Self-Drive 4x4 Tour

  • Itinerary
  • Camping Gear
  • Driving Gear
  • OffRoad
  • Sahara Risks


Customisable itinerary: all our tours are 100% customisable: dates, duration and services.
Itinerary Details: for independent travellers and groups:
land rover through the Sahara's sand dunes

4x4 across the sand dunes


4x4 Cars

Self-driving across the desert requires 4x4 vehicles. All the four wheels of any 4x4 car receive torque from the engine and hence the name: four by four. The first number refers to the number of wheels and the second is the number of powered wheels. 4x4 cars are also known as 4WD, and all wheel drive (AWD). These cars were further modified to make them ideal for offroad conditions such as driving across rough terrains, sand beaches and unpaved roads. By using large or additional tires and tall suspension gear off-road vehicles can maintain low ground pressure and traction in order not to sink in the soft sand.



Organise your tour:

If you intend to organise your self-drive 4x4 desert tours across the Libyan Sahara for yourself or for your group, then we can help you with everything you need, from visa on arrival and vehicle paper permits and formalities, to specialist desert experts and required guides. You can design your own route and choose your own sites; or choose the route and decide on the sites as you go after arrival; or just let us know what sites or routes you would like to drive through and we will design a suitable itinerary. Among the most popular off road destinations in the Libyan Sahara are: the magical sand dunes of the Ubari Sand Sea, Wan Case and Idhan Murzuq; the Red Hamada desert; the valleys of Acacus and Metkhandoush; and the Tazirbu -Kufra area.

cars among the rocks and the endless sand dunes of the sahara


hummer in the Sahara



Fixed Vehicle Charges:

There is a fixed vehicle charge payable on every vehicle brought into Libya, regardless of how many times you visit Libya in one year. They were introduced in 2009, and further updated in September 2010 as follows:

  • Motorbikes:?75 LYD
  • Car (ordinary): 150 LYD
  • 4WD vehicle: 150 LYD
  • Saloon cars & 4WD with tinted back windows (privacy glass): 251 LYD *
  • Double & Single Cabin cars (with box at the back): 251 LYD
  • Minibus: 250 LYD
  • Lorries, trucks and other large cargo vehicles: 351 LYD


car with tinted glass

This is what we mean by a car with tinted back windows or privacy glass.



4WD vehicle

Licence Plate:

15 Libyan Dinars, plus 100 LYD refundable deposit, which you will get back when you leave the country. Please make sure you keep the receipt in a safe place.




Car Insurance:

Usually between 10 and 30 LYD per vehicle, for 15 days, depending on insurance company, duration, and vehicle type.


4x4 cars before the Big Arch (Afodzjar) in Acacus

driving down a sand dune in the sahara




Carnet de Passages:

Free if you have an international carnet, otherwise the following amounts apply. Please note that this charge is best paid in US Dollars because the amount to pay is the same in Euro or Dollars: for example, you can pay either 30 Dollars or 30 Euro for your bike:

  • 1 Motorbike: US$30 (US Dollars)
  • 1 Quad: US$30 (US Dollars)
  • 1 Trailer: US$50
  • 1 Car: US$50
  • 1 4x4: US$50
  • 1 Campervan: US$150
  • 1 Lorry: US$287?

group of desert cars in the sahara






Off-Road Sahara Routes

If you are thinking of a self drive tour through the Sahara using your four by four, four wheel drive, all wheel drive, quad, buggy or desert bike, then Libya offers some of the best sand deserts in the world: namely the Ubari Sand Sea and Idhan Murzuk (or Edhan Murzuq). You can design your own route to include all the desert sites you would like to travel through, or we can design a route for you to cover all the areas you specify. Generally speaking, the main routes for desert off road adventure driving include the following routes. You can start from Ras Ajdir or Tripoli and head for the oasis of Ghadames right at the edge of the Libyan Sahara.

