Reasons to Visit
Whether admiring some of the best-preserved ruins anywhere in the former Roman or Greek worlds, wandering through ancient Saharan trading posts, or pondering on the fate of the Garamantian civilisation that died out almost overnight, Libya's ancient ruins will be a major reason for your visit to the country.
The Greeks and Romans had a heavy presence in North Africa, largely confined to the fertile coastal strip. In the east, the Greeks had a strong presence in the cities of Cyrene, Apollonia and Ptolemais, whilst in the west the Roman cities of Leptis Magna and Sabratha are some of the most impressive found anywhere.
With the fantastic rock art of the Sahara and the dunes and oases of the Ubari Sand Sea, the only way to get around is in a self-supported 4WD expedition. The solitude is a major draw, and because it's so far from any towns or cities, the night sky is brilliant with stars.
In the Ubari Sand Sea lie a series of lakes that fulfil every childhood fantasy of a desert oasis. Hidden deep amongst sand dunes, palm trees fringe limpid pools that perfectly reflect the clear blue skies.
The oldest rock art in Libya dates back 12,000 years, through to more recent pieces about 2,000 years old. The older pieces tell of a more fertile time when giraffe, elephants, hippos and fighting cats roamed the landscape: a bizarre contrast with the stunning desert scenery that now surrounds the area.
Although relatively accessible today, Ghadames was once a watchword for hostile cities on the fringe of the Sahara that traded in gold and slaves arriving from across the desert.
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North Africa & the Middle East
The best part of a day’s journey from the Akakus, Wadi Methkandoush runs for about a kilometre along the base of the Msek Settafet mountains and is home to some of the best examples of petroglyphs in the country.
The best part of a day’s journey from the Akakus, Wadi Methkandoush runs for about a kilometre along the base of the Msek Settafet mountains.
It is a much more compact location than the Akakus and the wadi wall, a mostly sheer rock face, seems almost custom-built as an artist’s canvas; the ancient hunters and pastoralists certainly used it as such.
As you walk along the wadi wall, or scramble up to perfectly-located ledges, you can’t help but marvel at the best examples of petroglyphs in the country.
Buffalo, fish and elephant are just some of the highlights, with one of the finest pictures showing a fantastic, larger-than-life portrayal of two fighting wild cats.
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Include a visit to Wadi Methkandoush on your tailor-made trip around Libya by contacting one of our specialists...
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Further reading:Tours in LibyaWhen to GoHighlightsItinerary IdeasPlaces to GoThings to DoAccommodationAbout LibyaCountry Guides
Other countries in North Africa & the Middle East:EgyptIranJordanLebanonMoroccoOmanSyriaTunisia
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