Flights to Kairouan
The very old city of Kairouan is located in northern Tunisia, and was believed to have been founded in 670 AD. Though the newer parts of the city are quite modern, you can still see much history in the older quarters of Kairouan. Arabic is the national language in Tunisia but you will also find people are just as likely to speak French.
The country’s main Tunis-Carthage International Airport (airport code: TUN) is about 150km away, in Tunis. You’ll get the most options for flights to Kairouan there, and there is regular bus and rail service between cities. Coming from South Africa, both Egyptair and South African Airways have a flight to Kairouan that goes via Cairo, but British Airways would take you through London. Another option is with SwissAir, and their flight stops in Zurich and Paris.
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The Tourist Attractions of Kairouan:
This is a strictly Muslim city, so modest dress is a necessity and you will not find alcohol for sale in most establishments.
There are several impressive mosques in Kairouan, and you should try to see them all while you are there. The main one is the Great Mosque of Sidi-Uqba, which dates in its current construction to the 9th century and contains stone taken from the ruins of Carthage. After that, there is the Mosque of the Three Gates with a remarkably detailedand carved outer facade with three arched doors. Additionally, the Mosque of the Barber and the Mosque of Ansar are great sights.
Bou Hedma National Park
It is a couple hours drive away to the south of Kairouan, but the Bou Hedma National Park is the nearest nature area if you are looking for a chance to see some natural attractions. The landscape is rocky and dry, and you may see animals such as gazelles, antelope and oryx. Most of the park is either grassland or scrub bush but there are some higher mountain peaks in the distance that make a good photo backdrop.
The old quarter of the city is a beautiful place and you can just walk the narrow streets to see how much history there is in Kairouan. Not only is the Medina a gorgeous place to walk, you can also find the main market or “souk” in this part of the city. Shop for carpets, pottery, spices and metalwork goods for your souvenirs.
You can get a fairly dramatic change of scenery from Kairouan if you head to the coast. The city of Sousse is to the west, and offers many beach-side attractions. Sousse has its own historic medina that is surrounded by old city walls, but there are also miles of white sandy beaches and resort hotels for some seaside relaxing.
When Should You Visit?:
Winters are cool but very comfortable in Kairouan, and the summers are very hot. If you visit in December, January or February, you may need a jacket as the days will only reach 16C (61F). Spring and autumn will be warmer if you prefer a little more heat, and it will hit summer highs in July and August when it reaches 36C (97F) in the daytime.