Newest Review: ... and hawkers who try to sell you bits and pieces of rose quartz and other souvenirs and also a large café. A local guide helps guide yo... more
A mountain water hole!
Member Name: garymarsh6
Advantages: A beautiful natural oasis fed by the rain waters meandering down the mountains.
Disadvantages: Isolated and very hilly which makes it unsuitable for people with mobility issues.
Chebika is a small abandoned mountain oasis village in the West of Tunisia not too far from the Algerian border. It was abandoned in 1969 after severe rainfall caused many of the buildings to collapse.
Chebika was once a Roman outpost due to its strategic position called 'Ad Speculum' and the Arabic translation of the place translates to Castle of the sun or Qasr el-Shams. The Romans used mirrors as a means of communication to contact the camel trains that would pass nearby and to pass information forward about their progress. Being on the Southern edge of the Atlas Mountains rain water ran down forming a small oasis.
We were being driven in a massive comfortable six seater 4X4 off roader so the journey was quite pleasant racing along the plains before we started to climb up through the mountains to reach the start of the abandoned village. There are a couple of souvenir shops and hawkers who try to sell you bits and pieces of rose quartz and other souvenirs and also a large café.
A local guide helps guide you up through the village to reach the top of the mountain where there is a very small crevice you have to squeeze through to reach the other side. One of our group had particular problems getting through because of his size and although I am not skinny by any means I just managed to get through although this guy got wedge and needed a bit of a shove to get through the other side. First you have to walk down a slight hill to reach an over view of the small waterfall down below then and then down the other side where a small waterfall falls down into a small pond like lake. There are a few trees here and it is a bit precarious crossing a stream on wet and slippery logs placed to form a small bridge to get across. For people with mobility problems it is probably not a good idea to attempt to go up through the village and down the other side however there is a fairly good pathway from the café to reach the oasis and waterfall if you really wanted to see it.
In total we probably took two hours to walk up the mountain through the village admire the views and walk back from the waterfall to the café. It was quite warm although the wind got up while we were there and a small rain storm fell once we reached the summit which spoilt the visit for me because I hate the rain.
We also visited the mountain tiny villages of Tamerza and Mides in the mountains nearby the scenery is of a barren inhospitable landscape with a few oasis dotted here and there. Tamerza stretches out in front of you with a massive gully separating the village in two which has been formed by the flowing waters from the mountains. When we were there the gully was arid. It was very quiet but lovely to see local sheep herders tending their sheep and bringing them down from the surrounding mountains into the wide canyon below.
The tiny village of Mides is right by a tiny canyon that separates and forms a natural border between Tunisia and Algeria. The canyon is quite deep with approximately a 300 foot drop. Standing on the edge of the canyon it feels like you can actually touch the other side. It is like a crevice. You can walk along the bottom of the canyon which stretches for some miles. I would be rather concerned if I had kids with me as there are no safety rails and some of the small stones are loose which means it was quite slippery.
In total we had around four hours drive through the mountains before returning to our hotel for lunch. It was quite a pleasant drive and interesting to see the arid mountain scenery and the isolation and way of life of the Berber people who are living in the small villages. Don't expect to find many places to eat or drink although at one small place we managed to find some shops beside a small stream where we sat and had a coffee beside the flowing water.
Summary: A worthwhile trip into the mountains to explore and experience a former way of life.