A Sandpit Far, Far Away

A Star Wars Trip to Tunisia

Not so long ago in a sandpit, far, far away,in the heart of Tunisia, a group of travellers journeyed to the sites of epic battles and Jedi mind tricks and sought droids they were apparently not looking for….

It’s easy to see how the scenery in Tunisia was so stimulating to Hollywood in making the beloved films – the otherworldly landscapes, intriguing archaeological sites and curious desert dwellings found here are like nothing else on Earth and instantly transport you to another galaxy.

Discover the sites, sets and locations used in the epic movie franchise on this amazing adventure which will reveal a vivid world both real and fantastical. Journey beyond the screen and step into a land of arid landscapes, troglodyte castles and desert oases, and encounter scenes straight from the lives of great heroes – from the space port where the iconic pod races took place, to the legendary birthplace of Athena and the ruins of the great city of Carthage.

While this trip may be a pilgrimage to the iconic sites of the Star Wars universe, you’ll discover Tunisia a country more colourful and storied than even in George Lucas’s wildest imagination, and revel in the opportunity to bring your very own adventure to life.


STAR WARS TRIP TO TUNISIA HIGHLIGHTS

  • Be our guest (literally) at the home of Luke Skywalker in the troglodyte town of Matmata
  • Explore the far reaches of the Sahara in search of Mos Espa and Lars Homestead and trek through the Juntland Wastes (avoiding womp rats of course!)
  • Visit the old ‘ksars’ or castles of southern Tunisia including Ksar Hadada – used as slave quarter row in The Phantom Menace, and the Ksar of Medenine where Anakin and Shmi lived
  • Wander through the ancient Medina of Tunis, the ancient Phoenician city of Carthage and the incredible roman amphitheatre of El Jem – it’s not just fictional heroes whose stories you’ll encounter!
  • View Port Ajim on the island of Djerba which played Mos Eisley Cantina (“the wretched hive of scum and villainy”) where Luke and Obi-Wan Kenobi meet Han Solo and Chewy for the first time

The Basics

Start: Tunis

Finish: Tunis

Trip style: Special Interest

Max group size: 15

10 Days

TUNIS – TUNIS

$4850 AUD*

Departure date: 1 June 2023

OR CONTACT US for more information

Trip code: SATT *from

ITINERARY

May the force be with you as you arrive in Tunis, a glittering jewel on the Mediterranean Sea. The capital and largest city of Tunisia, Tunis is a mosaic of bright tilework, bleached white roofs and sand-coloured stone, intermingled with modern high rises and boutique shopping and dining options – a thriving modern mecca with an ancient soul.

Form an alliance with your fellow rebels tonight and plan the uprising – er, Star Wars trip to Tunisia –  over a local dinner.

We have a good feeling about this trip …

Try your best to blend in with the locals this morning as you wander through the beating heart of Tunis, the historic medina, a UNESCO world heritage site with some 700 attractions, from mosques to market stalls and to madrasadas and mausoleums, some dating back to the Almohad and the Hafsid periods.

Jet off this afternoon to the island of Djerba to begin our galactical exploration of Tunisia, where fiction meets reality and horizons fade into special effects.

Visit the beach resort town of Sidi Djmour, where the sea is azure, the sand is white and film location scouts get very, very excited. Continue to the village of Guellela, famous for its pottery, and visit the El Ghriba Synagogue. The stunning tiled interior hides a tragic recent history – this peaceful synagogue which serves the residents of Djerba fell victim to a bombing attack in April 2002.

Explore filming locations from the Star Wars films this morning, including Ben Kenobi’s hut, Mos Eisley and the deleted scenes set in Anchorhead (Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope). Gain an appreciation for the rich, real-life details that make up the fictional landscapes of the Great Mesra Plateau.

Marvel at the stacked troglodyte-style dwellings of the Ksar Hadada, Ksar Ouled Soltane  and Ksar Medinine which stood in as the iconic Mos Espa slave quarter row where Anakin Skywalker and Shmi lived. While the otherworldly appearance of the rustic Berber dwellings made them ideal for use on screen, parts of the set of the space port of Mos Espa were artificial, and lie abandoned in the dunes of the Tunisian desert.

Perhaps recreate one of the iconic pod race scenes on the surviving sets, which include the spaceport gate, pod racing area, Watto’s shop and the café of famed pod racer Sebulb.

Any Star Wars fan worth their meiloorun fruit will be excited to stay in Tataouine, which inspired the name of Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader’s home planet through a convenient accident that would go down in film trivia history – the original name for the planet sounded too close to that of a well-known Star Trek character, so George Lucas simply changed the name to match the city that was used as the crew’s home base.

You’ll find the locals in Tataouine much more welcoming than their imaginary counterparts. Take some time to wander the old kasbah this morning. The cheerful inhabitants of this region owe a lot of their tourism revenue to the iconic 1980s movies which put them on the map, and yearly festivals, souvenir shops and private prop displays testify that the residents of Tataouine have happily embraced their Hollywood heritage. When some of the shooting locations and props were threatened by the encroaching sands of the desert, the villagers here banded together to save the legacy of their little slice of film history.

