Somalia Travel Guide
Somalia Travel: General Information
Somalia is no ordinary tourist destination. To understand its extraordinariness, you must have a look into pre-historic times – cave paintings and rock art found in places like the Laas Geel complex (dating back to 9000 B.C.) indicate that the region has been inhabited since the Paleolithic Age. As time elapsed, Somalia became an important presence in the ancient world – a stronghold of the Puntite-people. Archeological excavations of entirely ruined cities have established this period as the ‘golden epoch’ of Somalia when a very advanced civilization flourished here. Somalia continued to prosper following the arrival of Islam, in the medieval period and later even kept colonial forces at bay for long.
Over the last two decades, however, the picture has changed … ravaged by civil wars and a series of floods and droughts, today Somalia has become a land of chaos, crime and corruption (excepting the Somaliland region). The capital city of Mogadishu, especially, has turned into a virtual hell, with ethnic-infighting and criminal activities like armed robbery, piracy and cases of kidnapping happening every now and then. The state of terrorism existing in Somalia has forced the government to send out warnings, to dissuade tourists from visiting Somalia.
Being a lion-heart is good but in the prsent circumstances, it will be like putting your life in jeopardy. In case, you still yearn to explore Somalia’s beaches, deserts, mountains and tropical forests, coral reefs as well as the many scattered evidences of Somalia’s glorious past, the safest choice will be Somaliland.
Somalia Travel: Key Facts
Capital City: Mogadishu
Area: 637,661 sq km
Monetary Unit: Somali Shilling
Official Language: Somali, Arabic
International Dialing Code: 252
Somalia Travel: Popular Tourist Destinations
As said, to Somaliland you must go, because Somaliland is a blissful heaven and the top draws in Somaliland are:
- Hargeisa: The capital city of Somaliland is no wonderland but a holiday destination off the beaten path, less traveled. The energetic, vibrant city will make your stopover memorable irrespective of the duration of your stay. And then, you will have some sightseeing to do. The Laas Geel Caves are a mere 50 km from Hargeisa; of course, these are not the only cave paintings in the region and you will have to just look around for more such pre-historic paintings. The twin hills of Naasa Hablood are a natural attraction of Hargeisa. Other interesting Hargeisa sights are the Freedom Arch and the War Memorial.
- Berbera: The port city of Berbera has many instances of Ottoman architecture worth visiting. These historical buildings apart, Berbera’s attractions include its pristine sandy beaches. The emergency landing strip meant for NASA Space Shuttles is a modern addition to its list of must-see sights.
- Zeila: An important trading port of past centuries and capital of the Sultanate of Adal, Zeila sightseeing involves tours of historic ruins and its other colonial structures. Zeila’s other attractions include its stunning beaches, coastal mangrove forests, off-shore isles and coral reefs.
Somalia Travel: Economy and Infrastructure
Somalia might be one of the most anarchic nations of the world, without an organized state or government, but Somalia’s economy is exhibiting some signs of progress. In the absence of adequate natural resources, Somalia’s economy is based on agriculture and livestock contributes about 40% to the GDP. (Livestock also brings in 65% of export earnings and it is followed by banana). Somalia has some small industries engaged in processing of various food products and agricultural products, textiles, handicrafts, etc. The nation’s service sector is making some progress. Somalia’s economy benefits hugely from remittances by diasporas Somalis.
Although a relatively poor country, the living standard of the Somalis is believed to be better when compared to other African nations. Somalia also boasts of a sound infrastructure, at least when we are talking about telecommunications. As far as transportation is concerned, the sector is suffering from lack of maintenance.
Somalia Travel: Culture
Somali Culture is a blend of the nomadic lifestyle of the people, their clan-based social structure and their Islamic faith. Almost all Somalis are Sunni Muslims and speak Somali. Somali art forms, being based on nomadic/tribal traditions, are mostly utilitarian in nature rather than decorative and there is huge demand for Somali basketry, pottery, wood-carvings and beaded jewelry. The nomadic influence is also observd in the clothing of the Somalis.
Things about Somalia you may be interested in
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Recent Travel Guides from Somalia
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Mogadishu, Somalia is not really the best travel destination in the world, but that is due to the ongoing tension in that region. Travelers are given the recommendation that they should find out about the current affairs in a country before they begin to plan a holiday there. The main attraction in the country is Kismayu National Park, which is not too far from Mogadishu.... Read more »