Perfectly located on the fringes of the other-worldly Chott el Jerid, the oasis city of Tozeur in south-west Tunisia also serves as a convenient base for forays into the Sahara Desert.
Covered by several hundred thousand palms, plum trees, vines and strawberries fed by 200 springs, Tozeur has been a respected name in date production since Roman times. Craftsmen still noisily hand-craft silver, copper and leather in the Old City where the patterns of ochre-coloured brickwork are a striking architectural feature as are the bamboozling array of ornate traditional doors. Cyclists – a rare sight in Tunisia – lend Tozeur the air of a Western university town. Venture out to the historic outlying village of Bled el-Haddar, marvel at the Mount Rushmore-style boulders at Belvedere or explore the bizarre salt-crusted craters at vast Chott el Jerid and its mounds, pools and weirdly-coloured sands. Keen to star gaze? Then spend a night under canvass in the desert to be dazzled by a bright constellation-filled sky.