It is the only safe port easily accessible to large vessels for over 1000 m., between Sfax in Tunisia and Alexandria, for, although there is safe and deep anchorage in the recess of the Gulf of Bomba, the entrance is rocky and difficult.
Sfax was formerly the starting-point of a caravan route to Central Africa, but its inland trade now extends only to the phosphate region beyond Gafsa, reached by a railway which, after skirting the coast southwards from Sfax to Mahares, runs inland past Gafsa.
Formerly the only anchorage at Sfax was 2 m.
They are met with in a long strip of country south of the Majerda, between the Algerian frontier and the sea-coast north of Susa; also inland, to the south-west of Susa, and near Kef; also in another long strip between the vicinity of Sfax on the north and the Jerid on the south.
Quite close to the sea, all along the coast from Hammamet to Sfax, there are great fertility and much cultivation; but a little distance inland the country has a rather wild and desolate aspect, though it is nowhere a desert until the latitude of Sfax has been passed.