"The Rock, the Kasbah" Top 5 Page for this destination El Kef by TheLongTone

El Kef Travel Guide: 41 reviews and 113 photos

El Kef is situated in the northwest of Tunisia, close to the Algerian border. El Kef is arabic for 'the rock', and the town is built around the Kabah (castle), perched on huge outcrop of rock on a hilltop some 2200 metres above sea-level with a spring emerging below the summit which has both provided water and been the focus of various religious cults. It's the obvious place to put a fortification to control both the surrounding area and east-west communications, and as one would expect from a site of such obvious strategic value it's recorded history goes back to Phoenician times and beyond: fragments of bone identified as homo erectus have been found nearby.
Coming by public transport you will arrive at the bus/louage station in the new town, which with its suburbs sprawls down the hill. Its a short walk up to the older part of town, where the place d'Independance divides the newer development from the old medina, a maze of alleyways ascending to the summit occupied by the Kasbah.

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This little mausoleum just below the ramparts of the kasbah is one of the most perfect little buildings I've seen. Since it's a mausoleum rather than a mosque it's possible to enter (I was perched on the ramparts attempting to sketch it when I was approached by the guardian) although there is not a great deal to see: the small whitewashed courtyard is stunningly simple and I felt less than comfortable in the tomb chamber, where a couple of women were devoutly praying while I was shown round - without even taking my shoes off.

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As the two photos show, the winter weather in El Kef is very variable. They were taken the same day: thick mist in the morning (that's why I have no photos of the interior of the Kasbah) and absolutely clear sky by afternoon. The next day it rained incessantly.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:A pleasnt little town with much to see
  • Cons:The weather in winter. A bit of a cul-de-sac unless you're on the way to Algeria.
  • Last visit to El Kef: Dec 2006
  • Intro Updated Aug 11, 2010
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Reviews (4)

Comments (3)

  • Jim_Eliason's Profile Photo
    Dec 18, 2012 at 7:57 PM

    thanks for the tips!

  • angiebabe's Profile Photo
    Oct 25, 2007 at 4:46 PM

    Excellent main pic&more gd tips thanx.really wanted to go here but didnt. so thanx for a bit of a view. I really should go back for a proper look!and the cokked cephalopds sound intriguing - i guess cephalo means head so maybe i will give that a miss.

  • iwys's Profile Photo
    Mar 9, 2007 at 5:42 PM

    Nice page. I've just been in southern Tunisia. I hope to visit the northern half on the way to Algeria. The place where you stayed looks good.

TheLongTone

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