Chott el Jerid; Tunisia 2008

Tunisia 2008

f/7.1; EP 1/420; ISO 100; Focal Length 35mm; No flash. One of two vast salt lakes, below sea level and surrounded by mountains. Still subject to seasonal flooding and has a diverse bird population dependant on it. Flamingos, larks, bustards, can all be found there and wheatears and birds of prey have been seen close to the road between Kebili and Tozeur. Due to the Sahara shifting south, many species now have difficulty in crossing it so winter in the Sahel instead.

Chott el Jerid is a large endorheic salt lake in southern Tunisia, at 33.7°N 8.43°E.

Tunisia 2008

f/7.1; EP 1/120; ISO 64; Focal Length 13mm; No flash. Near the coast, the mountains around Jebel are still home to Berbers.

It is the largest salt pan of the Sahara with a surface area of over 7,000 km² (some sources state 5,000 km²).  Due to the extreme climate with annual rainfall of only 100 mm and temperatures reaching 50° C, water evaporates from the lake.  In summer Chott el Jerid is almost entirely dried up, and numerous fata morganas occur.

Tunisia 2008

f/4.5; EP 1/420; ISO 64; Focal Length 37mm; No flash. The amphorae and piles of salt were everywhere and gave the place a really eerie and abandoned atmosphere. They also gave me a fantastic chance to play with the aperture priority mode and marvellous focal subjects.

The lake can be crossed by foot and even by car, but this is very dangerous since the salt crust isn’t always too firm.

Tunisia 2008

f/4.5; EP 1/600; ISO 64; Focal Length 76mm; No flash. Around the Chotts and running right back to the eastern coast are bare brown hills. They were eroded into these amazing shapes by water over millennia and have exposed some fantastic brightly coloured strata. We were too far from the face to pick them with my puny camera so I focused on the shape instead.

South of Chott el Djerid, the Grand Erg Oriental desert begins.  The towns of Kebili and Douzare also located south of the lake.

Tunisia 2008

f/4.5; EP 1/420; ISO 64; Focal Length 37mm; No flash. Chott el Jerid & Chott el Gharsa are located beyond the hills around Gasfa and from there on the landscape becomes increasingly Saharan. The two great salt lakes lie in the south-west.

Chott el Djerid was used as a filming location for the Star Wars series, among others.


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