This website is dedicated to the Libyan Desert (or Eastern Sahara), one
of the least explored and most strikingly beautiful places on this planet.
Last updated: 23rd April, 2018. What's New?
The site contains three sections:
The Libyan Desert
Contains general background information on the Libyan Desert, including geography, a detailed account of and various original documents relating to its history and exploration, descriptions and photo galleries of the main rock art and archaeological sites (Wadi Sora, the real "Cave of Swimmers", Karkur Talh rock art sites, Ain Doua, Abu Ballas and others) and information on the desert's fauna and flora.
Provides news updates and itineraries for expeditions planned by Fliegel Jezerniczky Expeditions, as well as reports and many photos from past expeditions. Section also provides practical information for expedition participants.
Provides a selection of high resolution Landsat images of the Libyan Desert, as well as links to the few websites, and a comprehensive bibliography of various books books and articles related to exploration, history and rock art of the Libyan Desert, including a full listing of the various editions of Almásy's writings. There are some hard to find old books and maps available.
See also the NEWS section !
|2019/2020 Planned Expeditions updated
The 2018 November Tadrart - Tassili n'Ajjer expedition is confirmed, and we are nearing the minimum number needed for the 2019 March Uweinat expedition to go ahead. For february 2019 a new expedition is announced to Somaliland and Bir Nurayet, we will have the traditional Upper Brandberg trekking and the vehicle based Rock Art of Namibia expeditions in May/June 2019. In the following autumn/winter season a camel supported trek up the Oued Djerat in Algeria will be followed by a return to the Ouri Plain, with an Ennedi expedition the following fall.
|2017 December - Laas Geel, Somaliland
Immediately after the Uweinat expedition with Magdi we made a quick exploratory trip to the magnificent rock art sites of Laas Geel in Somaliland before returning to Europe. Both the conditions and the sites themselves surpassed all expecations, we will definitely plan a longer return to see more of the country.
|2017 November - Jebel Uweinat, Sudan
Our third Jebel Uweinat expedition organised from Sudan, a very enjoyable, problem and hassle-free voyage. We made several treks to the upper areas of the mountain, with some unusual new rock art finds and natural observations along the way. Based on the positive experience anoher expedition to Uweinat is planned for March 2019.
|2017 June - Brandberg - Erongo, Namibia
All our previous expeditions to Namibia have focused on Brandberg mountain, this year we also visited the Spitzkoppe and the hundreds of sites scattered about the Erongo mountains, finished off with a trek up the Naib Gorge at the Brandberg.
|2017 March - Tadrart & Tassili n'Ajjer, Algeria
The Algerian Tadrart is one of the most beautiful desert landscapes on this Earth, not to mention the wealth of rock art sites. With the easing of travel restrictions in South Algeria we made a tour of the Tadrart, followed by another week of cherry picking some of the finest sites in the Central Tassili.
|2017 February - Ouri Plain, Eastern Tibesti, Chad
Our second expedition to the amazing rock art sites of the Ouri Plain along the Eastern side of the Tibesti Mountains. This time we managed to reach further North, visiting all principal sites of the Enneri Borou and Enneri Borboré, making a major new discovery in the latter. The length and difficulty of both the onward and return journeys made this one of the most difficult Sahara expeditions we ever made.
|2016 November - Tassili n'Ajjer, Algeria
We made our very first Sahara voyage together 25 years ago. In November we returned to Djanet to spend three weeks in the Tassili n'Ajjer as a re-make of this first voyage, re-locating several superb remote sites in the central and Northern Tassili.
|2016 June - Brandberg, Namibia
A short but intense trip to the Brandberg to tick off a number of remaining blank spots, including the the lovely U20 site and the lower accumulation of sites in the Umuab Gorge, an ascent of Eros Gorge, plus some undocumented sites in Numas and Hungorob Gorges.
|2016 January - Ennedi, Chad
A thoroughly enjoyable and very successful exploratory voyage to the Ennedi plateau in North Eastern Chad, visiting the extraordinary engravings of Niola Doa, also taking in a good measure of the rock art sites and spectacular landscape along the South Western edge of the plateau.
