The southern part of Tunisia reaches into the greatest desert on earth, the Sahara. It seems a world away from the holiday resorts on the coast, yet it is less than a day’s drive to the desert’s edges and a town like Douz, often described as ‘the gateway to the Sahara’. It would be a foolish visitor who attempted to enter the desert without any experience of driving there, as the few roads that do exist around the edges can easily get covered by sand due to sandstorms. It is therefore all too easy to get lost, and many deaths have occurred among careless visitors.
Nevertheless, it is easy to visit the desert on an organised excursion, and these vary from one-day trips to longer ones of two, three and even more days. Itineraries vary, and a one-day tour only gives a hint of the desert terrain, while longer trips take visitors into areas where roads disappear altogether, and knowledgeable drivers negotiate the sand dunes in four-wheel drive vehicles.