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Africa > North Africa > Bi'r Tawīl

Bi'r Tawīl

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Flag of the Kingdom of North Sudan, a micronation that claims Bir Tawil
The location of Bi'r Tawīl, shown as the white area between the yellow and blue borders

Bi'r Tawīl is one of the few lands outside Antarctica that is officially Terra Nullius, neither belonging to nor claimed by any country. It lies between Egypt and Sudan in a trapezoid shape and has no residents.

Understand[edit]

Sudan and Egypt have been in a wider border dispute for over 50 years around the Hala'ib Triangle, and base their claims on historical maps that show Bi'r Tawīl as belonging to the other country. Any attempt to assert sovereignty by either country over Bi'r Tawīl would undermine their position in the main border dispute; this 2060 km² (800 sq mi) of landlocked desert therefore remains unclaimed by any recognized country. There have been attempts by individuals to establish a country in this area, but given the remoteness and inhospitable environment no permanent residents are to be found.

Get in[edit]

Bir Tawil is extremely isolated and access is extremely difficult. The nearest airport to the area is Abu Simbel Airport in Abu Simbel, Egypt approximately 160 km away. No major roads connect to Bi'r Tawīl, but if you want to enter the area by pick-up truck, there are tyre tracks that lead into the region.

Two countries border Bir Tawil; Sudan on the south and Egypt on the north. From both Egypt and Sudan, the best jumping-off points for accessing Bir Tawil is the Nile River region: in Egypt, Aswan is a good jumping-off point, and in Sudan, Abu Hamad is a good jumping-off point, being on a section of the Nile River that extends to the north towards Bir Tawil.

Get around[edit]

There are no established roads or trails in Bir Tawil, although traders leave behind what looks like "tyre tracks" which are visible on Google Earth.

See[edit]

There are several mountains and wadis in this area. As it is in the middle of a desert and far away from civilization you have a good chance of seeing more stars than in, perhaps, downtown New York City.

Flags are surprisingly a common sight in Bir Tawil because so many people put flags on the territory to claim it for themselves.

  • 1 Jabal Tawil. A mountain in Bir Tawil that stands at more than 2,000 ft (610 m)

Do[edit]

Do pretty much whatever you want. There are no local laws and you are a long way from civilization, although laws in other countries can potentially apply to acts committed here.

Eat[edit]

Food should be brought in, as there is nothing to buy and hardly any edible plants.

Drink[edit]

Likewise, make sure to bring plenty of water, as this is a desert.

Sleep[edit]

As there are no cities or permanent settlements of any kind, a tent will be useful for sleeping in.

Stay safe[edit]

Learn desert safety. For obvious reasons you shouldn't rely on any kind of government entity to provide you with safety or help in case of any kind of emergency.

Go next[edit]

  • The surroundimg countries of Egypt and Sudan.
  • To the northeast, the Hala'ib Triangle is claimed by both countries as part of the same territorial dispute. It's larger in area and has access to the sea.
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