Team Libya

Friday 11th April

Aghir, Tunisia – Leptis Magna, Libya

Discovered tent full of mosquitos after horrific nights sleep due to Andy leaving zip open…definite beer penalty there when we get to a country that serves it!! Headed south with bleary eyes across Roman causeway to mainland en route to infamous Libyan border.

Departed Tunisian soil to fee of €10 as we did not have the 1 dnr required for customs stamp. Obviously no receipt or change given! Headed over to Libyan frontier where Fahrat and our smartly dressed guide (Amjed) awaited with smiles to welcome us. Pulled over and handed in our paperwork and waited the obligatory 1.5 hours as they did whatever necessaries to get us into their country.

With all paperwork back in hand we took our first tentative steps into Libya following Fahrat in his nippy VW Golf. First impressions were hot, dusty, rubbish & crazy driving which continued throughout our stay in the country. Pulled into hotel to hand over the required euros for guide services and exchanged some cash.

Amjed joined us in Landy with his kit and we continued East and filled us in on the state of Libyan politics. Country known as ‘money grave’ as so much cash enters through oil but nothing is spent on the country’s infrastructure. Population is happy with Gadaffi though as he has not brought war to the country in his reign of 38 years (which is plastered on signs along the road with his smiling face). Glad of Amjed’s navigation as our map proves useless with all signposts in Arabic when they do finally make an appearance.

Crazy driving continues as temperatures rise to over 45ºc and we finally reach Leptis Magna campsite on roundabout opposite the Roman site. Least glamorous location so far but quick game of Frisbee clears head before chicken stir fry for three.

3645 miles


Gadaffi welcome!
More waiting...
Roadside Cafe
Desert camping

Saturday 12th April

Leptis Magna – Surt

Early morning alarm clock with JCB reversing right next to us at 0630. Headed into Leptis Magna site with our guide who also runs campsite. Guide had all the chat as we raced around the site to see this stunning city that was built 2000 years ago. Amazing amount of marble work still existing as we saw the Roman baths, theatre, port, congress and markets. Grow a couple of beards and we can now become archeology buffs!!

Two hours was enough of that so we kept on chomping through the miles eastwards after a brief roadside café stop that we thought was going to end us. The chicken sandwich we expected proved to be hot chicken entrails disguising itself as liver…even tomato ketchup did little to improve the flavour.

Passed a serious head on collision which was a sobering moment as the blood was still all over the windshield  and airbag. Sticking to a steady 60mph with all senses fully alert seems to be the safest way to drive here.

After quick food & much needed water shop, we found a great beachside camping spot (31º13’29.2”N, 16º18’49.0”E) before Surt after negotiating the heavy sand. Temperature dropped as we built first fire of trip, played football with a couple of local kids who joined us and roasted a chicken and potatoes for a fine dining experience from Andy followed by some of Andy’s bagpipes and contraband whiskey. Wind picked up as we went to bed and continued to batter us all night which was preferable to scorching temperatures or mosquitoes and almost made us feel like being back in Scotland!

3845 miles


Gun show!
New plates

Sunday 13th April

Surt – Ajdabiya

Nice temperature as we wake up to waves breaking to drive to Surt for breakfast and e-mails as Amjed goes to local police to get our passports stamped with another mysterious requirement of the country. Finally set off as Amjed returns two hours later for long road east with nothing to see other than various road kill, the occasional oil refinery and regular near misses of the overtaking cars, trucks and even buses. Most exciting thing is breaking the 4,000 mile barrier of our trip, just a shame we ain’t going south yet.

Get to Ajdabiya around 6ish and decide to get some food and eat in a restaurant for a change.  Good meal consisted of lamb, couscous, rice, and some sauce that actually burnt your nostril hair off, so gave that one a bit of a miss, but the meal itself was good.  A bit of a tense atmosphere in the restaurant when we walked in, as it was full of Squaddies, with shaved heads.  Nick got a good look up and down, as they tried to figure out which Libyan army regiment he was from, (the hair….). Thankfully they left just after we sat down.

One thing that you have to contend with in Libya, is police check points, they are everywhere, sometimes you need to stop, other times you just drive through.  When stopped, Amjed (or ‘Slim Jim’ as we now know him) gets out with photocopies of our official papers and chats to the guards, who seem to not really know what they are doing, so try and look important by asking lots of daft questions.  But no delays have happened, so all good.

Slim Jim seems to have a good way with the police so that helps.  Amjed is 26, and comes from the Southern part of Libya.  He is well educated, and his English is good enough for detailed conversations about Libya, and the government, especially the question ‘Where does all the money go?’

We head about 2 kms north of Ajdabiya, and turn off the road into the desert to find a great camping spot (30º49’27.5”N, 20º13’42.0”E) to sit and contemplate our time in Libya.  The moon comes out very quickly and casts shadows, almost giving enough light to read.

Shoot the shit for a while and plan our next stage, of one more day in Libya, then into Egypt and onto Cairo.


4139 miles


Ready to sweat it out!
Endless view!
'Slim Jim' chillin
Happy Nick
...and counting!!
Moonlit shadow

Sunday 14th April

Ajdabiya – Tobruk

Up fairly early, and quickly get packed away.  Back into Ajdabiya to fill up the tanks, and a quick coffee, before heading into the desert for a 450km crossing. The most tedious drive to date with only camel and tyre carcasses along a very open and very straight road with desert either side as far as the eye can see.

Arrive at Tobruk to check out the WW2 French Cemetery which was a good historic interlude as well as checking out the visitors book to see who was ahead of us. Continued onwards to Egypt and stopped at last services 30 km before border to fill up all our diesel containers (120 litres for £7…unbelievable).

Set up camp at services (Highway Service Company (31º48’13.0” N, 24º54’44.0”E)) which had good toilets and showers for 5 dnr then had some food in café before planning our mission to Cairo tomorrow. Due at border for 0730 tomorrow morning to meet the policeman who is going to make our Libyan exit a walk in the park…

4459 miles

War memorial


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South Africa