the Serenity of The Kerkennah Islands

A small, tranquil harbor with several white fishing boats moored in calm water under a clear blue sky. Fishing nets and equipment are placed on the piers. Buildings and structures are visible in the background, inviting visitors to explore Kerkennah's charm before going snorkelling nearby.

We recently explored the serene Kerkennah Islands, situated off the coast of Tunisia, a delighful trip into the tranquil beauty and rich cultural tapestry of this unique archipelago. Our adventure began at dawn in the quaint village of Sidi Fredj at Ouled Kaysen, where the gentle morning light painted the sky in hues of gold and amber.

With the help of Passu Passion, a local agency renowned for its dedication to eco-friendly water sports, we embarked on an kayaking trip. The experience allowed us to navigate through pristine waters, offering a silent communion with nature and a rare perspective of the island’s rugged coastlines. This was a lot of fun and the details are at the bottom!

After all that work we built up an appetite so we headed for a memorable visit to Le pécheur , where Chef sT Ali showcased his mastery in seafood cuisine. The restaurant, known for its commitment to fresh, local ingredients, served us an exquisite selection of dishes including perfectly grilled fish, tender cuttlefish eggs, and the locally cherished seiche fannoud. Each dish was a celebration of the island’s maritime heritage and is a must for seafood lovers.

A significant part of our trip was spent admiring the island’s architecture, particularly during our visit to the historical Lahsar Fort. Perched strategically along the coast, the fort stands as a testament to Kerkennah’s storied past, involving centuries of maritime defence and trade. The fort’s robust walls, now weathered by time, offer panoramic views of the Mediterranean, making it an ideal spot for watching the sunset and reflecting on the island’s history since ancient times.

We also visiter the Abbassya Museum which, offered a deep dive into the island’s history through its extensive collection of local artefacts. Housed in a traditionally styled building, the museum presents a vivid portrayal of Kerkennah’s maritime and daily life traditions. Additionally, its on-site shop allows visitors to take home unique, handmade souvenirs, further connecting them to the island’s rich cultural heritage.

Our accommodations at the Manaret Kerkennah guesthouse were nothing short of spectacular, with each room offering expansive views of the azure sea, framed by arches that echoed the traditional architectural style of the region. The guesthouse also served as the venue for an exquisite brunch featuring local delicacies such as ftayer (Tunisian doughnut), traditional breads, along with ricotta cheese, baissa, and a selection of dried fruits, all sweetened with homemade date syrup.

A definite highlight of our cultural exploration was learning about the charifyah, an ingenious traditional fishing system used by the islanders. This sustainable technique, recognized by UNESCO for its ecological ingenuity, utilizes a network of channels that leverage natural tidal currents to guide fish towards artisanal nets. This method not only sustains the local economy but also preserves the delicate marine ecosystem, embodying the community’s deep connection with their environment. This was shown to us along with other interesting island sights and secrets by Snorkelling Kerkennah whom where not only passionate about their home but also looked after us during our fishing tour, which included making us a very very nice lunch… highly recommended!

Contact Information:

Passu Passion: Instagram

Stalai22, Chef sT Ali: Instagram

Manaret Kerkennah: Website

Snorkelling Kerkennah: Instagram

Our journey to Kerkennah was an enchanting blend of nature, gastronomy, and heritage, offering profound insights into the island’s enduring charm.

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