Over the years, the political climate in Somalia has made the country least recommended for travel and visits. It is, however, a great shame as the country and its beautiful landscape will hardly be seen as a tourist location worth visiting. Somalia’s civil war and extreme weather conditions overshadow the country’s beauty and what it has to offer as a holiday destination. The country is rich in history and culture, waiting to be discovered. Its varied landscape, white corals undiscovered sandy beaches, and tropical rainforests lay behind the havoc caused by drought and civil wars in the country.
Although the northern part of the country known as Somaliland is regarded as safer to visit, there are also risks of terror attacks. If you have decided to take a trip to Somalia, ensure you have a travel guide checklist to help prepare for the visit. The following are some tips to keep in mind as you travel to Somalia:
- As a foreigner going to Somalia, you are required to have with you a visa, passport, and letter of invitation. The letter is supposed to state the reason for your visit. Also, ensure your passport has at least six-month validity.
- Somali and Arabic are the official languages in Somalia; however, many of the locals also speak in Swahili and Italian. The language barrier is an issue for tourists who do not have an interpreter or handler, although there are websites offering translation services to people. You can also find free apps online that translate Somali to English.
- There are no ATMs or credit facilities in the nation; therefore, you will have to take with your hard currency. Since credit cards are not accepted in Somalia carry US dollars, which are comfortable and safest to exchange.
- The climate in Somalia is hot with very high temperatures; it is recommended to dress light. However, keep your dressing moderate as the locals in Somalia are very conservative.
- Purchase a SIM card with a network operator if you want to stay in contact in Somalia. The wireless internet access in the country is limited; however, there are cyber cafes used by the locals.
- As a tourist, it is not advisable to roam some of the designated high-risk areas, especially when unaccompanied by your guide. If there are curfews in the city you are in, ensure you adhere to them.
Before setting off to Somalia, ensure to keep in mind the points mentioned above. There are also foreign travel checklists and resources you can consult when planning for a safe visit to Somalia.
Things to Do During Your Visit to Somalia
As Somalia continues to struggle, the northern part of the country thrives on maintaining peace and political stability since 2003. Tourism in Somaliland is blossoming; its cosmopolitan city is full of history and culture. While staying safe is also highly recommended, you can also have fun in the state. Below are some fun activities you can take part in during your visit to Somalia:
- Visit the Laas Geel cave complex, which is a few hours from Hargeisa. Although the art and formations on the walls and ceilings were discovered in 2002, it is well preserved and has survived centuries since the Neolithic period. The rock art in the caves is magnificent and contains deep history.
- Take a trip to the Hargeisa War Memorial, where the MiG jet fighter representing the struggle and independence of Somaliland can be found. The monument which is located in Freedom Square is worth the visit. The jet which is said to have fallen when the locals brought it down using rocks and firearms emblems how far the country has come.
- Explore the money market where the currency exchange business is booming. You will find numerous stalls owned by locals who run a money exchange business. The market is a unique and rare thing to see; thus, it is worth the stop by.
- The national museum of Somalia houses historical artifacts that represent the tradition of the country. From the pottery, artwork, pre-historic weapons, and coins, this is the possibility to learn about the culture of Somalia.
- If you want a place to cool off and relax, the beach in Berbera is the place to be. The beach is gorgeous with blue and soft sands. The seaside offers a good view and also favors waters sports like swimming.
That said, Somalia is a beautiful country behind the political upsides and wars it faces. The country attracts tourists and also emigrated locals coming to rebuild. As you think of activities to include in your itinerary, all the activities mentioned above are worth exploring.