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  #1  
Old 9 May 2007
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Problems With Arkno Tours, Libya

I write to advise HUBB readers of an appalling experience we have recently had with Arkno Tours, in the hope that prospective visitors to Libya will think carefully about using a company whose staff rip off, harass and assault its clients.
Arkno (http://www.arkno.com) is based at Basher al-Ibrahimi Street No.1, Garden City. PO Box 2170, Tripoli and its London office is at 1-3 Love Lane, Woolwich, London SE18 6QT (Caravanserai Tours - Tours in Libya and Iran)
Arkno Tours is a Libyan Government-approved Tour operator. Anyone who wants to visit Libya must deal with Arkno or one of its competitors to get a letter of invitation and a guide, as both are essential for obtaining a Libyan visa and for being allowed into the country. And thus, it was Arkno we paid for a visa, customs clearance for our car, 27 days of a guide’s services and 11 days of a desert guide in his own car a desert guide in his own vehicle at an additional cost of 68 pounds a day (a legal requirement in Libya for a foreigner wishing to visit the desert). This guide arrived a day late and left a day early and thus we only had 9 days of a service for which we paid for 11 days of.
The final draft of the itinerary provided for us to start visiting the desert on 13 April. However, we actually spent this day driving on tarmac and spent the afternoon looking at a museum. The desert guide first appeared on the night of 13th April. We reached the desert only on 14 April. The desert guide was with us until the evening of 22 April, when he departed before sunset - Amil/Amer Ghoula, our guide at the time, told us the desert guide had to do this as his time was up. However, the itinerary states that 23 April should have been the last day that the desert guide spent with us.

