The 2nd episode of Season 2 of “Alf Thneya we Thneya”, capsule of 1001 Tunisie sponsored by the Arab Tunisian Bank ( https://www.facebook.com/ArabTunisianBank/ ) takes us this week to discover a cycling program in an unusual site; Salines de Thyna in Sfax.
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Powered by seawater, Sfax saltworks are part of the general Tunisian salt industry. In addition to representing an important source of foreign currency for Tunisia, given the large quantities produced and intended for export, the saline of Sfax are indescribably beautiful. They reflect the light and change colors several times a day, giving rise to an absolutely splendid show.
The afternoon is the best time to visit the saltworks, especially at sunset.
Salinas are wetlands, protected by the Ramsar Convention (adopted since February 1971, on wetlands of international importance especially as waterfowl habitats). There are 2331 sites protected by this convention in the world, nearly 40 of which are in Tunisia.
A haven for birds
The salt works are very important from an ornithological point of view. Habib Dalansi, ornithologist, international expert and active member of the association of the friends of the birds, explains to us: “The salt works of Thyna-Sfax are those where we can see the greatest number of species. They far exceed the number of birds found, for example, at Lake Ichkeul (40 species against more than 80). In addition, the salt marshes host several endangered species, out of a total of about 12 thousand birds. The expert specifies that Thyna’s salt works 3 roles; a transitional site, a wintering site and a nursery / kindergarten. In fact, flamingos spend the first 5 years of their lives in Thyna, before traveling to Turkey, Spain or Italy to nest and breed.
But why do not they stay to reproduce in Tunisia? The answer is obvious if Habib: “It is a wild bird which, if it is threatened, will not nest. In Sfax, we have stray dogs, wild boars and then humans who pose a threat to flamingos “.
“TBASKILLA FIL MALAHA” or bike tour in Thyna
Are you wondering what is the relationship between this story and our theme? The answer is simple. In fact, an association had a genius idea. Invest an unusual place for a new program of recreation and outdoor sports. Thus the association “adventurers” is active for a while in bike tourism. It offers cycling tours in the gorgeous Salines de Thyna.
The idea is excellent. It is part of an ecological approach that allows to exploit otherwise the natural wealth of the country, to discover its historic monuments and discover the region differently and enjoy its assets. This project caught our attention because it is original, operates an unusual place and brings a new leisure activity to the region of Sfax and constitutes a new attractive tourist product.
Taoufik El Gaïed, regional delegate of the Tunisian National Tourism Office for the Sfax region tells us more: “Sfax has always been the capital of cycling in Tunisia. Through this action and many others, Sfax reconnects with its past to find its original vocation. The association “the adventurers” had already organized several actions in bike-tourism in the city of Sfax, and I personally participated. Today, animating the Salines is a first. We have good relations with COTUSAL and its director Si Ridha is very open to all proposals from the city, civil society, …. “
Salines de Sfax cover about 1740 hectares. This space gives the bike ride an impressive dimension. The participants then enjoy the beauty of the place and admire the diversity of the birds that nest there. And, most importantly, it’s especially when you take the children, the track is drivable and protected.
How to get to the salt works of Thyna?
If the project interests you and a bike ride in Sfax tempts you, the regional delegation of tourism in collaboration with the various stakeholders of the governorate of Sfax, has programmed 6 tours including the circuit salt and its bike hikes. Programs, price excursions and tours are available at local travel agencies.
Photo Credit: Hbib Dalensi and Pierre Gassin
For further information: “Alf Thneya we Theneya”, in partnership with Arab Tunisian Bank is broadcast every Friday, Saturday and Sunday on Express FM (103.6 Mhz in Tunis, 104 Mhz in Sfax, 100.2 Mhz in Bizerte, 106 Mhz in Cape Bon, 91.1 Mhz in Sousse, 104.5 Mhz in Mahdia and Monastir).