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Tunisia Driving Guide

Tunisia is a unique beautiful country. Explore all of it by driving when you get your International Driving Permit

2021-08-02 · 9 min.

Tunisia remains an undervalued country despite the world-class destinations laid out to all visitors and tourists. It has vast terrains and rich history, all inside a small region on the African continent. You get to see and experience an exotic journey with just a few days, give and take. In most cases, people want to look around Morocco or Egypt, but you might get surprised if you give this foreign nation a go on your bucket list.

How Will This Guide Help You?

It doesn’t cost you much to know and be familiar with the country you’ll be visiting later on. This guide has comprehensive information on the land, obtaining an International Driver’s Permit, driving in Tunisia, rules and road conditions, as well as the top destinations you must visit once you safely arrive.

General Information

Tunisia, known as the Republic of Tunisia, is located along the Mediterranean coastlines and is considered the smallest North African region. With the south’s arid desert dunes to the north’s turquoise waters, Tunisia is one of those underrated countries that tourists and travelers fail to recognize past the other neighboring states. The country’s new tourism makes it more exciting to discover, maybe on foot or by car.

Geographic Location

Libya borders Tunisia in the southeast, Algeria to the west, and the Mediterranean Sea in the north. Its geographical coordinates are 34 00 N, 9 00 E, and are composed of mountain ranges extending to the Sahara desert. Tunis, the country’s capital, has an estimated population of over 11 million inhabitants that keeps the city bustling every day.

The country has dramatic landscapes and human-made wonders that are well-maintained even up to this date. You can experience temperate, rainy winters in the northern part while hot, dry summers throughout the south due to dunes’ layers. Jebel ech Chambi is the highest point of the region at 1,544 m and can find other corners to discover and delve into that you’ll surely love.

Languages Spoken

Arabic is the official language in Tunisia. 98% of the total population speaks Arabic, used in educational institutions, commerce, hospitals, and general communication. French is also used in the country but mostly in businesses and trade concerns. English and Italian are hardly spoken; however, they are only utilized during formal conversations.

Almost all of the Tunisians are Arabs or Berber, while the remaining are Christians, Jewish, and Shia Muslims. Since it is a Muslim country, tourists and travelers need to consider their beliefs and practices within the region’s borders. If you are near the sacred and religious buildings, try to lower your voice and not offend their praying hours. Female visitors are also encouraged to wear decent clothes while in the city streets and even rural places.

Land Area

Tunisia has a total land area of 163,610 km². It has both mountainous regions, sandy beaches, and deserts wide enough that you can’t see the end of it. The country’s northern and southern areas are contrary to each other in terms of climate, landforms, and offered tourist spots. In comparison, Tunisia is slightly larger than the state of Georgia.

History

The history of Tunisia can be traced as early as the 8th century where the Phoenicians founded Carthage. Still, the Berber tribes were the first settlers in the century when recorded history began. Carthage was one of the dominant civilizations in history while fighting against the Romans until the city was defeated in 146 BC.

The area was under the Romans for 500 years. Later on, the Arab-Muslims conquered Tunisia in the 7th century. They brought with them their culture and religion, Islam that is still practiced presently. The Ottoman empire squeezed in the picture in the 16th century, but the Arab folkways remained in the citizens’ hearts. In 1881, the French took over the land until the country gained its independence in 1956.

Government

Tunisia is a democratic republic country. The president acts as the chief of state. Simultaneously, the Prime Minister will oversee and operate as the government’s head with a unicameral legislature impacted by the French civil law. As a democratic region, the government is divided into three branches: the executive, legislative, and judicial.

Today, Tunisia is a member of the Arab League, European Union (EU), African Union, and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation. Their close ties with the United States and other countries in Europe have made their economy progressive year after year. The region has benefited well from these relations to make the nation even better. Its development is not just for the citizens but also the tourists and travelers too.

Tourism

Over 5 million tourists landed in Tunisia in 2019. A report from the Minister of Tourism Rene Trabelsi said that it is a 15.6% increase compared to the data gathered in 2018. The country has a diversified economy, and tourism plays a vital role in pulling tourists across the globe to visit the destinations found in its major cities and reserved places.

The tourism sector has been dramatically affected by the terrorist attacks in 2015. it resulted in a downward projection from the tourists coming in and out of the country. Now, the Tunisian government is doing its best to make a safe space for tourists and travelers. You can safely tour around the capital and much of the north of the country. Simultaneously, the southern and western parts are still grounds for possible terrorism and military operations.

International Driver’s Permit FAQs

Getting around Tunisia can be done in two ways: hiring a war or riding public transportation. Diverse travelers have their distinct approaches when touring a particular area or place. That is why if you choose to commute your route towards the destination, expect to ride at least two or three transports. But riding public transportation is easy and convenient as you will have no problem finding one in the city streets.

If you plan to go by car, there are many things to consider here. Foreign travelers commonly ask if driving in Tunisia is dangerous, and it’s perfectly normal to know the situation beforehand. An International Driver’s Permit is a document you should prepare before searching and hiring a private vehicle online. Here’s what you need to keep in mind when acquiring an IDP for when you travel in the region

Is A Local Driver’s License Valid in Tunisia?

Your native driver’s license is valid in the region for one year. A driving license in Tunisia shouldn’t be necessary if you’re just planning to stay for a couple of days or a week. However, foreign drivers must acquire an International Driver’s Permit even though their native driver’s licenses are valid. Moreover, most car rental companies need this permit before hiring a car and taking it with you on your travel.