|2015 November - Jebel Uweinat, Sudan
We completed a smooth hassle free expedition to Jebel Uweinat organised from Sudan, approaching Uweinat via Selima Oasis accross the South Libyan Desert. Things mostly went as planned, we spent a week in Karkur Talh and another couple of days at South Uweinat visiting the principal rock art areas, making several new discoveries.
|June 2015 - Brandberg, Namibia
This year we made a different kind of Brandberg trip, using camper cars to drive around the mountain and to gain access to the lower and middle accumulation of sites in a number of valleys. Aside some easy to access sites, we did manage to see some very remote and unique paintings in the lower altitudes of the mountain.
|January 2015 - Eastern Tibesti, Chad
In January 2015 we succeeded in reaching the immensely remote Ouri Plain along the Eastern side of the Tibesti Mountains. The plain is dotted with hundreds of rock art sites, among them some of the finest paintings in the entire Sahara, all placed in a surreal world of sandstone towers half submerged in golden sand. Being able to visit the region and the shelters of Karnasahi, Fofoda and others surely counts as the ultimate Sahara experience. Another trip is planned for the winter of 2017, conditions permitting.
|2014 November - Tassili N'Ajjer, Algeria
On this trip we re-visited the Tadjelahin Plateau of the central Tassili, visiting Iheren, Tahlahi and many other sites in the area, then continued North via the amazing Tikaidouine shelter to the Oued Djerat, one of the rincipal sites of Saharan prehistory.
|The Diary & Photos of G.J. Mostert, SAAF 15 Sqn.
In 1942 the South African Air Force 15th Squadron was deployed to Egypt. A detached flight of three Blenheims were ordered to Kufra to provide air cover for the Oasis. One of the support personnel was mechanic Gerald James Mostert, whose Photo Album and Diary gives a fascinating insight into the unglorified everydays of the Desert War, untold by the official accounts.
|July 2014 - Upper Brandberg, Namibia
In July we were back to the Brandberg to make a diagonal trek totaling 60 kilometres accross the upper plateau, startng in Circus Gorge, traversing to the Orabes Plateau via much of upper Numas and Hungorob, and descending via the Sesaub Gorge (Basswaldrinne), seeing many of the remotest Upper Brandberg paintings never visited on previous trips.
|2014 January - Tibesti Mountains, Chad
This expedition was 20 years in the making, ever since I have first set my eyes on photos of the mythical Tibesti Mountains deep in the centre of the Sahara. By the time we gained enough experience, the Tibesti rebellion was in full swing, and till recently the area was inaccessible to even the most intrepid travelers. Incredibly the tide has turned, presently the Tibesti is an island of calm in the rather turbulent surrounding desert. We had an amazing three weeks visiting all the important areas of this extremely remote area.
|2013 June - Upper Brandberg, Namibia
Immediately after the helicopter supported trip, we returned to the Brandberg for a nine day trekking expedition. The focus of this trip were the Norther gorges of Karoab, Umuab and Nuwuarib, making our way down the Tsisab, visiting a number of magnificent and very remote sites, even by Brandberg standards.
|2013 June - Upper Brandberg, Namibia
The account of our June helicopter supported expedition to see a good cross section of the principal sites on the mountain. We mostly visited sites seen on previous trips, but circumstances permitted a day of visiting remoter sites in the Circus Gorge.
|2013 March - Jebel Uweinat, Sudan
With access from Egypt and Libya impossible, this expedition was organised from Sudan, approaching Uweinat from the South East accross the South Libyan Desert. All things went smoothly and hassle free, overall a very pleasant experience with several new discoveries in the region.
