January 2011

7 day transit visa obtained in Tunis.
Time taken: 3.5 weeks (vs 2 weeks indicated on application).
Libyan Embassy: entrance on rue de Guinee (off Ave Mohammed V). GPS Lat: 36.818463, Long: 10.182199
Opening hours: Mon-Thu and Sat 9-14h and Fri 9-12. Closed Sun.
The reception will likely pass you onto Nazreen by phone who speaks French and some English.

What’s needed:

– copy of passport
– original of an Arabic translation of our passport details. A copy of a translation already in the passport may do. We got ours done in Tunis (details below)
-a copy of our V5C / carte grise (car registration doc)
– a letter from each of us addressed to the Consul General requesting a transit visa as we were going to Egypt. They initially asked for an Arabic translation, but eventually accepted it in English.

These get faxed to Tripoli. We got Nazreen’s phone number to check in on progress.

When the authorisation came through, we needed:
– 2 passport photos
– 45TD per person

Paperwork completed in 2 hours, but best to go early in the day.
Despite asking, it was unclear to us whether the transit visa is valid for 7 days from date of issue or date of entry. We left Libya on day 8 after issue having entered one day after issue – not sure whether it was a problem, but we were waved through.

Arabic translation of passport
Probably easiest done in your home country. Aside from the visa application, it’s helpful for the police checkpoints and registration in Libya.
We did the translation in Tunis:
– Template stamped into passport by British Consulate in Les Berges du Lac. 28TD per person. We needn’t have bothered as the translator had her own template which she fills in and prints out.

– The British Consulate gave us a list of translators. Mme Ines on rue Palestine (corner with ave Cyrus Legrand ) was excellent. She’s above Topnet – go down a narrow corridor, take Escalier B to 1st floor. Printed translation and template filled in 1 hour. 15TD per person.

While you wait, enjoy the best stuffed chapatti in Tunis! The cafe is on the opposite side to Mme Ines’ office, going away from ave Habib Bourguiba. Look for the chapatti sign sticking out!

Entry point: Ras Adjr (coming from Tunisia)
Time taken: 2 hours

LYD 266 – customs (licence plate rental and vehicle fee – LYD 100 is refundable on exit. See below)
LYD 6 – 14 day insurance (7 days not possible)
Fuel levy not charged

Money change
Tunisian side – there is a bank at the immigration/customs area, though not sure whether it changes Tunisian Dinar to Libyan Pounds.
Libyan side – Sahara bank and ATM (marked with a Paribas board) just past the border control exit., near the insurance and carnet stamping offices (GPS below).

As we had no guide, we were allocated a friendly (and free) policeman to help us through the process.
A detailed description of the process can be found on Chris Scott’s Sahara Overland website. The only changes we found were that to get the carnet stamped and to get insurance, we had to go just outside the far end of the border control area (police helper needed). Facing the set of shop fronts (GPS N 33.147927, E 11.566023) the insurance is the second door from the right. The carnet man is in the long single storey building (at 2 o’clock as you face the shops). The bank/ATM, a basic hotel and cafe are also in this area.
Finally, to maximise our days in Libya, we camped in no man’s land and entered Libya early the next morning. The administration gets going at around 8am.

Exit point: Musaad / Amsaad (going to Egypt)
Time taken: 1 hour

We stopped at the licence plate return office (right hand side just before leaving Musaad – parked cars and people queuing at windows), but a policeman escorted us a few kms to the border post instead, where returned  the number plates and were refunded LYD 100.

Police registration
The helpful police in Ajdabiya found and escorted us to the police station to register and get a stamp in our passports.
Time taken: 45 minutes.
Cost: LYD 21 for 2 people.
No issues with visiting the sights along the coastal route. They are the logical overnight stops with tourist facilities, and presumably it is easier for the police to keep track of us that way. Also, no guides were needed at the sights.

Camping sites
Temehu’s website lists places to camp: Of the ones we’ve tried:
Ajdabiya – car park of the Amal Africa Hotel (on the far side of town if you’re coming from Leptis). Access to toilets and a restaurant.
Cyrene – youth hostel car park (LYD 10). Access to clean showers and toilets. There’s a restaurant a short way inside the outer gates to the ruins (before the ticket office).
Apollonia – car park of the Almanarah Hotel (free). Access to toilets and a restaurant (GPS N 32.900918, E 21.965133).
Tolmeita – by the entrance to the ruins (free). Access to toilets and showers.  (GPS: N 32.712918, E 20.946688)
Al Burdi – beach camping behind the hotel in a pretty bay, but the beach isn’t very clean. Through to the end of town and follow signs to the Al Burdi hotel down the mountainside. No toilet access in the hotel, but it does have a restaurant.