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Desert Travels - Motorcycle Journeys in the Sahara and West Africa!

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  #1  
Old 20 Jan 2009
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Post Libya. Rise of Sahara's accidents

Local press carried of a rise in road accidents involving foreign traveller's vehicles travelling the country and sahara during the last period of incoming for x'mas holidays.
High speed or hazardous overtaking could be the cause of a crash near Tripoli that ocurred to a convoy of 4x4 of an italian off road club where a libyan citizen lost tragically his life.Liabities are underway. Two italian bikers are still hospitalized as result of different tumbles in the dunes of murzuk and near ubari. Always in the dunes a frontal smash between two italian 4x4 occured fortunately without serious for theirs occupants.
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  #2  
Old 20 Jan 2009
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When I was in Libya I witnessed some horrendous driving, especially on southern pistes.
Convoys of eight or more Italian 4x4's driving absolutely flat out without any regard for whoever was in thier path.
Didn't matter that there was traffic in front of them on the piste, they would come screaming past at 80mph two feet either side.
Then after all that rush, I'd pass them a mile further down the road where they'd stopped to take photos, then come screaming past again five minutes later.

obviously due to the proximity and history, the majority of recreational 4x4 travellers in Libya are going to be Italian, and though many Italians we passed were civil and courteous, Libya also seemed to attract a certain 'type' of Italian traveller who just wanted to take thier X5 or Hyundai off road to a place without polizia and pretend they were on the Dakar.

Same kind of holidaymaker we Brits export to Magaluf and Greece I guess.
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  #3  
Old 20 Jan 2009
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You are right, Eightpot. The same applies to some Spanish riders in Morocco. Merzouga and its surroundings are (unfortunately) full of that kind of people.

Pedro
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  #4  
Old 20 Jan 2009
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Budrinna,
you guys need to put the offending drivers in a Libyan jail overnight. I predict that word will spread and that the problem will go away before dawn.
cheers,
Richard
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  #5  
Old 22 Jan 2009
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Shukran very much Eightpot .

Your evidence result very interesting El fahr news report indeed that the driver of the italian car crashed was travelling frequently and yearly in SPLAJ. So, could be likely that the group may have counted amidst some of the “certain “ type of travellers you said. Here such kind of holidaymakers coming regularly with the only goal to race amidst our dunes, but pretending to be saharan travellers, are not a novelty . Indeed most of the convoy’s cars , more than ten , where covered with self sticking publishing some Italian Sahara’s websites and off road clubs . This is said because the libyan traffic is often depicted in this websites and related forum as very dangerous , but thanks to your witness , even if only one, this hersay freely spread , is a proof that local drivers are not the unique responsible of accidents, a rise recently observed.
Cheers
Budrinna

Dear moderator

your suggestion already happens and more often than you think, as sometines it is an “official” preventive measures , but usually this kind of recreational Saharan travellers is also full of €uro and they are able to leave immediately the country, paying cash any caution and charging a local lawyer in expectation of the process, leaving then silence. Unlikely your prediction , even good, will be a solution as most of websites on Sahara are the first places where you will just find this “certain “peoples and means trough new clients are educated and found .
This is an important damage both to the correct development of the travel in the Sahara, that you promote, than our to assist it the more professional way , problem that now must known and discussed before new restrictions came to the detriment of all( fuel tax and a kasco foreign compulsory insurance as the local one appear not to be adequate enough in case of death for the family of the deceased ).

Cheers
Budrinna.
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  #6  
Old 22 Jan 2009
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Ahlen wa sahlan Budrinna.
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  #7  
Old 22 Jan 2009
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Whilst I for sure would not assist the "crazy Drivers", this thread somehow leaves me the impression, as if the "certain tourists" would be those who are responsible for the high blood-toll in the Libyan traffic.

My personal experience / opinon is this:

If somebody creates an accident by himself in -for example- jumping a dune, then it is hardly the case that other people than those in the particular car are affected. Seeing the tourists crossing Tripoli at their return journey - my deep impression is that they are frightened about the traffic. It is not easy for them to understand, that whilst the light is read and they wait, many Libyans just cross without even breaking - and when they have green... crash.

Dear Budrinna; most of the traffic problems you have in Libya is homemade. No distance between the cars. No use of blinkers. No respect of traffic lights. No attention to pedestrians. Parking on the highway. Forklift on the highway. General use of mobile-phone whilst driving, speeding and a daily increase of the aggression in the traffic.

About 5 Millions of Libyans and how many dead in the traffic per year? More than 3'000 I believe to recall.

---

Anyhow: My advise to the tourist is to really take care in the traffic. Particularily if you return from the desert and enter the towns again - any accident can easily spoil your vacation in this beautiful country.
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  #8  
Old 23 Jan 2009
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Hi Kuno2

About our “ homemade “driving conduct (typical in all Africa) I will not tell that you are wrong but this not justify that we are obliged to “ import” other similar drivers. In most of EU countries speed and traffic light jumping are also first cause of accidents and there is no reason that such creasy drivers continue their Dakar here, running flat on sand as well on macadam if they where still on their home higways .If you add to the first the presence of the second the result is statically proved of an increase of accident in the period of max incoming of tourist with theirs vehicle (x’mas , easter, august time) and hospitalisation shows often their names.


By the way as it seem that you are a trip organizer may we a question ?