Wadi Sura - The Cave of Beasts
A rock art site in the Gilf Kebir (SW Egypt)
AFRICA PRAEHISTORICA 26, Köln 2013
513 pp, 445 full colour pages, numerous coloured figures, tables and maps
The long awaited publication on the magnificent Cave of Beasts at Wadi Sora, to be published in August 2013, with a number of articles describing the context and archaeological setting of the site, followed by a complete photographic documentation of the shelter in a 1:2 ratio, in the quality to be expected from the publications of the HBI.The book is now available for ORDER.
|Operation Salam - László Almásy's most daring Mission in the Desert War
Kuno Gross, Michael Rolke & András Zboray
This book is the result of a multi-year collaborative research effort by the authors, following the trail of László Almásy, partially in the musty gloom of remote document archives, but also in a very real sense, in the scorching sands of the Libyan Desert. Our objective was to give a complete and balanced account of the activities of Almásy in North Africa during the Second World War, culminating in the daring Operation Salam which succeeded in delivering two German spies to Egypt across the vast Libyan Desert, practically under the nose of the enemy. A high quality hardback publication on 412 pages, 21x27.4cm (Quarto), with over 500 photos, maps and drawings, half of them historical photographs of the original operation. NOW SHIPPING!
|2012 October - Tassili N'Ajjer, Algeria
In october we returned to the Tassili N'Ajjer. While not all things went according to plan, in the end we had a splendid one week trek on the Tadjelahin Plateau of the central Tassili, visiting the amazingly beautiful sites of Iheren, Tahlahi and many others in the area.
|2012 June - Upper Brandberg, Namibia
Immediately after the helicopter supported trip of early June, we returned to the Brandberg for a nine day trekking expedition, continuing to visit areas not seen on previous treks to the mountain. We managed to see a number of principal and lesser sites of the southern part of the Upper Brandberg which were bypassed on previous trips.
|2012 May/June - Upper Brandberg, Namibia
A fully helicopter-supported six day expedition to the most important rock art areas on the Upper Brandberg mountain. Avoiding the need for the difficult treks, this trip format will be repeated next year too.
|2011 October - Tassili N'Ajjer, Algeria
We have re-visited the Tassili 20 years after our first journey, it still is "the most beautiful desert of all". During an eight day trek on the plateau we visited (and photographed) all of the principal sites of the Tamrit-Sefar-Jabbaren areas.
|Paul Borchardt, the Abwehr and the Harding King letters
My copy of Harding King's "Mysteries of the Libyan Desert" revealed a very different mystery, followed up in the National Archives. A fascinating story of intrigue and espionage set against the backdrop of the Libyan Desert, with a cast of the great early explorers.
|2011 June - Upper Brandberg, Namibia
We have returned to the Brandberg to continue where we left off last year, learning from our experiences. With more effective helicopter support, we managed to see most of the principal sites of the Western part of the Upper Brandberg.
|2010 November - Western Uweinat from Libya
We returned to Libya after a long absence to explore the remaining "white spots" at western Jebel Uweinat. We had an unexpectedly hassle free and absolutely superb trip, making long treks on the granite part of the mountain resulting in a number of important new rock art finds.
|2010 October trip account
Something quite different for a change, this expedition focused on the WWII history of the Libyan Desert, retracing the Egyptian part of Almásy's Operation Salam route and visiting the numerous SDF and LRDG wrecks still littering the desert.
|2010 June - Upper Brandberg, Namibia
The account of our first expedition to the rock art sites of the Upper Brandberg mountain, Namibia. We had a very tough, but amazingly beautiful ten days on the top of the Brandberg, seeing many of the principal sites, a trip we plan to repeat on a regular basis.
|2010 March trip account
We had a very pleasant and fruitful trip to Uweinat and the Gilf Kebir except for the weather. The week long windless heatwave at Uweinat, coupled with freezing mornings and a sandstorm later in the trip will be long remembered...
|Rock Art of the Libyan Desert
Second Expanded Edition now available!
The Second Edition of the illustrated catalogue of all known rock art sites in the Libyan Desert had been published in October 2009, now available for purchase. Nearly 300 new sites and over 4000 new photographs were added.
