Libya Off The Beaten Path
Modern bridge over the deep Wadi Kuf
Modern bridge over the deep Wadi Kuf
Off The Beaten Path
Natural and man-made caves along the...
local guide Abdulwa Elarfe
Reviews from VirtualTourist Members
Coastal sand dunes
17km west of Misrata are what, according to Anthony Ham in the Lonely Planet guide, are "some of the largest coastal sand dunes in the world". In 2007 they didn't look that big. I am told that much of the sand has been used for building materials and that many dunes have been levelled to make way for farmland. There is now only one really big sand dune, which its fun to climb to the top of. The others are covered with scrub, so they are not so photogenic. With the nearby fishing harbour, it makes a pleasant excursion from Misrata, but don't come here expecting massive, golden dunes. I'm not an expert on coastal dunes, but the big dunes at Maspalomas on the south coast of Gran Canaria in the Canary Islands, for example, are much more impressive.
After days in the desert, all we had seen of Libya's wildlfe was a lizard on a rock, a few birds and myriad footprints in the sand around the lakes of the Ubari Sand Sea and our campsite in the desert. Our Tuareg guide pointed out jerboa and gerbil prints, as well as fennec, desert hare, centipede, millipede, scorpion, snake, skink and lizard tracks but that was it. The advent of a "ghibli" - the sand-laden wind of a Saharan Spring - meant our last day was spent in a thick, dust haze as we drove back to Sebha. Visibility was drastically reduced, which meant we couldn't head back into the dunes as we had planned. Driving was slow but we still had some time up our sleeve. Our driver knew how to fill some of it. He took us to a small zoo.I was a little wary - having worked in a zoo for several years, I have no problems with them in principle, but they must be well-run and the animals...
I visited Libya last year on a business visa for a trade show and all this talk about not being able to go anywhere without a guide is nonsense.One morning I walked out in front of my hotel and started stopping taxis to see who wanted to take me and co-worker to Leptis Magana, after 20 minutes we found a good price and used the same driver another day to drive us wherever we wanted to go. Enjoy!
Visit the desert
More than 90% of Libya is a desert landscape. But i can assure you that this desert is beautifulFour days 4x4wheel traveling in pure nature with his own rules, habits and regulations. Setting up your own hotel room (tent), views through natural windows of rocks, looking for flora in oases - just name it, it is an experience without business stress.Pictures are all made by my travel accompanions Lieven and Frank
Visit the desert - enjoy the flora
Since Libya opened the frontiers for tourism, and in the very near future for mass tourism -"off the beathen paths" will become "local customs tips" Not only sand and beautiful sunsets, but also some remarkable oases and it's typical plants and fruits will become the recommanded highlights
Whoever the Roman gentleman was who built Villa Sileen, he - and his family - knew all about gracious living. It's hard to imagine a more idyllic spot., right by the sea about 25 km from Leptis Magna. This was a very rich man's house - relatively modest in size but adorned with exquisite frescoes ( delicately painted white herons on warm red walls in one room, sweet little cherubs in another) and gorgeous mosaics of gods, animals, the circus, dwarfs and crocodiles hunting each other. There's a bathhouse complete with hot and cold pool, more frescoes - and quite sophisticated plumbing for a shower. Mosaic pavements in a multitude of geometric designs form terraces - all with lovely sea views - and more mosaics - wonderfully lively animals - are to be found all through the garden.All this beauty lay hidden for centuries under the dry, clean sand of the dunes - a wonderful preservative....
Qasr Libya - Museum
The Qasr Libya Museum houses the superb collection of mosaics taken from the floor of the nearby, Byzantine, Eastern Church. These mosaics, laid between 529 and 540 AD, were discovered by Libyan dam workers in 1957. 50 mosaic panels, each measuring half a metre square, are displayed in groups of five on the walls, with informative labels in both Arabic and English. On the floor of the museum is one large mosaic, depicting Nile scenes, taken from the eastern end of the church's northern aisle.Opening hours: 8.30am-5pmAdmission: 3 LD + 5 LD per camera
Qasr Libya - Eastern Church
The Eastern Church is the one that the fifty famous mosaics were removed from. You can see the floor and the mosaic borders left behind. There is also a side chapel with a section of mosaic floor, depicting birds, rabbits and fruit, still in place. The church and mosaics date back to 529-40 AD during the reign of Emperor Justinian I. The church is about 50 m down a footpath from the museum.
Qasr Libya - Turkish Fort
The Turkish Fort stands on a hilltop, outside the small town of Qasr Libya, 45 km west of Al Bayda. It satnds on the site of an earlier Byzantine fort and houses the museum with the famous mosaic collection.
This ruined fort, standing eerily isolated on a rocky hilltop in the middle of the desert, reperesents the last outpost of the Roman Empire. To the south of it, beyond the Sahara, were the unknown lands of sub-Saharan Africa from which emerged caravan trains bearing slaves, elephant tusks and caged animals destined to die in Roman arenas. The climb to the top is worth it for the superb views you will have of the surrounding desert.Ras al-Ghoul, which means Mountain of Ghosts, is 10km to the north-west of Ghadames. You will need a 4WD vehicle in order to reach it.
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