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WorldMediterraneanAfricaNorth AfricaTunisia

An online cruising guide for yachts sailing to Tunisia

35°05.038'N, 009°05.141'E Chart icon.png
Capital Tunis
Language Arabic (official) & French
Currency Tunisian Dinar (TND)
Time zone WAT (UTC+1)
Calling code +216

Tunisia is a country situated on the Mediterranean coast of North Africa. It borders with Algeria, to the west, and Libya to the south and east. Tunisia, is along with, Morocco and Algeria is part of the Maghreb North African group of countries. Forty percent of the country is composed of the Sahara desert, with much of the remainder consisting of particularly fertile soil, with easily accessible coasts. Its total area is 163,610 km2 and it has a population of over 10 million. Although the original inhabitants of Tunisia were the Berbers, they are now a minority. The majority are Arabs and the official language is Arabic although French is widely spoken. It is a Moslem country.

Tunisia has a diverse economy, with agricultural, mining, energy, tourism, and manufacturing. Governmental control of economic affairs while still heavy has gradually lessened over the past decade with increasing privatization, simplification of the tax structure.

The name Tunisia comes from the tuna fish which are abundant along the Tunisian coasts.

In the 10th century BC the coast of Tunisia was settled by Phoenician trades. These early settlers established the city of Carthage which became the dominant naval power in the western Mediterranean. A series of wars, the Punic Wars, with the emerging state of Rome almost ended in a Roman defeat when the Carthaginian general Hannibal, with his elephants, crossed the Alps and surrounded Rome itself. Eventually the Romans won and Carthage was completely subjugated and it became a Roman province. Today there are numerous Roman remains, amphitheaters, villas with magnificent mosaics, etc.

After the Romans came the Vandals (5th century AD) and the Byzantines (6th). The Arabs started waves of invasions beginning at the 7th century. By the 10th century they were established despite strong resistance from the native Berbers. In the 12 century Tunisia was held briefly by the Normans of Siciliy. After the Normans left the Berbers ruled their country from 1230 to 1547 when they were overtaken by the Ottomans. The Ottomans established local governors, the Beys on whom they had loose control. Under the Beys by the 16th century Tunisia became a pirate stronghold and its capital Tunis a major slave market.

In 1880 France invaded Tunisia and established it as a French protectorate thus ending the state of piracy. In 1956 Tunisia gained its independence from France and a Bey was established. In 1957 Habib Bourguiba overthrew the Bey and established the present Tunisian Republic. He was deposed as president in 1987 by Zine El Abidine Ben Ali who was the dictatorial president of Tunisia until 2010 when he was overthrown by a popular uprising. Ben Ali fled the country on 14 January 2010.

For historical details see Tunisian History.

Of all the North African countries, Tunisia has approached yachting in the most systematic way. Realising the considerable revenue that can be generated by cruising yachts, the Tunisian government has encouraged the setting up of a chain of marinas and yacht harbours conveniently spaced along Tunisia's entire coast, from Zarzis in the south-east to Tabarka in the west. Tunisian yachting facilities are the best in North Africa and as good as in many other parts of the Mediterranean. There are marinas at Bizerte, Sidi Bou Said, Hammamet, Port Kantaoui, and Monastir.


BA (British Admiralty)
176 Cap Bon to Ra's At Tin
1162 Sfax to Sousse with approaches
1184 Baie de Tunis
52172 Sousse and Approaches
52186 Tunis and Approaches


Tunisia consists of two climatic belts, with Mediterranean influences in the north and Saharan in the south. Temperatures are moderate along the coast, with an average annual reading of 18°C (64°F), and hot in the interior south. The summer season in the north, from May through September, is hot and dry; the winter, which extends from October to April, is mild and characterized by frequent rains. Temperatures at Tunis range from an average minimum of 6°C (43°F) and maximum of 14°C (57°F) in January, to an average minimum of 21°C (70°F) and maximum of 33°C (91°F) in August. Precipitation in the northern region reaches a high of 150 cm (59 in) annually, while rainfall in the extreme south averages less than 20 cm (8 in) a year.

