Sebha Travel Guide

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Desert outside Sebha

Desert outside Sebha

Howard Banwell

Sebha is the largest settlement in the whole of Libya not on the Mediterranean coastal strip. It is a hell-hole of a place of some 100,000 souls, many of whom are immigrants from all over northern Africa. It has a 'frontier-town' feel to it and is said to run along tribal lines with each ethnic or tribal community controlling its own area. It has a large army garrison, but neither the army nor the police intervene in most areas of town, allowing tribal leaders or gang bosses to mete out their own form of rough justice.   Garbage and sand pile up in the wind-blown, pot-holed streets which are lined with decaying tenement blocks and small, depressing shopping malls plastered with peeling advertising signs. Ugliness permeates the whole place: this is about as bad as it gets. The Funduq al-Mehari, supposedly the most expensive in town, is almost as bad as its sad, sorry surroundings. You are quite likely to be served rotten chicken for dinner, and do battle in your room with a leaking seat-less lavatory, an ancient rattling air-conditioner, and electric wiring that will have you convinced the hotel will be burned to the ground before morning.

If you have no other option (to be strongly recommended), Sebha does offer a base to explore the Fezzan region and serves a stop on your way to Chad and Niger.  If you have not organised your desert trip before arriving here (again, strongly recommended), you will be able to arrange some formalities. Ask around. Sebha is 800km south of Tripoli, and a good day's drive from Ghadhames.  There are daily flights from the capital.

The town's main attraction must be its connection to Gadhafi. Here you find the school he attended. It's said that it's here his political awakening started. Even if the school now is in normal use, looking in from outside, will give you the glimpses you need.  Eating is not as much of a problem as sometimes reported. There are enough places to eat here for you to change your place every day through a weeks stay.

Within reach of Sebha you can (with a 4WD) access the Ramlat Dawada (Idehan Ubari), Idehan Murzuq, and Acacus Desert areas.

Contributors

March 21, 2006 change by virgosg (4 points)

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