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  #1  
Old 20 Apr 2005
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The Libya Visum/Invite/Guide Business

I have been reading back through a years worth of Sahara forum posts on this issue and have reached the following conclusions:

1) Most independent overlanders seem to have had bad experiences with Libyan tourist agencies: difficult communications, guides not showing up, guides useless etc.

2) There have been no reports of people getting into trouble because they were travelling without a guide in Libya.

3) There have been several reports of people managing to negotiate the Tunesia/Libya border without the guide/escort and none about people not managing it.

Which makes me wonder: Has anyone considered faking an invitation letter, getting the visa and simply go? Do you think it would work?

Of course if anyone has any experience that disproves points 2) and 3) it would be interesting as well.
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Michiel.
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  #2  
Old 20 Apr 2005
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Hi Redhouse,

I don't think this will works, because you can leave the border only with a "guide" from a tourist agency. I tried this in Sept.04, but the frontierpolice called the agency an then I had to wait until two persons was coming (afterward I "left my guides" near Zuara).

Greetings
Ferdi
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  #3  
Old 21 Apr 2005
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>Most independent overlanders seem to have had bad experiences

I think this is an exaggeration - here we only hear about the ones who have hassle, though I admiot they are still less reliable than just about all other Saharan agencies, IME.

Re a fake invite, nice idea but like Ferdi I also think it wont work because the issue of the visa is connected with the invite which must be faxed or telexed from the Libyan agency directly to the embassy doing your visa. You never see the invite.

As you can see, Ferdi's guides 'got tired' very quickly. It's expensive but at least that way they have a chance to rest and you have your own trip if that works for you too.

Chris S
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  #4  
Old 21 Apr 2005
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[QUOTE]Originally posted by Chris Scott:


....As you can see.... . have a chance to .. have your own trip if that works for you too.... Unless You have chanche not to meet a ZIYARAH SHORTA SHABIYAH'S (New Police control for tourist).
]
Cheers with Mirinda
Budrinna

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  #5  
Old 22 Apr 2005
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The idea of a "fake invitation" sounds really fascinating!

Although, the border-immigration has no "counter-part" from their main-office, they will probably just stamp you the visa into your passport.

Yes; I am pretty sure that such works.

Try it and let us know about...


Cheers
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  #6  
Old 22 Apr 2005
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The time I spent in Libya was informative and enjoyable - bar the useless 'guide' -

What amazes me is that all of the Libyan travel agencies appear to follow the strings on this website, they see our complaints and problems and don't do anything to improve their quality of service.

To those agencies: You're getting big money out of us independent travellers, if just one of you improved your service, you would get good feedback on this website, which would
a)increase the number of people coming through your country
b)encourage people to stay longer as they would be getting better value for your money

Which all means more money for yourselves, greater employment, and improved relations between countries.

Remember the demographics of travel, it is the backpackers and independent travellers who spread the word about a country. If their experiences are generally good, this generates the interest for the package holiday makers and holiday companies. Which for yourselves must be a good thing?

So how about a giving us a bit more customer satisfaction? If you can provide that I can guarantee that I'll be back.
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  #7  
Old 25 Apr 2005
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RE Kuno: Am I wrong about the issue of visas and invites being connected (as it was when I was last there) - ie: you cant get the former without the latter coming directly from the tourist agency?

You'd think if it was so easy as turning up with a fake invite from some Libyan agency, people would have been doing it these last few years or more since the rule was introduced - maybe they are.

Seems to me though that making up some agency and a homemade invite would not work as the border guys know them and often work with them pre-arranging the paperwork. And if you're using a real agency but without their agreement, would not have someone got caught by now and deservedly hammered?

The odd thing is that if, having paid in advance and then leaving their escorts at an early opportunity with mutual agreement - what have unescorted travellers got to fear from the likes of the dreaded Ziyarah SS? Is not the agency incriminating itself by sitting back and just taking the money?

I must say I have never heard of unescorted travellers being pulled up in the south and yet we know police checks are common.

Re Geoff - Makes sense what you say of course - how hard can it be? I think the problem with Libya is that they are relatively new to the game and in a hurry to make money. Service, as we understand it, is something I suspect that even the longer established agencies in Niger and Algeria took time to learn.
Another thing is that desert tourism in Libya is rarely run by people 'of the desert born' - same thing in Maroc and Egypt up to a point. To them its just a wasteland with money-making potential.
Perhaps the cream of these people serve the regular fly-in tours, while the likes of us end up with any old dogsbody because it's known that we are usually well prepared for the Sahara and so anyone will do (and it costs the agency next to nothing).

Chris S
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  #8  
Old 26 Apr 2005
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=====

The odd thing is that if, having paid in advance and then leaving their escorts at an early opportunity with mutual agreement - what have unescorted travellers got to fear from the likes of the dreaded Ziyarah SS? Is not the agency incriminating itself by sitting back and just taking the money?

I must say I have never heard of unescorted travellers being pulled up in the south...

=====

chris' instincts are correct in my mind. my wife and i left our "escort" in leptis magna on our 2nd, immediately headed south to ghadames via gharyan and had absolutely no trouble at all in libya from that moment onward. we went thru a number of police and miliatry checkpoints and, despite some confusion and bewilderment on the parts of the people manning those posts, they always waved us thru with a smile.

tb
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  #9  
Old 28 Apr 2005
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tmborden - when were you in Libya? It seems like things are continuously changing.

I've been following Libya threads here and on lonely planet in hopes of finding a way to see Libya without a guide. My current plan is to arrange a visa and just a few days guide with an agency and then hope to ditch the guide and spend a couple weeks on my own.
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  #10  
Old 29 Apr 2005
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my wife and i spent 17 days in libya - 15 of them "escort-free" - in late november of 2004. we were driving an HJ60, spent about 3 days in and around Tripoli and Leptis, then off to Gharyan, Ghadames, Ghat, Wadi, Ubari Lakes and then Al Qatrun en route to Niger. we had no problems with the fact that we were without our escort, although some people were fairly bewildered by this. one thing i would definitely recommend is to make sure you check in with the police within your first week in Libya and get your passports stamped by them. you might even want to do this before you ditch your guide.
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