One arch and lots of paintings

Jebel Abcus camp site II Travel Blog

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A closer look at the big arch

The day starts around sunrise with breakfast and coffee and then a short walk to get us started with the day. The daily routine in camping life starts to become still more familiar and we tend to do the things the same way everyday.

 

After our early walk we drive for a short while and gets to a giant arch. I have seen pictures of this arch it is really big it is almost the same size as the biggest arches in Arches National Park in Utah. There are several arches in the area but this one is by far the most impressive we see on our trip.

 

The topic of the day is cave paintings. The area in the south western corner of Libya is world famous for being one of the best spot in the world.

Look how small the guide looks - the guide is the tiny black dot a little bit to the left of the centre of the arch. He is a normal size Arab man.
The other places are Australia, France, Spain and the south east corner of Libya. The paintings are from a time when the Sahara where a green area with the kind of wildlife you will find down in Kenya today. When we drive through the sand dunes and through an area where there from time to time is no sign of anything green as far as the eye can se - then it is a bit difficult to imagine an area with dark green pastures and big game wandering abundantly around the streams with the elephants protecting there off spring against lions and giraffes walking around high above the rest.

 

The paintings describe the changing climate over time - the old paintings got the elephant whereas the new painting shows the arrival of the camel from the east.

The first rockpainting - not the best hence I will spare the world for the rest of the photos from this place.
The later period also have some paintings of the horse and the oldest know painting of a chariot several hundreds year before the chariot were invented anywhere else in the world. Hence this dessert civilization at the very end of the world was indeed a very advanced civilization at the front of the technological scene 2 millennia ago.

 

Every site with the cave painting is really small but they are all pretty close together so the drive from one site to the next is always short only a few minutes maximum 10 to 15. We drive to one peculiar site where the paintings are all missing - they have been removed by a group of French tourist - bloody French. The French tourist had brought with them some liquid that would dissolve the paint on the rock and then a piece of close to get the painting printed on there jersey. In the process they managed to destroy a 12 thousand year old painting which had survived the changing climate from a time with lots of rain to the current dry conditions with only rainfall every 2 or 3 years or less.

Round heads the oldest culture painting on the rocks in Libya. Second spot for rockpaintings.

 

This destruction of the ancient rock art led to the Libya government introduced a complete ban on individual tourism in Libya today you are only allowed to travel with a local Libya guide approved by the Libyan government. Furthermore group more than four needs a tourist police (TP) in addition to the local guide - his function is to protect the historical sights. Why you need a TP if you are more than four is a bit of a mystery to me would it be easier to destroy the antiquities if you are in a small group of say four friend? I guess this is one of the strange regulations in Libya you really should not think too hard about because you will never ever learn to understand the argument.

One pretty big arch around the cave paintings

 

After having spent the day looking at rock art we head for camp - once again they find a splendid camp just under a big sand dune. We set up camp. Must of the happy campers put up there tents within a few meters from the cars but I decided that tonight I wanted to sleep alone in complete seclusion from the rest of the world lost in the dessert with no sign of civilization or humans anywhere to be seen. Given we are a group of 27 in total I have to compromise a bit on the total seclusion from the rest of the world - behind the next sand dune will have to do. I start walking away from camp to find a good spot to put down my swag for the night. I find a nice spot behind the first sand dune and then realize maybe this spot is not quite perfect given it could very easily be the men's toilet for the night.

Cant beat the giraffes they are sort of cute - sight 7
 Therefore I decide to sleep two sand dunes away from the main camp - I walk over the next sand dune and find the perfect spot to camp - there in the bottom of a group of sand dunes is a nice level spot protected against the wind by sand dunes on all sides. This is perfect - I put down my swag and walk back to camp.

 

Just before dinner it is time to walk up one dune to watch the sunset once again - always good with a clear sky it gives you a guarantied sunset - not like at home where you are more likely to have a guarantied cloud cover.

