating back from the punic and roman time (optional).
Before heading to the village of Haouaria, you explore the Punic city of Kerkouane, a world heritage site, which is one of the unique preserved Punic remains in Tunisia.
Just after Kerkouane, you explore the mountain of Haouaria, overlooking the Cape Bon, with its beautiful landscape. Haouaria is famous for raptors and bat caves.
You then continue to Tunis where you spend the last night before departure.
Your trip ends today, after breakfast. Check-out time is usually around 12.00 noon and you are free to leave at any time. If you have arranged a private airport transfer you will be advised of the pick-up time. Additional accommodation can be pre-booked if you wish to spend more time exploring Tunis.
Optional Activities
  • Kelibia Fort - USD10
  • Kerkouane Ruins - USD10
  • Nabeul Museum - USD10
Accommodation
Hotel (1 nt)
Also available to purchase
For many of our trips we have other services or experiences that are also available to purchase to extend your trip or to make your holiday a little easier. Below is a list of other travel products you can purchase in conjunction with this trip.
If you arrive early there are plenty of things to do and see. We recommend you check out some of our Urban Adventures
http://www.urbanadventures.com
    • Iran Adventure (HPSN)
    • Iran Adventure (HPSN)
    Culture shock rating

    Expect some culture shock. You'll be exposed to signs of poverty and access to services may be sporadic. The food will be quite different to home and English speakers harder to find. Respecting the local culture will make it easier to fit in and really experience the location.
    Physical rating

    Some easy physical activities included in your trip. No physical preparation is required to make the most of the journey.
    Money Exchange
    The official currency in Tunisia is the Tunisian Dinar (TND).
    ATMs are by far the easiest way to access cash and can be found in all major towns.
    Currency exchange rates often fluctuate. For the most up to date rates please refer to the following website: www.oanda.com.
    The most convenient and cheapest way to acquire money is via an Automated Teller Machine (ATM) which are plentiful throughout all the main cities. Check with your bank for information on ATM international fees.
    When leaving home don't forget your PIN and make sure you know the telephone number for cancelling your card if it is stolen. Keep this in a safe place. When using your debit card, check your receipts and keep them to compare against your statement when you get home.
    We recommend that you carry some foreign currency cash for when ATMs can not be accessed, have broken down or run out of cash. There are few problems changing money as there are many banks and currency exchange facilities. Cash in EUR, GBP and USD dollars are favoured for exchange.
    Occasionally banks will also allow cash advances on your credit card, but it is not recommended to rely on this.
    While some banks and 5 star hotels will change Travellers' Cheques the process is time consuming and commissions can be high (up to 10%) and it can be difficult to change on weekends and public holidays. The easiest cheques to change are Thomas Cook or American Express in USD, EUR or GBP.
    Spending money
    Every traveller is different and therefore spending money requirements will vary. Some travellers may drink more than others while other travellers like to purchase more souvenirs than most. Please consider your own spending habits when it comes to allowing for drinks, shopping, participating in optional activities, and tipping. Please also remember the following specific recommendations when planning your trip.
    Tipping
    On this trip, we have included gratuities for the essential services that you will receive as part of your tour package. This will cover tips to drivers, specialist local guides (where applicable), restaurant staff for included meals, porters, bellboys and other hotel staff, including room-cleaning staff.
    This amount DOES NOT include a tip for your tour leader, so you may wish to set aside some funds for this. It is customary to tip your tour leader for outstanding service throughout your trip.
    You also wish to put aside some money for your own tipping, such as when you are doing our own optional sightseeing or activity that involves local guides and/or drivers or when joining in optional groups meals or dining out on your own. In these instances, we advise you to carry small notes of local currency each day to make tipping easier. The amounts can vary greatly according to destination, so we suggest that you ask your tour leader to give you guidance on what are appropriate amounts to tip.
    Group Leader: You may also consider tipping your leader for outstanding service throughout your trip. The amount is entirely a personal preference; however as a guideline $US3-5, or the equivalent in any currency used on the trip, per person, per day can be used.
    Of course you are free to tip more or less as you see fit, depending on your perception of service quality and the length of your trip. Remember, a tip isn't compulsory and should only be given when you receive excellent service.
    Important notes
    This trip is run by our experienced sister company Peregrine Adventures. Your group is therefore likely to be a mixture of Intrepid passengers and other like-minded international travellers.
    Please note that due to current DFAT warnings for Tunisia we have made amendments to the itinerary for rest of 2015
    The new itinerary is as follows:
    Day 1: Tunis
    Day 2: Tunis
    Day 3: Dougga - Kairouan
    Day 4: Tozeur
    Day 5: Tozeur
    Day 6: Matmata (was Douz - Ksar Ghilane)
    Day 7: Sousse (was Matmata - Mahdia)
    Day 8: Sousse (was Mahdia)
    Day 9: Tunis (was El Jem - Tunis)
    Day 10: Tunis
    The current itinerary reflects these changes.
    Group size
    Maximum of 16 travellers per group.
