We have recently returned from a trip to Libya, visiting Wau Namus - Tazerbo - Kufra - Jebels Arkenu & Uweinat (full account at the FJ Expeditions website - http://fjexpeditions.virtualave.net)
The trip was absolutely superb, one of the smoothest I had in a long time. A few highlights that might interest all:
The visas are a real hassle still: even though we were a group of 8, and all invitations were in proper order (through Arkno Tours), about half of the group got visas on the day before departure, after much heated discussion.
We used locally rented vehicles with drivers (supplied by Alawy, Sebha). The cars were in perfect condition, and the drivers very professional, and a wonderful company. With this arrangement, no additional guides or escort was needed. This was my second such positive experience with Alawy, they truly understand the desert, and are properly prepared for any eventuality - strongly recommended if anyone is contemplating using local vehicles. They do not arrange visas though, initial contact needs to be made through a northern agency like Arkno or Azar.
The piste from Wau Namus to Tazerbo, contrary to many reports, is actually better than from Wau Kebir to WN. It's very clear to follow, we comfortably covered the 400 kms in a day (little travelled though, two cars minimum!). The piste itself circumvents the dunes to the north, so no serious dune crossing is needed.
The formalities to go beyond Kufra were really easy, all it took was the time to finish our tea with the very friendly and helpful officers. It was a bit lengthier at Timsah and Tazerbo, but at every checkpoint they were helpful & friendly. Our only negative experience during the trip with Libyan officialdom was on the very last day at Leptis Magna, where the police officer on guard told us that we cannot enter, because our travel permits did not say Leptis Magna ! (it actually listed approximately 80% of places worth listing in all Libya from Tripoli to Uweinat...)Of course we got in in the end...