Watching Simon Reeve's documentary on TV last night about travelling the Tropic of Cancer, I was struck by just how stunning the Libyan Desert was. Libya is often overlooked as a tourist destination, seeing as it has only recently emerged from hostilities with the western world. Its most famous site (and one often on cruise ship itineraries) is the incredible Roman ruins at Leptis Magna. Few venture further along the coast or deeper into the hinterland and the Sahara Desert.
Libya has so much to offer the visitor. As opposed to the souqs of Morocco or Egypt, you can wander the narrow alleyways of the bazaars in Tripoli in peace, making your own mind up about the 'bargains' on display. As well as Leptis Magna, there is the wonderful Roman site at Sabratha and the Greek sites of Cyrene, Apollonia and Qasr Libya.
However, it is when you start heading south you discover the real beauty of the country, as was so stunningly displayed on our screens in the UK last night. The Acacus Mountains, deep in the heart of the Libyan Sahara, display phenomenal rock formations and are home to some incredible ancient rock art.
A real surprise, as Simon Reeve discovered last night, are the Ubari Lakes - dazzling bodies of water amidst the quintessential 'sand sea' that surrounds it. Arcs and arcs of mesmerising orange sand dunes pocketed by these oases where you can take a much-needed refreshing dip - although the high salt content did make me wonder about the dive that Simon Reeve's government escort took underwater - ouch! There is the nearby trading town of Germa and the historic medina of Ghat as well as, slightly further north, the oasis town of Ghadames, renowned for its unique mud brick architecture and Nalut with its ancient granaries of Nalut.
Libya really is a destination able to offer amazing variety to any visitor. And of course the people are incredibly friendly and welcoming too! Discover it all for yourself on these in depth tours to Libya:
It is also a logical combination with Egypt and the rest of the North African coast. Check out these overland tours and make the most of your time away!
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