In this new episode of Alf Thneya we Thneya sponsored by the Arab Tunisian Bank http://www.atb.tn, Amel Djait invites us to a walk between Aïn Draham and Beni Mtir, two small towns in northwestern Tunisia, located about thirty kilometers from Tabarka.
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Ain Drahem as much as Beni Mtir have become two destinations that attract more and more Tunisians in search of nature and calm, serenity and disconnection. The region becomes just “The place to be” during the few months of the winter season.
Taking a tour of Ain Draham, can not be done without immersion in the forest and this can not be done without the advice and explanations of a local guide of renown; Yahia Saoudi.
The latter knows the region as his pocket and he organizes hikes that last between 3 to 5 hours, even more. A 40-year career in wild boar hunting, Yahia worked almost exclusively with French and Italian tourists. Only “since 2001, there are not many people,” he says. It is then that he reconverted and adapted his products to the local demand for the benefit of walkers, Ain Drahem, botany and the particular humor of the guide.
The Yahia guide is an encyclopedia of local roads and trails. The nature of Ain Draham has no secrets for him and hiking with him can lead you to the border, the surroundings of Ain Drahem, the falls of Beni Mtir …
Beni Mtir, was probably one of the least known villages of Tunisia until not long ago. With the hiking programs that are multiplying and the new passion of young people for camping, this beautiful village receives more and more people. The falls of the village have become a real attraction. For Yahia, they are even more beautiful when it rains: “These falls are easily accessible. You just have to stop the bus or the car at a distance of 100 meters and continue on foot.
During his hikes, Yahia also organizes meals based on fresh produce from the region’s agriculture and the cuisine of his wife. Between them, they organize superb picnics at the water’s edge of the Beni Mtir dam. They offer grilled meats, salad méchouia, olives and olive oil, harissa …. Sometimes, the menu consists of a chicken couscous or a Oriental rice. The menu regularly includes a traditional bread cooked over a wood fire such as “tabouna” or “matlouaa”.
In addition to being a mine of information on the region, Yahia is also an outstanding storyteller. During your short trip, he will tell you anecdotes of everyday life and stories about the era of colonization. He will recite verses of poetry and will amaze you with his knowledge of the plants and trees of the mountains of Khmir. He knows the uses of borage, wild thistle, lentisque, lavandin, … Yahia Saoudi is also a specialist in mushrooms of which he knows all the varieties and that he cooks in season (September_November) sautéed, grilled or even in sauce.
Yahia has a “close” and daily connection with “her” forest. Then, with humor, he baptizes rocks, imagines film scenes, builds myths and thinks about the beauty of the region that inspired the great Tunisian poet Abu Al Kacem Chebbi, during his long stay in Ain. Draham. “In 1956, there were more than 28 hotels in Ain Drahem, the city was clean, well-appointed, beautiful and we came from all over the world … It was with the seaside tourism boom …” said Yahia , not without bitterness.
Beni Mtir in Plan L mode
In addition to Ain Draham, Beni Mtir has become a new and unavoidable destination in winter especially for young people. Camping enthusiasts, this product has become fashionable and it is also very profitable because the supply of accommodation in the village is still quite limited and available. Accessible to a curious and sporty youth with few means, camping allows immersion in nature that meets the expectations of young people.
For those who do not dare to camp for accommodation, there is a new alternative in the village of Beni Mtir; Plan L ( https://www.facebook.com/planlconcept.tunisie/). Residence for young people, the establishment has recently opened. Managed by a Tunisian-Canadian couple, the residence has a dormitory suitable for a dozen people and organizes botanical outings, initiation to meditation and yoga … The service is most pleasant and cordial. The food, prepared by Firas and his wife is particularly varied and gouty is very nicely presented in pretty wooden trays produced in the village.
Plan L http://www.planlconcept.com/ defines itself as an incubator developing solidarity economy projects and dreams of creating a socio-ecological real estate chain. An entire program for a region that needs it a lot!
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 Cap Bon, 91.1 Mhz in Sousse, 104.5 Mhz in Mahdia and Monastir).