This means the desert guide and his 4x4 were with us for just 9 days and 9 nights and certainly these were the only days when we did any off-road driving.
The original guide Amil left us in Gharyan on 25 April which was prearranged owing to Amil’s family commitments. However, by the time of his departure our relationship with Amil had deteriorated as a result of us querying why the desert guide had left early and Amil spent the last 2 days with us sulking in a state of near-mutism. Amil had done a couple of things for us previously and I believe he was annoyed at not receiving payment for them, although we had certainly thanked him at the time. We had been intending to sort out payment with Amil, however with the overcharging issue having just reared its head we were not about to hand over more money to Arkno’s people and it was impossible to discuss anything with Amil during the last 2 days. Amil was replaced by a new guide named Utman – we never got his surname, but he is 27, lives in Tripoli and his number is +218 925176362.
Utman was superficially a more enthusiastic and proactive guide than Amil, but it quickly became clear that Amil had primed him thoroughly with what he thought of us. From his home, Amil frequently called Utman on his mobile and they spoke in our presence (in Arabic). Utman fed us a steady diet of snippets of how much Amil hated us. Utman has also visited the UK and has many friends in London and elsewhere.
During this time, we were repeatedly calling and emailing Arkno to try and resolve the overcharging issue. We heard nothing but a deafening silence from Craig Baguley in the London office and from Ghuman Adains in the Tripoli office. We did speak to Ghuman by phone, and he told us to discuss the issue with Craig as our contract was with him (despite the wording on the invoice from Craig in London which read 'Please note that we act solely as an Information Office on behalf of Arkno Tours of 38 Sharia Abd al-Rahman al-Kawakabi, Tripoli, Libya / T: +218 (0)21 444 1452. All travel arrangements are contracted directly with Arkno Tours'). It seemed that each was trying to pass the buck.
On Tuesday 1 May I injured my foot and Utman drove the car. During this time, 2 important keys disappeared off my keyring. There was no way this could have happened without someone physically removing them and nobody but Utman on that day had possession of the keyring apart from me. Against my better judgement, I stopped short of accusing Utman for being responsible for the keys going missing. On the same day, I know Utman and Amil spoke via mobile and Amil started sending us hate texts. The first one read 'According to what you have said, how can it be to make mony of skinny pig.....?' and the second one read 'You are riff-raff of England'.
Thursday 3 May was our last day in Libya and in the morning we were due to drive from Tobruk to the Libya/Egypt border but, as repeated searches had failed to turn up the missing keys, we decided to report the suspected theft/loss to the police before leaving Tobruk. Utman clearly was not happy with this and it is a matter of considerable regret that he was the only person in the police station who was able to speak and write English. I wrote a statement in English, but have heavy reservations about the accuracy of Utman’s subsequent translation of it into Arabic. Meanwhile, he was chatting happily in Arabic with the police and they were offering him cigarettes, which I thought rather suspicious. My partner Amanda noticed that Utman had discreetly copied my UK home address from the statement onto a piece of paper and put it in his pocket.
Before getting into the car, Amanda and I challenged Utman about why he had taken my home address. Utman responded by shouting abuse at us, taking the piece of paper from his pocket and ripping it into shreds. He then got into the car. Fearing that he would come back to Tobruk after leaving us at the border and pick up the address, I retrieved the shreds of paper from the ground. Utman jumped out of the car and tried to prise the paper from my hand before throwing a punch at me, which fortunately I blocked. During this scuffle, I sustained 4 scratches to my left hand (pictures are available).
I now regret not going straight back to the police station in Tobruk and taking matters further regarding this assault. But we had arrangements with friends whom we were due to meet in Egypt and I was conscious that using the only person in the vicinity who could speak English to interpret for us whilst reporting him for assault would be highly problematic. Of course, we could have contacted the British Embassy in Tripoli for help but this too would have delayed matters, to say nothing of us having to return to Libya (or being kept in the country waiting) for any possible case to come to court.
Thus we left Utman at the border and entered Egypt. It is my belief that Utman would have stopped at the Tobruk police station on his way back to Tripoli and retrieved my home address from the statement deposited there. I do not plan to return to the UK until 2008, but am exceedingly worried about what might happen to my property (which is rented) in my absence – or indeed myself when I return.
Meanwhile, I hope this does not discourage any prospective visitors to Libya, a country with fascinating scenery and kind, friendly people. Certainly I am not trying to do this, but for your own sake think twice about using Arkno Tours. One of Arkno’s guides physically attacked one of us while the other launched a campaign of harassment. Arkno has taken our money but has not provided us with the service we have paid for and has refused to discuss our complaints. Arkno has also tried to make its contracts governed by Libyan law and thus practically unenforceable unless before a Libyan court.
Mark Iles
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Last edited by ilesmark; 1 Sep 2009 at 11:24. Reason: Left out some text
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  #2  
Old 27 May 2007
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After reading your post, we were really suspicious about our guides when we went to Libya. However, we had the most amazing time and had great guides.

For those of you who are planning to visit Libya, search for my post: A good Libyan guide, tried and tested!

We used Almuheet Tours (www.almuheettours.net) and they were really good.

Regards,

Namsa.
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  #3  
Old 27 May 2007
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also avoid SARI agency which did a runner with thousands of euros forcing the cancellation of Libya Desert Challenge this year.

its along story of rip off and no licence and disapearance.

check the forums at LDC - Libya Desert Challenge - Marathon Cross Country Rallye - 5001 km Sahara in Libyen if you want to read
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  #4  
Old 27 May 2007
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a bit more on above SARI stuff from organiser



1. What happened exactly?

I can safely announce the reason of the debacle and I have following
informations/proofs:
A.) Sari has at no time-point requested a visa for the people participating/organizing the LDC
B.) Sari has no license to act as tour-operator, although that Sari exists since many years.
C.) Sari has been paid and did no return therefor.
D.) Suleiman Abboud, known as the boss, submerged since then.
E.) I started a lawsuit in front of the libyan court for the reason of fraudulent behavior and demand of pay back the total damage.
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  #5  
Old 31 May 2007
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Arkno

I've had bad dealings with them too! seems there are some tour operators out there who don't know the faintest about honesty and customer service...
Desertfox
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  #6  
Old 11 Sep 2007
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No problems with Arkno Tours

`I had a very different experience with Arkno - on a trip with 2 bikes in 2003, where Libya was the highlight of almost 30 countries. This was owing in part to the incredible scenery but also the friendship of Amer and Ayad who were working for Arkno tours.

