Best time to travel to Tunisia

Chott el Djerid Lake in Tunisia

Set amidst the largest salt pan in Sahara Desert, the lake dries up in summer, but repenished with new rain waters it amazes with its whites, greens and purples

Chott el Djerid Lake
Chott El Djerid, Tunisia, 2007
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When translated from Arabic the name of the lake means "Lagoon of the Land of Palms", even though the lake is found in the Sahara desert that has hardly anything in common with the palm forest. The very word "chott" denotes a lake that remains dry throughout the hot season, and wells up during rains.

Chott el Djerid is drained in hot summer to such an extent that one can cross it on foot, and even by car. However, the latter option is not really safe, as the salt crust left after evaporation is actually quite thin. One can still observe the colours from the car seat while driving the main road. Purple- and green-coloured waters gather in the channels dug out on the both sides off the road. That experience is available during the hot season from March to August.

During cold season that stretches from September well into February you'll have a nice opportunity to explore the huge and strangely-shaped lake by boat. The depth of the lagoon at some places reaches 25 m below the sea level. It's irregularly shaped, and its width varies from 20 to 250 km.

When it dries up, the largest salt pan in Sahara covers the surface of 7,000 square kilometres. Crocodiles inhabited these waters until the early 20th century. Nowadays, its temporary visitors besides human travellers are pink flamingoes that choose to nest along the shores in springtime. Finally, this area once became one of the shooting locations for the world's famous epic movie series—the Star Wars, you must have already recognised the Lars Homestead setting.

The best time to visit this location is either moderate spring or autumn months, the most favourable for hiking. Spring lasts from March to June, and autumn is September and October.

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Last updated: by Eleonora Provozin