Jebel Uweinat is the most incredible mountain in the generally flat and featureless Libyan Desert. It is located right on the border with Libya and Egypt and it is situated roughly at the centre of the aridest area; it stands out like an island from the surrounding plain. Its height is sufficient to capture a little rain from the summer monsoon clouds of the Sahel belt that very occasionally, every 10 to 15 years, can reach this far north. However even this little rain is enough to sustain some vegetation and wildlife in the larger valleys.
In prehistoric times, the mountain was densely populated, as attested by the hundreds of rock paintings and engravings that may be found in shelters along the sides of all the main valleys, and even on the high plateaus. More recently Tibou nomads inhabited the mountain up till the arrival of the earliest explorers in the mid twenties, but by 1932 the Tibou were gone, driven away by the increasing aridity.