Libya


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Geography

Libya extends over 1,759,540 kilometres (679,362 sq miles), making it the 17th largest nation in the world by size, around the same size as Alaska. It is bound to the north by the Mediterranean Sea, the west by Tunisia and Algeria, the southwest by Niger the south by Chad and Sudan and to the east by Egypt. Libya's coastline is the longest of any African country bordering the Mediterranean.

The Libyan Desert, which covers much of Libya, is one of the most arid places on earth. In places decades may pass without rain, and even in the highlands rainfall happens seldomly, once every 5-10 years. The temperature in the desert can also be extreme, in 1922 in the town of Al'Azizyah, southwest of Tripoli, recorded a temperature of 57.8 °C (136.0 °F), generally accepted as the highest recorded temperature on Earth.  There are a few scattered oases in the desert, where water is found.

Time Zone

The time in Libya is GMT +2 hours.

Language

Libya's official language is Arabic. However, however many support crew on our trips are Tuareg and will speak Berber.  English is widely spoken however it is always appreciated if you learn basic greetings in the native tongue.  We recommend taking a pocket phrase book.

Climate

From mid October through to mid April we can expect to find very pleasant temperatures for trekking. Daytime temperatures will be around 15 to 25°C/60 to 77°F, dropping to 5 - 10°C/40 - 50°F at night. This part of the world receives very little rainfall and we can anticipate fine dry weather.  However, weather in mountainous areas is notoriously difficult to predict, and rain or even short-lived storms can occur. Visit the World Meteorological Organisation's website at www.worldweather.org to see climate statistics for Libya.

Currency

The unit currency of Libya is the Libyan Dinar (LYD). For up to date exchange rates visit: www.xe.com

It is not possible to obtain local currency prior to departure. Sterling, US Dollars and Euros are acceptable for exchange in Libya, with the Euro being the favoured currency. We recommend that you carry your travel money in the form of cash. It is very difficult to use travellers cheques in Libya.  If you prefer not to carry all of your spending money in cash, it is possible to withdraw money from ATMs in Tripoli.

Visa Requirements

You will need a passport with at least 6 months remaining validity and an Arabic translation of your passport. Please note that the Government of Libya does not allow persons with passports bearing an Israeli visa or entry/exit stamps to enter the country. Obtaining a visa for Libya requires an official invitation and, for this reason, we will make the arrangements for you. To do this we will need your passport details at least 6 weeks prior to departure and one copy of the main page of your passport. On arrival at Tripoli Airport, you should proceed to the visa desk in the arrivals hall and hand in your passport, passport translation and the letter of invitation that we will provide. Up-to-date information on visa cost and visa procurement will be sent to you when we confirm your booking.

Vaccinations

You should attend your doctor and dentist for a check-up. Your doctor will have access to the most up to date information on vaccinations for the country you are visiting. In general we recommend vaccinations against the following: Polio, Tetanus, Typhoid, & Hepatitis ‘A'. Malaria prophylaxis is not recommended for the trip. Yellow Fever vaccination is not required unless arriving from an endemic area.  A very good online resource is the Scottish National Health Travellers website at www.fitfortravel.scot.nhs.uk

Additional Sources of Information

Books

Lonely Planet Guide - Libya.  Anthony Ham

Libya Handbook: The Travel Guide (Footprint Handbooks).  James Azema

South from Barbary: Along the Slave Routes of the Libyan Sahara.  Justin Marozzi

The Green Book. Muammar Al Gathafi

The Trekkers Handbook.  Tom Gilchrist.    

Maps

Jebel Acacus - 1:100, 000 EWP

Libya - 1:1,600,000 - Reise Know-How Verlag

Web

Lonely Planet - www.lonelyplanet.com

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