While a lot of people might know Tunisia for its stunning beaches, if you take a look a little deeper into the country there are scores of hikes that can challenge some of the best locations in the world.
In other words, it’s something of an unknown-quantity – but one that simply has to be explored if you want to extract a combination of beauty and history from your hikes.
Bearing the above in mind, we have compiled our favorite five trails in the country. They each target different abilities, so regardless of your fitness levels or past history take a look below to find the best hikes that Tunisia has to offer.
Table of contents
There’s no doubt that this first trail is one of the more interesting on our list – although we’ll leave the juiciest part until later.
Once upon a time the Natural Park of Boukornine 1 used to stand on the trail, but over recent periods this has been abandoned although there’s no doubt that it still provides plenty of charm. In fact, one might argue that it almost adds to the trail – there’s a sense of “what once was” as you walk through it.
Putting the National Park to one side, this is a trail which provides some of the most breathtaking views around. You will start at Hammam-Lif, before progressing through various dirt tracks and up towards a destination which happens to be a military base.
As you might expect, this is where things can get very interesting. Suffice to say, you shouldn’t reach the summit as the military presence means that there is a likelihood of being arrested. Instead, stop short of that, and enjoy one of Tunisia’s most exquisite mountains.
In terms of the stats, we’re starting with an easy trail. It’ll take you around four and a half hours to complete, with the total distance being just over four miles. It’s about 2,352 ft in height – so nothing too tricky to start with.
Korbous (traveling through Ain Kanessira and Robinson’s Creek)
If you’re looking for something a little more difficult, there’s no doubt that this next one will provide it. The nature of it means that you won’t necessarily trek very high like the previous one, nor will you travel overly far (it’s only 3.5 miles). However, the rocky terrain means that it can be quite difficult to master and this means that it will take you just over seven hours to complete.
There’s no doubt that these seven hours are very much worthwhile though. You will navigate through hot baths, rock formations and all sorts of other interesting terrain.
If you’re in the market for views, this route offers it in abundance as well – particularly over the horizon from the rocks.
For those of you who are looking for something completely easy, look no further than Kairouan. This is much different to any of the other trails we are looking at, in the way that it’s a city. In other words, you won’t be venturing around the countryside – it will be more of a sightseeing expedition.
Considering some of the sights that you can see though, this should be on anyone’s itinerary if you possess the time. You will see the likes of The Great Mosque, Zaouia Sidi Sahab, el-Ghofran Mosque and the Aghlabides’ Pools. When you consider the magnificent architecture that all have to offer, it really makes for a stunning trail.
Additionally, you don’t have to have huge amounts of time to go around Kairouan. At about 4.27 miles long, and with little elevation, you can manage your trail and make sure you get the most out of each attraction.
Zaghouan (travelling through Sidi Bougrabine)
This next trail falls in-between some of the others we have looked at. It will take you almost six and a half hours to complete, and the fact that you will travel upwards almost 4,000 feet says everything you need to know about its difficulty. To throw another statistic in the picture, you will walk over 12.5 miles through the trail as well.
Statistics aside, there is plenty to see as you hike this route to Zaghouan. In truth, reaching the summit is difficult, and some people won’t manage it. If you want to avoid this group, the best advice is to head up the mountain through the southwest and west faces which provide the easiest opportunities.
Even if you don’t decide to trek the easier route, there’s plenty of beauty to bask in anyway. Zaghouan is a glorious village to say the least and the valleys around it will present some ideal viewing platforms.
Djebel Ressas to Mornag
We’ll end with a trek which is almost deceptive. On the face of it, a 1.85 mile trek between Djebel Ressas and Mornag might not sound too extravagant. However, when you consider that you’ll climb almost 2,000 feet during this period – all becomes exceptionally difficult.
Such a sharp elevation certainly makes for an interesting challenge – but one that can be utterly embraced when you consider your surroundings. You will start in the limestone region of Djebel Ressas, before slowly making your way to the small town of Mornag. Along your route you will bypass towering limestone – which almost takes the effort out of the rapid change in elevation.
How should you prepare and get in shape before hiking the trails?
As we have just seen, each trail will present completely different challenges. It’s not necessarily about the length either – as the Djebel Ressas example showed the elevation also comes into play.
Naturally, when you are climbing to extreme heights, additional equipment might be required, with trekking poles being one such example. In pretty much all cases you will need suitable walking boots, to avoid blisters, as well as the necessary clothing if the weather takes a turn for the worst.
A lot of people don’t realize the health requirements though. Some of these treks can take the best part of a day, and can go over difficult terrain.
It’s for this reason that your fitness levels must be in order as you prepare – you can’t just rock up and expect to complete in a breeze (although the Kairouan trek might be an exception).
As well as the above, always ensure that you carry sufficient water to stay hydrated 2 , whilst suitable GPS equipment is an absolute-must (particularly if you are traveling alone).
A closing summary
We have looked at some of the most popular treks across Tunisa today. While the term “trek” might make the process sound tiring, some of them are anything but.
In other words, the beauty about hiking in Tunisia is that there are a variety of routes to choose from, some of which might require high levels of fitness but many which can be completed by absolute novices. When you consider all of the natural beauty that the country has to offer as well, some might class it as a hiker’s unknown paradise.
Sources & References
- Boukornine National Park (Wikipedia) Boukornine National Park
- How to stay hydrated (HuffingtonPost) How to Stay Hydrated While Traveling