Oasis of Ksar Gilan in Tunisia
The oasis of Ksar Gilan (or "Henchir Teburnuk") is located in the south of Tunisia and is the southernmost point during the tourist excursions to the Sahara.
The oasis is small - about 700 x 1200 meters. It looks something like an oasis of tourists - date palms, Berber tents, in the center of the reservoir.
Now here live several hundred people, are engaged in servicing tourists, grow dates, raise goats and sheep.
In the oasis of Ksar Gilan, tourists spend the night in local hotels, bathe in a local hot spring, watch the ancient Roman fort. The most interesting entertainment is walking in the desert on camels, jeeps, quad bikes or buggies, for it is in Ksar Gilan that the desert begins with a capital letter!
Great Eastern Erg
Through the oasis of Ksar Gilan is the border of the Great Eastern Erg. It is here that the real Sahara begins.
The word "erg" is translated from Arabic as "sandy sea", and this is really a sea of sand where there is no vegetation at all. The Big East Erg is the largest in the Sahara, an area of 100,000 sq. M. kilometers. Barkhans here reach a height of 300 meters.
And it really looks like the sea, only orange. See the photo below, click on the photo to enlarge.
To fans of Frank Herbert and a series of books "Dune" it is necessary to look at this. This is how the planet Arrakis should look like.
How to get there
In the oasis of Ksar Gilan there is no public transport. You can get there either by taxi, or by rented car, or with an excursion.
Getting a taxi is an expensive pleasure. On the counter at such a distance no taxi driver will go, it will be necessary to negotiate a fixed amount.
From the island of Djerba for 250 dinars will go any, for 120 dinars few will agree to go. Bargain within these figures. From Zarzis, you can drive for 100-200 dinars. The current exchange rate of the national currency is on our page " Tunisian Dinar ".
For vacationers in other resorts in Tunisia, we recommend that you take the train to Gabes and from there already take a taxi for 100-200 dinars. Naturally, the trip by train and taxi is long, and in that case you need to come to Ksar Gilan for 2 days minimum.
Long gone are the times when you could get to Ksar Gilan only on dirt roads on an off-road car or get on a camel. Now an asphalt road is laid here.
In a rented car from the island of Djerba, go south through the Roman road, then south along C115, turn to C118 in a western direction and follow until Medenina. Further west along C113 and C114 before crossing with road C211, turn left (southbound). After 25 kilometers, turn onto the road to the oasis of Ksar Gilan, follow the signs on the road.
On a rented car from other resorts, drive to Gabes. Further south along C107, turn right onto C104, then to intersection with C211 and left onto C211. After 25 kilometers, turn onto the road to the oasis of Ksar Gilan, follow the signs on the road.
As part of the tour
To try all the entertainment in Ksar Gilan, you need to go here on a separate excursion. Now (note: this article was written in early 2018), such excursions to the oasis are offered by the Russian tour operator Pegas Touristik and local excursion agencies. Excursions for 1 full day are only for guests of Zarzis and Djerba. The price is 80-100 USD.
In the oasis of Ksar Gilan, most of the excursion groups stop and even spend the night during the tour "Excursion to the Sahara". Recall that under this name are hidden dozens of different excursion programs.
Important advice! If you want to get into the oasis of Ksar Gilan, then when you purchase an excursion to the Sahara, be sure to ask if the tour is calling here. It happens that the oasis is passing by.
In most cases, during a stop in the oasis, tourists only ride camels and show the sands of the Great Eastern Erg. Even the bathing in the source of time does not remain.
Important advice! If the tour involves an overnight stay in Ksar Gilan, then be sure to specify in which hotel you will spend the night. There are two hotels here, and the difference in level is enormous.
Where to sleep - hotels, awnings, camping
Campement Yadis Ksar Ghilane is an excellent hotel, with rooms in which are spacious and beautiful awnings. See the photo next, click on the photo to enlarge.
In the awnings there is air conditioning and heater, TV, a separate bathroom. If such a hotel could be assigned a star, then it would be a "five". Tents are located around the thermal spring, sun beds and umbrellas are provided.
If you are driving alone, it is almost impossible to book a room in Campement Yadis in advance. Most often the hotel is "jammed" by guests from the excursion groups. If you still get a free number, then the price is from 200 USD per night.
Residence La Source Ksar Ghilane is a mini hotel in the north of the oasis. Reviews of tourists about it are only negative. Bathrooms in the rooms are shared, bed linen is washed rarely, the bed is uncomfortable.
If you are traveling alone, you can book a room in Residence La Source through many hotel sites. The price is from 60 USD per night.
Private tents are available by agreement with local owners. The prices are from 30 USD, the quality is from foul to acceptable.
Entertainment - on a camel in the desert
For an additional fee of 20 dinars, you can ride the expanses of the Big East Erg on a camel, buggy or quad bike. In some excursions, camel riding is included in the price.
Entertainment - thermal spring
A small pond, fed by a thermal spring, is in the center of the oasis. And although it is on the territory of the hotel Campement Yadis, the passage to it is free, swimming is free. Guests can use the sun beds and umbrellas.
Water is rich in sulfur and is considered healthy.
An interesting fact is how this hot spring was formed. After World War II, they searched for oil, drilled a well, and water was poured from it, not oil.
What to see - Fort Tisavar
It was this fort that gave the name of the area and the oasis. The word "ksar" is translated from Arabic as "fortress".
This fort was built by the Romans as part of the defensive line of Limes Tripolitanus, guarding coastal towns from the Berber tribes. The fort was built around 184. Here soldiers from the 3rd August Legion served. Presumably, by 314, the Romans had left the fort.
After the Romans, it was used by the Berbers as a storehouse for grain, so it was relatively well preserved.
The size of the fort is 25x34 meters. At first glance, there is nothing special about it, but when you look at it, look around. What will you see? Only sand! Think about how much stone and how far the Romans had to be transported to build this fort! Titanic work.
At the entrance will see the inscription IOV_OPT_MAX_VIC, some of the letters are erased. The inscription reads: "Jupiter is the almighty winner."
All archaeological finds from the fort can now be seen in the Bardo Museum in the capital.
What to see - a stele in memory of the Battle of Ksar Gilan
From February 23 to March 10, 1943, the Battle of Ksar Gilan took place here. Forces L (Force L) in the 8th British Army (parts of the French fought in the British Army) under the command of Philip Leclerc fought with the Wehrmacht.
The French are very proud of that company. Already on April 12 Leclerc entered Kairouan, later on May 7 the allies entered the city of Tunis (capital), and on May 13 the Germans and Italians capitulated completely on Cape Bon Bon.
The battle of Ksar Gilan is considered the starting point of that victorious company. Near the oasis of Ksar Gilan there is a commemorative stele in honor of the battle.
Interesting excursions in Tunisia, and read interesting and informative articles about this country on our website ( links below ).
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