I have posted an extract from the website diary for the period below - I had a major problem with my bike prior to entering a desert stretch, which made things quite stressful. On returning to Tripoli Skukri from Arkno tours extended our visas gratis and accommodated and fed us while his family was going through a bereavement.

We found making travel arrangements for Libya more time consuming than anywhere else and we had concerns about where the fairly hefty chunk of cash was going and some mistrust at first - on both sides. We did notice a focus initially on securing the greenbacks - but looking at things from their perspective, this is understandable and its not like the oil money is equitably distributed....

I'd use Arkno again, although I hope the red tape reduces. Sorry you had such a poor experience.

05 February 2003: Zarzis to Az Zintan, Libya. 360 km.
Still with big currency problems we exchange Tunisian Dinars into Libyan Dinars on the black market (by the side of the road in Ben Gardine). At least we go into Libya with some local cash. Get to the Libyan border and meet Mansour (our “fixer” from Arkno Tours), arriving late as we forgot about the 1 hr time difference! - more shocking admin). His first request was for 50 Euros to sort out the Arabic number plates and insurance - no such luck pal! Pay in local currency and ride to Az Zintan the home of our guide Ayer and his Land Cruiser. Interesting point for you chaps in England - fuel in Libya costs a massive 6 pence per litre!! A full tank on the bike costing less than a GBP! Our first introduction to the Libyan desert was quick - in several places on the road south the drifting sand had blocked our path, up to 0.5m deep. The car got stuck and required pushing. Problem quickly resolved with some bushes and sand driving skills passed down through the generations. Stayed at Ayer’s house, ate some great Libyan food and met some of his friends including Raffar and Amer although it was rather embarrassing when we had to take our boots off! (many hours of hot feet don’t make for a pleasant odour). Most of the conversation went through Amer as he was the only English speaker (very good too - knew more about modal verbs than Simon).
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06 February 2003: Az Zintan to Ghardames, Libya. *** km
Slept in the same room with Ayer and Raffar. In the morning there was a lot of finger pointing about who was snoring - most of the point was by Simon (and the snoring - John). Load the Land Cruiser up and pleasantly surprised to learn that Amer was joining us for the trip - mainly to practice his English and to provide translation skills for Ayer. We headed for the border town of Ghardames and that’s when disaster struck. John was riding at 100km/hr when his back wheel locked up, knocking out a cloud of black smoke from the tyre. Big problem - our worst nightmare had become reality - unexpected engine failure of some description (turned out to be failure of the small-end bearing - warranty claim outstanding) with the nearest KTM dealer on our route at Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt (3,000 km away). After much deliberation John waved goodbye to his bike as it headed up to Tripoli and we headed south, John riding in the Land Cruiser, and Simon cutting a rather lonely figure on his bike behind. Arrived in Ghardames in the dark.
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07 February 2003: Ghardames to Libyan Desert, Libya. 48 km (piste).
Simon bangs on the Michelin Desert tyres in preparation for the exciting trip south. John puts on his sandals. Raffar gave us a tour of his impressive old family house in the Medina, now a deserted systems of tunnels, pathways and homes (the Colonel has moved everyone to modern buildings). This involved more dressing up in traditional costume, much to John’s liking (check the photos!). Left Ghardames and travelled south on a route described in detail in Chris Scott’s book. Camped in the desert - an incredible experience and one we would recommend to anyone. Supper was put together by Amer over a wood fire (not a lot lying about but if you know where to look…). We were both amazed how good Camelus Dromedarious (camel to you non-latin speakers) tasted. Amer of course claimed it was his cooking skills rather than the tenderness of the meat, sourced from a 45 year old camel that had been walking the desert paths for most of it’s life.
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08 February 2003: Libyan Desert south, Libya. 250 km (piste).
First proper day in the Sahara, all off-road on piste and across dried lake beds (oueds). John worked on his Arabic phrases while Simon had a great day on the bike. Fantastic scenery - simply nothing but sand, rocks, and more sand. No wildlife that was immediately obvious bar the odd camel Ladies - check out the photo of Ayer - it’s apparently true what they say about African men and he’s looking for a wife. Land Cruiser sprung a leak from the water pump - quickly repaired by the guys using an old paper folder (stamped by Amer “Made in the desert”). Great resourcefulness. Camp 20km north of the big sand sea. Barbecued camel - simply delicious after a hard day on the bike/bouncing in the Land Cruiser. Run through Ayer’s English phrases: “Welcome, welcome, welcome!” “Deserto, no problem!” “Deserto good! Sand good!” The level of banter rises and Ayer calls Simon “Schmile” - amusingly these translates as “fat”!! (he should have seen me a month ago! - Simon)
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09 February 2003: Libyan Desert south, Libya. 298 km (sand-sea and piste).
We passed through the much talked about sand sea, a massive constantly moving area of sand several times larger than France. The sea is made up of many dunes, over several 100m high, formed by both the prevailing and variable wind directions to form an ever changing landscape that exhilarating to ride through. Unbelievably hard work on both the bike and the “Schmile” rider, Simon. Due to the movement of the sands to the West, the chosen route took us into Algeria for a short period to avoid the worst of the dunes. At the Algerian tree (Chris Scott’s book) John climbed the nearest dune some 100m above us, striped naked and dived off the top! Rather apprehensively, Simon let John experience the desert action on his bike. We stop at dusk and set up camp in the dunes. A good evening with Ayer singing local tunes that would not be out of place in the Eurovision Song Contest.


