This is a late post about Tunisia, considering it has been about nine months since I visited. But every time I look back on the pictures and reminisce about the few days I spent there, I find myself wishing I could be back there. The same applies to my trip to Greece. I constantly find myself looking forward to going back to Greece. I should probably write a post about that. But first of all, Tunisia.
Tunisia is located in North Africa, and is bordered by Algeria, Libya and the Mediterranean Sea. The official languages in Tunisia are French and Arabic (from my understanding) and the official state religion is Islam. If you are looking for a great holiday spot at an affordable price, keep reading. I have outlined all the processes I followed.
Departure point: Johannesburg, South Africa
Arrival: Sousse, Tunisia
Visa Application Process: I applied for the visa at the Tunisia Consulate in Pretoria South Africa and it took about 20 working days for the visa to be approved. From what I understand, it is important to have an invitation letter form Tunisia in order to visit (not sure if this applies to other non-African and North African countries). The visa cost about 80 USD. I paid ZAR 1100. The process is seamless as long as all the required documents are submitted. If you are unsure of what you need, call the consular office in your city to be sure.
Flights: Surprise, surprise! Flying to Tunisia from South Africa is a whole process. The quickest airline that could get me there was Qatar Airways – not that I was complaining. Qatar Airways is an excellent airline to travel with. Irrespective of the cabin class you fly in, you can be assured of quality service and a comfortable trip! The entire trip to Tunisia including a brief two-hour stop-over in Doha was about 17 hours in total, and cost about USD 600 for a return ticket.
Arrival in Tunisia: We arrived at Tunis Carthage International Airport during the day. It is not the most ultra-modern airport you will see. It actually reminded me of the Murtala Mohamed International Airport in Lagos. There is nowhere to hang out and wait so it is really a good idea to have transport waiting for you by the time you land. Except you want to hire a car… which I didn’t. I had the hotel arrange my transport. From Tunis, we drove for about two hours to Sousse – a sea-side city. Besides the beautiful landscape, there was nothing much to see. The driver had bottles of water to keep us hydrated during the drive. The weather was quite warm but not uncomfortable.
The Hotel: Concorde Green Park Palace Hotel is located in Port El-Kantoui in the city of Sousse. The hotel is magnificent! It is located on the bank of the Mediterranean Sea, has comfortable rooms and an amazing selection of foods at every meal service. As a foodie, this was, of course, my favorite part. I ate so much, I started to think the hotel attendants would have to roll me out like a car tyre on my last day.
Things to do in Tunisia: From the front gate of the Green Park Palace hotel, I and my colleague took a cab and went to the Medina. We had a very friendly taxi driver who offered to drive us to Monastir – the next city. The distance between both cities is about 20km. In Monastir, we visited the souk sibit – which is the Saturday market. Here, I bought delicious candied nuts, a golden Africa pendant, small gifts for friends (e.g. keyholders), a sun hat and a couple of female jalamia. Things were much cheaper here than at the stores close to the hotel. At this market, you can get lots of fresh dates and fruits. If you would rather buy a Jalamia in a less busy environment. There are shops down the road from the hotel that accept both Dinar and Euro.
I also got to weave a rug in Monastir, but of course, the rug trader expected me to buy rugs. I couldn’t afford them so it was a no from me. This is something to bear in mind about Tunisia. The traders will do everything to convince you to buy their products. They will say all the sweetest words to make you think you need what they are selling. Know that you can negotiate their prices and work on your haggling skills if you want to get a good deal. If you are not interested, firmly say so and keep moving.
I also had a bracelet weaved by the roadside for about five dinars. It took less than five minutes and had the letters of my name woven into it. Pretty cool if you ask me! You can go horse-riding in a carriage for about 12 dinars, drive around the surroundings of Bourguiba’s palace and if I remember correctly, the driver said something about a Bourguiba museum, but I was knackered.
Note on Currency: You can spend euros in Tunisia, but if you choose to change to the local currency which is Dinar, you can do so at the airport. One tip though is that you must insist on a receipt before you go through with the exchange! If you don’t get a receipt, you will not be able to change your leftover Dinar to Euros on your way out. Some hotels offer currency exchanges from dollars and euros to dinar so you can do your currency exchanges based on how much you need daily. Tunisia is not an expensive place so you might not need that much.
So yea, that was Tunisia for me. It was great. The people were friendly, I did a couple of YouTube videos while I was there. Please check them out on my YouTube channel. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T9CaGAuFNmM
Below are more pictures from the trip!