Tunisia

Tunisia Overview

Tunisia extends farther north than any other country in Africa. Its northern tip is only 85 miles from Sicily. Both northern and eastern Tunisia borders the Mediterranean Sea.

Tunisia is part of the Arab world, the Mediterranean area, and Africa. Almost all Tunisians speak Arabic and follow an Arab way of life. For hundreds of years, trade routes have connected Tunisia to Europe, the Middle East, and Africa south of the Sahara. France controlled Tunisia from 1881 until Tunisia became independent in 1956.

Several miles north of the capital, Tunis, lay the remains of the legendary ancient city of Carthage, founded in the 8th century BC. Tunisia has a thousand miles of coastline to the north, where resorts like Hammamet and Nabeul provide plenty of opportunities for sunbathing on the golden beaches or take in some watersports. To the south, on the edge of the Sahara desert you can view the ‘forest in the desert’ at Ramada, or the dry salt lake at Chott el Jerid.

CLIMATE

Tunisia has hot, dry summers and warm, wet winters. The average coastal temperatures are 79 °F (26 °C) in summer and 52 °F (11 °C) in winter. In the southern desert, temperatures average 89 °F (32 °C) in the summer. In the north, most rain falls in winter, but there is little rain in the south.

KNOW BEFORE YOU GO

CAPITAL: Tunis
POPULATION: 10.3 million
LANGUAGE: Arabic
CURRENCY: Tunisian Dinar
ELECTRIC CURRENT: 230V, 50Hz. To power any electrical item an international adapter or a two pin plug is required.
COUNTRY DIALLING CODE: +216
TIME ZONE: GMT/UTC +1

TRAVEL WARNING

A terrorist attack took place at Port El Kantaoui near Sousse on 26 June 2015. A number of foreign tourists were killed. The incident is now over. If you are in the area you should keep in touch with your tour operator and follow any advice from Tunisian security authorities.

Further terrorist attacks in Tunisia, including in tourist resorts, are possible, including by individuals who are unknown to the authorities and whose actions are inspired by terrorist groups via social media. You should be especially vigilant at this time and follow the advice of Tunisian security authorities and your tour operator. You are advised to maintain a high level of vigilance with regard to your personal security while you are in Tunisia.

The UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advise against all travel to:

  • the Chaambi Mountain National Park area
  • the Tunisia-Algeria border crossing points at Ghardimaou, Hazoua and Sakiet Sidi Youssef
  • the militarized zone south of, but not including, the towns of El Borma and Dhehiba
  • within 5km of the Libya border area from north of Dhehiba up to but not including the Ras Ajdir border crossing

The FCO advise against all but essential travel to:

  • areas south of, and including, the towns of Nefta, Douz, Médenine, Zarzis (including the Tunisia-Libya border crossing point at Ras Ajdir)
  • within 30km of the border with Algeria south of, and including, the town of Jendouba (this area includes the archaeological sites of Bulla Regia and Chemtou)
  • the governorate of Kasserine, including the town of Sbeitla

You are strongly advised to travel with a reputable tour operator or an approved local guide if you plan to travel in the southern border areas with Algeria. Tourists are obliged to seek permission from the Tunisian authorities to enter certain desert areas bordering Algeria – you should seek advice from a reputable agent.

Information provided by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in the UK www.fco.gov.uk