    Your fellow travellers
    As you travel on a group trip you will be exposed to all the pleasures and maybe some of the frustrations of travelling in a group. Your fellow travellers will probably come from all corners of the world and likely a range of age groups too. We ask you to be understanding of the various needs and preferences of your group - patience with your fellow travellers is sometimes required for the benefit of everyone's travel experience. Remember too that you have responsibilities to the group. If you are requested to be at a place at a certain time, ensure that you don't keep the rest of the group waiting. We have found time and time again that the very best trips we operate are those where the dynamics within the group work well - this takes just a little effort on your part. Due to privacy reasons we are unable to provide you with contact details and any personal information about your fellow travellers booked on your trip prior to departure.
    Accommodation
    Hotel (8 nts)
    Meals
    9 Breakfasts, 9 Dinners
    Budget for meals not included:
    USD 200.00
    Transport
    Joining point
    Hotel El Mouradi Gammarth
    Côtes de Carthage
    La Marsa
    Tunis
    BP 597-2070
    TUNISIA
    Phone: +216 71 27 43 00
    Fax: +216 71 27 42 00
    Arrival complications
    We don't expect any problems (and nor should you) but if for any reason you are unable to commence your group trip as scheduled, please contact your starting point hotel, requesting that you speak to or leave a message for your group leader.
    Please also make sure you have a copy of the local operator's emergency phone numbers from our Emergency Contact section of these trip notes.
    Finish point
    Hotel El Mouradi Gammarth
    Côtes de Carthage
    La Marsa
    Tunis
    BP 597-2070
    TUNISIA
    Phone: +216 71 27 43 00
    Fax: +216 71 27 42 00
    Emergency contact
    In the case of a genuine crisis or emergency, our local Tunisia based Office (Siroko Travel) can be reached on Tel: +216 27522442
    For all other enquiries please contact our Reservations department which is open 24 hours, 6 days per week. For further contact details please use the following page:
    Emergency funds
    Please also make sure you have access to an additional US$500, to be used when unforeseen incidents or circumstances outside our control (eg. a natural disaster, civil unrest, strike action or an outbreak of bird flu) necessitate a change to our planned route.
    Visas
    Visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller. The visa requirements for your trip vary depending on where you are from and where you are going. As a general rule most countries expect that you will have at least 6 months' validity on your passport. On arrival visitors may be asked to present return tickets and evidence of means to cover your intended stay.
    We keep the following information up to date as much as possible, but rules do change - it's important that you check for yourself. Residents from other countries must consult the relevant embassies or your travel agent.
    IMPORTANT:
    Libya, Tunisia and Algeria have very specific regulations regarding who can be issued a visa. This can change with short notice. Please investigate if your nationality is eligible to apply for visas or gain entry into these countries, before booking. Refusal of entry into any country for any reason is beyond the control of Intrepid and we have little recourse to pursue either approval of entry, or information as to why a visa has been denied.
    TUNISIA:
    Australia: No - not required
    Belgium: No - not required
    Canada: No - not required
    Germany: No - not required
    Ireland: No - not required
    Netherlands: No - not required
    New Zealand: No - not required
    South Africa: Yes
    Switzerland: No - not required
    United Kingdom: No - not required
    USA: No - not required
    Please note that visa requirements can and do change. It is essential that you confirm requirements with the nearest relevant embassy or check with your travel agent before you travel. At the time of writing, Australian, New Zealand, British, Canadian and American passport holders do not require a visa for stays of up to 3 months. All other nationalities should check with the Tunisian Embassy or Consulate in their country for up-to-date visa information.
    Please note that it won't be possible to enter Tunisia with an Israeli stamp in your passport, or if your passport shows evidence of a visit to Israel.
    A new tourism tax is being levied by the Tunisian Authorities.
    From 01st October 2014 all customers departing Tunisia will have to pay 30 Dinar departure tax to exit the country. This stamp can be bought either in resorts/hotels or at the airport, and is in the form of a stamp affixed to the passport. This is approximately AUD20 per person, and includes adults, children and infants.
    All passengers must also provide Intrepid or their travel agent arrival flight date, flight number and flight time into Tunisia at least 30 days prior to travel.
    Issues on your trip
    While we always endeavour to provide the best possible holiday experience, due to the nature of travel and the areas we visit sometimes things can and do go wrong. Should any issue occur while you are on your trip, it is imperative that you discuss this with your group leader or our local representative straight away so that they can do their best to rectify the problem and save any potential negative impact on the rest of your trip.
    We recognise that there may be times when your group leader/local partner may not be able to resolve a situation to your satisfaction - if this is the case, please ask the leader to speak to their direct manager.
    You may also choose to provide details in your online feedback, which we ask you to complete within 30 days of the end of your trip. But we do ask you to be aware that it is very difficult for us to provide any practical help after the trip is complete.
    Health
    All Intrepid travellers need to be in good physical health in order to participate fully on this trip. When selecting your trip please make sure you have read through the itinerary carefully and assess your ability to cope with our style of travel. Please note that if, in the opinion of our group leader or local guide, any traveller is unable to complete the itinerary without undue risk to themselves and/or the rest of the group, Intrepid reserves the right to exclude them from all or part of a trip without refund.