Sources of weather forecasting:


See Aegean to West Mediterranean Passages.



Also see World Cruiser's Nets.


Any navigation notes here. If this section does not apply remove it.



Before landfall in Tunisia, the authorities like to be contacted on VHF channel 16 and be advised of your arrival. First landfall in Tunisia must be at an official port of entry and no-one must go ashore (or leave the vessel) until all the formalities have been completed. The various officials will visit the yacht - full crew list and copy of the vessel's insurance documents must be presented (these documents will be requested at all subsequent ports of call in Tunisia). Once Customs and Immigration have been seen, the harbour dues must be paid to the Harbour Master. A "Cruising Permit" will be issued.

The authorites must be notified immediately of any crew changes.


Before leaving any port, ensure that any outstanding harbour fees are paid and check out with the port police, notifying them of your next port of call.

When departing Tunisia, the "Cruising Permit" must be handed back to Customs and clearance done with Immigration.

Customs and Immigration


On arrival, Customs require a list of all dutiable goods (alcoholic beverages in particular) and will want to see the vessel's insurance documents.

Firearms and ammunitions MUST be declared to Customs on arrival.

PETS: Must have health certificates and certificates of vaccinations. Documents

There is no charge for the "Cruising Permit" that is issued on arrival. The validity of the "Cruising Permit" is normally 3 months, renewable for up to one year.


No visas are required for many nationals including those of most European countries, Canada, the United States and Japan. Australian and South African nationals can obtain a visa on arrival whilst New Zealand citizens require a visa obtained in advance.

Note: Israeli nationals and those with Israeli stamps in their passports will not be allowed into Tunisia.

Note from cruiser August 2010: I can confirm that I experienced NO problems with regards to an Israeli stamp in my passport on my arrival in Aug. 2010.

On arrival, passports are stamped by the police, valid for 3 months and renewable for a further 3 months

Fees and Charges


Health and Security


Submit any health warnings/information. Remove any of these sections do not apply to this particular country.


Youths have been known to steal. Lock your boat and be vigilant especially while using public transport.


Key to icons: TopWiki.png = Featured Cruising Guides, Poe.jpg = Port of entry, Marina icon.png = Marina, Anchor Icon.png = Anchorage, Island icon.png = Island, NoEntry Icon.png = Entry prohibited, Question icon.png = Needs data.

Ben Khiar Question icon.png
Bizerte Poe.jpg Question icon.png
Cap Bon Anchor Icon.png
Djerba (Houmt Souk) Island icon.png Poe.jpg Marina icon.png
El Kantaoui Poe.jpg Marina icon.png
Gabes Poe.jpg Question icon.png
Kelibia Poe.jpg Marina icon.png Anchor Icon.png
La Chebba Question icon.png
Tunis (La Goulette) NoEntry Icon.png


The Tunis-Carthage airport has regular flights to France and other EU countries.


Contact details of "Cruiser's Friends" that can be contacted for local information or assistance.


List links to discussion threads on partnering forums. (see link for requirements)




We welcome users' contributions to the Wiki. Please click on Comments to view other users' comments, add your own personal experiences or recommend any changes to this page following your visit.

  • Tunisia is a fascinating country to visit, especially its interior and the desert. There is a lot of history and natural beauty. English is not widely spoken but French is. Most people are polite but tend to stay aloof of strangers. There are many harbors and several natural anchorages. --Istioploos Greece Icon.png
  • Visited Tunisia in March 2012 after the 2010 - 2011 Tunisian Revolution and December 2011 elections. Had a warm welcome without problems with no signs of the revolution and a pleasant visit. --User:Rr7

This is a usable page of the cruising guide. However, please contribute if you can to help it grow further. Click on Comments to add your personal notes on this page or to discuss its contents. Alternatively, if you feel confident to edit the page, click on the edit tab at the top and enter your changes directly.

SailorSmiley.gifContributors to this page

Names: Lighthouse, Istioploos, S/Y mala moja

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