It was Friday night. I was watching TV with my parents when they announced it in the news in Tunisia. Some terrorists robbed a bank and killed a policeman in Sebiba, Kasserine, Northwestern Tunisia. I took my phone and checked how far Sebiba was from where we want to go tomorrow at dawn. Not very far away. I hoped that my friends didn’t hear the news… I would lie if I said I wasn’t afraid. Because tomorrow we planned to do another part of travel Tunisia by bike…
Saturday morning, I woke up at 4:00, the meeting point was at 5:00 downtown to catch the train to Dahmani at 5:50. Meanwhile, it was raining cats and dogs. I was like: Did we make the right decision? No answer… Of course, we didn’t meet on time. We caught the train at the very last minute. Tasnime made sure to literally arrive at the last second. SNCFT people were in a good mood to help us bring the bikes inside the wagon that morning.
Travel Tunisia by bike: start of the journey
While sitting on the train, I contemplated the beautiful landscapes through the window out there. We found out that three of us knew about what happened in Sebiba the night before. Surprisingly, the three of us decided no to tell each other before getting on the train. I love you, my friends!
Once we arrived to Dahmani 4 hours later, I damaged my tire as soon as I got the bike out of the train. Mayssa broke her shoes after the first steps. What a start of a bike trip.
Ready, set, paddle!
The weather was sometimes windy, sometimes rainy. But this didn’t affect our mood. Especially after having our morning coffee and a chat with some people about how we should reach Kelaat Senane, which was 60 km to the West.
The way was unexpectedly hilly. The wind also was against us most of the time. However, the landscapes and the ruins we saw on the way made us forget the fatigue and just enjoy the moment.
We started paddling around 11:30. By sunset (17:00) we didn’t feel our feet anymore. The last turn we took to Kelaat Senane was the hardest. 13km uphill. Luckily the beautiful sunset on our right kept us good company.
Travel Tunisia by bike: surprises you get on the way
As usual, we had to inform the nearest National Guard office that we are going to spend the night near Jugurtha Tableland. So that they know about us and have our contact data in case something happens. That late afternoon, they discouraged us from climbing up there this late. Being dead of fatigue, we quickly followed their advice. They helped us find a place where to spend the night, and they even escorted us there. We couldn’t complain 🙂
Dinner was quickly ready. A hot and spicy Borghol made our vines alive again. Remembering how the day went through some pictures, we fell asleep like babies. I had a look at my watch just before. I burned 4500 calories…
The next day
The weather in Kelaat Senane was perfect in the morning. I don’t remember when was the last time I saw the sky that blue. It was 7:30am when Haithem and I went fetching some Ftayer for breakfast. The village was already awake and Jugurtha Tableland was still respectfully standing in front of the low sun. What a scene.
So we had to decide. Climb or not to climb. Keeping in mind that we rather want to catch the Jerissa train back to Tunis at 15:00, the realistic choice was to make ourselves on the way.
The National Guards called us to check on us and advised us to come by before leaving Kelaat Senane. The recommended us a way to take which was different from where we came from. And that was the highlight of the trip!
Travel Tunisia by bike: be careful of this
The downhill made a part of the way really easy. It was so beautiful around, and we got distracted by all that beauty. I was contemplating the Tableland on my right when I suddenly saw Mayssa falling down with her bike. I rushed to her as I was the closest one. Tasnimeand Haithem came after with the first aid kit.
She was hurt at her left knee and elbow. We were worried. But Mayssa is a true warrior. For those who don’t know her. Mayssa paddled Southern Tunisia alone with Safa Hamlaoui for a whole week
We stopped almost every 10 minutes. Took pictures everywhere and paddled through Mahjouba, a hidden and beautiful village between the hills. Name well deserved.
After a while, we stopped in Mahjouba for a while, also for Mayssa to rest. Although she didn’t say a single word about her pain. Meanwhile, we asked the people there about the closest train station (محطة المحاميد). They said there is no train there Sundays. We have to continue to Jerissa.
We just kept riding. Trying to keep Mayssa good company and disctract her to be patient. The way became kind of long. We had 17km behind us. Still 22km to ride.
Just after Tajerouine, we reached محطة المحاميد. Tasnimesaw some people standing at the station with luggage. Is there a train coming? She asked. The answer was “Yes, in 10min“. Dope lucky shot! And that was the end of the trip.
All of us didn’t feel our legs anymore. Nevertheless, do you know that feeling when you are exhausted and happy at the same time? Happy for the great journey we had, for the beautiful moments and laughter we shared, and for all that happened along the route.
But you know what I am most excited about? I learned about a new place in Tunisia. Mahjouba. Visit it. You will not regret it.
Find all my trip details (Map, GPS data and circuit-related info on Tunisia Backpackers 😉