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10 February 2003: Libyan Desert to Ghat, Libya. 193 km (piste and road).
More off-piste action (simply great fun - Simon). Halfway through the day we picked up the road heading south to Ghat, get a much needed shower and check out another deserted Medina. Since the residents have moved out the place was deteriorating quickly and in a number of places, where we walked over the roof-tops, we nearly fell through into the empty rooms below. Amer and Ayer sorted the permissions required for the Akakus mountains.
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11 February 2003: Ghat to Akakus mountains, Libya. 162 km (sand sea and piste).
Akakus mountains -sheer cliffs rising up from the dry valley floors with enormous sand dunes piles against the vertical faces, sometimes reaching to the flat peaks. Breathtaking scenery and a must for any visit to Libya. We stop at the one of the remotest military checkpoints in the world, on the southern end of the Akakus near the Algerian border. Generously fed and watered by the Lieutenant Colonel, and one of his men gave us some Osban, a traditional Libyan dish made from a sheep’s stomach filled with rice, herbs, liver and kidney. Sounds rather grim but actually tasted very good. During the day we saw rock art dating back 12,000 years depicting a lush plain with elephants, leopard and giraffe. Not any more - we were in the heart of the Sahara. Simon nearly came a cropper when he bravely rode up a steep dune some 300m high, only to disappear over the crest at pace. John and the guys ran across to see him perched on the steep down slope, sweating profusely (thankfully not a vertical drop! - Simon). John has another blat on the bike. Camp in the desert and enjoy our Osban followed by barbecued camel.
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12 February 2003: Akakus mountains to Ubari, Libya. *** km (piste and road).
More rock art and some incredible natural rock features including a couple of natural arches. Bizarrely, in the middle of the desert we bump into Raffar and have lunch. Simon let Amer and Ayer have a go on the bike. Afterwards Amer was pleased to tell him that it was his fifth go on a bike ever! Travel north on the piste to Al Aweinet and then on the road to Ubari and the luxury of a hotel (arrive in the dark).
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13 February 2003: Ubari to Ubari Lakes, Libya. 95 km (sand-sea).
Great day - probably the best in Libya and certainly of the trip. We rode about 40km across the sand sea to the Ubari lakes, small oases in a sea of sand. We both went for a swim in the very salty water (7 times saltier than the sea) - great experience - the surface metre was cold but below this there was a negative thermocline with the water temperature raising to near scalding.
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14 February 2003: Ubari Lakes to Tripoli, Libya. *** km.
Both made the decision to get to Tripoli to pick up John's bike and sort out good price. Long day, arrived in Tripoli at 03:00 to a very warm welcome from Shukri (Arkno Tours). Slept on the floor of his apartment
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15 February 2003: Tripoli, Libya. 0 km (third day of no distance!).
Wandered the narrow streets of Tripoli medina, sorted transport for John's bike to the Egyptian border. Rounded off with cous-cous cooked by Shukri's wife - great Libyan hospitality.
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16 February 2003: Tripoli to Adjbiyou, Libya. *** km.
Long haul through the "fertile" lands of the Libyan coast. Not a plant in site - all desert...
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17 February 2003: Adjbiyou to Sallum, Egypt. *** km.
Arrived at Sallum and drove bike as close to border thanks to help from our tour guide Mohammed (taken us from Tripoli to the border). Said fair wells and towed John's bike behind Simon's to the Egyptian border. And here's where the3 fun started - we only had 150 LE (Egyptian Pounds) between us after paying Mohammed and the driver for bringing the bike east. Needed 300 LE to import one bike (even with the Carnet).
After five hours of running around John managed to borrow 200LE from the Head of Customs to allow Simon to process his paper work. A further three hours saw Simon finish this process. Now 23:00 we decided to call it a day and slept in the office normally assigned for issuing insurance.
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  #7  
Old 11 Sep 2007
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John,

