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Sahara Travel Forum Topics specific to North Africa and the Sahara down to the 17th parallel (excludes Morocco)
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Desert Travels - Motorcycle Journeys in the Sahara and West Africa!

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  #1  
Old 2 Apr 2006
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Eclipse: did the Earth move for you?

It did for us; the cream on the cake of a great Tenere tour. A couple of pix here:
http://www.sahara-overland.com/acoupleofpics/
...an S-File later and a pdf update for the book later still. Any impressions from other areas? Let's hear it....

Chris S

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  #2  
Old 3 Apr 2006
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sadly we missed it....*sniff*
Our schedule meant we were out of Algeria when it took place ( a triumph of bad planning if ever there was one...)
actually we should have been back in the UK a month earlier, but delays meant we *almost* got to see it...grrrrr

Ray
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  #3  
Old 4 Apr 2006
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Terrific pictures, Chris...
Thanks, it says it all, to the many of us who didn't get our act together in time, and MISSED IT!
Best kitmax
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  #4  
Old 4 Apr 2006
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To far North (Spain) to have noticed any drastic change though it did darken slightly
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  #5  
Old 10 Apr 2006
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Libya eclipse

I just got home yesterday after an extensive tour around Libya with a couple of friends. Watched the eclipse smack bang on the centreline south of Jalu, impromptu rough camping the night before just off the highway (we went to the official camp, said "how much?" and left again). It wasn't the best eclipse I've seen which was to be expected with the sun spot cycle as it is at the moment but it was very cool (literally, the temperature drop was remarkable) to see it in the desert. We had the full 360 degree twilight experience thanks to the flatness of the area and the shadow bands on the uniformly pale sand were as clear as any I've seen. We also got to sample some home brew hooch thanks to a very drunk local who pulled in to say hello. Riding north in the Libyan Grand Prix to Ajdabiya afterwards was an experience not to forget (or to repeat, I hope).

I really enjoyed Libya, very very friendly and hospitable. And very big! I'm now looking forward to a few days rest and some extra expense repairing my BMW's rear shock which started leaking oil on the ferry over to Tunis and which behaved like a pogo stick all the way back across Europe :-(


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  #6  
Old 10 Apr 2006
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Libya info?

Hi Fraggle

Libya sounds interesting. Would you care to say a few words about paperwork, visas etc? Any real hassles?

Thanks
Denis
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Old 11 Apr 2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by denis brown
Hi Fraggle

Libya sounds interesting. Would you care to say a few words about paperwork, visas etc? Any real hassles?

Thanks
Denis
No hassles at all. There were 3 of us travelling on motorcycles so we had to have a guide with us. I was told for one or two bikes no guide is required. Our contact was Ahmed Nassamo from Timihar (timihar@yahoo.com) who made all the arrangements and met us at the border. He did an okay job but information before we arrived was a bit lacking and once there it took a while to get messages across to him such as "we don't want to stay in expensive European style hotels" and "we can travel much much faster than 70 kph". In reality our guide was just a fixer who smoothed the way through the numerous police and military road checks but with the correct paperwork we managed it ourselves with little difficulty on the occasions we left the guide behind (going too bloody slow again). We could have managed easily without a guide and with the cost savings could have stayed in the expensive hotels.

Costs - visa €50 inc. invitation letter, Libyan insurance €10 and Canet bought at the border €30. There was no charge for number plates as in the past, apparently this was a new thing the day we arrived (we failed to blag a deposit back when we left though!). We had no charge for our guide handling the border formalities but our guide costs were high (€70/day plus €80/day for car and driver) compared to other travellers we met while in Libya. The border officials were all very friendly and helpful and apparently all the forms needed are available in English (and other languages) and they were very happy to help in their completion (unlike their Tunisian counterparts). In all it took about 3 hours to clear the border (including the Tunisian emigration which seem to take forever). Current official exchange rate seems to be about €1=LD1.6 (we couldn't get a better offer than that at the money changers in Ben Guerdane) and unleaded 95 petrol was 0.15 LD per litre. Border officials said the Libyan/Tunisian border at Wasin (near Nalut) is now open to non local traffic but because it wasn't on our itinerary (apparently) we couldn't use it. Exiting Libya was even easier and again it was the Tunisian side that held things up.

