Tour around Africa: Stage 17 - Sfax - Thyna (DTTX) to Tofeur - Nefta (DTTZ)
MS Flight Simulator VFR Flight Plan
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In this VFR - GPS Flight Plan we take off from the airport of Sfax - Thyna (DTTX)[Tunisia] and land in the airport of Tofeur - Nefta (DTTZ)[Tunisia], flying inland to the west towards the large salt lake of Chott el Djerid, passing by Gafsa.

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 Sfax - Thyna airport, flying to the west in an stormy day.

Sfax ; Arabic: صفاقس‎, romanized: Ṣafāqis Tunisian Arabic: [sˤfɑːqɛːs] is a city in Tunisia, located 270 km (170 mi) southeast of Tunis. The city, founded in AD 849 on the ruins of Roman Taparura, is the capital of the Sfax Governorate (about 955,421 inhabitants in 2014), and a Mediterranean port. Sfax has a population of 330,440 (census 2014). The main economic activities of Sfax are industries (phosphate processing), agriculture (olive and olive oil, nuts), fishing (largest fishing port in Tunisia) and trade (import-export). The city is often described as Tunisia's "second city", being the second-most populous city after the capital Tunis. (*1)

Flying to the west over the farmlands.

Leaving the Djebel Biadha mountain (1121 m. high) to the left.

Approaching the cities of Ksar and Gafsa, leaving its airport (DTTF) to the left.

Overflying the city of Gafsa and the lake that suddenly appeared around the city in 2014

Gafsa (Tunisian Arabic: ڨفصة‎ Gafsˤa; Arabic: قفصة‎ qafṣah), originally called Capsa in Latin, is the capital of Gafsa Governorate of Tunisia. It lends its Latin name to the Mesolithic Capsian culture. With a population of 105,264, Gafsa is the 9th-largest Tunisian city and it is 335 kilometers away from the capital Tunis.

Phosphate mines were discovered in 1886, and Gafsa today is home to one of the largest mines of phosphate in the world. In the Second World War, Gafsa suffered heavy bombardment from both the German and Italian side and the Allies. Part of its Kasbah was destroyed. On 27 January 1980, a group of dissidents armed and trained by Libya occupied the city to contest the régime of Habib Bourguiba. 48 people were killed in the battles.

The Gafsa region has had an active political voice throughout its history, and various events there have shaped its political developments in the various phases of modern Tunisia. In 2008, Gafsa was the center of riots directed against the government of President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali. The government was swift and brutal in its suppression of the uprising, but this movement has since been credited with sowing the first seeds of the Jasmine Revolution that removed Zine El Abidine Ben Ali from power three years later, igniting the Arab Spring across much of North Africa and the Middle East.

In 2014, a lake suddenly appeared around 25 kilometers from the town. The cause of the lake's formation is currently unknown (*1)

Leaving Gafsa and Ksar behind.

Crossing a large desert area (Parc National de Dghoumès) flying towards Tozeur.

The Parc National de Dghoumès (Arabic: الحديقة الوطنية دغومس) is a national park in Tunisia located in the governorate of Tozeur. This 80 km2 park was created on March 29, 2010 and it is managed by the Ministry of Agriculture.

Its mission is to protect an ecosystem representative of the Tunisian Sahara. There are plants characteristic of arid environments including tamarisk (Tamarix sp.), Thymelia hirsuta and Retama raetam. The restoration of the plant cover, in particular the steppe planted with Acacia tortilis, seems to be on the right track.

On the other hand, the park is home to a diverse fauna including the desert hedgehog (Paraechinus aethiopicus), golden jackal (Canis aureus), wild cat (Felis silvestris), sand cat (Felis margarita), gambra partridge, the golden eagle (Aquila chrysaetos) and some species of reptiles.  (*1)

Reaching 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)

Approaching the city of Tozeur

Tozeur (Arabic: توزر‎  Tūzer; Berber language: ⵜⵓⵣⴻⵔ; romanized: Tūzer) is a city in southwest Tunisia. The city is located northwest of Chott el Djerid, in between this Chott and the smaller Chott el Gharsa. It is the capital of Tozeur Governorate. It was the site of the ancient city and former bishopric Tusuros, which remains a Latin Catholic titular see.

During the Roman Empire and the Byzantine Empire and in the Vandal Kingdom, Tozeur was the site of Tusuros, in the Roman province of Byzacena (originally part of Africa Proconsularis). (*1)

Flying over the Chott el Djerid salt lake

Passing over the town of Nefta right before landing in its near airport

Nefta (or Nafta) is a Tunisian municipality and an oasis in Tozeur Governorate north of the Chott el Djerid.

Nefta is believed to have been settled originally by shepherds who came from the kingdom of Napata. The Romans and later the Byzantines built forts in the oasis (Nepte) to provide protection against raids by desert nomads. In Byzantine times Nefta and Tozeur were episcopal sees. In the mid-7th century Nefta was conquered by the Arabs and, in spite of fierce resistance, converted to Islam. A Christian community was however recorded as late as 1194

In subsequent centuries Nefta prospered as an important staging-point for caravans (for a time the most important in Tunisia). Its decline began in the 15th century as a result of more frequent raids by nomadic tribes and the general falling off in the caravan trade. With the coming of the French in 1881, however, Nefta experienced a renewal.

The salt-flats near Nefta were used as a filming location for the Star Wars saga in the late 20th century.  (*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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