letter from the Consul of Turkey, appreciating the services of
I would like to express my appreciation
for the excellent services your company provided for traveling
both domestically in Libya and for making overseas travel
I believe that your company’s
principle for providing services in the most efficient way for
its clients not only promotes your business interests but also
contributes to the promotion of Libya as a tourist
I would also like to indicate that as
a very hardworking and well-informed General Manager in the
area of tourism with high skills in communication with
foreigners, no doubt you have a great share for the success of
I wish you and you company all the
Turkish Consul General
A report by David Boyer, an Australian who visited Libya
I was met at Jerba Airport in Tunisia by the staff of the
agency. They had come from Libya to drive me across the border
into Libya and on to Tripoli at the start of a wonderful
nineteen day trip. Their kindness, efficiency and flexibility
was demonstrated the first day when they re-organized my whole
itinerary to fit in everything I wanted to do and got it
approved by the appropriate Government authority in the space
of a few hours. I was fortunate that for half the trip Mr.
Sami, the chairman, was able to act as my tour leader and
The following were the most interesting of
the places I visited. The old parts of the cities, the old
markets and beautiful old mosques of Tripoli and Benghazi. The
magnificent museum in the old castle in Tripoli. The old
walled oasis city of Ghadames with its rabbit warren of narrow
covered streets. Germa, west of Sebha, with the excavations of
the ancient Garamantian city (2,000 BC to 100 AD) and its
museum. Ghat in the SW corner of Libya with, in its old city,
another rabbit warren alleyways between old houses.
The magnificent remains of the Roman cities of Leptis Magna
and Sabratha , the former, with its museum, warrants at least
a full day. The different but splendid remains of the ancient
Greek cities of Cyrene and Apollonia. At each of the sites
there are licensed and knowledgeable English speaking guides
of whom Dr. Faded Ali Mohamed at Cyrene is outstanding and
head and shoulders above anyone else.
its two immaculately kept and impressive cemeteries with the
6,123 graves of British Commonwealth and Allied soldiers,
sailors and airmen killed fighting against the Germans and the
Italians during World War 11. On a hill overlooking Tobruk and
its harbour, is the impressive fort built by the Germans as a
memorial to their dead, with the names of those killed in the
campaigns inscribed on the inside walls. There is also the
remains of the defences of Tobruk and wartime memorabilia.
The highlight of the tour was the six days of Saharan desert
[…] Our first objective was Wadi
Mathrandoush with an incredible number of ancient carvings in
rocks on the edge of what had once been a river. Some idea of
their age can be gained by the fact that I saw carvings of
animals which have not been seen in Libya for thousands of
years. They included elephants, crocodiles, giraffes, monkeys
and water buffaloes. We travelled on, skirting the mighty
Ubari Sand Sea which stretches for hundreds of kilometers, the
center of which has never been crossed by vehicle. We stopped
for the night before it got dark, Ahmed having chosen a
sheltered spot with enough flat sand for our camp. While he
cooked dinner over a small fire of driftwood and dry thorn
bush, Ibrahim and I put the small modern tent provided for me
and I then wandered off to watch the sunset. I was asleep an
hour after dark and woke at dawn while Ahmed cooked breakfast,
then we traveled on with stops to look and photograph until a
long halt midday when Ahmed cooked lunch and if there was no
rock or tree, we rested in the shade of the vehicle before
moving on. This was our daily routine, but an hour never
passed without something amazing, different or interesting to
During the second day, we entered the
Acacus Mountains with weird and wonderful rock formations
rising from the desert sand, every one different from the
last. Many contained caves, some shallow and small and others
big enough to drive vehicles into and a few as big as half a
cathedral. In many of the caves were ancient paintings on the
rock walls. Not only paintings of the animals previously
mentioned but others, including ostrich and rhinoceros and
scenes, including hunters and dogs chasing antelope and
‘tribal’ wars and ceremonies. We travelled through the Acacus
mountains until the morning of the last day of the desert trip
and I was very sorry to leave.
Accommodation ranged from
basic but adequate in an old fort at Ubari, the night after
the desert trip, and at Germa ( where the toilet facilities
left a bit to be desired), to rooms with their own bathrooms
and every modern facility in, 3 or 4 star hotels in all the
cities mentioned. There are 5 Star hotels in Tripoli and
Benghazi if you want to pay the price.
drink. I had no problems with the food. European type dishes
were available in the hotels. I was taken to many good
restaurants by Sami. Surprisingly, I found going without
alcohol no hardship.
Travel apart from a Libyan
Arab Airlines flight from Tripoli to Benghazi and the desert
trip, all my travel was by road, in one case in a new mini
bus, and every other journey in comfortable air-conditioned
modern cars. Except on some journeys with Sami, there was
always an English speaking guide and a driver. Excellent
highways now crisscross the country and link all the places
mentioned. There is no speed limit on the open road and it
takes a bit of getting used to when one is driven at 160km an
hour! We did approximately 960 km from Ubari to Tripoli in ten
hours, including stops for fuel and refreshment.
The people. From people from every strata of society I
received kindness and consideration everywhere I went with
little more than a few Arabic words of greeting. I was able to
have conversations with all sorts of people as, after a couple
of words in greeting, they were happy to reward my efforts by
continuing the conversation in English, which a large
proportion of people speak. One example of kindness is worth
recounting. At an army/police check point I got Sami to ask if
I could photograph a particularly imposing poster of President
Gaddafi. One of the men on duty went in to the office to ask
the officer. The officer came out and explained that taking
photographs of, or near, check points was forbidden. He then
told me to wait, went into his office and brought out a large
picture of the president addressing a large crowd, which he
presented to me as a consolation prize! Women appear to have a
higher status in Libya than they do in many Muslim countries,
with more freedom, going to university, running businesses,
etc. most poor Libyan who used to live in squalor have been
re-housed in new blocks of flats.
The only thing
wrong with my trip was that I did not spend longer in Libya.
In particular, I would have liked to have seen Nalut and spent
longer in Leptis Magna and Sabratha, but overall, I saw far
more than I expected to. In spite of some restrictions on
photography, I took 780 photos.
A letter from Marianne Volont of Lugano, Switzerland.
Testimonial about two Libya trips guided by Sami Eljaibani.
Since I am working in the financial industry I would like to
express my votes about my two Libya trips in terms of the
financial rating: AAA (triple A) or better LLL:
Libya for me stands for land... light... love...
Land: the enormous, wide and genuinely natural landscape which
embraces you as if you were part of it.
countryside with its forms of stone and sand and dunes. For
example Acacus seems to be
a living theatre of human and
animal forms and shapes. Your eyes will never get tired of all
Light: every single moment of the
day, the spectrum of light is different and shows the country
variety of colours of golden rays never seen
before. Sunrise or sunset, it's both impressing and unique.
Love: the Libyans are friendly and helpful. They make you feel
as though you are the centre of attention.
are always ready to understand your wishes and feelings. One
of the best examples is Sami
Gibani who is an excellent
"translator" of the Libyan culture and life, probably also
because he is half
Libya is not
the land where you spend time to buy souvenirs and gifts. The
experience of the wonderful countryside and lovely people is
what you bring back home and it lasts for ever because it is
not material but mental and emotional.
twice to Libya, once in October and once in February. In
February the nights were cold in the
desert but in
October it was still a very pleasant temperature even in the
evening and night.
Lugano, Switzerland, February 2003.