We had 2 contacts for organising the shipment of our car to Oman: Jane (+254 720 882 061) and Mario (+254 719 849 474). As Mario’s offer was 1,600.- USD less, we booked with him. Fellow travellers, Uli und Martina – 6x6ontour.eu, were doing the same, just that they were one week ahead of us. We met them at Twiga Lodge, south of Mombasa, before they moved to Mario’s place not far from here, to prepare their car for shipping.
In the evening we got their message that neither their ship, nor our ship one week later, will be going, the next ship is now promised in 2.5 weeks, at the first of February. This might have something to do with the problems in the read sea with the Huthi attacks and the container ships now avoiding the Suez Canal and going around South Africa instead. But we didn’t really know. That we would get the car shipped in the near future felt very uncertain.
The other option would be to drive all the way down to South Africa again, and ship home from there. Not something we would look forward to.
Today we learned, that the ship on the 1st of Februar is full, we will have to wait until the 8th now, but that we will get on that ship is not guaranteed either. We are doomed to enjoy the sun, the beach, the sea for much longer than intended. Such a pain 😉
Mario informed us, that we are on the waiting list for the 8th, which didn’t make us very confident about this date. In the meanwhile we enjoy our beach holiday in Tiwi, maybe karma wants us to relax and slow down?
We get the confirmation that we are booked for the ship on the 8th of February! Hurray!!
Today, we delivered our camper to the shipping company in Mombasa. 2 flat track containers were prepared, and they constructed a nice ramp to drive our car on the container. Uli’s car was there too, and we could watch them lash the cars down. They used new lashing straps and worked very professionally.
We are now staying in a hotel, waiting for the ship to depart and to receive the car papers, before we will take the flight to Salalah/Oman. There is still so much which could go wrong, but we are hoping for the best.
Mario informed us, that already tomorrow, the cars will have to be brought into the harbour and will be there for a couple of days before loaded. He recommended us to hire a soldier to watch our cars while they are in the harbour, which we of course will do. Harbours are never a save area to leave your car standing around.
Our container ship, the Cabo Verde, should have reached the harbour of Mombasa by now, but the marine app tells us, it is hanging around in front of the harbour. The schedule of Maersk had changed online, with the ship going into the harbour on the 7th and leaving on the 9th, one day later than before.
We received our Carnet de Passage, stamped correctly on the 8th of February, delivered to our hotel. We also received the Carnet & keys for Uli, which we will take to Salalah for him. We are going to book our flight for the 11th now.
The ship has finally arrived in the harbour, we are waiting for the loading confirmation …..
The container tracking tells us, our camper was loaded onto the Cabo Verde, tomorrow morning it will finally leave for Salalah/Oman. We will follow on the 11th.
While enjoying breakfast at our hotel (Severin Sea Lodge), we watched first via a ship tracking app that the Cabo Verde is leaving the harbour. A little bit later it appeared at the horizon and we could watch it making its way towards Oman.
We are now on the way to Salalah via Dubai, expecting to arrive in Oman on Monday evening. All looks good.
12.02.2024 / Dubai
We received the invoice of the shipping company in the late evening and immediately made the payment. The critical problem is, that we do not get our camper out of the harbour before the shipping company has received the payment. The operational problem is, that we can only pay in EURO, but the invoice is in US$. Therefore we use a service called “wise.com” which converts the EURO in US$ and does the international transfer to Kenya. Should work much better than a direct transfer from our bank.
13.02.2024 / Salalah
We have arrived in Oman, the “Cabo Verde” with our camper is still on the way, making good progress.
14.02.2024 / Salalah
The “Cabo Verde” arrived on time, in the morning hours, in the harbour of Salalah. Our container was discharged at midday. And the payment is still on the way ….
We visited the agent to hand in our carnet, but they are still waiting for the delivery order. It seams CEVA has no online connection with Maersk, therefore it takes longer. Finally CEVA promised to have the papers ready tomorrow morning.
Of course nothing had happened overnight, so we did some errands, before we went to the agent again, to see how it is going. Uli’s delivery order had just arrived, and ours followed half an hour later. We waited again at the freezing office, until an Omani came, who would take our carnets to the harbour and do the customs.
We then left the agent’s office and waited at a restaurant at the fishing harbour, not far from the container terminal. When we were bored to death, we drove to the gate of the container terminal, in the hope to see our campers leave the harbour.
Again we waited and waited. Just before sunset, we suddenly saw them being moved in the direction of the gate, but they didn’t come out. After a long time, we got a call that the keys were needed for customs, so Uli and Edi walked in, but of course were not allowed through. Uli made many calls and wrote many messages that day, and finally somebody came to take them through. Then they wanted the car registration, so Edi had to came back and get it. They had a long discussion with customs, until the carnets were stamped correctly. Obviously they are not used to handling them. In the meantime night had fallen.
We had to wait again with the trucks parking just behind the gate before they finally left, and we could follow them.
We were told, they would be brought to a warehouse near the harbour, but obviously plans had changed as the trucks drove in the direction of Salalah. Following our camper standing high up on the truck, we were quite relaxed until the truck passed the first traffic lights, mounted across the road. The bed of the truck, the flat track container and our car together was about 6 m high. Only after the first traffic light, the driver realised that he has to take the lane where the lamps are the highest and go between them. Luckily, he passed all of them without dismounting anything or destroying our car.
As it turned out, our destination was an unused plot of land, where a ramp for unloading cars from a truck was standing lonely in the middle. The truck drivers had no idea what to do. The difference was 60 centimetres. They didn’t know, that the wall of the container folds only inwards and not outwards. When they started to collect rocks, we had to stop them. They then disappeared for a break. Again, Uli was trying to sort things out. By then it was midnight, and we were all tired and exhausted. With the manager we agreed, that the drivers should park somewhere save and we would continue the next day.
When the drivers returned, they jumped into the trucks and drove off. They only spoke Arabian, so not communication was possible. Of course we followed them, as it turned out, to the area where the truck company has their big cranes. It turned out, they were finally going to lift the container off the truck and then build a ramp so we can drive the cars down. Obviously, plans had changed again without our knowing.
First they had to find the right shackle, but soon they had the container fixed and were lifting it up, just enough that the truck could drive away. It was lowered to the ground and then they had to fight hard to get the wall down. Our flat track container was a little bit battered, and the wall had to be forced down with a fork lift. When that was done, they brought good material and constructed a solid ramp.
What a relief when our camper was finally standing on solid ground!! Ulis camper was next and for them, the container had to be turned around in the air. Luckily, they had a better flat track container, where it was easier to get the wall down, and soon they were also unloaded. By then, it was 2.45 am!!
From the outside, the camper was completely unharmed and the first inspection of the inside revealed, that everything was fine. Nobody had been inside, not even in the front, as the snacks we had left, were still there.
We parked the camper and as we were completely exhausted, we went to bed as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, at 6 am a muezzin next to us called for the first Friday prayer, a compressor started to make a lot of noise, a truck was starting its engine and a radio or TV blasted next to us. We clearly had to move. After a little rest on a quiet place at the beach, we returned our rented car, went for breakfast, did our first shopping, filled up water and are finally relaxing at the coconut beach of Salalah.