Attractions Nearby Libya, Day Trips and Excursions
(Libya, LY, North Africa)
Crossing Libya's border to reach a neighbouring country is not usually a straightforward experience. Indeed, it is frequently not possible to travel overland to Algeria
, Chad or Niger.
Consequently, it is worth checking well in advance if you are interested in heading outside of Libya and planning excursions to any of these nearby destinations and attractions. Another option is to take a flight instead. Egypt
and Tunisia are far more easily accessed, boasting ancient pyramids and tropical beaches respectively.
To the west of Libya can be found the rocky landscapes of the Algerian Sahara Desert. In this part of Algeria, towns are few and far between, with Djanet being the largest settlement. Nearby is Tassili n'Ajjer, the location of a vast rock art collection which comprises some 15,000 paintings. Algeria's civil war of the 1990s is now over and the country is slowly but surely taking steps into the modern world of tourism. Algiers is the bustling capital, with an ancient Casbah, splendid mosques and the famous Monument of Martyrs. Alternatively, you may well like to marvel at the mountainous scenery at Assekrem, immerse yourself in the Saharan culture at Tamanrasset, admire the desert architecture of Timimoun, or shop for souvenirs at the Muslim town of Ghardaia.
At the most north-western corner of Libya is the popular tourist destination of Tunisia. Indeed, holiday makers have flocked to Tunisia's gorgeous sun-drenched beaches for many years. Just 33 km / 21 miles from the Libyan border lies Ben Gardane, a small coastal town founded by the French in the late 19th century. Nearby Medenine is a lively town with plenty in the way of atmosphere and traditional buildings known as 'ghurfas'. Sidi Bou Said is another appealing Tunisian town, with quiet northerly Mediterranean beaches. Djerbe, the most sizeable of all North African islands, lies close to the coast of mainland Tunisia and boasts some stunning sandy beaches, while in the interesting capital, Tunis, the streets of the characterful Medina area are packed with market stalls, small shops and street traders. Although Tunis is a coastal city, it does lack the beaches of the main Tunisian tourist resorts, but more than makes up with its museums, mosques and historic Cathedral of St. Vincent de Paul. Additional attractions in Tunisia include the World Heritage Site and resort of Sousse, the ancient Phoenician city of Monastir, and the Jebil National Park, with its photogenic rock formations and dunes.
A small northern corner of Niger borders onto south-western Libya. Of particular note in this remote desert region is the Djado Plateau, where visitors can explore the ruined citadels of Djado and Jabba and the surviving ancient cave art nearby. To the south is the oasis of Dirkou, once an important hub for travellers and Trans-Saharan traders. Also of note are the sand dunes of the Tenere Desert (part of the Sahara), the mud mosque and desert scenery at Agadez, the mud-brick houses of Zinder, and the wild giraffes at Koure. Lying in the far south-western region of Niger, Niamey is the capital city and home to sights such as the Cathedral de Maorey, the Grande Mosque, the Musee Nationale and Zoo, and the Centre Culturel Franco Nigerien, while you may also like to catch one of the frequent concerts at the Centre Pour la Formation et Promotion Musicales.
The northern slopes of Chad's Tibesti Mountains descend to meet Libya's southern border. This region features some incredible scenery, including extinct volcanoes, as well as deep gorges and ancient cave art dating back to the 5th century BC. The nearby hot springs of Soboroum are thought to have therapeutic properties. Most visitors to Chad spend a day or two in the capital, N'Djamena, where the Marché Central, the Musee National Tchadien and the Cooperative Artisanle are worth looking out for. Elsewhere in Chad, consider visiting the desert rock formations at Ennedi, watching the wildlife at the Zakouma National Park, exploring the village of Gaoui, or shopping for souvenirs at the market town of Bol, as well as perhaps taking a stroll alongside the Chari River at the city of Sarh.
Libya borders onto Egypt's Western Desert. Largely ignored by tourists, who are instead intent on exploring the Nile Valley and Pyramids, this area was formerly known as the Libyan Desert and covers a vast area of some 680,000 square kilometres / 42,250 square miles. Attractions include desert expeditions into the 'Great Sand Sea', as well as trips to the oases of Baharia, Farafra, Dakhla and Kharga. On the north-eastern side of Egypt are the city attractions of Cairo
(the capital) and the famous beach resorts of Alexandria
. Head south of Cairo and you will eventually reach Sharm el Sheikh
, both of which front the Red Sea and boast superb scuba diving opportunities. Further south, Luxor
complete the list of prominent Egyptian cities.
Although Sudan may well be one of the biggest of all the African countries, it is far from being a popular tourist destination. Located to the south-east of Libya and directly south of Egypt, Sudan covers roughly 2.5 million square kilometres / 965,250 square miles. Whilst there are often conflicts in Sudan and many areas of the country are therefore off-limits, the north-eastern section of the country is considered to be extremely safe and accessible. Sightseers visiting Sudan may like to check out the archaeological sites and pyramids within the northerly deserts, as well as exploring the capital city of Khartoum, located at the point where the Blue Nile and the White Nile rivers come together. Khartoum tourist attractions are in plentiful supply and include the Presidential Palace, the Sudan National Museum, the Ethnographic Museum, the Al-Mogran Family Park, the pretty Nile Street, the monthly Changing of the Guard ceremony and the Souq Omdurman - one of Africa's biggest markets.