Nice writeup, although you need to check again the geographical names: your Libyan Desert is the Ubari sand sea as the true 'Libyan Desert" is in Egypt, Ghardames is better known as Ghadames or Ghadamis , Al Aweinet as Al Uweinat or Serdeles, Adjbiyou as Ajdabiya, and so on ...
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  #8  
Old 7 May 2008
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Thumbs down are you sure that you are not crazy??

i dont beleave all of that rabish that you have said i have been with arkno tours 2 months ago and it was one of my best trips in my life so please dont say lies about the company and i think that you have to go to a doctore to chick if you have mental problems .
the other thing which made me beleave that you have a problem that you were writing the giuds numbers and any information you know about any person which tells me that you are erespictebal person who told you that you are allaud to give there numbers???
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  #9  
Old 8 May 2008
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Libya experiences

I have traveled three times in the remote parts of Libya, first two trips were perfect, third one quite disastrous (trip accounts in the 'Past expeditions' section of my website). The outcome depends very much on the actual guide and drivers you get, and the relationship you can build with them during the trip.

What you have to realise is that the northern agencies (Arkno or any of the others) have no desertworthy cars/staff of their own, but draw from a pool of smaller unaccredited agencies. They only arrange the visas and paperwork, and of course collect the money on everyone's behalf (with a hefty cut, naturally).

On all three instances I have made it very clear to the agency in question (all were organised through Azar/Arkno) that I will only pay the visa/permit costs in advance, plus half of the others, the rest is due at the end of the trip subject to my full satisfaction. I make a habit of paying a bit more than negotiated if everything went well (minor irritations notwithstanding, they occur on an hourly basis in Libya before you reach the uninhabited regions), and do not pay the proportionate part if something goes wrong. Same applies for tips to guide/drivers, which is an expected item and needs to be costed in. While this approach does not solve everything, it certainly had wonderful persuasive powers on the last trip which contained similar experiences as in the post above.
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  #10  
Old 18 May 2008
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Smile Fessano Tours

Just in case you missed it, Fessano Tours!

Been a fantastic partner for the last few years, you'll have no problems (and if you do, they'll be dealt with correctly, immediately and professionally).

FESSANO TOURS - About Fessano Tours

Safe travels,

Sam.
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  #11  
Old 27 May 2008
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All

I was surprised to see that peple were still posting about this issue after all this time - I only found these comments when I was looking for something else.

