SOMALIA TRAVEL GUIDE
Somalia is a country located on the eastern coast of Africa, bordered by the Indian Ocean to the east, Kenya to the southwest, and Ethiopia to the west. Known for its beautiful beaches and rich cultural heritage, Somalia has long been a popular destination for tourists looking to explore Africa.
Despite its natural beauty and cultural richness, Somalia has faced significant political instability and security challenges in recent years, which have limited the country's ability to develop its tourism industry. As a result, travel to Somalia can be challenging, and visitors should take necessary precautions to ensure their safety.
However, for those willing to take the risk, Somalia offers a unique and rewarding travel experience, with opportunities to explore vibrant cities, visit historical sites, and enjoy the country's stunning natural landscapes. From the bustling markets of Mogadishu to the pristine beaches of Berbera, Somalia is a destination that is sure to leave a lasting impression on any traveler.
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.
FESTIVALS IN SOMALIA
BEST TIME TO VISIT SOMALIA
The best time to visit Somalia is during the dry season, which typically runs from December to February. During this time, the weather is warm and dry, with clear skies and little to no rain. This makes it an ideal time to explore the country's beautiful beaches, historical sites, and natural landscapes.
Visiting Somalia during the rainy season, which typically runs from March to May and October to November, can be challenging due to heavy rainfall and occasional flooding. The wet season can also make travel more difficult due to muddy roads and limited transportation options.
It's important to note that Somalia experiences a hot and humid climate year-round, so visitors should be prepared for high temperatures and humidity levels, regardless of when they choose to travel.
SAFETY IN SOMALIA
The security situation in Somalia is complex and can vary depending on the region and the specific circumstances. The country has experienced political instability, violence, and terrorism in recent years, which have made travel to Somalia challenging and potentially dangerous.
As a result, many countries have issued travel advisories warning against all travel or non-essential travel to Somalia. Visitors should take necessary precautions, including avoiding travel to areas with high levels of violence or terrorism, using reputable and trusted tour operators, and staying informed of the latest security developments.
It's also important to note that Somalia has limited infrastructure and healthcare facilities, which can make it difficult to respond to emergencies or unexpected events. Visitors should have comprehensive travel insurance and be prepared for potential challenges.
Overall, while travel to Somalia can be risky, it is possible to travel safely and responsibly with the right planning and preparation. Visitors should do their research, consult with local experts, and exercise caution at all times to ensure a safe and enjoyable trip.
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.
SOMALIA TOURIST SEASONS
Most destinations have different times of the year when they’re more or less popular with tourists.
Off Peak Season
SPORT & ACTIVITIES
SNOW SPORT IN SOMALIA
HIKING & CYCLING IN SOMALIA
BEACH OPTIONS IN SOMALIA
SURFING IN SOMALIA
KITESURF IN SOMALIA
Kitesurfing spot details and weather
HEALTH RISKS IN SOMALIA
Be aware of possible health risks in
Yellow fever - The yellow fever virus is found in tropical and subtropical areas of Africa and South America. The virus is spread to people by the bite of an infected mosquito. There is no medicine to treat or cure an infection. To prevent getting sick from yellow fever, use insect repellent, wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants, and get vaccinated.
Zika Virus - Zika is spread mostly by the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito. These mosquitoes bite during the day and night. Zika can be passed from a pregnant woman to her fetus. Infection during pregnancy can cause certain birth defects. There is no vaccine or medicine for Zika.
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.
SOMALIA TRAVEL COSTS
The cost of traveling to Somalia can vary widely depending on several factors, including the length of stay, the type of accommodation, transportation, and activities.
Due to the security situation and limited infrastructure in the country, travel to Somalia can be more expensive than in other destinations in the region. Visitors should also budget for additional expenses, such as security measures, vaccinations, and travel insurance.
Here are some estimated costs for travel to Somalia:
- Accommodation: The cost of accommodation can vary depending on the type of hotel or guesthouse. Budget options can range from $20 to $50 per night, while mid-range hotels can cost around $100 to $150 per night.
- Transportation: Getting around in Somalia can be challenging due to limited infrastructure and transportation options. Visitors may need to hire a private driver or use a trusted tour operator. The cost of a private driver can range from $50 to $100 per day, depending on the distance and the level of security required.
