Authentic Sahara Tour – 10 Days
Day 1 Arrival in Tripoli (D)
On arrival at Tripoli Airport, you will be met by your tour guide and take an evening flight to Sebha for an overnight stay.
Day 2 Germa and the Garamantians (B, D)
After an early breakfast you will set off on the road to Ghat with a picnic lunch along the way. The town of Germa is en route. Germa was once the capital of the Garamantian Empire – the first indigenous empire of significance in Libya. The Garamantes were one of the most advanced and forward thinking peoples of their time, and are said to have introduced writing, horses and finally camels to the Sahara. The visible remains of this ancient civilization include pyramid-style burial chambers and an ancient crumbling town. These sites are some of the most significant archaeological locations in Libya. Further South from Germa, the terrain changes from flat desert into the jagged landscape of the Acacus Mountains. You will pass the legendary haunted Kaf Ejoul, or Mountain of Spirits, and reach Ghat in time for dinner. Please note this is a long driving day (approx 5 – 6 hrs)
Day 3 Ghat and Uan Caza (B, D)
Ghat is an ancient caravan trading centre surrounded by magnificent dunes and overlooked by an Italian fortress from which there are superb views of the old town. Wandering through its narrow streets and archways you will meet local people from the Tuareg tribe selling their wares: beautiful handmade silver jewellery, daggers and indigo headscarves. After lunch you will then drive up to the small town of Al Aweinat and enter the desert to drive into the start of the Acacus range for your first night under the stars.
Day 4 Rock Art (B, D)
Enjoy the silence of waking in the desert. After breakfast in spectacular surroundings you will drive on into the Acacus range and visit the towering 170m high natural arch – one of the most awesome sites in the Acacus. You will then drive on to Wadi Anshall and Wadi Tanshall. Along the way you will stop to view the incredible galleries of prehistoric rock art painted in hidden cracks and caves by the earliest Libyan tribes depicting scenes of life prior to the desertification of the Sahara, when the land was a well-watered savannah teeming with wildlife. Although the Tuareg have known about this art for centuries, the frescoes did not receive serious academic attention until the 1950’s after the Italian explorer, Professor Fabrizio Mori, made them famous. A picnic lunch en route will give you time to relax and soak up the landscape before driving on to your camping area in the late afternoon.
Day 5 Wadi Teshweinat (B, D)
Today you will drive into the largest and longest wadi in the Acacus that hides some of the most prolific works of rock art and engravings – Wadi Teshweinat. You will pass Tuareg encampments of palm-thatched huts. Tuareg children grow up learning to survive in this harsh environment and to herd and look after the goats and sheep. You will see numerous caves, which provided shelter to prehistoric dwellers for many thousands of years. If time allows, you may visit the site where the skeleton of a child, thought to be 5,400 years old and now in the Tripoli museum, was found by Professor Mori during his excavations. A suitable campsite will be made in the early evening and you will have dinner under the stars.
Day 6 The Awiss (B, D)
You may rise early to climb one of the surrounding hills and watch a spectacular Saharan sunrise. After breakfast you will begin the drive out of the Jebel Acacus, and into the other-worldly landscape of the Awiss. This area is covered with small mushroom shaped cones and spidery shaped rock protrusions in all shapes and sizes. Deep, golden sand dunes pile up around these rocks and you will picnic amongst them in a shady spot. This area is always popular with photographers for the prolific mass of beautifully eroded natural rock formations. In the afternoon, you will drive on to another good camping spot.
Day 7 Ubari Sand Sea and the lakes (B, D)
After an early morning start you will drive out of the desert from Alweinat and make the long journey north stopping for a picnic lunch en route. In the afternoon, your drive will take you into the great Ubari Sand Sea where the hidden lakes are among one of the many highlights of the Libyan Sahara. To come across these beautiful waters hidden amongst towering sand dunes is nothing short of a miracle! All the lakes are highly carbonated, so you can enjoy the exhilarating experience of floating without swimming while contemplating the wonderful colors of the desert landscape. Camp will be set up amongst the dunes and from there you can watch the sunset.
Day 8 Umm al Maa (B, D)
Today you will have the opportunity to relax on the palm-fringed shores of the most picturesque lake, Umm al Maa where you will have lunch. Some of the lakes contain tiny red shrimp that the Tuareg grind into a paste and bake as small cakes dried in the sun. In the early afternoon you will drive out of the Sand Sea and on to Sebha for the evening flight back to Tripoli. Dinner will be served in a local restaurant.
Day 9 Leptis Magna (B, D)
The entire day will be spent at Leptis Magna, an hour’s drive from Tripoli. The site is extensive and, after a guided tour, there will be time to absorb it at your own pace. Benefiting from the patronage of the founder of the African dynasty of Roman emperors, Emperor Septimus Severus (b. 146), Leptis Magna was a city of extraordinary imperial extravagance – and is still a place of immense splendor. The sands that swept over the site in early modern times prevented pillaging and preserved its glories. The day will also include a visit to the spectacular amphitheatre. You will return to Tripoli for a farewell dinner in a local restaurant.
Day 10 Tripoli and Departure (B, D)
This morning you will have plenty of time to shop and wander through the old medina browsing in the gold and spice shops. You can also visit the museum (note that this is closed on Mondays) and watch the world go by while sipping mint tea in Green Square. Tripoli is an attractive town combining the dual charms of the Italianate architecture and cosmopolitan squares of the ‘new town’ with the North African bustle of the Arab ‘old town’. Lunch will be served in a local restaurant (depending on time of flight) and you will be transferred to the airport.
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