 

Then it is time to cookies - today the whole cookie eating process pass without any major incidence and there are no casualties hence we don't need to rush anybody to the local hospital - which is a good thing given it is half a days drive away minimum.

Sand dunes climing the caves with the paintings.

 

Finally the highlight of the night. Dinner time. We are getting soup - you can't have a main meal in Libya without soup. And then the main course - they prepared a surprise for us today - it is camel and macaroni. The bread to go with dinner is getting a bit old we have been carrying it around the dessert for a few days by no and it is pretty dry. The same goes for the camel meat - camel meat living in a box on top of a pickup truck have a tendency to get dry and though and it is not quite as tasty as it used to be. But it is still eatable and everybody gets there meals and get full.

 

After dinner we spend some time around the fire and talk for a while but the wind means everybody want to go to bed early.

Back to carvings I start to be a bit more critacal by now but this is a couple of pretty good elephants - spot 8
Now I realize my big mistake. I put down my swag two dunes away from camp - but I did that in daylight when it was easy to navigate. Now it is dark and the moon is not getting up for another hour. All the dunes looks a lot more alike in the dark than they did during the day - but I got no choice but to start looking for my camp site. I start walking I am sure it is in this direction - but no I am lost and walking around any more in the dark can get you really lost in this area - so I head back to camp. I go out again from camp trying again to find my campsite. And this time around I got more success there behind the second sand dune is my swag - I role it out and crawl into my sleeping back and go to sleep - just before I go to sleep I remember one thing I should probably set my alarm given the main camp is unlikely to wake me up in the morning - I can't hear a sound from them this night.