Note: a special discount applies to those who purchased the First Edition.
|2009 November trip account
We returned to Uweinat after a year and a half's absence. Our objectives were to ascend the summit, and explore some remaining blank spots in the upper areas of the mountain, all of which were met with spectacular results.
|8th August, 2009 - 10th Anniversary of the website launch
It was ten years ago that the precursor to this website made its modest debut. Since then we have come a long way, the event is celebrated with several updates, a little facelift, and the announcement of new expeditions.
|I have finally managed to complete the project of translating all of Almásy's writings relevant to the Libyan Desert into English, including a corrected and annoted transcript of the Operation Salaam diary. PDF or CD versions may be ordered on-line.
|2009 February trip account
The account of our trip organised together with BC Archaeology travel to The Gilf Kebir, with a fine new find in the middle section of Wadi Abd el Melik, and an astonishingly green Wadi Hamra.
|A pharaonic inscription at Uweinat!
In late 2008 Mark Borda and Mahmoud Marei have discovered a pharaonic inscription at Jebel Uweinat, a most amazing find that will require a complete re-thinking of our understanding of the deep desert travel capabilities of the Ancient Egyptians.
|2008 March trip account
Traces of an astonishing amount of recent rainfall were observed all accross the Gilf Kebir, an area where except for a few isolated patches no fresh vegatation was oserved over the past ten years.
|The lost bag of signalman Alec Ross
In August 2007, a bag of a WWII british soldier was found near Wadi Sora, with all personal belongings. Here is the fascinating story, with photos of the finds.
|2007 October trip account
An account of our October expedition, organised primarily to explore unsurveyed parts of Jebel Uweinat. We did make some splendid rock art finds, however the highlight was to observe the aftermath of yet another summer rain, which left pools large enough to swim in all over the mountain.
|2007 March trip account with video footage
An account of our March expedition to visit the rock art sites of Jebel Uweinat and the Gilf Kebir, illustrated for the first time with digital video footage.
|It rained at Uweinat !!!
The miracle we've been waiting for seven years repeated itself! On our last visit in October, Karkur Talh and other valleys were filled with lush green vegetation, and millions of yellow flowers. The flora and fauna pages have been extensively updated with the noted new species.
|New rock art finds in the Wadi Wahesh
Instead of the cancelled Sudan trip, we decided to make a two week expedition, principally to Jebel Uweinat, to continue exploration of the unknown parts. In the upper reaches of the Wadi Wahesh (south Uweinat) we found a very rich group of paintings, some of them in a hitherto unknown style.
|2004 October trip account
Added the account of our October trip to Jebel Uweinat and the Gilf Kebir. The highlight of the trip was undoubtedly the show put on by a horned viper, who proceeded to have it's dinner right in front of our cameras.
|Unpublished historic photographs by F.G.B. Arkwright
Bimbashi (capt.) Arkwright was Commanding Officer of the No.1. Motor Machine Gun Battery of the SDF, occupying Bir Murr at Uweinat in 1934. His sons, Anthony and Philip discovered these photos in a family album, and have very kindly permitted them to be shared with all of us. Some photos show Almásy, as well as the ascent of Uweinat.
|Exploration of Arkenu & Western Uweinat
Account of our 2003 October trip to Libya. Exploration and new rock art discoveries at Arkenu, Karkur Idriss and Karkur Ibrahim. Visit to Jebel Sherif and South Uweinat thwarted by Libyan officialdom.
|Mystery of the "White Blob" solved
Traverse of the Great Sand Sea, exploration and new rock art discoveries near Wadi Sora and Karkur Talh. All in the latest trip account.
|Spectacular rock art sites discovered
A number of truly spectacular paintings and dozens of other new sites were found during our expedition to Uweinat and the Gilf Kebir in October, 2002.
|The SDF Kufra Convoys
The little known history of the Sudan Defence Force truck convoys supplying Kufra from Wadi Halfa in 1941-42. Contains an account intended for Bagnold's never published LRDG history.
|Sister site on the Tassili N'Ajjer
Have created a sister site with many photos and description of rock art sites in the Tassili N'Ajjer, southern Algeria, based on our 1991 and 1993 trips
|Unpublished Bagnold Photographs
Stephen Bagnold, son of Ralph Alger Bagnold, has most graciously provided scans of unpublished photos of the early expeditions.
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