Libya Tour with Richard Bangs – Producer of MSNBC's Great Escapes

First into Libya! Join Richard Bangs, acclaimed author, producer of MSNBC’s Great Escapes, and co-founder of Mountain Travel Sobek for this extraordinary adventure in the Libyan Desert. In the long tradition of Mountain Travel Sobek exploratories, Richard will lead the first American tour group into Libya since the lifting of U.S. travel restrictions last month. Our trip will be the first American adventure travel trip to the remote southern part of the country.

Our expedition starts in the border town of Ghat, and features six days of hiking through spectacular desert landscapes, rocky massifs, and huge sand dunes—all in the company of expert Tuareg guides and their camels. Around the fire at night, during the long walks, and occasionally as we stop by wells, we will hear Tuareg stories, learn about their lives in this unforgiving environment, and make new friends. We’ll also have the opportunity to meet nomadic tribes, explore rarely seen rock art sites testifying to the once green and rich past of the area, and test our navigational skills with GPS. “The Libyan desert has long been beyond the edge of the map, and perhaps nothing is more exciting to a traveler than exploring in a place previously proscribed. We hope to discover the hidden canyons, mountains, and roses in the sands of this extraordinary land,” comments Richard.

Libya is also home to the best Roman ruins outside Italy, with spectacular archaeological sites such as Leptis Magna and Sabratha, restored only in the 1920s. The trip offers the opportunity of extending the trip a few days to take in these astonishing sites.

With the lifting of travel restrictions to Libya, Mountain Travel Sobek is leading efforts to discover the great adventures and rich cultural experiences in this long forbidden country. This upcoming exploratory is a rare and historic opportunity to be among the first Americans to see and feel a world apart.

Note—Since the Libyan government has not yet opened a diplomatic representation in the United States, we will assist you in obtaining visas in Europe. There is very little time to do so prior to the trip departure, so we require you to send us your passport by the end of March to allow timely processing. Final payment for this trip is due at the time of booking.

About Richard Bangs

Richard Bangs is a founding partner of Mountain Travel Sobek, North America’s oldest and largest adventure travel company. During his tenure at Sobek, he led first descents of 35 rivers around the globe, including the Yangtze in China and the Zambezi in southern Africa. He is a business pioneer, world adventurer, international river explorer, Web pioneer, and award-winning author. Richard has published more than 500 magazine articles, 14 books, a score of documentaries, and several CD-ROMs; he has been guest lecturer at the Smithsonian, the National Geographic Society, the Explorers Club, and many other notable venues. He was founder and editor-in-chief of Mungo Park, a Microsoft travel publishing effort, and was Editor-at-Large of Expedia.com. He was creator and publisher of Expedia Travels Magazine (published in partnership with Ziff-Davis), and executive producer of Expedia Radio, and founder and executive director of Expedia Cafes. Richard recently launched and led two new Microsoft interactive travel initiatives: Well-Traveled (www.welltraveled.com), and Great Escapes (www.greatescapes.msnbc.com), optimized for broadband. His recent book, The Lost River: A Memoir of Life, Death and the Transformation of Wild Water, won the National Outdoor Book Award in the literature category, and the Lowell Thomas Gold Award for best book. His latest book is Adventure Without End. He co-directed and co-produced the upcoming (Feb. ’05) IMAX film, Mystery of the Nile. A preview clip is available atwww.richardbangs.com.

ITINERARY

Day 1, April 23 (Fri) ~ Fly to Paris

Leave your hometown and fly to Paris, France.

Day 2, April 24 (Sat) ~ Paris

Arrive in Paris in the morning. Transfer to a hotel of your choice. The remainder of the day is at leisure. Please note that you need to arrive in Paris on this day in order to join the group flight the next morning. Meals and hotel accommodation are on your own. We highly recommend a visit to Paris’s Musée de l’Homme, in the west wing of the Palais de Chaillot, with its interesting anthropological, ethnological, and archaeological displays of North Africa.

Day 3, April 25 (Sun) ~ Fly to Tripoli, Libya

Late morning departure from Paris on a group flight to Tripoli. Transfer to hotel. “Welcome” dinner with the group.

D…Hotel Corinthia Bab Africa

Day 4, April 26 (Mon) ~ Fly to Ghat

Transfer to the airport and fly to Ghat in southern Libya, arriving in the afternoon. Upon arrival, we will meet our guides and 4×4 vehicles for a 40-mile drive south of Ghat through the oued Esseyen (a oued is a dry river basin), near the Libyan-Algerian border. To the east, we can view Akakus Jebel range, with summits up to nearly 5,000 feet, cliff faces of over 2,300 feet, and huge dunes to the south. We finally reach the park of Akakus-Tadrart, and the small oued of Tagenturt where we meet our camp staff. Welcome dinner and overnight.

