Electrical current is 127/230 volts, 50Hz. Round 3-pin
plugs are used.
The official language of Libya is Arabic (used for all
official business), though some English is spoken, especially in
the cities and tourist-orientated establishments.
Hotels and restaurants usually add a service charge of 10 to
20%. Tipping guides and drivers is expected.
Libya is an Islamic country (97-98% of Libyans are Sunni Muslim)
and therefore visitors should be respectful in terms of following
Arabic customs, particularly during the month of Ramadan when
eating, drinking, smoking and chewing gum in public is forbidden.
Swimwear should be restricted to beaches, and women should dress
modestly, and avoid Arab gatherings where women are not permitted.
Homosexuality is illegal and extramarital sexual relationships are
forbidden. Criticism of the Libyan Government, Islam and the
country itself is not tolerated. Permission must always be sought
prior to photographing people, and it is not recommended that a
camera be used or carried near any official or military buildings.
Libya is one of the strictest countries in terms of a ban on
alcohol and drugs, and neither should be brought into the country,
though smoking is very common.
Although most business in Libya has traditionally been conducted
with state organisations, there has been some movement towards
privatisation. All official documents are in Arabic (it is useful
to have a translator for this) due to government policy, and
although English is often understood official business will usually
be conducted in Arabic. Bureaucracy can slow down any business
process and one should be prepared for this. Business cards are
useful but are not widely exchanged. Suits and ties are the norm,
although due to the heat particularly in summer, more casual
business wear is accepted. The vast majority of Libyans are Muslim
and therefore one should be mindful of Islamic custom, particularly
during Ramadan. Women should ensure that they dress modestly.
The international dialling code for Libya is +218. The outgoing
code is 00, followed by the relevant country code (e.g. 0027 for
South Africa). City/area codes are in use, e.g. (0)21 for Tripoli
and (0)22 for Tripoli International Airport. There are several
Internet Service Providers and Internet cafes are available in
Tripoli and other major centres, as well as some towns. Mobile
phones operate on GSM 900 and 1800 networks and general
telecommunications are being modernised.
Travellers may enter the country with 200 cigarettes or 250g
cigars or 250g tobacco, and 250ml perfume. All alcohol and drugs
are strictly prohibited, as well as all foodstuffs (including
canned goods). There is also an extensive list of banned items,
including any articles manufactured or produced in Israel or
countries that trade with Israel, and it is best to consult a
Libyan Embassy for more information.