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Somaliland is the country that isn’t. Still unrecognised by the rest of the world despite more than twenty years of de facto independence, Somaliland is an exciting nation reverberating with 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 traveller. 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 – travelling in Somaliland carries an air of excitement that more popular destinations fail to match.
3 Hours Before Flight Time
Arrival in Hargeisa at your own leisure.
Airport pick-up and we will take you to our hotel, hotel Sugaal.
Dinner at a lively canteen off the main drag of Hargeisa. We’ll have a chance to chat with them and hear how they find life in Somaliland. After dinner, you can walk around the bustling city centre in Hargeisa, and have some chai with the friendly locals or do some shopping for t-shirts and flags for Independence Day. (LD)
We’ll get up nice and early for a quick breakfast before hitting the streets to observe the military and civilian parades. Everyone will be dressed in the national colors on the street, and this is one of the only places on earth to take part in an Independence.
Day celebration in an unrecognized country!. After lunch and a short break from the heat, we’ll visit the Somaliland national museum and cultural centre. A great place to chat with some local young people.
We will have a traditional dinner at Summer Time Restaurant, an institution in town, that evening and toast to this small nation! Overnight in Hargeisa, (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 Maansoor Berbera. (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 and lunch then proceed travel to Hargeisa. Overnight Sugaal hotel. (BLD)
Heading back to the airport at the end of your trip and ask hotel receptionist taxi to the airport at the rate $10 on your own. (B)
Change your tour or activity start date at no extra cost, in some cases up to 24 hours before the tour begins! Flexible and easy for most operators!
All our tours are priced on a land-only basis, giving you maximum flexibility when deciding how to get to and from your tour. For the latest prices, please refer to our website or contact the office.
30% deposit is required to confirm your booking. In addition, the balance will bring cash USD and payable on arrival.
A single supplement is an additional fee paid by guests who are travelling alone and want to enjoy the luxury of not having to share a room. The cost of a single supplement varies by the trip.
Payment for the tour is a fundamental part of the tour’s income and contributes to the overall cost of equipment, running costs, staffing, administration, etc. As the Company will have incurred the majority of its costs before the tour starts, we need to impose cancellation charges to cover these costs. However, 10% deposits are non-refundable. If you cancel your booking.
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.