Continue to the village of Toujane. While most of this Star Wars trip to Tunisia focuses on places where you are more likely to encounter a blaster pistol or lightsabre, Toujane is instead most well-known as the site of a very real and sobering battle in World War II. It’s screen legacy is still strong, though you may have to expand your horizons to an altogether different universe – the sweeping landscape formed by the distinctive flat rooftops of the city was used as a location for the second Call of Duty game.

We bet you’ll hardly sleep tonight, though the beds are more comfortable than they appear on screen – because you’ll be excited to be staying at the Hotel Sidi Driss in Matmata, also known as the Star Wars Hotel, though you’ll know it better as the Lars Homestead. The interior of this centuries-old Berber homestead will be very familiar, and the Star Wars force here is very strong – the hotel retains most of the set decoration used in the movie and even offers up themed dinners with dishes (in the same dining room seen in the movie) that you never thought you’d see in three dimensions, let alone taste! Staying at this hotel is likely to be the biggest highlight of your Star Wars trip to Tunisia.

Race through the canyon of Sidi Bouhlel today on your way to Tozeur. The incredible red and orange hues of this natural sandstone ravine is instantly recognisable as the Jundland Wastes where R2-D2 was robot-napped and Luke Skywalker was rescued by Obi-Wan on the desert planet of Tatooine.

It seems the picturesque scenery here inspired George Lucas to return – eagle eyes might also notice some background shots from Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark.

Take some respite from battling galactic foes in the oasis of Tozeur, the gateway of the desert, once an important Numidian town on the ancient caravan route. Take a dip in one of the artesian wells that form the town’s oasis, and sample rich dates from one of the palms here that provide cooling shelter in the sweltering sands.

After basking in the serenity of the calming date palms, head outside the city to visit the nearby sets which took almost eight weeks of construction.

Walk across the salt lake of Chott El Djerid, which was used as the exterior of the Lars Homestead. The specially-constructed set sits salt-encrusted in the centre of the vast dry lake, which at more than one-and-a-half times the size of Utah’s Great Salt Lake is rumoured to be the largest of its kind on the African continent.

The mythology here is ancient as well as intergalactic, as the lake is believed to be the real-life location of Tritonis, the birthplace of the Greek goddess of wisdom and strategy, Athena.

Next up is the village of Nefta on the outskirts of the lake, an oasis town where the jewel in the crown is the Corbeille, a sunken date oasis. Explore the juxtaposed chaos and tranquillity of the oasis and the medina before catching views from the top of the distinctive camel head-shaped Ong Jmel, or Darth Maul’s lookout, on your way back to Tozeur.

Leave the Star Wars universe far, far behind today as Tozeur vanishes in the rear-view mirror of your ship as you travel cross-country to the town of El Jem, best-known for its incredibly intact Roman amphitheatre. Unique in Africa, the amphitheatre is one of the few remaining monuments of its kind from the Roman foray into North Africa and is one of the largest and best-preserved edifices from the days of the conquest.

Yes, you’ve also seen it on the big screen on films like Monty Python’s Life of Brian, the small screen as a location in the first series of The Amazing Race, and even in iconic advertisements, like the 1996 Nike commercial that brought a horde of football greats together to fight their own gladiatorial battle.

Step further back into the past in ancient Carthage, steeped in legacy from ancient Phoenicia to the noble Carthaginians and Roman conquest.

The site of one of the most important cities and seaports in the history of civilisation, Carthage’s huge network of archaeological sites of immense value and scope is yours to explore today, reflecting on stories both old and new that inspire heroic epics and brave heroes, from Dido to Luke Skywalker, Hannibal to Indiana Jones.

Whether their quests took place in ancient metropolises, storied ruins or outer space, there is no doubt that the magic of the Tunisian landscapes will serve as inspiration for scores of adventurers both fictional and real for generations to come.

Bid your newfound alliance farewell as your Star Wars trip to Tunisia comes to an end – for now. Return home, but carry with you the memories of your epic trip and a sense of hope for adventures yet to come, in another land far, far away.

Inclusions

  • 9-nights accommodation in traditional family owned hotels
  • Meals as specified in itinerary (B = Breakfast / L = Lunch / D = Dinner)
  • Flight from Tunis to Djerba in economy class
  • All entrance fees to sites mentioned in the itinerary
  • Services of your Inverted Atlas trip leader and local guides

Trip price does not include

  • International airfares
  • Airport transfers on arrival and departure
  • Visa for Tunisia (if required)
  • Any expenses associated with COVID-19
  • Meals not included as per trip itinerary including drinks and mini bar
  • Additional accommodation before or after the tour
  • Items of a personal nature including but not limited to laundry, souvenirs, porterage etc.
  • Travel insurance – please note comprehensive travel insurance is a condition of travel with Inverted Atlas
A Star Wars tour to Tunisia
Trip Map – A Sandpit Far, Far Away

