08

Mar 2015

Tips to tunisia

The Customs

After landing in Tunisia you wait in an endless queue to pass customs. This consists of receiving a stamp and recording the license plate of the bike on the passport of the driver. You need the bike registration paper. When you arrive at the control, you have to go to the exchange and withdraw 30 dinars for each bike and for every person who crosses the border and buy at the neighbouring counter, called KASSA, the corresponding stamp. To enter you only need the one for the bike, those for people are required to exit.

Risks

The plate of the bike is written on your passport and on their computer, this means you have to leave the country by the same means by which you came. It is possible to leave the bike in a kind of legal firm in case you need to leave for other reasons, but when you attempt to leave without the bike, you will be asked for a sum equal to twice the average value according to their phantom tables. This means that in the unlikely event of theft of the vehicle you are pretty fried, and will require the assistance of the embassy. The case of theft of motorcycles in Tunisia is very remote, however, the common-sense rules that apply to us, also apply them. Each hotel where you stay should have a closed and guarded parking place. However the risk is very low and it feels very safe.

The bike

Starting with the bike in perfect working order seems to me obvious. A puncture seems to be not so rare, it did not happen to us, but it had happened to 2 of 50 motorcyclists we met. There are many tire shops, but they will not have the inner tubes of your size. If you are in a group and maybe you do off-road, having one capable and with tools won’t hurt.

Finding fuel was not a big problem for us that have a tank for only 200 km. If you have more, it is better. Between Matmata and Douz there are no distributors, the only shop is in Ksar Ghilene.

Pick up and tow trucks can help in severe cases, there are many, prices are negotiable.

Reservations

Booking individually by phone the day before, as we did is pretty useless. The room availability is high, especially in the south even without a reservation. Going through a Tunisian agency allows you to have a little discount compared to the price at the desk, but you block your dates of travel, weigh it up. 3-4 star hotels cost between 35 and 100 euro. A kairouan, if you need, call the hotel AMINA, at Matmata hotel EL Berber. At Tamerza the hotel palace is closed for renovation, go back to Touzer.

The guide and the people

Almost everywhere you will be approached by guides who will offer their services. The hotels usually have their own. In general they are cheap and reliable, but as usual, use common sense and agree the price before. We made this choice a few times, but with them it was much easier to visit places and introduce ourselves where we wanted.

In the cities they will try to sell you everything from drugs to money. The penalties are severe for those who only accompany or find themselves in a place where drugs are consumed, and in that case no one will help.

The tracks

Doing off-road is one of the main purposes of such a trip. We were alone, and with the GPS out of order, so we never pushed beyond what we could cover on foot in a day’s march in case of failure. If you are two or three it becomes a game. It is easy to navigate on the roads and the tracks are almost always easy. Driving on sand is easier than it seems, take courage and open the gas.

The maps

Garmin sells its topographical map of Tunisia for 140 Euros on site. There are several free alternative road maps useful for knowing roughly where you are. Tips on tracks between friends and the network are infinite. The only thing, please do not do as we did, attach your GPS well to the bike, because it’s not fun without it.