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.
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. The reason for the existence of these territories is because of a decision made by the United Kingdom in 1902 intended to reflect use of land by the tribes in the region, although they had previously set the border at the 22nd parallel north. 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 multiple individuals to establish a country in this area, but given the remoteness and inhospitable environment no permanent residents are to be found.
Bir Tawil is extremely isolated making access extremely difficult. The nearest airport and civilization is located in Abu Simbel, Egypt, approximately 164 km (102 mi) away from Bir Tawil. No major roads connect to Bi'r Tawīl, but there are tyre tracks that lead into the region which would allow you to enter by pickup truck.
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.
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.
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)
For the most part you can do pretty much whatever you want. After all, you're under no jurisdiction and you're a long way from any civilization, although laws in other countries can potentially apply to acts committed here, especially if you accidentally cross the border into either Sudan or Egypt, which can easily happen as the border is not marked in any way.
Food should be brought in, as there is nothing to buy and hardly any edible plants or animals in Bi'r Tawīl.
Likewise, make sure to bring plenty of water, as this is a desert.
As there are no cities or permanent settlements of any kind, a tent will be useful for sleeping in.
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.
- The surrounding 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.