Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia Tours
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I was blissfully ignorant of what my travel future held for me when I boarded a plane in Memphis, TN, on February 15, 2020, headed via Toronto and Frankfurt, Germany to my final destination of Tunis, Tunisia. The plan was to spend 6 days in each of two North African countries—Tunisia and Algeria.  This was my third attempt at trying to visit North Africa; twice before a friend and I had taken a Viking South Mediterranean cruise with port calls in Tunis and Algiers, and the ship failed to stop in one or both countries.  On the first cruise, it was because of bad weather.  The second cruise did make a port call in Algiers.  A group of us got on a bus, and it took an hour to reach the first stop, the Martyrs Monument.  We had hardly arrived when a member of the group fell down some stairs and hit her forehead, which then began bleeding profusely.  The tour guide called the ship and the decision was made to bring the whole group back to the ship, because there wouldn’t be enough time before departure to take the patient back and then return to the Monument and finish the tour.  I had really wanted to see the Casbah, but that wasn’t possible.  And the guide absolutely forbade us to strike out and then return to ship on our own as departure time was not that far off.  Now that I have been to Algiers, I understand why she didn’t want us wandering the city alone—but I am getting ahead of myself.
For my North African Adventure this year (Feb. 15-29, 2020), I decided against taking a cruise but going on my own on a land tour with a private guide.  I had successfully added short excursions to a country or city after a major trip before—adding Borneo and Brunei to Indonesia, Taiwan to Japan and Bahrain to several other Arabian countries.  This time, the whole trip was just me and my guide—a separate guide (or two) for each country.  I have been a widow for 7 years, and in the first years of widowhood I was uncertain about pursuing travel on my own, but after a couple of trips as a single with the companies we already knew, I realized that I wasn’t the only woman traveling single, and that one can make new friends and sometimes find new traveling companions.  However, for this trip I couldn’t find any takers so I decided to do it completely on my own.  I had also planned three other group trips for the remainder of 2020, because at 82 I wasn’t at all sure I would be able to travel overseas that much longer. And having achieved my goal of 100 (actually it was 103) countries last year, I was going to shoot for all of Eastern Europe in 2020.  As everyone knows by now, all overseas trips have been cancelled and probably won’t resume until next year, if then.
After an Internet search, I decided to use a company called Mosaic North Africa to help me with guides and arrangements.  Mosaic North Africa is head quartered in Manitoba, Canada, and they were willing to arrange a trip for me as a single.  My contact was Kevin Dyck, who lives in Tunisia, and he was a tremendous asset in helping me gather all of the information necessary to obtain an Algerian visa.  Tunis was a snap—no visa required.  But Algeria wanted my entire work history, a letter of invitation from the Algerian tourist company, and a detailed itinerary with dates and hotels. I sent my passport plus all of this other information to the Algerian consulate in New York City along with $160, non-refundable in event I didn’t make the cut. And of course, the postal fees for sending by registered mail.  It took about three weeks, but my passport plus visa was returned and I was set to go!
The only thing I didn’t like about Mosaic North Africa was that they didn’t do flight arrangements, and I had not arranged my own flights since I retired years ago.   Kevin said that if I was going round trip I would probably want to fly into Tunisia first, do that tour, take a flight to Algeria, do that tour and then fly back to Tunis to go home.  That would have been nice, but it wasn’t workable.  So I ended up choosing to fly into Tunisia (via Toronto and Frankfurt), then flying to Algiers, then going home from Algiers, also through Frankfurt and Toronto.  Sounds easy, but it wasn’t, at least not always.
Before I left Memphis I had been reading about the coronavirus outbreak in China.  This was of special interest to me as I had worked for many years as a virologist at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, and our department was very involved in preparing for influenza pandemics. I knew that there was a new ban on travel to and from China because this new coronavirus appeared to be coming from there.  However, at this time I did not know much about coronaviruses, and what I was hearing in mid-February was that the virus was contained in China. If only!
I had asked for special assistance in boarding/deplaning because of my age.  It isn’t that I am physically unable to walk the distances, it is that I easily get lost in strange airports and appreciate having some help.  I wish there was more consistency among airports in how they handle special assistance, but in my experience even bad assistance is better than none at all!
The man pushing my wheelchair spoke no English, but I had studied French in high school, college, and continuing education and remembered enough to carry on the basics of a conversation. I was slightly surprised to see how much French is still spoken in North Africa, as the departing of France from the region was not very pleasant.  The French arrived in 1848 and didn’t leave until 1962. But French is definitely a second language and the children still learn it in first grade—English is also taught, but not until middle school.
There seemed to be a big bottleneck in getting to the luggage carousel, but my assistant explained that they were checking our temperatures to make sure we weren’t infected with the virus.  I passed and was dropped off at the baggage carousel.  Once I found my bag, I went to the arrival hall—but did not see anyone with the expected card bearing my name.  So, I went to an Information Booth and with combination of French and English explained that I was looking for my guide and who I was.  They called him over the loud speaker and there he was—Nadhem! He was very friendly, spoke perfect English—as well as Arabic, French and Spanish (as his father was Spanish). He said he identifies politically as Muslim, but never goes to Mosque or observes dietary laws.  He also drinks wine and beer.  A perfect guide for an agnostic old lady who loves wine!
The Hotel Majestic in Tunis, where I spent the first two nights, dates from the early 20th century, had been modernized and was pleasant.  The included breakfasts and dinner were fine, although buffets are buffets almost the same everywhere. The next morning, the first official sight-seeing day, Nadhem drove to the site of ancient Carthage, today a suburb of the capital city, Tunis.  Not much is left, and what there is below the current “street level.”  According to legend, Carthage was founded by the Phoenician Queen Elissa (better known as Dido) sometime around 813 BCE.  Thanks to my high school Latin, I had read Virgil’s Aeneid,  and was familiar with the story of poor unhappy Dido, who had led her people to North Africa and founded the city of Carthage, and her subsequent relationship with Aeneous, who loved her on his way home from victory of Troy and left her, broken-hearted,  to kill herself. It turns out that Virgil had taken some liberties with his epic, as the Trojan war took place about 1194-84 B.C.E., over 300 years before Dido’s time.  The Carthage we see today actually rose following Alexander the Great's destruction of the Phoenician city of Tyre (near today’s Lebanon) and his march into North Africa  in 332 BCE.
We then drove to an area that reminded me of the Greek island of Santorini with its white cottages and Mediterranean blue rooftops, but without the crowds.  We had lunch at a nice café where I had fresh sea bass that was totally delicious!  Fresh catch of the day, of course.  The word “Tunis” means “tuna,” but that was not on the menu. The afternoon was spent checking out items for purchase in the Tunis Medina, which was crowded of course.  Not being a shopper, I didn’t buy anything, but I understand that I am not a typical tourist that way. I got to see the Zitouna Mosque, which is only for Muslims, so I couldn’t go in—but the courtyard itself was very impressive.
The next morning, I checked out of the hotel and Nadhem and I went to the Bardo Museum. This is an amazing collection of mosaics depicting the Punic Wars between Rome and Carthage (264-146 B.C.E.) Romans called the people living in Carthage “Phoenicians,” and from that somehow we get “Punic.”
Next, we traveled to the enormous Roman archeological site in Dougga, a UNESCO World Heritage site and one of the best Roman ruins in Tunisia.  In fact, I found that all of the Roman ruins in both Tunisia and Algeria were far more extensive and better preserved, not to mention far less crowded, than the Roman Coliseum and temples on display in Rome itself. At Makthar was a huge Forum, Trajan’s arch, baths, amphitheaters, the temple with statues of Rome’s big three—Jupiter, Juno and Minerva —and a Vandal Church from a somewhat later era. We then drove to our 5 star hotel in the important Islamic city of Kairouan, the Kasbah Kairouan—a fantastic place! Wish we had had two nights there.
Our first visit was to the Grand Mosque Okba Ibn Nafaa—and my hooded jacket provided enough head covering for me to enter. The rest of the day was spent mostly in the car, with Nadhem entertaining me with stories of past tourist groups.  At noon we were in Sbeitla with wonderfully preserved mosaics, churches, baptisteries—also temples, baths, and the Arch of Diocletian.  The early Christians appeared to live in harmony with those who still followed the Roman polytheistic religions. Nadhem bought bananas and oranges which we shared for lunch sitting in the ancient Roman forum!  Then it was off to the hotel in Tozeur—where I learned the lesson to bring my water from my room to dinner, as the hotel charged for tap water (filtered of course, but not commercially sealed).  I left my bottle on the table and was chased by a waiter who explained that I had not paid for the water.  I said that even in France they don’t charge for “eau de robinet, or tap water.”  But I paid and left the bottle on the table.  About 15 minutes later the waiter knocked on the door to my room, with the bottle of water—and the money I had paid for it.  Of course, I gave him the money back, it was only a couple of US dollars (I think!)
The next day we went to the Sahara desert and the mountainside oasis village of Chebika.  Chebika was the site of an old Roman settlement that became a mountain refuge where the native North Africans, the Berbers, live.  With Nadhem’s help I climbed to the source spring in the rocks.  The canyon was used as a backdrop for two American movies--“The English Patient,” and “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” both of which I had seen.  This was really exciting!  The Internet warns that Tunisia is a high-risk situation, primarily because of hostilities near the Libyan border. I figured that if Mosaic North Africa was willing to go, it was probably okay. Nadhem said tourism was so slow he was happy to get even one single lady! Perhaps others were more concerned about the coronavirus, but as yet no cases had been reported in Tunisia.
The next  morning we set out for El Djem, where the best preserved Roman Coliseum in the world is located.  Constructed between 230-238 A.D. and is believed to at one time have hosted between 30,000 and 45,000 spectators.  It was enormous and in much better shape than the Coliseum in Rome itself.  We could go down to the rooms where the gladiators awaited their battles.  Best of all for me and for other visitors, but perhaps not for Tunisia’s tourist industry, it was almost deserted. Nadhem again bought delicious fruit for our lunch, and we ate seated among the ruins of El Djem.
Although not on our official schedule, in the afternoon we drove in a jeep (Nadhem was not the driver this time) to where Luke Skywalker of Star Wars fame is said to have been raised on a desert planet, beneath two suns, in a landscape formed by heat, sand and dust.  On the edge of the Sahara, director George Lucas had found his dream film location and named the film planet after the Tunisian village he discovered: Tatooine. More than 40 years ago, the film team set up shop in Tunisia and soon started filming in a variety of locations.  There's also the small village of Matmata, where Luke Skywalker was raised by his uncle and aunt. The house in the film is actually a hotel that was constructed in such a way as to remain cool in the desert heat - namely, underground.  Along the way we stopped and I had my photo taken with a desert fox!  The drive across the desert was rough, no roads and it was a good thing Nadhem had warned me to take my motion sickness medicine!
You might think that tourism here would be booming as Star Wars has millions of fans around the world. For many years, it was.  But then terrorism came to Tunisia and the tourists stayed home, or preferred to go to the sandy beaches in the North of the country instead of driving the nearly 300 miles to the South, where Star Wars desert planet makes its home and where there is enough sun to completely dry out the landscape. I found the sets interesting, but rather primitive for what I imagined Hollywood was capable of.  And although I didn’t know it during my visit, soon the coronavirus would arrive in North Africa and tourism throughout the whole world would come to a grinding halt.
The next day I left for Algiers.   Supposedly there was an early departure, but the flight took off 3 hours late-and there was no food on board-- just juice, coffee, tea and soda.  I was glad I had brought along protein bars for my breakfast.  I was so hungry I ate two of them!  When the plane landed, I stood in line at passport control for about 20 minutes—then when I reached the agent, he asked for a form that I was supposed to fill out.  Since I had been seated at the back of the plane, I was one of the last to deplane, so I was almost the last person in line.  I dutifully took the form and filled it out, then got in line again.  The agents didn’t speak much English, and my French wasn’t all that great either—but finally it came across that “retired” was not an acceptable occupation.  So I said that I had been a microbiologist, which was true.  Then they gave me a lot of questions about coronavirus, and I tried to explain that it had been years since I was in the lab.  Finally they stamped my passport, and I headed toward the baggage claim—only to notice a man heading in the opposite direction with my suitcase!
I showed him my claim ticket, and he gave me the bag.  “Ou est-ce que Je depart?”  I asked in deplorable French.  He pointed to a door, and I went out.  There were people milling around, but obviously this was not the main arrival hall—I kept asking for that, but never finding.  A man who had apparently been watching me came and asked me if I spoke French.  “Un peu,” I responded. “Mais pas bien.”  So we communicated in a mixture of French and English.  I noticed that the bank in the room was closed, but I tried my debit card in the machine—it didn’t work.  I would probably need local currency to get a taxi.  I had an approximation of what the exchange rate was, and this guy said he would be glad to exchange $100 US into Algerian currency.  I was sure the rate was exorbitant, but what could I do?  I just hoped it wasn’t counterfeit. He also took me to a taxi stand, and I asked how much it would cost to go to my hotel.  About $40 US, he said it was far.  Actually he would have preferred the US dollars to the Algerian currency, but C’est la vie!  I had already paid the tourist company for transport in advance, but they weren’t there and I didn’t know what else to do.
Apparently there was some kind of political demonstration going on (I learned later that these happened every day).  In fact, tourists are generally given a police escort, but taxis are not.  I was able to send email over my iPhone to Kevin Dyke of Mosaic North Africa, and he was able to get me on the phone although I was unable to call him—but I was able to text him.  I should also have had WhatsApp—but I didn’t and still don’t.  Kevin told me that my guide was still at the airport, and I explained what had happened.  Kevin said he thought I would be reimbursed for my taxi fare.
I was relieved when we arrived at the hotel to find out this was the correct hotel.  I freshened up a bit in my room, and before too long my guide, Ghanu, and the local Mosaic North Africa manager arrived to apologize and promise all would go well from then on, and that I would get my money for the taxi ride back. Ghanu seemed very nice and spoke good English, plus several other languages.  He explained that all Algerians speak and write Arabic and French, and those languages had been compulsory in grammar school ever since the French founded them long ago.  English has been added for several years now as well, and now that the native Berbers have a written language, which they didn’t when the French arrived, it is also taught in Algeria and Tunisia. The hotels in Algeria did not have dinner included as did the hotels in Tunisia, and I was hungry—so Ghanou took me next door to a fast food place where I ordered meat and pommes frites (French fries)!  They served quite a lot, so I got my fill, and I took what I didn’t eat back to the hotel to save in the room refrigerator for the next night.
For breakfast I had fruit, yogurt and hard boiled eggs, and of course café au lait, which I love.  Ghanou was on time, and we set out for a museum of Roman artifacts.  He did seem to spend a lot of time talking on his cell phone, and I pointed out that it was illegal to drive and talk on cell phone in the US.  He replied that was also true in Algeria, but that his mother was ill, and he was the only one of eight children who didn’t have a family of his own, so he had to make decisions, etc.  Whenever I stopped at a particular piece of statuary, he came over and translated the French/Arabic into English—I told him that I could read the French well enough myself, I would ask if I had a question about something.  He seemed relieved to have more time on the phone!
After visiting the museum, we traveled to Tipaza to visit the famous Roman site on a Mediterranean bay. First a Berber village, then a Punic trade post, the Romans expanded it into a military colony named Tipasa. The colony was destroyed by the Vandals in the 5th century and by Arabs in the 8th century, and the modern city of Tipaza was established there in 1857. Like much of North Africa, the Roman ruins remained even if the Romans themselves were driven out or killed. The historic basilica is said to be the largest in North Africa.  We had lunch at a local restaurant—I had the Salade Nicoise and Rafik fed a local cat with blue eyes several pieces of the lamb liver he had ordered.
On our drive back to Algiers, we stopped at a huge structure called the Tomb of the Christian.  It looks like a huge beehive, perched on the crest of a hill. It is about 40 feet high, and around the base is carved a 'dummy' colonnade and two 'dummy' doors. The real entrance is below the dummy one and is about four feet high, but it was closed and we couldn’t go in.  Ghanou didn’t seem to know anything about it, so I did a web search and discovered that the mausoleum was not Christian. It belonged to the Berber King Juba Il and his wife Cleopatra Selene, the child of Queen Cleopatra of Egypt and Mark Anthony. The Berbers believe that the French didn’t want them to take pride in their ancestors’ accomplishments and so said that all of the great ruins were those of Rome.  But, the pyramid-like structure does look more like Egypt than Rome.
