Libya Warnings Or Dangers Tips by TheWanderingCamel Top 5 Page for this destination
Libya Warnings and Dangers: 21 reviews and 22 photos
Libya is not a cheap place to travel through when compared with other countries that offer similar cultural and historical experiences - Egypt and Syria for example. At present, most visitors must travel with a tour group, or at least with a considerable degree of tour company organization. If you are travelling in a tour group, you will have a very good idea of what is covered by the tour cost before you go but if you are travelling more independently you must be prepared for some fairly hefty costs, particularly if you are travelling alone or with just one other person, and even more so if you want to move away from the more populous areas or down into the desert.
A car and driver ( self drive car hire is not an option) will cost you anything from 80-100LD a day (currently the Libyan dinar is worth about $A1 or 60 Euro cents) - expensive for just one person.
Dinner in a reasonable restaurant will cost between 10 and 15LD for a main course (more for some fish dishes), and you can expect to pay between 15 and 20 LD for a meal of soup, salad, main course and fruit juice (alcohol is not available).
Lunch of soup and a sandwich with a soft drink will cost about 6LD and a cup of mint tea will cost 1LD in just about any cafe. Take it in the classy coffee shop in one of Tripoli's top hotels and it could cost as much as 5 LD.
Tipping is not usual and is certainly not expected, though rounding a bill up is always appreciated.
Internet use (there are any number of Internet cafes in Tripoli and you'll even find one in Ghadames, so don't use hotel facilities which are bound to be more expensive) is usually 1LD per hour.
Currency comes in 1/4, 1/2, 1, 5 and 10 dinar notes - old and new varieties are both legal tender. I never saw a coin in use the whole time I was in Libya.
No charge now
Update - March 2009 Just returned from Libya and can report that all camera charges and restrictions have been removed from museums and historical sites! I don't use a video recorder so don't know about those, but for still camera photographers at least, this is excellent news, but, this being Libya, things could change back again at any time.
so ... be prepared ... this is how it was until recently ...
Whilst entry charges for Libya's historical sites are a very reasonable 3LD at most ( some are only 1LD), you will have to be prepared to pay a camera charge if you want to take photos (and you will want to take photos!) - 5LD for a still camera, 10LD for video. - at nearly all of them. Places such as Leptis Magna will levy the charge for both the site and the museum. This can knock quite a hole in your budget so do ensure that you allow for it when working out your finances.
Public loos are thin on the ground in Libya - the only one I saw apart from those at the main archaeological sites was a very new pair in Gazelle Park in Tripoli. This is not a problem though as it is quite accepted practice to go into a restaurant, hotel or cafe (internet cafes are good too) and ask if you may use their toilet. When we did this at a hotel in Gharyan, we were escorted very politely to an unused hotel room!
I never found a loo that was not acceptably clean and never had to use a squat loo, though this may not be the case in more remote places. Update - June 2009 - I wish I could say the same from my latest visit, but this time round, some of the loos we found were pretty grim! Be prepared!
Water and soap were always available, but you should be sure to carry your own small supply of loo paper - and remember not to flush it away but use the bin, especially in the countryside - not all septic systems can cope with it.
Be sure to have a few 1/4 and 1/2 dinar notes on you - the charge for using the WC at places like Leptis Magna where there is an attendant.
Wars long since over are still claiming casualties in Libya. Each year 120 people are killed or injured by landmines sown as long ago as WWII. More have been added during conflicts with Egypt and, most recently, Chad. Over one-third of the country's arable land is suspected of being contaminated, leaving just 60%of the country's agricultural land safe enough to plough. With some 93% of the country classified as desert, this is a disastrous situation. Altogether 33% of the country - desert, towns and villages as well as farming land - is sown with mines. As well as the reduction of usable farming land, the presence of mines causes huge problems maintaining infrastructure, demining must be carried out before any survey work for the country's valuable oil industry can be carried out and the Great Man-Made River project has taken far longer and cost far more than estimated as a result of the presence of mines.
Whilst this is not a problem for the average tourist, it is something anyone preparing to set off on an independent driving expedition needs to be aware of. Local advice must be sought and , if you are intending to drive in an area known to be mined, a local guide is essential.
Hazardous sand ...
It seems to me the only real hazards you are likely to come across in Libya are all to do with the roads. Libya has a very high rate of car ownership and everyone is a wannabe Stirling Moss - speeding is endemic, 160kph seems to be considered quite normal once out of the city and in city streets there are only 2 speeds observed - crawling in a traffic jam and speeding. Negotiating city streets is a matter of watching the locals and sticking close to someone who is crossing - especially around Green Square where pedestrians weave in and out of the traffic with nonchalance.
If you find a good driver (taxi or private) ask for his card and call him when you need a car again. Good drivers are to be cherished. I mean good as in safe - I had a "good'" driver when I went out to Villa Sileen - he handled the car beautifully - at 160 kph all the way untill I told him to slow down - which he did - to 155! Next day when I left to drive to Ghadames I made it very clear to my new driver speeding like that was unacceptable.
Desert roads are good - but, speeding aside, there are still hazards, the main ones of which are sand across the road and camels - both of which can appear at any time so drivers need to be constantly alert and ready to slow right down. Early morning driving in the desert also carries the risk of driving in thick fog as the temperature differentials between the cold nights and hot days take effect.
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