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Overland expedition through Berber culture and the Sahara Desert

Date: 4-16 April 2022 (13 days 12 nights)

Start in Tunis, Tunisia/ End in Istanbul, Turkey

Number of travelers: 4-9 only

Price: 139,000 THB on double occupancy/ +5,700 THB on single supplement


10% early-bird discount if booked by 4 December 2021

Itinerary pic.jpg

Day 1 - Mon 4 April 2022: Arrive in Tunis, Tunisia

Welcome to Tunisia and the start of this overland expedition. Today, you will arrive in Tunis and check in at the hotel to relax. We will have a group dinner together by the pier and get a good rest before exploring the city tomorrow.


Accommodation: Hotel Carlton

Meals: -


Day 2 - Tues 5 April 2022: Tunis - Bardo - Medina - Carthage - Sidi Bou Said - Hammamet

After breakfast, visit the world-famous Bardo Museum in Tunis, which has the finest collections of Roman mosaics in the world. There are also some interesting Early Christian mosaics that introduce the manner in which Christian art developed.  Next, we go for a short orientation tour by foot of the old Medina. Tunis is made up of two enclaves, the old town or Medina and the new town, built by the French as their administrative headquarters, a role it continues to fulfill today for modern Tunisia. The Medina was founded by the first Arab conquerors and it is full of monuments from both the Arab and Turkish periods, not least the Great Mosque built by the Aghlabid dynasty in the eighth century AD. 


Free time for lunch and continuation to the site of ancient Carthage. Founded by Phoenician traders from the Levant as a trading depot en route to southwest Europe, it eventually became an independent and powerful entity in its own right. 

This aroused Rome’s long-term enmity and there followed the famous Punic Wars which eventually saw Carthage’s total destruction. Subsequently re-founded by the Romans we will look over what remains of both cities. This will include the Byrsa Hill where Carthage was founded, c. 814 BC according to Roman sources; a site featuring the characteristic Tophet Graves of the Carthaginians; and the Archaeological Park centered on the Antonine Baths. We’ll visit as well the Second World War American cemetery in Carthage. 


Nearby is the very handsome coastal town of Sidi Bou Said, much loved by painters, where we will have a short walking tour.

Departure to the coastal town of Hammamet. 


Accommodation: Hotel El Khella

Meals: Breakfast


Day 3 - Wed 6 April 2022: Hammamet - Kairouan - Gafsa - Tozeur

After breakfast departure to Kairouan, a purely Arab city filled with outstanding examples of the finest Islamic architecture in Tunisia:  the Great Mosque of OKBA, the oldest place of worship in North Africa, and the mausoleum of Sidi Sahabi, a companion and a disciple of the Prophet Mohamed. We will see the impressive pools, built in the 9th century to collect and store winter rainwater. Then into the Medina (old town), the ancient marketplace encircled by 11th-century walls. Then a walking guided tour through workshops bakeries magnificent houses and religious monuments. Stop in Kairouan and a panoramic visit to Islam Holy City. Continuation to Gafsa, Free time for lunch and departure to Tozeur.


On our arrival in Tozeur, it soon becomes quite clear that the main attraction of this desert city is its vast oasis.  This oasis covers about ten square kilometers which have been planted with some 400,000 palms and are fed by 100 springs. We check-in at the hotel.

We’ll have some time to relax then do some exploration of this very interesting and unique town. We will take a horse-drawn carriage into the oasis. We will learn about the date harvest and have the opportunity to sample some local dates or date wine “Legmi”, the medieval town with its distinctive desert architecture & decorative brickwork. Return to the hotel, dinner, and overnight.


Accommodation: Hotel Ksar Rouge Tozeur 

Meals: Breakfast & Dinner


Day 4 - Thurs 7 April 2022: Tozeur - Chebika - Tamerza - Ong Jemal - Tozeur

This morning, we will drive to the Mountain Oases of Chebika, Tamerza and Mides. Located amidst the rugged outcrop of the Atlas Mountains, not far from the Algerian frontier, these date back to Roman times, when they were military outposts to control the caravan trade. In Chebika, we take a walk to see the Berber village, waterfalls and the spring of the water, we continue to the picturesque village of Tamerza, with its spectacular sightseeing made famous in the film, The English Patient. 


Return to Tozeur for lunch and depart for an adventure trip by 4X4 to visit the “Ong Jemal” among the sand dunes, and the desert site of one of the Star Wars films (episode 1 and 2 and Lars farm episodes 2, 3, and 4.) Back to the hotel in Tozeur. Dinner and overnight.


