It would be fair to say that Tunisia is known for an array of activities – mostly surrounding the beach. However, while some countries might be renowned for its donkey rides on the beach, this is one country which offers visitors something slightly more unique.
As the title has probably given away, we’re specifically referring to camel rides. There has always been some sort of charm of riding on a camel, but when the scene is the desert in one of the most beautiful environments in the world there’s no doubt that things take a turn for the even more intriguing.
Of course, camel riding isn’t going to be for everyone (although we’d assume, it would appeal to the majority). Bearing this in mind, we will now take a look at the activity in detail, showing how you can prepare for the experience and just what you should expect to get out of it.
Table of contents
How should you plan for camel trekking in Tunisia?
As we’ll soon find out, camel trekking can provide some truly unforgettable experiences. However, there is certainly a caveat to be had here – a lot largely depends on the weather.
The keyword is undoubtedly “extreme” 1. In the winter, it’s not unheard of for bottles of water to turn into ice during the night.
Then, in the summer, brace yourself for some of the hottest temperatures you have ever experienced. It means that you really have to plan your trip wisely, with the recommended times being spring and autumn which provide a happy medium in relation to temperature. It’s worth noting that this applies to both the daytime and evening – there will be no unbearable moments.
Following on from the above, it won’t come as a surprise to hear that packing adequate equipment is absolutely essential. However, in relation to the most important item, there might be several raised eyebrows.
Let’s put the temperature to one side for a minute – one of the biggest issues you’ll have to battle is the environment. You are in the middle of the desert, with winds swirling around and this means one thing – sand will be blowing right into your face. It means that you simply must pack a scarf to protect yourself. As well as this, if the temperature does increase, you can at least use it to protect your head and shoulders.
In terms of other advice, you really should be looking to dress in layers. As we have constantly reiterated, one of the big things about this journey is the temperature deviations. If you can at least dress in layers, you will be able to remove and add when necessary and add a degree of control to your body’s temperature.
You should make sure that none of these layers are skirts, in the case of girls, or shorts. This is because one of the primary injuries during this experience can be saddle burn – where your legs are constantly rubbing against the saddle due to the turbulent movement of the camel. As well as dressing appropriately in this regard, make sure that you hold onto the handle bar and don’t attempt to balance on the animal by squeezing your legs together.
Another important point is that you need to start training and get in shape.
Finally, and from another health perspective, it should go without saying that you need quick access to water 3. During a lot of these trips, you won’t stop frequently, meaning that you not only need to ensure that you bring water but also that it is tied in a location which you can easily reach.
What should you expect from the experience?
The answer to this question is again one that can vary – although not because of the weather necessarily. Different tour groups will provide different activities although while some won’t specifically be the same, the nature of them across the board most definitely will be.
We’ll shortly come onto some of these exact activities, but the premise of a camel trek across Tunisia is that you will benefit from all of the local culture. You will be provided with your own guide, who obviously knows the camels inside-out, and your only responsibility will be to give a name for your camel. That’s right, they don’t tend to have permanent names.
If you opt for an experience that incorporates an overnight stay, you will naturally be able to take advantage of the local food and perhaps stay in a Bedouin tent depending on where you are venturing. Most of these overnight trips involve a stay under the stars – so it’s something utterly special to say the least.
While activities are going to vary enormously (after all, the desert is absolutely gigantic), we have picked out some of the most common that a lot of tour operators like to provide. While your tour in question might not venture to these exact locations, they will most probably find alternatives that are similar.
Houidhat Erreched Lake
This is probably the type of activity that most people don’t expect when camel trekking is spoken about. Most people think that the experience is all about bobbing up-and-down on a camel – and forget about the areas that can be visited in the process.
This is where Houidhat Erreched Lake offers something different. While you will of course be able to admire the beautiful surroundings of the Sahara in Tunisia, one of your endpoints is a hot water lake, surrounded by mountains of sand. You will usually be given hours to relax and swim in this lake – which is completely different to any other you will have been to in your lifetime.
Silk Trade Route
For anyone who is looking to add a touch of history to their trek, this might be the solution. In truth, there are whole books written on Silk Road, but to give a summary it is an ancient network of routes that connected the East and West.
Sure, it’s somewhat untouched now and there won’t be an avalanche of artifacts that inform you of its past use. However, it can still provide a touch of something different and allow you to remember what times used to be like in this part of the world.
This is probably one of the more common camel trekking routes and will allow you explore the umpteen oasis’ that the Sahara has to offer.
If you manage to head over to Bedouin, you’ll also be able to venture between villages. It’s another example of a camel trek not just being a “ride”, but something which allows you to see attractions as well.
A closing note on camel trekking in Tunisia
As you can see, camel trekking in Tunisia prompts some of the most unique opportunities you can think of.
Most people simply think of it as a bumpy ride – forgetting all of the other elements. As we’ve already spoken about, this means basking in the beautiful Sahara, keeping up with the locals, sleeping under the stars and maybe even bathing in a hot lake. Each tour will offer something different but as long as you take into account all of the health and preparation notes we documented, you’ll be in for an exquisite ride.
Sources & References
- The extreme sahara weather (Wikipedia) Sahara Desert (ecoregion)
- Condition physique (Minceurplus.com) Minceurplus.com
- Hydration importance (Harvard.edu) The importance of staying hydrated