Travelog Sahara Tour from 26. Dez.05 -  7. January 2006 „Over the Limits“

Our journey takes us to the four lakes north of El Borma in the restricted zone of southern Tunisia. On this trip, we test our new MiniAutoPC with Garmin and Touratech SW and in the MP3 IBS Cruiser (iTune) recording on the radio.

Itinerary: Genoa - Tunis - Douz - Ksar Gilane - Algeria border - 20 km from El Borma - Bir Aouine - Ksar Gilane - Tunis.     

Vehicles: 3 Land Cruiser, HDJ80, HZJ78, KZJ95    Crew: Beat, Andy, Heike, Werner,

IBS Beat

Our first destination was the Camping Club in Douz Desert from which we applied on the chief of the campsite the authorization for the exclusion zone. The occasional rains designed our exciting day of waiting, because the whole place turned into a mud puddle. After the arrival of the license, we drove to Ksar Gilane. We followed a southern route, from which we had the coordinates of the path to bypass the heavily rutted but also busy slopes. The Nature Park, we had to drive around the south according to information of the parking attendant. Not exactly the path led us directly through the dunes fields. Technically this circuit well suited to the motorman in the soft sand to get used to. We have had an occasional vehicle which has remained stuck shovelling again and you'll have to be roadworthy.

The oasis of Ksar Gilane was heavily populated by 31.12.2005. After a brief dip in the pool of hot spring, we left the tourists gathering just before sunset in the south to our private New Year's Camp on the edge of the dunes. Because of the prevailing cold, despite a big fire, we chose a good meal and 2 bottles of champagne a night's rest in our sleeping bags.

From now on, steadily increased the demands on our driving skills. Our route and the associated navigation items were on all the GPS navigation and also on the PC's loaded. Werner had done a perfect preparation. In addition, we had the data of the Touratech routes of a group that went the same route in the opposite direction 8 months ago. The small difference in the opposite direction we were occupied more and more what we were feeling, but only in the course of our journey. Eventually, the idea was born to avoid the longer route via Bir Aouine too. This abbreviation soon proved to be the first high challenge. This acronym led directly into the first large dune crossing. The heavily  laden Land Cruiser HDJ80 of Beat slid sideways on a crest of the dune and had to be using an intricate mountain of work with a winch secured from tipping over and then pulled up. The short consecutive steep dunes, mountains regularly stopped our vehicles, which were then mountain belts and sand sheets again freed.

The approach of night compelled us to stay and set up camp on foot to climb the highest dunes in order to continue our route to explore. Barking of dogs betrayed us all night about the possible presence of people. The next day we met after a spectacular dunes in a dune boiler exit to a Bedouin camp with a lot of people, camels, sheep and several tents.

The route took us toward the Algerian border in increasingly dune trains. In between larger areas were good to passing terrain. The dune crossings but were noticeably steeper and higher. Beat with his Land Cruiser dug himself an ever more frequent. The next evening it was only possible to climb a dune chain with the use of the 2 winches Bush Taxi and Prado. The HDJ80 had to be pulled up after several unsuccessful attempts over the final meters. As it had to come, was a dark night overtook them recover and therefore we set the next camp directly on this crest of the dune. The lights of El Borma we could already see but as it soon turned out, the remaining 20 km for our convoy were not passable. Despite an early start the next morning at first light has already been forced, after a thrilling passage of a dune with a lot of boiler be discontinued "Fesch Fesch” (fine sand) in the early morning of our trip. For lack of time, we avoided the crossing of difficult to overcome huge dunes and headed back north along our track logs. The route back was only slightly less challenging. In a S-shaped couloirs (which we had traversed in one way) put it beat with the HDJ80 off at full speed the front tires with the vehicle in an extremely unfavorable situation came to a halt. With the support of a motorcycle group and its leaders could we make the vehicle roadworthy again after hard work.


The main route is from El Borma along the Algerian border northward to Ksar Gilane. The route is passable, but in the opposite direction. But since the southern part of increased encounters steep and very high slopes of dunes, choosing this route should only be taken with not too heavily loaded vehicles, and with good driving skills in dune addressed. In the south you can not just follow the tracks, as these often lead to impassable dunes. If sufficient time is factored in, new transitions are usually found. In winter and with a consumption of about 22 lt/100 km for a Land Cruiser HZJ78 or KZJ95 be expected (for the line Douz-El Borma-Ksar Gilane). The route Gilane Ksar-El Borma can be easily crossed in 2-3 days. Proper tire pressure is low, the best way to success. In certain slopes of dunes we must focus on real "dune surfing" set with the vehicle, which sometimes takes courage, but can also make a lot of fun. Vehicles with front and rear bumpers in plastic should possibly be equipped with metallic bumpers specially in front, because the bumpers in plastic d0n’t withstand the frequent and often severe groundings harmless! The driving in dunes in this area of the Sahara takes much practice and experience. Above all, follow the short, small dunes, which referred to the great dunes, demanding the highest level of focus and a knee-jerk right decision for the route choice. And despite all that you are regularly at the shovels, winches, inferior sand sheets, pushing, swearing, laughing and helping, this is a huge fun and a great experience!

Beat Wyss