We drove back to the hotel in Algiers, and I had my leftovers from the previous night for dinner, took a shower and slept soundly after watching a bit of American news on CNN (which I didn’t have in any of my Tunisian hotels).
The next morning, we left Algiers and drove almost six hours through the Kabilye mountains to the ancient Roman city of Djemila.  On the way we stopped in Setif to visit the National Museum of Archeology, which is home to the amazingly intact mosaic Procession of Bacchus. Although the mosaics were originally the floors of a room, here they were mostly on walls.  Of course, the view is slightly different from the original perspective, but more of them can be displayed on walls than on floors—and there is more room for visitors since they of course would not be allowed to walk on the mosaics!  I asked Ghanou if the Romans themselves walked on them with boots or sandals, and he said probably not, they are too well preserved to have seen a lot of heavy shoe traffic.
Djemila has ruins of both a pre-Christian pagan Roman city—with thermal baths, theater, forum, capital, etc. Then later the Roman Christians came and built a cathedral of the heights—and they co-existed—I presume until Rome was defeated by the Vandals in the 5th century AD.  After lunch, we drove about 3 hours to Constantine.  We were staying at the Ibis hotel, a chain I remembered from France—and our car was inspected for bombs before we could enter!
I had taken the leftovers from lunch with me—meals here are very, very generous and not at all expensive.  Apparently, the income from oil keeps prices in Algeria low.  Or at least it did until the oil glut appeared a few weeks after I returned home.  I read my emails, and my friend who was going to pick me up on my return asked me if I realized that I had an overnight layover in Frankfurt.  I did not!  I remembered vaguely that one of the original flights had been canceled, but somehow that 17 hour layover had completely escaped my notice.  That meant I would need hotel reservations in Frankfurt for the night, which I did not have.  Thanks to the Internet, I was easily able to find an airport hotel—but realized that I was going to need some Euros.  Well, I could get them on arrival at airport—or maybe, I could just charge everything!  I remembered that the people who provided special assistance in Germany weren’t allowed to take tips.
A phone call and email arrived next morning telling me that my guide Ghanou had to leave to attend to the problems with his family, and that a new guide, Rafik, was coming from another city and would meet me at 9 A.M.  Poor Rafik had had to drive most of the night and had not arrived until 5 a.m.   But he didn’t fall asleep at the wheel, and in fact seemed amazingly alert.  He also talked on the phone, but he explained he had to make arrangements for all of the police escorts.  I had not realized it, but almost all tourists in Algeria get police escorts outside of Algiers—which is perhaps too large a city to make that practical.  When we are driving in the countryside, we have to change escorts according to whatever province we are in—but they were always ready and waiting for us, and we also get great parking places at the museums!
Our morning destination was the hillside Roman site of Tiddis.  Tiddis is a former Roman city that today is in ruins, located in the vicinity of the city of Constantine.  In the past Tiddis was the capital city of the Berber Kingdom of Numidia, then came the Phoenicians, then Romans, the Christians.  Finally, it was abandoned, but today Tiddis is an authentic Roman site that makes the Gorge of the Khreneg where it is located quite interesting. It was beautiful--although because of the constant wind, not as well preserved as most of the Roman sites in North Africa are. I managed to walk most of it, except for a rather steep climb at the top.  Rafik and I had lunch at a café near our hotel, and there was enough for me to take back to the Ibis hotel for dinner. When I got there, my key didn’t work—probably demagnetized from being too close to my cell phone.  The cleaning boy let me in to put food in the frig and use the toilet.  I had had no other choice but a Turkish toilet in Tiddis, which resulted in my having to touch a lot of surfaces I didn’t want to touch to get up and down.  I had left my bag in the car with my hand sanitizer and by this time the news was full of information about COVID-19.  I asked Rafik if there were any cases of the coronavirus in Algeria, and he said there was one in the north, someone who either was Italian or had just come from there.  Later, I learned that Italy was one of the worst places in Europe for this virus and that there were many Italian laborers who work in the oil fields in Algeria.  I hoped that I would not have to go into quarantine upon my return!
The city of Constantine is absolutely gorgeous--pun intended, as it was built on a mountain gorge, over which was erected a magnificent suspension bridge.  We first visited the Museum of Antiquities, where we ran into a touring group of schoolchildren.  They congregated around me, laughing and staring.  Perhaps because my hair was exposed, and a different color—my original red has faded into something most call blonde, and gets lighter every year. Then there are the freckles, which they may never have seen either. They followed me from room to room, clearly more interested in antique me than in the antiquities of their country! Rafik led me to a room where there were some important mosaics, but the door was locked.  A museum employee came over and explained that local dignitaries were coming later, and that they wanted them to enter immediately without having to get tourists out (except for the kids, we were almost the only people in the museum). Rafik got on the phone, made a call, and told me to wait right there.  Within a few minutes, our police escort arrived, and Rafik almost hit the museum employee on our way in to view the mosaics!  They were very nice, but I had seen many, many mosaics and I could have missed these without feeling deprived!
Because of time constraints, our plans changed from spending a third night at the Ibis Hotel in Constantine to leaving early next morning for a place closer to Algiers and the airport.  I asked Rafik about the police escorts—does it cost a lot to have them, why are the necessary?  He responded that Algeria had undergone 10 years of civic unrest during which many policemen were trained—and that now that hostilities had diminished, they needed something to do!  Anyway, we had about 10 police escorts for the rest of the day.  They were really handy for getting us around long lines of cars moving at snail’s pace on the highway. Along the way we saw an ancient Numidian tomb 58 meters in diameter and 10 meters tall built about 150 BCE as the burial-place of the Numidian kings.
Next, we traveled to the UNESCO site of Timgad, begun by the Roman Emperor Trajan in 100 AD.   With its square enclosure and orthogonal design based on the two perpendicular routes running through the city, it is an excellent example of Roman town planning.   Timgad, located in a mountainous site of great beauty, 480 km south-east of Algiers and 110 km to the south of Constantine, is a consummate example of a Roman military colony created out of nothing. By the middle of the 2nd century, the city had spread beyond the perimeters of its ramparts and several major public buildings are built in the new quarters: Capitol, temples, markets and public baths, in addition to immense private residences.
During the Christian period, Timgad was a renowned bishopric. After the Vandal invasion of 430, Timgad was destroyed at the end of the 5th century by montagnards of the Aurès. The Byzantine Reconquest revived some activities in the city, defended by a fortress built to the south, in 539, reusing blocks removed from Roman monuments. The Arab invasion brought about the final ruin of Timgad, which ceased to be inhabited after the 8th century.
During our visit, there were very few people touring this vast site.  We did meet a group of retired schoolteachers from Morocco; one of them was an English teacher, and she and I struck up a conversation about one of my favorite authors, the French-Algerian Albert Camus.  One of Camus’ best-known novels, “The Plague,” (1947) described a fictional time when the port city of Oran, Algeria, was quarantined because of bubonic plague.  I had downloaded a copy onto my Kindle to read on this tour, not only because I was coming to Algiers, but because of the coronavirus arising in Wuhan and beginning to make its way around the world.  The teacher said that Camus was not read too much in North Africa, even though he was born in Algeria.  His parents were “pieds-noir,” (black feet), a derogatory term for people of French descent who were born in Algeria, but had French citizenship.
She told me that most North Africans don't know Camus and the ones that do don’t like him because he wanted to keep Algeria under French rule and keep the natives (both Berber and Arab) subservient to the French. She offered the opinion that Camus was perhaps more conscientious than the average Frenchman of the time period, and that he might react differently if he were alive today…but she may have said that just to please me.  She also said North Africans don’t read many novels, as it isn’t part of their culture.
Rafik and I went out for lunch—chicken and eggplant on a skewer for me, fish and something non-carb for Rafik, who follows a keto diet and gives me his pommes frites (French fried). He says this diet has made all the difference in the world as to how he feels—and was why he could essentially guide me around the first day after two hours of sleep!
On TV in my room I learned that an Italian visiting Algeria has been put in quarantine for COVID19—I wondered if I might have to go into quarantine myself when I return to the States!  There are 18 cases with 2 deaths in France, where some events are being cancelled, but not an important rugby match.  The hotel front desk said that no flights from Algiers to or from Germany had been cancelled, just to Italy. So far, so good.
The next morning would be my last full day in Algeria.  After breakfast, Rafik and I set out for Algiers, exchanging police escorts along the way.  The police are always prompt and cordial, but the police car for one of them badly needed a new exhaust system.  I felt guilty using a police escort for just me, but they didn’t seem to mind and said a warm “Au Revoir” as we arrived in Algiers.  It was time for lunch, and Rafik took me to a wonderful fish restaurant overlooking the blue Mediterranean Sea—no where else in the world is there such a blue as that!  The fish had been freshly caught that same morning and tasted divine!  Seated next to us was a couple from Lyon, France, probably in their mid-60s.  The man had worked many years in London and spoke perfect English.
After lunch we went up the top of a hill, I believe the highest spot in Algiers, to visit the Our Lady of the Sea Catholic cathedral—and there was the French couple again! The neo-Byzantine cathedral is called Notre Dame D'Afrique and is remarkable: the inscription over the altar within, “Notre Dame d’Afrique prions pour nous et pour les Muselmans"(Our Lady of Africa, pray for us and for the Muslims), is a hopeful sentiment. The nearby Great Mosque of Algiers is one of the few remaining examples of Almoravid architecture, with a 14th-century minaret.  I told Rafik that we could skip the Martyrs' Monument, a strange and impressive triple-pillared concrete structure atop the hill, as it is the one site that I had already visited on the cruise I took where a passenger fell and hit her head and we all had to go back to the ship.  Therefore, we went straight to the Casbah.  I don’t know what I thought the Casbah was, probably a place to buy things, full of souvenirs.  I had thought the phrase “Come with me to the Casbah” was uttered by Peter Lorre in the movie “Casablanca,” but I was wrong.  Rafik said it was from a movie called “Algiers” from the late 1930s and it was Charles Boyer saying it to Hedy Lamarr!
The Casbah itself is a walled central area of any north African city, but especially of Algiers.   It is an old and dingy outside but elegant inside living quarters that residents have fought hard to retain when the authorities wanted to tear it down and build other structures. Today it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, so its future seems secure.  Rafik wanted to take our car to the top of the hill, park it and walk down through the Casbah and then take a taxi back up the hill, but it took him 30 minutes to find a parking place! Algeria’s tourist business is slim today, but you would never know it at the Casbah.  We got to go inside one building that at one time had been a church but today is a museum.  Upon reaching the bottom, we tried again for about a half hour to get a taxi—we almost took the Metro, but Rafik bribed a taxi driver so we made it back up the hill and to our car.
It had been a very eventful day, and I really wasn’t hungry, so I ate a Protein bar, packed my bags and went to sleep.  Next morning, Rafik took me to the airport and filled out the form I would leave to exit the country.  I had packed my carryon for the night in the Frankfort Airport Hotel, so checked my main bag through to Memphis, my final destination.  My backpack went through the X-ray just fine, and I put it back on and headed toward the gate when a young Arab woman came over with a metal detector and felt me up and down.  I did have on a money belt (no metal and I had walked through the detector without setting it off).  She frowned and told me to take it off, so I pulled it down and stepped out of it.  She then told me to pick it up.  Well, I am 82 years old and in order to pick it up I said I needed something or someone to hold on to—which she wouldn’t provide or didn’t understand, so I tried kicking it into the air and catching it, but that wasn’t working.  A gentleman from the airport staff picked it up and handed it to me, and I opened it for her inspection.  She saw it was just money so she frowned and let me go.  I think she was disappointed!
The Lufthansa crew was really great, and even put together a gluten-free meal for me with leftover fruit and yogurt from the previous breakfast flight!  Landing in Frankfurt, I was met by my special assistant.  When I went through German customs the agent looked at my passport and asked me what my final destination was.  “Memphis TN USA” I said.  He frowned and snapped, “This is Germany, why are you coming here?”
“To spend the night because I have a 17 hour layover,” I responded.
“Why didn’t you say so,” he grumbled as he stamped my passport and returned it.
My assistant put me on the shuttle to the Raddison Airport Hotel where I had made my reservation online.  Luckily, they had it.  The room was sparse and small,  but TV provided me with the latest information on the coronavirus epidemic.  More cases were being detected worldwide. At least travel had not been restricted from Europe (although in retrospect, what we learned about the coronavirus entering the Eastern US from Europe, perhaps it should have been!)
I had breakfast in the hotel, and rode the shuttle to the airport and was met by my special assistant who took me to my gate.  The next stop was Toronto, also a difficult airport to navigate, so I had ordered assistance there as well.  No problems, good gluten-free meals, and I finally landed in my hometown of Memphis in the late afternoon.  I really didn’t need assistance there, but there was a young man in the line of wheelchairs who was holding up a sign with my name on it, so what could I do?  And he was helpful when it came to getting the luggage—and me—to the pick up line where my very special friend Eddie was there to update me on the latest virus news and take me home.
At the time, I had no idea that COVID-19 would soon be pronounced a pandemic.  For years I had worked with virologists who were preparing for another influenza epidemic.  That would have been bad, but our scientists knew how to make influenza vaccines and could no doubt speed them up.  This new coronavirus, however, behaved in strange ways and there were no clues of how infectious it was, how dangerous it could be, what kind of illnesses it caused.  I thought about Camus’ book, “The Plague,” about a fictional bubonic plague in Oran, a large port city of Algeria.  Camus envisioned the whole city of Oran being quarantined for several months in the mid-1940s.  His book was allegory.  This was real.
Soon, the three other trips I had planned for 2020 were cancelled.  I had felt that at my age this would be my last year of overseas travel—being there is not so hard, but getting there is, and I don’t envision that it will improve. However,  I am so glad I went to North Africa, and if it is my last overseas adventure, it was a great one!
Dawn, Tunisia and Algeria Tour, Feb 2020
The trip to North Africa was amazing! This was my first time experiencing Algeria and Tunisia. I’ve visited Morocco several times, so I had somewhat of an idea of what to expect culturally before my visit to Algeria and Tunisia. Chammakhnadhem, my guide, was supportive and attentive to all my needs from the time I arrived, until the time I departed Tunisia. Chammakhnadhem was highly knowledgeable of the history, culture and current events of Tunisia. He was able to efficiently communicate about the local food, religion, music, social economic issues in Tunisia. 
Although the rain and cold wind was persistent through out the tour, I had a great time visiting Sidi Bou Said, Tunis and Kairouan. What’s amazing about Tunisia is the food! It’s quite exquisite. Especially the Kafteji! It’s a simple, yet inexpensive cuisine that makes your stomach smile. Overall I had a great time in Tunisia, I hope to visit again soon.
Algeria was definitely fun, but interesting. Mohammad and I were able to visit most of the sites scheduled however, with the current health situation we were restricted from visited some of the monuments in the last few days of the tour. However, Mohammad, my guide, was amazing! Mohammad was definitely attentive to my needs from the time I arrived, until I departed Algeria. Mohammad was knowledgeable about the history, youth, food, sports and culture of Algeria. Djanet was quite interesting. Sidi Ali, who was my guide was very helpful in my arrival and departure from Djanet. Although there was language barriers I was able to enjoy the time in the desert. The desert was amazing. The most spectacular view of the trip was the oasis. I was so impressed by the oasis and the natural beauty of its existence. It’s definitely in my top ten experiences overall.
In conclusion, I really enjoyed northern Africa, there’s some beautiful and humble individuals here.   I hope to visit next year or whenever the current restrictions from the health crisis are lifted.
Victor in Algeria, March 2020 Victor in Bardo Museum, Tunisia March 2020 Victor in Tunisia, March 2020
Victor, USA - Tunisia and Algeria Tour, March 2020
This past January, my wife and I, along with a friend, traveled to Tunisia with Mosaic North Africa to take a Star Wars Tour. We had some limited time, but Mosaic worked with us to put together an amazing tour that covered 4 days. These four days were completely amazing. We had an amazing tour guide in Noureddine Yahyaoui. He was very knowledgeable and gladly shared with us, not only information on the Star Wars sites but also history and information on Tunisia.
 
