Safety for Women in Tunisia
  • Hi Lisa, these questions are so hard to answer LOL!!! You don't say how long you are coming for, but I can suggest Hammamet or Sousse. These are reasonabley large cities with lots of sights within easy reach and the best part is that most of the resorts are right on the beach. You can take a day trip to the capital Tunis and look around the old city, perhaps take a louage to Nabeul, a beautiful seaside village, why not take a couple of days to explore the desert and stay one night at a Berbere camp. The hotels can provide 1/2 or full board and always come with 'animation' but beware of the mostly male staff........they are over the top!! I actually don't know when Easter is this year, end of March?? The weather in March is quite warm but the water has yet to warm up. I hope you will enjoy your time here.
  • Hi Robin,

    Welcome to Tunisia. There is really so much to see and do here and I would very much like to suggest that you organise a tour company to assist you. I would not really advise you travelling by yourself and to be honest, hotels will see you coming and charge you double what they charge locals. Unfortunately, a fact of life here. Really, I want to give you the best advice I can and in regard to language - we don't speak formal/standard Arabic, although many people will understand you. We speak a dialect which is interspersed with French and it varies from region to region - extremely confusing. Most people (apart from the olders) speak French so that is probably your best bet. The transport system is good and cheap. Louages are fantastic but not really comfortable for long distance travel (ask my bottom)!!! and for the most part they do not have any air-con. I don't want to put you off, but if you will email me I will give you some more direct information and some advice as to how to do this on your own.
  • Hi Lesley,

    My girlfriend and I ( aged 20, 21) will be travelling to Tunisia - Port el Kantaoui - at the start of August for 2 weeks. I've read your other comments and i feel much better about foreigner/local interaction, general etiquette, money etc, but i've some other queries i hope you can assist with. I'm aware that the locals will be celebrating Ramadan for the majority of our stay, and was just wondering how exactly this will effect our holiday. We were looking to spend a few days on the beach, and at the hotel resort, but wanted to venture further afield to get a feel for the culture, food, and the country in general. Would Ramadan affect this at all? Also, you mentioned that trips/tours to Tunis, the caves, Matmata, Sahara etc were a must, and this is definately something we are intereted in...a day/night or 2 in/around the sahara especially...could you reccomend an itinerary for this perhaps? Also, with regards to transport, is car hire a feasible option...or would it be better to depend on other transport for our stay? Thanks in advance, you seem to know your stuff and would loveto hear your opinion.

  • Salem CJW - ok so let me explain about Ramadan. It sounds like you know a little but just beware that all of us do not eat/drink/smoke etc from around 4.00 a.m. until the sun goes down and because it is very very hot in August we all get very tired and sometimes bad tempered lol!!! So, as long as you can please be patient with all the locals you will be fine. I usually tell everyone to be a little more respectful during this period - if you smoke try to do it privately and don't walk around drinking from a bottle of water. It doesn't really offend too much but it makes us a little testy if you know what I mean. The food at this time of the year is so fantastic - it's actually a good time to be in Tune as we cook and eat dishes that are special and that we don't eat any other time. You will see the locals going out to have dinner, meet friends, sit and chat for most of the night until it's time to start the fast so it will be quite lively after dark and you will very much enjoy it. I'm not sure how many drivers/tours are on at this time of the year but if you can send me your email I can put something together for you with an itinerary. Definitely you should get to Matmata which is wonderful and the people even nicer..........Sahara is a must and yes at least a day in Tunis to explore the old city. Oh I'm very excited for you. Just be aware that it can be very, very hot at this time of the year 40c++ so come prepared

    You certainly could hire a car but be warned, we drive like maniacs, you must have eyes in the back of your head and also you must be cautious of wayward pedestrians (we all walk on the road), donkeys, sheep, goats and sometimes camels and cows. If that's not enough for you, the roads are terrible and you must look out for big holes in the road. However, all that said, it's a good idea if you feel confident to get around by yourself. And even better, we have just started to have that satellite thing in the car so you can get around.

