Tour around Africa: Stage 18 - Tofeur - Nefta (DTTZ) to Djerba - Zarzis (DTTJ)
MS Flight Simulator VFR Flight Plan
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In this VFR - GPS Flight Plan we take off from the airport of Tofeur - Nefta (DTTZ) [Tunisia] and land in the airport of Djerba - Zarzis (DTTJ) [Tunisia], first flying SE crossing the Chott el Djerid salt lake and the Sahara desert, passing by Chenini and Tatahoine, and then north to the island of Djerba.

Find below a short extract and screenshots of the main points of the route. In this journey around Africa I have used the Cessna 172S (Skyhawk)

Take off from Tofeur - Nefta airport, flying to the SE in an clear day.

Tozeur–Nefta International Airport (French: Aéroport International de Tozeur–Nefta, Arabic: مطار توزر نفطة الدولي‎) (IATA: TOE, ICAO: DTTZ) is an airport serving Tozeur in Tunisia (*1)

Flying to the SE soon we get to the shore of the Chott el Djerid salt lake.

Chott el Djerid (Arabic: شط الجريد‎ Šoṭṭ el-Jarīd) also spelled Sciott Gerid and Shott el Jerid, is a large endorheic salt lake in southern Tunisia. The name can be translated from the Arabic into English as "Lagoon of the Land of Palms"

The bottom of Chott el Djerid is located between 10 and 25 meters (about 30 to 80 feet) below sea level. The lake's width varies widely; at its narrowest point, it is only 20 km (12 mi) across, compared to its overall length of 250 km (160 mi). At times, parts of it appear in various shades of white, green and purple. The narrow eastward inlet of the chott is also known as Chott el Fejej.

It is the largest salt pan of the Sahara Desert, with a surface area of over 7,000 km2 (some sources state 5,000 km2). The site has a typical hot desert climate. Due to the harsh climate with mean annual rainfall of below 100 mm and daytime temperatures sometimes reaching 50 °C (122 °F) or more during summer with dense solar radiation, water evaporates from the lake. In summer Chott el Djerid is almost entirely dried up, and numerous fata morganas occur. Situated at 33 ° 42'N 8 ° 26'E in the center-west of the country, between the cities of Tozeur and Kebili.

During winter, a small tributary of water can be seen discharging into the lake.

Because the flooded area is very variable, values presented for the area of the lake (or its basin, which is almost always dry), can vary widely. Some sources provide values as high as 10,000 km². Similarly, figures given for altitude vary between 10 meters above and 25 meters below sea level.

Currently, freshwater irrigation schemes are being applied in the region to help eliminate salt from soils and increase the productive area. (*1)

Flying over the Chott el Djerid salt lake.

Reaching the opposite shore of the lake.

Overflying the town of Douz and the palm trees.

Douz (Arabic: دوز‎ ) is a town in the Kebili Governorate in the south of Tunisia, known as the "gateway to the Sahara." By road it is located 31 kilometres (19 mi) southwest of Blidet, 125 kilometres (78 mi) southeast of Tozeur, and 475 kilometres (295 mi) south of the Tunisian capital of Tunis.

It has been called the "ultimate palm oasis", because it has over 500,000 palm trees in the area, and it is a major producer of "diglat noor" dates. In previous times it was an important stop on the trans-Saharan caravan routes. Today, it is a destination for tourists who are interested in seeing the desert, and a starting point for desert treks by camel, motorcycle, or four-wheel-drive vehicle.  (*1)

Leaving Douz behind. The Chott el Djerid lake can still be seen in the horizon.

Continuing SE we begin to understand why Douz is called the gate of the Sahara.  The immensity and loneliness of the desert is overwhelming. Soon we'll overfly the Jebil National Park.

Jebil is a national park in Tunisia situated within the Sahara desert. Covering an area of 150,000 hectares, it is the country's second-largest national park, after Senghar-Jebbes National Park. Though large, it is relatively new having been designated a national park in 1994 (unofficially since 1984). Until Senghar-Jebbes was declared, it was the only national park within the Sahara desert proper.

Jebil National Park is located 80 km south of Douz. Its vegetation includes desert shrubs like the Calligonum which are common in regions inhabited by gazelle, hare and horn viper. It also includes the daisy flowering plant Rhanterium. The park has guarded shelters for tourists who frequent the area (guards are stationed throughout the park). Research also takes place in the park, since the site is home to a number of prehistoric artifacts which are studied to learn about the different stages of human history from the Holocene up to World War II. The park covers nearly the entire Grand Erg Oriental within Tunisia.

In the western portion, there are 'gigantic boulders' which were formed through weathering of plutonic rocks.   (*1)

Never-ending Sahara desert while continuing towards Chenini.

