9th March 2013 W/P 102 1369mtrs N09.31’31 E044 04.359 Hot 39c
If you change a Hundred Usd into Somaliland schillings …you will need a wheelbarrow to carry the paper notes (well nearly)….lol…its true. Largest Somaliland note Som sch 500 around Usd.015
Thanking the Owner Mr Abdilgadir Hashi Elmi For his gracious offer for us to stay at the relaxing Maan-soor Hotel Berbera. The previous Hotel policy ‘’No-camping inside the Hotel ground’’ ( at Hergeisa and Berbera has now changed. Overlanders like us are welcome to take refugee inside the grounds as long as we eat the food on their great menu …..as we did every day…just great, and respect all other Hotels facilities. PLEASE GO IF YOU ARE IN Somaliland it was just great to visit people which have not been contaminated by over tourisum.
It’s safe and happy just visit Somaliland and meet and see some wonderful people. Please check out www.maan-soor.com
Maan-soor Hotel Hargeisa www.maan-soor.com
Somaliland Goolis Mountains in the distance.
THE ALL IMPORTANT CAR DOCUMENT available from the Somaliland consulate in Addis around 600BIR
Port of Berbera Somaliland with a few marine relics from the past.
The old fish factory and the Tom cats.
The Port of Berbera we could not initially enter.
Berbera A wonderful sculpture in the middle of a roundabout.
The original constructor’s owner (centre) of the Maan-soors Hotel in Hargeisa and Berbera.
19,000 kilometres from Blajan France and Victor is unable to take us any further. I watch the blue waters race along the sand and stare out to sea, this was it the edge of the Horn of Africa, the Gulf of Aden blue and inviting the water laps my feet as I squeeze my toes into the salty sand……..this is where I had chosen to come…but the reality of my plans to exit the African Continent from Berbera was dawning fast there were no more kilometres which could pass beneath Victors wheels ….it was now up to me to find a solution.
I watch a huge tanker far off on the horizon make its passage south, once dangerous waters but the tanker looks old as I focus my older binoculars maybe nobody wants such an old tanker …I thought.
Camels gracefully stroll along the beach the owner walks with them, maybe 90 Camels or more I try to count as they cross the soft sand their meandering path not far from the waters edge occasionally stopping at a lush green Acacia bush nibbling at those thorny stems now and then.
I feel a sense of achievement but also a sense foreboding of what next????…crickey what if I can’t get a boat from here it’s along way back…my
I return to Elayne sitting behind the hotel fence a 100mtrs from the Gulf of Aden… we are just waiting for darkness to fall so we can camp outside the hotel grounds as the general manager does not want us to camp inside. Their is a Somaliland Police house only 50mtrs from the Moorsor Hotel’s fence, we can park there all looks to be fine and a safe spot to rest.
The previous day was one of disappointment as we had arrived in Berbera from Hargeysa some 160 klm’s. Our disappointment was not the scenery we were in groused with watching the landscape change constantly as we dropped from 1369 mtrs in Hargeysa to sea level at Berbera.
No the scenery was not our disappointment , we had tried to see if we could gain entry to the Port of Berbera as we arrived in time to explore this option and gather what information we could as early as we could, but this proved to be impossible.
Turned away at gun point we had no chance to enter the Port of Berbera. Army clothed men took shelter from the early afternoon sun as I tried to explain our problem. Nobody understood my request, and they pointed us back to the centre of town……go…go…go.
We cannot negotiate anymore our insistence to try and go into the Port now making the Army clothed guards raise their voices and shout for us to leave ….go….go….immediately as more people gathered around the crowd swelling was not what they wanted. No they would prefer a quite relaxing time clutching their machine guns chatting to each other chewing Khat without being bothered by us. Waving their machine guns at us chewing and spitting I had no option but to leave.
The Khat chewing is everywhere making their teeth stained their speech almost unrecognisable as their checks swell up with munched chewed leaves like some cow regurgitating its cud. Officials, Police, Army, everybody carries branches of green leaves around with them chewing like cows.
We leave laughing army clothed men returning to there shade chewing the Khat, they had been successful turning us back the locals joining in the triumph repelling our insistence and waving their hands for us to go.
I meander around the outskirts of the port eventually finding some fishing boats and a local fish factory, trying to explore the option of some fishing boat heading across to Yemen.
By time we found the fish factory most of Berbera was a buzz, some strangers were in town with an even stranger looking vehicle…and they had tried to enter the Port.
We had just stopped at the fish factory and within a few minutes car sand locals wanting to know what we were doing had arrived in droves.
I tried to explain we need a boat to take us and our car to the Arabian peninsular…Yemen (if this was an option) Oman, Dubai, anywhere of this Continent.
