Desert Culture: Festival of the Sahara

Festival Essentials

When: November
Where: Douz, edge of the Sahara Desert, Tunisia
What’s it about: Gathering of desert people to celebrate arts and traditions like music, poety and camel fights
Remember to bring: Your own camel and plenty of water

Where’s The Party?

Douz is an oasis at the edge of the Sahara, where palm trees out number people by 25 to 1 in a tiny population of just 12,000. Each autumn, this swells dramatically as the oasis hosts the four day International Festival of the Sahara, a spectacular celebration of arts and traditions of the desert people.

Dates for 2001

The dates for 2001 are November 8 -11th two weeks before Ramadam.

What Happens at the Festival?

Mesmerising music and feats of dare and dexterity with vibrant costumes, belly dancers, and acrobatics will behold the onlooker. Performances include the “hair dance” of beautiful long tressed ladies thrashing their long hair into the sand to driving percussion and drums. Events include horse racing, camel fights and rabbit chases, greyhound races, traditional poetry, music and fantasias as well as public marriages.

The festival is a tribute to the spirit of the Sahara drawing in performers and audiences from all across North Africa. This small Saharan oasis buzzes with life as bartering men form a sea of bobbing white-headclothes in the beautiful square. The event coincides with the date harvest and also features a large market selling hundreds of traditional food produce and craft.

More Information

Savoring a Saharan Spectacle
The International Festival of the Sahara: Douz, Tunisia 

A personal impression of a trip to the four day festival.