Ground rises while getting closer to Chenini

Approaching Chenini.

Chenini (Arabic: شنيني‎) is a ruined Berber village in the Tataouine district in southern Tunisia. Located on a hilltop near a modern village of the same name, Chenini was a fortified granary, or ksar (plural ksour.) Like other ksour created by North African Berber communities, Chenini was built on a hilltop - in this instance, between two hilltop ridges - to help protect it from raiding parties. The oldest structures on the hillside date back to the 12th century; some of the buildings are still used to store grain for the villagers living in the valley below. Chenini is a regular stop on southern Tunisia's ksar trail, along with the villages of Douiret, Ksar Ouled Soltane and Ksar Hadada.

Chenini and the surrounding Tataouine district are also associated with the Star Wars film series. Many scenes for the movies were filmed in the area; one of the moons of the home planet of Luke Skywalker was named Chenini. (*1)

Passing over the city of Tatahouine where we turn to the north.

Tataouine (Berber languages: Tiṭṭawin; Arabic: تطاوين‎) is a city in southern Tunisia. It is the capital of the Tataouine Governorate. The below-ground "cave dwellings" of the native Berber population, designed for coolness and protection, render the city and the area around it a tourist and film makers' attraction.

From 1892 to 1951, Tataouine was the garrison town of the French penal military unit known as the "Battalion of Light Infantry of Africa". After the French established the town, a mosque (built in 1898) and homes were built in Tataouine.

On June 27, 1931, a meteorite of unusual achondrite type and green color impacted at Tataouine; about 12 kg of fragments were found. The meteorite consists largely of the mineral enstatite, and is of the rare Diogenite type.

In March 2015, it was briefly reported that ISIL was using Tataouine as a military base, but later these claims were denied by the Tunisian government as false.

In September 2016, a new oil field was found south of the town by the Italian company Eni.  (*1)

Continuing to the north we fly over the city of Medinine. Notice the shore of the Mediterranean see becoming visible in the horizon.

Medenine (Arabic: مدنين‎ Mednin) is the major town in south-eastern Tunisia, 77 kilometres (48 mi) south of the port of Gabès and the Island of Djerba, on the main route to Libya. It is the capital of Medenine Governorate.

In pre-colonial times, Medenine was already the most important trading centre in the south, attracting merchants from all over North Africa and even from Bornu, to the south of the Sahara. The Ksar housed the central granaries of the various nomadic Berber tribes of the region.

The area was the scene of an unsuccessful German counter-attack by General Erwin Rommel as part of Operation Capri during March 1943 against British Eighth Army forces. The Battle of Medenine was Rommel's last engagement in Africa before he was replaced by General Hans-Jürgen von Arnim as commander of the Afrika Korps. (*1)

After reaching the Mediterranean cost we continue the flight towards the close island of Djerba.

Final approach to the island of Djerba and its Zarzis airport.

Djerba (/ˈdʒɜːrbə, ˈdʒɛərbə/; Arabic: جربة‎, romanized: Jirba IPA: [ˈʒɪrbæ] ), Italian: Meninge or Girba, also transliterated as Jerba or Jarbah, is a 514 square kilometers (198 sq mi) Tunisian island and the largest island of North Africa, located in the Gulf of Gabès, off the coast of Tunisia. It had a population of 139,544 at the 2004 Census which rose to 163,726 at the 2014 Census. Citing the long and unique Jewish minority's history Djerba has had in the past, Tunisia has sought UNESCO World Heritage status protections for the island.

Legend has it that Djerba was the island of the lotus-eaters where Odysseus was stranded on his voyage through the Mediterranean sea. The tradition of the Jewish minority of Djerba says in the year 586 BC, some of the Israelite temple priests who were able to escape the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple there, settled in Djerba; an unusually high percentage of Jews on the island to this day maintain family status of the priestly caste, and a genetic link has been confirmed by DNA testing.

The island, was called Meninx (Ancient Greek: Μῆνιγξ) until the third century AD. Strabo writes that there was an altar of the Odysseus.

The island had three principal towns. One of these, whose modern name is Būrgū, is found near Midoun in the center of the island. Another city, on the southeast coast of the island at Meninx, was a major producer of priceless murex dye, and is cited by Pliny the Elder as second only to Tyre in this regard. A third important town was the ancient Haribus. The island was densely inhabited in the Roman and Byzantine periods, and probably imported much of the grain consumed by its inhabitants. The island appears in the 13th century (with possible 4th century origins) Peutinger Map. (*1)

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(*1) Credits: The descriptive texts are mainly an excerpt of those provided by Wikipedia. Visit Wikipedia to read the full descriptions.

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