Does an International Driver’s Permit Replace a Native Driver’s License?

Upon obtaining an International Driver’s Permit, it will act as a supporting document, and it will not replace your existing license. Your local driver’s license should be valid and not suspended, restricted, or canceled from your country of residence. This way, you can apply for an International Driver’s Permit with ease.

When driving in Tunisia, provinces and cities within the borders have random checkpoints installed or police roving in the streets to check your official papers. It is imperative to secure an International Driver’s Permit which you can procure online at the International Driver’s Association. Get more information on the pricing page of the website and check out what options suit your needs.

Who Can Apply for an International Driver’s Permit?

Any foreign driver can apply for an International Driver’s Permit. One should be a holder of a legal driver’s license issued by your country of residence and doesn’t suffer any illness or disease that makes you ineligible to drive abroad. Driving to Tunisia wouldn’t be possible if you have an expired license and incomplete requirements consequent to your arrival in the region. Also, this procedure applies to bordering countries that wish to enter the country as well.

Who Needs an International Driver’s Permit?

If you’re intending on driving in Tunisia now, then you will need an International Driver’s Permit to gain that privilege. The government has strict regulations for local and foreign drivers without adequate credentials on hand. If you’re caught getting the wheels without an IDP, you will face corrective actions and other violations relating to your reckless behavior.

Even if your local driver’s license is valid to use within the country, an International Driver’s Permit is as vital as your license when driving in Tunisia. The zip code you provided while filling out the form will be used should there be an incident where you misplaced or lost your International Driver’s Permit while roaming the region.

How Long is an International Driver’s Permit Valid?

Before you procure an International Driver’s Permit, every foreign driver must make sure that their local driver’s licenses have not expired and are usable for the period they’re in a particular state. IDPs have different validity that will depend on how long you will use them. One can acquire a one-year valid International Driver’s Permit or until three years of usage. This setup would be beneficial if you’re driving in Tunisia city and municipalities for a long-term course.

Renting a Car in Tunisia

Tunisia’s road structures make it uncomplicated for drivers to wander the major cities and rural routes connected to each other. Whether you’re riding a motorcycle or a 4-wheeled vehicle, you’ll find driving in Tunisia fun and interesting. Alongside it, public transportation can also get you to your desired destination within minutes - depends on how far this tourist spot is.

Renting a car in the region should be planned way before your travel date. You need to consider a few things concerning hiring private vehicles, so you have flexibility in your time. Now, here’s what you need to know about renting cars in Tunisia.

Car Rental Companies

You can book a car online or get one once you arrive at the airport. There are car rental companies scattered everywhere to make your driving experience in Tunisia enthralling, especially in Tunis. Companies such as SGF Car Rent, Europcar, Budget, and Sixt are just some of your choices which you can also visit personally later on. You can locate them at:

  • SGF Car Rent - Best Rate and Cheapest Deal
    45 Avenue Alain Savary
    Aeroport Tunis Carthage
  • Budget
    10 Avenue Kherreddine Pacha
    Aeroport Tunis-Carthage
  • Sixt
    Arrival Hall in Tunis
    Charguia 2
    Ghana Street 05
    Sunnycars
  • Europcar - Most Popular
    8 Rue Des Entrepreneurs
    Aeroport Tunis Carthage
  • Avis
    Terminal Building in Tunis
    Zone Industrielle Charguia
  • Sunnycars
    10, Ave. Kheireddine Pacha
    45, Avenue Alain Savary
    8 Rue Des Entrepreneurs

SGF Car Rent has the cheapest deal out of all the car rental companies situated in the region, around $24 per day. The second most rated is Europcar that costs $45 per day. Budget and Sixt are $42 per day, while Avis’ car rental rates start at $62 per day. If you need further information about these companies, you can browse their websites online and find a good deal that fits your liking and budget.

Documents Required

Every foreign driver should arrange the complete documents as required by the Tunisian government. You must have a valid local driver’s license accompanied by an International Driver’s Permit issued by an accredited company. A passport or any ID to verify your identity is also essential for submitting your chosen car rental company’s specifications.

Tourists and travelers are advised that you are still expected to bring these documents when driving in Tunisia during summer. There has been a slight increase in incoming passengers via air travel and visitors from bordering countries. Following the protocol will give you unassailable passage towards the country’s borders.

Vehicle Types

There are diverse vehicle types to choose from if you know what exactly you are looking for. Tunisia is a mix of Mediterranean ambiance and scorching dunes, and you’ve got to choose the best car that can withstand the circumstances.

There are Economy cars, pickup trucks, SUVs, and luxury vehicles that differ in price, precision, and performance. Now that you know where to locate local car rental companies, it will help you choose and decide when driving in Tunisia. A map or a travel brochure can be your best friend in navigating the primary and secondary roads.

Car Rental Cost

The usual car rental cost depends on the vehicle type you choose. Car renters are advised to book a car a week before your trip, so you can get a below-average price compared to acquiring it a few days or even on your travel date. Compiled below are some car types you can easily rent in the region.

