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The Trip-Finder, January 1999
Mountain-biking the South

Outfitters Price Accommodations
Bicycle Africa Tours
206-767-0848, www.ibike
$1,190 tourist hotels

The Route: A self-supported 15-day, 540-mile bike trip from the fishing island of Djerba to the ancient capital of Tunis. You’ll explore bedouin encampments and second-century Phoenician ruins — and rest up in troglodyte caverns and oasis hotels.

When to go: April

Difficulty: Moderate

Travel advisory: In stark contrast to its next-door neighbors Algeria and Libya, Tunisia is pro-American and tightly controls its small faction of Islamic fundamentalists.

High/low points:

  • Sipping a Malita beer in Matmata’s subterranean Hotel Marhala, where the Star Wars bar scene was shot.
  • Struggling on your loaded-down mountain bike against a fierce headwind on Chott Jerid, a dry lake bed north of Tozeur.