Tataouine, in southern Tunisia, is famous for the trogolodyte buildings of the native Berber* population. It’s so other-worldly, that director George Lucas used it as a backdrop for one of his Star Wars films. The buildings are actually ancient grain stores, or ksour, and you can read more in my Time Out article here.
During the summer there is a host of music and cultural festivals, but the best is the ‘Festival of the Ksour Saharien’. It’s held in the desert of Tataouine, a magical place to experience local culture first-hand. One of the most exhilarating sights is the display of horsemanship. Berber men used to fight on horseback, and here are seen charging across the desert, firing their muskets. But there is also music, dance, and some insane vessel-balancing.
Djerba is known as the ‘Island of the Lotus-Eaters’. It’s where Odysseus almost lost his men to the seductive honey-sweet fruit. It’s also where I discovered the wonderful silver-smithing of the Berbers. Read my article about Tunisia in the trade travel magazine Selling Longhaul here.
*Berbers are indigenous to North Africa and some northern parts of West Africa since at least 10,000 BC. You can experience more Berber music at Morocco’s Gnaoua Festival in Essaouira. Read about it here.