Travel to Somaliland

Discover the Enchanting Wonders of Travel to Somaliland

Travel to Somaliland

A self-declared independent territory surrounded by nations that don’t recognize it, Somaliland is weird but fascinating. From camel markets to medieval mosques, this is a truly off-the-beaten-track destination worth exploring.

Vegetarians should bring snacks with them, as many restaurants are not geared up for them. Xalwo (jelly-like sweet) and dates are popular. Somalis also adore spiced tea.

Hargeisa

There are few things for tourists to do in Hargeisa. Those who come here to misguidedly check off Somalia on their world travel maps are likely to be content wandering the camel market and snagging a tea from a street side shack. But the city does have a feel that rewards curiosity, and from here a day trip to Las Geel can be easily arranged.

The city was founded as a trading stop on the Isaaq Sultanate’s cattle caravan routes, and its location in the mountainous uplands made it an ideal spot to shelter herds in bad weather or heat. It is now the capital of the self-declared republic of Somaliland – which despite not having international recognition – has long been a hub for regional trade and industry.

It’s also a place that brims with optimism. Somaliland officials are keen to prove their mettle and earn global recognition as an independent state, and the city is a perfect example of what they’re aiming for. The city’s formal Islamic culture (many women wear kaftan dresses, alcohol is banned) co-exists alongside chaotic street markets, modern glass-fronted office buildings and trendy cafes.

Like much of Somaliland, Hargeisa is wired up. Its burgeoning telecoms sector has flooded the country with cheap cellphones, offering some of the lowest rates in the world for calls and data. Local entrepreneurs have even jiggerered their way into bringing internet connections to rural areas, with signals strong enough to support streaming of Orange Is the New Black.

The city is easy to navigate on foot, but most visitors prefer to use taxis. Most drivers are honest, and while there are a few who will take advantage of your situation (by charging an exorbitant rate or taking you to an unlicensed taxi stand), the majority will be more than happy to help. Most hotels, including the swanky Maan-Soor and the ambassadorial Ambassador, have their own cabs. Be sure to book ahead and agree on a price before you get in the car. Otherwise, hailing a taxi on the street can be tricky, and you may need to wait a while for one to pass by.

Berbera

Located on the Gulf of Aden, Berbera is Somaliland’s main port. In antiquity it was one of a series of important commercial cities along the seaboard, but its heyday was in the early modern period when it served as the capital of the British Somaliland protectorate.

The city’s heyday came about because of its proximity to the thriving maritime trade routes between Europe and Asia. Its port is a major commercial centre today, but its streets and beaches still tell a story of how people lived and traded here. The rusty remains of shipwrecks line the coast, and an air of ruin pervades the city.

Berbera’s isolation from the rest of Somalia has allowed it to retain a sense of identity distinct from the country as a whole, and its residents are proud of their heritage. They’re also incredibly welcoming to visitors and will make an extra effort to ensure you enjoy your stay.

It’s not without its challenges, though. Like many self-declared independent states, it struggles to attract investment and the development needed for growth, especially in the areas of electricity supply and urban infrastructure. As a result, the benefits of modernity aren’t realised by all its citizens, and the gap between rich and poor is growing.

Despite its challenges, Berbera is an intriguing destination to explore. Its compact old town, whose alleys are lined with mosques and other relicts of the Ottoman occupation, is a delight to wander around, while the sandy out-of-town beach offers a refreshing break. Berbera is also a good base for exploring the nearby ancient caves at Laas Geel, as well as everything Hargeisa has to offer.

The best time to visit is during the cooler winter months, between December and February. However, the climate in Somaliland can be very hot at other times of the year, so we recommend avoiding this region during the summer. It’s advisable to pack sunscreen and plenty of water, as well as suitable clothing and footwear for the local climate. For women, it’s best to dress modestly, with a headscarf and long wide dresses that cover the legs and arms.

Sheikh Mountains

One of the most impressive things to do in Somaliland is to visit the Sheikh Mountains. It is one of the highest points in Somaliland, and it’s a great place to see the Golis Mountain chain. You’ll also get a great view of the capital, Hargeisa.

The Sheikh Mountains are also home to a small town called Sheikh. You can reach Sheikh by driving through the Sheikh Pass. This is a high-mountain pass that runs north to south from Laaleys to Sheikh. The road is paved, although there are some landmines along the way. The views from the Sheikh Mountains are incredible, and you can see the Golis chain stretching across the horizon.

Another cool thing about Sheikh is that it’s home to some of the most ancient cave paintings in Africa. These paintings date back to 5000-10000 years ago, and they’re in amazing condition. It’s hard to believe that such beautiful artwork could be found in a country as war-torn and impoverished as Somaliland.

Visiting Somaliland is not an easy thing to do, and it’s best to go with a guide. You can’t even leave the capital without an armed guard, but don’t worry, this is just a precaution set in place after a kidnapping of a foreigner a while ago. The guides are generally very helpful and will make sure you have a safe trip. Besides, it’s always better to be safe than sorry in a country as dangerous as Somaliland. So, whether you’re looking for a unique and off the beaten path experience or just want to see what Somaliland has to offer, this is a must-visit destination.

Lake Victoria

Lake Victoria is Africa’s largest lake, and the world’s second-largest freshwater lake by surface area. It is also the ninth-largest continental lake by volume. It lies largely within Tanzania and Uganda with some of its shoreline in Kenya, and it is one of the most important water resources for Africa.

It provides food for millions of people, and its waters are a source of power and transportation. It is a major source of water for the Nile River. The lake and its surroundings are home to a variety of wildlife, including several bird species, chimpanzees, and sitatunga antelopes. The lake is also an important fishing site.

Horn of Africa

Several countries border the lake, and its population is growing at one of the fastest rates in the world. Many of the people living around the lake lack basic sanitation and hygiene, which has resulted in high rates of cholera, malaria, and other water-borne diseases. The sewage from cities and the chemicals and fertilizers used in agriculture pollute the lake.

 

The lake contains more than 3,000 islands, ranging from tiny spits of land to larger inhabited islets. Some islands are renowned for their natural beauty, while others hold treasures of historical significance. For instance, Mfangano Island in Kenya holds ancient rock paintings.

Some of the most famous people in Africa’s history were born or lived around Lake Victoria. The region resisted the European colonizers scrambling for African land in the 1800s, and its powerful leaders fused political alliances between different kingdoms, using Islam as their common denominator.

The lake’s shoreline is dotted with cities, including Bukoba and Mwanza in Tanzania; Kampala and Jinja in Uganda; and Kisumu in Kenya. The most significant city on the lake is the port of Musoma, which handles much of the region’s trade. On May 21st, 1996, a ferry carrying more than one thousand people sank in the lake, and this disaster is still remembered by residents of the area.

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