Why go there? This Tunisian island in the Gulf of Gabès is making serious waves on the holiday scene, delivering the long sandy beaches of your Mediterranean favourites and the enigmatic culture of North Africa. You’ll also be smug in the knowledge that you’ll instantly become the most intrepid among your friends.
Why does it sound familiar? Djerba lays claim to being the ‘Land of Lotus Eaters’. It’s where Ulysses almost lost his crew after friendly natives gave them local flowers to eat, which filled them with such well-being that they didn’t want to leave. Weird plant narcotics aside, Star Wars fans will know that Obi-Wan Kenobi’s hut is in Ajim and you can actually stay in Luke Skywalker’s home (now a hotel). So if you see a coachload of science fiction buffs with Chelsea buns stuck to their heads, that’s why.
What will I see? Check out the biblical white-washed village of Er-Riadh with its curious domed-hut architecture or the twisted cobbled streets of the Moorish capital, Houmt Souk. Berber culture is woven into the desert landscape and you’ll spy local women wrapped in striped fabrics, keeping cool under straw hats. The famed sunsets are also not to be missed – catch them at Borj Djillidj, a serene little port and lighthouse where the fishermen catch octopus with traditional clay pots and return at dusk with their yields.
What is there to do? If you’re a nature-lover, call in on Flamingo Island to see the original Pink Ladies in their natural habitat, rather than atop a roof in South Ken. Haggle your way to a bargain Persian rug or some multi-coloured pottery in the narrow alleys of the capital’s souks. For some family fun, Djerba Explore is a large tourist complex with a crocodile park, heritage site and an impressive museum of Islamic arts. Also worth a visit is the El Ghriba Synagogue in Er-Riadh – it’s the oldest in North Africa and contains what is believed to be the world’s oldest Torah. Finally, when in
Rome Tunisia your trip wouldn’t be complete without a camel ride on the beach. Lawrence of Arabia, eat your heart out.
What will I eat? Djerba’s cuisine is a Paleo enthusiast’s dream. Think grilled fish straight out of the Med, tender lamb with couscous, chick-pea soup and mixed grilled vegetables. Figs, dates and olives are grown locally, so expect to see this trio make regular cameos at mealtimes.
When should I go? Now. Go now. Before the world and his wife cotton on.