The tour started with a visit to Sidi Driss, which was the location of the Lars Homestead. It was an amazing location and a wonderful place to stay. The following day we visited the Slave Quarters from "The Phantom Menace". We were taken to a small cafe nearby which was an excellent pause during the day and let us experience some local cuisine. The next day we saw the Salt Flats, with Luke's igloo, the Camel's Neck,  and Mos Espa. Again, thanks to our guide, we got an amazing experience and again got a chance to sample some locally made bread which was both flavorful and fresh. After those visits, we went to an oasis, and the beauty of it, and the waterfall we saw there was stunning.
 
The final day we headed back up toward Tunis and took a detour to Kairouan, the site of the first Arab city in North Africa. Again, Noureddine showed us wonderful sites, including the Mosque and a place for lunch. We concluded our trip with a stop at Carthage and the American WWII Cemetery. Throughout all of this, Noureddine was assisted by our wonderful driver Lotfi Turki. He always greeted us with a smile and a warm word.
 
Our trip to Tunisia was incredible, and it was completely thanks to Moasic North Africa, Lotfi, and Noureddine. We felt completely safe, and more importantly, welcomed by the locals the entire time we were there. We can highly recommend this tour!
 
Hotel Sidi Driss (Lars Homestead) Exterior

Hotel Sidi Driss (Lars Homestead) Exterior

Hotel Sidi Driss (Lars Homestead) Troglodyte Room

Hotel Sidi Driss (Lars Homestead) Troglodyte Room

Hotel Sidi Driss (Lars Homestead) Star Wars Film Location

Hotel Sidi Driss (Lars Homestead) Star Wars Film Location

Martin, Star Wars Tour - January 2020
We had a wonderful trip to Tunisia - Roman ruins were wonderful - people are great also.  We've got some great pictures and wonderful memories.
 
Guide was great - very knowledgeable - driver excellent - only problem auto was too small for three big men - rdiver, guide and Ed all run over 6 feet!!!
 
Hotels were all good and above average except for Ras el Ain - could be a gorgeous spot but has been let go - staff not helpful; rooms not well cared for - a spot if I had a lot of money should buy and fix up!!!!  Swimming pool and grounds were beautiful.
Food in all hotels was excellent -- although I think I would not take "board" so we could eat in local spots - guide knows where to go - and if driver isn't available - get a taxi!!
 
All in all - great trip...
 
Joan and Edward, USA - Tunisia Tour, November 2019
The trip was amazing!  I really enjoyed it from beginning to end, and felt very well-taken care of, especially by Azzedine and Mustafa.  Azzedine especially showed a lot of enthusiasm and more importantly, knowledge about the places we visited (it was a demanding crowd).  His knowledge was deep and comprehensive, we drank it all in.  Mustafa brought us to some fantastic restaurants in Algiers etc, he definitely understood what we were looking for (places with wine and ambience).
Only thing I would have changed was the hotel accommodation in Algiers. It was fine and very well-located, but having the option to stay in a five star hotel would have been welcome....
Sahara was a highlight.  Karem was more quiet and reserved, but I understand the expectation might be a little different versus what we had in the north.  Absolutely fantastic experience being in the Sahara, personally I would have preferred two nights of camping versus a night in the town.
Ramon, USA - Algeria Tour, October 2019
Azzeddine and Mustapha were absolutely phenomenal hosts. Both incredibly thoughtful, flexible and made us feel right at home. Azzeddine in particular is not just incredibly knowledgeable on Algerian antiquities, but also an incredibly fun guide....
Djanet - wow!! 
- The rock formations in the shifting sand dunes are exquisite, as are the carvings. 
- I highly recommend camping at least two nights out, and not just one as we had expected. Lots of stars to see and you feel free in the wide open. 
Art, USA - Algeria October 2019
We started our Moroccan adventure with a ferry ride from Tarifa to Tangier.  The afternoon was spent on double decker buses getting a feel for the city and Morocco in general.  Camels on the beach were just our first glimpse of what was to follow.
 
Day 1-We were met by our driver, Rachid and we started our journey to the blue city of Chefchaouen.  Never would we have imagined how mountainous this drive would be.  In In the blue city we toured the inner city, seeing the communal ovens, the mosque on the hill, and we trekked up and down the narrow, hilly roads. What a gorgeous city.  We finished our tour then had dinner at the riad.  This was our first experience and following an exhausting day touring we still had to climb many stairs to our rooms.  The host were very gracious and served a great fish dinner.
 
Day 2-This day we toured volubility, the city of Idriss, Meknes with the large inner city and underground prison. All were very interesting, unique experiences.  From there we headed to Fes.  Riad Myra was absolutely stunning.  The staff were great, and food was superb, except we were served portions that were much too large.  
 
Day 3-We really enjoyed Fes.  The medina was truly amazing and we had a super guide for the day.  The shops, tanneries, carpet makers were all fun to see.  And 
Tajines everywhere.  That night we had dinner in a nice restaurant.  We stopped off at an   English  pub on our way back to the riad.
 
Day 4-This was an 11 hour trek through the Atlas Mountains.  We stopped off at a Swiss type village, a golf course, and wandered through various towns in the way to Marrakech. It was a long day but saw some awesome sights.
 
Day 5-Marrakech, a city overrun by motorcycles with seemingly no regard for walkers, even in the shop areas.  The main square was interesting with the snake charmers, monkeys, and more tanneries, blacksmiths, etc. That evening Rachid booked us at a restaurant with entertainment, dancers, and a ballet show.. He took a video of Marge and Vicky on the dance floor..A great night.  
 
Day 6-We left for Casablanca, with a great highway through to the city.  We spent time visiting Hassan mosque then Rachid dropped us off at the hotel. We spent the afternoon at the Mall.
 
Thoughts-Kevin, it was a truly amazing experience. Rachid was an awesome driver,tour guide and host.  The Moroccan people were great hosts, friendly and did all they could to make our trip enjoyable.  The road system is way beyond what I could have imagined. I would certainly recommend you and your team to anyone wanting to visit Morocco.
 
There were days we felt like mountain goats with the up and down terrain.  We are fortunate that we didn't have big mobility issues but it could be a challenge for those who do.  One takeaway would be that it would be nice if there was some indication as to how difficult some of the tours could be.  Perhaps like cruise lines, in your tour information there could be a rating as to how difficult the walking  tours could be. Also, we did not envision how many narrow steps we had to climb to get to our rooms.  In fact in Marrakech we had a main floor room but had our bathroom on second level with a very narrow winding staircase to get up to it.  I will send you photos.
 
We feel very fortunate to be able to see Morocco, and we are taking back many fond memories.  We felt very safe the entire time and really enjoyed the Moroccan people.  We will cherish these memories forever.
 
Shukran (Thank you)  from all of us
Harv and Marge, Morocco Tour - October 2019
Mhamed was fabulous. He was well informed, attentive, and genuine. We felt like we had a friend along for the ride, rather than a guide. He was as excited about the sites as we were, and his company made the trip more comfortable than it might have been without such a knowledgeable local guide. He always had a plan for the day, and he was always willing to change the plan based on what we wanted to see and how we were feeling on that particular morning. 
 
Thank you for making this trip happen! It was a once in a lifetime experience that wouldn’t have happened without your help!
Mark (USA), Algeria Tour - October 2019
My trip went very well.  My driver and guide did a great job:  always punctual, knowledgeable, professional and friendly.  I really enjoyed my trip to ancient Carthage.  The Antonine Baths were amazing.  Also, it was fascinating to visit the old military port and the massive cisterns used to store water from the Roman aqueduct.  And of course, the Bardo Museum was very impressive.   I thought the day trip to Dougga was definitely worth it:  it had some of the most impressive ancient ruins concentrated in one spot that I have seen.  All in all, a great trip!
Jamie at Dougga Theater
Jamie, Weekend Getaway in Tunis Tour - May 2019
General experience was very positive. Saw Roman Sites as expected in context with the modern Algerian reality. Guide and driver kept us safe and informed. All events were on time (we were the only cause of any delays) and the information provided filled our heads to almost overflow. A fine relationship to becoming a visitor and not just a tourist in Algeria. 
The focus of your travels were the old sites, mostly Roman, and we were amazed. All our expectations were met and exceeded. Wonderful and well selected and presented. We all filled our cameras and minds and hearts with the history and the extent beauty of the sites and their surroundings....
Azedine was appropriately enthusiastic about Algeria. He introduced us to date sellers, fresh oranges of quality, good banana vendors. We saw the wide spread protests from a safe distance but with helpful commentary. When we asked to make changes in plan due to rain forecast or our interests, they were accommodated as often as possible without complaint. While driving or walking, our "what is that?" questions were answered or even anticipated and we felt informed. We also enjoyed the local side trips that were not on the formal schedule because of the flavor of Algeria they gave us. Especially interesting was the hot spring tour where we were treated to boiling eggs, very fresh, while joining Algerians out for a fun day. Azedine tailored his approach to us at a high level of information which matched our desires.
We always felt safe.... The inter-relationship with the security forces was smooth and of no concerning nature to us. Thanks to all of them.
Thanks to Azedine for his friendship and informative guidance. Our driver was equally attentive. We wish all the best to them and to Algeria.
Arvid and Sophia, North Africa Tour - March-April 2019
Communicating with you through the whole process of trip selection was a pleasure. Your were unbelievably prompt and succinct with your replies, telling me, always, just what I needed to know. 
Your Logistics partner in Algiers was also first rate. Especially Soumia who was an angel. There were a couple of missteps on your part which complicated things a bit but hopefully now you have the correct information.
The highlights of this 11 day private tour was the beautiful European city of Algiers, and the Ottoman city of Constantine, and visiting the Roman ruins in Djemila. 5 days in the desert was too long and I would recommend only two days in Timimoun and one in Taghit and skipping Oran. Although the train from Oran back to Algiers was lovely
April, Algeria Tour - April 2019
Mosaic arranged our tour with the utmost professionalism and attention to detail. The ancient sites we visited were amazing. Our guide was a true historian and our driver was very safety conscious and always on time. Kevin and Joshua attended to all concerns in a timely and caring manner. We had visited Algeria prior to Tunisia and I only wish we had used Mosaic for that part of the trip as well. Thanks for a lovely holiday!
The tour was great and I enjoyed it immensely. Ridha was a walking encyclopedia when it came to the Roman ruins and Tunisia’s history in general. Nacer knew his way around and is an excellent driver. Both went out of their way to take care of us. Couldn’t ask for more. My thanks to you and your staff for their assistance and professionalism throughout the planning process. I wouldn’t hesitate to use Mosaic again.
Richard and Lorraine Tunisia Tour - Dougga

Richard and Lorraine Tunisia Tour - Dougga

Richard and Lorraine Tunisia Tour - El Jem Exterior

Richard and Lorraine Tunisia Tour - El Jem Exterior

Richard and Lorraine Tunisia Tour - El Jem Interior

Richard and Lorraine Tunisia Tour - El Jem Interior

Richard and Lorraine Tunisia Tour - Tunisian Door

Richard and Lorraine Tunisia Tour - Tunisian Door

Richard and Lorraine, Best of Tunisian History Tour, April 2019
I had a great time! 
Highlights:
  1. The Lars Homestead Exterior: All of my friends were jealous of the sunset picture. As I stood there, I remembered all my time as a kid pretending to be Luke Skywalker, standing in that exact spot. It was a very existential experience.
  2. Ben Kenobi's house and the Toche Station: It was a very cool (and beautiful) area. And you would never know from the movie that it is right by the sea.
  3. Lars Homestead Interior: I slept in and had a beer in Luke's house. Need I say more?
  4. In addition to being a Star Wars fan, I am also a historian. It was great to talk to Nader about the Arab Spring. It was also very interesting to see the Ghriba Synagogue (I had no idea that Tunisia had a significant Jewish population or would have guessed that such a significant site was there.) The Okba Ibn Nafaa mosque in Kairouan was also very interesting- oldest in Africa and "4th holiest site in Islam".
Nader and Mohammed (Khamis) were great. They really listened to what I wanted to do and took care of me. They did not try to push places on me or send me to expensive places to eat or buy gifts. Everywhere we went, they knew great places for the best tuna sandwiches and shisha. What more could I ask for?
I highly recommend that every Star Wars fan, lover of History, or if you just want to see visit a beautiful place, to pay a visit to Tunisia. And yes, Mosaic North Africa is a fantastic way to do just that. I can't wait to go back one day.
Randall Star Wars Tour - Sidi Bouhlel

