Monday, March 02, 2009

Ben Walid: An Emerald Embedded in Stone

March 2nd is Declaration Day, which is an official public holiday in Libya. Since I didn't have to work I got together with a friend and we took a drive into the countryside. We'd packed up some bags of things to snack on, and off we went. We ended up in Ben Walid, about a two-hour drive from the capitol, Tripoli.

The drive through the countryside takes you down poorly paved, rutted roads that wind their way through barren rocky landscape with hardly anything to see for miles around. You have to drive at a fast enough pace so that you feel like you are flying over the rough roads. If you slow down the roads just seem worse. And because you have to keep a close watch on the roads to avoid hitting any huge potholes you miss the scenery. But as it's pretty monotonous there really isn't much to see for long stretches of the way. But never mind that because the treat awaits you upon arrival.

When you arrive in the town the first thing you notice is that below you lies a lush green valley and above the valley are rocky hills. The contrast between the dry rocky landscape and the emerald green grass is amazing.

Once in the valley you are overcome with the peace of the place; birds sing, butterflies flit and bees buzz and there is the smell of the grass and flowers - a smell that you never experience in Tripoli.

We parked the car and unloaded our picnic and sat under the trees in the grass. It was lovely.

It almost looks like it could be a golf course. And maybe it could be one day. I took this picture from the top. There is a small hotel above the valley that is under renovation but has some rooms available. There are some Roman ruins in the area but we didn't have time to hunt them down for a visit. It would have meant stopping and asking people and we didn't want to do that. Some signs would have been nice - we'd have been able to get there by ourselves if there were signs... sigh...

Parts of the hilly areas surrounding the valley have remnants of ancient rock dwellings and amongst these are more modern style homes that people live in. There are also many cemeteries with lots of tombs of marabouts.

We had a relaxing picnic and after driving around a while we headed for home. Back to work and school tomorrow.


  1. very nice trip, Have you ever been south of Libya before?

  2. Well done Sis. Khadija. This is the best time to visit that areas of Bani Walid and around. For picnic and to enjoy the nature it is better to go to the valleys beyond Bani Walid; Yhey are more wild and less crowded. For the archeological sites there is a complete ancient city called “BEN TELEES” located about 7 Km on the left hand side of the valley from the entrance of Bani Walid. The pics you’ve posted are great and the way you described the nature in the valley is romantic.

  3. Nice trip, really now is the best time to visit Libyan cities, it's ش spring time.
    The next Sunday is holiday too (i think), it's good time to visit another place ;)

  4. Wow Teri that looks so relaxing and beautiful!
    Do u have any pics u can show us of tileel beach please?

  5. hey its AFNAN again... i just saw ur post on werfella :D im soooooooo happy to see a post on my fathers city its an amazing place and really put a smile on my face.. i have only ever been there once.. and i think like Dr Imbarek said.. BEN TELEES is the best :D no being biased on that one :P
    it my fathers tribe.. i went there last summer and it was amazing.. lil warning though.. not a good idea to wear alllll black head to toe including shades in werfella in the blaring sun lool
    anyways soo hapy to see ur post cnt wait to catch up with ur other posts..:D
    oh one more thing.. u shud really try the WALEEDY olive oil... they r well known for it and its amazing stuff :D ...strong but gooood
    tc xxx

  6. It's refreshing to get out of the city from time to time.

    By the way, I love your blog's new look!


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