Tozeur is the commercial centre of the Jerid, an area of flat dry terrain which stretches from close to the coast at Gabes to the frontier with Algeria. On many maps you can see large areas of blue here and may be mislead into thinking that they are lakes, but are in fact dry salt lakes and flat areas of shifting colours and mirages. Dotted around this parched landscape are a few oases, the largest of which being Tozeur. It has always been important due to its succulent dates, the most famous being the deglet nour (fingers of light) and has served caravans coming from the far south for many centuries. Some parts of its fourteenth centre quarter still survive today.
A common feature of islamic homes and even some hotel rooms like the Residence Karim above are the beautiful tiled walls.
Close to the Algerian border the land suddenly rises into more mountainous terrain...
...here we find Tamerza. The oasis is to the right, but the original mud and stone houses were abandoned after torrential floods. the white building to the right however, the mosque, is still in use.
South East of Tozeur on the border of the great Sahara is Douz, famous for its weekend livestock market.
Tozeur is just an oasis, so the great Sahara is never very far away.
To get back to Tunis we took the train from Gabes. For a large part of the journey we were treated to field after field of Olive trees (Tunisia is the world's third largest producer of olives after Greece and Spain) and hideously unsightly concrete box housing and refuse.