Libya was refreshingly easy going and we experienced non of the typical badgering common to the more tourist orientated Tunisia. We were always made welcome and we could have paid for the whole trip if we'd have received a Dinar for every photo that was taken of our bikes! Their driving, on the other hand, is truly scary and negotiating Triploi's evening rush hour on two wheels was a truly underwear ruining experience.

The negative points (for me) were very definitely Tunisia which I didn't really enjoy at all and the Genoa - Tunis ferry which was in a disgusting state on the way out (and very late). I wish we'd used the Marseilles ferry however some recent comments elsewhere in the HUBB suggest that is even worse. And it's a real shocker how expensive stuff is when back in Europe!

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Old 12 Apr 2006
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This newbie had a great view from the south rim of Waw Namus. We had meant to go further but the unbreakable suspension on the Tatra support truck broke and we had limited time.

The race to and from WN was like those old films of land rushes in the wild West. Locals doing 100kph across a 500m wide front.

The Libyans are wonderful people, so are the Tunisians if a bit less so, but driving discipline is unknown. And yes, it does seem to be huge country. Our tour did Nalut, Ghadames old town, the desert lakes at Germa, and Sabratha. Then we had a week in Tunisia on the way back.

I thought the ferry to Genoa was fine, but of course it was very quiet as we had had the extra time in Tunisia.
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Old 13 Apr 2006
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Good to hear that it all worked out fine in Libya - I did have my doubts beforehand.
There's a bit of a yarn on our trip here:
http://www.channel4.com/4car/feature...-2006/eclipse/

Ch
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Old 14 Apr 2006
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solar eclipse

Our experience was great. We chose a spot some 60 km SE of Fachi, roughly the direction to Zoo Baba, on a gentle dune allowing a 360 deg view. The desert was big eough - no neighbours in sight. I had a bit of a scare the night before the eclipse - I woke at 4AM and there was not a single star to be seen. Wind direction changed for 180deg, the temp was considerably higher than a few hours ago - the calm before the sandstorm? Imagine organising a 2 week trip for 13 people and then there is no eclipse. Instead of worrying I smoked a cigarette and went to sleep again. In the morn, everything was OK with a slight sfumatto effect. The spectacle was just great, especially for the kids, albeit no animals around this time to amuse me with their behaviour... During the 4 min eclipse there was a 7deg temp drop, according to our measurements.
on the whole the trip was five stars, one of the 4 toyotas broke his front wheel hub NW of Chiriet, which in the end was a good thing: we explored the desert on foot during the 24 hour wait for the car to return from repairs in Arlit.
moro
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Old 14 Apr 2006
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>>>I woke at 4AM and there was not a single star to be seen

Yes, this happened to me also, after a lovely clear Tuesday, and after I had promised them rather rashly 'clear skies or your money back!'
But luckily by 11am next day the sun was high enough above it all for '4 perfect minutes' as she says (tho some of the eclipsers observed it was not as clear as Zimbabwe before).

We heard in Dirkou and Bilma that many ran indoors or into the mosque and started praying. I guess it worked for them too!


Ch
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Old 17 Apr 2006
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praying

Our chief navigator spent the whole eclipse covered with a blanket from head to toe. After being asked "how did you like it?", he replied "it's great that it's over". But man is he a good navigator: in a 50 mph strong wind and dust he found the last 4 accacias before entering Tenenre proper ENE of Areschima Nord without any electronic gadgets and detours. When we came there only two of the four trees were visible at one time...
Praying helps sometimes, that's for sure...
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Old 18 Apr 2006
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Run 4 the eclipse

Also made it to Waw en Namus in a fantastic 'wacky racers' style race inside of a day. We were travelling in two Range Rovers but could not of done it without the help of Arkno tours based in Tripoli.

Details at www.run4theeclipse2006.myby.co.uk
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  #14  
Old 24 Apr 2006
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Eclipse from Egypt

Saw it from the northern Egyptian desert, out between Qattara and Owstons Dump. About 60% total, slightly cloudy and got some good pix, esp through long lens of SLR. We'd intended to get out to the Great Sand Sea but a car breakdown meant we only had small vehicles so knocked the long trip on the head.
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