Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Travel | Tunisia: Camel Caravan

Whilst we were in Tunisia we couldn't turn down the chance to explore the place in an old fashioned way, so we decided to pay £15 each - which is a bargain really - for a few hours out and about on a camel in traditional caravan formation. 

We started the day off early, heading on a bus to pick up other people from various hotels in the area. We were then dropped off at the 'camel station' in Port-el-Kantaoui, not too far from our hotel. Whilst we queued a man stood by offering everyone cloths to keep the heat off our heads; he whacked it on our noggins and then asked for 3 dinar each, which is a pretty cheap and we were prepared to pay, especially as they really did help keep us just that little bit cooler in the 40 degree heat.
Realising how huge camels were was my first shock, and whilst the experience was enjoyable, I can't say I'd do it again. I don't know how well kept the camels and horses were, and judging by the amount of homeless dogs, I don't think Tunisia has animal welfare at the top of its priorities. And whilst those thoughts did put a little bit of a downer on the excursion, it was still an amazing, if not a little uncomfortable (probably for us and the camel), experience!

On the first half of the journey Mike and I sat on our camel together, and this got super uncomfortable after a little while, with both our bums getting rather numb and not much room to manoeuvre. We got a few laughs from the people in front of us when Mike asked 'Can you steer a camel' to which I replied 'of course you can't steer a bloody camel'...then he managed to actually steer the camel making me respond with 'OH MY GOD YOU CAN STEER A CAMEL' - this comes in very handy when you come across small paths with cacti either side, and I think Mike definitely saved a few people from scraped up legs by leaning to the side he wanted to turn slightly, but to be honest, I was more concerned about the camel than the other tourists, so told him off and asked him to leave our camel be!

We stopped off at this little shop/cafe to watch a woman make traditional flat bread, but it was more talked up by the reps (not that it was their fault it was rushed!), and whilst the bread was nice I don't even recall seeing her make it, which was what we were told we would see! The organisers seemed to want to get our journey over and done with, and it was obvious it was just to make money rather than showcase their country and culture, though that kind of goes without saying I guess! There were also loads of photos being taken, including feeding a camel with pieces of cacti - only one camel got fed by probably 40 odd people, which made little sense to me, and was once again just a money making opportunity, asking us for 5 Dinar at the end of the ride to buy each photo. There was also a mix up of some sort, we were told half way through the ride that we'd swap from riding the camels to riding in a horse drawn carriage, which never happened! I felt quite sorry for those who didn't get to go on the camels until the way back - which was 40 minutes shorter than the way there. My bum would have definitely appreciated a change! We decided to ride the ten minutes back to the camel station on separate camels, and this definitely improved the comfort, but I can't say I'd be able to ride one on a frequent basis!
Despite these things it was still a lovely day! And the organisers were very helpful when it came to people feeling faint, and needing to get off, with sweets at the ready to top the ol' blood sugar up.

If you're off to Tunisia, I would say it's worth doing for the experience, but if you're really looking to explore Tunisia and you're heading to the Sousse/Port-el-Kantaoui area, I can't say you'll see much more than open space, olive trees and cacti! 

Tunisia as a country also doesn't have cleanliness at the top of its priorities, and whilst the messy sites aren't always that pleasant, I wouldn't let this deter you from visiting the country. As I said in my previous post our hotel was beautiful, and we absolutely loved our time there. Keep an eye on my blog to hear about our 4x4 excursion around northern Tunisia! 
MissIsGoode

6 comments :

  1. I had exactly the same reaction to camels when I rode one this summer. I had no idea they were so tall!

    http://totally-typically.blogspot.co.uk

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    1. I know, it really took me by surprise!

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  2. Sounds like such a great trip! I'd looove to ride a camel :') xo

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    1. It was good yeah! It's definitely something to experience! xx

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  3. Its sounds like so much fun! I just realized that I would love to ride a camel!!!
    http://www.jaseyjade.blogspot.com

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    1. It was quite fun, but super uncomfortable! If you do, try do it for a short period of time haha! x

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