Berbera Shipwrecks – Berbera, Somalia - Atlas Obscura

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Berbera Shipwrecks

Berbera, Somalia

A surprising number of shipwrecks visible just off the Somaliland coast. 


Located just off the Somaliland coast in and around the port of Berbera, lie hulking shipwrecks and rusting, half-sunken ships. These wrecks are both gathered in clusters near the port, where the harbor is too shallow for the wrecks to sink fully, and can also be found farther out into the Gulf of Aden.

Berbera is the capital of the Sahil region of Somaliland, an unrecognized sovereign state in the Horn of Africa. In ancient times, Berbera was one city in a chain of important commercial ports located along the Somali coast. It has remained an important place for trade into the modern period, and continues to serve as the main commercial harbor for the surrounding region.

The oldest of the Berbera wrecks dates back to the Ethiopian War in the 1970s—specifically the Ogaden War with the Somali invasion—while the most recent comes from 2013 when a ship caught fire in the port and burned out. This means that a number can be seen from shore, while others will require a boat trip out to get close to; a number of restaurants on the waterfront have one that can be hired for this.

Know Before You Go

Berbera is a three-hour bus ride from Hargeisa. No security or additional permits are required for this route.

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September 21, 2021

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