Chebika, Tamerza, and Ong Jemal
Our third day in Southern Tunisia, Christmas Eve, I changed my look for a 4×4 excursion deep into the desert..
Our first destination was a mountain oasis town called Chebika. Starting from the village, we took a path alongside a stream which led to the water spring that gives life to the palm trees. From there we climbed many steps up to the top of the hill which overlooks the palmerie, stone ruins of the abandoned village of Chebika, and the rock gorge.
We walked through the ruins (abandoned from a flood in 1969) to a small cafe where we ordered two freshly-squeezed orange juices. Then we were back in our 4×4 heading to Tamerza, the largest mountain oasis in Tunisia. We were taken directly to the town’s famous waterfalls, but I was more taken with the beauty of the surrounding gorge.
Leaving Tamerza, the real fun began as our final destination was an exciting one hour drive into the desert. Our driver had everyone in the car screaming as he took us up and over steep rocks and dunes. Our car got stuck in the sand just before reaching Ong Jemal…
Everyone got out and helped rock the car forwrd, and ten minutes later we arrived at Ong Jemal which means “camel’s neck” in Arabic. I ran up to the top of the rock and Mansour snapped my picture. Atop Ong Jemal the Sahara desert stretches out before you like an endless sea.
Our last stop was Mos Espa, the set built for one of the Star Wars movies. It was really fun to walk around on a movie set constructed in the middle of the desert. Star Wars and the English Patient were both filmed in various locations in Southern Tunisia.