Home > North Africa, Tunisia, Uncategorized > BARBARY COAST MEETS DISNEYLAND


We had been forewarned that Port Yasmine, just south of the town of Hammamet, situated on a long stretch of white sand beach that outlines the Gulf of Hammamet was very much like Fort Lauderdale.

White hotels line white sand beaches. . .

that lure primarily European vacationers.

Interestingly, between the 16-19th Centuries this coast was controlled by Barbary pirates who made frequent raids into northern Mediterranean countries to capture Christians for sale as slaves for the Islamic and Middle Eastern markets of North Africa.

Modern Tunisians have capitalized on this history by offering vacationers a “pirate experience” that rivals Disneyland.  In Port Yasmine there are three pirate ship excursions to choose from.

Each of the three "pirate" ships has. . .

plastic faux trim. . .

including plastic bow sculptures. . .BTW the unicorn has anatomical features not appearing on children's toys.

Along with faux ships, there are faux pirates.

Some faux "pirates" swing from rigging for the amusement of passengers. . .

while others stand sentry at restaurants on shore.

The 700 slip marina rivals those in other parts of the Med in size, but the parallel to Florida extends to the land based activities as well.  Port Yasmine is an insular vacation mecca on the North African coast that is filled with tourists, doing all the touristy things that tourists do.

Destiny (center) amid the many masts. . .

only risk parasailors in the rigging.

Like Disneyland, Port Yasmine and the surrounding area is an all-inclusive vacation spot.

Disney size hotel complexes with all inclusive rates. . .

have faux castles. . .although smaller than Cinderella's.

Once outside the hotel you have your choice of transportation.

Horse drawn carriages decorated with flowers. . .

mini motorcycle taxis. . .

The Islamic influence is evident in the absence of alcohol from the pirate ships and even the cafes adjacent to the marina.  Fresh juice drinks and gelato dominate the daytime cafe menus, with wine and spirits only available at restaurants.

One of the many cafes in the marina. . .

specializes in fresh squeezed orange juice. . .no ice.

Not all the tourists who flock to Port Yasmine are European.  It is also visited by native Tunisian families and tourists from Middle Eastern countries.   Many of the women wear head scarfs and are covered head to foot–but not in the traditional black or white.  This style of dress appears to be a fashion statement, as designer logo wear is prevalent especially among young women.

Notice the difference in dress between the two women, one older and one younger.

The Tunisians we have met have been friendly and welcoming.  Tourism is big business along the North Africa coast, although we are anxious to see beyond the plastic environment of Port Yasmine to the “real” Tunisia.

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