It's the day of the Oued Zen. Oued Zen hike is a Tunisian national park located in the delegation of Ain Draham about 200 kilometres west of Tunis. “It rains 🌧 it wets💧 it's the frog party". These are the lyrics of a very appropriate children's song that we would sing during the first hours of our hike.
The weather had been overcast since dawn and light rain was already falling around Beja where we stopped for a short time. The road we then take passes through Amdoun, or Zahret Medien as well as this city well developed for a few years has been renamed. The road begins to climb, every kilometre travelled pushes us deeper into the mantle of mist, until we have almost no visibility. The landscape displays a multitude of small mountains with almost all rounded peaks covered with light clouds and overlooking green valleys.
45 km past Béja, we approach the small village of "Tebainïa" where the bus drops us off. The fog clears just enough to let us admire the bright yellow of the flowering acacias and calycotums on the aisles, the first tile cottages and the first cork oaks.
Our hike now begins, in the cool forests alternating cork oaks with whitish, massive and tortuous trunks, with their long branches covered with ferns and moss that spread majestically and Zen oaks that run straight to the sky, in narrow and dark trunks.
Our steps lead us to some masures and their very small fields of crops that separate fences from branches or thorny plants. We slowly descend to the oued that has become a wide torrent with the abundance of the last rains and offering breath taking landscapes of beauty and charm. The rain didn’t stop until around noon and fortunately at the right time for our very quick lunch break to avoid cooling down while in wet clothes. A few kilometres further it is our shoes and our feet that will taste the freshness of its water because it had to cross and no ford passage was visible. This wadi is called "Oued Naggara" as we learn from a nice farmer we meet near a spring and we will be content given the weather conditions that no longer allow us to advance to the famous Oued Zen which was one of the objectives of our outing.
The vegetation we pass through is made mainly of these brambles that give in the fall their succulent wild blackberries, arbousiers or ferns.
We leave the banks of our beautiful torrent and slowly go up the hill where we were surprised to discover a very small cemetery at the foot of the oak trees and overlooking the valley and some small houses.
A few more kilometres and we gathered around a fragrant wood fire lit by the shepherds in a hut, the situation quickly becomes comical when our clothes start smoking from all sides.
Although the weather wasn’t as nice as we had hoped for this hike is beautiful in any weather conditions.
Article and amazing photos sent in by Bairem Haouari, for more follow:
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