Sousse was founded in the 9th Century BC as the Phoenician outpost of Hadrumete and was used by the Carthaginian general Hannibal as his base against the Romans during the Second Punic War in 202 BC. The town was rebuilt by the Arabs and renamed Soussa, serving as the main port of the 9th Century Aghlabid Dynasty based in Kairouan.
The medina is one of Tunisia’s finest: its walls are fortified with a series of solid square turrets and inside are to be found 24 mosques and a wealth of historical sights.
The oldest monument in the medina is the ribat (fortified Islamic monastery), dating back to the 8th Century AD. Designed principally as a fort, was garrisoned by devout Islamic warriors and this is reflected in the elegant first floor prayer hall with its mirhab (vaulted niche pointing to Mecca) and fortified windows that were used by archers. Superb views up to the kasbah, over the medina and into the courtyard of the Great Mosque can be gained from the top of the nador (watchtower).
The catacombs are made up of an estimated 5½ km of tunnels containing the graves of more than 15,000 local Christians, mostly dating back to the 4th and 5th Centuries AD.
Nearby El Jem is a remarkably preserved ancient colosseum built on a plateau between Sousse and Sfax and is invariably recognised as the most impressive Roman monument in Africa. Its location was in ancient Thysdrus, a thriving market town that grew up at the junction of the Sahel’s lucrative trading routes during the 1st Century AD and named after the olive oil produced in the area. Built in the 3rd Century AD the Colosseum was the third largest in the Roman world, seating up to an estimated 30,000 people.
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“Just a quick note of thanks - we returned from South Africa on Saturday and reflected that, yet again, we had had another great Odyssey arranged trip. A fantastic trip and you guys did a great job! I thought you’d like to know that we had a wonderful trip, and everything worked like clockwork. The hotels you selected were lovely, the itinerary was terrific and Banyan Tours did a terrific job. A great balance between relaxing and fun! We all really liked the Vamoos app too”. A. Family – South Africa
"We had an amazing time thank you very much. I was so impressed with your service everything ran like clock work !!! We could'nt believe how close we managed to get to the animals and how many we saw at Kieche, the staff we fabulous, the food was amazing in all 3 locations !! Thank you for all your efforts and organising such a wonderful trip for us".
"We had such a brilliant 2 weeks in Mauritius. A truly lovely spot at Shanti - beautiful and secluded with a great team ready to support us and make our stay as relaxed as possible. The food was a real delight ... all in all, we feel very lucky to have had such a great time. Thank you once again to you and your team for coordinating this for us.”
"Karine, The honeymoon was amazing!!! You & Frank did such a wonderful job and I can't speak highly enough of World Odyssey. In fact, we've already referred you to a number of friends, as well as couples that were at the resorts who said they were unhappy with their travel company. Everyone - from the ground transportation companies to the resort staff - was unbelievably professional and so very kind. There were absolutely no issues at any point, and we were really able to relax and enjoy ourselves immensely".
"Many thanks indeed. Fab holiday! Everything went incredibly smoothly, and all the staff/drivers etc charming. Highlights included white water rafting, zip wires, releasing new-born turtles into the sea, being in a boat amongst 200 dolphins, riding on beaches... Children and parents ticked off many from our “must do things in our lives” list. A brilliant holiday, expertly organised many thanks indeed, and see you soon!"
"Firstly, you did us extremely well and we had a really great holiday. Many thanks to you and your various team members who were involved both locally and on the ground in Thailand. Importantly you organised a really good programme of things for us, all of which we greatly enjoyed. Overall we had a really great couple of weeks. We have come home with batteries really well charged and will be able to look back on many happy memories of a thoroughly good holiday. Well done everybody, and a huge thanks again to all concerned".
"Many thanks indeed. Fab holiday! Everything went incredibly smoothly, and all the staff/drivers etc charming and all our connections etc went smoothly. Highlights included white water rafting, zip wires, releasing new-born turtles into the sea, being in a boat amongst 200 dolphins, riding on beaches... Children and parents ticked off many from our “must do things in our lives” list. In terms of lodges, would rank Pacuare and Lapa Rios equal first. Quite different, but both outstanding in terms of people, location, set up, activities, comfort etc. So overall a brilliant holiday, expertly organised by WO/HL/JF! Many thanks indeed, and see you soon!"
