Roman & Desert Splendor
Day 1: Arrival in Tripoli.
Meet with your tour escort at Tripoli airport, and transfer for first glimpse of the city before dinner and overnight at a comfortable hotel.
Day 2 : Tripoli – Qasr al Haj – Nalut – Ghadames (620km)
Early departure for Ghadames . We pass through the Jebel Nafusa and across the Jeffara Plain. At the foot of the escarpment is Qasr al-Haj one of the best examples of a fortified Berber granary with its castle-like structure divided into lots of different chambers and owned by many families to store grain and olive oil, well protected from the elements – and marauders. At Nalut we find another example of these structures, and proceed on to pass through various villages before arriving at Ghadames, a true ‘Jewel of the Sahara’ Dinner and overnight in hotel or guesthouse.
Day 3: Full day in Ghadames
A full day visiting Ghadames, the small ancient trading post that still enchants and captivates its visitors to this day. The old city has been preserved, – hidden amongst new development – but still evoking the desert caravan days of the Touareg and Berber traders. The colourful, decorated house make this oasis a visual delight and deserving of being the jewel of the Sahara We will visit the museum and explore a typical house to learn about how the original inhabitants lived as well as generally exploring its winding alleyways
* Optional excursion into the dunes with 4wd vehicle is €80 per vehicle, including tea ceremony in the dunes. One vehicle required for up to 4 persons
Day 4 Ghadames, Gharyan, Tripoli (720km)
After breakfast we leave en route to Tripoli, stopping at various locations such as Qasr Kabaw – over 700 years old and full of medieval charm. We pass through various Arab and Berber villages on Jebel Nafusa, and stop-off at Gharyan, to visit the troglodyte houses of the Berbers, used for protection against the elements – and invaders. Continue on to Tripoli for dinner and overnight.
Day 5 Tripoli – Sabratha – Tripoli (70km x 2)
After breakfast, we start the day exploring Tripoli. visiting the superb National Museum, the medina with its colourful wares, its courtyards hidden behind ornate wooden doors, and its mosques calling the faithful to prayer. We gain insight into Tripoli’s past visiting some beautifully restored buildings such as the old British and French consulates, and the old Ottoman house of Yusaf Karamanli as well as the old Turkish hammams. We then drive west to the Roman site of Sabratha, founded by the Phoenicians, then dominated by Carthage, and then flourishing under Roman rule. We have a guided tour to visit its basilicas and temples, as well as its theatre – the finest example of its kind, partially restored to host concerts to this day. Return to Tripoli for dinner/overnight.
Day 6: Tripoli – Leptis Magna – Villa Sillin – Tripoli (125km x 2)
Drive eastward to visit Leptis Magna, one of the most outstanding archaeological settlements and well- preserved ancient Roman city to be found anywhere, and a highlight of any visit to Libya. The desert sands covered and protected the site for a thousand years, and with the addition of some careful restoration work, it is not difficult to imagine a working Roman city. Originally a peripheral trading post founded by Phoenicians, it passed through Carthage hands until Romans began arriving in 111 BC. It began to take shape under Emperor Augustus, minting its own coins, and laid out in Roman grandeur. It was not until under the reign of Leptis-born Septimus Severus (AD 193-211) that Leptis took on the stature that would never leave it. We visit the arch of Septimus Severus, the grandest of introductions to the city. The Hadrianic Baths celebrates the arrival of water in 2nd century AD. More incredible sites include the Severan Basilica, the arcaded Forum, the theatre, the port, chalcidicum, the Arches of Tiberius, Trajan. the temples. We then transfer to visit the Circus and the huge amphitheatre where the ‘sport’ took place, whether the preliminaries of lions v shacked criminals, lions v unshackled Christians – or the main event of the mighty gladiator contests. We end the day visiting Villa Sileen en route to Tripoli to view some marvellous intact mosaics.
Day 7: Tripoli – departure
We load the luggage and make a last visit to the medina for some souvenir shopping. Perfume, spices, crafts are all on display in the Souks and all are eager to pass on their wares to you! Transfer to the airport and a fond farewell to your team.
HIGHLIGHTS INCLUDED IN THE PRICE
Tripoli – city tour, visit medina
Ghadames – tour of old town
Sabratha – tour of Roman site
Leptis Magna – tour of Roman site
Visit Qasr al Haj, Nalut, Qasr Kabaw, Gharyan troglodyte houses.
Level: Cultural tour. Magnificent ancient Roman cities. Comfortable, clean hotels ( 2/3*). Long journey to Ghadames, the classic Saharan oasis. (400 miles tar-sealed road) Interest en route – well worth the effort! Hotel upgrades available on request
Departures: anyday departure
Transport: private car/minbus for tour duration
Guide: English speaking tour escort with English-speaking guide/local guides as necessary
Group size: Private tour for 2-4 persons.
Suggested Flights: British Airways or Libyan Arab Airlines not included in price
Accommodation: 4 nights in 2/3* hotel in Tripoli, 2 nights in 2/3* hotel or guesthouse in Ghadames (all with A/C, W/C and private shower.)
Meal plan: half-board basis for entire trip ( breakfast/dinner) except on last day when only breakfast is included
Entrance & excursion fees: sightseeing and excursions as stated in the itinerary