Footwear: trainers and anything else 'closed' but with ventilation holes are out; the sand (which is very fine) gets through the ventilation holes and fills up the footwear. Military dessert boots worked well, as did trekking sandals (such as Merrill’s) worn with thick woollen socks. The guides wore open backed house slippers with thick woollen socks. Do not wear anything without socks because the sand will abrade your skin inside the footwear. Do not wear thin cotton socks because you will get blisters. Bare foot walking is possible and fun on some stretches of the trek.
Clothing: take warm clothes for the evenings around the campfires and to wear in your sleeping bag. There was ice on the outside of my sleeping bag in the mornings but I was toasty inside with thermals and a woolly hat on! For the daytime, it was warm by 10:00 and most people just wore lightweight trousers and a t-shirt. Some people wore linen and said they were very comfortable. The guides wore everyday trousers and woolly jumpers.
Ancillaries: sunglasses and/or a wide brimmed hat were a must because we often walked into the sun when it was very bright and low in the sky in a cloudless sky. The kit list specifies a 30 litres rucksack. In reality a 15 or 20 litre is fine for a layer of clothing, your bottle of water, first aid kit, and camera bits and bobs. Some of the group had walking poles and said that they were useful - even in the softer sand. Mouthwash is shown on the kit list but I wouldn't bother - there is plenty of bottled water to clean your teeth!
Snakes and scorpions: hibernating when I was there! Mohamed has been stung several times by scorpions and knows what to do.
Sun protection: I wore factor 25 but the sun was not strong at that time of year and the days were short. As far as I am aware no one got sunburnt.
Private tents: apparently one of the group paid for a private tent but in reality anyone could have their own tent because they were freely available. They were the 'pop-up' type that literally assembled themselves. They were no guy ropes or stakes but the tents kept in place with the weight of the occupant’s kit inside. All the tents had broken zips on either the inner and/or the outer door. I tried the Bedouin tent and a private tent but preferred to sleep outdoors on a mattress in my sleeping bag.
Camels: they were huge, docile, very strong, and didn't spit but remember they are working animals and not pets. One of the group managed to frighten a group camels into standing up by trying to feed them. One of guides had to break off his lunch to get them all to sit down again (not as easy as it sounds). The guide was polite about it but it didn't help that that person who did it thought it was hilarious. We all got a camel ride on the last day, which was a real experience.
Vegetarians: there were no separate vegetarian options around the campfire but often at least on part of the meal was vegetarian. At other times vegetarians were given their stew before the meat was added to it. In restaurants vegetarians could order as in any other country. The food in general was very good and there was plenty of it (including fresh salads and fruit, even in the desert).
Alcohol: is freely available from duty free on the flight over and in restaurants. Several people took alcohol with them on the trek and passed it around in the evenings around the campfire.
Blisters: two of the group had walking problems because of blisters. One of them had to be carried by camel for the last two days of the trek. In some cases, blister plasters proved in effective because the very fine sand got under the edges of the plaster to further irritate the wound and make a mess of the plaster itself. Getting this mixture of mangled blister plaster and sand of one's skin was not easy and one person managed to tear some skin in the process which then became another wound. The same difficulties applied to 'second skin' type dressings designed to be left on a wound. I didn't get blisters but did take off a layer of skin from the tops of my toes by spending a morning walking in sandals but no socks. I settled for standard cushioned plasters (Winnie the Pooh) bound round with old-fashioned Elastoplast adhesive fabric tape. Sand proof and comfy!
Camp fire activities: take song lyrics! The guides love to sing and dance and will be interested in your songs. They love the hokey-cokey!
Sand damage to cameras, etc: my own camera is very delicate but suffered no ill effects. I kept it in its case when I was not using it and made sure that my hands were sand free before handling it. Take a soft brush to clean the sand off cameras at the end of the day. On person took an iPad along and had no problems.
Some of the group was not happy with the relaxed Tunisian attitude to time and distance. Planes and ferries were invariably late and, to the guides, everything was just over the horizon. Most of us though relaxed into it and the whole trip had a laid back, unwinding, feeling to it.
A few of the group found the scenery monotonous but, too me, I saw different scenery every day. I think that it depends how deep one looks into the landscape. I ended up taking 200+ photographs and I wasn't alone in that.
Everyone loved the camels and they really were a big part of the trip. It was amazing walking next to an animal that was taller than a horse, had a four foot neck, a roar like a lion, a coat like a woolen rug, and legs that folded into three sections!
Some of the group found the walking hard going. We were all used to walking in the UK and but 100km across sand is much harder than walking bridleways, etc. The sand absorbs some of the energy as you push off with your feet and they flex a lot more than usual because the sand does not provide a flat stable surface. I noticed a bit of mild pain in my feet and ankles from the flexing but that passed after a couple of days. Your feet will end up stronger for it!
I put things into this review that might make you think "Oh, I'm not sure" but if you read them again you will find that they are avoidable and I really do recommend that you go on this trip. It has given me many happy memories.