Wednesday 24 May 2017

Festival Of The Sahara In Douz : Tunisia's Legendary Event

The Festival was a breathtaking and exhilarating event which lasted four days — just right to see you through the New Year. It's not very well known outside North Africa, particularly from the cultural point of view, even though the location (an important hub for desert travel) is quite well-known by jeep and motor bike holidaymakers.

I'm almost a little reticent to publicize the Festival as I feel it's important to maintain its cultural, historical, and ethnic characteristics. Participation means getting a real insight into desert way of life, as well as mingling with the thousands of people who gather from far and wide to see it.

From dancing to dog racing: festival events

Events vary from poetry-reading (the oral tradition is still strong) to exciting dances by Tunisian, Palestinian, and Algerian companies in the evening; while during the day in the town horse and camel riders in traditional dress parade through the streets.

In the afternoon the Festival moves down to the dunes where there are spectacular performances of camel marathons, greyhounds catching rabbits, acrobats, and jugglers as well as a Berber wedding. The people were incredibly friendly and it seemed as if I had known them for years.

Douz has more to offer than the festival

Every Thursday there's a big general market in the square and a livestock market nearby. The surrounding environment envelops the visitor in kilometres of palm groves. In December you can still see families collecting dates, which provide staple food for camels and tortoises alike in Douz's zoo!

Another really interesting place to see is the museum. It's small but very well-organized around the theme of desert life. The small Douz Museum has an interesting collection portraying traditional Saharan life. Entrance TD 1.100. Open 9:30-4:30 Closed Mondays.

Getting to Douz

Obviously getting there needs some organization. Personally I took a coach from Tunis to Douz which took nine hours but is a reliable service. Otherwise there's an airport in Tozeur or Jerba and you can take a group taxi to Douz. It's easy to find small hotels to sleep in but one must book early at Festival time.

Getting There and Away

There are direct buses to and from
Tunis twice daily. Frequent buses and
louages run between Douz and Kebili
(25 km.). There are connections to all major cities from Kebili, but These can be difficult to secure during the festival when demand is high. Trains run twice daily from Tunis to Gafsa . From Gafsa it is possible to visit the famous oasis town of Tozeur and then continue by bus or louage to Kebili and Douz .

*culed from


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