B. Cap Bon & South of Tunis

Map of Tunisia

SUMMARY

The Cap Bon peninsula and the area south of Tunis offer some great day trips.

Only locations in BOLD are described in detail:

1. Korbous: Great hike; nice village; hot springs; combine with beach visit nearby. On weekends it gets very busy, in particular     in the afternoons.
2. Port de Prince and Rtiba beaches: Great beaches; combine visit with Korbous or Cap Bon.
3. Kef er Rennd: The central ridge of Cap Bon. This is a great mountain bike ride.
4. El Haouaria / Cap Bon: Great hikes to wreck and lighthouse; falcon center.
5. Kerkouane: Interesting Punic site.
6. Kelibia: Fort with Great views
7. Korba Lagoon & Beach: Bird watching in winter
8. Nabeul: Pottery and tiles. Nearby is the village of Beni Khiar with weavers
9. Hammamet: One of the big tourist destinations with big ‘zone touristique’.
10. Oudna & Aqueduct: Great Roman site and aqueduct.
11. Zaghouan: Nice village; Roman site; scenic drive up Jebel Zaghouan.
12. Jebel Sidi Zid: Scenic drive up a mountain; great views on a clear day.
13. Jebel Ressas: So close to Tunis but never visited
14. Jebel Boukornine in Hamman Lif; park with hikes
15. Jebel Kalbi: Great mountain bike roundtrip
16. Vineyards near Grombolia

PLACES to STAY

Hammamet / Nabeul: The favorite Tunis expat hang-out is the Aldiana hotel (German run!). Hotel Aldiana, 8000 Nabeul, tel.: +216 72 285 400, fax: +216 72 285 858.

Kerkouane: Just outside the archaeological site is a nice B&B ‘Residence Dar Zenaidi’, phone 22 774 705, email darzenaidi@planet.tn ; a good place to eat is at beach in Mamoura at Mamoura Restaurant just a few kilometers north of the Kelibia Fort.


OFF THE BEATEN TRACK

1. Korbous - Hike

A great day trip from Tunis. The hike in the hills above Korbous is easy. And afterwards you can jump into the hot springs. Or visit the Hammams in the village.

Hike above Korbous: Approaching Korbous by car from the north just after the road starts to dip down to the coast there is a dirt road off to the left. Park car here. Hiking path follows more or less a contour line with great views of Mediterranean and after an hour, Korbous.

Approaching Korbous from south side the road winds along the hillside high above the Mediterranean with great views of the Gulf of Tunis. Turn off from the Soliman to Haouaria road at the roundabout with the sign that the road to Korbous is closed. It is possible to drive towards Korbous along old coastal road to the point where it is washed out. From here it is less the 1 km to walk to Korbous.


Korbous image


Korbous Hike

2. Port au Prince & Rtiba Beaches

Nice day trip that can be combined with visit of Korbous

Drive on the main road from Soliman towards El Haouaria and turn off after passing the ‘52km’ marker in the village of Bir Mroua at the ‘Mermaid’ roundabout (in front of mosque, sign for Barrage Port Prince) and follow the kilometer markers ‘Port au Prince’. At a massive abandoned building turn left on the dirt road leading down to the beach. Aside from the beautiful beach it is an interesting sandstone outcrop.

Port au Prince

Rtiba Beach (‘White Beach’)

Head north on road towards El Haouaria. Access to beach is between kilometer markers ‘35 km’ and ‘30 km’.

An easy access is just before the ‘30 km’ marker before entering the village of Zougueg, and just before a big white building on the left side of road. Look for sign on left side saying ‘au revoir’; on the other side this sign says ‘Bienvenue a Takelsa’. Follow the dirt road for 3 – 4 km to the white Rtiba beach.


Rtiba Beach map

3. Kef er Rennd – Cap Bon Central Ridge

Nice day trip; drive to top or ride bike from bottom; great views of Cap Bon peninsula. The trip can be easily combined with visits of Korbous and Rtiba Beach.

Take road from Soliman towards El Haouaria. On your right you see the central ridge for quite a while. Some 400m after passing the sign ‘Zougueg’ turn right. There is a sign ‘O. N. T Kef Errand’. It is a paved road that steadily climbs up the hill towards the radio towers at an elevation of some 600 m. After some 4 km there are great views of Rtiba Beach; after some 8.5 km there are views towards the Korbous ridge. You reach the radio tower after some 13 km.