  1. Ghadames - Darj - Adiri: there are two routes you can take from Darj to Adiri:

    • Daraj - Wadi Meghrgher (about an hour drive) - Wadi Mana'ah - Wadi Tanarut (half an hour drive) - Bir Al-Ghuzayyil. This is the first stop on the route where it diverges into three routes. Then after half an hour drive, you will reach Gara'et Saga'ohah - then after three hours drive you will reach Hamadat Wadi Mritayyin, then Awaynat Wanin, then all the way to Adiri, mostly through rocky desert, with some occasional sand tracks.

    • The second track from Daraj goes through Wadi Awal and then across to Wadi Didban (Daydaban: rocky desert), where it meets with the second dotted track diverging from Bir Al-Ghuzayyil; then to Wan Henked - Keddalah - Bir (or Ayn) Nahiyah - Bir Dambaba - Wadi Syayil - Gerbaja - Adiri.

  2. Ghadames - Ghat: you enter the Red Hamada and continue until you reach Tijida Iqennin, after which you contine through sand all the way down to Tafilalt. After Tafilalt you reach the tarmac road coming from Germa and through this road you will continue towards Ghat. The route covers the following sites:

    • Ghadames - Taneshri
    • Nazrah - Wan n Tfaskiween
    • Kerbt Wadad - Wan Fijajan
    • Imermaz - Ighar Mellen
    • In Azar - Bin Deqish
    • Tijida Iqennin (end of Hamada)
    • Then through the sand all the way to Timnukaleen
    • Azirigh - Awyetten
    • Timenloulen - Tachiumet
    • Tafilalt.
    • Then you enter the tarmac road towards Ghat, or head east towards Germa and Tkerkiba, or continuw south towards Wan Casa and then to the great sand dunes of Murzuq.

  3. Fezzan - Waw An Namus:

    • Sabha - Ubari Lakes
    • Ubari Sand Dunes
    • Awaynat
    • Wan Casa
    • Wadi Metkhandoush
    • Edhan Murzuq (Murzuk Sand Dunes)
    • Tmessah
    • Waw Al Kabeer
    • Waw An-Namous, and then either continue to Tazerbu and then Kufra, or return to Sabha and then Tripoli or Ras Ajdir.

  4. Waw Na-Namous - Kufra - Uweinat:

    • Waw Annamous - Tazerbo - (about 5 hours driving)
    • Tazerbo - Bezima - (about 6 hours driving)
    • Bezima - al-Kufra - (about 8 hours driving)
    • Al-Kufra - Arekno (Arkno) - (about 8 hours driving)
    • Al Uweinat (about 8 hours driving)
    • Al Uweinat - Kufra (about 8 hours driving)
    • Kufra - Awjla - (about 10 hours driving)
    • Awjla - Ajdabya - (about 8 hours driving)
    • Then from Ajdabiya either return to Tripoli, or head east towards the Egyptin border via the tarma road to Tobruk or via the coastal road.

  5. Design your own driving route: you can modify any of the above routes, combine some f the sites from the above routes, or send us your own route map and the list of sites you would like to see.




Edhan Murzuq

edhan murzuq sand dunes from the sky view

A view from the sky of Libya?s Marzuq Sand Sea (centred at 24.5 degrees north, 12 degrees east).

The above NASA's astronaut photo of Edhan Murzuq was taken from low earth orbit. The photo beautifully illustrates the classic sand masses of the central Sahara.




The Main Fuelling Stations In Libya


fuelling points in Libya

fuelling points



a group of cars in the desert

OneLife Adventure.




How this holiday makes a difference?

We are a Libyan tourism company operating from Libya, we employ local services, and all our camping staff, drivers and desert experts are locals. This means that all operational costs of our tours pour directly into the Libyan economy, and booking your holiday directly with us would make a big difference to all of us in Libya. We provide real experience holidays by arranging for our visitors to meet and mix with the local people, camp and stop anywhere they like, customise their itineraries, attend cultural events and festivals where applicable, and visit local families and try traditional foods. To help preserve and support our local culture and heritage we have provided comprehensive guides and free coverage in our website of local festivals, crafts, industries, rock art galleries, and have created Libya's first online museum of Libyan museums for the world to see and visit, free of charge. Needless to say Libya's archaeological sites are nearly empty most of the time and thus provide a unique and private touring experience.






