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Ben Guerdane

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All about Libya?
The promise of the 'Libyan market' is what brings the few tourists coming to Ben Guerdane, unless the have the chance of actually going to Libya. Ben Guerdane is the last city before the 33 km leading past arid landscape and money changers until you reach one of the least organised places in Tunisia: The border to Libya.

Ben Guerdane, Tunisia

Ben Guerdane is a normal Tunisian city, two storey buildings, with 10 metre tall trees on both sides of the road, giving the streets constant, and relieving, shadows. Ben Guerdane is a town of markets, where the most famous is the Libyan one. Every day products are brought in from Libya,- legally,- and carload by carload are sold to Tunisian merchants, who them bring the lot to the dedicated market just north of town centre in Ben Guerdane. From this moment on, things look sadly ordinary. Dusty roads cross between junk electronics, Marlboro cigarettes, cheap clothings, Senegalese tuna boxes, nuts, sun glasses, tires. Prices are good, but illusion of quality depends on how long you look at things from a distance. Anyhow, people from places far away in Tunisia come to this market, and when they start buying, they sometimes end up with carloads of their own.
If you get disappointed from the Libyan market, now reduced because of the international embargo on Libya, Thursdays bring a lifestock market, while Saturdays bring a mainly agricultural market. Both are interesting happenings.

Hotels and alternatives
Limited on your choice, but you will find an adequate room in one of the town's around 10 hotels.

Restaurants and alternatives
There is even less to choose from restaurants than hotels. There are no more than a handful of restaurants.


Change Money
There are all normal banks in Ben Guerdane, where money can be changed, and withdrawn from major credit cards. Ben Guerdane is also the city in Tunisia which has the most active black market. This principally applies to Libya dinars — where you normally get three times the official Libyan rates — but in general you should be able to get Tunisian dinars at a slightly better exchange rate than in the banks.
Please note that all black market exchange is illegal, and if you get caught you could face an unpleasant situation.

Ben Guerdane is well served with fast shared taxis, that mostly run on Houmt Souq, Tataouine and Medenine, but often also distant destinations in Tunisia. There are also different forms of communications that will bring you to the Libyan border.

By Tore Kjeilen