El Jem Colleseum

Sunday 6th April

Tunis – Menzel Temime

Awoke at 0700 to sound of engines so quick start onto deck for sunrise as we entered Tunis harbour. Filled in paperwork on ferry then into landy to disembark. Friendly police followed by customs who had plenty of paperwork to fill in including one for GPS authorisation. Learning experience as customs ‘official’ managed to get €20 off us with prospect of speeding things up but to no avail. No more ‘bribes’.

Headed up to Carthage but too early to headed onto Tunis main avenue for breakfast before picking up supplies from market including soldering iron to start work on numerous electrical faults that are forming.

Headed east through some sparse towns looking for blankets for what looked to be another chilly night camping. Found great spot as we reached coast in small ruined house next to beach (36º48’41.6”N 11º03’05.9”E). Checked levels and investigated wiring but unsuccessfully fixed stereo so still without tunes. Learnt a lot about electrics though! Great dinner under amazing stars for first African night.

2654 mile

Tunis Harbour
In Africa!!
Camping site
Boiler suit
Catalogue shot!

Monday 7th April

Menzel Temime – Sousse

Started day with BMF session along beach before quick dip in sea which needed warmed up. Decided it was time for hair trim. Andy went first for some fine salon work before Andy attacked Nick with a #4 to finally shed the golden locks. Think it could go shorter once the tan kicks in to reduce the Romanian orphan look.

Set off south through touristy Hammamet to see the white flesh on offer. then onto motorway. Andy ‘pee pants’ needed to stop on hard shoulder but unfortunately landy didn’t start when he got back in. Seems the battery warning light was for real. Bump started it and pulled over at services to change alternator. Stripped nut and odd access proved tricky for our large socket set so took advice of friendly services manager and bump started again to head into Hammam Sousse where there was a plethora of garages.

First garage changed over alternator but replacement was running very hot so they took us to their uncle who was alternator ‘expert’ who fixed the bushes in our old one and changed them back again. Total cost 40 dnr which is pretty reasonable and a good lesson in recycling from Uncle Alternator. One of the garage customers Mohammed invited us back to his house to stay as the day was running out.

Pulled up at great house with gates for secure parking and he offered us a whole apartment upstairs for 20 dnr with 2 bedrooms and satellite TV followed by guided tour of town to show us the highlights as he is a taxi driver normally. Used our new found knowledge to head out for kebab dinner then onto hotels for beers. Confronted by appalling entertainment as staff dragged up guests to humiliate themselves. Moved on quickly to Le Saloon ‘Pub, Disco, Toilettes’ to join a Romanian study trip for some bad ‘80’s music and dancing. A surreal day all in all!!

2755 miles

Mohammed in red jumper
Alternator 'workshop'
'Uncle Alternator'
El Jem Colleseum

Tuesday 8th April

Sousse – Gafsa

Left Mohammed and stocked up with supplies at local shop after good coffee and croissants in light rain. Headed south for El Jem and stopped at our second colleseum for quick culture stop which was pretty impressive. Fell into tourist trap and bought headwear on way out which could prove useful later on. Continued south to Sfax and got caught in bad town traffic after missing city bypass.

We cut west through endless olive groves into first desert scenery. Strong winds picked up dust to reduce visibility and temperatures rose to over 35ºc. With no music, the singing was loud and bad to cut through the engine noise. After a short roadside lunch stop in the shade we continued west to Gafsa. Continued 2km towards Tozeur before seeing sign for Elhassen Camping (34º24’33.3”N, 08º45’03.6”E) next to ‘5* hotel’ for 15 dnr. Nice sheltered site with us being only people there so chilled dinner listening to horrific Arabic music from alcohol free hotel next door.

2994 miles

The happy couple at El Jem Colleseum
Local boy!
Salt flats

Wednesday 9th April

Gafsa – Douz

Departed with intention of heading to border town. After passing industrial towns and mines, police turned us back as road closed for work unfortunately. Back through pleasant hill scenery to rejoin Tozeur road passing large groups of camels in oases.

Quick fuel stop in Tozeur before crossing causeway over huge salt flats. Overwhelming site with nothing as far as you can see other than convoys of Nissan Patrols filled with tourists in matching Arabic headgear (‘Amama’). None of them looking particularly happy or even awake as we chill on roadside for photo opportunity and lunch.

Passing many French and German overlanders (incl. fleet of Land Rovers who give us the obligatory wave/toot/flash) as we near Douz and the ‘desert gates’. Chatted to German off roaders as we got stuck in Douz market who pointed us towards the town ‘Desert Camp’ (33º27’12.8”N, 09º01’30.3”E). Popular campsite with desert vehicles included ‘The Camel’ which was huge truck driven by a German guy who did tours across desert with him and his dog. Had some good tips for Tunisia and Libya.

Got to work with electrics again and after a quick call to Foleys who installed the stereo, we had a solution and music again at last. Moral continued to climb as we sorted every other electrical issue and checked levels with ice cold beers bought at campsite bar. Nick decided to brave the #2 clippers which went down well with the girlfriend on skype later that evening as we checked e-mails in town.

3168 miles


Salt flats
Date farms
Happy campers
Working stereo

Thursday 10th April

Douz – Aghir, Ile de Jerba

Left camp and picked up two Tunisian oil workers when asking for directions to Matmata. Dropped them at pipeline after utilising even more of our French which was proving useful in Tunisia. Had a quick coffee in Matmata while avoiding the Star Wars ‘guides’ with neither of us being particular fans of the film or Monty Python Life of Brian which was also filmed here…apparently.

Took a random road south to Beni Kheddache to liven things up which proved itself as we hit some fun tracks which the Landy coped well with. Took a slight detour but got back on track after speaking to a crazy dude in a shack who drew us a map. Declined offer of coffee after seeing state of the cups in his dwelling and headed back along dried riverbed to main road. Andy wincing at Landy noises as suspension put to the test by Nick’s driving.

Grabbed lunch of deep fried spicy egg meaty sandwich combo in roadside café in Medanine with local school kids. Headed north to El Jorf to catch quick ferry (0.800 dnr) to the tourist island of Jerba. Drove round coast and chatted with kite surfing school on north coast but getting too late in day so continued with some dune bashing to try and find campsite. Decided against soft sand so continued past many gates to hotels until we hot the only camping in town which had seen better times. Got good spot on beach and sarged along hotel beaches which were empty so back for food and chat with German neighbour who had done Cape Town trip before in his Toyota. Debated price of guides in Libya.

3374 miles


Tunisian hitchers
Future road kill
Another fine spot


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