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Libya

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Arayan Hotel
Arayan Hotel - dream vacation

Omar Almukhtar Road, Tripoli

Tripoli Apartments
Tripoli Apartments - dream vacation

Abdulla Bin Salam Str. - Ben Ashour, Tripoli

Sara Guardian Hotel
Sara Guardian Hotel - dream vacation

4 Sayf Ben Dyzn Street, Babb Bengasheer, Tripoli

Alokhowa Hotel
Alokhowa Hotel - dream vacation

Al Rifaei Street Facing Omar Al Mokhtar Street, Tripoli

Sahara Libya Hotel
Sahara Libya Hotel - dream vacation

Omar Mokhtar Street, Opposite of Infant Hospital, Tripoli

Libya (Arabic: ‏ليبيا Lībyā) is a country in North Africa. In the north it has a Mediterranean Sea coast, with Egypt to the east and Tunisia to the west. It also has land borders with Algeria, Chad, Niger and Sudan. More than 90% of the country is desert or semidesert.

Regions

Cities

  • Benghazi
  • Gharyan
  • Ghadamis
  • Sabha
  • Shahhat— Ancient city of Cyrene, a World Heritage site, is nearby
  • Surt
  • Tobruk
  • Zuwara

Other destinations

  • Ghat - an ancient settlement in the south west with prehistoric rock paintings and very challenging desert trekking
  • Green Mountain
  • Leptis Magna — extensive Roman ruins
  • Nafusa mountains

Understand

History

Ancient history

Archaeological evidence indicates that from as early as 8,000 BC, the coastal plain of Ancient Libya was inhabited by a Neolithic people, the Berbers, who were skilled in the domestication of cattle and the cultivation of crops. Later, the area known in modern times as Libya was also occupied by a series of other peoples, with the Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Greeks, Persian Empire, Romans, Vandals, Arabs, Turks and Byzantines ruling all or part of the area.

Italian colonial era

From 1912 to 1927, the territory of Libya was known as Italian North Africa. From 1927 to 1934, the territory was split into two colonies, Italian Cyrenaica and Italian Tripolitania, run by Italian governors. During the Italian colonial period, between 20% and 50% of the Libyan population died in the struggle for independence, and some 150,000 Italians settled in Libya, constituting roughly one-fifth of the total population.

In 1934, Italy adopted the name "Libya" (used by the Greeks for all of North Africa, except Egypt) as the official name of the colony (made up of the three provinces of Cyrenaica, Tripolitania and Fezzan). King Idris I, Emir of Cyrenaica, led Libyan resistance to Italian occupation between the two world wars. Following Allied victories against the Italians and Germans, Tripolitania and Cyrenaica were under British administration, from 1943 to 1951, while the French controlled Fezzan. In 1944, Idris returned from exile in Cairo but declined to resume permanent residence in Cyrenaica until the removal of some aspects of foreign control in 1947. Under the terms of the 1947 peace treaty with the Allies, Italy relinquished all claims to Libya.

Libya under Muammar al-Gaddafi (1969-2011)

On 1 September 1969, a small group of military officers led by then 27 year old army officer Muammar Abu Minyar al-Gaddafi staged a coup d’état against King Idris. At the time, Idris was in Europe for medical treatment. His nephew, Crown Prince Sayyid Hasan ar-Rida al-Mahdi as-Sanussi, became King. It was clear that the revolutionary officers who had announced the deposition of King Idris did not want to appoint him over the instruments of state as King. Gaddafi was at the time only a captain and his co-conspirators were all junior officers. With the assistance of the headquarters army personnel, the group seized the Libyan military headquarters and the radio broadcasting station with only 48 rounds of revolver ammunition. Before the end of 1 September, Sayyid Hasan ar-Rida had been formally deposed by the revolutionary army officers and put under house arrest. Revolutionary officers then abolished the monarchy and proclaimed the new Libyan Arab Republic. Gaddafi was at various times referred to as the "Brother Leader and Guide of the Revolution" in government statements and the official press. In the final years leading up to the 2011 civil war, the nation was formally titled the Great Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya (Arabic phrasebook: الجماهيرية العربية الليبية الشعبية الاشتراكية العظمى al-Jamāhīriyyah al-‘Arabiyyah al-Lībiyyah ash-Sha‘biyyah al-Ishtirākiyyah al-‘Uẓmá) and it embodied the legacies of a system of governance that had been in power for more than 40 years. During the period 1977 to 2011, Libya was known as the "Libyan Arab Jamahiriya" at the United Nations rather than by the longer official name.

In early 2011 the authority of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya government was challenged by protesters, leading to a civil war, where NATO led forces intervened with airstrikes, military training and material support to the rebels. On 20 October 2011 Muammar Gaddafi was killed by elements of the National Transition Council following his capture on a roadside in his hometown of Sirte. On 23 October the liberation of Libya was pronounced by the National Transition Council.