Randall Star Wars Tour - Sidi Bouhlel

Randall Star Wars Tour - Tosche Station

Randall Star Wars Tour - Tosche Station

Randall Star Wars Tour - Ben Kenobi Home

Randall Star Wars Tour - Ben Kenobi Home

Randall Star Wars Tour - Cantina

Randall Star Wars Tour - Cantina

Randall Star Wars Tour - Ksar

Randall Star Wars Tour - Ksar

Randall Star Wars Tour - Lars Homestead Exterior

Randall Star Wars Tour - Lars Homestead Exterior

Randall Star Wars Tour - Lars Homestead Interior Meal

Randall Star Wars Tour - Lars Homestead Interior Meal

Randall Star Wars Tour - Lars Homestead Interior

Randall Star Wars Tour - Lars Homestead Interior

Randall, Star Wars Tour - April 2019
First off: a great trip! For me, a onetime student of classical languages and archaeology, the level of preservation of the sites we visited was revelatory, and the introduction to the richness of the mosaic art was mind-blowing. Add in the sheer beauty of the countryside, the “exotic” cities and towns, and the exceptionally welcoming warmth we both felt from all we met, and the sum total was simply a knockout. Highlights were too numerous to count.... 
The other piece of information in your information package that I would edit is about changing money back at the airport in Tunisia. ATM receipts are essential, as I think you mention, but if the banks for which you have receipts have decided not to show up at the airport the day you depart, you’re stuck—virtually compelled to buy stuff with your remaining dinars or, as was suggested, use them to pay off the douane. It’s worth trying to exchange back dinars before heading for the airport…
But these quibbles apart, I want to be clear that I thought Mosaic did a fantastic job. Everything went off without a hitch: We were duly met at airports—Moustapha and “Dean” at Algiers, Rehda in Tunis—and we felt cared for, comfortable, and utterly secure every minute of every day. Every request was fulfilled, every eventuality anticipated, every consideration given to our comfort and happiness—and it all worked beautifully.
Our driver-guide in Algeria, Azedine, with his advanced training as an archaeologist, was particularly exceptional from our point of view because we could all indulge in our shared passion for the antiquity we were exploring. We found him a gem. In Tunisia, in a part of the world in which the driving customs often astounded, Nasr is one of the great drivers—clearly very experienced, very safe, very careful, got us there in good time every time; we figure we saw a lot of that small-ish country under his guidance. And Rehda was a delight, a charming companion as well as an astute guide. Also, his/your/the agency’s handling of our hotel “disaster” in Tozeur was smooth as silk and wonderfully done....
Bottom line, as we Americans are notorious for saying, the trip was an absolute winner and I would unhesitatingly recommend Mosaic Tours to anyone interested in traveling to your fascinating part of the world.
Susanna, Algeria and Tunisia Tour - March 2019
The trip was fabulous. Thank you for everything.... 
First the guides. Azeddine was a spectacular guide and driver. An exceptional guide to the archaeological sites and a wonderful guide to present day Algerian politics and life. We couldn’t have asked for more. Ridha and Nacer were also good . The dynamic was different because there were two of them but also courteous and competent and Ridha was very knowledgeable about the sites and explaining the history and present day Tunisia. Both guides were very proud of their countries and wanted us to see the best of them. Obviously Algeria was going thru an amazing time and we felt very caught up in the demonstrations and the excitement and we were thrilled to be there at that time. They seem to be making progress but the road to change is difficult as can be seen in present Tunisia....
The ruins in both countries were beyond our wildest expectations. The quality of the restorations were breathtaking and the mosaics exceptional. I would definitely recommend adding Bulla Regia to your itinerary. The mosaics on the floors of the basement rooms were some of the most spectacular we saw and they were in situ which made them exceptional.
Also March was a wonderful time to go as the spring flowers were everywhere and the warm days perfect. We had a couple of cold days w snow in the mountains so warm clothes were essential....
As far as security was concerned we felt totally safe every minute. The guides were in touch with the authorities constantly it seemed and the cities felt very safe. So that issue for me at least was a non issue. All in all a trip I won’t forget. I knew only the bare bones of present day Algeria and Tunisia and it was completely an eye opening adventure to be there as well of course the Roman sites which I think are unrivaled anywhere.
I would totally recommend the trip with the exception of a few of the hotels.... So thank you for everything.
Timgad Algeria Tour

Here we are on a wild and wet day in Timgad, which Mary called one of the "most evocative" sights in all of the vast Roman Empire

Dougga Tunisia Tour

Sunshine at Dougga/Thugga

 
Mary, Algeria and Tunisia - March 2019
....our big thank you to you and your team for giving us a most enjoyable trip in Morocco, excellent service, the best and most beautiful and comfortable accommodations and most of all a wonderful guide in Rachid who, with his passion and extensive knowledge has given us a great appreciation of the country. 
 
All the places we went to were magical. Morocco is a haven for photographers and painters and even writers I suppose.
 
Thank you for all our wonderful experiences and all the people and guides that Rachid chose for us.
 
As in our previous trip, you gave us excellent service.
 
Meal with Rachid

You gave us the best guide, Rachid, who took very good care of us, providing us with extensive information about the places we visited and let us enjoy local food which he chose for us very carefully. He kept the van always clean and supplied us with cold water everyday Most important is he drove very safely and he made sure that he took us to the best spots in Morocco.

Tajines in Morocco
Accommodation in Morocco

We loved all the accommodations that you prepared for us. This was one of them.

Bakery with Rachid Coastal Morocco
 
Morocco Medina
Delfin, Raquel and Kathy, Morocco Tour, March 2019
We had an excellent trip, and I'm suggesting it to other colleagues here in Egypt. I think the biggest surprise was how nice the pottery stop in Djerba was. I've been to overpriced tourist junk "museums" and "artist colonies" all over the world, but this is the first one that I enjoyed.  I was perfectly happy to overpay for my magic camel to have something to remind me of the experience. We also really enjoyed that Nabil balanced star wars sites with other locations of interest.
Kevin (Group of 6), Star Wars Tour, March 2019
Just wanted to say that I had the most incredible time in Algeria. Bluest skies and friendliest people I've come into contact with. Been to over 135 countries, so a good compliment hopefully! And Din and Mustafa, my guides, were excellent. Knowledgeable and friendly in equal measure!
 
I would happily recommend Mosaic North Africa. The trip was brilliantly organised, the guides were excellent and the country is stunning. A highly memorable trip.
 
* Michael is attempting to travel to every country in the world. He has visited 136 countries so far, and have 59 to go! Follow his travel adventures at The Traveling Ape
 
Downtown Algiers - Michael Algeria Tour in March 2019

Downtown Algiers - Michael Algeria Tour in March 2019

Monument of Martyrs - Michael Algeria Tour in March 2019

Monument of Martyrs - Michael Algeria Tour in March 2019

Oran - Michael Algeria Tour in March 2019

Oran - Michael Algeria Tour in March 2019

Tipaza - Michael Algeria Tour in March 2019

Tipaza - Michael Algeria Tour in March 2019

Michael, Algeria Tour - March 2019
Quick thoughts: The tour guide was really fantastic and the driver was good. Good tour overall. Would recommend your tour again based on your willingness to accommodate mom and because of the tour guide. Ridha was knowledgeable, quick to accommodate our requests, and mindful of mom’s limitations. 
Zehra and Shaher, Tunisia Tour - February 2019
My husband and I took “The Best of Tunisia Tour -11 days/10 nights” in December 2018, and we were very happy with the organization of the tour, both pre and during the visit. In 11 days we able to see a lot of this very interesting country: the Mediterranean northern coastline, Roman ruins, several cities with their interesting medinas, oasis in the Sahara Desert and much more. The hotels were as expected, but the Dar Ben Gacem in Tunis was really a wonderful surprise. We would like to specially acknowledge the excellent services of our driver, Nacer Khefifi, and of our guide, Adel Mabrouk. It was a privilege to be with them during the entire tour. Mr. Nacer Khefifi is a competent and helpful driver and a very likable person. Mr. Adel Mabrouk is a very experienced guide and, besides being an excellent “teacher”, has a keen feeling for understanding the special interests and needs of the clients. At the end of the tour we felt that we had made friends in Tunisia. We would strongly recommend a tour in Tunisia with Mosaic Tours. Maria and Jose Best of Tunisia Tour Maria and Jose Best of Tunisia Tour Maria and Jose Best of Tunisia Tour Maria and Jose Best of Tunisia Tour Maria and Jose Best of Tunisia Tour
José and Maria, Tunisia Tour - December 2018
We really enjoyed our time in Tunis! What a beautiful city with incredibly friendly people. We were amazed by how willing strangers were to help us. Of course, there were a few hustlers and some taxi drivers that attempted to rip us off, but overall the Tunisians were helpful and kind and seemed to genuinely want us to enjoy their city. The guide, Saber, was fantastic. Very friendly and knowledgeable. Adrienne felt like she had to be pretty insistent to get him to shorten some of the walks/excursions when she and the baby were getting tired, but in general he was sensitive to our situation and adjusted things accordingly. The medina tour was definitely a highlight and had a good mix of local flavor, shopping, history, etc. Ben Family Tunisia Tour
Ben Family, Tunisia Tour, Jan 2019
We had a fantastic time, much better then I thought we would. I had some apprehension traveling or visiting Tunisia. After first of couple of days I had no issues what so ever. It was a busy itinerary but did not feel like as if we did not have enough time. It is definitely unique country and so much to explore. And are very thankful to you and Mosaic North Africa. We truly feel without all the arrangements made for us we could not have enjoyed this trip as we did. 
There were so many highlights if not everything that we did; Sahara dessert moon rise and sunrise, quad & camel back experience in Sahara, camping in Sahara, Bardo museum, Carthage ruins, visiting local café in Sidi Bou Said, Souks, Medinas, Berber houses, stop by Chott El Jerid, surprise unexpected stop at the Sand stones on the way to Ksar Ghilane (thanks to Makram & Imed), El Jem, truly understanding Oasis & Mirage, we enjoyed local food for lunch/snack as recommended by Makram & Imed, visiting scarf weaving shop in Kairouan and so much more. 
As I had mentioned in my previous email regarding Makram & Imed, in addition to that Makram had funny sense of humor and made us all feel comfortable. Imed was a gentleman, very punctual and on the spot. I would ask for them to be with us if I ever visit again. 
Jay and Anita Tunisia Tour - Sahara Desert

Jay and Anita Tunisia Tour - Sahara Desert

Jay and Anita Tunisia Tour - Sahara Desert Sunset

Jay and Anita Tunisia Tour - Sahara Desert Sunset

Jay and Anita Tunisia Tour - Tunisia Fruits

Jay and Anita Tunisia Tour - Tunisia Fruits

Jay and Anita Tunisia Tour - Tunisia Traditional Cuisine

Jay and Anita Tunisia Tour - Tunisia Traditional Cuisine

Jay and Anita Tunisia Tour - Sahara at Night

Jay and Anita Tunisia Tour - Sahara at Night

Jay & Anita, Tunisia Tour Nov/Dec 2018
Nice of you to send me the card. Recently my guide Ghanou sent me this photo of us at Timgad. He really looked after me extremely well. He said, “I’ll take care of you as I would my own father.” He made sure I didn’t fall or trip over the ancient stones. He picked me up at my hotel at 6:30 am to take me to the airport even though it was his day off and someone else was supposed to do it. He waited while I stood in line to check my bag to make sure everything was all right before he left. I couldn’t have asked for a better guide.
Arlan Algeria Tour

Visiting Timgad - Algeria Tour

Arlan, Algeria Tour, Oct 2018
I think we all enjoyed the trip a lot, maybe some got a bit tired of seeing ruins after a few days, so then was good to see the Mareth line and the Star Wars sites, a good variety and all enjoyed Djerba.  The Kasbah hotel was a big hit.  The hotel in Tunis was not so great, but adequate.  Salim was fine, though he tended to move really fast and begin talking before all of us were present, so we missed some of the info at times.  He was very knowledgeable.....Thanks so much for arranging everything and for your hospitality while we were in Djerba.... 
Bob Tunisia Group Tour - Dougga Site

Bob Tunisia Group Tour - Dougga Site

Bob Tunisia Group Tour - Dougga Site

Bob Tunisia Group Tour - Dougga Site

Bob Tunisia Group Tour - Dougga Site

Bob Tunisia Group Tour - Dougga Site

Bob, Tunisia Group Tour - November 2018
Your tour and the guides were excellent. Wahid, Mohammed and Nooredin were very friendly and helpful. Based the driver was polite and courteous. The people in all these three countries were very friendly and helpful and I would recommend this tour anyone. Being vegetarians we had issues with food but that is expected in very meat eating cultures. After a weeks of pasta and pizzas we were able to find our choice of food and they were all trying hard to accommodate us. All the sites were impressive. The highlight of the tour was El JEM and Bardo museum. Thanks again Kevin for giving us a great tour.
Mahendra, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia Tour - Oct/Nov 2018
We had a wonderful trip. Thank you for all the planning and organizing. 
We can’t say enough good things about Hatim, the driver. He was professional, knowledgeable, considerate and enjoyable to be with.  
He is a fantastic ambassador for Morocco and we highly recommend him for future clients. All the pre-planned tour guides were excellent also.  
Highlights: Chefchaouen The Riads Volubilis Desert/camels Pottery tours  
The trip was surreal, surprising and sometimes overwhelming. The accommodations were shockingly beautiful and ornate.  
The sights and sounds were so rich and novel, it was helpful to have a guide for each of the Medinas.  
The camel ride in the desert was a highlight. The campfire and Berber dancing and drumming was a lot of fun.  
Hatim and the tour guides all seemed to guide us to the government set up co-operatives for shopping which, if truly fair-trade co-ops, made us feel good about supporting them. They said that they were set up so that women could sell their goods directly to the customer, pay low commissions and keep the profit.  
We found the pace of the trip too quick for us. In retrospect, we wished we had asked to stay a minimum of 2 nights and sometimes 3 nights at each place. We think cutting out some of the cities would have been better for us. Rather than seeing so many Medinas, we would have preferred to spend 3 days exploring one of them.  
The information you sent prior to the trip was very helpful.  
The tipping guidelines were great.  
Overall a fantastic trip.
Margaret Highlights of Morocco Tour - Atlas Mountain