B,L,D…Mountain Travel Sobek Camp

Day 5, April 27 (Tue) ~ Tan Gharaba – Oued Afar

For the next several days, we will walk across the desert while camels carry all the gear. While our camp is broken down and packed up by our Tuareg staff, we hike through the dunes of Lerg Tan Gharaba, then scramble to the Aogeraq pass before descending to a sandy plain by the same name. Nomadic people of the region use this area for limited agriculture. After a picnic lunch along the oued Aogeraq, we’ll continue along it, then cross the sandy pass of the Tafaq. (Camels typically require the encouragement of our Tuareg guides to cross this more challenging portion of the itinerary.) From the pass, we’ll have spectacular views toward the oued Afar, the Akakus chain, and the Tadrart toward the east. We will descend along sandy stretches toward the oued Afar (total hiking time is about 6 hours).

B,L,D…Mountain Travel Sobek Camp

Days 6-7, April 28-29 (Wed-Thu) ~ Oued Afar – Oued Aghar – In Eselfoufet

We’ll take time to visit some of the local nomad camps not far from our own, then head south to connect with the oued Afar. The camels leave the oued by way of a sandy pass at Tin Amatélé, which leads to a long and rocky plateau marked by several small oueds. Our route crosses a beautiful Tassili (mountainous area), with interesting rock formations. We cross at the head of the oued Agar where we may find some water if the winter has been wet enough. After our long walk alone, we meet again with our camel caravan in the oued Agar. From here we’ll be able to scramble up several easy rock spurs to admire the canyons that surround the cliffs. We then continue along the oued Agar, with its abundant vegetation. We’ll see evidence of former habitation as vestiges of camps dot the area. We stop at the confluence of the oued Amanad where we meander through various small dry riverbeds before stopping for the night in the Tin Eselfoufet. Hiking time each day is about 5-6 hours.

B,L,D each day…Mountain Travel Sobek Camp

Day 8, April 30 (Fri) ~ Eselfoufet – Tin Talahat

We leave our camp and the forests of rock formations and head north across a low sandy pass. Here we have views of the great black profile of the Erg Wan Kasa against the lighter colored dunes that surround it. Following the vast spaces and swelling sandy dunes, we continue our hike into a plain of surprising red-colored landscape. A dry lake encircled by steep cliffs has an opening at one side, and as we walk through this opening, we are treated to a magnificent view. We set up camp for the night in the nearby oued Tin Talahat. The afternoon allows us plenty of time to explore our surroundings (total hiking time is about 6 hours).

B,L,D…Mountain Travel Sobek Camp

Day 9, May 1 (Sat) ~ Tin Talahat – In Imerka

We leave camp and hike a rocky slope to the north, while our caravan makes a longer circuit to meet us on the other side. From the summit, we enjoy views of the Talahat valley and the great dunes of the Tin Talamint. We’ll reach the dunes and take our time scrambling some sharp-edged cliffs before heading west to our camp located below the plateau on the oued In Imerka. This site is close to where we can admire some outstanding rock engravings representing giraffes and hippopotamus (total hiking time is about 5 hours).

B,L,D…Mountain Travel Sobek Camp

Day 10, May 2 (Sun) ~ In Imerka – North Akakus – G hat

After saying goodbye to our Tuareg guides and faithful camels, we set off in all-terrain vehicles toward the east to cross open sandy spaces bordered by high dunes. Leaving the Tadrart, the landscape becomes flatter and we are able to gain some speed, and finally join a paved route. Picnic lunch under one of the rare acacia trees. We follow the Akakus massif north, and reach the settlement of Ghat in the middle of the afternoon.

B,L,D…Hotel

Day 11, May 3 (Mon) ~ Fly to Tripoli

We transfer to the airport at Ghat for the flight back to Tripoli. Transfer to hotel and overnight in Tripoli. (In the event that this flight is not available or cancelled, we will drive for about 10 hours across the country to Tripoli.)

B,L,D…Hotel Corinthia Bab Africa

Day 12, May 4 (Tue) ~ Fly to Paris

Transfer to the airport and fly to Paris. Meals and accommodation on your own.

Day 13, May 5 (Wed) ~ Fly home

Stay a Little Longer!

Extend your stay in Libya with a visit to Tripoli and the surrounding Roman ruins. Richard Bangs will accompany the group. See page 4 for more information.
 

LAND COST

$4150 per person (11-15 members)

$4450 per person (7-10 members)

Rates quoted are per person, based on sharing double accommodations.

Single Supplement—TBA.