After the deposition of al-Gaddafi (2011-)

After 2011, Libya soon entered a civil war due to the disputes between the several armed groups that gained power during the insurrection. In September 2012, an attack of the Ansar al-Shariah extremist group on the U.S. embassy resulted in the death of the American ambassador and other public officers. On April 2016, U.S. president Barack Obama said that failing to prepare Libya for the aftermath of the ousting of Gaddafi was "the worst mistake of his presidency".

As of February 2017, Libya remains deeply politically and economically unstable. There are effectively two "governments": the Government of National Accord, based on Tripoli, which controls most of the West of the country, and the Council of Deputies, based on Tobruk, which controls most of the East. These two governments, however, have limited control over the territory, a large part of it being effectively ruled by tribal warlords and extremist groups such as ISIS and Ansar al-Shariah. There are hundreds of thousands of displaced people and food shortages are commonplace.

Religion

97% of the population is Sunni Muslim, whilst the rest include small minorities of Christian and Jewish people.

Climate

Within Libya as many as five different climatic zones have been recognised, but the dominant climatic influences are Mediterranean and Saharan. In most of the coastal lowland, the climate is Mediterranean, with warm summers and mild winters. Rainfall is scanty. The weather is cooler in the highlands, and frosts occur at maximum elevations. In the desert interior the climate has very hot summers and extreme diurnal temperature ranges.

Get in

Passports and visas are required for entry into Libya for all nationalities except nationals of Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Mauritania, Morocco, Syria, Tunisia and Turkey. Those who have passports indicating travel to Israel will not be allowed to enter.

Libyan immigration requirements frequently change without warning. According to the U.S. State Department, a requirement of a certified Arabic translation of the biological data page of your passport is mandatory for obtaining a visa and entering the country. Libyan authorities no longer require an Arabic translation of the ID page.

Due to the conflict in Libya during 2011, the appointment of diplomatic representation outside Libya has been somewhat confused. Careful attention should be paid to the current standing of the foreign mission and its appointed representatives if travel documentation to enter Libya needs to be sought from a Libyan embassy or consulate.

It is now legal for Americans to travel to Libya; however, it is difficult for U.S. citizens to obtain visas. The Libyan Embassy in Washington, DC, now accepts visa applications, but you will need a letter of invitation from a Libyan sponsor who applies for you in Libya. Tourist visas are often rejected at all embassies unless the applicant is a part of a tour or they are applied for on behalf of a Libyan tour operator. Check with the Libyan Embassy in Washington, DC, for more info if you are American. [1] According to the Libyan Embassy in Washington, DC, a traveler will need US$400 (as bare minimum) in a convertible currency, with the following exceptions:

  1. Tourists arriving as a group, as part of a package organised by travel and tourist bureaus, agencies or companies, which cover their living expenses during their stay.
  2. Those in possession of entry visas on official missions
  3. Those in possession of student entry visas with expenses paid by the Libyan Government.
  4. Those wishing to join a resident of Libya on condition that such a resident provides a grantee to cover the expenses of the guest stay and medical treatment and other requirements

By plane

The Tripoli International Airport (IATA: TIP) (Arabic: مطار طرابلس العالمي), is the nation's largest airport and is located in the town of Ben Ghashir 34 km (21 mi) south of the Tripoli city centre, the airport was a hub for Libyan Airlines; it is operating again as a hub for Afriqiyah Airways and was also a hub for Buraq Air prior to the airports closure during the Libyan civil war of 2011.

Tripoli used to be served by most major European and Arab airlines in addition to Libyan Airlines [2] which used the airport as its main hub. Prior to the civil war daily flights were provided to and from most major European international airports such as Heathrow, Paris CDG, Frankfurt, Amsterdam, Rome with multiple weekly flights to and from Milan, Manchester, Vienna and Alexandria. A privately operated airline, Afriqiyah [3], and Libyan Airlines owned by the previous Government, were providing daily services to many European destinations including Brussels, Paris CDG, Amsterdam Schipol and London Gatwick, and African cities with Tripoli as a hub. Scheduled services may resume in the period following the establishment of the transitional administration.

The National Terminal in Tripoli was closed prior to the conflict as part of the construction program of the new airport. Prior to the closure, international and domestic flights were all departing the airport from the main international passenger terminal. The terminal capacity was previously 3 million passengers a year. Two new terminals were to be built within the next several years bringing the total capacity of the airport to 20 million passenger movements. The airport now requires extensive reconstruction. The radar system was seriously damaged in a NATO air strike in late August 2011. Fighting at the airport destroyed several commercial airliners and the airport infrastructure was damaged.

The Tripoli International Airport was re-opened for civil aircraft operations on 11 October 2011.

Nine airlines are now providing limited flights from the Tripoli International Airport to regional international destinations. Libyan Airlines and Afriqiyah Airways are providing flights to Benghazi from Tripoli, however all Libyan Airlines operations are uncertain.