Camping Gear & Tools

bag    rocksac

The following list shows some of the travel items and tools that you might need to take with you to the Sahara.




Tents: are provided by us if camping costs are included in the price agreed. We can provide single and double tents, or family tents (on request) for the whole family to sleep in one tent.


Sleeping Bag

mummy sleeping bag

Sleeping Bags are an essential part of desert camping. Most tour operators do not provide sleeping bags owing to hygiene reasons, and so it is highly recommended you bring your own sleeping bag with you. Desert nights can get very cold. However, we can provide sleeping bags on request.




Desert boots are essential. Rough terrains, scorpions and snakes are some of the hazards to consider. Always check your boots in the morning after a good night's sleep, as there might be some unwanted guests making a warm home of your leather boots. Do not forget to bring extra shoe laces.




Gloves, warm socks and a jumper are essential for winter desert travel, as temperature at night can drop below freezing point.




Torch: light  will always come handy, especially when exploring caves and camping.



desert boots

Compass: not essential nowadays, unless you are following a particular route on a map.


Sewing Kit

sewing kit

Sewing Kit: does come handy when travelling. The kits normally include cotton threads, needles, buttons, safety pins, needle threader, pair of scissors, and measuring tape.




Binoculars: are very useful of looking at distant and inaccessible mountain features which cannot be reached, especially around Acacus and similar terrains.


Multi Tool

swiss knife

Multi tools are very useful, from opening tins and cans to fixing gadgets and all sorts of things.


Digital Camera

digital camera

It goes without saying that it is almost impossible to see a traveller these day who does not have a camera. A good digital camera with lots of memory is however something else.


Memory Cards

memory card

Memory Cards: the Sahara and its numerous landscapes provide a unique opportunity to amass a unique portfolio of photos. Bring lots of memory cards to fill with lots of memorable memories. Of course, you always can upload the photos to your online storage account wherever you find an Internet connection, but then many cafes in Libya do not provide great upload and download services due to bandwidth shortages.


First Aid Kit

first aid kit

First aid kits are always a good thing to take with you while travelling, especially in the desert. If you require medicine while travelling, you need to make sure you take all the medicine with you before you leave, as these are often cannot be found abroad. Sterilising tablets, paracetamol, antiseptic wipes, and plaster are among the few things one might use occasionally.


Snake Bite Kit

snake bite kit

Snake bite kits normally contain two large high volume suction cups for multiple bites; one small high volume suction cup for small surfaces; easy to use lymph constrictor; scalpel; antiseptic swab; and instructions.


Sun Glasses


Sun glasses are a must have item in Libya and particularly in the Sahara. In addition to protecting your eye from the glare of the bright sun, they will keep desert sand away as well.



map of libya

Good maps (paper or digital) are one of the items every traveller should have.


Travel Guide

lonelyplanet's guide to Libya


Libya Travel Guide: Lonelyplanet's guide to Libya.

acacus map





Driving Gear & Tools



a cog used to symbolise gear

4WD vehicle
Itinerary Code: SD4x4

Recovery & Tree-Saver Straps: when it comes to ropes and shackles one needs to bear in mind that quality pays and that using cheap material can lead to accidents where and when you do not need them. 


Shackles: get only the good rated shackles to avoid accidents. Check with specialist suppliers for specifications.


Synthetic Rope: good quality rope will last longer than cheap ones. You probably need around 35 to 40 feet long rope.


Shovels: it is best to have two shovels: a wide deep shovel is good for shifting sand quickly, while for  digging in hard ground you need a pointed shovel. 


Aluminium Bridging Ladders.


Sand Tracks are constructed from tough high quality aluminium.


Air Helper Lift Kits: assist your rear springs to reduce sag.



GPS devices are now essential to desert travel and desert geo mapping. Building a coordinates map of all the geo locations of the sites of interest and the sites to be visited is now a challenge dedicated Sahara travellers and explorers are actively seeking.


