This unique and extraordinary journey takes you through mountain valleys with incredible scenery. The train was used in the movie Indiana Jones’ The Last Crusade’. The railway was built in the 19th century. In the early 20th century, the train was used for transporting phosphate deposits from mining sites. This route begins in Metlaoui.
The Red Lizard train, also known as the “Lézard Rouge” in French, has been beautifully restored and offers an unforgettable experience. The narrow-gauge railway winds through walls of red rocks, revealing the magnificent Seldja Gorge scenery. The Gorge is another hidden treasure in this region of Tunisia. The only way to see it is by riding the Red Lizard Train, which is 9 miles long.
This Red Lizard train journey will also disclose a unique region of the Saharan Altas Mountains that is inaccessible by foot or other means. It passes through mountain tunnels, over steel bridges, near natural water springs, and then into a verdant oasis, all while providing passengers with breathtaking views of central Tunisia’s stunning rocky desert canyons and landscapes.
The wagons have the characteristic rustic wooden panels and vintage design of an antique French train. A strong diesel engine guarantees a steady ascent… There are a few spectacular photo opportunities.
The actual orignal train was built in France during the 19th century for the Bey of Tunis. After an extended time of abandonment following Tunisia’s independence in 1956, the “Red Lizard” was restored by the national railway corporation and returned to service in 1984.
The passenger train comprises six cars, one of which is a dining car. During the journey, tourists are allowed to move about the train to take in the best views. There are also scheduled photo stops along the route.
Metlaoui is 42 kilometers (26 miles) south-west of Gafsa and 40 kilometers (25 miles) from Tozeur. Daily at 10 a.m., the train departs from the Metlaoui station. Metlaoui to Redeyef via the west is a one-and-a-half-hour round journey.
Tunisian Red Lizard Train: Update
The Red Lizard train has not been operating in past years due to repairs and scheduling inconsistencies.
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