Margaret Highlights of Morocco Tour - Atlas Mountain

Margaret Highlights of Morocco Tour - Medina

Margaret Highlights of Morocco Tour - Medina

Margaret Highlights of Morocco Tour - Volubilis

Margaret Highlights of Morocco Tour - Volubilis

Margaret Highlights of Morocco Tour

Margaret Highlights of Morocco Tour

Margaret & Bruce, Morocco Tour, October/November 2018
Let me begin by thanking you and Kevin for organizing a truly outstanding itinerary, an excellent guide and driver, a very nice variety of accommodations and an altogether enjoyable experience for Arlene and me from the beginning to the end of our tour.
We would highly recommend both our guide and our driver. Adel is extremely knowledgeable, his English is excellent and he accommodated all of our special requests (visiting specialty shops, skipping lunches, searching in vain for Coke Zero, etc.) with a smile.
We very much enjoyed Dar Ben Gacem in Tunis, Dar Sidi Abdallah outside El Kef, Hotel La Kasbah in Kairouan, Dar Saida Beya in Tozeur, L'Auberge de Tamezret near Matmata, and Movenpick Resort and Marine Spa in Sousse. If we had to do it over again, I think we would opt for half board in El Kef and Tamezret (due to the rural nature of our accommodations), but would prefer to take our dinner at restaurants in Tunis, Kairouan, Tozeur and Sousse. In both Tunis and Tozeur, we were the only people at dinner, and our meals consisted of whatever the cook decided to make that evening. In Kairouan and Sousse, we found the huge buffet dinners high in quantity but low in quality. All four of these cities have an abundance of restaurants with extensive menus, which would have been more to our liking.
We thoroughly enjoyed our time in Tunisia, and would highly recommend you and Mosaic North Africa to anyone considering a tour of that fascinating land. Again, thank you very much for making our stay in Tunisia so enjoyable.
Rick & Arlene, Tunisia Tour, October 2018
Guide and driver in Algeria were awesome... M'hammed was very nice and supportive, and Samia was amazing!  Very personable, accommodating, and highly recommended!  Tunisia driver was Lodfi, and just a delight!  Ridha was good, and did a nice job.  Highlights for me are the people, customs, and culture.  I know the tour was classic, but fit my schedule.  The guides were helpful in making my trip more meaningful by allowing me to interact, discuss, and seek out my interests.  You were amazing as a coordinator for the tour, and will recommend your company for sure!  The experience in Carthage WWII Memorial was emotional and very special.  Atef, the guide was impressive, and very invested in my story about my dad, and gave me a flag they used for 25 years on the graves.  Thank you for a wonderful experience! 
Linda, Algeria/Tunisia Tour, October 2018
First of all I have to say how much I enjoyed Algeria as a beautiful country with very friendly people. I was greeted frequently and warmly as an American. I was never uncomfortable and I felt safe at all times. My guide Ghanou became a friend and was always there to help me. His English was very good and we chatted and laughed a lot as he drove to the various sites and cities. He told me a lot about life in Algeria: Islam, politics, social life, history, language, etc. 
Seeing the ruins of so many Roman cities was the highlight for me because of my interest in Roman history. The sites are well maintained and were thoroughly excavated years ago, so it is such a pleasure to stroll the ancient streets and see the vestiges of their former glory. The local guides were very knowledgeable though not all of them spoke English. Ghanou was an excellent translator so it was not a problem. He also gave me tours of Algiers and Constantine, both fascinating cities. 
The food was great; everything was fresh from the market. In most restaurants the cuisine is French, as good as you could get anywhere in France. The architecture in the cities is all French, blocks of magnificent buildings. Ghanou said people compare Algiers to Marseille. My hotels were fine, except for the Orient in Annaba. Great location but a badly designed renovation. In my room there were three polished marble steps down from the entry and bathroom to the rest of the room. No handrail. Anyone could slip on those steps. The flimsy self-contained shower unit was wobbly and felt like a time machine. A two foot high step to get in. No grab bars. A how-not-to-design a hotel room. Unfortunately, I didn’t see any other hotels on the main boulevard, so it may be the best budget hotel choice in the area. Not far away a five star Sheraton has just opened. 
It’s obvious that Algeria is moving rapidly forward with billions of dollars being spent on construction and infrastructure, yet the country feels like the 50’s in the US. No tattoos. Conservative. Modest dress. Not flashy. Quiet. No fast food chains. Less advertising. Not so many people on their phones.  A nice change actually from the franticness of US cities. Of course, it’s strange not to be able to buy a beer or glass of wine easily. That may put off a lot of Western tourists. I enjoyed being in a country where I felt like I was the only tourist. 
It’s difficult to select just a few photos. I was surprised to see how beautifully situated the cities are in regard to the surrounding landscape, particularly the mountains. I hope these will give you an idea of my experiences. 
Thank you so much for setting up this tour for me. It surpassed my expectations. 
Arlan Algeria Tour

Arlan Algeria Tour

Arlan Algeria Tour

Arlan Algeria Tour

Arlan Algeria Tour

Arlan Algeria Tour

Arlan Algeria Tour

Arlan Algeria Tour

Arlan Algeria Tour

Arlan Algeria Tour

Arlan, Algeria Tour, Oct 2018
We had a wonderful time, Slim was very knowledgeable guide & very flexible if we wanted to make a change Lofti was a very good driver & a great guy with a wonderful sense of humour.
Tui and Colleen, Tunisia Tour, Oct 2018
In brief, we had an AMAZING trip. The praise is great and the criticism minor.  We felt that all three countries were different. We thought that Morocco was the most "touristy". The itinerary was super for a highlight tour. The distances between destinations weren't too far and the stops between were interesting. The food was wonderful. We really liked the idea of the guide choosing a local restaurant for dinners.
 
Algeria is an undiscovered/unpolished gem. Between the information that you sent and the book that I purchased the bar was sent fairly low  as far as expectations were concerned, and Algeria far surpassed them. Algiers was an interesting city to visit, from the botanical gardens, Monument to the Martyrs, and museums. As well as the other cities: Annaba, the bridges of Constantine. And the Roman ruins were amazing. I personally enjoy history- and the sites of Timgad and Djemila were incredible and their museums were small but packed with mosaics and artifacts. And never had we been somewhere that the people were so genuinely happy to see you as tourists. We had some nice meals at some local restaurants and a few pizzas too. Although Algeria doesn't have much of a cuisine identity we found ample selection. A lot of travel- but without that travel we never would have seen the culture of Ghadraia, the stone carvings of Taghit or the architecture and views in Oran. If Algeria were to develop its tourist infrastructure, and simplify its visa process, it could certainly compete with Morocco and Tunisia.
 
Talking with people we thought Tunisia was going to more resemble Morocco's commercialism, but instead we felt it more resembled Algeria's history. Again, the Roman ruins were amazing, with the coliseum of El Jem being the crown jewel. The salt pan of Chott El Jerid and the palm/date oasis were very interesting. Of minor critique of printed itinerary, our guide (Ridha) said that the Red Lizard train and the catacombs of Sousse have been closed for years and without plans for reopening. If so they should be deleted from the itinerary. And I don't know if it would be possible do have dinners at local restaurants (as in Morocco) instead of at the hotels, as in our opinion hotel buffets that serve 300-400 people per meal don't offer an authentic dining experience. (Our hotels/meals in Tunis and El Kef were unique and special). We felt all the guides did a nice job- information was educational and interesting. Illyass really went above and beyond with helping us.
 
Without hesitation I would recommend you (Mosaic North Africa) to anyone interested in traveling to the region. I hope to contact you in a few years for an encore!! 
Chenini

Chenini

Constantine mosque

Constantine mosque

El Djem

El Djem

Medracen

Medracen

Mosque at Marrakech

Mosque at Marrakech

Taghit

Taghit

Jon, Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia Tour, Sept/Oct 2018
Everything went really well! The highlights for me were the fantastic Roman remains -- I saw things that I'd never seen at Roman sites before (in tact toilets with their cubicular walls at Oudna, the almonry at Makhtar, the triple temple capitolium at Sbeitla, the underground part of the Capitolium at Oudna,the subterranean houses at Bulla Regia, etc.). It's actually a good job that we'd included Oudna, since the recent deluge in Tunisia and the floods near Nabeul had made the roads to Cap Bon and Kerkouane impassable. Everywhere we went Imel said he had a surprise for me, and he did -- every site had something different and unusual. The other highlight was the lovely little local hotels in Tangiers, Chefchouan, and El Kef, they were charming! The El Kef inn especially was an outstanding experience.
 
Ali in Morocco was an excellent and very accommodating driver. His English was excellent, and he found really great local guides for at all the sites that we visited.
Imel Daoud, my guide, and Lotfi, my driver, in Tunisia, were also excellent. Very punctual, and reliable; Lotfi was a really good and careful driver, and a very cheerful soul! Imel was amazingly knowledgeable about all the Roman sites, and sought out some extra sights for me when he realized that I really was only interested in seeing historical sites. They both looked after me really well.
 
I would certainly recommend Mosaic North Africa to anyone visiting Morocco and Tunisia.... 
 
Tangiers Riad Tangerina

Tangiers Riad Tangerina

Tangiers Medina Wall

Tangiers Medina Wall

Tamuda Roman W. Arch

Tamuda Roman W. Arch

Sbeitla Triple Capitoleum

Sbeitla Triple Capitoleum

Oudna Baths & Loo

Oudna Baths & Loo

Makhtar Almonry

Makhtar Almonry

Chefchaouen Dar Meziana

Chefchaouen Dar Meziana

Bulla Regia Subterranean Houses

Bulla Regia Subterranean Houses

Diane, Morocco and Tunisia Tour, September 2018
Mosaic North Africa is an excellent service! We we able to customize our tour and even make changes. Our tour guide and driver were able to pick us up at noon in order to drop us off at the airport at 8pm and still have an eight hour tour. After our pick-up we toured the Medina of Tunis, where our tour guide gave us a great informational tour and then let us have time to explore. We then were able to walk through the French and more modern area of Tunis. 
Next, we toured multiple historical cites of Carthage. All of these sites were included in our tour costs. Our guide was extremely informative on all locations and even added information about the area as we were driving. Again, we were able to customize our tour by being able to visit the U.S. WWII cemetery. We concluded our tour by going to Sidi Bou Said. 
Again, our guide gave us an informative tour and then allowed us to have free time. He helped us to get the perfect restaurant to eat and look out over the beautiful blue and white city and Mediterranean Sea at sunset. After dinner our drive and guide escorted us to the airport and made sure we were good to go before leaving. Overall, both our guide and driver were great! And Mosaic North Africa made it all possible! 
Tunis Medina

