Tunisia is full of many different animals, birds, plants and other forms of wildlife. In fact, there are so many interesting creatures living in the country that wild-life watching is actually a tourist attraction for the North African state. If you are looking for adventure, the opportunities will be endless if you organize a GAP year.
Where to Find It
Of course, you can see wildlife almost anywhere, but to find the really interesting animals, any of the Tunisia national parks are good locations to start. If you are interested in birds, for example, Tunisia’s Ichkeul Lake is a prime location. It is both a lake and a marsh, and the efforts to restore the area and protect the wildlife there has proven largely successful, prompting many different birds to make it a stopping point on their migratory cycle. Everything from a common duck to actual pink flamingos can be spied along the river beds of Ichkeul Lake.
Another popular national park location rife with animals is the Sidi Toui National Park.
Animals of Note
Here are some animals to keep an eye out for:
This animal, which has very long horns that many suggest make the Scimitar Oryx the origin of the fictional unicorn, could once be found everywhere in North Africa. Now, it is almost impossible to find everywhere except special locations. Most of these locations are in zoos or special ranches. However, there is an ongoing effort to introduce the animals back into the wild, particularly in Tunisia’s Sidi Toui National Park.
You might not think there are many interesting thing about viewing bats (which are readily seen in Tunisia), but consider that they, of all the mammals on the entire planet (literally) are able to fly. In Tunisia, there are multiple species of these animals.
Bat-eared – Tunisian Desert
Photo source : http://kakanow.com
If you are near the shoreline, you can go whale watching. Alternatively, you can shake fins with a dolphin. Look for commercial whale watching trips, since they usually know the locations of these animals and can help guarantee you a sighting. There is a special opportunity in Tunisia to see not just a particular whale and dolphin-type, but a variety. For example, the rough-toothed dolphin, bottle-nose-dolphin and the common dolphin have all been known to swim in the region.
Whales in Tunisia
This is the animal to look for if you like cute, furry animals. It resembles a cat and can be identified by its large (almost oversized) ears. The Fennec fox is always desired but not always for good reasons: many poachers hunt the fox (the littlest of the canids anywhere) for its bright, clean fur. Others try to maintain it as a pet, though it is not domesticated.
Fennec – Tunisia
No, this doesn’t mean crazy people. Loons are aquatic birds that are frequently seen diving into the water all over Europe and in Northern Africa. What’s interesting about loons in Tunisia, then? Well, there are only five different species of this bird in the world. Of those five, one of them is native to Tunisia: the red-throated Loon.
Loons – Tunisia
If you have a fondness for shellfish and have always wanted to share that with a bird, this is your chance. The Oystercatchers are named for their ability to plug shellfish out of the ocean. They are big in size and make plenty of noise, so it should be easy to spot them.
Oystercatchers – Tunisia
Tunisia is a unique spot where a large variety of wildlife meets. This makes it a perfect spot go picture-hunting for animals, bird or whale-watching and to otherwise enjoy nature.