    I hope I can help you.........let me know and I'll get back to you asap
  • Hi Lesley

    Thanks for gettin back to me again. Well my sister and I booked last week and we decided to go for PEK....booked ther Marhaba Palace so fingers xd. Perhaps will do as you mentioned and visit Hammamet for the day. We were told Soouse might be more lively and could go there if we wanted a diff club or pub but I think PEK will be good as from the sounds of it with the marina etc. Cant wait now......sept seems so long away tho haha. Do you recommend anything we shud do while there? Have you heard much about the 2 day trip into the saraha? Also....what is the currency and how much would u say for 2 weeks.....we were thinking around £500 each?

    Any other tips/advice would be greatly appreciated. Look forward to hearing from you.

  • hi lesley

    im going to skanes the start of june , but i have only just sent away for my and my daughters passport to be renewed will i still be able to travell , also will it be very hot as me and my daughter are very fair skin, we are going to houda golf beach club do u know how far it it to the best shopping areas , is there pleanty to do for my dughter there she is 9 yrs

    thank you
  • Lorraine - great news. You will like PEK, it is very, very nice and the marina area is really beautiful with outdoor cafes etc. Very nice on a warm evening to walk there. Sousse is a large city and very lively - and yes there are clubs etc there. There is so much to see in Tunisia and you have a good amount of time so you should be able to see quite a lot. I always suggest going to the capital Tunis for at least one day, walk around the old city and wander into the souq. Also Nabeul is a very beautiful old city and quite cheap. It depends who is doing the 2 day trip to Sahara but I can definitely recommend that you go there. It is a beautiful experience and you can ride camels and listen to the stories of the Berber. Being in Tuninisia is cheap for foreigners. Everything is cheap but it depends what you want to do and how you want to live as to how much you take with you. If you drink alcohol then be prepared to have a deep pocket - it's expensive in our country!!
  • Lindsey - how long will it take for the passport to come back? You cannot enter Tunisia (or any other country) without a passport so you need to make sure you have that back before you travel. It starts to get very hot in June so I suggest that you all have hats and long sleeves and use plenty of sunblock. Our sun is fierce!! There are many shopping areas around and although Skanes is quiet, you can take taxis (which are cheap) or the louages to many areas nearby. As it's hot my guess is that your daughter will want to spend lots of time in the water and most of the hotels also have animation (entertainment) especially for children. They organise lots of things for the children to do and it will give you some 'down time' so to speak. Try taking her to Tunis for a day's outing. As I tell everyone, the old city is lovely and she will see and hear lots of things that she can remember. Also perhaps organise a trip to Tataouine where Star Wars has been filmed. I am sure that she will love exploring the Berber cave houses and perhaps take a camel ride.

    I hope you enjoy your holiday
  • Hi Lesley,

    I'm 23 and I've just returned from Tunisia, Sousse and I loved it, what a fantastic place. However I am planning to go back there alone at the beginning of May. Is it safe to go out at night alone whilst I am there? before I was in a big group and had no problems gong out on a night.
  • hi Lesley,

    i have sorted out our passports now , and my daughter would love to see where star wars was filmed so i will try get there if she will get out off the pools long enough to go , she has already said she wants a camel ride so that 1 is sorted , it's just the waiting now to go i cant wait ,

    thank you

  • Katey - I would advise that you don't go out by yourself. I am sure there will be lots of young people around at that time of year so why not make some friends and hook up with them when they go out.

    Other than that, well you know us now and you loved I'm sure you will fall in love all over again
  • Lindsey - yah!! Very happy that all is good and that you are almost on your way........enjoy your time, I'm sure you and your daughter are going to have a great time.
  • Hi Lesley

    With no disrespect, I seem to have had a completely different experience of Tunisia to your descriptions. My friend and I stayed in a 5 star resort in Port el Kantaoui for a week last summer and I had great expectations based on the pictures/information I had seen on the country. However, I can honestly say that I have never experienced such harrassment and feared for my safety as I did on that holiday. We are both white girls in our early twenties (i'm blond, she's dark-haired) and found that the attention we attracted from the Tunisian men went way beyond the anticipated staring/comments etc. We did not dress provocatively in any way, yet were constantly followed, harrassed and decieved. For example, a local man stole a painting my friend had just bought from her bag in the market place and then demanded money to give it back! Another pretended to be a representative of our hotel after asking our taxi driver where he had picked us up from and demanded money. I was fully prepared to ignore wolf whistles and comments, but we literally couldnt put one foot in front of the other without our path being blocked by men firing questions about where we were staying etc.