You say that you will not give assistance to those creasy drivers. How do You recognise them from abroad ? On the matte an answer will be higly appreciated as several times we give assistances to group that assure us that they are only true and enthusiastic saharan travellers but as soon they pass Ras Ejdir border they start their Dakar complaining that our guides are driving too slow or running drunk as soon amidst the dune full of “prosecco” wine the most imported wine after that the word has been spread on most of foreign forums to bury ol kind of alcoholic remains ! This has been done and all now take care to burry as deep they can ,creasy or wise driver they are.

Cheers with Shani

Budrinna
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  #9  
Old 23 Jan 2009
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Hi Budrinna; since English s neither my nor your mother tongue I may have chosen the wrong wording: I wanted to say that I don't encourage people to be "crazy drivers" / don't want to say that "crazy driving" is good - whatsoever - may one of our British colleagues has the correct expression.

Naturally no tour operator can know the habits of his clients in advance (and vice versa: hardly any tourist knows the good & bad habbits of his "mandatory company" in Libya). So; there is quite a risk on both sides...

Whilst I agree, that accidents where tourists are involved are higher at special seasons - would expect to have the lowest number of tourists involved in accidents in July -, I dare to doubt that those few tourists coming by their own cars have a real impact on the blood-toll on Libyan roads.

May sound strange but I experienced it already many times that foreigners driving in Libya ar at first shocked about the -there is no other word- crazy driving... ...but then after a certain time, they shake off whatever they have in their mind about safe driving and join the "crazy style".

Personally I feel only sorry about all those who are involved in an accident without being guilty - and maybe above advise to let the people go to jail is not the best Idea; would prefer to show the "crazy drivers" the hospitals receiving those suffering an accident.

Maybe it's the age, maybe the many kilometers on "my account" - I always try to keep a good distance from those "crazy drivers".

---

Regarding tour-operator; I am none. But obviously related to one. From time to time I join a group or organize something for myself. But obviously I was always able to maintain a good driving dicipline amongst all drivers (Libyans & Foreigners). This is one of the MAIN DUTIES of the travel guide or whoever signs responsible for such group.

Not to be taken wrong again: Maintaining a good level of discipline does by far not mean that the drivers can have fun in the same time

----

Budrinna - do you mean the same "Shani" softdrink as I have in my mind? Strange taste which has nothing to do with the fruits pictured on the tin and more sugar than water
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  #10  
Old 27 Jan 2009
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Hi Kuno2

It is out of place ( not to say other) to mix the topic discussed (desert’s accidents) with others topics that have nothing to do with it as the question of mandatary .
Even single experience is appreciated note that our infos are always supported by numbers (not km ) , studies of reports, statistics, a daily work in contacts with foreign embassies, missions inside and abroad , T.O. promotion and participations at all main conferences on tourism ,….a work that allow us to say you that the presence of travellers with own vehicles in July – august is increasing as EU peoples found more time to travel, that in the last month of December italian tourists were, for instance 1749 , followed by 1210 UK .. and that the percentage of sahara’s accident (the topic) still continue to count more foreign 4x4 drivers involved in than local drivers of T.O. as for them it is not “mandatory” to race . Official local T.O. can control their drivers and guides , while the same is very difficult to in case of free groups or free organizers that, as you rightly noticed, very often join the driving ‘creasy stile “ way .
Yes Shani is the fruit flavoured non alcoholic drinfk from Pispsi Cola.
Salam Budrinna
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  #11  
Old 27 Jan 2009
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1210 UK tourists last December?

I'd say about 1% of these went to the desert in their own cars. There weren't 1210 UK tourists with 4x4s in Maroc last December, never mind Libya.

1210 must include anyone from UK entering Libya, most by air - certainly not those with 4x4s.
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  #12  
Old 27 Jan 2009
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Agree with you, the absolute minority of the numbers of tourists is coming to Libya by their own cars. Particularily vehicles with UK plates are a real rare species.

Growing numbers of tourists in July / August? 3 weeks tour last year let us meet with one single (Italian) Landrover at Umm el-Ma. Hotels were empty and the constant tourist camps in the region were empty resp. even closed as well. So to say it a little bit in easy words: Only a few tourists more in these two hot months mean already a drastic increase in the precentage of all tourists for these months.

Personally I like the summer months very much for travelling - not cold in the night and a longer period of daylight (althouhg the light for the photos is better in winter).
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  #13  
Old 27 Jan 2009
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Originally Posted by Kuno2 View Post
Agree with you, the absolute minority of the numbers of tourists is coming to Libya by their own cars. Particularily vehicles with UK plates are a real rare species.
Well there will be four UK cars to look out for in two weeks time, two Discoverys, a Range Rover and a 110, all the way from Scotland.

And do not worry Budrinna, we promise to drive no faster than the locals and we won't be smuggling in any Whisky.

We leave on Sunday. Can't wait
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  #14  
Old 27 Jan 2009
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I fully agree with you Richard, we were 6 people in 3 uk registered cars transiting Libya- Egypt & then back in november & december and I dont recall seeing even one other uk vehicle (or person come to that) at this time, those figures must surely be for 'fly ins' as well, just doing the well known tourist sites

As for the driving on the roads accross the North of the country, from what I saw, I can only describe the Libyan style of driving as MENTAL.
I am amazed that there are not more accidents

Andy
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  #15  
Old 28 Jan 2009
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That has reminded me of the stretch of road as you leave the Tunisian/Libyan border crossing and head out on a stretch of road that looks like a bombed runway - it was like the whacky races!

I overtook a truck, and as I was overtaking, another car overtook me, then someone overtook him - four cars abreast with four cars doing the same coming towards us - with everyone having to steer around the biggest potholes and craters I have ever seen in a road!

This went on for miles and miles till we headed southwards and things got a bit more serene.
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