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Expedition 2003 in Sahara, South Tunesia from 20. Dez. 02 - 7. Jan. 2003

The south of Tunisia offers excellent desert travelling into the Sahara. From easy sand driving to serious dune “4Wding” everyone finds his adventure. The Desert Club Camping in Douz is the place where all the desert enthusiasts meet for refuelling, fitting up the stock of food and to exchange the tales info in desert touring.

Our Group of 6 cars was reduced already the first night after Tunis where we had to leave behind our party with their 100 series LandCruiser  with broken front differential (imagine what would have happened later in heavy dune country!).

From Douz to Ksar Ghilane our party of 4 4WDs (Puch G, Mitsubishi, LandCruiser J9 and J8) did travel on easy to moderate gravel and sand tracks. Before Ksar Ghilane we did enjoy to play with our 4WDs in some bigger dunes. More adventurous it gets south of Ksar Ghilane in the military zone (access only with permission). Along the main pipeline leads another track several kilometres west of the pipeline track to the south. Often the track in not existing anymore due to new sand dunes. The main direction is chosen mainly by following the GPS points. Hundreds of tracks from the time of active oil search were spreaded over the desert. Average speed dropped to 20 to 30 km/h. The desert offers great camping spots sometimes with brilliant views. South of the side track to Bir Aouine we decided to follow the pipeline to El Borma. The country is quickly getting more difficult and regularly we have to recover one of our 4WDs. The sand is here extremely fine and requires very much deflated tyres.

Auf der Fähre mit Mitreisenden
Sicht auf Tunis
Palast Tozeur
Nachtlager bei Sonnenaufgang
Verkauf von Gasflaschen
blühende Oase?

South of Bir Ezzobas  we tried to reach our fictive waypoint FB 339 which would lead us directly to El Borma. Our track disappears and we are now only navigating with GPS and the sun. Travelling speed is dropping to 5km/h. Most of the way we search by walking and discuss the route by CB radio. The sand dunes are getting very heavy, they are not very high but very close to each other and there was a high risk to get bogged with every try. We could see the waypoint, it was not more than 5 km away. Finally we decided to return and to try to find another route avoiding this massive stretch of sand dunes. We did not want to risk to break something in the middle of nowhere. After returning a couple of kilometres and heading south east was leading us into less serious dune areas.

Wegplanung mit GPS
Camping in Douz?
Pause am Track?
Laden der Batterien durch Solarzellen?
Café unterwegs?
Markt 01
Markt 02
Markt 03
Plauderei bei Kaffee oder Tee
Camp in offenem Gelände?
LandCruiser im weichen Sand
Düne ist beinahe geschafft
Schaufeln ist angesagt
Fort Ksar G?
unser Camp
Fahrzeug wird ausgebuddelt
Aussicht über unser Lager
Dünen soweit das Auge reicht
nochmals Dünen
es wird geschuftet
Uebergang über Pass
Steine, soweit das Auge reicht
Mosche am Berghang
Blick aus der Türe
Ziegen finden spärlich Grünzeug
Durchquerung der Schlucht
Blick bei JKebir

This is just a short description of the whole trip and gives a rough impression (beside of the pictures). We did not encounter any further serious problems. All peoples and the cars got back safely. Sahara touring in the south of Tunisia can be performed with any rugged and well equipped 4WD. Adequate fuel and water capacity is mandatory. Recovery equipment is essential. Also the correct use of GPS navigation.

GPS programming before leaving is definitely a good solution to avoid navigation difficulties. Digital maps are available and GPS can be easily programmed with Quo Vadis or Fugawi. For emergencies the Turaya. Satellite phone is very useful. Even just for transmitting SMS of your coordinates to other members being somewhere else in the desert.

The people are very friendly and helpful. Please remember Tunisia is an Islamic country with its different rules!                                                                                               Beat Wyss