Tunis Medina

Camel in Tunis

Camel in Tunis

Carthage Site

Carthage Site

Posing with the Tour Guide

Posing with the Tour Guide

I Love Tunis

I Love Tunis

Sidi Bou Said

Sidi Bou Said

 
Olevia, Tunisia Day Excursion, August 2018
The trip was just FANTASTIC! The drivers are great and very professional. They arrived just in time and were very kind. 
The service itself is great. I have widely recommended your service with my friends. I hope some will share the experience in the future. 
I found a part of myself in this trip. It is so unique that almost seems unreal. Only after it finishes and you see the pictures you understand that you actually traveled to another Galaxy... a journey that will last in my memory. Thanks for all!
Chott el Jerid - Star Wars Tunisia Tour - Carlos Lars Homestead Exterior - Star Wars Tunisia Tour - Carlos Mos Espa - Star Wars Tunisia Tour - Carlos Ong Jemel - Star Wars Tunisia Tour - Carlos Ong Jemel - Star Wars Tunisia Tour - Carlos
Carlos, Star Wars Tunisia Tour, July 2018
The tour was fascinating and an eye opener. It's interesting to see the different way of life and the locals are very friendly. The drivers knew where we were going and Nader had a good knowledge of the locations. Thank you for providing the experience as it will be so difficult to do all the locations by trying to find them yourself. Stephen at Chott el Jerid, Star Wars Tunisia Tour - July 2018 Stephen at Sidi Bouhlel, Star Wars Tunisia Tour - July 2018
Stephen, Star Wars Tunisia Tour - July 2018
We just returned from an outstanding 11 day trip in Tunisia with Mosaic North Africa. The trip was well organized by Kevin and his team. Our guide Ridha has extremely knowledgeable and willing to share his vast knowledge with us on archaeology, political science and farming. We felt like we had our own professor on the trip with us! Lotfi, our friendly outgoing driver made the trip very fun. 
Why go to Tunisia? If you want to see Roman ruins and mosaics without hundreds of tourists, Tunisia is the place to go. Wants to see deserts (sand, rocky and hills) and well as an Oasis, Tunisia is the place to go! Interested in Star Wars sets or a beach resort, Tunisia is the place to go! 
Go to Tunisia, you will be very happy you did! Cathy Camel TrekCathy CarthageCathy El JemCathy Mos EspaCathy Sidi Bou Said
Cathy C and two college aged nieces, Tunisia Tour, May-June 2018
I had another fantastic tour with Mosaic North Africa! 
Ridha and Makram were great and so friendly, immediately putting me at ease and welcoming me to Tunisia. 
Ridha was very knowledgeable and very flexible, allowing me to view as much as I needed for my research. He was a great help when Chemtou, one of the sites I really needed to see, was closed by the National Guard and he suggested another site that would be of interest to me. We drove to Elles about an hour away to see the megalithic tombs I had always wanted to study. This was amazing and I am very grateful for his quick thinking! 
Although I had an unorthodox itinerary, Ridha and Makram were certainly up for the challenge of getting me to my obscure locations. Especially the Djebel Gorra dolmens where Ridha and I ended up scrambling up the side of the mountain to be rewarded by dozens of tombs peaking out of the mist. This was certainly a highlight! 
A further highlight were the rock-cut tombs of Sidi Mhamed Latrech where we were met by the local landowner and I was given the freedom to explore each tomb which was amazing. 
An unexpected meeting of archaeologists working on the megalithic tombs at Dougga has also led to great contacts at the forefront of on-going research in Tunisia which should lead to some very interesting insights in the future. 
Even though I had such a short time in Tunisia, it was packed with sites and I certainly got a lot done for my research. The flexibility of being ale to design my own itinerary coupled with the comfort and ease of having it all organised for me, allowed me to concentrate on getting the most out of each day. Thank you very much for another great trip! Ancient Tomb - Meg Testimonial Bulla Regia - Meg Testimonial Dougga - Meg Testimonial
Meg, Tunisia Tour, May 2018
My friend and I just returned from Tunisia after having toured the various Star Wars filming sites around the country.  We booked our tour through Mosaic North Africa (Tunisia Tours), and we had an absolutely fantastic time.  From the first emails exchanged to the thank you card in the mail at the end of our trip, everything was perfect. 
I had been to Tunisia before and visited most of the Star Wars locations, but it was a logistical challenge and in many ways it was a stressful trip.  This time around I wanted a different experience and I found the folks at Mosaic North Africa to be friendly, knowledgeable, and very flexible with our itinerary.  They listened to what we were looking for, made suggestions based on their in depth knowledge of the country and the locations, and ultimately executed a perfect trip for us. 
As expected the Star Wars sites were amazing, and our guide and driver knew the locations very well.  They were flexible with our time and made sure that we had everything we needed.  For the kid who watched Star Wars on the big screen at age seven it was a magical experience.  The people of Tunisia were absolutely wonderful as well, very friendly.  We felt welcomed and safe everywhere we went. 
Perhaps the best part of our journey was having the opportunity to get to know our guide and our driver.  We learned a lot about Tunisian culture and daily life through them, and it was a real pleasure to have that experience.  We enjoyed meals together and even had the opportunity to meet the family of our driver.  We were friends by the end of the trip!  
It is worth mentioning that at the beginning of our trip we faced one of the nightmares of travel – lost luggage.  This was clearly not the fault of Mosaic North Africa, but they invested a tremendous amount of time and effort in helping us.  They altered our itinerary to troubleshoot the issue, they went to the airport multiple times and helped us with the language barrier, and they made a number of phone calls to the airlines to help secure the bag.  In the end they were successful, and without them we would not have gotten our luggage back during the trip.  They really took ownership of the problem – that is just the type of organization that they are. 
If you are considering a trip to Tunisia then you have come to the right place.  I have been fortunate to visit nearly forty countries on six continents, and I have taken a lot of tours – my experience with Tunisia Tours (a division of Mosaic North Africa) was second to none. Mos Espa - Jonathan Testimonial Matmata - Jonathan TestimonialDriver and Guide - Jonathan Testimonial
Jonathan and James, Star Wars Tunisia Tour, February 2018
Thanks again for your help arranging our quad bike adventure - it absolutely lived up to the title! Overall, we all had a great experience and the selections you have made for drivers, guides, and accommodations all seem very sound. Everyone was friendly and professional, and we felt safe at all times.
Noah, Tunisia Quad Bike Adventure Tour - May 2018
Firstly we must say how wonderfully helpful Kevin Dyck was in putting together our visit to Algeria. He put together an agenda which specifically met our needs and sorted out the various issues to ensure that everything went smoothly. As well, he communicated with us regularly at all times and was extremely prompt and reliable in responding to our queries. 
Our tour was very complex. It was specifically tailored for the two of us to be accompanied by a guide and if necessary a driver and security personnel. We flew to Algiers from Paris and as luck would have it, Air France was on strike and at the last minute our flight was changed to Air Algerie. However Kevin contacted the local company who met us on our arrival and organised for our luggage, which did not make it, to be picked up for us the next day. 
All the people who looked after us did a fantastic job. The local representative, Ahcicene, met us at the airport when we first arrived and after that every time we came through Algiers during our travels. Our guide for the Eastern area of Algeria was Azeddine Medjani, who is in the last stages of completing his PhD on Roman Military buildings in Algeria. He is a delightful young man and his deep knowledge of the Roman history certainly increased understanding of what we saw. In the M’Zab Valley our guide Abdellah was a local inhabitant with a passion for the region who made our short visit very special. Our time in the West was with Azedine Aitaba, who was both knowledgeable and enthusiastic about Algeria. He was a little older than Azeddine and so gave us a perspective on the recent history of the country from a personal position. We were shown around old Algiers by Hammed, a delightful bouncy local who brought life to our visit by seeming to know many people in the streets as we passed by. 
The program that had been developed for us was very comprehensive. The history of Algeria from its earliest times to the modern day was brought alive by visiting many cities and historical sites all over the country from Oran in the West to Constantine in the East and the M’Zab Valley in the Sahara. Each had an individuality and a variety of things to see and do. They were enhanced by visits to many museums, some quite small, some large and world class. But each with fascinating collections. 
We came away from Algeria with a new knowledge of this country. Having travelled widely in the Middle East and North Africa (Jordan, Syria, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Egypt, Morocco, Libya and Oman) one might expect that we had seen it all, but no, Algeria was indeed different, with its own special features, and well worth our visit.
Tomb of the Christian Woman near Tipaza

Tomb of the Christian Woman near Tipaza

Oran

Oran

Ruined Mosque at Mansourah near Tlemcen

Ruined Mosque at Mansourah near Tlemcen

Old Spanish Farmhouse on road to Tlemcen

Old Spanish Farmhouse on road to Tlemcen

Near Tiddis

Near Tiddis

Mosaic, Setif

Mosaic, Setif

Le Palas du Rais, Algiers

Le Palas du Rais, Algiers

Lambaesis

Lambaesis

Jadin D'Essai, Algiers

Jadin D'Essai, Algiers

In the Qasar of Ghardaia

In the Qasar of Ghardaia

In the Kasbah Algiers

In the Kasbah Algiers

Falcon M'Zab Valley

Falcon M'Zab Valley

Coast near Oran

Coast near Oran

Basillica of St Augustine from the Forum of Hippo Regius

Basillica of St Augustine from the Forum of Hippo Regius

Jill and Robert, Algeria Tour, April 2018
I got with David and he said he loved the tour. Loved Star Wars Canyon, loved Kairouan's Kasbah Hotel, he loved the salt flats and Douz.
David, Tunisia Tour, April 2018
The trip was great, the weather was perfect, guide and driver excellent. 
Adel is an amazing guide, more like a Wikipedia. Makram is an awesome driver and got us to places ahead of time. 
The highlight was the desert trip for sure. We also loved our first guest house and this set up the good vibes for the rest of the trip.
Marisa, Tunisia Tour, April 2018
Mohamed was great, really enjoyed the time with him and he did a good job getting us to and from locations. Having lived and worked in some places with challenging traffic I would say he did a fine job given the conditions. Things were in good order almost the entire time. A few road closures required some navigational choices but he handled it. 
Houcine was also a pleasure to tour with. He was knowledgeable about most of the film sites and offered additional flavor about the local sights. Overall a good experience with him and I would recommend him for future tours. Both had a sharp sense of humor which we appreciated. 
Highlights: The Lars Homestead, Star Wars canyon, the coliseum at El Djem and the archeological museum close by. The other bits were interesting as well but those were definite highlights. I appreciated the salt flats independently along with the bit of off-roading we did after the Neck of the Camel stop. Again, the driver made this fun. 
I would certainly recommend Mosaic North Africa Tours for the Star Wars tour. Without knowing the other tours I would be interested to try them out based on the organization and enjoyment of this one. 
Jeff and Family Yardang Field Jeff and Family Star Wars Canyon Jeff and Family Mos Espa Jeff and Family Lars Homestead Interior Jeff and Family Lars Homestead Exterior  
Jeff and Family - Testimonials, Star Wars Tunisia Tour, April 2018
First I should mention that you were very helpful through the year between planning and executing this trip. Whenever you're traveling to an unusual destination it's nice to have someone who responds promptly and in detail to all questions.
 
I was so relieved when Ahcicene told me you had switched the domestic flights to car trips. I had been telling people here at home that that was the one thing I was really nervous about. Not just the bad record of Air Algerie for timeliness and safety, but the idea of spending basically 2 of 4 days going through airport rigmarole...and if a guide were not going to accompany me, I was sure Air Algerie wouldn't speak enough English to help me. I MUCH preferred the rides with Sidi, who has a fun sense of humor and tells stories about all the places you drive past. 
 
I think Sidi is an effective guide for numerous reasons: he's an older guy who has decades of experience in the field and the culture, and in Islamic cultures people tend to be polite to older people, which helped whenever we interacted with police and other civil servants, with whom Sidi was always effusive. He also is very good at explaining the intricacies of daily life in Algeria.
 
My favorite things were the Algiers seaside walk, the Casbah, the mausoleum of King Jubbah, and the mountaintop trip in Oran over the ocean. The food was always great...the price of adventurous eating is often paid in the gut. 
 
I loved the ST Hotel. The room was clean and comfortable with a nice bed, and the staff were friendly and helpful.
 
I can tell you that I absolutely would and will recommend Mosaic to friends who are thinking of going to North Africa. You made this yet another memorable experience for me. 
Alex Testimonials, Algeria Tour, April 2018
The tour was great! Kamel and Makram both did an excellent job showing me around both the historical Roman sites as well as modern Tunisia. Highlights were definitely being able to see star wars locations and hanging out with Kamel and Makram at night at cafes eating and smoking shisha. I'd highly recommend Mosaic North Africa to anyone wanting to visit there. Ya'll provided excellent service and great attention to providing an awesome experience. 
 
TJ, Tunisia Tour, March 2018
Both makram and ridha were excellent! 
Ridha spoke perfect english, was patient, helpful, courteous, professional, very knowledgeable, giving detailed histories of all the sites we visited. makram was very pleasant courteous and friendly....
We really enjoyed our tour.
Will certainly recommend your company and a visit Tunisia to our friends.
 
