Festival of the Sahara in Douz: Tunisia's Legendary Event
I'm almost a little reticent to publicize the Festival as I feel it's important to maintain its cultural, historical, and ethnic characteristics. Participation means getting a real insight into desert way of life, as well as mingling with the thousands of people who gather from far and wide to see it.
From dancing to dog racing: festival events
Events vary from poetry-reading (the oral tradition is still strong) to exciting dances by Tunisian, Palestinian, and Algerian companies in the evening; while during the day in the town horse and camel riders in traditional dress parade through the streets.
In the afternoon the Festival moves down to the dunes where there are spectacular performances of camel marathons, greyhounds catching rabbits, acrobats, and jugglers as well as a Berber wedding. The people were incredibly friendly and it seemed as if I had known them for years.
Douz has more to offer than the festival
Every Thursday there's a big general market in the square and a livestock market nearby. The surrounding environment envelops the visitor in kilometres of palm groves. In December you can still see families collecting dates, which provide staple food for camels and tortoises alike in Douz's zoo!
Another really interesting place to see is the museum. It's small but very well-organized around the theme of desert life. The small Douz Museum has an interesting collection portraying traditional Saharan life. Entrance TD 1.100. Open 9:30-4:30 Closed Mondays.
Getting to Douz
Getting There and Away
Accommodation may be particularly tight since the festival follows on the heels of one of Tunisia 's biggest secular holidays which celebrates the accession to power of President Ben Ali. Book in advance, if possible.
Hotel El Medina
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