5. From Tunis: Overnight to Kairouan, El Jem, Monastir & Sousse
Depart Tunis for Kairouan in an air-conditioned van and explore last two 9th-century Aghlabite Basins which were among the greatest waterworks of the Middle Ages. Proceed to the 7th-century Great Okba Mosque, the oldest mosque in North Africa. Nearby is the Mosque Sidi Sahbi (Mosque of the Barber), known for its minaret and beautifully tiled courtyards. Walk through the hustle and bustle of the medina (old city) and take a picture of the camel at "Bir Barrouta." Enjoy lunch on your own and free time to explore the medina.
Regroup and travel approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes to El Jem and admire its monumental amphitheatre. Built in the mid-3rd-century AD, it is the largest Roman monument left in Africa, and ranks 3rd in the Empire after those of Rome and Verona. One of the last large amphitheatres built during the Roman era, its architectural design is an improvement over that of the Colosseum of Rome. After the tour, continue to a guesthouse for dinner and overnight.
The following day, enjoy breakfast in the hotel before travelling 40 km to Mahdia. Visit the Skifa Kahla, a massive fortified gate that survives the original Fatimid city, and spend time exploring the souk (market). Regroup and travel 1 hour and 15 mintues to Monastir to visit its grand cemetery where Habib Bourguiba, Tunisia’s first president, was put to rest.
In Monastir, admire the old Ribat (fortress) which has been used as a location for films such as "Life of Brian" and "Life of Christ." Eat lunch in a local restaurant before travelling 20 km to Sousse. Wander through labyrinthic streets to visit the Grand Mosque, the Ribat, and the Dar Esid, a Tunisian Family House museum. Along with its enchanting medieval Islamic history, Sousse wears another hat as a modern resort filled with hamams and beautiful beaches. Visit the El Kantaoui port before meeting the driver for the return transfer to Tunis.