What’s Included

¨      expert leadership

¨      accommodations in hotels in Ghat and Tripoli

¨      all arrangements in the field, including camp meals, cook staffs, group gear and equipment

¨      meals as noted (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner)

¨      flights from Paris to Libya and return (including flight from Ghat to Tripoli)

¨      airport transfers in Libya

¨      sightseeing as noted in the itinerary

¨      ground transportation

¨      basic medical and evacuation insurance

What’s Not

International airfare; meals not noted in itinerary; meals and accommodation in Paris en route or return home; insurance other than basic medical and evacuation insurance as noted above (we strongly recommend you purchase the supplementary trip insurance offered by Mountain Travel Sobek, which includes trip cancellation insurance); visa processing fees; optional tipping to leader, guides and local staff; excess baggage charges; airport taxes; and items of a personal nature (sodas, alcoholic beverages, laundry, etc.).
Payment & Cancellation Policy

(This differs from regular Mountain Travel Sobek trips)

100% of Land Cost is due upon reservation and there is no refund should you need to cancel. We recommend you purchase the optional travel protection insurance.

TRIPOLI EXTENSION

May 4, Tue ~ Tripoli

Sightseeing tour of Tripoli, including the lively medina, the Jamahiriya Museum with its fine collection of mosaics, statues, and other artifacts, Marc Aurel Triumph Arc, and the souks. Afternoon drive to the Roman amphitheater at Sabratha about 50 miles to the west of Tripoli. Sabratha was constructed in the first and second centuries a.d. and its theater is still in excellent condition and used for performances to this day. Return to Tripoli for dinner and overnight.

B,L,D…Hotel Corinthia Bab Africa

May 5, Wed ~ Tripoli and surroundings

A full day to explore the immense Roman city of Leptis Magna (75 miles from Tripoli), a city that rivaled Rome for its splendor, architecture, and wealth. It is considered the best Roman site in the Mediterranean; its spectacular architecture includes arches, huge marble and granite baths, shrines, forums, and amphitheaters.

B,L,D…Hotel Corinthia Bab Africa

May 6, Thu ~ Fly to Paris

Transfer to the airport and fly to Paris. Meals and accommodation on your own.

May 7, Fri ~ Fly home

EXTENSION LAND COST

$850 per person (7-15 members)

Land cost includes accommodations, meals and sightseeing as noted, services of guide. Not included are optional tips.

WHAT YOU CAN EXPECT

Expert Leadership

Expert leadership is the key to an exciting, unforgettable experience. Our trips feature gifted leaders for whom leading trips is a true vocation. Besides showing you wonders you’d never find on your own, they make sure everything runs smoothly and safely without a hitch. They are knowledgeable about all aspects of your trip, and take great pleasure in sharing their insights with you. More than just guides, they positively elevate your experience by being teachers, companions, and the best of friends. You’ll be in good hands with them every step of the way.

In addition to Richard Bangs, the group will be accompanied by Ludovic Bousquet, 38, a passionate desert enthusiast with a comprehensive knowledge and experience of the Sahara, from Egypt to Morocco. Ludovic has a certificate in guiding and mountain guiding. He also offers a thorough knowledge of rock art, which we will see along our itinerary. Ludovic acquired his English language skills while living in the UK for two years.

Activity Level

Mountain Travel Sobek trips are designed for flexible, energetic people who like to be active and have a spirit of adventure and a positive attitude. On a scale from 1 to 5, we rate this trip as a 3. You will be hiking 5-6 hours a day through varied desert terrain, with some ascents and descents. Camels will carry all the gear, and there is the possibility of riding a camel in an emergency. If your health is questionable or your physical stamina is limited, please discuss other trip options with us.

THE NEXT STEP

Leave the Rest to Us

Before you go, we provide you with extensive pre-departure information, including clothing recommendations, suggested reading lists, up-to-date health advice prepared by our consulting physician (an expert in wilderness medicine), and other details from procuring visas to advice on local customs.

Why Mountain Travel Sobek is Your First Choice for Adventure

Mountain Travel Sobek is the pioneer in active adventure travel. No other adventure travel company can lay claim to that title. We were the first to take Americans trekking in Nepal, raft the wild rivers of Africa, and open up many previously inaccessible corners of the world to curious travelers. We set the standard for adventure travel and have a strong reputation for excellence that we do everything we can to maintain. Since we are the leading adventure company, we have a lot to live up to, so we make sure we provide safe, quality trips and the best customer service to our passengers.

References

The company is happy to provide you with references of satisfied past travelers.

Questions?

Feel free to call us at 1-888-MTSOBEK (687-6235) if you still have any questions or concerns. We’re here to help you. You can also check out our website at www.mtsobek.com
Note on Itinerary

Although we will do our very best to adhere to the itinerary schedule as listed, it is subject to change for numerous reasons beyond our control. Please read the Limitations of Liability and Booking Conditions in the four-page Participant Information Form.

Conditions of Participation

Your participation on a Mountain Travel Sobek trip is subject to the conditions stated in the four-page Participant Information Form, which includes the Agreement and Release from Liability and the Booking Conditions. We urge you to read this information carefully, and to call us if you have any questions.

Note on Services

We often use local suppliers who provide services that may include transportation, equipment, logistic support, and other services (hotels, restaurants, etc.). We do not own or operate these independent suppliers. We work with service providers who share our commitment to safety and quality, and work closely with them to develop itineraries unique to Mountain Travel Sobek.

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