SOMALIA TRAVEL GUIDE
Somalia is a country with a rich but turbulent history. Civil war, military coups, border disputes and warlord-ism are the norm rather than the exception. Things started to improve after the Ethiopian Army withdrew in 2007 after defeating an Islamist government, and since then violence has died down. Somalia is currently governed by a coalition government, comprising the Internationally recognised Transitional Federal Government (TFG) and the former Islamist government. However, the government is currently at war with radical Islamic factions that refused to merge with the government and are backed by al-Qaeda.
Somalia could be the stuff of traveller’s dreams - tall, dark and handsome men and beautiful long-limbed, ebony-skinned women. It was the fabled land of fragrant myrrh and frankincense, of ‘Black Berber’ pirates skimming the waves in fast dhows as they lay in wait for laden merchant ships, of Arab traders and caravans of one-humped dromedaries plodding their way to the ancient port city of Berber.
Sadly modern Somalia is a nation of murderous warlords and their bloodthirsty clans, the breeding ground of insidious xenophobia and relentless hatred, reduced to a mere pawn in the game of superpower one-upmanship. Only a traveller with nerves of steel and complete disregard for personal safety will venture into Somalia. The unending cycle of violence is punctuated with recurrent droughts and famines, civil war has become an accepted fact of life – anyone who could flee their homeland did so and the ones who stay back do so with a fatalism that whatever has to happen, will happen.
Chaos, anarchy and violence are unavoidable facts of day-to-day existence in Somalia. Lawlessness, food and fuel shortages and civil strife make Somalia a dangerous destination. Most governments advise their citizens against travel to Somalia.
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SOMALIA QUICK FACTS
The country has the longest coastline on the African continent, and as such, has many beaches.
Currency: Somali shilling (SOS)
Area: 637,657 sq km
Population: 15,01 million (2018)
Language: Somali (official), Arabic (official), Italian, English
Electricity: 240V/50Hz (UK plug)
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SOMALIA PUBLIC HOLIDAYS
- 1 May, Labor Day
- 26 June, Independence Day
- 1 July, Republic Day
Also, the Islamic holidays of Ashura, Maulid an-Nabi, Eid al-Fitr, and Eid al-Adha.
SOMALIA WEATHER SYNOPSIS
Somalia is generally arid and semi-arid with two seasonal rainfall seasons. Climate in Somalia is influenced by a number of factors, including the Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ), monsoonal winds and ocean currents, jet-streams including the Somali Jetstream or Somalia Current, easterly waves, tropical cyclones, neighbouring Indian Ocean and Red Sea conditions. Annual mean temperature is close to 30°С throughout the country. Average monthly temperatures reach their maximum during the months of April through June. June to September are the hottest months in the north, while December to March mark the hottest weather for the south. Precipitation is generally low across the country and takes the form of showers or localized torrential rains, subject to high spatial and temporal variability. The average annual rainfall is about 200 mm in most parts of the country. Only the northern coastline receives significantly less rainfall (only up to 50 mm). Rainfall in the south is higher at approximately 400 mm and highest in the southwest with around 600 mm rainfall on an annual average. The Gu rain season starts as early as the second half of March. Precipitation intensifies in April across the country, except for the north-eastern coastline which receives the least amount of rainfall during this season. In June, rainfall starts to reduce in most parts of Somalia. The southern coastline continues to receive little rainfall. Significant rains occur in July through August. The second rainy season (Deyr) is characterised by a shorter duration and less amounts of precipitation in the months of October to the end of November.
HEALTH RISKS IN SOMALIA
Be aware of possible health risks in
Malaria - Malaria is a serious and sometimes fatal disease caused by a parasite that commonly infects a certain type of mosquito which feeds on humans. People who get malaria are typically very sick with high fevers, shaking chills, and flu-like illness. Although malaria can be a deadly disease, illness and death from malaria can usually be prevented.
Dengue - Dengue is spread mostly by the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito. These mosquitoes bite during the day and night. About one in four people infected with dengue will get sick. For people who get sick with dengue, symptoms can be mild or severe.