I agree that the experiences one has depends on who you get as a guide - as well as the willingness of the tour company to address problems when they arise. I am glad that other clients have had better experiences with Arkno and with these two guides than we did but this does not detract from our own complaints.

I can only say that everything was going fine until we complained about the desert guide leaving a day early and arriving a day late. Amer was a reasonable person to drink with and we had been getting on fine with him until this point. Once we questioned why the desert guide had (suddenly) left a day early, Amer went into a sulk and this continued for the next 2 days right up until we parted from him in Gharyan. Earlier in the trip, we had actually stayed and eaten at Amer's house for one night; it was certainly good of him to do this, and we said at the time that we would pay. Amer said "we'll negotiate" and after that the issue was never discussed again. I believe Amer was annoyed we hadn't paid for the food/accommodation; we would have paid Amer for this before parting from him but during the last 2 days it was impossible for us to discuss anything with Amer and the issue of the desert guide arriving a day late and leaving a day early had reared its head, so we were not about to hand over more money to Arkno's people. Would anyone have done, in this situation? It wouldn't surprise me a bit if some of the money we overpaid for the desert guide has since found its way to Amer behind the scenes in any case.

I doubt that we would have fallen out with Amer as we did had the desert guide issue not happened, as Amer then would not have gone into a sulk for the last 2 days and we would undoubtedly have sorted money out with him and parted on better terms. I am sure readers will also agree that going into a sulk for 2 days was not the most appropriate or professional way for Amer to conduct himself and did nothing to resolve the situation.

In turn, we would not probably have fallen out with Uthman had Amer not turned him against us from the start, and had he not insisted on involving himself in our dispute with Arkno regarding the desert guide issue, before suddenly deciding he didn't want to be involved any more. Arkno itself also bears a major responsibility for matters deteriorating as they did by refusing at the time to discuss the desert guide issue with us.

Nadien, whoever you are (a representative of Arkno, perhaps?) - your post was most amusing, but learn to write and spell properly and you might be taken more seriously. As it is, your writing style is like something out of the 'hate mail' section of the chavscum.co.uk website - maybe this is your natural home. I thought Libya usually attracted a more educated class of tourist.
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Last edited by ilesmark; 29 May 2008 at 05:32. Reason: Left out some info
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  #12  
Old 9 Dec 2010
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Arkno Tours

Hello "unlimited users", i am Tommy from Germany and i want to inform about horrible things in Libya. Sorry for my english, but i think it more important to know about this things a be perfect in english. we organize since 10 years desertrips in northafrica. last two years we was "invited" by Arkno Tours, because you need agency for entry in libya. last year it was bad start on border. we was waiting 8 hours !!! to entry, because Arkno never prepared documents for cars, bikes and customer clearence tax. you can imagine, how angry 14 clients was. we had a call to Tripoli and Ghoume (operation manager) was really unhappy to this situation and promised us perfect organisation in 2010. my opinion was to give him a second chance. big mistake ! as we arrived in 2010 on border, documents was prepared, but not complete. so we was waiting only 5 hours for entry. for information, we was only 3 person, one truck with trailer loading 6 bikes and one quad. this was only beginning of long odysse. in want to make short. our route, what we gave 4 weeeks before to Arkno was not available to go. we got no information about this and we got no reason why it is not available. so we must change our completly program. We try to stay in conversation to our guide, but he said always, when we will chance the way, he will stop tour by police. this guide has an secon guide on bord (touareg) and ask him akways for route. touareg shows always direction ubari. first our guide explaned ubari is not allowed. then we gone to direction ubari (always directed by toureg) and must finish in front of big dunes, there was no way to go away. funny thing is that touareg showed again and again way to ubari. direction was simular to our GPS. Yes he was right, but he doesn´t know the way. i started by myself and find after 6 hours a route to cross dunes and one day later we was in Ubari. By the way to Ubari one client was crashed and our guide bring him to hospital. client stay one night in hospital and was pick uped by insurance back to germany by flight. We prepared client a little luggage for home travelling and give it our guide to bring him it. When we came back to germany our client told usa lot of things was robbed /stolen (mobilphone, money, sunglasses and medicals). All this things was written to Arkno after finishing trip in libya. believe me this only a little part of our experience to Arkno. We got only 4 lines answer and they said: "yes we decided, it will be better not to go with selfdrivers longer time. they make only problems, has always crashes, must go to hospital, pay less money and make only a lot of work." i answered only it is not a problem by "selfdrivers", because when organisation doesn´t work and you not ownest guides it will be better to stop activities in this kind of buiseness and i told them i will bring to all people who want to visit libya. And it is not important in which way - by 4x4, bike, camper or other way. i respect decission of arkno, because when they don´t work for clients like us a many people will save a lot of money, time and trouble
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Old 9 Dec 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nadien View Post
i dont beleave all of that rabish that you have said i have been with arkno tours 2 months ago and it was one of my best trips in my life so please dont say lies about the company and i think that you have to go to a doctore to chick if you have mental problems .
the other thing which made me beleave that you have a problem that you were writing the giuds numbers and any information you know about any person which tells me that you are erespictebal person who told you that you are allaud to give there numbers???

