The Kantaoui port
Port Kantaoui is a marina located northwest of the city of Sousse, which has become one of the most important seaside resorts in Tunisia.
Tall palm trees, thousand-year-old fortresses and ramparts overlooking long sandy beaches: such is the coast of the Tunisian Sahel.
Sousse, city of contrasts, is both a city of history and a modern and lively city. Its intact medina leaves a vivid impression, with its high ramparts of golden stone facing the sea, its souks and alleys, its monuments weathered by time, while the modern districts show their dynamism with their avenues lined with palm trees, the port and the many shops and entertainment venues.
Close to Sousse, the integrated station of this port proudly bears its nickname of “the first port-garden of the Mediterranean”. Entirely built in a Tunisian style of Arab-Andalusian inspiration, the port is a homogeneous and verdant set of hotels, residences, shops and places of leisure, the heart of which is made up of a marina with 340 rings and a superb golf course.
The project to create an integrated tourist resort on 307 hectares is the result of an idea by Tunisian President Habib Bourguiba, who wishes to develop tourism in the Sahel region.
It was studied in 1971 by the Tourist Financial Company of Tunis in the area of Sidi El-Kantaoui located on the territory of the municipality of Hammam Sousse, north of Sousse. It is up to the Société d’études et de développement de Sousse-Nord to study the economic and financial opportunity of the project and to assume the role of general promoter. Once the work started under the direction of Olivier-Clément Cacoub, the port was dug and small condominium apartment buildings (Maisons de la Mer) were built around it.
The port was opened in 19791 and it was to the El-Kantaoui hotel and tourist company that the Sousse-Nord Study and Development Company delegated the task of developing and managing the resort. An 18-hole golf course was laid out in 1980 on 130 hectares on the hillside and, at the end of the 1990s, the land occupied by the car park located at the entrance to the port made it possible to extend the complex by the construction of a new district (Houses of the Gardens) and a permanent fairground (Hannibal Park) which allows a diversification of the leisure activities offered. Three to five star hotels are being built around the complex and along the coast towards Chott Meriem to the north and Hammam Sousse to the south.
The port is a real village, mostly pedestrian, built according to an architecture reminiscent of the village of Sidi Bou Saïd in its Arab-Moorish style, the whiteness of its walls, its arcades, its vaults and its alleys decorated with flowers.
The resort hosts many shops including restaurants, cafes and shops for foreign tourists who frequent the site for its seven kilometers of beach. In addition, during the summer period, many events take place at the port, including the International Summer Internet Festival (from 2000), regattas, musical stages, etc. These assets also attract many Sahelians who come for a bit of relaxation during the weekend or the holidays. The construction of Yasmine Hammamet in the early 2000s did not cause attendance to decline.
The port can accommodate up to 340 boats over a total area of four hectares.