Tunisia  Birdwatching

Ichkeul National Park, Sejoumi Lagoon and Roman Aqueducts, Cap Bon Nature Reserves and RAMSAR wetlands

This package was coordinated by MEET project parnter IUCN-Med and created by the managers and the people of the protected areas, with the support of the Director General for Forests in Tunisia (DGF).

The tour is provided by the local tour operator  Tunisia Ecotourism.

This test tour is a result of the MEET project’s objective to develop an integrated strategy to settle an Eco-Tourism Development Model for the Mediterranean Protected Areas that boosts a better seasonal distribution of tourism flows. By participating in this tour you will be part of a small group contributing to the development of a new sustainable travel concept which aims to support conservation and benefit the local communities…

Birding in Tunisia is great for many reasons: it is close to Europe, there are good roads and well maintained National Parks, and there are –literally- hundreds of thousands of birds migrating from the sub-Saharian Africa to Europe.

TUNISIA_ICHKEUL4

Country Profile: Tunisia

Although Tunisia is one of the smallest country in the Mediterranean, it holds various and wealth of contrasting habitats which offer a real paradise for multitude of migratory bird as well as diverse wildlife. Traveling from north to south the visitor will be transferred in a short time from natural humid oak forest to the great sand dunes at the edge the Sahara. Pine and oak forests, Medjerda river valley, dorsal ridges, central steppes, coastal wetlands, chotts, steppes with vegetation, oasis Almost Tunisia is well known for its history and civilization, the nature, wildlife and mainly birds are very attractive and makes Tunisia as a destination for birdwatchers. Many of these habitats were already protected and part of great network national parks and nature reserve which aims to conserve local ecosystems of international importance or patrimonial species.

The Protected Areas: Biodiversity and Conservation

Tunisia is characterized by a great network of protected areas, 17 national parks and 24 nature reserves covers the most important habitats and unique ecosystems of the country such as wetland, Islands, lagoons, forests, savana, steppes and desert regions.

The need of wildlife conservation was emerged from the 80’s which coincided with the establishment of related official institutes concerned with the environment protection and the real general policy on environment and nature conservation.

These protected areas were created initially to conserve the species and habitats. The endangered species and nearly extinct ones were given conservation priority. Species like Barbary dear, Scimitar-horned Oryx, the Gazelle Dammah and globally threatened Marbled duck and White –headed duck were saved from threat and extinction with local and international conservation efforts.

Besides having a great time exponentially increasing your birdlist, you will be part of regional conservation program funded by IUCN, created to improve tourism management in protected areas, integrating local communities in the tourism business, and generating incentives for the conservation of the protected areas.

The MEET project in Tunisia

The tour is a real challenge because it will change your view on the country. It’s an opportunity to look over the touristic stereotype screen and go deep into real local people life and the wealthy wildlife. We aim to be different and unique birdwatching tour with wonderful local experience which brings together like-minded people who have skills and enjoy to share.

Our aim is that the local People could benefits directly by financial contribution from the tour. Various rural agriculture activities should be encouraged to improve marketing products such as local honey, olive oil, traditional bread, guest housing Handy crafts are like carpets…are not yet well developed in the area of Ichkeul but it could be given opportunity to improve quality and local distribution for an alternative incomes

Conservation Threats and Opportunities

Among others, overgrazing is a sizable threat in the park of Ichkeul. It poses serious competition with the food of the migratory Grey leg Geese. Rambling activity is increasing in the park and could be a threat to nature (mainly visitors to the bat cave) if not well controlled and supervised. Meet Tour can help by strengthening the relation between local authorities and local people within the ecotourism framework.

Educational infrastructures and establishments such as the museum should be improved to more effectively spread the conservation message, raise awareness of visitors and strengthen partnerships between local authorities and tourism actors.

Final Tour Itinerary

Final Tunisia Birdwatching Tour 14-19 Feb 2016_MEET

PRE DEPARTURE GUIDE

Before you depart, please consider the following:

You should have with you:

  • Passport
  • Air/travel tickets
  • Personal Travel Insurance
  • Visa (if necessary)
  • Pre-departure information
  • Local Currency

Visa requirements

Please check the visa requirements relevant to your country of origin.

When leaving the airport, foreign visitors have to pay tax of 30 TND. You need to buy a stamp which cost 30 TND available at the airport and will be put on your passport by customs

Arrival and Departure

Pick-up will be organised by TTB agency depending on arrival time & date of the participants. TTB will enter into contact with the participants in order to arrange the pick-up time from the airport and their transfer to their first accommodation.

