Libya police

We have occasionally received questions about the security situation in Tunisia in Morocco, so we decided to share our view with you through this article.

 

What is safety by current standards?

Once we agree that nowadays no place is 100% safe, we of course can't guarantee you'll be 100% safe in Morocco or Tunisia. But neither can anybody guarantee you'll be safe in Amsterdam, Barcelona, Berlin, Boston, London, Nice, Paris, Stockholm or Utøya, to name just a few places that have been hit by terrorist acts recently.

 

We are a responsible adventures operator

However, let us have a closer look at our experience and point of view as far as safety in Morocco and Tunisia is concerned. First of all, let me point out that we would never take tourists to a place where we would fear or suspect something bad could happen. And neither would the authorities let us enter areas of risk, let alone would they promote tourism in such regions in the way Tunisia is now focusing their tourism promotion efforts on the region we have been visiting for more than a decade, after their mass tourism was severely hit by 2 very targeted attacks in 2015: the first one in a crowded number-one museum in the capital city when it was full of cruise-ship tourists, and the second one 3 months later on a crowded beach full of British citizens in an all-inclusive holiday resort.


Morocco is currently full of tourists that feel very comfortable and safe in the country. Marrakesh is full of Japanese, Korean, Arabic and European tourists, when road travelling we cross with French motorhomes on a daily basis and we take part in some of the numerous rallies being organized every year in the kingdom, so I don't really see much point in wasting your time on this matter.

 

tunisian authorities have reconsolidated after the revolution breakdown and take Security issue extremely seriously again after 2015

Tunisia has, however, a different reputation since the 2015 attacks. What to our belief changed Tunisia, and for worse, was its 2011 revolution that for some years weakened the national security, this being manifested, combined with worse living conditions, in a rise of religious extremism on one hand and in the belief »democracy« and »freedom« meaning anybody can do whatever they please. So this resulted in a slight rise of criminal acts completely unrelated to religious extremism that occasionally gave us a feeling in 2012 and 2013 that security in Tunisia is dropping towards what we're used to from countries like Italy, France or Spain. In other words, that we started locking our cars and bicycles and tried not to display our western gadgets and shining gear in certain places in Tunisia, plus started avoiding certain places at night.


We didn't visit Tunisia immediately after the 2015 attacks as it was really difficult to promote such a destination, but as we returned in 2016 and 2017, we saw an important change: the police and military checks are much more frequent and thorough, not as friendly towards the tourists as before, but still polite and professional. We used to joke with the officers in the past, but we don't do it anymore. They are correct, but the security interviews and controls stopped being purely bureaucratic. The other side of the medal means we do feel safe (as we did before 2015) since it's evident that the authorities took the blow to the tourism industry very seriously and are successful in bringing the national security to the pre-revolution levels. I also spoke about the matter with local people from different social environments and from different parts of the country that all told me the same experience: security in Tunisia has changed for better. My personal experience, walking around in tactical pants, is that I was taken to the police station for interrogation twice. Once loosing 4 hours until different police stations, hotels and campsites confirmed that they know me, that I have been coming to Tunisia even before the problems started and that my business is really tourism and only tourism.

 

We avoid crowds - we do adventure tourism, far from the beaten track

And let me conclude making a parallel with France. What we're doing in Tunisia outside the tourist season while terrorist attacks were carried out in top tourists places is something similar as a lone budget hike in the French Pyrenees in late autumn after the attacks were carried out at a football match or during the 14th of July celebrations in two of the largest cities in the country. So, can something happen to us in Tunisia? Of course. But it can also happen in Dubrovnik or Cortina d'Ampezzo or when flying over the Alps. Now the chances that precisely you will be at the wrong place at the wrong time are less than minimal. And we still take care to keep our adventures a joyful experience in all aspects, locking the bikes whenever we feel it's better to prevent than cure.


Tilen Gabrovšek,
Desert Soul founder

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