Accommodation: Hotel Ksar Rouge Tozeur 

Meals: Breakfast & Dinner 


Day 5 - Fri 8 April 2022: Tozeur - Chott El Jerid - Douz - Matmata

After breakfast, drive across the Chott el Jerid, the Great Salt Lake, the barrier between the Sahara and fertile North. If we are lucky, we may see some mirages on the horizon. Arrival to the town of Douz is called also the “Gateway of the Sahara”. Visit the local market and have free time to explore the Desert of Douz. Here you have the opportunity (optional) to have a camel ride passing through the deserted  landscape and picturesque sand dunes, Ultra-light airplane or motor glider, Car cross or buggy trip in the Sahara. 


Free time for lunch and continue to Matmata of Star Wars notoriety, but more importantly, the center of the most extensive number of traditional troglodyte pit homes in the region. The Berber people built these simple underground dwellings to escape the extremes of weather and any unwelcome invaders, to get a feel for troglodyte living. We will visit one of these dwelling caves, where scenes from the Lars homestead in Star Wars were filmed.


Accommodation: Guesthouse Dar Ayed

Meals: Breakfast & Dinner


Day 6 - Sat 9 April 2022: Matmata - Toujane - Douiret - Chenini - Djerba

After breakfast, visit a Berber family in Matmata and then depart to the small Berber Between Medenine and Matmata, the village of Toujane, overlooked by the ruins of a ksar, is inhabited by Berbers. This village is made up of dry stone houses whose many terraces offer a breathtaking panorama over the plain stretching out towards the sea. Our route takes us to the mountain villages of Chenini and Douiret.  These villages are made up of cave houses built on the slopes of a mountain with a white mosque in the midst. 


Drive to Djerba Island when you just arrive there, you have overwhelming feelings of serenity and softness. Djerba was well known during antiquity since the hero of Homer, Ulysses, stopped there during his trip.


Accommodation: Hotel El Mouradi Djerba Menzel

Meals: Breakfast & Dinner


Day 7 - Sun 10 April 2022: Djerba, Tunisia - Tripoli, Libya

Breakfast in the hotel and depart to Ras Jedir. If the time permitted, a short visit to the ghorfas of Medenine gives an original aspect to the ksour. These odd, arched buildings built on top of each other usually rise five to six floors and give the city an undeniable charm. Nicely restored from the time when they could serve as homes for residents. They are like a succession of tunnels with their small openings and rounded shapes, all in the colors of the desert. Continue and cross the border of Ras Jedir to Libya. We will drive to the Roman city of Sabratha then a hotel in Tripoli


Accommodation: Victoria Hotel

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch (snacks only) & Dinner


Day 8 - Mon 11 April 2022: Tripoli - Ghadames

Today, we embark on a road trip to the world heritage site of Ghadames. We depart into the Berber heartland of the Jabel Nafusa to visit Gasr Alhaj, a huge fortified granary of circular shape built in the 13th century AD by Abdallah Abu Jatla. Then another 2.5 hours drive will take us to Nalut. The present town of Nalut is surrounded by the ruins of old villages and settlements, most of which have never been excavated before. Places of interest include Nalut Old Castle and a number of ancient ruins and villages surrounding Nalut city. The spectacular Berber fortified granary with nearly 400 rooms, was originally used to store grain, oil and other produce for safe keeping (an ancient Berber bank). We continue the drive with a vast, spectacular view of the Sahara until we reach Ghadames in the evening and check in.


Accommodation: Dar Ghadames Hotel

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch (snacks only) & Dinner


Day 9 - Tues 12 April 2022: Ghadames

It’s time to explore the old city of Ghadames, known as 'the pearl of the desert' located right in an oasis. It is one of the oldest pre-Saharan cities and an outstanding example of a traditional settlement. Its domestic architecture is characterized by a vertical division of functions. We will have lunch at one of the traditional houses. In the late afternoon, we take an excursion to Grand Erg oriental, a large erg or "field of sand dunes" in the Sahara Desert. Situated for the most part in Saharan lowlands of northeast Algeria, the Grand Erg Oriental covers an area some 600 km wide by 200 km north to south. The erg's northeastern edge spills over into neighboring Tunisia. We return to Ghadames and overnight.


Accommodation: Dar Ghadames Hotel

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner


Day 10 - Wed 13 April 2022: Ghadames-Tripoli

Drive back to Jabel Nafusa visiting Kabaw, home to the Ghurfas or "Ksar Kabaw" - an abandoned Berber hilltop village-fort. The ghurfas is built mainly of rock, gypsum and adobe, with doors made of palm wood. Next, we drive onward to Gharyan to visit a troglodyte

House, a cave with several rooms opening into an open courtyard and traditional Berber cultural decorations. By the evening, we return to Tripoli and relax at the hotel.