Just before reaching the radio towers a dirt road goes off to the right. This dirt road is only for 4x4 cars and mountain bikes. It leads to the old well location of Kef er Rennd drilled in 2003. The location is some 3km from the turn-off and is marked by a big pile of rocks.

Just before reaching the well location the dirt track goes off to the left. It is badly washed out. It may continue all along the ridge southward.


Kef er Rennd Jebel Hoummane map

Kef er Rennd Cap Bon map

4. El Haouaria & Cap Bon Hikes

A nice day trip from Tunis. There are several possibilities for some great hikes to the ship wreck and the Cap Bon lighthouse.

It’s about a 2 hour drive from Tunis to El Haouaria.
From the ‘Falcon’ roundabout in El Haouaria head straight through town towards the beach to reach the ‘Grottes Punic’ or Roman quarries. Unfortunately, the grottes are closed indefinitely.

Before reaching the Roman quarries on the coast there is the falcon centre on the right side of the road. The festival is each year in mid June (main event takes place in afternoon). The rest of the year there are just a few falcons that they let fly in the late afternoon. To get information call Jelidi Chedly who is the President de l’Association des Fauconniers du Cap Bon; tel. 98 267 511, 23 267 511. He showed us the centre and is very helpful.
Website: www.fauconnerietunisie.org

Hikes:
Hike along the coast to the lighthouse and back: In El Haouaria drive through the village past the Total gas station and then the police station. There is a cemetery (white wall) on the right. At the end of the cemetery turn right and follow the road down to the beach. On your left you see falcon centre on top of the hill..

There are two possibilities to start the hike to the lighthouse from the village:
1. After passing the last houses of the village the trail takes off from the road just after it starts to dip down to the beach.
2. Or drive down to the beach almost to the end of the road, and then scramble up the hill until you reach the trail almost half     way up.

The trail follows the coastline and views are spectacular. After a while you see the shipwreck. A bit later in the distance is the lighthouse. From the lighthouse it’s some 145 km to Sicily. The roundtrip is some 10 kilometres, and took some 4 ½ hours with picnic and photo stops. In some places the trail is narrow and drops straight down to the sea. So, in case you suffer from vertigo be aware. And take at least one bottle of water for each person. A coolbox with cold drinks in the car waiting at the end of the hike is a nice treat.

Roundtrip hike from ‘bat cave’: Drive up part of the road towards radio towers, and start the hike at the bat cave. Hike up to radio tower and then down to the lighthouse and along the coast to the wreck. At the top goes continue for a few 100 meters before the trail heads down the cliff in switchbacks. The trail down to the lighthouse is very distinct with only a few rocky steep parts. After passing the wreck there is a trail heading up to a house on the hill. That is where you go up in order to get back to your car parked at the ‘bat cave’.
To reach the road that goes up the hill to the radio towers turn right just after passing the Total gas station in the middle of the village. There is also a sign for ‘Hospital’. Follow Avenue Ali Belhouane that eventually leads up the hill. There are great views of the Cap Bon peninsula and the beaches towards the southeast.
The local army or navy staff at the radio tower station are very friendly and like to chat and show the views of the lighthouse of Cap Bon below.


El Haouaria map

El Haouaria Cap Bon Hike map

distance from Cap Bon image

8. Beni Khiar Weavers

Just outside Nabeul. Interesting place to visit in the village of Beni Khiar

When visiting Nabeul it is worthwhile to visit the weaving centre in the village of Beni Khiar.
They sell their products at the centre.


Beni Khlar Weavers Location image

10. Oudna & Aqueduct across Meliane Valley (Zaghouan – Carthage)

A nice half day trip from Tunis. It is possible to make it into a ‘Roman’ day trip: The aqueduct near Oudna along the road; the Oudna site; Thuburbo Majus; and the Temple des Eaux in Zaghouan.

Take the road from Tunis south towards Zaghouan and Kairouan. The aqueduct is just south of Mohammedia where it crosses the Meliane valley. Using the by-pass road around Mohammedia it’s an impressive view.

The archaeological site of Oudna (Uthina) is only a few kilometres from the main road. Just follow the signs for Oudna. You can see the capitol in the distance on the hillside.

The amphitheatre, capitol and mosaics at the baths are very worthwhile the visit. We spent about 1 ½ hours wandering around the site.

Lonely Planet Tunisia has a description of the site. A new, very informative booklet has been published as well and is sold at the entrance.

