Desert perspectives are intriguingly misleading (and insanely if you are lost), none more so than in the approach to this remote and enormous crater. After six hours of relentless, scrubless, mostly featureless high plain desert you are suddenly peering down into a mile-wide crater. The palm trees at the bottom are picture postcard stuff. The word namus means mosquitoes but this must be historical. We were not troubled at all and stargazing from deep down at the bottom with the perfect rim framing the shimmering-density of the Milky Way was unforgettable.
Deepest southern Libya. Nearest big town/small airport, Sebha. You'll need travel company logistics to get there. Tarmac finished 300 km from it. The rest of the way was a track but it certainly wasn't a beaten one.
Google map: bit.ly/gM6gCQ
Anay Camping is a real 'oasis' in the desert. Travelling through Libya can be a frustrating experience because this country is far from becoming a truly developed tourist destination, which explains why independent travel hasn't been possible there until recently. Why Ghat and Easter? Although there are some truly fantastic Roman and Greek sites on the Mediterranean, pushing inland and into the Sahara is an exciting and rewarding experience. Other desert locations are far more developed and commercial (Ghadames, Uwbari ) but Ghat has a totally different, uncontrived feel. The old town is still relatively original and the town is within striking distance of prehistoric cave paintings which document what this area was like when lush vegetation and classic African mammals and reptiles were still inhabitants. The campsite is unusual for three main reasons:
They make affordable, palatable meals.
You can rely on security and there are friendly locals in the area who will invite you into their homes.
There is hot water if you time your bathtime correctly. I used my own tent and cooked my own food, as well as dining in the basic but friendly restaurant. I made friends with the workers at the site, locals living in the area and other tourists on organised tours (I was travelling independently, without a guide, using local transport.)
You can fly to Tripoli with BA, catch a local bus to Sebha, then go with a pre-arranged, local tour guide to Ghat via Uwbari and the cave paintings.
Easter is a good time to visit because the day temperature hasn't become unbearable yet and the night temperature isn't so extreme.
Huts are available if you don't have tents. Both food and accommodation is inexpensive and of an acceptable standard. I was there at the beginning of 2007.
2 kms south of Ghat, just off the main road to the Algerian border
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