  • Economy - $29/day
    Can fit: 2 people, 2 bags
  • Compact - $27/day
    Can fit: 4 adults, 2 bags
  • Intermediate - $38/day
    Can fit: 5 adults, 3 bags
  • Standard - $66/day
    Can fit: 5 adults, 3 bags
  • Mini - $26/day
    Can fit: 2 adults, 2 bags
  • Supplier Choice - $34/day
    Can fit: 5 adults, 5 bags
  • Standard SUV - $70/day
    Can fit: 5 adults, 3 bags

You can always get a good deal when you book a vehicle online instead of getting one at the airport. Economy cars are 45% cheaper than other car types found in the area, so if you’re on a tight budget, you can refer to it and decide afterward. Before you start driving in Tunisia, tips and other valuable information can be obtained from the car rental company. You can ask them questions about the car and how to take care of it while on use.

Age Requirements

You must be at least 18 years old to operate a registered vehicle in the region entirely. But the legal driving age in Tunisia is different when renting a car, particularly for foreign travelers. One can rent a car at the age of 21 years old; however, car rental companies require an underage surcharge fee for drivers who are 25 years old and below. The charge differs from every company, so you can clarify it before booking and finalizing your plan.

Car Insurance Cost

Getting car insurance is one of the essential things to do as you go around the country’s major routes and outland streets. Car insurance cost depends on the company, but you can spot similar offers if you try to compare them from each other. It is a strict precondition to all foreign nationals when you drive and stay in Tunisia.

Typically, it has third-party liability coverage covering the expenses of a car collision accident where other people and vehicles are damaged. You can also add Roadside Cover Assistance (RCA) at $10 to $15 per day or Super Collision Damage Waiver (SCDW) that costs $30 to $45 per day. Your car rental company should disclose the policy for car insurance personally so you can clear things up once you sign the agreement.

Car Insurance Policy

When renting cars abroad, one thing to remember is the government’s insurance policy and safety regulation and the car rental company’s initiative. Great insurance deals might entice you to sign up and get started with it, though you have to reassess and think about what you will need specifically for your travel.

You can get a Loss Damage Waiver (LDW) or a Full Protection covering almost everything, including car accident-related fees. Many companies are operating in major cities such as Kairouan, Sfax, Sousse, and Tunis. Furthermore, you should get a hold of an International Driver’s Permit to get the most of the privileges when driving in Tunisia. Updates and statuses of IDPs are accommodated should you leave a message through chat or phone call.

Road Rules in Tunisia

Each country has distinct road rules, but some of them are similar to each other if you’ve been driving abroad for quite some time now. These rules and regulations are implemented to promote public safety and awareness for drivers and pedestrians. As long as people adhere to them, it can minimize road accidents and other unfortunate situations.

These driving rules in Tunisia are enforced with diverse traffic road signages that will direct you to your destination if you get lost to a few unfamiliar routes along the way. Some of them might be familiar to you, especially if you’re an experienced driver. Now, here’s what you need to know about the traffic rules of the region.

Important Regulations

Tunisia’s traffic rules are much more derived from Southern Europe than that of North Africa. It is imperative to know them as you are only a country’s visitor, and violating the ordinances will get you into serious trouble. It indeed pays well to be familiar as you navigate your way to your landing-place.

Drunk-driving

A 2018 World Health Organization (WHO) data shows that road traffic accidents rank #7 as one of the leading causes of death, notably negligent driving in Tunisia. Statistics recently have recorded fewer fatalities concerning drinking and driving, wherein the inhabitants’ religion and upbringing have influenced these numbers.

The region has a zero-tolerance policy on drinking and driving, and it also applies to foreign nationals who wish to drive abroad. Being a Muslim country, Tunisia has strict rules on drunk-driving because even drinking in public can be subject to arrest and a jail term depending on the jury’s verdict. As much as possible, prevent yourself from drinking alcohol when visiting the country.

The use of mobile phones

You cannot use your mobile phones while driving in any road type unless you’re in a hands-free mode. Highways and city streets might get hectic, so you need undivided attention on the road at all times. Some local drivers abruptly overtake and disregard the lanes, and thus, one should need to be extra careful.

Driving in Tunisia

The driving age in Tunisia is firmly adhered to by the locals because, in general, most of the citizens do respect the road rules. Tailgating and the use of vehicle horns are rare in the region as you have to keep them low and use them in case of emergency and other urgent matters.

If you drive to the southern part of the country, expect that some roads are unpaved, so you will cross the sandy routes to go to your destination. It doesn’t pose any threat or significant downside, and it will not cost you anything if you drive when venturing the rough roads and use a vehicle that can get through these types of byways.

Documents needed

There are checkpoints and numerous police roadblocks installed, but they rarely stop foreign drivers from checking their papers. Your local driver’s license should have a supporting document such as an International Driver’s Permit as well as your car insurance papers. Bear in mind that the police may or may not check your records but if they do, just do what they instruct you to do to avert any misunderstanding or inconvenience on both parties.

Parking

A part of driving to Tunisia is how and where to park safely in major cities and municipalities. There are many places for you to park your vehicle for free. But note that leaving it in places where thieves can break into your car and steal valuable things inside, it’s better to get a paid parking, especially an attended one.

The authorities could tow your car if you parked it in a dangerous place or on an avenue where it can cause severe traffic. To make your driving experience in Tunisia hassle and worry-free, do not leave your things like your mobile phone, wallet, camera, and jewelry inside the car. Also, paid parking is inexpensive even in bustling cities so take advantage of it rather than leaving your vehicle outside and unsupervised.

