Tunisia, 1997

I spent more than a month in Tunisia in January and February of 1997. I had originally intended to be in Tunisia for about 10 days.

According to the then current edition of the Lonely Planet guide to North Africa, Tunis was the best place to get a visa for visiting Libya. In actuality when I went to the Libyan embassy I was told in blunt terms that they would not issue me a visa. No explanation was offered. So that’s how I came to spend over a month in Tunisia.

Tunisia is not a travel destination that’s on the radar of North American tourists but it’s quite popular with European vacationers. There are some large full-service resorts on the Mediterranean Coast that cater almost exclusively to Euro-tourists. I spent most of time in the south of the country which gets its share of travelers but is pretty low-key and laid-back.

uing Tunisia lacks the stand out must-see tourist sites offered in other North African countries but it is a rather pleasant and trouble-free place to spend some time. I found the lack of hustlers to be a refreshing change from Morocco. As a rule Tunisians don’t try to overcharge foreigners for goods and services as is common in Morocco and Egypt.

While more than a month is really more time than Tunisia warrants it’s still a relaxing place to spend some time and some of the desert towns of the south offer intriguing markets and architecture. If you want to visit North Africa without being treated like a human ATM consider Tunisia.


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