Tyre Deflators:  tyre deflators allow you to deflate tyres in order to increase traction.. Usually preset at 18psi, but for ATVs it is best to use the 0-to-10psi deflators, while for general offroading and sand the 6-to-30psi deflators are recommended.


Portable Compressor: small but powerful portable compressor kit. Can inflate up to 30 inch and smaller tyres. Plug in cigarette lighter power socket.


Hi Lift Jack


Super Winch

Tubeless Tyre Puncture Repair Kit.


Pocket Power: turns 12V or 24V DC battery voltage into 230V AC. Ideal for laptop computers, mobile phones, cameras, mobile kitchen applications, etc.
Input voltage:?12 or 24?volts
Output voltage: 210 to 230 volts


Compressor fridge/freezers: run on 12/24 volt feed, or on 230v with rectifiers. Temperature range: +10oC to -18oC, with external digital temperature read out.


Jerry Cans: extra fuel is a must.






Off Road Driving

4WD vehicle
Itinerary Code: SD4x4

What Does Off-Road mean?

Off-road (or offroad) means off paved roads, off regular highways, or off public roads and streets. For example, an off-road drive is an event that is taking place off or away from normal paved roads, like driving over desert sand dunes, trails, beaches, or across rugged terrains. The term is often used by desert adventure drivers who venture into the desert using 4x4 or 4WD vehicles, and hence the terms: off-road racing; off-road tires; off-road travel; off-road 4x4 driving; off-roading trucks; off-highway truck; etc.


a landrover through wet mud

Mudding is a different kind of off-roading.


Off Road Vehicles

Offroad vehicles include various types of vehicles including Jeeps, lan drovers, Toyota, heavy-duty trucks, HMMWV, motorcycles, tractors, forklifts, cranes, bulldozers, snowmobiles, off highway trucks, dirt bikes and golf carts. Most of these vehicles must have extra ground clearance, sturdy large tires with deep, open treads, flexible suspension, and in some cases front and rear locking differential.




Types of Off-Roading

Dune Bashing

Dune bashing is a type of off-roading adventure in which 4x4s are used to explore desert sand dunes. The technique is also called desert safari and is fast becoming a popular branch of desert driving tourism. The most popular places in Libya are the massive sand dunes of the Ubari Sand Sea (Awbari) and Idehan Murzuk. The adventure is very exhilarating and rewarding, but requires skill and experience. Among the most popular 4WD competitions using such vehicles are Rallies and Desert Racing.

Off-Road Racing

Off-Road Racing is usually refers to desert racing.


Greenlaning, also known as two-tracking, is an easy type of off-roading which uses routes across green forests or green fields, and hence the name. It also uses disused roads across the countryside. Environmentalists stress the negative effects of this and other types of off-roading, like leaving tracks across the green landscape and the damage caused to wildlife.

Rock Crawling

Rock Crawling is the use of modified off-road vehicles to traverse rocky terrains and obstacles. The driver is usually assisted by a "spotter", a person walking on foot alongside or in front of the vehicle to relay information to the driver on obstacles not visible to the driver, often due to the large rocks in the way. The vehicles are modified with very larger tires, special gear ratio, and special suspension system allowing greater axle articulation. The difference between Rock Racing  and Rock Crawling is that there are no penalties in rock racing for hitting cones, backing up or winching as is the case with rock crawling.


Mudding is the attempt to drive through wet mud without getting stuck. Mudding requires special tires other than those usually supplied with four by four vehicles.




History of Off-Road Vehicles

Of course, four wheel drive and off-road vehicles are two different things, despite being related. A 4WD is a vehicle that utilises all four wheels to drive the vehicle on both regular roads and off roads, while an off-road vehicle is specifically designed to be driven off regular roads. The K?gresse Track (see photo below) was one of the first off-road vehicles to be modified.  The vehicle was named after  Adolphe K?gresse who designed the original while working for Russia's Tsar Nicholas II, between the years 1906 and 1916. If you have a close look at the back section of the vehicle you will notice the use of a caterpillar track with a flexible belt, which can be fitted to an ordinary vehicle to turn it into a half-track vehicle. After returning to France, his system was used on Citroen cars between 1921 and 1937 for off-road, Citroen-sponsored, overland expeditions across North Africa and Central Asia. The off-Road vehicles became widely available after the end of World War II when a massive surplus of such vehicles, including the Jeep, where sold in the markets, and soon afterwards off-roading began. Among the most successful vehicles produced are the Japanese Toyota Land Cruiser, the American Jeep, and the British Land Rover and Range Rover . Most recently, the capabilities of off-road and on-road were united in what is known as SUV: short for sport utility vehicle. However, not all SUV vehicles have off-road capabilities.