Koralifix says:
Interesting blog! Sounds exciting!
Posted on: Mar 13, 2009
tj1777 says:
sorry ;)
Posted on: Nov 28, 2008
liekevo says:
I shouldn't have looked at this blog, now its plus 1 on my (already very long) list of dream destinations ;)
Posted on: Nov 28, 2008
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A closer look at the big arch
A closer look at the big arch
Look how small the guide looks - t…
Look how small the guide looks - …
The first rockpainting - not the b…
The first rockpainting - not the …
Round heads the oldest culture pai…
Round heads the oldest culture pa…
One pretty big arch around the cav…
One pretty big arch around the ca…
Cant beat the giraffes they are so…
Cant beat the giraffes they are s…
Sand dunes climing the caves with …
Sand dunes climing the caves with…
Back to carvings I start to be a b…
Back to carvings I start to be a …
Sunrise at camp site - sun still c…
Sunrise at camp site - sun still …
Walking across the dessert in the …
Walking across the dessert in the…
The open dessert - walking in the …
The open dessert - walking in the…
Campsite in the morning
Campsite in the morning
View from the campsite in the morn…
View from the campsite in the mor…
View from campsite in the morning
View from campsite in the morning
Wind forming the sand next to our …
Wind forming the sand next to our…
The big arch in the distance
The big arch in the distance
Ok lets look still closer
Ok lets look still closer
Sand dune up against the rock next…
Sand dune up against the rock nex…
Landscape behind the arch
Landscape behind the arch
Back side of the arch - agains the…
Back side of the arch - agains th…
The carvings were better than the …
The carvings were better than the…
Carvings - first stop
Carvings - first stop
Carvings - first stop
Carvings - first stop
Sand dunes trying to climb to the …
Sand dunes trying to climb to the…
Hunting at the third spot for pain…
Hunting at the third spot for pai…
Buffallos or ox or whatever - thir…
Buffallos or ox or whatever - thi…
Round head with a companion - thir…
Round head with a companion - thi…
Ox/buffallo - third spot
Ox/buffallo - third spot
Hunting - third spot
Hunting - third spot
Extinct ox - third spot
Extinct ox - third spot
Yet another small arch in the dess…
Yet another small arch in the des…
More giraffes - spot four
More giraffes - spot four
The landscape we are just about to…
The landscape we are just about t…
A cow or something like that - sig…
A cow or something like that - si…
The stick head culture which repla…
The stick head culture which repl…
More cows - sight 5
More cows - sight 5
yet another cow - sight 5
yet another cow - sight 5
Stick heads - sight 5
Stick heads - sight 5
full view of the stick heads - sig…
full view of the stick heads - si…
last look at stick heads around he…
last look at stick heads around h…
The view from the cave - sight 5
The view from the cave - sight 5
More views from the cave hard to i…
More views from the cave hard to …
Getting ready to move to the next …
Getting ready to move to the next…
Dessert landscape - caves with a v…
Dessert landscape - caves with a …
Back to have a closer look at the …
Back to have a closer look at the…
And the landscape
And the landscape
Photo taken of the arch against th…
Photo taken of the arch against t…
Not really happy with that yellow …
Not really happy with that yellow…
Colourfull cliff
Colourfull cliff
close up at the colours of the rock
close up at the colours of the rock
Lunch stop view all over
Lunch stop view all over
Lunch stop view all over
Lunch stop view all over
Lunch stop view all over
Lunch stop view all over
Lunch stop view all over
Lunch stop view all over
Lunch stop view all over
Lunch stop view all over
Camels starts to appear in the pai…
Camels starts to appear in the pa…
Animals on the run somebody chashi…
Animals on the run somebody chash…
Closeup camel - sight 7
Closeup camel - sight 7
More camels and stick heads - sigh…
More camels and stick heads - sig…
Shot of one complete rock - sight 7
Shot of one complete rock - sight 7
From old time giraffes and some ne…
From old time giraffes and some n…
Early day caravan with a stick hea…
Early day caravan with a stick he…
more giraffe photos - sight 7
more giraffe photos - sight 7
they always seem to insist on a ro…
they always seem to insist on a r…
Back to carvings I start to be a b…
Back to carvings I start to be a …
More round heads at spot 9
More round heads at spot 9
Camles coming to the sahara - spot…
Camles coming to the sahara - spo…
paintings - spot 9
paintings - spot 9
Animals from different times - spo…
Animals from different times - sp…
Cows and camels - spot 9
Cows and camels - spot 9
More camels - spot 9
More camels - spot 9
If this was new it would be consid…
If this was new it would be consi…
spot 10 if you want details about …
spot 10 if you want details about…
Some paintings at spot 11 - not th…
Some paintings at spot 11 - not t…
A bit red paint on red rocks - spo…
A bit red paint on red rocks - sp…
A bit red paint on red rocks - spo…
A bit red paint on red rocks - sp…
A bit red paint on red rocks - spo…
A bit red paint on red rocks - sp…
Some text if you can/wants to read…
Some text if you can/wants to rea…
Camels and people - spot 13
Camels and people - spot 13
Stick heads - spot 13
Stick heads - spot 13
Some animals with horns - spot 14
Some animals with horns - spot 14
Some animals with horns - spot 14
Some animals with horns - spot 14
You need your daily camel - to eat…
You need your daily camel - to ea…
This time it is the camel eating a…
This time it is the camel eating …
Old man of the dessert - he should…
Old man of the dessert - he shoul…
The paintings at this spot did not…
The paintings at this spot did no…
This is a really important paintin…
This is a really important painti…
More of these ox/cow or whatever -…
More of these ox/cow or whatever …
Last paintings for the day - spot …
Last paintings for the day - spot…
Setting up the main camp - you can…
Setting up the main camp - you ca…
Sunset from the dune overlooking t…
Sunset from the dune overlooking …
Sunset at the campsite
Sunset at the campsite
They are getting ready with the ca…
They are getting ready with the c…
The sunset dune
The sunset dune
And there it is - the sunset. LAst…
And there it is - the sunset. LAs…
Jebel Abcus camp site II
photo by: tj1777