General Standards of Driving

Tunisia’s standards of driving are either followed or subtly neglected by local drivers. Accidents happen because traffic offenders make it a habit to overtake without prior notice and tend to over-speed on highways. These general protocols will ensure a safe passage for locals and foreign drivers who will use the road any time of the day. Here are the general standards of driving in Tunisia: tips and other traffic rules to keep in mind.

Speed Limits

Speed limits differ in different states and nations. One way to keep drivers from possible accidents is to implement a designated speed limit depending on what road type you’re using. Typically, the government can enforce them, and the citizens are expected to observe these regulated limits.

Speed limits differ in different states and nations. One way to keep drivers from possible accidents is to implement a designated speed limit depending on what road type you’re using. Typically, the government can enforce them, and the citizens are expected to observe these regulated limits.

Seatbelt Laws

Driving rules in Tunisia cover the seat belt laws imposed within the borders. You are required to wear seatbelts, especially if you’re the one operating the vehicle. All passengers should do the same while the car is moving. Children under 12 years old are not allowed to sit in front, and passengers who are seven years old below should have a child seat installed at the rear of the vehicle. All should remain in their respective chairs not unless you arrived at your destination.

Driving Directions

If this is your first time driving in Tunisia, a map would be beneficial as you navigate the roads towards your next stop. Utilizing a mobile application such as Google Maps or Waze would do the trick should you have a reliable internet or data connection. Watch out for roundabouts, crossing pedestrians, and single-lane main roads. Moreover, the distances between major cities are as follows:

  • Tunis to Djerba - 480 KM
  • Tunis to Sousse – 140KM
  • Sousse to Sfax - 130KM
  • Sfax to Gabes – 140KM
  • Gabes to Djerba – 105KM
  • Gabes to Tataouine – 122KM
  • Sfax to Gafsa – 195KM
  • Tunis to Kairouan – 155KM
  • Tunis to Tabarka – 175KM
  • Tunis to Tozeur - 430KM
  • Gabes to Tozeur - 240KM

Traffic Road Signs

Primary and secondary roads won’t be complete without any traffic road signs installed on the side. If you’re driving in Tunisia city, signages can be abundant. Still, as you go along the outskirts of the megalopolitan streets, you’ll find fewer road signs, but it will not make your road trip experience any less fun.

These signages are mostly Roman and Arabic, so it will not be hard for you to read them. The typical traffic signages you can spot are:

Warning Signs

  • Sharp curve to the right
  • Pedestrian crossing
  • Left turn
  • T intersection
  • Yield ahead
  • Winding road left ahead
  • Merging traffic ahead
  • Crossroad ahead

Regulatory Signs

  • Stop sign
  • No trucks
  • Do not enter
  • No parking
  • No left turn
  • On way road
  • No U-turn
  • Truck weight limit

Pedestrians and Bicycle Signs

  • No pedestrians
  • Bike lane ahead
  • No bicycles
  • Bike lane ends
  • Yield here to pedestrians
  • Slippery when wet (bicycle)
  • Bicycle parking
  • School crosswalk

Other Common Signs

  • Parking lot sign
  • Road to nowhere
  • Roundabout ahead
  • Street bump "Camel Back"
  • Absolutely no parking and waiting
  • Prohibition to transport dangerous goods

Right of Way

The right of way is supposed to be given to the vehicles joining from the right, but it gets complicated when you reach roundabouts. Driving in Tunisia is dangerous only if you ignore the road and the cars around you. To make sure you’re doing the right thing, you can slow down and try to make eye contact with your fellow drivers to confirm if it’s okay to proceed and start moving.

Comparable to other neighboring states, the driving age in Tunisia is 18 years old. From there, you can apply for a driving license in Tunisia and enroll in a local driving school near you. Driver’s license holders are expected to know the basic road rules and understand the government’s traffic signs.

But if you’re asking about the legal age for renting cars, then the driving age in Tunisia is 21 years old. One must possess a local driver’s license for at least one year; however, car rental companies will require an underage surcharge fee for foreign drivers 25 years old and below. If you’re willing to pay the fee, you can arrange it properly, but other options can be laid out should you need them to actualize your travel plan.

Laws on Overtaking

Tunisia’s law on overtaking is simple: if you’re driving on the right lane, then you can overtake on the left. Do not attempt to overtake if you’re on the left lane and planning to overtake using the other side of the road. If there are oncoming vehicles ahead, just stay in your lane until the road is free to execute overtaking.

Hand signals are also common in the region. Most of the local drivers use it when turning left or right, and you might get confused at first glance. If you don’t know what gesture it is, you can allow a safe distance between you and the vehicle in front of you. Also, you can take time learning the hand signals if you plan to stay longer in Tunisia.

Driving Side

If you’re driving in Tunisia now, you should always use the right lane. It is intended for drivers who don’t want to overtake or operate at a slower pace. Foreign nationals who are used to driving on the left side may find it hard to adjust, but as you go along and consistently use the right lane, you’ll eventually get the hang of it.

The government mandates the driving side, so every road user should drive on the right side. If you’re caught using the wrong lane or violated the overtaking protocol, your license might get suspended, or worse; the authorities will revoke your privilege to drive anywhere in the country.

Driving Etiquette in Tunisia

One driving etiquette that every driver should keep in mind is always to treat drivers the way you want to be treated. It is a fundamental principle that should be practiced if you’re driving abroad and getting along with new people. Knowing them would save you from future trouble, so here are some situations that you might encounter on the road and how to correctly address them head-on.