Details

Duration: 10 Days

Trip style: Special Interest

Group size: Minimum 6 / Maximum 15

Trip code: SATT

Cost: $4850.00 AUD twin share

Single supplement: $665.00 AUD

Journey Rating – Journey

This Star Wars trip to Tunisia travels through a country somewhat accustomed to tourism. Tunisia is an Islamic country and women should consider dressing appropriately so as not to cause offense culturally and to avoid attracting unwanted attention, however there is no compulsory dress code. Toilets you encounter in public restrooms or in remote unscheduled stops along the way may be of the eastern ‘squat’ variety. There are some long travel days, but rest assured on arrival we will always be checking in to accommodation that is of a good standard. The weather in Tunisia can change rapidly depending on the area we are traveling through; the desert can be very cold at night and very hot during the day – so be sure to check your packing list and pack accordingly. Facilities such as pharmacies, banks and ATM’s can be found in large cities and towns but will be absent from smaller villages and remote places.

Any dietary requirements should not be an issue while traveling on this trip, provided they are disclosed to Inverted Atlas at the time of booking.

A note about fitness

The Star Wars trip to Tunisia requires a good level of physical fitness. You should be able to walk up to 4km at times and manage uneven surfaces during sightseeing, which will sometimes be at an incline. In addition, you should be able to climb up to 200 stairs unassisted and use an eastern style squat toilet (beware if you have knee issues).

You will need to be able to carry your own luggage to and from the coach and into the accommodation. (Due to OH&S regulations our trip leaders are not able to assist with luggage.)

In addition, you should be in good health, with no major chronic conditions requiring frequent medical attention. This trip often travels through remote locations where the availability of a hospital or even phone reception to call an ambulance is limited. While all our trip leaders are required to have a valid first aid certificate, they are far from doctors and any assistance they are able to provide will be limited to basic first aid. For more information please see our booking conditions.

Single supplement

Traveling by yourself? No problem, we love single travellers and don’t believe in penalising them by charging half the trip price again for our single supplement. With us you are only paying the actual cost to have a room all to yourself. If you’re up for making a new friend, you can elect to share with another single traveller of the same sex and only pay the twin-share price. The choice is yours!

Trip leader description

Accompanying you along your journey will be your Inverted Atlas trip leader. Your trip leader is a logistics extraordinaire, keeps the trip running smoothly and ensures you have the best time possible on your trip. It is important to know that while your trip leader has the best job in the world, they aren’t actually on holidays, but rather they are there to make sure you have the best time while you are on your holiday! Your trip leader may at times need some time out so that they can complete back of house tasks that ensure everyone continues to enjoy the trip. It is also your trip leaders’ job to handle any issues (heaven forbid!) that come up while you’re on your trip like:

  • If you lose your passport or other travel documents
  • If there is a problem with your room at the booked accommodation – seriously please tell your trip leader don’t wait until you leave
  • If you become unwell and need to find a pharmacy
  • Assisting with restaurant recommendations or additional sightseeing during free time
  • Questions regarding the itinerary

Your trip leader will have some good local knowledge about the destination in which you are traveling, however they are not a ‘local guide’. You’re welcome to ask your trip leader anything about the trip and if they don’t know they will find out and get back to you. Other people you will meet along the way are ‘local guides’ who are generally available to the group in specific towns or at specific sites like national parks, temples or archaeological sites. These people are the local experts and will be able to answer any questions you may have about the history and culture of a specific site.

Itinerary disclaimer

This itinerary is correct at the time of upload to our website and we have composed it in good faith. From time to time we may elect to make changes before departure, if we are making a big change we will of course notify you, however if it is a small change this will be reflected in the final trip notes. So, make sure you download these prior to departure. Small changes prior to departure are usually made with the groups best interests in mind and come about due to liaising with our best resources – our past travelers and of course our trip leaders! The ability to change and evolve depending on what our travelers enjoy is what makes us such a great trip operator.

While we strive to operate our trips exactly to the letter of the itinerary, sometimes we may need to make changes on the ground while the group is on the road. This is all part of the adventure of traveling and we would ask that you come on your trip with an open mind and a good sense of humour because as much as we want it to, everything doesn’t always go to plan. In fact, these impromptu situations often make the best stories that you can have a laugh with your friends about later.

Age requirements

Minimum Age: 16 years

There is no shared accommodation on this trip, and we will be traveling through a relatively well travelled part of the world, in this instance we would welcome everyone above the age of 16 years. Should you wish to bring younger children, please give us a call.

There is no upper age limit for this trip, but you should consider the above fitness requirements prior to booking. If you are 65 years or over, you will be asked to complete our Health Check Form and have your medical practitioner sign it to confirm you are in good health and able to participate safely on this trip.

Travel insurance

Please note that comprehensive travel insurance is a condition of travel with Inverted Atlas. Insurance must include provision for medical situations, emergency medical repatriation to your home country and personal liability at a minimum. Proof of valid travel insurance will be requested by your trip leader on arrival at the pre-departure meeting. Please have this paperwork available for them. If you are unable to provide proof of comprehensive travel insurance, you may not be allowed to join the trip and no refund will be payable.

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