Tunisia Family Holiday Trip Notes

Travel to Tunisia and bear witness to ancient civilisations, immense deserts, troglodyte caves the seaside city of Sousse and the Berber town of Matmata.

    • 8
    • XSFT
    • Total price tool tip
      USD $1,370
      CAD $1,395
      AUD $1,385
      EUR €965
      GBP £795
      NZD $1,540
      ZAR R13,860
      CHF FR1,160
    • Explorer, Family
    • Original
Print Version
Last Modified: 08 Jan 2015
Tunisia Family Holiday
Trip code: XSFT
Validity: 01 Jan 2015 to 31 Dec 2016
Table of Contents
StylePhysical ratingGroup size
ThemesOptional activitiesAccommodation
MapMoney ExchangeMeals
ItinerarySpending moneyTransport
Also available to purchaseTippingJoining point
Itinerary disclaimerDeparture taxFinish point
Culture shock rating Important notesCarbon offset
  • Original trips are classic Intrepid adventures. With a mix of included activities and free time, they offer plenty of opportunities to explore at your own pace and take part in activities that really get beneath the skin of a destination. While the occasional meal may be included, you'll have the freedom to seek out your own culinary adventures. Accommodation is generally budget or tourist class (2-3 star), but you're as likely to find yourself as a guest of a local family as staying in a hotel or camping. Transport will vary as well. Depending on the destination and the itinerary you could find yourself travelling on anything from a camel to a train or a private safari vehicle. It's all part of the adventure! Original travellers have a desire to make the most of their travel time and really get to know a place, its people and cultures.
Family, Explorer