Accommodation: Victoria Hotel

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch (snacks only) & Dinner


Day 11 - Thurs 14 April 2022: Day trip to Leptis Magna and Villa Celine

Full day visit to the magnificent Roman city of Leptis Magna. It was enlarged and embellished by Septimius Severus, who was born there and later became emperor. It was one of the most beautiful cities of the Roman Empire, with its imposing public monuments, harbor, market-place, storehouses, shops, and residential districts. Nearby, we find Villa Celine which was discovered buried beneath the sand just over 50 years ago. After the excavation, the archaeologists were amazed to find a private compound in excellent condition and with well-preserved rooms and mosaic floors.


Accommodation: Victoria Hotel

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch (snacks only) & Dinner


Day 12 - Fri 15 April 2022: Tripoli old city

We spend this last full day exploring around the old city of Tripoli and surrounding. The Old City of Tripoli remains one of the most complete historic port cities along the North African coast. Established by the Phoenicians in the seventh century BC, and later incorporated into the Roman confederation of three cities (Tripolis) that also included Leptis Magna and Sebratha, the city has long flourished. We will walk through old streets, mosques, and the medina to see and photograph the daily lives of the locals in the city. Spend this chance to do your last-minute shopping and enjoy a stroll along the city wall.


Accommodation: Victoria Hotel

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch (snacks only) & Dinner


Day 13 - Sat 16 April 2022: Tripoli, Libya - Istanbul, Turkey - Departure

In the early morning, we get a transfer to Tropli international airport for a flight back to Istanbul at 08:45 and arrive at 13:15 where you can catch an onward flight back home.


Meals: Breakfast



  • Return Airport / Hotel Transfers

  • Land transportation

  • Accommodation (listed above or similar) with meals specified.

  • Saga team leader (English/Thai)

  • Local English-speaking guide

  • PCR Test in Libya

  • Flight Tripoli-Istanbul on Libyan Wings

  • Entrance fees to sites and museums 

  • Horse carriage tour in the oasis of Tozeur

  • 4x 4 cars for the excursion to the desert of Ong Jemal “Star War sites”


*Due to poor infrastructure and limited resources in Libya, snacks will be provided for lunch. This includes biscuits, chocolate, fruit, juice, coffee, and cake.




  • Tunisian visa fee (~20 USD)

  • Libyan visa fee (~70-150 USD)

  • PCR Test in Tunisia (~63 USD)

  • Optional activities in Tunisian desert e.g. camel ride and quad bike

  • International flight to Tunis and from Istanbul

  • Travel Insurance

  • Meals not indicated in the itinerary

  • Alcoholic Drinks at meals

  • Personal expenses

  • Tips for driver, guide, and other service providers


*In case of Tunisia-Libya border closure, we will fly from Tunis to Tripoli as a back-up plan. The situation and additional flight cost (~300 USD) will be confirmed with our contact on the ground before you make your final payment. 


Visa: For Tunisia, we will issue you a paper permit which you will use to get the visa on arrival. For Libya, the visa can be applied at the Libyan Embassy in Bangkok. Please get in touch with us for updated visa information and advice. 


Recommended flights:

  • QR837/1399 Bangkok-Doha-Tunis 3:05-13:30 on 4 April 2022

  • TK64 Istanbul-Bangkok 20:35-10:05 (+1 day) or QR246/836 Istanbul-Doha-Bangkok 19:55-13:10 (+1 day) on 16 April 2022


*Flights are subject to change.



Saga club discount: You are automatically offered our club membership after your first expedition. The following discount applies: 3% on 2nd trip, 5% on 3rd trip, 7% on 4th trip or 10% all after. This cannot be combined with the early bird discount. 


Payment & Deposit:

  • 35% deposit payment is required for reserving your spots

  • Balance payment is due 60 days before the departure date. Failure to do so will result in cancellation of booking.

  • If the booking is made within 60 days of departure date, full payment is required. 


Cancellation policy:

  • In any case of cancellation, 20% of the deposit payment is refundable or the whole amount can be kept as credits for any other Saga expeditions within 2 years of the cancellation date. 

  • In any case of cancellation, if full payment is made, a full refund will be issued minus a 10% cancellation fee and any cost to the third parties.

  • If the cancellation is due to COVID19, a full refund will be issued minus any cost incurred. We always attempt to maximize the refund for our client’s benefit! 

  • In the event of premature departure during the expedition for any reason, no refund will be issued. 


Important note:

All of our expeditions take you through one of the most challenging roads in the world. While the Saga team endeavors to make the itinerary as accurate as possible, it should be considered as an approximate agenda of activities rather than a rigid schedule. Trip itineraries are subject to last-minute, and on-the-ground revision due to weather, road conditions, government and local restrictions, and other reasons beyond our control. Note that the order of visits and excursions can be modified according to local conditions (i.e. state of roads, market days etc.). If some visits and/or tours could not be done due to external conditions, they will be replaced when possible. Your safety is always our first priority!

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