The Mitiga International Airport. (IATA: MJI) is located about 8 km (5 mi) east of Tripoli's city centre. Prior to June 1970, the United States Air Force (USAF) used the facility. It was at that time known as Wheelus Air Base. Subsequently, the facility was known as Okba Ben Nafi Air Base, a Libyan People's Air Force (LPAF) installation. The airport was re-opened for civil operations in October 2011 when Turkish Airlines resumed limited services to Istanbul-(Ataturk). Turkish Airlines have since moved their passenger operations back to Tripoli International airport.

The Benina International Airport, (IATA: BEN), (Arabic: مطار بنينة الدولي). is located in the town of Benina, 19 km east of Benghazi. Routes between Benghazi to destinations such as Alexandria and Cairo, London and Casablanca were planned to operate from Benghazi. Prior to the civil war international services were seasonal. That airport reopened after the lifting of the NATO enforced NFZ and limited services are available; Afriqiyah Airways to Tripoli and Misrata, Libyan Airlines to Alexandria, Cairo, Tripoli and Tunis, Qatar Airways to Doha, Royal Jordanian to Amman-(Queen Alia), Turkish Airlines to Istanbul-(Ataturk) and Tunisairto is flying to Tunis.

Libyan airline Buraq Air also provided domestic services as well as some flights to several international destinations including Istanbul, Ribat and Aleppo. Buraq Air had been viewed as a great success story in Libya's effort to privatise its economy and break away from the state-driven economic policies of the Libyan government, it is anticipated scheduled services may resume in the period following the establishment of the National Transitional Council administration or subsequent to the formation of an interim national government.

There were many direct flights from places such as Amsterdam to small oasis towns in the middle of the Sahara but these are operated by the oil companies for private purposes (i.e. to ferry the foreign oil workers directly to the oil fields). As the country stabilises it may be anticipated these services will resume, possibly stimulated by the need to rebuild the nations damaged infrastructure.

During the war, a NATO no-fly zone prevented any aircraft from operating in Libyan airspace. Libya's civil air transport system was closed down during the conflict. Tripoli International Airport was turned over to use by the military and then later came under the control of rebel forces.

Prior to the civil war Libya had several operational airports providing services to commercial airlines.

  • Bayda, La Abraq Airport—(IATA: LAQ)
  • Benghazi, Benina International Airport—(IATA: BEN) (reopened 11 October 2011)
  • Ghadames, Ghadames Airport—(IATA: LTD)
  • Ghat, Ghat Airport—(IATA: GHT)
  • Kufra, Kufra Airport—(IATA: AKF)
  • Misrata, Misrata Airport—(IATA: MRA)
  • Sabha, Sabha Airport—(IATA: SEB)
  • Sirte, Gardabya Airport—(IATA: SRX)
  • Tobruk, Tobruk Airport—(IATA: TOB)
  • Tripoli, Mitiga International Airport—(IATA: MJI) (reopened 11 October 2011)
  • Tripoli. Tripoli International Airport—(IATA: TIP) (reopened 11 October 2011)
  • Ubari, Ubari Airport—(IATA: QUB)

By train

Libya has no international train connections and no domestic train infrastructure.

By car

One may travel to Libya overland. There are bus and "shared taxi" (accommodating 6 people in a station wagon) services from such places as Tunis, Alexandria, Cairo and Djerba.

There are accounts of people having done the trip in their own 4x4s or using their own dirt bikes and campervans. There are very few border posts open to travel into the country with a foreign car: Ras Jdayr (from Tunisia) and Bay of As Sallum (from Egypt). At the border, one has to buy a temporary licence including a number plate for €300 (March 2008).

By bus

There are bus services to Tunisia and Egypt.

Previous scheduled services may take an extended time to restore, please ensure your travel is through a stable area before boarding any service.

By boat

There are ferries connecting the Libyan city of Tripoli with Malta and Sfax, Tunisia.

Previous scheduled services may take an extended time to restore, please check before ticketing for any service.

Get around

By plane

Libyan Airlines [4] operated many domestic air routes prior to the 2011 civil war. Buraq airlines was also developing a domestic route system (see "Get in").

Previous scheduled services may take an extended time to restore, please check before ticketing for any service.

By train

Libya has had no train system since 1965. Plans and construction are underway for a line that will run from Sirte in the west to Benghazi in the east, eventually making its way to Tripoli. However, with the 2011 civil war, it is unclear when completion will take place.

By road

Prior to the civil war many travellers undertook the trip in their own 4x4s or using their own dirt bikes and campervans. It would seem that they encountered considerable hospitality once in the country. Up until the uprisings of 2011 it was not uncommon to see SUVs with Texas plates on them in Tripoli (most likely US oil workers of which approximately 5-10,000 resided in Libya). It was not uncommon to see convoys of European campervans on Libya's highways prior to the civil war. Please make serious and detailed enquiries prior to undertaking any trip by road into Libya to determine if the area you will be travelling through is safe and if fuel and other services are available. Travel such as this is not recommended.