    By the middle of the week, we could not be bothered with the exhaustion of it all and stayed within our hotel complex for most of the time. Even then I was harassed by a man enroaching on the section of the beach owned by the hotel, who followed me out of the sea after I told him I was not interested and preceded to sit next to my sun lounger. I found this incredibly uncomfortable and ended up leaving the beach altogether as I could not get rid of him! The highlight of the holiday was para-sailing, which was an excellent opportunity to get away from them all up in the air! Oh and I got a nasty case of food poisoning on a boat trip from sousse which made the flight home equally fun... England was like a paradise in comparison when we returned home!
  • Jayne, I'm very sorry to hear that you had such problems while you were here. I've never heard such stories about anyone being harrassed and having such problems as you and your friend did.

    I really want to know if you reported the local man to the police? Stealing here is a very large offence and he would have been dealt with in a very severe manner. Usually the hotels have security men on the beach and around the hotels to make sure that their guests are safe and comfortable so I hope that you had the support of them when you told them about the man sitting next to your sun lounger. Was he a member of staff? Locals are not allowed onto the hotel complex beaches, so I am surprised that he was able to do this.

    Sorry about the food poisoning - I guess this can happen in England as well.....but I am glad that you are happy to be back in your country and again I'm sorry that you didn't enjoy your time here.
  • Thank you for your kind response- please don't apologise, it's not your fault! No we didn't report the man to the police, since by that point we were beginning to get the impression that such behaviour was commonplace and felt as if it would not be taken seriously. Based on what you have said, perhaps we should have done, although to cut a long story short, my friend did get her painting back free of charge after another local man intervened and persuaded the thief to return it. Although perhaps that was the plan all along to provide an opportunity for the other man to try to befriend us, who knows.

    Our hotel did have a security guard on a post at the edge of the beach, although on that particular occassion he was nowhere to be seen, perhaps on a break. The man was not a member of staff and had obviously noticed that the watchman was gone and took the opportunity to come onto the hotel's section of the beach, which was not sealed off by a barrier or anything.

    You're completely right, food poisoning can happen anywhere and I think it probably my own fault... I remember thinking at the time that the area of the boat that the food was being prepared didn't look too hygenic with all the sea water splashing around the place, but I'd never actually had food poisoning before and they were catering for so many people, I just didn't expect to have problems.

    From what you said it seems as if we had an unusually bad experience. It wasn't a complete disaster to be fair- i really enjoyed the camel excursion, a trip to el jem and the para-sailing, but i'm still not sure that i would return to Tunisia in the future. It seems that many people have had great holidays though, so i'm sure it will continue to be a really popular destination!
  • Hi There

    Went to Morrocco last year so thought Tunisia may be nice... Well we have done it booked Sept 12 2010, Marhaba Beach in Sousse ......this it still warm then .... been told it is Autumn and cloudy....

    Would be very greatful if you could advise any excursions 2 adults ,..... 15th wedding anniversary.... age 37 & 42... need of soem sun and funn........

    Also i assume the dress code is the same as Morrocco......

    Many thanks


    Kind regards

  • Hi Sturdy, yes dress code is the same as Morocco. The weather will still be warm so you can swim and suntan very nicely.

    As for excursions it depends very much on how long you are here for. I would definitely suggest that you have a day in the capital Tunis. Go to the old city and wander around the souq, it is a very nice area and there are lots of restaurants and cafes in the area. If you are interested in museums then I can highly recommend the Bardo but I tend to lose time in there!!

    Othere areas within easy reach are Nabeul, a lovely old city with nice beaches and a very relaxed style. Kairouan is one of the Islamic holy sites and is truly a beautiful region. This is where the carpet making centre of Tunisia is located and it's interesting to see them make the carpets. Of course you can also buy them here very cheaply!!

    Tataouine and Matmata are Berbere areas and also where Starwars was filmed. The berber still live there in the cave houses and it's a very worthwhile excursion. Of course a night in the desert is the ultimate and you can arrange this through the hotel, they go from Tozeur or Douz and is very nice.

