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Report 1993: Tunisia - the South and the Desert

By Eleanor from UK, Spring 2012

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Page 5 of 17: Mides

photo by MA

Mides canyon

Mides is close to the Algerian border with a splendid Border Control Point building. The guide books warn that it is full of plain clothes policemen. If so they weren’t around when we visited as the village was deserted. It is the smallest oasis in the area with scattered white houses, perched on the edge of a deep 3km long gorge which flanks it on three sides.

The village is surrounded by a well looked after palmeraie. We went for a short walk along the road into it. The temperature was noticeably cooler. The palmeraie is well cared for and the individual plots are fenced off with fences made from palm leaves. Pomegranates, figs, almonds, oranges and nectarines grow beneath the palms. They are so densely planted there is no space to grow vegetables.

The road beyond the palmeraie passes the ruins of the old village situated high above the canyon and destroyed by the storms in 1969. The village is in better condition than Tamerza with the main street lined with the blank walls of houses standing nearly to their original height. Inside some of the roofs survive with palm tree rafters. The road follows the canyon to its head.

There are superb views down into the canyon which is deep with very steep sandstone walls made up of layers of different strata. It is very narrow at the bottom. The canyon narrows and becomes shallower to its head where water flows across a flat wet plateau and a small, rather pathetic cascade into the canyon.

The road is lined with tourist stalls with hand painted signs to ‘panoramic view’. They are piled high with desert roses, crystals, fossilized palm wood and varnished boulders described as ‘meteorites’.

This was another well worth while visit. We were there early in the day and missed the worst of the tourists who seem to head for Chebika first.

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