Some self-drive car rental services are available in the large cities but the rates were typically high and the cars unreliable. Avis and Europcar provide rental cars. Around the major cities, driving can be an "education", although driving standards are not as bad as in other countries in the region.

The recommended method of transport for tourists around major towns is taxis. There are also many shared taxis and buses. The small black and white taxis (or death pandas) tend to be safer (more cautious drivers) but learn the term "Shweyah-Shweyah", Libyan for slow-down, and ask them to keep off Al-Sareyah (the motorway from Souq-Al-Thataltha to Janzour)! A taxi driver will routinely try it on with tourists. Will always try to charge 10 dinars for a fare around town. Negotiate the price first: Prior to the civil war rates around most of inner Tripoli, you should not pay more than 5 dinars. If you find a good taxi driver with a good car, it doesn't hurt to build up a relationship and get his mobile number. Taxis from the airport can be more expensive as the airport is a long way from town. The Corinthia Hotel runs a shuttle from the airport to the hotel.

There used to be many bus services between the major cities and it was a potentially cheap way to travel. The bus companies used modern and relatively comfortable air conditioned touring buses, but many were seriously damaged during the civil war. Longer journeys such as Tripoli to Benghazi will take about 14 hours by bus. The buses make stops for meals and the very important tea (shahee) breaks along the way. A faster method is to take the "shared taxis" but some of the drivers tend to be more reckless in order to cut the travel time. Services such as inter-city bus services have been seriously disrupted or halted due to the civil unrest and armed conflict during 2011. Travel by long distance bus services in Libya is not recommended.

If travelling by road in post liberation Libya very high levels of situational awareness should be practised at all times. Fuel supplies and vehicle repair services may be disrupted and some roads and bridges may be damaged. Armed groups and dis-affected individuals, armed militias and detachments of foreign military and military contractors are active throughout Libya. The opportunity to inadvertently become involved in a violent confrontation or robbery is currently much higher than in many other countries in the region and caution should be exercised. If in doubt stop and take cover or if possible immediately depart the area to a safer location.

Talk

Standard Arabic is the official language, but the native language is Libyan Arabic. It is important to know that Arabic languages are mutually unintelligible, just like Chinese languages, but since Libyans learn Standard Arabic in school, foreign Arabs should be able to get along. English is widely understood especially by young residents of Tripoli, while older people are likely to speak Italian as a result of Libya's Italian colonial past, and even among younger people it is the second most known foreign language after English because of access to Italian television. Libyan Arabic is influenced by Italian, such as "semaforo" (traffic light) and "benzina" (gasoline).

Other languages, such as Berber and Touareg, are used in many small urban settings. Speakers of those languages will often be multi-lingual and be able to converse in Libyan Arabic and sometimes Standard Arabic as well.

See

Libya's colourful capital Tripoli makes for a great start to explore the country, as it still has its traditional walled medina to explore, as well as the interesting Red Castle Museum, with expositions on all parts of the region's history. Despite the development as a tourist destination, this remains a quintessentially North-African place, with a range of beautiful mosques and impressive fountains and statues to remind of its historic role in the great Ottoman Empire. Some 130 km from the capital is Leptis Magna ('Arabic: لَبْدَة), once a prominent city of the Roman Empire. Its ruins are located in Al Khums, on the coast where the Wadi Lebda meets the sea. The site is one of the most spectacular and unspoiled Roman ruins in the Mediterranean. Another must-see is Cyrene, an ancient colony founded in 630 BC as a settlement of Greeks from the Greek island of Theraand. It was then a Roman city in the time of Sulla (c. 85 BC) and now an archaeological site near the village of present-day Shahhat and Albayda.

The vast Sahara makes for some excellent natural experiences, complete with picture-perfect oases like Ubari. The Unesco listed town of Ghadames was once a Phoenician trade town, and the ruins of its ancient theatre, church and temples are a major attraction today. For stunning landscapes, try the Acacus Mountains, a desert mountain range with sand dunes and impressive ravines. The varied cave paintings of animals and men that were found here have earned the area recognition as a Unesco World Heritage Site too.

Do

Buy

Money

Libyan currency is the Libyan dinar, denoted by the symbol "ل.د" or "LD" (ISO code: LYD). The dinar is subdivided into 1000 dirham. Banknotes are issued in 1, 5, 10, 20, and 50 dinar denominations. Coins are issued in 50, 100 dirhams, ¼, and ½ dinar denominations.

ATM cards are widely used in Tripoli more other areas and most big name stores and some coffee lounges accept major cards. Check your card is going to work before leaving major centres as previous networks and ATM facilities may be damaged or missing.

