By Michele Soffiantini
Originally Posted Tuesday, May 8, 2007
LIBIA-I WAS DREAMING OF THE MURZUK
Trip to Libia, February 2007
By Michele Soffiantini
Pictures by GIBA Giovanni Barili and Michele Soffiantini
This trip has made during February 2007. In order to solve the burocratic and logistic problems we placed our trust in the well tested Ghadames Tours agency of Mr. Aboubaker Aboulkassen (firstname.lastname@example.org). As always he has been extremely reliable and professional and I do not hesitate to suggest him to everybody who eventually plans a tour to Libia. Our persistance in asking a well prepared person with much experience to help us crossing the north front of this sea made of sand named Murzuk, has been widely compensed.
Our guide named Mohammed came with us during the crossing of Idhan Ubari and of the Idhan of Murzuk and showed to be at the top either in the navigation, either in the car driving and most of all to be for sure a good guide.
Really a great person, still young but with a great experience. I want to tell you once more: among all of the trips I’ve made, I cannot hidden to you he has been the best one I ever met. Try to believe. Bravo, Mohammed!
I forgot to tell you the trip has been made by me and Enrica in the occasion of our honeymoon, together with the inseparable companions of so many demanding expeditions, Raffaele Bartelloni who is the driver we use to call Woom and Giovanni Barilli called Giba, the artist who is able to take extreme pictures in extreme ambients.
The car: Toyota Land Cruiser Krj 95-125 hp
The navigation: Gps Garmin 60 Csx + palmare CE.
The itinerary: we quickly reach Idri and from there we start towards the dunes of Ubari. In the final stretch we deviate to east to reach the lakes of Ben a Tei, Oum el Mà and Mandara…and we pop up in Tikerkiba. It is a good test for everything before we get in the Murzuk.
In Tesawa the brave Moussa joins us driving the fantastic 4500 Land Cruiser benzin fueled and forms on the third team.
So everything is ready and the only thing to do now is leaving. Mohammed had promised to us we would have crossed the north front in only 3 days leaving from the oasis of Murzuk until reaching the Tilemsine pass. And so it has been. The drivers, Mohammed, Moussa and Raffaele have been at the top, so that in only 3 days we get out from the Murzuk. The crossing of this sea had been much worring us, however the extreme reliability of Mohammed and Moussa, the few crews (only 3 4×4) allowed the crossing in only 3 days, even taking into account the many stops and rests to take photos and to admire the most panoramic points. Wonderful paleo-lakes are to be found in this endless sea of sand.
Thrills of pleasure and emotion during the crossing above the very high dunes, in some stretches I’ve got the sensation I could call this ones the eightieth wonder of the world!
Out of the Murzuk, we go trough the Messak Mellet and the Uan Kassa till we reach to the Akakus, our goal is to go and see once again the sites we had visited in the far 1994, when this splendid area was still not considered a natural park and pay a visit to the ancient Tamashek, Imohhar, who is still living close to uadi Teshuinat; it has been a great emotion to meet him once again.
Then we go up again to Serdeles and we decide to go to reconnaissance looking for the Tassili of Maghridet, direction West towards Tarat and Algeria, a spectacular scenary made of rocky pinnacles and stacks of rising out from the sand. We meet Tamashek nomads just before arriving to the site and a small family living in a hut.
After leaving the Maghridet we go up on the direction of Ghadames, on the track Serdeles-Ghadames, showing its traffic by means of thousands of steaks and traces.
Once in Ghadames we spend the entire day together with Abubaker who comes with us during the visit of the old town.
To tell the truth, we need this day to rest and regain strenght since this is the first stop from the beginning of the journey.
We come back to Tunisia crossing trough the customs of Nalut, where we are able to get out thanks to the professional attitude of Abubaker and we say good by to him, plenty of nostalgy.
Dear Libia, I am sure we will come back once more!
We sincerely thank the wonderful libic people we have met during this trip and I want to thank once more Abubaker, Mohammed, Moussa and Salah.
…and of course my bride Enrica, who took me to the Murzuk, Raffaele and Giba.