Somaliland is the country that isn’t. Still unrecognized by the rest of the world despite more than twenty years of de facto independence, Somaliland is an exciting nation reverberating with a fascinating history and nomadic heritage.
Our group tours and tailor-made holidays to Somaliland take you to a country that could not be further off the tourist trail, and can rightly be considered to be one of the last true frontiers of African travel. From the modern capital Hargeisa to the ancient port of Berbera, from desert communities to some of the best rock art on the continent, Somaliland has much to offer the intrepid traveler.
It’s a wonder that more people haven’t woken up to the subtle charms of this intriguing nation. But then perhaps that’s no bad thing – traveling in Somaliland carries an air of excitement that more popular destinations fail to match.
Arrive in Hargeisa, capital of the self-declared Republic of Somaliland, and transfer to hotel accommodation where the rest of the day is free to relax. Overnight Sugaal Hotel or similar. (D).
Today we spend the morning exploring the city and seeing some of its more intriguing sights, including the War Memorial characterized by the unusual attribute of a MiG 17 fighter aircraft shot down in 1988 as it bombed the city during the civil war.
Elsewhere, we try not to get lost in the Suuqa Bacadlaha markets and later visit a traditional Somali house. Overnight Sugaal Hotel or similar. (BLD)
Today we make a journey westwards, visiting the agricultural town of Arabsiyo and its fertile valleys.
We call in at the rock art site of Dhagax Khoure, where among granite outcrops, hundreds of images, some over 5,000-years-old, are to be found. Later, Gabiley is one of Somaliland’s oldest towns.
Evidence suggests that stone quarried here was destined for the construction of Egypt’s pyramids. Today, it’s an agricultural centre, known as the breadbasket of Somaliland. We continue to Borama, close to the Ethiopian border, for the night. Overnight Hotel Rays Borama. (BLD)
Borama is an important education centre, home to Amoud University, Somaliland’s first post-war institution of Higher Education.
The university opened in 1998 with 66 students – it now has over 4,000. We visit the university and speak to students before spending the morning sightseeing in Borama itself. On the return journey, we stop at a settlement of nomadic Jufo herders, before heading back to Hargeisa. Overnight Sugaal hotel or similar. (BLD)
Travel to the caves of Laas Geel, where rock art dating back 5,000 years has been found – one of the best-preserved examples in all of Africa and a real highlight of the trip.
After visiting the site we continue to Berbera on the coast, with its interesting architecture from both the Ottoman and British periods, which we explore. Overnight Damal Hotel Berbera or similar hotels (BLD).
We spend the morning exploring Berbera. After lunch, we leave the city and travel through the mountains to Sheikh, through fantastic scenery with great views of the dry plains below.
At Sheikh we visit the ruins of Ferdusa, a city dating back to the 16th century. Back to Berbera lunch then travel back Hargeisa and overnight Sugaal Hotel or similar hotels (BLD).
After breakfast departure and transfer to the airport. (B)
ARRIVAL: 07 NOV 2020 – DEPARTURE: 13 NOV 2020:
ARRIVAL: 06 MARCH 2021 – DEPARTURE: 12 MARCH 2021:
ARRIVAL: 13 NOV 2021 – DEPARTURE: 19 NOV 2021:
ARRIVAL: 05 MARCH 2022 – DEPARTURE: 12 MARCH 2022:
ARRIVAL: 12 NOV 2022 – DEPARTURE: 18 NOV 2022:
To get a group discount for your Trip to Somaliland and save 25% up to 35% – when you travel in a group of 2 people or more.
Travelling is all about shared experiences, so why not group together with friends or family and book one of our tours as a small group? If you have two or more people in your group we will be delighted to offer you a group discount.
Visit Horn of Africa is committed to providing its customers with the service mentioned in the tour program under ‘The price includes’ section. Any other service including what’s mentioned under ‘The price does not include’ section is at the expense of the customer.
Our custom tours are tailor-made itineraries designed for individual travellers, families, or a small group.
We can arrange an itinerary around your interests, dates, and special requests, all our tours include private drivers, private touring, unique accommodations, and exclusive experiences.
First, we encourage you to view our published itineraries and if it is not fit your interest then contact us and let us design a customized itinerary for you.
We always advise booking in advance. For confirmation of the tours, we require a 10% deposit payment in advance. This can be done via an online to our European Bank account in USD. The remaining can be paid upon arrival in cash USD.
However, you can choose to pay the full amount in advance via our Somaliland Business bank transfer. We will always send the invoice with all the banking details.
IMPORTANT: All wiring fees need to be paid by the customer. Visit Horn of Africa cannot be held responsible for the failure of booking due to delay in payment.