Economy

The Libyan economy during the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya era depended primarily upon revenues from the oil sector, which contributed about 95% of export earnings, about one-quarter of GDP, and 60% of public sector wages. Substantial revenues from the energy sector, coupled with a small population, gave Libya one of the highest per capita GDPs in Africa. Libyan Arab Jamahiriya officials made progress on economic reforms in last four years of their administration as part of a broader campaign to reintegrate the country into the international fold. This effort picked up steam after UN sanctions were lifted in September 2003 and as Libya announced that it would abandon programs to build weapons of mass destruction in December 2003. Almost all US unilateral sanctions against Libya were lifted in April 2004, helping Libya attract more foreign direct investment, mostly in the energy sector. Libya applied for World Trade Organization membership, reduced some subsidies and announced plans for some privatisation of state-owned companies. The former Libyan government invested heavily in African projects including large scale telecommunications and other major international infrastructure and development programs. Sanctions were re-applied in 2001.

In 2011 actions by domestic insurgents and foreign military forces effectively closed down the normal functions of civil administration during the civil war period. The NTC provisional administration has gained limited access to Libya's foreign reserve holdings and other assets. Revenue from crude oil sales have been redirected to them. Until a government is established in Libya, the economic management and future prospects of the nation remain unknown.

Eat

See also: North African cuisine

In Tripoli, it is surprisingly hard to find a traditional Libyan restaurant. Most serve western-style cuisine, with a few Moroccan and Lebanese restaurants thrown in. There are also a number of good Turkish restaurants, and some of the best coffee and gelato outside of Italy. There are some wonderful Libyan dishes you should taste in case you are fortunate enough to be invited to a Libyan dinner party or wedding (be prepared to be overfed!). A favourite cafe for the local expatriate community is the fish restaurant in the souq. For the equivalent of a few US dollars, you can enjoy a great seafood couscous. A local speciality is the stuffed calamari.

Also recommend Al-Saraya: Food OK, but its attraction is its position, right in Martyr's Square (Gaddafi name: Green Square). Another good seafood restaurant is Al-Morgan, next to the Algiers Mosque, near 1st of September Street. Don't miss Al-Sakhra restaurant, located on Gargaresh Road; excellent food, live entertainment, and a rustic atmosphere. The flashy looking big fast-food outlets are a relatively recent arrival in Tripoli. These are not quite the multinationals but a close copy of them! They are springing up in the Gargaresh Road area -- a big shopping area in the western suburbs of Tripoli.

try one of the best local catch fish named "werata" try this fish in grill or baked with local herbs and spices, and it is a guarantee you will love it.

Drink

Tea is the most common drink in Libya. Green tea and "red" tea are served almost everywhere from small cups, usually sweetened. Mint is sometimes mixed in with the tea, especially after meals.

Coffee is traditionally served Turkish style: strong, from small cups, no cream. Most coffee shops in the larger cities have espresso machines that will make espresso, cappuccino, and such. Quality varies, so ask locals for the best one around.

Alcohol is officially banned in Libya, though in reality, alcohol is readily available through a local black market (anything from whiskey to beer to wine). It should be noted that penalties for unlawful purchase can be quite stiff. Travellers should always exercise appropriate common sense with respect to local laws, local sensitivities and traditions.

Sleep

Major cities have a range of accommodations available, from shabby hotels to 4 star establishments. Prices vary accordingly.

In Tripoli, there are four international-standard hotels: the Radisson Blu, [5], the Al Waddan [6] and the Rixos Al Nasr [7] are brand-new (opened in 2009/2010) and offer excellent accommodations and services, while the older Corinthia Hotel, is located adjacent to the old city (The Medina or "Al Souq Al Qadeem"). Other hotels are Bab-Al-Bahr, Al-Kabir, and El-Mahari. Several smaller hotels have opened around town, such as Zumit Hotel [8], an old, beautifully renovated hotel, next to the Old Roman Arch in Bab-Al-Bahr.

Manara Hotel, a tidy 4 star hotel in Jabal Akhdir, east of Benghazi, is next to the ancient Greek ruins of Appolonia Port.

While it seems to be diminishing with the arrival of more tourists every year, Libyans have a strong tradition of taking travellers into their own homes and lavishing hospitality on them. This is certainly true in smaller towns and villages.

There are several good hotels in Tripoli's Dhahra area, near the church like Marhaba hotel.

Youth Hostels, associated with the IYH Federation (HI), are available. Please contact the Libyan Youth Hostel Association, ☎ +218 21 4445171.

Learn

Learn more about Libya's UNESCO World Heritage Sites[9].

Stay safe

The security situation in Libya has improved significantly. However, care is still recommended and some areas should be considered out of reach for visitors. Non-essential travel to Libya, especially outside of Tripoli is still best avoided. Gay and lesbian tourists should be careful and self-aware because homosexuality is a crime in Libya.

as much as possible avoid wearing green wardrobe or anything similar as this color might provoke somebody, as this color represents the old regime specially in misurata city

Stay healthy

Not all bottled water is safe in Libya. Do inquire about the safest brands available. You can often purchase foreign brands when necessary.

Respect

The former name of the country 'Libyan Arab Jamahiriya' was adopted by Muammar Gaddafi. Using this name may cause offence to Libyans. Most people are doing their best to erase this name from their history. Car registration plates invariably have the name sprayed out or covered with a new flag.

