Libya Photos

We originally were going to rush through Libya. Thank goodness we didn't it has some great scenery and fantastic people. We didn't spend any time on the coast at all we headed into the great sand seas. Boy oh boy what a fantastic place. The pictures just aren't enough, we would love to go back.

Evidance that Romans lived here., Unrivalled Roman Ruins at Sabrata just East of Tripoli. These cover an area greater than the Forum in Rome and are in very good condition. There are more ruins along this coast than in Rome apparantly. I can well believe it now having been to both. The best site is at Lapdah (Leptis-Magnus) East of Tripoli but as I said we just went into the desert so didn't see it.
We entered Libya and went via Tripoli towards the South looking for a hotel our tour operator had told us about in Shwayrif. This did not exist so we ended up camping behind one of the many Police posts along the road. Quite safe actually though at the time we were very nervous. The Police were drunk here even though Colonel Gadaffi would not like to hear so - it's a dry country in more ways than one. Camping with the Police
The great Sand Seas begin. This is what we came for. Libya is nearly totally covered by desert and has a very low population - quite a rich one though, diesel is 4 cents a litre. The Dunes around Germa in the Awbari Sand Sea are huge and make for very hazardous but fun driving. This area is famous for it's oases. We stayed three nights in a great campsite near where this photo was taken.
Wow! There are four or five oases near Germa (See co-ords in Scott's diary). This is of the type you see in the movies. Sand sand and more sand and then a sparkling blue lake. No one lives here and it is very quiet but hot as hell. What you don't see is the flies!  Oasis near Germa
Welcome to our home. This is taken at the camp site called Africa Tours just West of Germa. As you have probably read we were "īnvaded" by some students looking for a picnic site. The "invasion" was very friendly and we count ourselves lucky to have been part of it. These people invited us to join in ALL of their activities including eating, drinking and dancing. Never before had we been so suddenly accepted by locals and we had many hours of really great fun and good conversations.
The climate in the deep desert is such that erosion and decay are a very slow process. This picture shows the ruins of the Garamantian village near Germa. Can you imagine, 4000 years old and still standing even though they are constructed of unfired clay bricks and mud. Amazing! (This should serve as a warning too - don't drive in sensitive areas, they never recover) 4000 year old ruins
Another oasis near Germa. Here you can see another of the oasis that are near Germa. This one shows a small village. The people who used to live here were called "worm eaters" because they used to eat the small red crustacians that lived in the salty waters of the oasis. I say "used to" because the Colonel decide they should have access to water, electricity, health and education and moved all the people away. He just confiscated the roofs of the houses!!!!!
On the way to Sirte back on the coast we needed some directions - all the maps are in Arabic. We saw a small shelter made of palm fronds on the side of the road and we stopped to ask the way. The man inside the shelter was so pleased to see us that he invited us in for tea and some very sweet palm juice. He called some friends over and we had a chat. It turns out he was university educated in Paris and spoke French and English very well.  Just a short stop for tea.
Free camping in the desert. We left Germa and reluctantly headed North again. Getting itchy feet and needed to move on. The wind had stared to blow and the deserts no place to be if it's windy. About 80km before Sirte we just pulled into a  valley and camped. This is allowed in Libya but it still doesn't make it easy to do. We moved about 4km of the main route just to be sure we were out of the way.
There are two routes from Ajdabiya to Tubruq. You can follow the coast or you can go straight. Straight is just that - very straight. The road is 372km long and for ALL that time you head 72 degrees East with no deviation. It's really strange because you feel as if you are in a bowl all the time, it's flat too so the horizon just curves up to meet you. The road is good but is littered with old tyres. We did not see much traffic on it. We're on the road to nowhere!