Interesting 1st post. I smell Arkno fish ... and the plot thickens.
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Old 11 Dec 2010
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These events took place a long time ago and the only reason I am writing now is because someone else recently posted a message about Arkno on the HUBB website - this brought the memory back.

I emailed Arkno the link to this thread a couple of days ago (headed 'Well Well Well - it's not just me then') and to my surprise received a rambling response from Jamal Fteis, the purported owner of Arkno.

He lied through his teeth, telling me that he had tried to call me at the time to sort matters out. We had 2 guides in Libya - Amer and Othman. Amer left us just after the end of the desert part of the trip, which was also when we fell out with Amer for daring to complain that the desert guide had arrived a day late and left a day early. We wanted to complain to Arkno's Tripoli office about this but Othman refused to let us, choosing instead to talk to them himself and tell us that nobody from Arkno would speak to us. We never had any phone calls from Arkno.

Jamal went on to say that most of their trips were trouble-free and that 3 or 4 problems were within acceptable limits. Like Donald Rumsfeld saying 'stuff happens'.

It's also worth bearing in mind that Craig Baguley, in Arkno's London 'information office' threatened to sue me for defamation at the time this thread was started in 2007 but, despite my inviting him to do so if I had said anything untrue, did not do so.

If you do decide to give Arkno the benefit of the doubt, it's worth bearing in mind that one of the reasons we chose Arkno in the first place was that it has a presence in London. This seemingly lends the operation an air of respectability, but in fact affords customers no protection whatsoever when things go wrong. Their terms and conditions state that all contractual arrangements are made directly with Arkno's office in Tripoli and not with the London ‘Information Office’. In other words, governed by Libyan and not English law. As a Law graduate, it stuck in my gullet no end that, when I checked up on this after matters went pear-shaped, the advice was that it stood; it would have been different if the Ts & Cs were silent on where the contract was made. So bear in mind that your only recourse, if anything goes wrong with Arkno and they choose to thumb their noses at you rather than apologise or sort it out, as happened with us, will be through a Libyan court. In other words, practically impossible.

Obviously nobody (apart from a lawyer) wants to go through life suing people as the only way to solve any disputes, and 99% get sorted out without the need for that. But the awareness of that ultimate sanction in the background brings a lot of people to the bargaining table before matters get that far. Not, it would seem, Arkno. Good luck - otherwise DO NOT USE ARKNO TOURS!
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Last edited by ilesmark; 15 Jan 2011 at 20:55.
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Old 26 Dec 2010
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Funny story that will solve this one for everyone:

We very randomly met the man from Arkno last night in Debrak, Ethiopia. He told us about this story... which obviously has two sides as every other story does...

However, more importantly, they as a company do not offer a service to self drivers any longer, so even if you wanted to, you can't use them any more.
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