Connect

Embassies and consular services. Many foreign missions in Libya remain closed or have very limited consular services available due to the civil war hostilities, others were damaged or closed and have not yet restored services, or the question of diplomatic recognition during transitional administration remains unresolved.

The Venezuelan embassy in Tripoli was ransacked and looted by rebel forces and others including the UK embassy were also damaged. Many parts of Libya are currently under the de-facto administration of the National Transitional Council (NTC), other parts of the nation have either no administration or are getting by with individual ad-hoc arrangements. Some nations have given the NTC a level of recognition equivalent to that afforded to the government of a nation state, others are recognising the state of Libya and have accepted representation of that state by the NTC, others have agreed to engage in dialogue with the NTC. Some other nations have refused to recognise the NTC at all and either still formally recognise diplomatic arrangements with the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya or have suspended diplomatic relationships whilst awaiting the formation of an interim government in Libya. Nations such as Australia, Canada, Germany, Netherlands, and the United Kingdom never recognise governments anyway and only recognise a nation so their situation is less ambiguous, in most cases they have accepted diplomatic envoys from the NTC to replace the previous diplomatic staff. In some Libyan foreign missions and at the UN the encumbrant representative of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya government is still recognised by the host nation but now represents the Libyan nation in transition, providing either formal, or quasi-formal recognition of the NTC as a provisional administration. If needing to travel to Libya it is important to determine the status of the representative Libyan foreign mission you are dealing with and ensure that any required documentation is acceptable for travel to Libya, for entry into the country, and for any subsequently travel to the part of Libya which you may wish to enter.

If requiring assistance from your nations consular representatives it may be possible to seek them out in a country adjoining Libya or from a partnered nation if a citizen of an EU state.

Embassies and other foreign missions and provisional offices are located in Tripoli, some additional representation may be found in Benghazi

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AVOID NON-ESSENTIAL TRAVEL; see also regional advisories.

The decision to travel is your responsibility. You are also responsible for your personal safety abroad. The Government of Canada takes the safety and security of Canadians abroad very seriously and provides credible and timely information in its Travel Advice. In the event of a crisis situation that requires evacuation, the Government of Canada’s policy is to provide safe transportation to the closest safe location. The Government of Canada will assist you in leaving a country or a region as a last resort, when all means of commercial or personal transportation have been exhausted. This service is provided on a cost-recovery basis. Onward travel is at your personal expense. Situations vary from one location to another, and there may be constraints on government resources that will limit the ability of the Government of Canada to provide assistance, particularly in countries or regions where the potential for violent conflict or political instability is high.

Benghazi (see Advisory)

There is a heightened risk of terrorism throughout Libya, including in Benghazi. Terrorist attacks could occur at any time and could target areas frequented by expatriates and foreign travellers.

Benghazi saw an increase in attacks in July and August 2013. On August 6, 2013, a car explosion killed the vehicle’s owner. Five people were wounded in a bomb blast at a police station on August 2, 2013. On July 29, 2013, several explosions were reported in the downtown area, killing one person. The previous day, two explosions targeted court houses, resulting in significant damage and injuring more than 40 people.

Other major attacks in Benghazi include: A car bomb caused severe damage to the building housing the joint honorary consulates of Finland and Sweden, private commercial offices and a number of apartments on October 11, 2013. No casualties were reported. On September 11, 2013, a powerful car bomb exploded near the Foreign Ministry building, injuring several people. On May 13, 2013, a car bomb exploded at the Al Jallah hospital, killing several people and injuring many others. The U.S. Ambassador to Libya and three diplomats were killed following an attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi on September 11, 2012. A British Embassy convoy was hit by a grenade on June 11, 2012, injuring one person. An IED exploded at the gate of the U.S. Consulate on June 6, 2012. On May 22, 2012 a grenade attack targeted the International Red Cross offices and an explosion hit a column of UN vehicles on 10 April, 2012. These events highlight that the situation continues to be unstable and problematic.

Bani Walid (see Advisory)

Clashes, which include indiscriminate shelling, between pro-government militia and Gaddafi loyalists were reported in Bani Walid in October 2012. Exercise extreme caution and avoid affected areas.

Regions of Sabha and Kufra (see Advisory)

Ongoing clashes between various armed groups have been reported in the regions of Sabha and Kufra.

Terrorism

There is a heightened risk of terrorism throughout Libya. In 2013, the French military assisted the Malian government in efforts to repel armed rebels. Terrorist groups in the region declared their intention to increase attacks and kidnappings targeting Westerners. While the United Nations peacekeeping mission in Mali has been supporting the transitional authorities in stabilizing the region since July 2013, citizens of countries supporting the intervention are still at particular risk, but all travellers should exercise increased vigilance in the region.