- Activities: There are several activities for visitors to enjoy in Somalia, including beach excursions, cultural tours, and wildlife safaris. The cost of these activities can vary widely depending on the type of experience and the duration. Budget options can cost around $20 to $50 per day, while more high-end experiences can cost several hundred dollars.
Overall, visitors should expect to spend between $100 to $200 per day on average for travel to Somalia, depending on their travel style and itinerary. It's important to note that these are rough estimates, and visitors should research and plan their travel budget carefully to ensure that they have sufficient funds for their trip.
SOMALIA TRAVEL TIPS
Here are some travel tips for visiting Somalia:
- Check the latest travel advisories: The security situation in Somalia is complex and can change quickly. Visitors should check the latest travel advisories from their home country's embassy or consulate before planning their trip.
- Use trusted tour operators: Due to the security situation, it's important to use trusted tour operators and travel agents for transportation, accommodation, and activities. They can help ensure a safe and enjoyable trip.
- Dress modestly: Somalia is a conservative Muslim country, and visitors should dress modestly to show respect for local customs and culture. Women should cover their arms and legs, and men should avoid wearing shorts.
- Be cautious with photography: Taking photos of government buildings, military installations, and other sensitive areas is strictly prohibited in Somalia. Visitors should be cautious with photography and always ask for permission before taking photos of people.
- Be aware of cultural customs: Somalia has a rich cultural heritage, and visitors should take time to learn about local customs and etiquette. It's important to show respect for local traditions and avoid behaviors that may be considered offensive.
- Stay hydrated: Somalia has a hot and humid climate, and visitors should drink plenty of water and other fluids to stay hydrated. It's also important to wear sunscreen and a hat to protect against the sun.
- Carry identification: Visitors should carry identification with them at all times, including a passport and visa. It's also a good idea to make copies of these documents and keep them in a separate location in case of loss or theft.
- Be prepared for emergencies: Somalia has limited healthcare facilities, and visitors should have comprehensive travel insurance and be prepared for potential emergencies. This includes having a first aid kit, medications, and contact information for emergency services.
SIGHTS & HIGHLIGHTS OF SOMALIA
Somalia has several regions with unique cultural, historical, and natural attractions. Here are some of the main regions worth visiting in Somalia and the highlights of each region:
- Mogadishu: Mogadishu is the capital and largest city in Somalia. The city has a rich history and is home to several important landmarks, including the Mogadishu Cathedral, the National Museum of Somalia, and the Hamarweyne Market.
- Hargeisa: Hargeisa is the capital of the self-declared state of Somaliland. The city is known for its vibrant markets, including the Central Market, which is a great place to buy traditional handicrafts and textiles.
- Berbera: Berbera is a port city located on the Gulf of Aden. The city is known for its beautiful beaches and coral reefs, which offer excellent opportunities for snorkeling and diving.
- Puntland: Puntland is a semi-autonomous region in northeastern Somalia. The region is known for its rugged landscapes, including the Cal Madow mountain range, which is home to several rare species of plants and animals.
- Kismayo: Kismayo is a port city located in southern Somalia. The city is known for its white sand beaches, coral reefs, and wildlife, including the Kismayo National Park, which is home to several species of antelopes and other wildlife.
- Galmudug: Galmudug is a region located in central Somalia. The region is known for its historical sites, including the ancient port city of El Buur, which was an important trading center in the Middle Ages.
- Jubaland: Jubaland is a region located in southern Somalia, near the border with Kenya. The region is known for its diverse wildlife, including elephants, giraffes, and lions, which can be seen at the Jubaland National Park.
Overall, Somalia has many regions worth visiting, each with its own unique attractions and experiences. Visitors should research and plan their itinerary carefully to ensure that they have a safe and enjoyable trip. It's also important to consult with local experts and tour operators for the latest information on security and travel conditions.
Somalia has a rich cultural heritage, beautiful landscapes, and unique attractions that are worth exploring. Here are some of the best things to see and do when visiting Somalia:
Visit Mogadishu: The capital city of Somalia has a rich history and many important landmarks, including the Mogadishu Cathedral, the National Museum of Somalia, and the Hamarweyne Market.