Days 1-2 Sousse
After your international flight, you transfer to your first night’s accommodation in the city of Sousse and check in.
Sousse wears many hats as it is a commercial port, tourist beach resort and an old fortified medina. It is this last element that interests us most and we’ll spend the next morning exploring the narrow twisting alleyways of the old town. Stalls selling everything from spices to trinkets spill out onto the streets; the variety is amazing and really gives a flavour for North Africa. After our orientation tour we’ll be free to investigate further on our own. We may choose to visit the Ribat, a 9th century stronghold built to defend the coast against Christians, although many of the elements used in its construction are older and there are antique columns either side of the main door. There is also the Grand Mosque – which also looks much like a fort – and an archaeological museum housed in the 11th century kasbah, the highest point in Sousse. With beaches nearby we could also opt to spend some time relaxing in the sun.
Included Activities
  • Sousse Medina visit
Optional Activities
  • Monastir village visit (optional) - Free
Hotel Medina or similar (2 nts)
Day 3 Matmata via El Jem
Today's agenda contains what is arguably Tunisia’s greatest highlight – the Amphitheatre of El Djem (63km/1hr). The tiny town of El Djem - little more than a village really - stands at the centre of an extensive plain covered with olive trees. Somewhat incongruously for such a small place, it’s the site of an enormous amphitheatre – the third largest in the Roman world (after the Colosseum in Rome and Capua near Naples), and the largest Roman monument in North Africa. After Emperor Hadrian fostered the planting of olive trees, the town became such an important centre of olive oil production that its population reached 30,000. Quite who took the decision to construct such a huge building remains unknown, but it was never completed. It was obviously a massive undertaking as the nearest quarries are around 30kms away, and although the stone is relatively soft and so easy to cut, it still had to be transported to the site! The amphitheatre remains incredibly intact and we can climb up several storeys for a great overall view. We can even explore the tunnels under the arena itself where the animals and gladiators would have waited before being released into the bright sun to fight for their lives. It is not difficult to imagine what it was like when the Romans enjoyed the spectacle here or the atmosphere as swords clashed.
We then leave the desert behind as you drive on into the lunar-like hills to Matmata (243km/3hrs). The Roman historian Herodotus first wrote about its underground houses in the 4th century BC, when he described the Berbers who lived here as troglodytes (cave dwellers). Homes have been excavated out of the softish yellow rock of the rounded hillsides – some are still inhabited although the number is dwindling. The main advantage of living in this kind of dwelling is that it provides a relatively constant environment (much like a wine cellar) in an area which suffers wide extremes of temperature and so it feels warm in winter and cool in summer. There’s not much to the village, and little in the way of agriculture - due to the almost complete absence of water - the principal reason why most people emigrate from here to work in the north. Cinema enthusiasts will immediately recognise the location of Luke Skywalker’s home as featured in Star Wars. Tonight it’s easy to imagine how it might have been to live here as you stay in a troglodyte hotel – this means suffering a few privations in exchange for an interesting experience. Waking up in the morning to the sound of the Muezzin calling the faithful to morning prayers and realising that we are in a cave is truly unique.
Included Activities
  • El Djem or similar
Day 4 Kebili to desert camp
After a visit to a troglodyte dwelling where a local family live, we continue onto Kebili, where we meet with the camel drivers for a trek into the Sahara. Despite their unfriendly reputation, camels are great fun. The area is covered in rolling sand dunes and you’ll head off for a camel trek (roughly an hour) to the camp. There’s nothing quite like the rhythmic motion of a camel to make you feel like Beau Geste or a true explorer (anyone who prefers can walk!). At the end of the day the sight of the sun setting makes a splendid conclusion to a fun day. Tonight you dine on traditional fare under the clear, starry skies of the desert and sleep in Bedouin-style tents. You will see the cooks and camel drivers cook the traditional food, and bake bread in the sand. We are then entertained after dinner by the camel drivers playing traditional music around the campfire.
Included Activities
  • Troglodyte visit
Day 5 Tozeur
Hotel Marhala Cave or similar (1 nt)
Day 6 Sahara Lounge Activity Park
Today, you head to the beautiful Sahara Lounge Palmeraie, an ecofriendly activity park, for an exciting full package Tree climbing and zip line activities between date palms under the shade, a truly memorable experience!
The afternoon is entirely free to explore the town and its oasis by yourself. You may go for a horse-drawn carriage experience across the Palmeraie, visit the interesting Eden Palm museum to learn more about palm trees and dates or go for a walk in the market and the old Medina.
Hotel Residence or similar (1 nt)
Days 7-8 Sousse
Today contains the longest journey, as you travel back to Sousse. You drive via Kairouan (292km/3hrs) where you stop for lunch and to briefly explore. Established in the 7th century when the Arabs first arrived, Kairouan is now one of Islam's most holy cities. It became so important that seven visits to this tiny place equal one visit to Mecca. Once you have finished wandering through the souks and the hauntingly beautiful but crumbling houses, you get back in the bus and continue on to Sousse where you will have time to spend the remainder of your holiday relaxing on the beach, or doing some last minute shopping in the souks before your flight tomorrow.
Hotel Medina or similar (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.
  • Tunisian Family Voyager (XSFT)
    Itinerary disclaimer
    Occasionally our itineraries are updated during the year to incorporate improvements stemming from past travellers' comments and our own research. The information given in this itinerary may be slightly different to that in the brochure. It's very important that you print and review a final copy of your Trip Notes a couple of days prior to travel, in case there have been changes that affect your plans. For the latest updated Trip Notes please visit our website: www.intrepidtravel.com
    Please note that while we operate successful trips in this region throughout the year, some changes may occur in our itineraries due to inclement weather and common seasonal changes to timetables and transport routes. This can happen with little notice so please be prepared for modifications to the route.
    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.
    Optional activities
    A selection of optional activities are listed in the day-to-day itinerary. This isn't an exhaustive list and should be used as a guide only. Prices are approximate and are for entrance only and don’t include transport to and from the sites or local guides unless indicated. All activities are subject to availability and it may not be possible to do all the activities listed in the time available at each destination.
    Where activities are considered medium or high risk, we work with operators whose safety and credentials we have sighted and assessed. This means that it is possible that you may find the same activity cheaper with another operator on the ground, however we cannot vouch for the safety or quality of that operator. Activities not listed above have not been assessed by us and as such our staff and leaders are unable to assist you with booking these activities. The decision to partake in any activity not listed is at your own discretion and risk.
    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.
    Spending money
    The Middle East is often misjudged as being an inexpensive destination. With tourism booming and the influx of cheap flights from Europe, prices for some items are becoming more equivalent to prices you would be used to at home. Eating in local restaurants, roadside stalls and from markets can be inexpensive, but for nights out at tourist-friendly restaurants you can expect to pay much more. Budgets are a personal choice but please bear in mind that you shouldn't expect the Middle East to always be a budget destination.
    Tunisia is often misjudged as being an inexpensive destination. With tourism booming, the influx of cheap flights from Europe, prices for some items are becoming more equivalent to prices you would be used to at home. Eating in local restaurants, road side stalls and from markets can be inexpensive, but for nights out at tourist friendly restaurants you can expect to pay much more. Budgets are a personal choice but please bear in mind that you should not expect Tunisia to be a budget destination.
    Departure tax
    A new tourism tax for Tunisia.
    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 GBP13 per person, and includes adults, children and infants.
    Important notes
    Age restrictions apply to this trip - minimum age 5.
    In 2015 the important month of Ramadan will be in progress from the 18th June through till the 17th July, and the Eid ul-Fitr festival will be held directly at its conclusion for 3-4 days. Ramadan is a festival of sacrifice where the devout refrain from eating or drinking during daylight hours. During Ramadan business hours are shortened, including opening hours at some tourist attractions. Alcohol is not permitted during daylight hours and many restaurants will be closed. While you should expect some delays and inconveniences during this period, the month is a fantastic opportunity to travel in a Muslim country and witness this unique period, particularly the nightly celebrations when the sun sets and the fast is broken. Please note that although the Eid ul-Fitr festival can also be a fascinating time to travel it is a period of National holiday. Most government offices and businesses will be closed and some tourist site opening hours may be impacted.
    Group size
    Maximum of 16 travellers per group.
    Hotel Medina or similar (3 nts), Hotel Marhala Cave or similar (1 nt), Hotel Residence or similar (1 nt)
    7 Breakfasts, 2 Dinners
    USD 150.00
    Minibus, Camel
    Joining point
    Hotel Medina
    15 Rue Othman Osman
    Finish point
    Hotel Medina
    15 Rue Othman Osman
    Carbon offset
    Carbon Offset C02-e 138.00 kgs per pax.