Car Breakdown

Statistics say that there are 69 million car breakdowns in the United States alone per year. Car breakdowns happen on rare occasions, but older vehicles tend to break down more than recently released cars. There are many reasons why a car breaks down, but the most common cause is a faulty battery; the reason why your vehicle suddenly stops along the way.

If you’re a traveler who’s driving in Tunisia province, it might take you a couple of hours before you arrive, and an overused car battery is prone to breakdowns. If you happen to be in this situation, you should call the car rental company to assist you with your concern further. Directing it to the company means you get to be appropriately accommodated, as there is a standard procedure to follow when travelers experience car breakdowns.

Police Stops

Police checkpoints are a usual sight in major cities. It’s not because you’re driving in Tunisia during summer, but they’re assigned to a particular spot to guard all drivers and passengers’ safety using the road. You might be uncomfortable seeing armored cars and military people with guns in their hands. In Tunisia, it displays a strong police presence that drives out potential terrorism and uprising crimes.

Drive slowly until your vehicle comes to a halt. The police will check your documents, so have them prepared, so you will not put them on hold for a more extended period. They will typically ask for your ID, which you can present your passport and your insurance papers. If you can’t speak in Arabic or French, you can request someone who can translate your language should they ask for your travel itinerary.

Asking Directions

Tourists and travelers might get themselves in a situation where they have to ask for directions from locals. If you’re a native English speaker, you might want to translate your questions into Arabic or French so that they can understand you. To make it easier for you, laid out below are some of the directions asked by tourists and are translated into Arabic.

  • How can I get to the museum?
    Translation: ayna aT-Tareeq ila-l-matHaf?
  • Sorry, what street is this?
    Translation: ʿafū, ʾayyu šāriʿin haḏā?
  • Is there (a bus stop) nearby? Where is it?
    Translation: hal hunāka (maḥaṭṭah lilḥāfilāt) fī al-qurb? ʾayn hiya?
  • Could you tell me how to get to…
    Translation: hal yumkinu ʾan tuḫbiranī kayfa ʾaṣilu ʾilā …
  • I was wondering where … is.
    Translation: kuntu ʾatasāʾalu ʾayn …

Checkpoints

Checkpoints are installed in the region to safeguard the welfare of locals and visitors from external threats. The presence of the military and police force maintains public safety while keeping petty crimes at bay. They are also tasked to examine foreign nationals’ papers if they’re fit to operate a vehicle based on the documents they provide.

Aside from your local driver’s license and passport, they will need you to present your International Driver’s Permit and car insurance papers issued by your chosen car rental company. It should not intimidate you but rather feel secured that they can demonstrate their authority to uphold peace and order in Tunisia.

Other Tips

The situations mentioned above are the ones you should expect when driving abroad. You can save yourself from experiencing car breakdowns or the police holding you off with proper planning because you lack actual documents that hinder you from driving further. So now, there are some additional scenarios that you might ask once you’re in the vicinity.

Are There Gas Stations in Tunisia?

There are plenty of gas stations in Tunisia, so you don’t have to circle the city just to acquire gasoline for your travel. The good thing here is that gas is inexpensive in the country that only costs TND 2.05 or $0.718 per liter and $2.718 per gallon. Some of them open at 8 AM, while others are open 24/7.

What Is the Importance of Indicator Lights?

Indicator lights are the set of lights installed on the vehicle that you use to inform drivers behind you that you are about to turn left or right. Though hand signals would do the trick, it is imperative to know the importance of utilizing indicator lights as you maneuver your way ahead from daytime to nighttime.

Moreover, it is essential to check your indicator lights before you get behind the wheels because they should be working, so it’s easier for you to communicate with other cars. You should use them if you’re approaching a roundabout, U-turn, lane change, or attempting to overtake vehicles in front of you.

Driving Conditions in Tunisia

The driving condition of a particular country depends on how developed the region is. If the government has a budget for road constructions and rehabilitations, it will manifest on the same roads drivers are presently using. You’re driving experience in Tunisia might not be the same as your previous travels, but it will surely be unparalleled. As a foreign driver, you’ll know of the region’s driving situations and conditions below.

Accident Statistics

Car collisions and other road-related accidents still threaten all drivers globally, not just when driving in Tunisia. Statistics from the Tunisian National Road Safety Observatory stated that there are more than 6,700 traffic accidents, and 1,421 traffic-related deaths were recorded in 2017. The general causes have been driving on the wrong side of the road, going against traffic flow, and disobedience to the road signages.

The Tunisian government has deployed police officers to mitigate the numbers from going up. Stationed at major cities and frequently used routes, the police may stop rental cars for inspection purposes. Additionally, foreign drivers are to present their valid documents to the authorities to check them for verification matters.

Common Vehicles

The car market in Tunisia has a flat trend in 2020, but some vehicle brands earned the top spot while others seemed to have declining sales. The tourism sector is one of the contributing factors to the country’s GDP, and renting cars is one way to get to the tourist spots aside from riding public transportation.

Kia is the new leading car brand garnering a 1.4% market share. Izusu gained the second spot, which lost a 1.8% share last year. Then, Peugeot in third place with a 0.5% increase (+10.2%) market share. Furthermore, the full-year sales for 2020 in Tunisia is 50.825, a decrease of 1.1% compared to 2019 (50.935).