If you wish to cancel your booking, the following conditions apply. A deposit payment has to be made to Visit Horn of Africa 30 days before the scheduled departure/beginning of the Tour.
IMPORTANT: The cancellation policy stated above does not apply if a prior agreement has been made with Somaliland Travel Agency.
Visit Horn of Africa tries to follow the agreed tour program with its clients as much
as possible. However, under certain circumstance, we might need to change the program
due to: Road conditions, safety, adverse weather conditions, civil war, strike, cancellation
or delay of domestic flights, high-level government meeting.
In the case where Visit Horn of Africa does not provide one of the services
mentioned in the program, we will provide a refund for the services not rendered, except
in the following cases:
A delay or cancellation of scheduled flights is not the responsibility of Visit Horn of Africa. We will, however, provide all the necessary assistance to our customers in such circumstances. All airfares are subject to availability at time of booking. Please also note that fares are subject to change without notice and are not guaranteed until purchased.
Somaliland is not Somalia. A self-declared independent state unrecognised by the rest of the world; Somaliland has its own government and currency and has escaped the chaos that has engulfed its notorious cousin. Perched on the Horn of Africa and bordered by the Red Sea, Somaliland is a country of proud traditions born out of its largely nomadic heritage, keen to welcome visitors
The government is very much invested in distancing itself from its southern neighbor and shedding the unsavory reputation thereof, and so they’ve invested massively in the safety of its few tourists. Somaliland is a very safe and peaceful country; for instance, it’s perfectly safe to walk alone at night in Hargeisa. Guests to the country are also provided with armed escorts – more for the government’s peace of mind than yours!
Do keep in mind that Somaliland remains a poor country; though violent crimes and hotel break-ins are almost completely unheard of, there is a small chance of pick-pocketing. As previously mentioned, Somaliland is a conservative Muslim society, and women should dress modestly to avoid unwanted attention. Men should refrain from taking pictures of women in the country, as their male relatives could well take offence to this. Most conflicts are easily resolved with an apology, a smile and a handshake, however we do research the security of our destinations highly and safety is a priority for us, however, we advise you do you own research too to ensure you are comfortable with your trip.
Somaliland has plenty to offer during your stay! Some of the most vibrant cave paintings in the world can be found in the country – at the site of Las Geel, a few hours away from Hargeisa, you can see numerous millennia-old paintings.
Berbera, the second-biggest city, is by the sea and offers great beaches. You can easily hire a boat and there is a dive shop that can arrange day-long dive trips. Simple people-watching (not in a pervy way) is one of the most rewarding activities in the country, however. Visit Hargeisa’s bustling market or head to the camel market in the morning for a wild experience.
There are not so many options when it comes to accommodation, alas; Hargeisa has a few high-end hotels, but we’d recommend Sugaal Hotel, located a street away from the main drag and featuring very friendly and helpful staff. In Berbera, most tourists stay at the fanciest place in town, the Mansoor Hotel.
The country has, surprisingly, some of the cheapest and fastest internets in Africa. There are two main companies, confusingly called Somtel and Telesom. There are a varied and decent number of packages for mobile connectivity. Coverage is good through the country, and buying a SIM card will cost you a princely USD $1. 300 MB of data on top of the SIM’s default package is another USD $1.
Getting there has never been easier! The country now offers visas on arrival to a good number of nationalities at all its land borders and Hargeisa airport. The airport is also connected to Addis Abada with two daily flights, and also has flights to Dubai, Egypt, Djibouti and Mogadishu.
The more adventurous amongst you may want to try your luck on an overland journey from Harar or Djibouti City, but from Djibouti overland be advised that these are pretty hardcore and the terrible roads are not for the fainthearted!
In a nice nod to their British colonial roots, they use the Somaliland shilling. The largest note (bill) is a 5000, and when changing money you’ll usually end up with a huge pile of cash. The most common note/bill you’ll see is the 1000 – it’s so common in comparison to the 500-/5000-shilling notes, in fact, that you’d be forgiven for thinking that they don’t exist. The current exchange rate is around 8000 shillings to USD $1.
The US dollar is readily accepted in the country, and ATMs in Hargeisa actually dispense crisp US notes. Everyone is aware of the current exchange rate, so you can easily pay in USD and get change in shillings.
Somaliland is hot and so light clothes are generally a good idea. Islamic dress applies for women. Headscarves should be worn at all times.
Long-sleeved blouses or shirts are required and preferably long skirts, although loose-fitting trousers may also work. Islamic long coats, ‘manteaux’, would not be necessary.
Alcohol is not available in Somaliland and is illegal to bring into the country.