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Sahara Travel Forum Topics specific to North Africa and the Sahara down to the 17th parallel (excludes Morocco)
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Desert Travels - Motorcycle Journeys in the Sahara and West Africa!

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  #1  
Old 21 Dec 2009
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Tunisia in January

Hi All,

I'm going to Tunisia in January for a couple of weeks. Yes, not the best month to go there, but it was the only chance I had, so better go now rather than staying at home!

I'm crossing from Genova to Tunis with GNV and I was wondering whether the motorcycle clearance could be done on board... If not, what about harbour customs? Are they very picky? Any tip/trick I should be aware of?

My plan is making a counterclockwise tour starting/finishing in Tunis. I'll try to see/visit as many things as possible. As a summary: Tunis, Bizerte, Tabarka, Dougga, el Kef, Jugurtha, Sbeitla, Tozeur (+ mountain oases & Mides canyon), Douz, Matmata (+ Ksours), Tatouine, Djerba, el Jem, Kairouan and, if enough time, Cape Bon before getting back to Tunis.

What about the wheather right now? I assume it's wet and cold in the north and a little bit dryer in the south. Am I right in this assumption? Any chances of ice/snow in roads that cross the Kroumiria mountains?

I have many more questions, but it's only my second post in the forum, so for the time being don't want to abuse...

Thanks a lot in advance for your comments!

Marta.
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  #2  
Old 21 Dec 2009
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motorcycle clearance could be done on board...

I think there is no choice. If you dont do it on board you will be stuck in the port. I think my Sahara book has the sequence of how to go about it from desk A to B to C - tho it was several years ago.

Route sounds good, weather dont know but I think snow is unlikely - rain isnt.

have a good trip

Ch
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  #3  
Old 22 Dec 2009
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Hi Marta,

from your choice of places to see I conclude you are interested in old stones and such. Thuburbo Majus is worth a visit.
Pictures from December 2008 are here.

I have no experience with customs on CNV vessels, I always used CTN. They have customs and immigration officers aboard to do the main paper work, but you will be checked again in the harbour. If you have a GPS (which is highly recommended) I suggest you keep it packed away until you are out of the harbour area. Sometimes travellers are sent to an office to register their equipment which might cost you some time and nerves. And after that nobody will ever ask you again for the registration paper.

Your assessment about the weather is correct. In December 2008 we had temperatures around the freezing point during the night in the mountains and mild 25 degrees Celsius in the afternoon near mount Tembain.

Where are the Kroumiria mountains? I'm not familiar with that name.

Regards, Hans
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  #4  
Old 22 Dec 2009
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Hi, Marta, nice to see you here.
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  #5  
Old 22 Dec 2009
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Hi Marta

Lucky you! Tunisia has a very fond place in my memory, both because it's a lovely little country and because it marked the proper start of my overland trip in Feb 07. I took the ferry with CTN from Genoa to Tunis - the immigration/customs people were perfectly OK both on the ship and then at La Goulette.

I agree with your itinerary, but think you could probably not bother with Cap Bon unless you like oranges. You might also want to include Carthage while you're in Tunis (and make sure you have a coffee at Cafe Des Delices in Sidi Bou Said while you're there) the Roman ruins at Utica, just north of Tunis, and the Coober Pedy-like ones in Bulla Regia which are near Jendouba. While on the way from Bizerte towards Tabarka, see Ichkeul Nature Reserve. There's also another interesting dirt track you can do along the north coast towards Sidi El Mechrig. Have a look at the Tunisia section of my website - overlandcruiser.net

Finally, the Kroumiria mountains are the ones just south of Tabarka - I went walking in them (Ain Draham). They WILL be a bit snowy in Jan though!

Good luck, and give my love to Tunisia.

Mark
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  #6  
Old 22 Dec 2009
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Definite +1 for Sidi Bou Said. Go up the hill an look down over the city.
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  #7  
Old 22 Dec 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Scott View Post
motorcycle clearance could be done on board...

I think there is no choice. If you dont do it on board you will be stuck in the port. I think my Sahara book has the sequence of how to go about it from desk A to B to C - tho it was several years ago.

Route sounds good, weather dont know but I think snow is unlikely - rain isnt.

have a good trip

Ch
Hi Chris,
Thanks for your comments!
Unfortunately I only have your Adv. Motorcycling Handbook (great!!!), not the Sahara one...
I'll find out once in the ferry (not quite sure still that in the Italian ferries you can get the paperwork sorted...). I'll keep you posted!
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  #8  
Old 22 Dec 2009
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Hi
I took GNV from Genova to Tunis last november, no paperwork on board ( I think only possible on CTN tunisian ferry companie ). It was a nightmare, two boats arrived on the same time, no queue, le bordel, people not really friendly.
As every border two things to achieve, police and customs
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  #9  
Old 22 Dec 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mandarax View Post
Hi Marta,

from your choice of places to see I conclude you are interested in old stones and such. Thuburbo Majus is worth a visit.
Pictures from December 2008 are here.