Toll Roads

Foreign travelers can spot a toll road that goes between Tunis and Sousse. It is a two-lane toll road from Bizerte in the north that goes past Tunis and Sfax. The toll fee is around $2 to $3 that is inexpensive for most tourists and travelers. The government hasn’t stated any plans concerning other toll roads in construction, but they will update the news should they add or let it as it is.

Road Situations

Driving in Tunisia would be a far-out experience if you know the road condition. Overall, the primary and secondary streets are in good shape for drivers to use. You might watch out for undetected potholes, especially if you’re heading to the south of the country. Also, the unpaved roads can be a challenge to some drivers during nighttime travels.

If you don’t want to get stuck in traffic, pro tip here, head to the North to Djerba, come off the main road at Mareth; there’s no vehicle congestion if you choose that route. Besides, if you take the Matmata, Douz, and across to Tozeur route, expect a good road with little to no traffic at all.

Driving Culture

Tunisian drivers tend to be quite polite in following the road rules and regulations. You might search on the internet that driving in major cities can be chaotic and stressful. Well, Tunis is teeming with all sorts of people, and it can get hectic when you use the road in the morning. Remember that you can still drive but with caution as pedestrians abruptly cross the road if they don’t see a vehicle coming.

Other Tips

Other road conditions can be checked online if you need to gather more information about the region. Educating yourself with these things will help you know Tunisia better and the circumstances you’ll face later on. Now, here’s a piece of quick information about driving at night in the area.

Is it Safe to Drive at Night?

In general, it is not advisable to drive at night in Tunisia. Petty crimes can happen at night, and you don’t want to get involved with this kind of trouble. Do not go out if it’s already late at night and alone, particularly for female travelers. Routes outside the cities are not adequately lit, and you might lose your way if you pursue driving at night.

You are also encouraged not to leave unnecessary things inside the car at night. Thieves might break into your vehicle and snatch those valuable items, so make sure to get all of them before locking your vehicle. You should park in well-lit places or take advantage of paid parking as it helps you big time at night. Not only that, it’s secured, but you can also sleep properly knowing that someone is looking after your rented vehicle.

Things to do in Tunisia

Tourists and travelers can do many things while touring around Tunisia. From the bawling waves of the Mediterranean sea to the sweltering dunes of the south. And with everything in between, it has something to offer as you can check the significant destinations within days. And apart from gawking scenarios, have you thought of landing a job in the region?

Drive as a Tourist

Driving as a tourist is a lot more convenient than riding public transport in Tunisia. Though you can discover the country on foot, hiring a private vehicle can make your experience much more flat-out and favorable. You must be a holder of a local driver’s license, an International Driver’s Permit that car rental companies would need from you, additional proof of identity such as your passport, and car insurance papers.

Work as a Driver

If you plan to work as a driver in Tunisia, you might want to consider being a resident there or exchanging your local driver’s license for a Tunisian driving license. Your international Driver’s Permit will only cover your stay as a visitor and not as an employee of the country. The requirements you need to submit upon converting your local license are:

  • Your authentic local driver’s license accompanied by your International Driver’s Permit that is translated into Arabic
  • A medical certificate
  • Two passport-size photos
  • A payment fee of TND 18 or $5.54

Work as a Travel Guide

You might get yourself a travel guide opportunity if you check on Tunisia’s tourism sector and inquire if they’re hiring for a tour guide. The region has museums and art galleries that might need an extra hand to guide and educate new tourists about their culture and way of life. On the other hand, other job opportunities are coming from agriculture, manufacturing, and petroleum products.

Apply for Residency

Foreign nationals who want to stay in Tunisia for more than 90 days should obtain a temporary residence permit and a long-term visa. The Ministry of the Interior is responsible for issuing temporary residence permits to tourists, and there are requirements that you need to submit. These are:

  • A filled out visa application form
  • A passport that is valid for at least six months
  • One or two passport photos
  • Proof of accommodation in Tunisia
  • A photocopy of the applicant’s passport (only the first page)
  • A visa application fee

Other information on the requirements can be checked on the consulate’s official website. You can get a permit at the nearest local police station, where Tunisian officials will issue a Residence Card. It is valid for two years which can be renewed bi-yearly.

Other Things to do

Apart from the options given to you above, you can think of ways to enjoy your stay in Tunisia. As long as it’s not harming other people and offending their culture, you can maximize your time by doing what you want to do in the region. Now, have you tasted their authentic cuisine? If not, here’s what you should try and eat before leaving Tunisia.

Which Delicacies is Tunisia Famous For?

If you haven't tried Tunisian cuisine, then you better give it a go, so you’ll not wonder what it tastes like once you climb the airplane back to your country of origin. Tunisian food is a mix of Mediterranean and North African variations. Here are the top three local dishes that you should’ve eaten at least once in your stay in the region.

Brik

Brik is one of the famous delicacies in Tunisia. It is made of a delicate dough called Malsouka tufted with tuna, egg, parsley, and fried in fresh boiling oil. It is served in almost all restaurants, and you can quickly locate it on the menu. To add flavor, you can squeeze lemon juice on top and watch how it bursts a colorful taste in your mouth.

Tunisian Salad

Tunisian salad is like every salad you’ve typically tasted: it has cucumber, onion, tomato, potatoes, beans, olives, egg, and tuna. You can top it with lemon, drizzled with olive oil, and Harissa if you prefer it. The salad is perfect for breakfast and lunch if you still crave it during that time of the day.

