Saturday, July 07, 2012

ROUNDTRIP THROUGH TUNISIA 2 - Matmata, Douz



When we had left the Amphiteatre El Djem we drove to our next stop Matmata a small Berber town in southern Tunisia. where some of the local Berber residents still live in traditional underground "troglodyte" structures.

The structures typical for this village are created by digging a large pit in the ground. Around the perimeter of this pit artificial caves are then dug to be used as rooms, with some homes comprising multiple pits, connected by trench-like passageways.

The route to Matmata led us through olive tree champs and then the desert and was rather boring




From time to time all along the road we saw



not petrol stations but lots of vendors selling petrol in canisters to the car owners !



you could also find fruits in beautiful displays



or for those who where thirsty there were tea sellers





driving through Douz we admired some very creative sculptures



somtimes there also was something like a restaurant (?)



Everybody in this lost part of the South tries to sell something to the drivers.

Then we arrived in Matmata and I was very disappointed. Our doubtful guide has told us that most of the berbers who lived there had moved away or built new houses and there was only one left to be visited.





There was not much to see, so I stayed outside. I don't know if it is true what he said or if you can visit other parts of the village too. He said so many things which weren't true at all.



True is that a lot of new houses are built.



I had seen Matmata in 1983 and remembered it like this. (photos taken from Internet)
You can read more about Matmata and its history here.



Douz is a town in central Tunisia, known as the "gateway to the Sahara." In previous times it was an important stop on the trans-Saharan caravan routes. Today, it is destination for tourists who are interested in seeing the desert, and a starting point for desert treks by camel, motorcycle, or four-wheel-drive vehicle. We just drove through a crowded market, from the city itself we didn't really see anything. I avoided to look too much on this market because of the pityful sheep transports on little trucks where they were squeezed together in this awful heat, or the still living chicken which were sold in little cages. My European eyes are not used to these views and it made me sad.

You can read more about Douz here







that was about all when we left the town.



But then came the "entrance" to the Sahara and the camels !



Tourists were invited to make a ride with the Berbers on their beautiful horses. At least they looked good and well fed !



The camels too looked nice and waited with their owners for tourists to carry them around.



I love camels and didn't want to miss a ride



My camel seemed to be a happy one, because when the ride was over it rolled in the sand like a happy dog ! I had to watch my legs !



and then they waited for us to sway us back to the entrance.

Unfortunately it is very touristic money making place and the peace of the desert is disturbed by the loud  motor noise of four wheel drive vehicles, motorbikes and little airplanes, which in my opinion don't belong there, especially when we were supposed to see a romantic sunset on a camel !! But business is business, the sun didn't set yet and was still shining when the tour ended.



3 comments:

sandra carlier said...

How I would like to watch the desert as you did! Even with all the noise! You camel looks so cute! The architecture is really typical and all seems so dry!
With Pierre we would want to visit Algeria where we are born when it was still a department of France! we'll program it in the future!

Maribeth said...

It's funny when we read of such destinations, they are often not what we think they should be. I do like your camel pictures!

Mar said...

Fascinating shots, love the perspective of entering the Sahara!

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I love painting, writing, travelling and photography. My favorit models are my four cats which I observe with fun and humor. I am German, married to an Italian and we live in Waterloo (15 km from Brussels) / Belgium since many years. Waterloo is a famous place to many tourists, because Napoleon lost his battle here against Wellington and other European countries.

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