25-Feb-2018 -- Ahead of this trip I researched how this confluence can be approached. With only 45 km beeline from Beirut and just 200 m from a drivable road it shouldn’t be too difficult. Google calculates 1:30 hours for the journey.
However, this doesn’t take into account the political tension which Lebanon is presently facing. According to the UK travel advice for Lebanon, this confluence point is currently in the orange zone where only essential travel is advised. But since this is the only confluence point located in Lebanon, visiting this point was “essential”.
To avoid all trouble and to make sure we reach this confluence point, we took an unusual step: we engaged a travel agency in Beirut to take us to the confluence which included a driver and a translator. I tried my best to explain to the travel agency where I want to go and what it means to visit this point. Everything seemed to be clear, agreed and contracted.
The round trip time would be only 3 hours but since we had engaged the driver and translator for a whole day I added the Umayyad City of `Anǧar (8th Century) and the Roman Jupiter and Bacchus Temple in Baalbek to the program. Both places and the confluence point are located in the Bekaa Valley, which is east of the high Lebanon Mountain Range and west of the Syrian border. All 3 sites can be easily visited in a day.
The driver and guide picked us up at 8 AM from our hotel. But before I could even say a word they announced that they need to clarify the itinerary with me: they would not accompany me to the confluence. Hadath (the village nearby) would be an unsecure area. And to make sure all discussions about visiting the confluence would end immediately the driver added “this area is controlled by ISIS”.
I knew this was an exaggeration but nevertheless I had no choice but to skip this point. Having just arrived in Lebanon a day ago, should I tell two Lebanese that I know better? True is that the Bekaa Valley is controlled by the Hezbollah, which is an area that two Christian Lebanese from Beirut do not call their home.
So we did the standard tourist trip to `Anǧar and Baalbek, thereby missing the confluence by 11 km.
Ray Yip had made a similar experience when attempting this confluence (without report). His driver also refused to go to the point. But he told me that there is an official press office of Hezbollah in Beirut, and best would be to go there to ask for a letter of permission to go, so they know the purpose, and may send a liaison officer to go with you.
CP Visit Details:
- Minimal distance: 11.3 km
- Time at the CP: 10:15 AM
- Measured height: 1020 m
- Position accuracy: 4 m
- Topography: hilly
- Weather: overcast, 8° C (felt temperature)
- Given Name: The Hezbollah Confluence
More pictures of our trip can be found here.