Couscous

Couscous is a dish that’s known in every corner of the country. It is made of a Maghrebi plate of small steamed balls of crushed durum wheat semolina. Other people serve it with a stew spooned on top. You can pair it with a piece of fish or meat with some vegetables on top to add more color and flavor.

Top Destinations in Tunisia

Tunisia is blessed with cerulean beaches and landmarks that contributed to the nation’s history. Tourists and travelers can get a travel package or be flexible with their time and hire a private vehicle. Procuring an International Driver’s Permit is substantial when touring and driving in Tunisia. Updates and statuses of your can be verified by leaving a message on the website. Below are some of the top destinations that you should explore right now.

Carthage

You can find the ancient ruins built by seafaring Phoenicians during the Punic Wars between the Romans. The site can be located beside the sea among the suburbs of Tunis. Carthage was once the strongest and most influential city in history. It is part of the UNESCO World Heritage site, and your Tunisian trip won’t be complete if you don’t visit Carthage for yourself

Driving Directions:

  1. Take Boulevard du Leader Yesser Arafet to N9.
  2. Slight right onto Boulevard du Leader Yesser Arafet.
  3. Take the 2nd exit and stay on Boulevard du Leader Yesser Arafet at the roundabout.
  4. At the roundabout, take the 2nd exit.
  5. Take the 3rd exit if you see a roundabout.
  6. Continue on N9 to Site archéologique de Carthage.
  7. Turn left onto Boulevard de l'Environnement.
  8. Then turn right.

Things to Do

  1. Tour around
    As one of the important historical sites globally, you can take the time touring around the area. Carthage is a reminder that even great cities will crumble to the ground if it is intentionally destroyed.
  2. Take pictures of the site
    Tourists and travelers can take photos of Carthage if you bring your mobile phone or DSLR with you. The site may not be as pleasing as other ruins you previously saw, but it should serve as proof that you’ve physically visited the protected area.
  3. Carthage National Museum
    If you want to know Carthage’s historical significance in shaping Tunisia, you have to visit this building soon as you land in the city. Most of the excavated artifacts and items are displayed here for tourists and travelers to unearth and explore.

Hammamet

For beachgoers out there, Hammamet will surely quench your thirst for beach activities. It is located on the Cap Bon Peninsula and tagged as Tunisia’s top sun-and-sea resort. You will appreciate the beauty of the Mediterranean vibe as you lay on the sand and soak in the heat for a couple of hours. Not only that, you can enjoy shopping at town souks and stroll along the charming shorelines of the beach.

Driving Directions:

  1. Take RN8 to Autoroute A1/Trans-African Highway.
  2. Slight right onto X/RR21.
  3. Take the ramp to RN8.
  4. Keep left at the fork and merge onto RN8.
  5. Continue on Autoroute A1/Trans-African Highway 1 to Hammamet. Exit from Autoroute A1/Trans-African Highway 1.
  6. Continue onto Autoroute A1/Trans-African Highway 1 (toll road).
  7. Take the exit.
  8. Drive to C28.
  9. Turn right toward C28.
  10. Then turn left onto C28.

Things to Do

  1. Go swimming
    The best part about visiting beaches is that you get to enjoy the view and swim in its cooling waters. Hammamet offers you the Mediterranean sea, and you’ll surely love it from the moment you see it.
  2. Tour around the Friguia Park
    If you’re looking for a nature tour in Hammamet, then Friguia Park has got you covered. You get to see the wildlife in its massive zoo, where you can explore and discover what animals live and thrive in North Africa.
  3. Observe the Yasmine Diver Center
    The Mediterranean Sea is yours to conquer in Tunisia. The natural wonder is an impeccable place to snorkel, tour, and watch the coral reefs and other aquatic creatures before your eyes.

Grand Erg Oriental

Travel to the south, where the country’s arid desert dunes can be found. The Grand Erg Oriental is a majestic sands field that creates an astounding landscape of giant waves, blown by strong winds that change the desert’s shape now and then. It is initially located in Libya, but the northeastern edge spills over Tunisia. You can take advantage of different activities such as camel treks and riding dune buggies.

Driving Directions:

  1. Get on RN8 from X/RR21.
  2. Slight right onto X/RR21.
  3. Take the ramp to RN8.
  4. Keep left at the fork and merge onto RN8.
  5. Follow Autoroute A1, P1 and P19 to C112 in Tataouine.
  6. Continue onto Autoroute A1/Trans-African Highway 1 (toll road).
  7. Keep continuing to Autoroute A1/Trans-African Highway 1.
  8. At the roundabout, take the 1st exit onto P19.
  9. Follow C112 and continue straight.

Things to Do

  1. Experience Camel treks
    The Grand Erg Oriental is a vast area where you can enjoy guided camel treks. You can arrange it at the desert town of Douz and other activities in store for tourists and travelers alike.
  2. Go on desert walks
    One can just purely admire the beauty of Grand Erg Oriental by strolling around. If the heat makes you uncomfortable, you can do stargazing at night as the clear sky will give you thousands and millions of twinkling stars just above the arid dunes.
  3. Eat at restaurant Le Bedouin Chez Magic
    There aren’t many fancy restaurants in the area as you can see dunes and layers of sands. However, if you haven’t prepared any food along the way, Restaurant Le Bedouin Chez Magic is a great place to fill your stomach with delectable Tunisian food.