"We have just returned today. It was totally magical. Everything worked like clockwork, and both the safari and coast were gorgeous. Thank you very much to you and Frank for organising"
"Thank you so so much for including me in your adventure... Salt cathedrals, courtyard lunches, llamas, steak, Botero, humming birds, treks, cool pools, birthdays and lovely pressies, snorkelling, eating, drinking, music, bars with pools, boganvilla, large breakfasts, history, balconies and wooden windows, cocktails at sunset with humid sea breeze, Carribean ocean, ceviche, convents, markets, views, avocado, music, street acrobats... warmth in people, temperature and friendships. The list is endless... It was wonderful. Thank you."
"I know it has been said but thank you again for all your hard work bringing this trip together for us all. It was just fantastic".
"Couldn’t have been better, we took 1,400 pictures! We can’t thank you enough for putting the itinerary together, it was as perfect as perfect can be. If I can help you in return by being a reference or whatever, please just let me know. Rest assured next time we go on a serious vacation we’ll be in touch H xx"
"We have had a marvellous holiday! All the arrangements ran smoothly, the itinerary was just what we wanted and the guides, without exception, were fantastic. The hotels were very good too. The guides exceeded our expectations in terms of punctuality, courtesy and attentiveness. We have so many amazing memories and everyone agreed that it was one of the best holidays ever! Special highlights (and there were many) included Condors at Colca Canyon, Lake Titicaca, Machu Pichu and the Galapagos. Thank you for all your help in making the arrangements".
"We felt superbly looked after by all the staff on the boat and the chef just got it all right - portions, variety, spiciness and a wonderful touch to be introduced to each dish with such pride. Mansoor was knowledgeable, polite and accommodating. He engineered all the trips, entertainment etc very well, anticipating our interests and needs. The camp facilities were great and what a spot! I felt wonderfully looked after the entire trip and importantly felt safe. There were smiling, welcoming faces wherever we went. Particularly outstanding was the lunch we had in the family home on our day trip out from Lake Dal. My many thanks go to the whole team."
“We had a FLAWLESS trip. Loved every bit of it. The organisation on the ground was terrific, and we happily and easily provided feedback for Aitken Spence that seemed to tick “excellent” in each box. Such careful organisation allowed us really to enjoy all the different parts of the country - which we did, in spades. I honestly would so thoroughly recommend Sri Lanka to other families looking for a bit of adventure in a do-able way/space. Thanks again for making these memories for us.“
"Our trip was just fantastic, and we could not have enjoyed it more. Everything worked like clockwork and the organisation was first-class. We packed a lot in but the comfort of the road transport meant that the journeys in between were more relaxing than trying. The stand-out part of the whole trip was Chhatra Sagar... It was altogether a brilliant holiday. We are so grateful to you for all your expertise and organisation, and we arrived back home (freezing temperatures and run out of heating oil!) thinking where we should go next (once we have replenished the coffers…) With our best wishes, and our thanks again".
"We had a great holiday - thanks so much. Kuredu was really good for us - very relaxing and some good parties in the evening to keep the teenagers happy. Rooms were great - right on the beach. Not sure I would bother with the jacuzzis though - I never used it! All in all a very good holiday and thanks so much for organising it for us".
"Things have slightly calmed down since my return from India and I thought I must write to say thank you for the wonderful experience of Kerala. I am much richer for the experience and think about all the things we did often. It is all thanks to you that I can add Kerala to my memory bank".
"It was really fantastic and everything worked like clockwork. Nyi Nyi our guide in Burma was just the best ever - I’d probably go back just to see him! Thank you for organising the trip so well!!"
"We had the most fabulous time at the bottom of the world. We believed it would be good but in fact it turned out to be one of the best adventures ever. All of our arrangements rolled as planned and we felt very well cared for. Our guides were superb. Their English was excellent and they were good company."
"I can't tell you both how relaxing the stay was. My other half described it as a 'hospital for stressed people' as we both found the service to be outstanding and the whole place was cleverly done".
"I couldn't have asked for anything more of World Odyssey on my trip to Ethiopia. They were extremely prompt and efficient throughout the complicated planning, and nothing was too much trouble. The Ethiopian agents, drivers and guides were knowledgeable, charming and helpful without exception, and Ethiopia lived up to our highest expectations."