    You should consult your doctor for up-to-date medical travel information or for any necessary vaccinations and anti-malarial requirements before departure. We recommend that you carry a first aid kit as well as any personal medical requirements (including a spare pair of glasses) as they may not easily be obtained at the locations on this trip. For legal reasons our leaders and guides are prohibited from administering any type of drugs including headache tablets and antibiotics. Please ensure that you are adequately prepared.
    DRINKING WATER:
    As a rule we recommend you don't drink tap water, even in hotels, as it contains much higher levels of different minerals than the water you may have at home. For local people this is not a problem as their bodies are used to this and can cope, but for visitors drinking the tap water can result in illness. Generally this isn't serious, an upset stomach being the only symptom, but it's enough to spoil a day or two of your holiday. Bottled water is widely available and your leader can recommend safe alternatives when available. Water consumption should be about 3 litres a day. Rehydration salts, motion sickness tablets, and diarrhoea blockers are available from many pharmacies.
    Safety
    Many national governments provide a regularly updated advice service on safety issues involved with international travel. We recommend that you check your government's advice for their latest travel information before departure and ensure that your travel insurance covers you for all areas your itinerary covers. Please refer to our website's safety page for links to major travel advisories and updates on safety issues affecting our trip.
    We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe-keeping of your passport, air tickets, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewellery at home - you won't need it while travelling. Many of our hotels have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage.
    Your leader will accompany you on all included activities, however during your trip you'll have some free time to pursue your own interests, relax and take it easy or explore at your leisure. While your leader will assist you with the available options in a given location, please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your Intrepid itinerary, and Intrepid makes no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgement when selecting an activity in your free time. Please also note that your Leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it's deemed necessary due to safety concerns.
    For more details on the type of conditions and safety standards you can expect on your trip, please refer to Intrepid's operational safety policy on our website. We recommend that you take a moment to read through this information before travelling, and would appreciate any feedback on how well it's being implemented in the field:
    Travel insurance
    Travel insurance is compulsory for all our trips. We require that, at a minimum, you are covered for medical expenses including emergency repatriation. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects.
    When travelling on a trip, you won't be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance and the insurance company's 24 hour emergency contact number has been seen by your leader.
    If you have credit card insurance your group leader will require details of the participating insurer/underwriter, the level of coverage, policy number and emergency contact number rather than the bank's name and credit card details. Please contact your bank for these details prior to arriving in-country.
    Please go to our website for links to various travel insurance providers:
    Responsible Travel
    We believe strongly in low impact or rather positive impact tourism. Broadly speaking this means that we try to minimise the negative aspects of tourism on the local cultures and environments that we visit and highlight the positive aspects. Please visit our website for further details and suggestions on how you can be a responsible traveller:
    A couple of rules
    Illegal drugs will not be tolerated on our trips. Possessing or using drugs not only contravenes the laws of the land, but also puts the rest of the group at risk. Smoking marijuana and opium is a part of local culture in some parts of the world but is not acceptable for Intrepid travellers. Intrepid's philosophy of travel is one of respect towards everyone we encounter and in particular, the local people who make our destinations such special places. The exploitation of prostitutes is completely contrary to this philosophy. Our group leader has the right to expel any member of the group if drugs are found in their possession or if they use prostitutes.
    Everyone has the right to feel safe and secure on their trip. We don’t tolerate any form of sexual harassment at Intrepid, either between passengers or involving our leaders or local operators. Sexual relationships (consensual or otherwise) between a leader and a passenger are unacceptable. If you ever feel another person is behaving inappropriately please inform us immediately by contacting the emergency contact number detailed in these trip notes.
    The Intrepid Foundation
    Since Intrepid Travel commenced operating in 1989 we've been committed to giving something back to the communities we visit. One way has been through our support for local humanitarian, development and conservation projects. Many of our travellers want to contribute something too. Whilst it is often tempting to give hand-outs to those less fortunate, this has the potential to promote a culture of begging and dependency. Handouts are not a sustainable way for individuals or communities to live. That’s why we established The Intrepid Foundation – to make it easier for travellers wishing to give back to communities in an effective and meaningful way.
    The Intrepid Foundation is a not-for-profit fund offering a selection of excellent grassroots organisations which you can contribute to. All donations to The Intrepid Foundation will be matched by Intrepid Travel dollar for dollar (up to AU$5,000 per donor and a total of AU$400,000 for all donors in each financial year). And every cent gets there as Intrepid Travel pays for all the administration costs. Donating is simple and secure. Please ask your leader for information on the projects we support through The Intrepid Foundation or go to our website:
    Carbon offset
    Carbon Offset C02-e 541.00 kgs per pax.
    Feedback
    After your travels, we want to hear from you! We rely on your feedback. We read it carefully. Feedback helps us understand what we are doing well and what we could be doing better. It allows us to make improvements for future travellers.