Libyan security forces discovered a car laden with explosives near a hotel in Tripoli on July 29, 2013. The embassy compound of the United Arab Emirates was the target of an attack on July 25, 2013. An explosion occurred close to the Corinthia hotel and Tripoli Towers, near the British and Canadian embassies, on July 23, 2013. No injuries were reported following these attacks. On April 23, 2013, an explosion occurred in the Hay Al Andalus Area of Tripoli, in front of the French Embassy, injuring two people. Maintain a high level of vigilance and personal security awareness, exercise caution, monitor local developments and follow the advice of local authorities.

Civil unrest and demonstrations

The political situation remains fragile and could change rapidly. Violence broke out in Tripoli on November 15, 2013 when a Misratan militia based in Tripoli opened fire on protesters demonstrating the presence of militias in the city. Prime Minister Ali Zeidan was seized from his residence at the Corinthia Hotel in Tripoli on October 10, 2013 and released a few hours later. Intermittent clashes have been occurring between armed groups in and around Tripoli since June 25, 2013. In May 2013, armed groups seized control of several government buildings in the capital. These groups continue to pose a security risk.

Since the beginning of the Libyan revolution in February 2011, falling rounds from celebratory gunfire have caused fatalities and injuries. Despite a reduction in these types of incidents, you should remain indoors in the event of any celebratory gunfire.

There have been significant spontaneous demonstrations throughout Libya following the assassination of a political activist on July 26, 2013.Follow the security situation closely through local media reports, take appropriate steps to increase your personal security and limit your movements to daylight hours. Avoid public gatherings and all demonstrations, as they may become violent without warning.

Kidnapping

There is a general threat of kidnapping in Libya. Maintain a high level of vigilance at all times.

Border areas

You may face heightened risks at the border areas with Niger, Chad, Sudan and Algeria due to the presence of armed groups and the threat of banditry. Borders may close on short notice.

With the exception of the official land border crossings to Tunisia and Egypt, visitors and residents are not permitted to travel in the interior or to border areas without an officially sanctioned guide or specific permission from the Libyan authorities.

Landmines

Demining operations are ongoing in the south of the country; however, significant quantities of unmarked landmines remain. The risk of encountering unexploded ordnance and indiscriminately laid landmines is high in all areas where fighting occurred. Exercise caution in these areas.

Transportation

Flights may be cancelled on short notice. Check the status of your flight prior to travelling to the airport and avoid travelling after dark.

The road system is extensive, but many roads in the south are unpaved and there are only sand tracks in the desert. Avoid road travel in the southeast region due to the possibility of landmines. Traffic is heavy on the main east-west coastal highway, close to the principal cities of Tripoli and Benghazi.

The rate of vehicle accidents is high. Poor driving skills, excessive speeds, and traffic violations pose risks. Rental cars are available but expensive.

In the event of an accident, remain calm and contact the local police. Local authorities may detain motorists involved in an accident until the court case is settled, if the accident resulted in loss of life or heavy damage.

There have been recent incidents of vehicle ambush and carjacking resulting in injuries.

Use luxury, air-conditioned buses for intercity travel.

Taxis are available. Negotiate fares prior to departure.

Consult our Transportation Safety page in order to verify if national airlines meet safety standards.

Health

Related Travel Health Notices
Consult a health care provider or visit a travel health clinic preferably six weeks before you travel.
Vaccines

Routine Vaccines

Be sure that your routine vaccines are up-to-date regardless of your travel destination.

Vaccines to Consider

You may be at risk for these vaccine-preventable diseases while travelling in this country. Talk to your travel health provider about which ones are right for you.

Hepatitis A

Hepatitis A is a disease of the liver spread by contaminated food or water. All those travelling to regions with a risk of hepatitis A infection should get vaccinated.

Hepatitis B

Hepatitis B is a disease of the liver spread through blood or other bodily fluids. Travellers who may be exposed (e.g., through sexual contact, medical treatment or occupational exposure) should get vaccinated.

Influenza

Seasonal influenza occurs worldwide. The flu season usually runs from November to April in the northern hemisphere, between April and October in the southern hemisphere and year round in the tropics. Influenza (flu) is caused by a virus spread from person to person when they cough or sneeze or through personal contact with unwashed hands. Get the flu shot.

Measles

Measles occurs worldwide but is a common disease in developing countries, particularly in parts of Africa and Asia. Measles is a highly contagious disease. Be sure your vaccination against measles is up-to-date regardless of the travel destination.
 

Polio

There is a risk of polio in this country. Be sure that your vaccination against polio is up-to-date.

Rabies

Rabies is a disease that attacks the central nervous system spread to humans through a bite, scratch or lick from a rabid animal. Vaccination should be considered for travellers going to areas where rabies exists and who have a high risk of exposure (i.e., close contact with animals, occupational risk, and children).

Typhoid

Typhoid is a bacterial infection spread by contaminated food or water. Risk is higher among travellers going to rural areas, visiting friends and relatives, or with weakened immune systems. Travellers visiting regions with typhoid risk, especially those exposed to places with poor sanitation should consider getting vaccinated.