Currency

Our currency is the Tunisian Dinar and you need to exchange money at your arrival. Exchange desks are available in the airport or where ever we go.

The average rate is as follow but it depend on the daily rate

1 EUR = 2,2 TND

1 USD = 1,9 TND

1 GBP = 2,9 TND

Traveller’s cheques cash are exchangeable in banks.

Weather Conditions

During your stay in Tunisia we will be in winter. Somme days could be rainy and windy. But when lucky very sunny but temperature vary between 8°C and 20C°

Clothing tips

Winter in Tunisia is warmer compared to European countries, but some days could be very rainy, cold and windy. Because we are visiting wetland and probably walking in muddy marshes, we need appropriate clothing and some materials for bird watching such as :

– waterproof jacket

– windbreaker jacket

– hiking shoes and boots

– warm clothes

– Binoculars and scopes

– Camera / Hat / bird guide book

Insurance, Health & Safety

It is advised that all guests take out personal travel and safety insurance to cover any unforeseen expenses (especially medical or accidental) that may occur.

Medical services in Tunisia are excellent mainly in big cities.

Tap water is treated and drinkable. Also water bottles are available every where. We encourage you to bring your own reusable water bottle.

Important cultural or religious knowledge/awareness

The religion in Tunisia is the Islam and most Tunisians are Muslims. There is a very small old community of Jews and small percentage of Christians which mainly are retired people or connected with private business, expertise or teaching.

Electricity/adaptors

Information on electricity and adaptors:

Residential voltage: 220 V

Frequency: 50 Hz

Plug type: C, F, L

Plug standard: CEI 23-34 CEI 23-50

 

LOCATION


ON ARRIVAL

Accommodation

During our tour you will be hosted during two days in a beautiful guest house in the middle of olive grove near Ichkeul national park with nice shared rooms. Rooms present traditional designs and atmosphere. Rooms have individual bathroom and shared one available if needs. The Swimming pool is surrounded by olive trees and it is free for use. Lunch and breakfast at the house and the second day lunch will be served directly at the park. Layla the guest house owner will have a pleasure to share with you her typical recipes.

Towel and bed linen are provided by the guest house owner.

The second day accommodation will be in Mr skander guest house ”DAR ZAGHOUAN” . Several suites and typical rooms (shared rooms) with private bathrooms are available. The house stands in the middle of a field of almond trees Flanked by the foot of the majestic mountain of Zaghouan.

The third day accommodation will be Africa jade hotel in the city of KORBA considered as an architectural jewel in a green setting. guests will be in shared rooms with private bathrooms.

Food

Tunisian cuisine reflects an ancestral tradition of gastronomic culture in Tunisia and reflects the successive cultural heritages (Berber, Punic, Arab, Jewish, Turkish, Italian, etc.)

The food is very rich and tasty based mainly on ingredients with local vegetables, olive oil, meat, seafood and handmade local spices products such as Harissa (very spicy), coriander « Tebel » and cumin which underline the Tunisian speciality meals such as the famous Tunisian couscous, the briks, Salad Mechouia with fresh vegetables, and variety of seafood dishes.

Sweets are typical and mainly made of almonds, nuts and semolina. Makroud, Baklawa, Kaak and Gazelle horns are among Tunisian famous sweets.

Shopping & Local Products

During our tour, visitor will have opportunities to shop. Wild range of traditional handicrafts such as carpets, and ceramics will be displayed in most artisanal shops in the souks of the medina in large towns and cities. On route you will find some local commerce which proposes hand-woven rugs, traditional pottery and other goods. Most weekly local markets in small towns occur on the week-end and mainly on Sundays.

Your MEET Tour Leader

Your MEET tour leader will meet you upon your arrival and be with you until your departure. They will be the connection between you – the traveller – and the local people & territory, sharing their local knowledge and advice on how best to enjoy your unique experience. Their role is to ensure that all aspects of your trip run smoothly. It sometimes happens that unexpected situations may occur, in which case your leader will keep you well informed and may require your cooperation and understanding. If you have any questions or concerns at any point, they are there to assist you, so don’t hesitate to ask!

The tour leader will accompany you during all your stay in Tunisia and will ensure to make your trip enjoyable, friendly and productive.

Our tour leader is very experienced in different aspects of the nature, wildlife and mainly birds. He will assist you to enjoy your birdwatching and to see as much species as possible depending on weather conditions. He will share with you his knowledge about the nature, local people and history of the country.

If you need any further information about the tour and facilities don’t hesitate to ask you leader

 Thank-you and enjoy your MEET experience!