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> Ksar Ghilane and Matmata.

After finally arriving at Ksar Ghilane I thought it would be a good idea to go and have a look at the Roman fort in close-up. Ominously the National Guard told me that the route was impassable with 4x4 vehicles, so I would be on my own in the event of a problem. In the afternoon, four Italian 4x4s had attempted the route, but they returned 3 hours later having got hopelessly stuck a few hundred metres into the jorney... I discussed the problem with a crazy Swiss guy on a quad and between us we thought we could make it. We were right, but it wasn't easy going. On the return leg I hit a big rock that was 90% buried in the soft sand. It caused me to do a Superman over the front of the bike, and the mount for the instruments was smashed. Sore, I delayed my departure for another day.

On the return I couldn't face the Pipeline Piste again so I diverted to Beni Kerdache (the tougher southern direct route) where I found a loony French man in a Renault Clio hirecar. He was deeply bogged in the sand and the front of the car was all smashed. He and his wife had been digging for the whole morning after spending the night in the car. Shortly after me a military truck arrived and towed him to safety, with much scolding on his choice of car and tutting! The mountains around Matmata are lovely, but I reckon you're better off exploring some pistes and finding your own houses, like I did. The town itself is becoming a daytripper tourist trap.

Uploaded 27th June 2004


This fort marked the southern border of the Roman Empire.

It's tough going, so I went with a guy on a quad.



The weekly "souk" in Douz....

...had a new cashier for the day.

The valley of Matmata.

Ksar El Houmma, 250 year old fortified Berber village.

Each family had a set of cells.

The hills surrounding Matmata - spot the house?

Another Trogoladyte dwelling, nearby.

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