    I wish you happy anniversary and I hope that you have a wonderful time.
  • Well, after 21years of threatening and promising myself, finally hubby and I have booked to go to Tunisia again!! :-) Going the 2nd week of June. Sadly we could only manage a week due to hubby's work schedule.
    First time (1989) we stayed at the Sahara Beach which was great but having visited PEK back then decided this was the place we would like to go back to.
    We have booked the Kanton Hotel which review wise seems just the job. I like the more laid back places of anywhere no matter what part of the world but would or is that 'should' see a little more of Tunisia this time.
    We will of course visit the Sousse medina again and do a little shopping as that was an experience in itself and no doubt struggle with our baggage limit for it :-)
    Can you suggest a good day or two out within reasonable distance for something to see but not too hectic, energetic or scary please ;-)
  • Hi Lesley, I am visiting a friend in Jendubah Tunisia in July. I was advises by my Tunisian friend not to book for a hotel and just stay in her house instead for my 7 days holiday. Do you think that's safe for me? I am a Filipino and a resident of UK.
    Please give me a good advise because this is the first time i will visit Tunisia and im visiting alone. Thanks so much.

  • Hi Moo - so glad to know that you are coming back and I am sure you will enjoy it once again. Did you go to Hammamet last time? It's quite a nice city with a lot to see and some very nice coffee shops etc. Also a definite must is Nabeul - it is one of my favourite places with a super souq! It is the home of pottery here and some of the pieces are really lovely. Both are easy to get to with the louage and not scary at all!! As you only have a week you are limited to just day trips I think as many of the sites are a long way from you but even a day in the capitol Tunis would be well worth a day - the old medina is wonderful and you can even get to see some of the ruins around while you are there.

    I hope you enjoy yourself once again!
  • May - well Tunisia is a safe country but I don't know your friend but as you say she is a female and you feel comfortable then you can probably stay with her. does she live with her family?

    I don't know her circumstances and how she lives but as you are living in the UK do not expect our living conditions to be the same. For example, our houses are very simple and I'm not sure but she may not have gaz de ville which means gas bottles are used for cooking and washing - each time you want to take a shower you must turn on the gas etc etc.

    Really I can't tell you what to do but from a personal view point - if it were me I would be staying in a hotel.

    I hope that I have helped
  • hi,please can you help?me and my family are coming to tunisia in a few weeks,we are staying in sousse and are looking forward to it but we are bringing a very fussy 10yr old and just wondered what type of food is available if the hotel food is not to his liking.he is a big fan of pizza,chips and chicken can u recommend any restaurants or snack bars please.many thanks
  • Hi Lesly me and me girlfriend are going to skanes this sunday :) we were wondering is there much to do around there ie, shopping walking resteraunts. Also we are staying at the sahara beach do you know if its in walking distance to the go-karts.And finally how far is it to figura park? thanks david
  • Hi Lesley,

    My partner and I are coming to Sousse in July and we are hoping to go diving. I've seen a couple of dive centres online, but was wondering if you could recommend one, or if there's any particular area we should be looking at?


    PS - really helpful comments throughout the site - thanks very much!
  • Hi James,

    there are literally loads of pizzerias here and a staple is chicken and chips so I think your fussy one will be well satisfied. If you walk along the main street you will see many many snack bars and restaurants all serving these kinds of foods. also in the medina you will find some nice places also where you can taste some of our food and your fussy one can taste his!!

  • David - apologies, I think I may have missed you. Skanes is a very quiet area with not a lot but the beach and a few shops. why not take the louages to go explore nearby areas such as Sousse, Sfax - some great beaches and sites.
  • Hi Claire - thanks for the positive feedback. Usually the hotel can arrange diving and there are quite a few dive centres in Sousse. I would suggest that those on line with a website would be professional and have the correct equipment. I personally don't know a dive centre to recommend so I apologise for this. (Note to self: research)

    I am sure you are going to enjoy Sousse - it is one of our ancient cities
  • hi lesley,just to say thanks so much for info on food our fussy one is much happier now and we cant wait to get there!!!your site has been such a help to us for other facts on tunisia too.
  • Hi Lesley.
    I am an American and my husband is Tunisian/American. I'm very curious to know if you have advice on where to start on buiding a home in Tunisia. What city would you recommend? Also, my son has autism~any information on special needs programs or specialites for special needs children. Your help is appreicated. Advice?