I have no experience with customs on CNV vessels, I always used CTN. They have customs and immigration officers aboard to do the main paper work, but you will be checked again in the harbour. If you have a GPS (which is highly recommended) I suggest you keep it packed away until you are out of the harbour area. Sometimes travellers are sent to an office to register their equipment which might cost you some time and nerves. And after that nobody will ever ask you again for the registration paper.

Your assessment about the weather is correct. In December 2008 we had temperatures around the freezing point during the night in the mountains and mild 25 degrees Celsius in the afternoon near mount Tembain.

Where are the Kroumiria mountains? I'm not familiar with that name.

Regards, Hans
Hi Hans,
Thanks for your comments as well!
I'm not specially an old stone 'fan' but I find them interesting!
What I really love are birds! I'm planning to visit lake Itchkeul in the North and I also aim to see Flamingos in the Gulf of Gabes... Can't wait!!!
I won't have any issues with the GPS because, for the time being, I don't have any...
Ilesmark has correctly answered your question about the K. mountains.
.. and I'll keep my fingers crossed for having good weather while in the north (my Spanish blood is not very keen on low temperatures ).
I'll let you know!
M.
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  #10  
Old 22 Dec 2009
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Originally Posted by Miquel-Silvestre View Post
Hi, Marta, nice to see you here.
Thanks, hope to meet you 'live' one day!
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  #11  
Old 22 Dec 2009
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Originally Posted by ilesmark View Post
Hi Marta

Lucky you! Tunisia has a very fond place in my memory, both because it's a lovely little country and because it marked the proper start of my overland trip in Feb 07. I took the ferry with CTN from Genoa to Tunis - the immigration/customs people were perfectly OK both on the ship and then at La Goulette.

I agree with your itinerary, but think you could probably not bother with Cap Bon unless you like oranges. You might also want to include Carthage while you're in Tunis (and make sure you have a coffee at Cafe Des Delices in Sidi Bou Said while you're there) the Roman ruins at Utica, just north of Tunis, and the Coober Pedy-like ones in Bulla Regia which are near Jendouba. While on the way from Bizerte towards Tabarka, see Ichkeul Nature Reserve. There's also another interesting dirt track you can do along the north coast towards Sidi El Mechrig. Have a look at the Tunisia section of my website - overlandcruiser.net

Finally, the Kroumiria mountains are the ones just south of Tabarka - I went walking in them (Ain Draham). They WILL be a bit snowy in Jan though!

Good luck, and give my love to Tunisia.

Mark
Hi Mark!
Thanks for your comments, good wishes and the link to your website!
I've been reading avidly the Tunisia chapter!
It was nice to read about your cats. I also need to get my cat sorted whenever I go on hols! Thanks God he's a goooood boy and my friends love him, so I always get some volunteers to take care of him!
Interesting your comparison of Bulla Regia with Coober Pedy. I was there (CP) one year ago, so I'll make sure I also see BR and then I'll be able to make my own assessment!
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  #12  
Old 22 Dec 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by strimstrum View Post
Definite +1 for Sidi Bou Said. Go up the hill an look down over the city.
Thanks Strimstrum!
It looks like I'll have to definitely go to Sidi Bou Said and climb up the hill!
Noted down!
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  #13  
Old 22 Dec 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eric DN View Post
Hi
I took GNV from Genova to Tunis last november, no paperwork on board ( I think only possible on CTN tunisian ferry companie ). It was a nightmare, two boats arrived on the same time, no queue, le bordel, people not really friendly.
As every border two things to achieve, police and customs
Ugh!!! Just seen your answer now...
(thanks Eric for this valuable info!!!)
My God, looks like a mess if you took the Italian ferry... But the fact is that I had no choice, the Italian timetables where much better for me rather than the CTN ones so that's why I booked this one...
Maybe when they will see me alone with a motorcycle they will take pity of me... Or maybe they will think 'A woman, to the hell with her'... What's clear is that I need to take it easy, with a lot of patience and a big smile... We'll see, I'll keep you posted!!!
Thanks again, Eric, this was very useful!
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  #14  
Old 22 Dec 2009
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Hi, don't be intimidated by landing at La Goulette. For your first time it's worth using one of the fixers in the port - they wear a grey jacket and are semi organized/official - he will guide you through the process and expect a tip for his troubles but don't give too much - 5 euro max. No one is trying to catch you out, just remember you need to exchange money and buy insurance after you have done the official stuff.
Stay calm and smile a lot.
From the minute you get on the boat in Genoa your african experience begins - 'ces't afrique' - relax it will all get done eventually.

Ps if you get stopped outside the port by the police demanding an extra tax don't pay - it's just a scam
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  #15  
Old 24 Dec 2009
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Hi Marta

Thanks for your PM! Also I'm interested in Tunisia.

Unfortunately I can't answer you PM (not enough posts) in HUBB. Sent you an email, but often spam filters eat my mails because of my surname .

So if you don't get any mail from me please drop again a line in HUBB.

Thanks - Wolfgang
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