Delfin and Raquel, Tunisia Tour, March 2018
The biggest highlight for us was the camel trip. The guides were extremely friendly and hospitable, always telling us we were like family. They took great care of us and made us feel safe and comfortable. They were great cooks, and we absolutely loved singing and dancing with them around the campfire at night. I know we would all definitely love to go back and do a longer trip someday! Faouzi was nice and was a fun driver. He did not say a whole lot and gave us a lot of space to do things on our own. But we enjoyed the trip and the sites were really cool to visit. Everything for both trips went smoothly, so we were relived and able to relax. Yes we would definitely recommend Mosaic North Africa and are very grateful for everything you guys did to make our trip a success.
Christy Camel Trek Christy Sahara Trip Christy Star Wars Excursion  
Christy - Testimonials, Camel Trek and Star Wars Excursion Tunisia, March 2018
Our time on the Mosaic North Africa tour in Morocco was amazing. We were able to see so much of the country and experience the culture, cuisine and people. Our guide was incredibly knowledgeable about not only the country history, religion and agriculture, but as well he seemed to know every nock and cranny of the country. He was wonderful, by the end of our tour we felt like he was family. We were amazing by the ever changing landscape of the country. All our hotels were very comfortable. The drives were lovely. and every site we visited took our breath away. Private Family Tour in Morocco Private Family Tour in MoroccoPrivate Family Tour in Morocco Private Family Tour in Morocco Private Family Tour in Morocco Private Family Tour in Morocco
Hasan and Family - Testimonial, Hasan and Family - Private Morocco Tour, February 2018
I am grateful for a wonderful trip to Algeria. Mosaic did a very good job of developing this for me with the St. Augustine places especially (although there is not a lot to see). I think the fact that your agency only covers a few countries makes it so much better because you concentrate on making these three countries accessible. I particularly am grateful for your kind care of me.... The weather and the temperature were excellent, too, which helped with the trip. The accommodations were also very good, especially the El Aurassi. Sid was wonderful, too.
Carol, Carol - Algeria Tour, January 2018
We had a fabulous time - thanks.  Both Makram and Slim were exceedingly friendly and helpful. Slim in particular is a superb guide and we would request him again without hesitation.  
Thomas and Zoie, Best of Tunisian History Tour, Dec 2017 to Jan 2018
‘Thank You’ for organizing such a memorable trip for me.
I only have good things to say about Kamel and Makrem. They were so professional and went out of their way (on many occasions) to fulfill my numerous requests. Kamel, in particular, had loads of initiative adjusting my itinerary to suit my tour preferences where possible.
I enjoyed the ancient sites very much. Especially the fact that they’ve been well-preserved/restored. I was also blessed with clear blue skies on most days. That made for great photos.
The oases towns in the Sahara were stunning and the desert itself was beautiful. My only regret was that I didn’t go deep into the desert for a real desert experience. I decided against the camel ride only because I’ve ridden a camel before. So if future guests decide against camel rides for the same reason, please tell them it’s about the desert and not the ride 😉
For me, witnessing and experiencing local life in Tunisia was important. So my stay in Tunis’s Medina was really good. I’d recommend the El Patio courtyard anytime. I’d also recommend Dar Omi, in Sousse, without hesitation. Madam Rabaa is a fantastic cook! 
On the subject of food, Kamel made me try Tunisian street food while on tour 😉 I hung out with him and Makrem for lunch in simple, family-run establishments (no fancy restaurants). I loved it. Then I became fascinated with local produce like Tunisian olive oil, herbs and cheese. For guests who’d like authentic produce, I’d say get them while on tour (not at duty free). The North West region (Testour) has the best olive oil and cheese (in my opinion), ie if they’re sold in shops.
Kairouan Mosque - Shika Tunisia Tour Dec 2017 Kairouan - Shika Tunisia Tour Dec 2017 Kairouan Bakery - Shika Tunisia Tour Dec 2017   Sidi Bou Said - Shika Tunisia Tour Dec 2017 Tozeur - Shika Tunisia Tour Dec 2017 Tunis Medina - Shika Tunisia Tour Dec 2017
Shika - Testimonial, Tunisia Tour, Dec 2017
We had the best week with our guide Moez & driver Mohamed. They are both very responsible, friendly guys, and showed us some incredible Star Wars (and other) sites. As a filming crew, we certainly take longer than most people in each location (I mean, we have to shoot from several angles, be careful with audio etc.), and they were so patient. We also got to learn much about the Tunisian lifestyle, clothing, religion, food (date palm trees everywhere & yummy bread made in the Sahara desert), geography, and History. It is amazing to see that everything is somehow connected to the Star Wars fictional world. Seems that Mr. George Lucas & co. were really inspired by the local culture when they came up with Tatooine!
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Alice, Star Wars Tunisia Tour, Dec 2017
Thank you so much again for making their Star Wars Tour possible. From my part I would definitely recommend your company to anyone interested in visiting Tunisia !
Luisa, Organizer for Star Wars Tunisia Tour, Dec 2017
I had such an amazing trip with my excellent guides Ahcicene for the first and last day, and Rafik for the 5 days in east Algeria as they were both so attentive and knowledgeable. As I was travelling alone I was a little apprehensive at the start but they quickly and easily made me feel completely comfortable. Some of the sites we visited were part of my ongoing doctoral research and they allowed me to spend as long as I liked at each, never hurrying me along and giving me space to explore the amazing archaeology.
Every day was very enjoyable and interesting with no low moments and many highlights including friendly locals and interesting street food. Having lived and traveled in southern Africa, it was fantastic to finally visit the north and I will certainly be back for a second trip.
Mosaic North Africa made this trip so easy and stress-free to organised and I would definitely recommend these tours. Thank you so much for an unforgettable experience in an incredible country!
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Meg, Algeria Tour, Oct 2017
The tours in Algeria and Tunisia were amazing. I enjoyed them in both countries. The taliormade itineraries were excellent and covered all I wanted to see. 
I was surprised with all the great sites in Algeria. I think Algerian tourism needs more promotion. In Algeria the guides Kader and Tewfik were excellent. They did both the guiding and the local site guiding and I was really lucky to have them as guides. Walid tried his best but in couple of sites we did not find local site guides. Special thanks to Mustafa, who was checking with me and making sure that everything was perfect during the whole trip. 
In Tunisia, Slim really did a perfect job. He has long experience, deep knowledge, and excellent coordination and I was so glad that he was the guide during the whole trip. The driver was very nice. 
I will not list any highlights from the trip because I will list the whole itinerary. It was all highlights for me. I would definitely recommend Mosaic North Africa to my friends if they are interested in visiting Algeria or Tunisia. Thank you again Kevin.
Raed, Algeria and Tunisia Tour, Sept 2017
The driver, Mohamed, was very kind and patient.... He was punctual and professional and let us stop for ice cream. The guide, “Slim (Salim?” was very good, professional, very knowledgeable, gracious, flexible. We really liked him. The hotel Majestic was not quite majestic, but was very nice, meals big and tasty, rooms nice. The place must have been amazing in the 50s and 60s. Sidi Bou Said was amazing. We almost skipped the medina because it was late and we were tired, but we went anyway. The mosque Zitouna is closed to tourists, and has been so for a year. The sign there says that visitors can enter in the morning, but a local shopkeeper said this was not true. We knew that we couldn’t go in, so this was OK. Thank you for making all these arrangements. We enjoyed the tour!
Robert, Tunisia Excursions: August 2017
Overall the tour was good. My major interest was the Roman sites and I have seen most of the interesting places..... I'm very happy with the driver Samir. He doesn't speak much English but he was very nice to me. Especially one night I wanted to attend a wedding party and he was very kind to be with me for the whole night. I was grateful that he fully understood my interest and tried his best to help.... I would recommend the tour (the Roman part) to anyone who is interested to see the Roman sites in Tunisia.
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Lin, Singapore - Tunisia Tour Summer 2017
I was the only member of our party who was not a professional historian or archaeologist. I have a keen, but amateur, interest in matters historical, and I am just as interested in the world as it is today. When James H-J invited me to join the group going to Algeria, I grabbed the opportunity, both for the history, and to see a country which might otherwise have remained “closed” to me. I’m glad I did. The tour, I think, met the needs of the historians and archaeologists. In the process, we covered a substantial part of north eastern Algeria: I got to see a lot of the country, which I found rugged, attractive and interesting, and we also came in contact with many friendly and welcoming people. I enjoyed the opportunities to see some of the modern cities of Algiers and Annaba. Your scheduling, so that we had around a day and a half in Algiers, and then flew to Annaba in the evening, cutting out a long drive, worked well. I would have liked to have seen a bit more of Constantine and Setif, but appreciate the constraints imposed by a tour designed to meet particular needs. The travel arrangements in Algeria were excellent. Ahcicene was at the airport, waiting with our coach, when our flight arrived. Everything went well from Day 1. Ahcicene kept us on track, but was flexible and accommodating of particular interests within the group. Kader was an ideal guide, both technically competent and able to “open doors” for members of our party.... As an Australian used to driving long distances, I also very much appreciated the efforts of our driver who put in some long days on busy roads without compromising safety. I found the police escorts at first somewhat strange, but quickly got used to their presence. They were quite unobtrusive. The Arabic speakers in our group were able to converse with them, and generally found they were just ordinary people doing a job. At no time in Algeria did I have any concern about my personal safety. The hotels we stayed at varied considerably, but all provided a hot shower, a comfortable bed and – necessary today – wifi access. They may not have been “5 star”, but the hotels worked for the group in terms of facilities and cost. We ate at a wide variety of establishments – from road-side cafes to restaurants recommended in guidebooks (Annaba). The food was generally simple and sufficient. As advised, we stuck to bottled water, and I was not aware of any of us having the “stomach problems” which Australians so often encounter outside the major cities in south east Asia. One reason why I thought things worked for us was that the tour was well organized right from the start. I found your preliminary advice on what needed to be done, and when, helpful and to the point. When we “hit the ground”, I had what was needed and knew what to expect. For me, Mosaic North Africa and its Algerian partner did a great job in planning and bringing about a marvelous tour of Algeria. I shall be happy to recommend them to others.
John, Australia - Algeria tour March 2017
...the tour was fantastic, and Ahcicene and Kader were superb guides. I was extremely happy with the experience. Thanks for your help!
Christian, USA - Algeria tour March 2017
A great success. Messrs Ahcicene and Qadr were excellent in different ways. Ahcicene is a consummate professional with a deft line in gently managing foreigners. Highly efficient and unfailing gentle good humour. Qadr knows his material, and coped well with a group who in many ways knew more than he did: charming and good company. They worked hard to do what we wanted. Qadr's great advantage was his contacts: doors opened that would otherwise have stayed shut. Only thing I'd have changed: fewer sit down lunches, more picnics.
Mark, UK - Algeria tour March 2017
It was a great trip! The tour of the Kkasbah was one of our highlights! The guide and the driver were fantastic!!
ST, USA - Algiers Tour, March 2017
I highly recommend Mosaic North Africa!! The Mosaic team took care of every detail so I could just relax, learn about the unique culture and enjoy the sights!
I was quite impressed when I found out our tour leader actually drove early in the morning to a venue we were to visit later that day to be sure everything was A- OK. He made some adjustments and by the time we got there at noon everything was perfect and one of our most memorable times! That was the kind of attention to detail that surpassed other tours I have been on- right from airport transportation to their hospitality!
I wanted some local flavour and not the normal tourist fare - and so the hotel they chose for me to stay in was one of the most unique I've ever been to - only 400 years old!
All of my friends on the tour were agreed - this was an unforgettable trip and we all would highly recommend Mosaic!
Dan, Canada - Tunisia Tour, November 2016
Our recent tour with Mosaic North Africa was great. It was well organized and all went very smoothly. The driver and tour guide were tops. Our baggage was handled carefully and securely. We visited a great variety of ancient ruins some dating back 1800 years. I was impressed with the level of Roman engineering and architecture that long ago. We saw a good cross section of Tunisia and Tunisian life. The camel ride into the desert and overnight in tents took one back thousands of years. We were well fed by this group of camel people and entertained with their traditional songs. A never to be forgotten experience. Great job, Kevin.
Benjamin and Ethel, Canada - Tunisia Tour, November 2016
We had a wonderful time in Algeria. We found the people pleasant, our guides knowledgeable, accommodations excellent, and all arrangements well made. The two guides that worked with us – Ahcicene and Akmed – were courteous, concerned for our welfare and personable. I particularly enjoyed intellectual conversations with both as they know their history and world events. It was a truly memorable experience. I certainly recommend your company most highly.
     
Robert and Angela, USA - Algeria Tour, November 2016
We had a good time in Morocco. The local guide Abdelmalik was excellent - he was enthusiastic and engaging, wanted questions and was eager to impart his extensive knowledge. He made very good suggestions with regards food options and was prepared to put in the extra effort to make sure we had a good time. Our long tour was obviously unusual for him but he seemed to cope well. I have to say he is a rare gem in comparison to other guides I have used in north africa.
The driver Aziz was also excellent - very measured and even in his driving, happy and talkative, helpful with the luggage, accommodating when we needed his services sometimes in the evenings.
Michael, Archaeologist and Historian - Morocco, October/November 2016
We had an absolutely fantastic time in Tunisia.
Some of the highlights of the trip included visiting the Roman ruins of Carthage, Oudna, Dougga, and Thuburbo Majus, sampling the delicious local food, and seeing the absolutely stunning countryside.
Our driver Lucky was wonderful. He made us feel welcome and at ease right away. Being with him let us experience the local culture, as he took us to some off-the-beaten-path spots, introduced us to the best Tunisian food, and even invited us into his home to share a meal with his family.
We were initially nervous about being with a driver as we are used to travelling independently, but now we can't imagine having done it any other way. Lucky was flexible and listened to our needs, such as if we wanted to spend longer at a site or add in a pitstop that wasn't scheduled.
We would absolutely recommend Mosaic North Africa to anyone else visiting Tunisia. Kevin was so helpful and accommodating through the entire process, listening to what we wanted to get out of the trip and offering some great suggestions for places we might visit.
He was sympathetic to our security concerns (which ended up being unfounded - we felt safe the entire time) and set our minds at ease, even accommodating last-minute changes to the hotels. His quick responses and kindness made the whole process very smooth. We are already talking about when we can plan a return trip and will absolutely organize it through Mosaic North Africa again!
     