K?gresse track

An early design of an off-road car: K?gresse Track, after Adolphe K?gresse, 1906 - 1916. Source: Wikipedia.




Risks & Dangers of Sahara Travel


alert sign

Crossing the Sahara has has been a risky adventure ever since modern explorers began the hunt for Timbuktu and Zerzura. Originally explorers followed the existing caravan routes linking the coastal North African countries with sub-Saharan Africa. During those days caravanists had to take a considerable risk in order to get their products across the Sahara. Political motives and religious fever also were responsible for a number of attacks on European explorers of the Sahara. In fact most of those early  explorers who survived the risks died of infection. Even today, the ever-changing political climate in the region, and the wars in Niger, Mali, Chad, Darfur and Algeria make Sahara travel as risky as ever.

Current governments find it extremely hard to police the Sahara for one reason: it is vast and impossible to monitor. Venturing into the Sahara without a desert guide or a desert expert, regardless of your expertise and sophisticated equipment, remains as risky and dangerous as ever before.



Landmines In Libya

  • http://www.desert-info.ch/desert-info-forum/
  • http://www.the-monitor.org/

Areas reported to have high risk include  the areas along the Chadian border, the Sudanese border, and in the north of Libya Benghazi, Ajdabiya, Bir Hakim, Tobruk, Ghazala, Awjlah. According to official estimate there are between around 3 million landmines still buried in Libya, and that these un-surveyed mines have hindered development in the region including oil excavation and farming. Some areas in Libya have also been affected by the February wars.





a green tick

Check List


If you are planning to visit the Sahara desert during the winter months then it is strongly recommended that you take with you thermal vests, wool jumper, and a thick pair of socks, as temperature drops below freezing point at night. A good pair of desert boots and a warm sleeping bag are also essential. If you are taking any medicine then you should make sure you have enough with you to last you for the whole period of your holiday or trip. The list of things to take with you largely depends on the things you want to do when you get there, but the following list attempts to list the common items needed by most travellers:


To Protect From Cold

  • Heavy duty sleeping bag
  • Warm gloves & thick socks
  • Warm jacket & good jumper
  • Thermal vests & woolen hat


To protect From The Sun:

  • Sun hat
  • Sun glasses
  • Sun protection cream
  • Moisturising cream


To Protect From Wild Life

  • Insect repellent
  • Snake bite kit
  • Water purifying tablets
  • Check with your GP for vaccinations required
  • Mosquito net
  • Sting Relief
  • Good desert boots & extra shoe laces



  • Passport
  • Driving licence
  • Maps & Travel guides
  • Next of kin details
  • Photocopy of your passport and IDs
  • Travel insurance
  • A good book to read
  • Notebook & pens
  • Cash



  • Vehicle inspection
  • Check tools in your toolbox
  • Check required supplies
  • Spare parts
  • Check vehicle documents


First Aid Kit

  • Antibiotics
  • Aspirin or Paracetamol
  • Antibiotics (from your GP)
  • Antibiotic Eye Drops
  • Antiseptic Cream
  • Antihistamine Cream
  • Ear Plugs
  • Latex Gloves
  • Lip balm (lip salve)
  • Rehydration Salts
  • Plasters
  • Imodium
  • Scissors
  • Tweezers
  • Water Purification Tablets



  • Safety pins
  • Sewing kit
  • Medicine
  • Toilet roll
  • Torch
  • Mobile phone
  • MP3 player
  • Binoculars
  • Batteries
  • Digital camera
  • Solar camera & phone charger
  • International electrical socket adaptor