Rimel Beach - Atlas Obscura

Rimel Beach

Menzel Jemil, Tunisia

An eerie ship cemetery with gunfire as a soundtrack. 


About five miles (eight kilometers) south of Bizerte is the charming Rimel Forest, where Aleppo and stone pine trees dominate the flora. Several sand tracks snake through the forest, but the most trodden ones lead to Rimel Beach (Plage des Bateaux). It could be a peaceful walk in nature if it weren’t for military vehicles constantly ramming through the forest.

Upon approaching the beach, attention is immediately drawn to two huge ships stranded not far from the coast: the Hamada S and the Ydra. Information about these two wrecks is scarce. The Hamada S was built in 1977 in Turkey. It once flew the Togolese flag and was on its way to get repaired in Tunisia when it ran aground.

As for the Ydra, it was a Greek cargo ship that got stranded as a result of a fire in the engine room. A few hundred meters further south, the hull of another boat barely makes it to the surface, while large rusted cogs and wheels belonging to one or more boats are scattered throughout the beach. 

If shipwrecks can evoke feelings of spookiness or even dread, the feelings at Rimel Beach are heightened by the constant gunfire that comes from a military shooting range located directly behind the dunes. In case you are concerned about your safety, the beach is open to the public and the shooting range is cordoned off and guarded by friendly guards. Safety notwithstanding, the soundtrack can be quite unnerving.

Know Before You Go

According to most apps, the stretch of Rimel Beach with the wrecks can be reached by taking Route P8 out of Bizerte, turning onto the A4 highway at the roundabout, and finally taking an exit after about six kilometers. 

This exit is permanently closed. At the roundabout, instead of taking the A4 highway, continue on Route P8 and take the left at the first road split. Follow the road running parallel to the highway and go over the bridge. 

Shortly after that, the road turns into a sandy track. To get to the beach, you can either park here and walk for two kilometers or drive on the track until the sand convinces you that continuing is not a great idea. If you want to get to Rimel Beach by public transport, it’s about four kilometers from the Menzel Jemil bus stop.     

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February 27, 2024

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