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streets of hammamet

busy market

heading for Matmata

Chenini - mosque

oasis and mosque by Ksar Hallouf

oasis of Ksar Ghilane

Ksar Hallouf

coming out of Ksar Ghilane

mountain oasis of Tamerza

pink clouds - red sand

more pictures
 

 

Tunisian Highlights

Tour dates:
 

13 February - 23rd February 2013 

30 October - 9th November 2013

 

It will be our first ride in Tunisia since it's January revolution and the deposition of their long standing dictator Ben Ali. We have friends in Tunisia which have assured me that everything is back to normal and have impressed to us the need not to abandon Tunisia as travelling resort. Tourism is Tunisia's main income and resource. They have only some gas, but no oil. In July there will be elections and the situation will become clearer. If you had intentions of doing this trip, please contact us and we shall be happy to talk things over. We shall only go if it is safe to do so. 

Why Tunisia? Well, why not? Tunisia is just 80km from the furthest southern point of Italy and has had over the millennia always very close relations with Italy. Some relations better than others, but nevertheless Tunisia has been and always will be linked to Italy. Many of the historical sites in Tunisia are of Roman origin. Many of the modern agricultural settlements and civil engineering was brought to Tunisia by Italian entrepreneurs.

Tunisia offers a multitude of interesting sites, incredible scenery, ancient history that goes back to prehistoric times and reaches into the future having hosted the film sets of Star Wars.
We run a tour which languishes the northern rim of the Sahara desert. 95% of the tour is on good asphalt. We only occasionally leave the asphalt for compact gravel or sand to reach some of the oasis and Ksars which are better off not being blemished by tarmac. Road conditions are generally good, but using a sports bike is out of the question. We Shall be only offering bikes such as the Suzuki V-Strom 650, the BMW F650GS and the BMW R1200GS.

The emphasis of this trip will be on exploring new roads and experiencing Tunisia through its landscape, culture and history as seen when traveling by motorcycle.
 

the program:

13th-14th February: gather in CIMT Milan in the morning, finalize the paperwork and pack. We then ride to reach Genova harbor by 3pm to catch the 6pm ferry to Tunis. Depending on weather conditions and time of departure from Milan we shall opt for highway or not. An early start would allow us a nice meal on the Italian Ligurian Riviera. Once the ferry sets sail it will have no intermediate stops and will reach Tunis harbor on the 14th at 6pm. Once we clear customs, we will reach a nearby hotel in Sidi Bou Said. 

15th February: we start our ride south and after a quick stint on the Tunisian highway, we reach El Jem. This was a very important Roman settlement. Witness of this is the 2nd largest still standing Roman amphitheater in the world after the Colosseum in Rome, holding 35,000 seated spectators. A masterpiece of ancient architecture and UNESCO heritage since 1979.  We continue our descent to the south of Tunisia with a short stop in Sfax, to view the medina, used in Anthony Minghella's English Patient for the setting of the streets of Cairo, we reach Matmata in the evening. 

16th February: After a visit to the troglodytes dwellings and to the Hotel Sidi Driss, interior set for Star Wars, we head further south along Jebel (mountain) Dahar and visit a few Ksurs (plural for ksar), old fortified granaries built by the nomad Berber populations as a means of defense and storage of their crops. We reach Tatatouine in the evening. Tataouine inspired George Lucas when finding a name for Luke Skywalker's home Tatooine. 

17th February: After an amazing ride through some canyons our first port of call will be Chenini where we visit the tombs of the four dormients. The setting is amazing. Sadly, the piste which connects directly to Ksar Ghilan is too hard for our bikes. It is completely covered in Tolè Ondulè, which in no time at all would unscrew all the bolts on our bikes and fry our suspension. So we head back north to Matmata and follow the "pipeline" down to Ksar Ghilane. Once we reach this oasis which is the gate to the vastness of the Sahara, we can relax in our 5 star encampment and take a swim in the hot spring.

18th February: We spend the morning in Ksar Ghilane. You can enjoy sleeping in and a stroll on the dunes, or rent quad bikes to reach the abandoned foreign legion fort just outside of the oasis. You will be able to experience riding on sand without having the pain of getting bogged down in it. A fantastically thrilling experience. Once the quad experience is over, we return to our motorcycles and head for Douz. We stop at the Caravan gathering point of Zaafrane and then cross the massive and flat Salt Lake of Chott El Jerid to reach Tozeur, our new base for the next two nights. Whilst crossing the 80km long straight the colors, from white to pink of the salt formations, to the crystal clear blue sky, and the sheer vastness only capped by the northern mountains, make it an awesome straight line ride (never thought I'd say this). 

19th February: rest day in Tozeur. You can shop in the souk and take a trip to Nefta. Nefta is a few km south of Tozeur and is the second most holy place in Tunisia after Kairouan. It has 24 ancient mosques and is set in a palm grove of 100000 palm trees. 
A loop ride through the mountain oasis of Chebika, Tamerza and Mides, set in some stunning mountains, is also possible in the afternoon.

20th February: we say "arrivederci" to the Sahara and head back north. Immediately after Gafsa we do a detour by Sakket and then head for the town of Sbeitla. here we shall visit the remarkable Roman archaeological site of this town before continuing north to reach Kairouan. 

21st February:  Our last riding day. After the visit to the souk and to Great Mosque, we take a side road back to Tunis and Sidi Bou Said to complete our tour of Tunisia. We have a late ferry, so we reach the port after our farewell dinner in Tunisia. 

22nd February: we land in Genova late on the 22nd and will take a hotel in Genova

23rd February:  we return to Milan and drop off the bikes at around midday. 

 

Prices in EURO per person:

motorcycle two-up
double room
solo rider
single room
solo rider
twin room
own bike 1080 1495 1110
Suzuki V-Strom 650 1440 2215 1825
BMW F650GS (twin) 1480 2295 1905
BMW F800GS 1540 2415 2025
BMW R1200GS 1580 2495 2110

 

minimum participants: 10 people
maximum participants: 14 people

 

what is included:

motorcycle rental
7 nights accommodation in 4 and 5 star hotels
ferry crossing to and from Tunisia from Genova harbor
breakfasts and buffet dinners, except night in Genova and on the ferries
guide on motorcycle
guide in support vehicle
luggage transportation
 

what is NOT included:

fuel for motorcycles
lunch 
dinners in Genova and on ferries
beverages with your meals
quad bike rental
coffee breaks, snacks etc.
entrance to historical and cultural sites
tips and gratuities
medical insurance (compulsory)

 

tour dates:

13 February - 23rd February 2013 

30 October - 9th November 2013

 

 

for more information please do not hesitate to contact us: tours@cimt.it