From Kobbei, 40 kilometres (25 mi) north of al-Fashir, the route passed through the desert to Bir Natrum, another oasis and salt mine, to Wadi Howar before proceeding to Egypt.
The westernmost of the three central routes was the Ghadames Road, which ran from the Niger River at Gao north to Ghat and Ghadames before terminating at Tripoli.
Next was the easiest of the three routes: the Garamantean Road, named after the former rulers of the land it passed through and also called the Bilma Trail.
To the east, three ancient routes connected the south to the Mediterranean.
The herdsmen of the Fezzan of Libya, known as the Garamantes, controlled these routes as early as 1500 BC.
This was the shortest of the routes, and the primary exchanges were slaves and ivory from the south for salt.