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The Great Eastern Erg

If you have not travelled the Sahara or Northern Africa before, we recommend to start exploring this fascinating part of the world with this itinerary.

The Great Eastern safari offers the best of both worlds: Sightseeing off the beaten track with fine but informal hotel accommodation, Roman and Phoenician history, World War II sites, famous filming locations, Berber culture, the oriental markets and the mysterious beauty of the world’s largest desert.

You set off from home at your own pace, your ferry ticket for the channel is a flexible return and once in Africa you spend one week sightseeing and one week crossing the Sahara. To cover the Great Eastern itinerary at a leisurely pace, we would suggest to add two days or more to the duration below. This way you can split the drive across France and enjoy some of the pleasures this country has to offer.

Itinerary

Great Eastern Erg
Day 1
After your Channel Crossing, drive to the south of France and meet the group for dinner in Orange , overnight stop, camping or optional hotel accommodation.
Day 2
Leave Orange in the morning, drive to Marseille port (55 mls.) and check in for the ferry to Tunis where you have first class accommodation on board, lunch and silver service dinner with the group, evening entertainment in various bars on board.
Day 3
Arrive Tunis early afternoon, drive to Kantaoui and check in at the Hotel Palace . Enjoy a Tunisian speciality dinner and maybe an Arabic massage, a walk on the beach or a swim in the pool or in the sea. Join us on a tour of the palatial residence of the hotel's founder. Breakfast on board, Picnic lunch, dinner and overnight at hotel*****
Day 4
Explore the souks of Sousse or go for a swim in the pool or in the sea before we are heading south via the impressive Coliseum of El Djem, better preserved then the original one in Rome . After a picnic lunch continue on towards Sfax, the only city in Tunisia with a genuine medina (old town) where you can see the traders and craftsmen in action. Breakfast at hotel, Picnic lunch, dinner and overnight at hotel Abou Nawas**** in Sfax.
Day 5
Have a look at the markets in the morning before we set off via Gabes, famous for its palm wine, to Mareth where Montgomery defeated Rommels Africa corps. Visit Rommels headquarters tucked away in the mountains and the small but well made military museum before we continue south towards Tataouine for on overnight stop at the famous hotel El Sangho. Breakfast at hotel, lunch in a traditional restaurant, dinner at hotel****.
Day 6
Stack up with water and fuel in the morning, today is our first night camping. After breakfast at the hotel we are off to explore some of the ancient Berber villages perched high up on the hilltops around Tataouine. After some off-roading across track you will see some famous filming locations from the Star Wars movies before we carry on to a spectacular drive across the Dahar Mountains . We will reach our makeshift campsite near the village of Toujane with plenty of time to set up camp before sunset. Breakfast at hotel, lunch with a Berber family, dinner at camp.
Day 7
Take some extra time in the morning to organize your gear after the first night camping. Have a hearty breakfast at the camp before we head to see the cave dwellers and another filming location. Late morning you will get your first glimpse of the Real Sahara from a distance before we arrive at Kebili for our lunch stop at the serviced campsite (with hot showers) where we will also spend the coming night. In the afternoon you can join us for an excursion to see the giant salt flats or stroll around town on your own. Breakfast at camp, lunch and dinner at campsite.
Day 8
Practise your off road driving skills today. We set off into the desert across sand dunes for a training session of dune driving and our first night out in the desert. Have lunch in a Berber tent and do some more off-roading in the afternoon. Spend the evening in a little oasis by the fire and enjoy some traditional Berber folklore. Breakfast at campsite, picnic lunch, dinner and overnight at desert camp.
Day 9
Drive across sand dunes and salt flats after breakfast to get back to civilization. We reach the port of the desert, the lively town of Douz , just before lunchtime, check into the best hotel in town, the El Mouradi, enjoy lunch at the hotel and in the afternoon you can relax by the pool, have a Turkish massage or a stroll around town. Breakfast at camp, lunch, dinner and overnight at hotel****.
Day 10
Fill up with fuel and water in the morning and do some last minute shopping in town before you are off to the highlight of your tour: the crossing of the Sahara . We are having lunch together with Hedi our desert guide and his family and finally we are on our way: five days out in the open desert, guided by the natives of the Sahara , the men from the Saharaoui tribe. Our guides find their way without any modern aids such as GPS or compasses and they know how to utilize the desert natural resources. Breakfast at the hotel, picnic lunch, dinner and overnight at bivouac.
Day
11-13
Your desert crossing will lead you in a south-easterly loop across magnificent sand dunes, you will experience the different forms of terrain in the Sahara , table mountains, rocky plateaus and oasis. Enjoy the fabulous sunsets and the stars at night, so bright that you can clearly see the Milky Way.

We drive for about two hours in the morning and two in the afternoon with an extensive lunch break and always get to the sites for our bivouac with plenty of daylight left to organize the camp. On the last day of our desert crossing we are reaching the oasis of Ksar Ghilane, where you take a plunge in the natural pool, filled with fresh warm water from an underground source and slowly get used to civilization again.

Breakfast and dinner during the desert crossing is at our bivouacs with picnic lunches en route. Dinner at Ksar Ghilane is in a makeshift restaurant.
Day 14
Head across a slow track back up north to Kairouan where you check in to one of the most spectacular hotels in the country: The La Kasbah, a converted medieval jail that is now a five star hotel. Check out one of the specialities of Tunisian cuisine, freshly grilled lamb from a roadside barbecue before we reach Kairouan. Have a look at the old town in Kairouan and shop for some souvenirs or oriental spices to take home. Breakfast at camp, picnic lunch, dinner and overnight at hotel*****.
Day 15
Take a look at the old town or the mosque in Kairouan, the second holiest city of the Islam before you make your way up further north and back to Tunis for the lunchtime departure of your ferry back to Marseille. Breakfast at hotel, lunch, dinner and overnight on board.
Day 16
Arrive in Marseille in the morning, say good bye to your new friends and head back to the UK – or – extend your holiday with a few days in France . You can change your ticket for the channel crossing at no extra cost.

Day 17

Arrive Back Home
Prices

from 1,095 pps, including:
  • Channel Crossing, (short route) with flexible return.
  • Mediterranean crossing with first class en suite cabin.
  • Full board ex and to Marseille.
  • Hotel accommodation as per itinerary.
  • Campsite fees.
  • All entrance fees, taxes and charges.
  • Visa fees and charges.
  • Guided tour with support and recovery vehicle.
  • Breakdown assistance in North Africa.
  • Emergency backup by helicopter on Sahara leg.
  • Comprehensive Infobook.
  • Safety of a licensed and bonded Tour Operator.

  • Extras:
  • Fuel and Roadtolls.
  • Drinks.
  • Travel insurance.
  • Click Here for Dates & Price List

    Please note that all itineraries are for illustration purposes. We will adhere to them whenever possible, however this being Africa adjustments might have to be made if certain areas are temporarily closed off, weather conditions are adverse or other circumstances dictate changes.