Heather and Sidney, Canada - Tunisia Tour, March 2016
Highlights included the people who were polite and pleasant, the rich Roman mosaics (which seemed on the floors and walls at every museum and in situ at most sites) as well as the plethora of lessor known Roman sites where I was the only foreigner present and often the only one there apart from my guide. This included Hippo Regius (ties to St. Augustine), Khemissa (as a swimmer, the coolest ~ 50 meter Roman lap pool I've seen), Madaure, Lambesis and the Nubian Masoleum of Madracen. The Unesco Roman Sites of Timgad, Tipaza and Djemila were expansive and offered some pretty scenic settings but could have benefited from more written explanations or English guidebooks. As for non-antiquities, the National Museum in Algiers was a good warm-up for the relatively recent tumultuous history of the land, the hot sulpher springs at Hammam Meskoutine gave me a close-up view not permissible at Yellowstone in the litigious United States and the deep Rhumel Gorge in Constantine provided a sense of perspective via a series of impressive bridge spans.
David, USA - Algeria Tour, Feb/March 2016
Mosaic North Africa made our family vacation easy and very fun! The staff was knowledgeable, happy to work with us on our budget and dietary needs, and planned the perfect places for us to explore together. Our guide was just the right blend of helpful and unobtrusive. In only 4 days, we made memories to last a lifetime! Thank you, Mosaic North Africa!
Michael, Family of 6, USA - Tunisia Tour, February 2016
We were delighted with each day - always something amazing. I can't think of much to improve.... Kevin + the rest gave us everything we asked for. It was a tour of exactly what we wanted + every day was a treasure.
Denise and Michael, USA - Tunisia Tour, November 2015
Our tour with Mosaic North Africa was amazing. The details and travel tips were sent to us in advance and were very helpful in preparing for our trip. In country travel arrangements and logistics went very smoothly and it was clear that all of the details had been covered. Our camel trek to the Sahara was a once-in-a-lifetime experience which we will never forget! Thanks to Mosaic North Africa for handling the bookings with professionalism and excellence.
Murray and Diana, Canada - Tunisia Tour, October/November 2015
It was an unforgettable experience to ride camels out into the dunes and to camp overnight in the Sahara desert. It was really amazing to climb up the Berber fortress at Chenini - the view from the top was just breathtaking. Also really enjoyed sleeping in a cave hotel and visiting some of sites where Star Wars was filmed. Hope to go on other adventures with Mosaic North Africa in the future. Would definitely recommend Mosaic North Africa to anyone wanting to visit Tunisia or any other North African countries.
Joshua, Canada - Tunisia Tour, November 2015
The driver Mr. Slim 'he was very helpful eg when I wanted to post books back home, getting me up to see the sunrise over the dunes in the desert, talking about the exhibits in the museum at Djerba. I think I was very lucky.'
Patricia, New Zealand - Tunisia, May/June 2015
We absolutely loved Mr. Mohammed [Private driver]. He was just GREAT!!!
Nick and Hope, USA - Tunisia Tour, May 2015
Overall the tour was amazing. The country is amazing. The tour was well planned and there was obviously good communication between the Tour Company (Mosaic) and tour guide (Lucky), as well as the hotels. Lucky was sensitive and observant toward my preferences. I felt secure with him and trusted his judgement in all circumstances. His choices for eating were great and I didn't get sick once! He is an excellent guide professional. The tour itself showed a wonderful variety of landscapes and cultures within Tunisia.
Jeanette, USA - Tunisia Tour, May 2015
As I consider the highlights of our recent trip to Tunisia with Mosaic North Africa, the word "extraordinary" keeps coming to mind.
We began our journey with a warm greeting from our driver Hassan at the Tunis Airport. Adventure immediately found us as he wound his way carefully into Tunis Medina through the narrow streets until we arrived at our guesthouse, The Dar Ben Gacem.
This ancient former home in the medina wall was an extraordinary introduction to Tunisian culture. Although my husband and I felt as though we had just been transported back in time, we enjoyed all the comforts of the modern world. After a wonderful dinner of local fish and couscous we were encouraged to explore the rooftop. Here we discovered an absolutely charming covered sitting area from which to view the stars. Within a few minutes our server appeared delivering hot mint tea and a try of local sweets. This experience set the stage for an unforgettable two-week journey.
Our Mosaic NA guide in Tunis took great care to provide a rich educational experience in each of the sites we visited.
The Bardo Museum continues to show the scars from their recent tragedy but the security of this World Heritage Site made us feel very safe. The Bardo showcases North African artifacts and stunning mosaics that have made this a world-class destination not to be missed.
Carthage, Dougga and El Jem were absolutely breathtaking. Think Roman Coliseum without the hoards of tourists.
The security at all of these sites is a strong indicator that the Tunisian people place a high value on their rich heritage and their guests.
As a Canadian, Kevin Dyck of Mosaic North Africa has an excellent understanding of the "tourist" but as a resident of North Africa, Kevin has an intimate knowledge of the local culture and off-the-beaten path treasures.
We enjoyed hot springs at the edge of the dessert, were serenaded on ancient musical instruments by our camel trek guides, experienced the best of local food, slept in ancient Troglodyte homes, and explored several Star Wars sites. Kevin's love of coffee also comes in handy when looking for the best coffee shops in many parts of the country!
Some of the best experiences on this trip have yet to be discovered by the "guide books"! This is truly an amazing part of the world and Mosaic North Africa made this an extraordinary trip of a lifetime.
Dr. Curtis and Debbie, Canada – Tunisia Tour, May 2015
Thank you for providing us with such a terrific trip! Even with various unexpected changes (cancelled flights and cancelled overnight camel safari) it was a fascinating and enjoyable trip.... I appreciated your professionalism and the detailed information and attention you provided. Mohammed was an excellent driver and guide—so personable, helpful and accommodating!
Valerie, Tunisia Tour, May 2015
We are so very happy with our superb tour of Tunisia.... Slim and Hassan were so kind to us and they made great efforts to serve us. We put many demands on them as we wanted to see so much so quickly, and they rose to the occasion. Slim and Hassan were 100% reliable, polite, helpful and lovable. I will be happy to recommend you to anyone traveling North Africa....
There was a moment when I was worried about the local tours, but everything worked out beautifully.
Denise and Michael, USA - Tunisia tour November 2014
Beauty, novelty, mystery, and an extravagant welcome.
Our tour of Tunisia organized by Mosaic North Africa was all those words…and more!
Our time was well-organized and tailored to our interests. In the south we toured the beautiful beaches of Djerba Island, the synagogue of the oldest Jewish community, in North Africa, outside of Israel, and ancient Berber villages chiseled out of mountaintops.
Trekking through the Sahara on top of a camel, we felt the mysterious power of the desert.
As the sun descended there was nothing around us but orange sand dunes. Our Arab guides cooked a delicious supper over an open fire. Above us stars blazed like we'd never seen before.
Moving north to coastal El Jem we explored the magnificent Roman coliseum—built in A.D. 258. Finally, in the capital city of Tunis we toured the Bardo Museum, home of the world's largest collection of ancient Roman mosaics. Just minutes from there we walked in Hannibal's footsteps through the 3,000 year old ruins of Carthage. In Tunis' medieval old town we spent two enchanting nights at the Dar El Medina, a charming villa once owned by members of the country's royal family.
We now think Tunisia is a 'must' for every traveller. As for us, we can't wait to get back!
John and Jen, Canada - Tunisia tour October 2014
Kevin I found you very attentive, and prompt in responding. Your suggestion overall matched pretty well with the information I'd give you.
Lucky was a fabulous driver and companion. I'd travel again with your company to get him as a driver.
Debbie, Australia - Tunisia Tour, October 2014
Riad accommodation in Morocco was excellent.... We appreciated the ability to accommodate our timing with a personalized tour. We felt that in our limited time in both countries we were given an extensive tour that gave us a very good impression of two countries that were quite different and new to us.
Vicki, Australia - Morocco/Tunisia Tour September 2014
Well organized and all arrangements went well. Excellent itinerary although a couple of long driving days in Tunisia. Really appreciated being able to organize a trip to fit in with our dates and timeframe. Both drivers were very competent drivers. Local tour guides were good. Loved the riads of Morocco – was great to see what was behind some of the doorways.
Christine, Australia - Morocco/Tunisia tour September 2014
So many highlights, but to choose a few... the camel trek was of course amazing. It was impossible to take a bad picture! Tunisia overall was fantastic simply for the wide variety of things we did. Sidi Bou Said was lovely, the Roman ruins with few other tourists were so cool. Then, of course, the varied and fascinating scenery in the desert, including, what else, but a Star Wars set! I loved staying in the troglodyte hotel!
Another major highlight was the drivers.
They were so different and so great. Abdul invited us to his home for a Moroccan feast (which I helped prepare before my mother arrived!). We really felt like he was looking out for us. Lucky was simply a lot of fun and unflappable. And, it was so interesting for us to hear his take on what the Arab Spring meant for him and his country.
Rachael, USA - Morocco and Tunisia Tour, June 2014
"The day was great, and Mr. Abdul was wonderful. He had lots of good information and knowledge to offer. He made a few great stops for us at a women's argon cooperative and at the end of the day for a camel ride in Marrakech. We appreciated it all very much."
Lorne and Michelle, Canada - Morocco Day Trip
"It was in one word a very successful trip, mainly thanks to your good organization--that is the bottom line. The most admired aspect of the tour was how flexible, liberal and generous things turned out to be on the ground than the hard-line rules and regulations we had been communicating about! Do you remember my request that at least water be part of the dinners at our hotels for greater psychological effect and you said that could not be or that we each would have a quota of two people per bottle or something like that? Not only did we not pay anything in any hotel for water or any non-alcoholic beverages but, we got treated all kinds of goodies all along the tour. The one item that could possibly be improved is to try to find if some of the provincuial hotels can serve beer and wine--Western travelers after a hard day enjoy that--for example, surely Annaba would have such a hotel....
"And it was a pleasure to work with you, Kevin...Thank you for your good will and efforts."
Fikret, USA - Algeria Tour, March 2014
"I got the chance to visit Tunisia with my wife and two boys of 8 and 5 in early March. It was the trip of a lifetime! Thanks to Kevin Dyck and Mosaic we got to see things we would never have seen on our own. Our trip started out in Djerba spending time on the Mediterranean coast checking out the sights of the local markets and taking some time viewing an ancient Roman fortress. From there we traveled to Chinene to take in the town of caves dug into the side of the mountain over 1000 years ago. Then we took in the sights of one of the filming locations of the original Star Wars movies and stayed the night in a cave hotel in Matmata where we were served a traditional Tunisian meal for supper. Next we traveled into a real oasis on the edge of the Sahara where the kids got to play in the biggest sandbox in the world, swim in some natural hot springs, take a four wheel excursion into the desert, and after we retired for the night in well furnished tents in the Oasis. Amazing! Following this adventure we again traveled to another town again on the edge of the Sahara where we took a six hour camel trek into the desert where we were served a traditional Tunisian lunch, then after returning we spent the night in a four star hotel where we were treated like royalty. During our time in Tunisia we got to see its rich history and experience things that Disney and Mexican resorts can not reproduce. We strongly recommend to all you adventure seekers to ditch your commercialized North American holidays and head to North Africa where real dreams come true. With the English guides that Mosaic assigned to us we were well taken care of at all times and never had to worry about a thing from finding great local restaurants, to top notch lodging, to finding a bathroom when our 5 year old had to take a potty break. Mosaic was professional and working with them was an excellent experience that my family will never forget. Thanks Mosaic!"
Jason, Canada - Tunisia Tour, March 2014
"I write to pass along my comments on the Algeria trip organized by Fikret..., Diane..., and Stephen... which took place between 16 and 26 March. The itinerary was extremely well organized and the trip was successful in every respect. The services provided by Mr. Amirouche, Mr. Fayçal and Mr. Wahid were outstanding. Each was exemplary in his ability to respond flexibly and creatively to requests and opportunities as they occurred and in providing interface with security details as they changed. All three were highly personable, courteous, and attentive to our every need. Mr. Wahid was very well informed and functioned superbly as a translator for the local guides on the sites."
John, USA - Algeria Tour March 2014
"Essentially, every ranking for any service that was provided by you, Fayçal, Wahid, and Amirouche, I would give the highest without exception. These three did an exceptional job regardless of the challenges, and when considering the logistical challenges of not only balancing the needs to coordinate the security escorts but to attempt to rise to the challenge of flexibility (and to meet it) that our group (and me in particular) demanded, their performance (and especially Fayçal's) was even more exceptional."
Stephen, USA - Algeria Tour, March 2014
"Generally, I do not travel in groups but recognize that by reason of the location, etc. it was necessary here. I think you guys did an excellent job in a place that is not really ready for tourists. In our case it was the group that made the trip as Algeria, apart from the Roman ruins, does not compare favorably to Morocco or Tunesia in terms of amenities, food, hotels or even visual experience. The fact that we needed so much police protection says it all. Our group leaders, travel guides and the sites we saw, however, made for a unique and wonderful experience that it is unlikely to be duplicated by the average tourist."
Paul, USA - Algeria Tour, March 2014
"We were traveling through Tunis and had a day layover so we decided to contact Mosaic to see what they could do for us while visiting. We had somewhat of an idea what the city had to offer, but thought to get the most value of our time in the city we should go with someone who knows. They assigned us a local guide fluent in English and so we spent the day touring through many ancient Roman ruins built thousands of years ago in Carthage including an aqueduct, an Ancient Bathhouse, the Carthage museum and more. We capped the day off walking through an awesome little street nestled on the side of a hill with market style shops lining both sides of the small pedestrian only roadway then eating gelatti overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. Thank you so much Kevin at Mosaic for making this day a memorable one with our family! Our experience at Tunis/Carthage was great. I only wish we had more time to see all the rich historical and cultural sites located through all of North Africa, and when we do we will be giving Mosaic a call!"
Helena, Canada - Tunisia tour, March 2014
"So a big thank you overall. It was great and very good value for money. Circumstances permitting, we'll be back. We didn't realise that Tunisia had amazing Roman ruins as good as anything in Italy (eg colleseums, temples, baths, towns and amphitheaters), green belts like the UK, beautiful deserts, the Atlas mountains, oasises and old Muslim cities like 'Ali Barba'. A quick scan of the internet does not do the country justice. And February/March is a great time to go, before the high season and before the high temperatures."
John, Australia - Tunisia tour, Feb 2014
"Greatly appreciated Kevin's many emails and face-to-face meeting and very impressive & helpful handouts about trip/life in area I was visiting prior to my departure. And, everything was arranged and handled enormously well, especially considering my very late trip reservation."
Monica, USA - Tunisia tour, February 2014
"Our tour was a great success, roman sites without any tourist, unheard of. Great tour guides and very friendly people.
The only thing I would have changed if I had known was the timing. The Holiday caused some slight problems, like an Hotel fully booked (the Novotel in Constantine) and closed Restaurants. The Holiday celebrations in some establishment took the rest of the week. Also closed museums & sites. Fortunately due to the Influence of Kader the tour guide up to Constantine were we able to see what we were supposed to see. Our thanks to him. We were also very happy with his replacement Omar."
Joseph and Erika, USA - 10 Day Algeria Tour, October 2013
"The Mosaic North Africa proved to be a serious undertaking, flexible, having fulfilled all the promises and 'delivering' excellent service. I had numerous contacts with Mr. Kevin who has always been affordable, fast and competent to resolve the various issues and flexible in the proposed changes."
Marcio and Claudia, Brazil - Morocco and Tunisia Tour, September 2013
"...thank you very much for organizing a great trip to Algeria -- everything ran smoothly and it was a great pleasure spending time with Ahcicene and Dries. Algiers is one of the most beautiful cities that I've visited, where I felt especially safe wandering around, and the Roman sites were breathtaking (and largely devoid of tourists, so very easy to take great photos)."
Michael, New York City - Algeria tour, May 2013
"Ahmed was an EXCELLENT driver, among the best I've had on numerous tours in Morocco and Algeria."
Caroline, Algeria Archeology Tour, March 2013
"...Mr. Faycal was an excellent tour guide who managed our needs with professionalism and care."
Eric, Algeria Archeology Tour, March 2013
"I've just returned from a fantastic 10-day trip to Tunisia in northern Africa. I had some advance concerns about political unrest, but felt safe while there, thanks in large measure to the great planning and advice from Mosaic North Africa (https://www.mosaicnorthafrica.com) who arranged our trip and practicing common sense.This Canadian-based company with partnerships throughout North Africa arranged a rich and safe trip. Through them, we booked an English-speaking driver and guide for our 3 days in Tunis, viewing the Roman ruins of Dougga, and Carthage, visiting the medina and seaside town of Sidi Bou Said, and spending an inspiring morning in the Bardo Museum with its world-renowned collection of mosaics. Our guide, Rafiki, met us in our hotel (Majestic Hotel) each morning and walked us back into the hotel after each day of rich sightseeing. He was university-educated in Tunisian history, took great pride in his country, and was on very good terms with locals whom we met at different sites. As a result we got a customized tutorial on North African history and felt comfortable wherever we went.
"Mosaic North Africa also arranged for a one-week trip down to the island of Djerba where we stayed with friends and explored this island of diverse cultures, great markets and endless beaches of white sand. We saw flocks of feeding flamingoes as they migrated north, and sampled wonderful local fish. Everywhere we ate "Brick", and soon became aficionados of this deep-fried savory pastry with a seasoned and partially cooked egg inside. On day and overnight trips to the mainland we stayed in the cave hotel in Matmata (Hotel Marhala Matmata)—a truly unique experience, explored the inhabited UNESCO heritage site of Chenini –an ancient city carved into the mountainside, and even took a short camel ride over the desert dunes, returning to eat bread cooked over ashes in the desert.
"Traveling as two single women, we learned much about the different cultures, and adaptation to a demanding geography. For taking photos of people or demonstrations of crafts, we learned to ask in advance and to tip modestly, sometimes through our guides. We respectfully wore clothing that covered our arms and long jackets to cover our backsides whenever we were in any public places. Our guides were adept in Arabic, and many locals speak some English, but by practicing our rudimentary French and Arabic, we engaged with different locals in shops and taxis, learning that much more about life in Tunisia. Overall, it was a fantastic experience."
Gloria, USA
"I traveled to Tunisia in Jan 2013, and Kevin did a great job of planning an itinerary for myself and my sister. Would highly recommend visiting this country, also visited Morocco last year, & had Kevin help plan my trip. He provided expert assistance in both trips!
"Thanks & keep up the great work. Both countries are such an exotic experience.
"If either of these places are on your list–Go for it, & if they are not on the list…they should be. The camel trek in the desert was great, Roman ruins in Tunisia-fascinating. I hope to go again."
Jocelyn, Tunisia tour, January 2013
"I really appreciated the prompt feedback during the planning phase of the trip, especially since my itinerary following the stay in Algeria was more extensive than the other members on the trip. The assistance of Kevin Dyck was invaluable to making my trip coordination smooth....
"Everything was very well coordinated.
Aside from acquiring more photography permissions for museums, I can't think of anything in need of improvement. The photography permissions we did acquire, however, were wonderful.... Every last detail of the trip was managed carefully, I always felt safe and comfortable while traveling, and the special permission we acquired on the trip for photographing inside museums, gaining access to the baptistery at Djemila, and seeing the storerooms at Tebessa and Guelma was an extraordinary feat of negotiation that I genuinely appreciated."
Nathan, Algeria Archeological Tour, June 2012
"What a fantastic trip! Every single day, I said, 'The cost of the trip was worth it for this day alone'. I had known that Algeria had some fascinating sites, but every single place surprised me (in a good way) with so much that I had not anticipated. At the end of the trip, many of us were agreeing that we could go back to the same sites and still find more to marvel at; we had barely scratched the surface. Having been to Tunisia so many times and having read about Algeria and Morocco extensively, I had thought that I knew North Africa. But were my assumptions ever challenged by what I saw on this trip.
"In terms of my experience with MNA, I found the service excellent from beginning to end.
Everything was laid out clearly, payment was easy, and questions were answered promptly and effectively.... The extra effort to which you and Mr. Faycal went to get us into additional sites and to get us photo permission was greatly appreciated. You personally were very personable and your previous experience in the country went a long way to establishing a comfortable base-line for the activities of each day.
"...Particularly since Algeria is not set up for tourism, I also appreciate the lengths to which you went to ensure that we could buy lunch and water supplies, make pit stops on long bus trips, and so forth.
"...I don't know what you thought, but on the tours that I have led, I couldn't have asked for more!"
Jennifer, 10 Day Roman Algeria Tour, June 2012