Desert and green garden
Zaafrane as a city is not really more than any simple settlement found anywhere in Tunisia, with simple square houses, and a couple of cafes along the street. On the southern side of the houses, real dunes are found, cut through by some palm trees, and for as far as you can see, the occasional palm tree is still found.
But if you look in the right direction, you get a real feeling of what Sahara can be like.
The colours out here are lighter than in many other parts of the Sahara, almost white during the middle of the day. On the other side of the street, the oasis is arranged. This is cut by two metre wide tracks, and the gardens of the palms are green and fresh, with grass growing thick out of the fertile soil.
Everything in this oasis seems to be extremely well kept, and during the time when the dates are closing up to the time of harvest, they are all covered by yellow plastic to protect them from a rainfall that seldom comes.
Near the road, much of the desert is hard and stony. Not far out, the dunes start. Contrary to common belief, sand dunes are not typical image of Sahara, it represents only 10% of the total area.
Hotels and alternatives
While there is only one hotel in town, this is of good value and quite a bit of charm. It is important to know that there is heating in winter and air conditioning in summer. They also allow camping in the grounds.
Restaurants and alternatives
Eat in the hotel, also of good value.
Nothing. Even if the hotel is licensed.
Nothing. Do this in nearby Douz.
The most common form of transport out here, is with pickup trucks. These run frequently and are rather cheap.
Zaafrane is an excellent place for going on desert excursions on camel back. You can choose between in-crowd trips for a few hours, or even for one week trips to Ksar Ghilane (at about 300 dinars per person.