Oudna (Uthina) image

11. Zaghouan

A nice day trip from Tunis. It is possible to visit several Roman sites: The aqueduct near Oudna along the road; Oudna and Thuburbo Majus; and the Temple des Eaux in Zaghouan. Road up Jebel Zaghouan on a clear day is worthwhile for the views.

There is little tourism in Zaghouan except for the Temple des Eaux. The water from this spring was funnelled in an aqueduct all the way to Carthage. The village’s location on hillside with Jebel Zaghouan as backdrop is beautiful.
Walk up main (upper) street in old part: Just 10 m down from arch is the Zaouia of Sidi Ali Azouz, the architectural highlight of Zaghouan. Each photo will cost! There is another (Roman) arch at bottom of hill near ‘La Source’ restaurant. The food at this restaurant is good.

Jebel Zaghouan:
A paved single lane road runs all the way up the mountain. Continue past the Temple des Eaux. The road runs along the foot of Jebel Zaghouan for some 6km. Then it climbs up the jebel.
Views are great. At 2 places dirt tracks take off. After about 13km further access is forbidden.

There is a possible 9 km hike at the southern end of Jebel Zaghouan. The 2 dirt tracks may connect.


Jebel Zaghouan image

Jebel Zaghouan Southern Area image

12. Jebel Sidi Zid

A nice day trip from Tunis.

From Zaghouan take the road towards Nabeul; then take the turn-off to Mornag. It is a scenic drive along a valley.
The road up Jebel Sidi Zid starts where the powerline crosses the road. Look for the sign ‘No Shooting’.
A paved single lane road leads to top of Jebel. Great view of Jebel Zaghouan to the south and Jebel Ressas to the north.
From Tunis take the motorway towards Sousse; take turn-off to Mornag. Follow signs into Mornag. In Mornag take left turn where you see two minarets on your left (to the right is a Total gas station a few meters from the intersection). From this left turn, after about 10km, take the right turn off to the south. This is the road towards Jebel Sidi Zid. Turn off to Jebel Sidi Zid after 14.5km where the powerline crosses road.


Jebel Sidi Zid image

Jebel Sidi Zid image

15. Jebel Kalbi Road

One hour drive from Tunis this is a scenic 4x4 or mountain bike roundtrip in the Grombalia area.

Driving on the motorway from Tunis to Hammamet you can see a roadcut on your right high up on the hillside about 10km before the ‘Grombalia’ and ‘Nabeul / Turki’ exits: This is the Jebel Kalbi dirt road.

Take the Grombalia exit. Before entering Grombalia turn half left and then left again on the ‘Boulevard de l’Environment’. At the junction turn left which is the road to Mornag. (If you end up in the centre of Grombalia just follow signs to Mornag.) After about 6 km the road runs parallel to the motorway. Take the turn off for ‘Beni Ayech’ and cross the motorway on the bridge.

After the bridge there is an old church on the left. Here you can start the ascent to Jebel Kalbi to do the trip clockwise. After passing the church on the dirt road there are several dirt roads heading up the hill which are only suitable for 4x4 cars or mountain bikes. It is probably easier to do the trip counter clock-wise.

To do the trip counter clock-wise continue on the paved single lane road towards the village of Beni Ayech (about 6 km). Before heading down into the wadi and into the village you can turn left up the hill to the Jebel Kalbi dirt road. You need a 4x4 for this road. (You can also turn right for the track up to Jebel Ghorfa; about 3 km. You can see the tower on top this jebel. If you go down to the wadi there is another turn off to the left that follows the edge of the wadi up the hill towards Jebel Kalbi. Beware of the dogs here.

After climbing up the hill side the road eventually follows a contour line with minor ups and downs. Views along this road are great with Jebel Ressas and Jebel Boukornine in the distance and towards Korbous. Going down there are some steep parts and the road finally winds through some forest and olive groves to end at the church near the motorway. The total round trip from the church is about 18 km and took us about 2 hours on bikes.

Mountains image

Jebel Kalbi Roundtrip image

Jebel Kalbi Roundtrip image

16. Vineyards around Grombalia

There are a number of vineyards in the Grombalia area; I found it was difficult to find any information on these vineyards.

We visited the Domain Atlas vineyard near Grombalia for some wine tasting. Call in advance (tel. 72 25 91 25) to arrange wine tasting and possibly a meal.

Domaine Atlas Vineyard image
Source: Google Earth

Back to top