Travel in the desert areas of southern Tunisia presents additional challenges. Many roads are unimproved, and even well-traveled routes are subject to blowing sands that can create hazards for vehicles. Persons driving off the major paved roads are strongly encouraged to ensure that their vehicles are appropriate for off-road driving conditions, and are equipped with appropriate spare parts, tires and supplies – including water and food. Groups should generally travel in multiple vehicles, so if a vehicle becomes disabled or immobilized, the group can return in the operable vehicle(s). Desert regions are subject to extreme temperatures, from sub-freezing evenings in the winter to dangerously hot daytime temperatures in the summer. In addition, there are many areas in the southern desert regions with little or no cellular telephone service.
If heading into the Sahara, the Tunisian National Guard’s “Tourism Brigade” encourages travelers to register their trips with their offices in Douz or Tozeur, depending on from where you’re setting out. While the National Guard station at Tatouine doesn’t host a “Tourism Brigade”, they do accept registrations for travelers. The registration includes particulars on travelers, vehicles, and an itinerary including times and destinations. For example, if you tell the Tourism Brigade in Douz that you’re headed to the hotel at Ksar Ghilane, the guard will phone the hotel that evening to be sure you arrived. If not, they would begin a search.
- Garde Nationale de Douz : 75 470 319 . Brigade de Tourisme / 75 470 554
- Garde Nationale de Tozeur : 76 454 392. Brigade de Tourisme / 76 452 194
- Garde Nationale de Tataouine : 75 870 077
No special authorization is required to travel to the desert as far south as Remada. The desert south of Remada is designated as a military zone by the Government of Tunisia. If travelers wish to enter the military zone, for example to travel to Borma, a special authorization is required.
In order to enter the military zone, travelers must first go to the Wilaya (Governor’s Office) of Tatouine, present an itinerary, provide all necessary information (names, passport information, vehicle information, etc.), they will complete a form that should be presented at the military base at Remada. Officials at Remada will accept the pass from the Wilaya of Tatouine, record particulars, etc., and then grant permission to proceed south.