Yellow Fever Vaccination

Yellow fever is a disease caused by the bite of an infected mosquito.

Travellers get vaccinated either because it is required to enter a country or because it is recommended for their protection.

* It is important to note that country entry requirements may not reflect your risk of yellow fever at your destination. It is recommended that you contact the nearest diplomatic or consular office of the destination(s) you will be visiting to verify any additional entry requirements.
Risk
  • There is no risk of yellow fever in this country.
Country Entry Requirement*
  • Proof of yellow fever vaccination is required if you are coming from a country where yellow fever occurs.
Recommendation
  • Vaccination is not recommended.
  • Discuss travel plans, activities, and destinations with a health care provider.
Food/Water

Food and Water-borne Diseases

Travellers to any destination in the world can develop travellers’ diarrhea from consuming contaminated water or food.

In some areas in North Africa, food and water can also carry diseases like hepatitis A, schistosomiasis and typhoid. Practise safe food and water precautions while travelling in North Africa. Remember: Boil it, cook it, peel it, or leave it!

Schistosomiasis

Schistosomiasis is caused by blood flukes (tiny worms) spread to humans through contaminated water. The eggs of the worms can cause stomach illnesses like diarrhea and cramps or urinary problems. Risk is generally low for most travellers. Avoid swimming in contaminated water. There is no vaccine available for schistosomiasis.

Travellers' diarrhea
  • Travellers' diarrhea is the most common illness affecting travellers. It is spread from eating or drinking contaminated food or water.
  • Risk of developing travellers’ diarrhea increases when travelling in regions with poor sanitation. Practise safe food and water precautions.
  • The most important treatment for travellers' diarrhea is rehydration (drinking lots of fluids). Carry oral rehydration salts when travelling.

Insects

Insects and Illness

In some areas in North Africa, certain insects carry and spread diseases like Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever, leishmaniasis, malaria, Rift Valley fever, and West Nile virus.

Travellers are advised to take precautions against bites.


Malaria

Malaria

There is no risk of malaria in this country.


Animals

Animals and Illness

Travellers are cautioned to avoid contact with animals, including dogs, monkeys, snakes, rodents, birds, and bats. Certain infections found in some areas in North Africa, like avian influenza and rabies, can be shared between humans and animals.


Person-to-Person

Person-to-Person Infections

Crowded conditions can increase your risk of certain illnesses. Remember to wash your hands often and practice proper cough and sneeze etiquette to avoid colds, the flu and other illnesses.

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and HIV are spread through blood and bodily fluids; practise safer sex.


Medical services and facilities

Medical services and facilities

Medical facilities are limited. Some medicines are in short supply.

Keep in Mind...

The decision to travel is the sole responsibility of the traveller. The traveller is also responsible for his or her own personal safety.

Be prepared. Do not expect medical services to be the same as in Canada. Pack a travel health kit, especially if you will be travelling away from major city centres.

You are subject to local laws. Consult our Arrest and Detention page for more information.

Illegal or restricted activities

Do not criticize the country, its leadership or religion. Harsh penalties may be imposed.

Homosexual activity and sexual relations outside of marriage are illegal.

Do not photograph military sites or personnel.

Penalties for possession, use or trafficking of illegal drugs are strict. Convicted offenders can expect detention or other penalties.

Customs

Firearms, religious materials, antiquities, medications and currency are subject to strict customs regulations.

Dual citizenship

Dual citizenship is not legally recognized, which may limit the ability of Canadian officials to provide consular services. You should travel using your Canadian passport and present yourself as Canadian to foreign authorities at all times. However, Canadians of Libyan origin are the exception, since they run the risk of seizure of their Canadian passport, long interrogations and problems leaving the country if they are deemed in violation of this law. Consult our publication entitled Dual Citizenship: What You Need to Know for more information.

Child custody

Child custody decisions are based on Islamic law. It is extremely difficult for a Canadian woman, even if she is a Muslim, to obtain custody of her children through a court decision, unless she decides to stay in Libya. Regardless of parental marital status, children of Libyan fathers acquire Libyan citizenship at birth, and must enter and leave Libya on Libyan passports. Canadian mothers require their husband’s permission to take their Libyan children outside the country.

Dress and behaviour

Islamic practices and beliefs are closely adhered to in the country’s customs, laws and regulations. Dress conservatively, behave discreetly, and respect religious and social traditions to avoid offending local sensitivities.

Business disputes

Your passport might be confiscated in a business dispute.

Money

The economy is primarily cashed-based. The currency, the Libyan dinar (LYD), is non-convertible outside the country. Only U.S. dollars, euros, British pounds, Swiss francs and Tunisian dinars can be converted into dinars. U.S. dollars can be exchanged at official exchange counters or banks. Adhere to the rules regarding currency declarations and exchange rates. Automated banking machines are not readily available.

Climate

The rainy season extends from November to March.

Temperatures can reach 40°C between June and September. The desert area can be extremely hot during the day with cool nights. Follow regional weather forecasts and plan accordingly.