  • Hi Jackie - oh what a question!! There are so many wonderful cities here in Tunisia. It depends what you want of course - mild climate, beach, mountains etc. etc. You say your husband is Tune/American so perhaps he may have some preferences. Some areas are getting quite expensive. We live in Bizerte in the North about 60 km from Tunis, but we are just in the first stages of planning a build on our land in the south. We are near Sidi bou Zid which is near the desert, hot in summer, freezing in winter and quite isolated for westerners to be honest. My BIL works with autistic children so I'll ask him but I have to be totally honest with you that special needs children are not so 'special' here! Does he speak the dialect or any Arabic? Please send me an email as below and we can have a fuller conversation
  • Hi ! I want to comment what you wrote to another girl to be careful with the tunisian boys, Specially the animasion boys.
    I have been in tunisia some weeks ago with my friends and we are in the middel age. We are not teenages. It was a nightmare to walk in the street,even throught we dressed respectfully. Yes,they want to sell but not in a nice way. After one evening we never went outside the hotel again. I heard the word love rats, but I wonder if its only the animasion boys who deserve this name. We get to know the nice animasion boys in the hotel and the treat us very respectfully. Never ask for money or enything. They talk with us in a nice way and I feel pitty for them since I saw they was working very hard to please the gests, always smiling. Dont you think the tourits also have some falts when they invite them to have a relationchip in a romantic way. If we want to give them money so what ? Anyway the tunisian are no different then other boys when it comes to relasionship with girls. I feel ok when I can help with a few dinars we suddenly dosent die from it. So, the animasion boys are not worser then enybody else I think. Sorry for my English....
  • Tona,

    Thanks for your comments - I'm sorry that you felt uncomfortable outside of your hotel. However, let me give you some insights into the mentality here! This is a very poor country, majority of Tunisians live extremely modestly and there is no money left at the end of the week for any luxuries believe me!

    Western females are an easy target because we are just that - easy! Western morals are lax and foreigners have the reputation of being well - loose! Foreigners also come with pockets full of cash and a foreign passport - all the things we don't have! So it is only logical that if a Tune (male) is invited into a relationship then they will take full advantage of that. I'm not being offensive but that's the reality. Love rats usually only operate from tourist hotels as the animation guys are the ones with the most opportunities. Sorry to be blunt but this is the truth and leave your pity for the poor here and when I say poor I mean like you wouldn't understand.

    If you really want to help, then give a few coins to those old men and women who ask. they are good people and will bless you whether you give or not.
  • Lesly, please what do you mean about this “Tunisia is a very poor country, majority of Tunisians live extremely modestly and there is no money left at the end of the week”
    Did you know really Tunisia? Did you visited? ….really we don’t know about which country you are talking
    Please stop it…stop it…and don’t give comments at some places that you don’t know it
    And as we told you before we invite you to visit our lovely Tunisia to discover it well and to give the right and correct comment ….
  • mattunisia - I am a resident of Tunisia. I have lived in Tunisia for some time now. I think I know this country well. I do know what I am talking about. Perhaps when i give my advice i give it from both a tourist and resident perspective.

    My husband and I are like many other Tunisians, we live modestly compared to the western world (from which I originate).

    I hope you can now understand about the advice I give to those wishing to come here and just by the way - it has been my decision to live here. I love Tunisia. I have a wonderful family and friends here and we will live in Tunisia for many years yet.
  • Hello :)

    Found this forum today and hope for some last moment advice before my husband and I are of to Tunisia on Sunday. We are going to stay 14 days in the Sousse area. We are in our mid thirty's.
    My husband is very fond of local bars and restaurants when we are traveling abroad. He likes to bring me around too, but I'm not sure how the local will take it/handle it in Tunisia. What to doe?
    Another thing is sightseeing. We want to see and do a lot of different things like: The “Red Lizard train”, Kasserine pass, The Mareth Line, Tozeur and a overnight trip to a Berber-/Bedouin camp in Sahara, and so one. Is it possible to reach most destinations with train, and would you recommend it?
    And last shopping. I want to buy my self a Kaftan, (jewelery) and souvenirs. Where is the best place to find nice good Kaftans, and what is "normal" prize?

    Regards Mrs B
  • One more thing. I like to sew clothes and so does my sister in law. Is it possible to find materials/fabrics in the markets or shops? If so, how is it sold, in meters or weight?

    Regards Mrs B
  • Hi - we're closing this discussion, which has gone off-topic. If you have questions on Tusisia please sign up and start a new post. Thanks!
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