When George Lucas heard the name of Tataouine he liked it so much that he decided to use the name for Luke Skywalker‘s native planet, Tatooine in his Star Wars saga. And given that this fantastic place is located in Tunisia, Stanito simply had to look for it 🙂 But what Stanito didn’t know is that Tataouine only served for the name of the planet, not the location itself. So when she and Travel Buddy reached this town, well, not much of space rockets were there (I’m so sorry Buddy!). It all started in a galaxy far far away… We have been driving for hours and apart from the obvious beauty of the desert, the dunes, the aircraft fun, and salt plains, we had to see the Star Wars movie set!
Luckily for us, Tunisia served as shooting locations for many of the Star Wars films, and as we drove through this beautiful country we encountered many spots that were used for the whole saga. Ksar Ouled Sultane, used in Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace as the slave quarters Hotel Sidi Driss in Matmata, later known simply as Star Wars Hotel was used to shoot the Lars dinner scene in Star Wars Episode II: The Attack of The Clones and Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope. Some of the interiors and the courtyard of Luke’s house were filmed in this hotel as well. We could visit this hotel with no problem as many other people do, you can take photos and even see the painted ceiling of what was used for the Skywalker dining room. The funny thing is that in the movie, when Luke walks out of the farm, he appears in a flat deserted area (our mission goal), while in reality, as soon as you walk out of the hotel you’ll see houses, small stone hills and a lot of prickly pear-trees (a variety of cactus that is very common in Tunisia) However our search mostly focused on finding the spot for the pioneer movie, the one that dazzled all fans around the world: Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope Easier said that done though, after much driving we started losing hope as most signs would drive us to Episode I and II locations only. But as we approached Tozeur, hints and signs were given to us until we found the Road to Tatooine. This road was built especially for the movie shooting, so that more than 60 tracks could easily reach the locations that will serve as Luke Skywalkers’ home town, Mos Espa, here in Onk Jemal (Berber for ‘camel’s neck’), about 38 km northwest of Tozeur and about 20 km northeast of Nefta It looked so promising that geeky Stanito couldn’t hide her thrill. We drove until the magic Tatooine appeared in front of our eyes and it looked exactly like in the movie The unmistakable Darth Vader mask and Lightsaber The rockets that you see standing are entirely made of wood, which is impressive if you think about it, they survived through many sand storms and high temperature since they were placed in 1977 Details of the houses depict futuristic simple homes The inside of houses made basically out of papier-mâché Skywalker’s home door A little gift shop with typical Star Wars souvenirs. The town is inhabited by two nomads who run the souvenir store Futuristic electronic device found out of most houses Houses, aside the Skywalkers’ venue, are very small Unfortunately, one must not forget that we are basically in the Sahara desert, and the Sahara is slowly pushing dunes everywhere, jeopardizing locations such as this one as a huge sand dune has been tracked moving towards Nefta at a rate of 4 cm per day. It won’t be long before this alien town is buried beneath the sand. Go now!