Gabes is something as strange as the worlds only seaside oasis. While the city is not that great, exploring the two parts of the oasis, the one between the city and the sea, and the one between the city and the desert, is fascinating.
The oasis is based upon sources, 150 spread around the place, giving 650 litres of water each second. The agricultural produce here is not of the highest quality, as the dates can’t be used for export, and other kinds of crop is cultivated in-between the dates.
Around the sea oasis
The sea oasis of Gabes is both a gift from above, and under constant threat from nature. The richness and the fertile conditions are under constant challenge by the damp sea air. While agriculture goes on as always, not leaving an inch unused, but many of the more than 300,000 date palms are in increasingly poor condition.
In the from the proper sea oasis, lying between the market centre and the port, many other oasis communities lies. Chenini (not the same as the village near <URL=’http://tunisia.com/community/wiki/tataouine/’>Tataouine) and El Aouadid are the most noteworthy. The latter even offers a crocodile farm, open for visitors. The extra-wide panorama picture shows an area in the this region.
Market of baskets
Baskets are a local product of Gabes, clearly reflected in the many variations for sale in the market area in the modern town. Few of them are designed for tourist purposes – Gabes doesn’t see the large numbers of foreign visitors – which make them more of a true souvenir. And you might even well use your basket for carrying other souvenirs through the rest of your trip. Gabes is also well known for its henna, the colour paste used by mainly women to create temporary tatoos. In ancient times, silk was made here, making the city’s name then, Tacape, famous.
Crowded fishing port
The fishing port is best visited early in the day, when the boats come in and the catch is brought ashore. Later, the tempo goes down, and mending the fishing nets become the main activity.
Courtyard of the simple but nice Hotel Regina
Restaurants and Alternatives
There are not as many restaurants in town as one could hope for, but still more than enough to cover your needs for a couple of days. There is a selection of cheap eateries along the Avenue de la République.
It is almost impossible to travel between the south and north of Tunisia, without passing through Gabes. This is reflected in the quality of transportation services.
The train will comfortably bring you north (Gabes is the end station) to destinations like <URL=’http://tunisia.com/sfax/’>Sfax, <URL=’http://tunisia.com/el-jem/’>El Jem, <URL=’http://tunisia.com/sousse/’>Sousseand <URL=’http://tunisia.com/community/wiki/tunis/’>Tunis. Getting to <URL=’http://tunisia.com/tunis/’>Tunis will take about 7 hr. In Mahres (2 hr north) you can change lines for <URL=’http://tunisia.com/gafsa/’>Gafsa and Metlaoui, but this service is slow compared to buses and shared taxis. There is a wide selection of bus connection and shared taxis covering every possible destination.
These are normally faster than the train and have more departures per day. But they are a bit more expensive and far more crowded. If however, you’re going south of Gabes, you have no choice but using bus or shared taxi. And if you’re going to destinations beyond the train lines, you’re better off with a direct connection with bus or shared taxi. Remember that if you’re going to <URL=’http://tunisia.com/matmata/’>Matmata, you’re advised to take the bus, as few shared taxis do this stretch. Otherwise, you can freely choose between buses and shared taxis according to your liking. As always, shared taxis are faster, slightly more expensive, but do not allow as much luggage as the bus.