Jebil National Park is Tunisia’s largest national park and is located in the vast and mysterious Sahara desert. The park takes up a significant portion of the southern part of the country. Endless desert punctuated by hardy shrubs and rolling weathered boulders (western sector) defines the landscape. Jebil was set-up as a national park to protect the Dorcas gazelle and addax, the main two desert-dwelling species. Both of these species have adapted to this hardy desert environment.
The main attraction of the park is the luxury 4WD excursions. These exciting tours include nights are spent in Bedouin tents, soaking up the serenity of the Sahara. The nomadic lifestyle of the Sahara is the only true way to experience this desolate paradise. Adventurers can expect to see iconic images of camels sailing across romantic desert landscapes.
The Jebil National Park desert is a remote area, and there is no easy access from the capital city of Tunis. The closest big tourist town is Gabès, which is situated on the coast. Getting to this desert area is an expedition, and requires a few hours drive from either Gabès or Tunis.
The reason this southern part of Tunisia became a protected national park was to preserve the rare endemic Barbary sheep and Dorcas gazelle populations. As well as caravans of camels, the park houses dense populations of the fennel fox, hares and jackal. The western sector, with its bouldered terrain, provides the perfect conditions for reptiles. One of the more commonly spotted snakes of the area is the deadly horned viper.
Birds that have adapted to survive in this environment include ravens and bustards. Larks are also commonly spotted.
June to August is excessively hot and dry. The temperatures soar during this time of year. April is the most moderate time of year to visit. Visitors can expect warm sunny days and cooler evenings.
The national park is not on the tourist map but does boast a remarkable stark beauty worth exploring. Die-hard explorers need permission from caretakers to access the park if discovering the area on their own. A small museum based at the entrance of the park introduces visitors to the history and wildlife of the area.
Scheduled 4WD vehicle treks into the desert with overnighting in Bedouin tents under the star-spangled sky is the most popular activity in the Sahara. These luxury tours normally last for a few days and are the best way of exploring this unchartered environment. An opportunity for travellers to enjoy a complete Lawrence of Arabia adventure!
Visitors can enjoy camel rides through the desert while trying to spot the rare Barbary sheep and gazelle.
Beautiful Bedouin tents furnished in rich Arabian style decor provide the perfect retreat in the heart of the desert. Staying inside the park requires a pre-organised 4WD excursion, and all excursions are luxurious. A Bedouin tent stay comes with luxury four-course dinners and gourmet breakfasts.
On the fringe of the park, there are a few beautifully appointed desert lodges and hotels. These hotels incorporate a small garden oasis with swimming pools surrounded by desert palms. Most accommodation options are designed to look like luxury desert retreats.