Explore the Beaches: Somalia has beautiful beaches with crystal-clear waters and soft sand. Berbera, Kismayo, and Hobyo are just a few of the best places to enjoy a day at the beach.
Discover Wildlife: Somalia has several national parks and wildlife reserves, including Jubaland National Park and Kismayo National Park. Visitors can see elephants, giraffes, lions, and other wildlife in their natural habitat.
Learn about Somali Culture: Somalia has a rich and unique cultural heritage, and visitors can explore it through traditional dance, music, food, and crafts. The Central Market in Hargeisa is a great place to buy traditional textiles and handicrafts.
Visit Historical Sites: Somalia has several important historical sites, including the ancient port city of El Buur in Galmudug and the ruins of the Adal Sultanate in the Awdal region.
Try Somali Cuisine: Somali cuisine is a fusion of African, Arab, and Indian influences. Visitors can try traditional dishes like bariis iskukaris, a rice dish with meat, vegetables, and spices, and sambusa, a pastry filled with meat or vegetables.
Go Shopping: Somalia has several vibrant markets where visitors can buy souvenirs, textiles, and handicrafts. The Bakara Market in Mogadishu is one of the largest markets in the country and a great place to buy traditional goods.
Overall, Somalia offers a range of unique experiences and attractions for visitors to discover. It's important to plan carefully and consult with local experts and tour operators for the latest information on safety and travel conditions.
WHAT TO EAT IN SOMALIA
Somali cuisine is a delicious blend of African, Arab, and Indian flavors, and there are many dishes that you should try when visiting Somalia. Here are some of the most popular dishes:
- Bariis: Bariis is a rice dish that is typically served with meat, vegetables, and spices. It is often garnished with caramelized onions and raisins.
- Sambusa: Sambusa is a pastry that is filled with meat or vegetables and fried until crispy. It is similar to the Indian samosa and is a popular snack in Somalia.
- Canjeero: Canjeero is a type of flatbread that is made from fermented dough. It is often served with stews or sauces and is a staple food in Somalia.
- Maraq: Maraq is a type of stew that is made from meat, vegetables, and spices. It is typically served with rice or canjeero.
- Muqmad: Muqmad is a type of dried meat that is often eaten as a snack. It is made by marinating meat in spices and then drying it in the sun.
- Xalwo: Xalwo is a type of Somali dessert that is made from sugar, honey, and spices. It is often served at special occasions like weddings and holidays.
- Somali tea: Somali tea is a popular drink that is made from black tea, milk, and sugar. It is often spiced with cardamom and cloves and is a favorite among Somalis.
Overall, Somali cuisine is flavorful, filling, and often spicy. It is influenced by many different cultures, and there are many dishes that you should try when visiting Somalia.
LGBTQ IN SOMALIA
WHERE TO STAY IN SOMALIA
Here are some suggestions for safe and comfortable accommodations when visiting Somalia for the first time:
- Jazeera Palace Hotel: This hotel is located in the capital city of Mogadishu and offers comfortable rooms, free Wi-Fi, and 24-hour security. It has a rooftop restaurant and bar with stunning views of the city.
- Sahafi Hotel: The Sahafi Hotel is also located in Mogadishu and offers clean and comfortable rooms, a restaurant, and a 24-hour front desk. It's a popular choice among tourists and business travelers.
- Peace Hotel Hargeisa: This hotel is located in the city of Hargeisa and offers comfortable rooms, a restaurant, and a fitness center. It's a popular choice among tourists visiting the Somaliland region.
- Maansoor Hotel: The Maansoor Hotel is located in the coastal city of Bosaso and offers comfortable rooms, a restaurant, and a fitness center. It's a popular choice among tourists visiting the Puntland region.
- Airbnb: Airbnb is also available in Somalia and can be a good option for those looking for a more local experience. It's important to choose accommodations with good reviews and a proven track record of safety.
When choosing accommodations in Somalia, it's important to prioritize safety and security. Look for accommodations with good reviews and a proven track record of safety. It's also a good idea to consult with local experts and tour operators for advice on where to stay and how to stay safe while traveling in Somalia.
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