Journey Beyond the Screen

Ong Jmel

Tunisia: Star WarsOng Jmel: Darth Maul's Lookout

Location

Ong Jemal, Arabic for Camel Head, is a sandstone formation that resembles the hump and head of a camel. The location was used for Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace, as well as for The English Patient.

The distinctive rock formation of Ong Jemal.

The distinctive rock formation of Ong Jemal.

 

Key Scenes

Darth Maul lands his spaceship on Tatooine in the middle of the night. He leaves his spaceship and scans the surrounding area, with Mos Espa clearly visible on the horizon.

The following morning, Darth sends out two spy probes to find Qui-Gon Jinn and his companions.

Darth Maul sends out the spy drones. You might notice a difference to the image above - the filmmakers decided to flip this scene.

Darth Maul sends out the spy drones. You might notice a difference to the image above - the filmmakers decided to flip this scene.

After the probes return and confirm the presence of the Jedis, Darth Maul climbs onto his speederbike and flies off to find Qui Gon-Jinn and his companions in the town of Mos Espa.

Videos

Map

Ong Jemal lies in the same area as the Mos Espa set and the yardang field. Bear in mind that the site is hard to find without a local guide. Should you decide to drive without a guide, make sure that you have a full tank of gas and plenty of water.

Take the sandy piste to Chott el-Gharsa, which starts at the northern edge of Tozeur, skirting the back of the airport. When the track joins with a sealed road, turn left into that road. After about 200 metres, turn right and go around a palm grove. You are now driving on the 'Saul Zaentz Imperial Highway', named after the producer of The English Patient, who when filming in the area requested for this road to be upgraded. 

Follow the piste, which is mainly hardpacked sand or salt, until it approaches the chott and climbs up to a ridge. From here, the route takes you in north north-west direction. After 24 kilometres on the Saul Zaentz Imperial Highway, you should spot a tall rock cairn on the rigde to your right, immediately followed by a junction.

The left-hand turn leads down towards the Mos Espa set and the yardang field where Darth Maul attacks Qui-Gon Jinn. To get to Ong Jmel take the right turning to drop down the side of the ridge, and climb up the opposite face of the next one. As you drop down the steep face of the second ridge there’s a sharp turn to the left. Go very slowly and drive carefully as you could ground the car here. Once past this obstacle carry on past Ong Jmel and follow the road to the left. Drive 2/3rds of the way up the valley before you stop the car. Climb the left-hand ridge and look south-east, with Ong Jmel on the left. This is the view Darth Maul had when he received his spy-probes before speeding off in pursuit of the Jedi.

Darth Maul's lookout has the following coordinates: N34° 0' 55.271" / E7° 54' 41.198" or 34.015353 / 7.911444.

For more information on this location, refer to Mark Dermul's guidebook Trip to Tatooine.

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