Sidi Bou Said

Sidi Bou Said is a Tunis clifftop village that manifests high-class architecture from bottom to top. It has white buildings with colorful blue doors and window frames to let the fresh sea breeze in. The area is perfect for Airbnb users as the Mediterranean Sea sets as this little picturesque village’s background. If you need a laid-back stay in Tunisia, Sidi Bou Said should be on top of your list.

Driving Directions:

  1. Take Boulevard du Leader Yesser Arafet to N9.
  2. Slight right onto Boulevard du Leader Yesser Arafet.
  3. At the roundabout, take the 2nd exit and stay on Boulevard du Leader Yesser Arafet.
  4. Take the 3rd exit at the upcoming roundabout.
  5. Follow N9 to Avenue de la République in Site archéologique de Carthage.
  6. Keep right to continue on Avenue de l'Independance.
  7. Continue on Avenue de la République. Take Avenue 14 Janvier to Impasse des Aghlabides.
  8. Turn right onto Rue Abou El Kacem Chebbi.
  9. You can turn left onto Impasse des Aghlabides.

Things to Do

  1. Go to D’Art Lella Salha and Des Metiers
    It is an outdoor marketplace where you acquire handicrafts made by the locals and souvenirs to take home with you. Shops and stalls there sell traditional clothes, bags, and colored plates. D’Art Lella Salha and Des Metiers is a lovely place to go shopping with your family and friends too.
  2. Visit the Museum Dar el-Annabi
    Take a tour at Museum Dar el-Annabi and get to see old artifacts and historical items that make up the history of Sidi Bou Said. The entrance fee is inexpensive, so you don’t need to worry about the cost just to see what’s inside the building.
  3. Explore the Palace Dar Nejma Ezzahra
    This place is a must-see in Sidi Bou Said. The building was built for the French painter and musicologist Baron Rodolphe d'Erlanger. Today, you will see traditional musical instruments and some of these paintings displayed inside.

National Bardo Museum

The National Bardo Museum is home to a massive haul of beautiful mosaics that even ordinary visitors can’t hide the amazement on their faces. Inside are the Byzantine and Roman era’s artifacts and intricate artistry, and other collections found in the country. As one of North Africa’s top-class museums, National Bardo Museum will never fail to amaze and pique your interest. Overall, a worthy visit for art enthusiasts and museum-goers.

Driving Directions:

  1. From Tunis-Carthage International Airport, continue to X/RR21.
  2. Turn right.
  3. Then turn right
  4. Slight right onto X/RR21.
  5. Take Boulevard Mohamed Bouazizi to Rue Mongi Slim.
  6. Keep left to stay on X/RR21.
  7. Stay on the left to continue on Boulevard Mohamed Bouazizi/RR21.
  8. At the roundabout, take the 4th exit onto Route Nationale 7.
  9. Drive to your destination.
  10. Turn left onto Rue Mongi Slim and turn right.

Things to Do

  1. Guided tour
    Most tourists and travelers visit the National Bardo Museum because of Tunisia’s rich history and the long line of colonizers before it gained its independence. You can check out the paintings and relics that dated back to the early settlers of the land. It can get crowded inside, so you might want to purchase an e-ticket ahead of time to secure a slot.
  2. Explore the place further
    After the tour, you can tour around the museum on your own or along with your family and friends. The National Bardo Museum traces Tunisia’s history thousands of years ago, with many civilizations and practices poured into the core of what Tunisian are at present.
  3. Go along with other travelers
    It will be much easier for you to catch a glimpse of the museum and on to the next destination afterward. Many online packages include a museum tour; grab the most convenient one for your travel to Tunis.

Sousse Medina

Medina in Sousse is a top destination that’s underrated and overlooked. The old town has whitewashed houses and a shopping paradise for tourists and travelers who get excited about souvenirs and handicraft items. You can acquire a selection of authentic products made carefully for locals and visitors. No wonder people love to go to Medina because of the things you can find there.

Driving Directions:

  1. Take RN8 to Autoroute A1/Trans-African Highway 1.
  2. Slight right onto X/RR21.
  3. Keep left at the fork and merge onto RN8.
  4. Follow Autoroute A1/Trans-African Highway 1 to Kalâa Seghira. Exit from Autoroute A1/Trans-African Highway 1.
  5. Continue onto Autoroute A1/Trans-African Highway 1 (toll road).
  6. Take Rue du Commandant Bejaoui to your destination in Sousse.
  7. Take the 2nd exit at the upcoming roundabout.
  8. At the roundabout, take the 3rd exit onto Route ceinture.
  9. Continue straight to stay on Rue du Commandant Bejaoui.
  10. Turn right.

Things to Do

  1. Stop by and shop at Souk district
    Medina’s Souk district is a must-see place if you need to shop for souvenirs that you can take back home. You can check out the metalworkers and woodworkers in their respective stalls, and you might want to purchase their handmade products.
  2. Visit Kasbah
    Kasbah has a 30-meter Khalaf al Fata watchtower built in AD 859. The building has a museum inside known as the Sousse Archaeological Museum with admirable architecture and significant items found in the tower.
  3. Go to the Ribat
    Head northwest, and you’ll see one of Sousse’s famous landmarks that is the tower of Ribat. Also, don’t miss the chance to climb the watchtower and admire the city’s scenery below. If you’re driving in Tunisia, always bring your IDP, especially when venturing the significant roads. Should you lose your IDP, and you’re still driving in Tunisia, the zip code you provided will be used to ship you a free replacement of your IDP.

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