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Chott el-Jerid

Chott el-Jerid

1. Empty lake


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Dry salt lake
'Chott' is the word used in Tunisia for lakes that stays dry through the hot season, but which has some water in the winter. The largest, the Chott el Jerid, covers 5,000 sq km at the most, and lies in the middle of Tunisia, close to the Algerian border. Chott el Jerid was some thousand years ago part of the Mediterranean Sea. The chott is easily accessed, as an elevated causeway has been built across it, from Kebili to Tozeur. The part on the eastern side is called Chott el Fejej.

Chott el-Jerid, Tunisia

The trip is highly recommended, and offers some great sights, especially when the sun shines on the salty surface, and reflections together with the heat gives startling optical effects. Earlier, many caravans were lead astray by the mirages out on the chott. On the surprising side, souvenir stalls and cafés are found all along the causeway.
There are possible hazards that everyone should take into consideration: the causeway is sometimes so much covered by sand that crossing is made difficult, and in hot weather some would find the trip unpleasant.

By Tore Kjeilen