To small one man explains our fishing boats are to small….his English understandable…small small he exclaims.
We can see the main Port across a small bay riddled with sunken wrecks some lay half submerged eaten by rust hulks from the past now refuge for colonies of sea birds. Piles and piles and piles of plastic bottles lay beached amongst raw untreated effluent oozing from holes in a wall alongside us. Large tom cats hang around fighting with others. I watch one large cat drag a fish carcase into a half submerged fishing boat.
The man points…… this boat for you… I follow his finger and can see a large cargo vessel laying at anchor….this good this good he keeps repeating ……..I shake his hand and thank him for his advice he can see he has been successful in directing me and he is happy.
I tip toe back across the colourful plastic bottles moving in harmony with the small waves finally reaching this land. The large Tom cat hisses as I pass close by to his fish carcase the other cats sit nearby waiting.
I nod my head once again and agree with his observations it was clear the small fishing boats were never going to be an option.
I return to Victor as throngs of locals surround Elayne struggling for air…..Chris it stinks here of rotten fish, cats and I have everybody trying to make friends the BO is also getting a little over powering.
We are tired as usual and we need a break, our luck not holding out we feel exhausted 19,000 klms from Europe heat, dust, and now we sit at the edge of the Continent with no way of entering the port. There is a sense of dismay Elayne not happy with my decision to try to just arrive and wing it along hoping I would find a boat leaving the same day we arrive.
A car stops nearby Victor it has blackened windows and we cannot see in. 3 guys step out …can we help you one young man calls out. I reply…maybe……They all exit the car and wander over pushing there way through the small crowd of locals. I can hear the smaller young man has a north England accent. He is chew Khat …he spits the juice from his mouth next to my feet. WOW what a car…..I can drive it…..No I reply I am afraid you will not be able to. I am not sure if anything is sinking into his spaced out state.
The locals explain to our new Khat chewing friend in Arabic our needs…come with me we know the shipping agent for the port he will help you. Not 3 blocks away we all arrive at the shipping agents office.
It’s not something you would have immediately recognized as and shipping agents office …but there was a sign which did stat the fact….mmmh…were things looking up. Nothing was going to happen the three men inform me …we will need to wait until after 4.00pm and the company will have an answer. Victor is once again completely surrounded poor Elayne entombed.
It was a brief encounter with a Berbera shipping agent his English just so I was struggling to find continuity in any direction, causing me no end of frustration.
My new Khat chewing north English accent friend keeps telling us…..no problems man…..they will help us get a boat…relax …relax as another handful of lush green leaves entered his mouth, spitting an chewing all three men at the same time, I felt I had joined a herd of Jersey dairy Cows, as the walk and much their way back to the car……follow us…relax……just follow us…..we are going to get you out of here. The doors of the car slam shut all is black once again….their last words ring………we are going to get you out of here.
It’s the usual thing Elayne I exclaim as I climb back into Victor Elayne guarding the car from inside keep back the inquisitive locals. ….what ….Elayne exclaims…..we are going to follow them???…..Elayne is not happy…where are we going?….what is the news of any boat?. I am not really sure …it’s difficult to follow these guy’s. And the shipping agent’s English is pretty basic.
I pull off following the backed out windows their dust enveloping us as we head out of town.
Cutting across what looks like mud flats and broken buildings and a large statue of a ship at an old roundabout we head towards the beach, finally arriving at the Moorsor Hotel. It is a few klm’s out of town but initially looks as if it caters for the better held as we again spot a row of UN vehicles. Victor finds some shade and we step out into a cool on shore breeze the Gulf of Aden just a 100metres away.
It is peaceful no throngs of locals surrounding Victor Elayne is happier I can see. The 3 men find us a table in the shade and we order lunch. How can you eat I exclaim you all look as if you already have you greens…they laugh…No alcohol …you have to get some highs, they reply.
They are very friendly and helpful telling us the agent will call them back around 4.00pm to see if you can go on a ship.
It all begins to sound promising as I decipher the conversation in a more relaxed way, and the affects of the Khat are wearing off.
We offer to pay for them all it was fight but finally they relented, they had really gone out of there way to help it was the least I could do. I felt a little more optimistic we had made the right contacts and something will happen even if they are herbivores.
Our main contact in Berbera, An absolute ambassador of Somaliland a great guy so very helpful who will arrange anything at an almost free service (please do not abuse just offer he will reject your money anyway)
Immigration exit procedures
Berbera Port entry
Shipping Dhow Ro/Ro
Faisal Mohomed Ali Phone 252-2-4422591
Email firstname.lastname@example.org ….THE Story how we left Somaliland will continue…….In Sha-la