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North Africa Topics specific to North Africa and the Sahara down to the 17th parallel (excludes Morocco)
Photo by Josephine Flohr, Elephant at Camp, Namibia

I haven't been everywhere...
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Photo by Josephine Flohr,
Elephant at Camp, Namibia



Trans Sahara Routes.

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  #1  
Old 12 Nov 2003
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Overland from Tunis to Cairo through Libya

Im trying to get from Tunis to Cairo through Libya overland next year.
By all official accounts it seems near impossible to travel through Libya without a guided tour and I cant seem to find any viable overland options.
Any suggestions for both independent (and if needs be guided) travel gratefully accepted.
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Old 12 Nov 2003
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There are indeed certain <ahem> issues surrounding independent travel in Libya. When are you going? I will be on the same route in April / May 2004.
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Old 12 Nov 2003
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Please keep me in the loop on this discussion as well, I also want to do Libya early in 2004.

Perhaps not as late as April / May, though - that is the peak of the fly season (housefly season) in North Africa, the friggin' things are everywhere in the spring. Maybe a bit earlier, perhaps February or March.

If we need to apply for visas as a 'group' - well, it seems we have three people in the group already...
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Old 12 Nov 2003
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Any more details about the issues surrounding independent travel would be appreciated.

There doesn't seem to be much information about the mechanics of travel in Libya at all (other than recommendations to organise things very very early as visas are hit and miss and that translation of your passport into arabic is required). When I find out more I'll keep you in the loop.

As for travel dates - unfortunately my timing is all wrong and I have no option but to travel later in the year - possibly as late as mid August - which I understand is the hottest and probably worst time to travel. Still it'll be an adventure.
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Old 12 Nov 2003
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A member of our group extended his stay for two weeks to make a fezzan roundtrip alone, he's due back tomorrow, will post an update on the situation based on his experiences.

Visa seems to be quite easy now (group rule still applies, but it's common practice for agencies dealing with this to lump together individual applicants from same country on single invitation letter), and there is no need to all arrive at once. It is unclear however how (and if) you can travel alone, with all the 'escort' rules in place.

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  #6  
Old 12 Nov 2003
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I crossed alone through Libya on my bike in March this year.
I was also told that I would have to be in a group, but had no problems with that issue at all.
Of course, the only problem with being alone on a bike is the hefty cost of hiring the guide and his transport.
(Who by the way was more of an escort than a guide and a right royal pain in the arse!!)

I also found the drivers in Libya the second worst in Africa. (The worst ones being my fellow South Africans) So be warned.

Geoff
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Old 13 Nov 2003
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those in Blighty might talk to the Libyan Consular section and ask for Mustafa's phone number. he'll get invitations etc.
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Old 27 Nov 2003
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We are planning to travel the opposite way, Egypt to Tunisia in May next yr and need a bit more info. We also cant seem to find any organised tours -anybody out there any the wiser?
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  #9  
Old 27 Nov 2003
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Hello

Last year I joined an organized tour by Dabuka expeditions from Egypt to Libya in Apr/May .
The pros:
1.i didn’t worry about permits as im Egyptian and driving a hilux pickup and getting around the desert in Libya will cause troubles as no one would understand that im enjoying the desert.
2. The area of interest for me in eastern Libya especially arkenu and Uwinat Mountain is difficult to be reached as you have to cover long distances and a miumum convoy of 3 cars is a must ,so I can't do it alone.
3. Travelling with professionals is great chance to share knowledge and experience.
The cons:
1. You have to stick to a fixed date for the trip.
2. You are part of a group and not totally independent.

I hope you find this info useful
Mahmoud Mohareb


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Old 27 Nov 2003
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Hi
I'm taking a similar journey route early in 2004 (probably late Jan)
I have found the Libyan visa relatively easy to organise (up to now). The man to speak to is Kalifa Hamed at the Visa and Translating Services at Brittania House (tel: 020 8748 9898) - he will organise the visa for you from start to finish - it seems it doesn't actually matter how many apply for the visa (it has been said a group of three is required when applying) - I think Kalifa collects all the applications and sends requests for invitations in batches.
I did have to get the Arabic Translation Stamp put into my passport myself - they are available for free from the Passport Office in Victoria, London (you literally just walk in without appointment and get it stamped) - Kalifa will then translate all the details in your passport into Arabic..
Unfortunately it seems that travel thru Libya is farcically difficult & a guide is almost definitely required - as much as i would have loved to explore the country I have made the decision to spend as little time as poss there - taking about 5 days just to traverse the country into Egypt - I still have no idea where I'm going to put the guide in my SWB Land Rover - I've thought about strapping him to the roof rack (if I have space....!)

One other thing I found out recently (though haven't yet followed up) - it seems that the general consensus is that Egypt is a bit of a bureacratic nightmare - Anyone applying for a Carnet will already tell you this: the bank guarantee for Egypt is x5 the stated value of the car (???!!!) everywhere else (outside Nigeria) it appears to be only two times the value.....I got an intriguing email from Dabuka the other day though stating that they would be able to arrange a carnet for passage through Egypt WITHOUT A BANK GUARANTEE!! This would mean that you would only have to secure a x2 b/guarantee - alas, for me it is too late!! I have already almost secured the guarantee after an epic uphill struggle with the bank!
hope this is of help

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Old 27 Nov 2003
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carnet for egypt is a pain, but nothing compared with their bureaucracy. the carnet can be make or break: if you can't raise the guarantee, you can't go. the bureaucracy is enough to make you wish you hadn't. it took me 5 mins to unload from the boat at Aswan (coming from Sudan) and 3 days to release the bike even though I had all the papers: the trnsport police take thursday afternoon off in preparation for friday off and then the insurance is closed saturday so you might as well leave it all till sunday. it took 3 hours, $75ish and 50km racing around Aswan. oh, and you have to "have" a fire extinguisher.
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Old 28 Nov 2003
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Oh dear.

One of those "what have I let myself in for" moments.

I got a quote for about 3-400 quid for an Egyptian carnet, wildly understating the value of my kit. They didn't seem too bothered.

Actually it was the insurance people recommended by the AA.

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Old 22 Oct 2005
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Hello
I came across this site today and am now an avid member.
I am planning to drive from Italy to Casablanca, via, amongst other places, Libya. If you could bear it - as your messages are from the past - could you tell me whether anyone made it across Libya "independantly" ? How wasy was it ? Were there any major obstacles?
Thanks so much
Peter
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Old 22 Oct 2005
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Ooops - how "wasy" was it !! Of course I mean how "easy" was it.
Thanks
Peter

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  #15  
Old 23 Oct 2005
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See Andy's post under:

Invitation letter to Libya

just goes to prove you never know what's going to happen...

Sam.
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