Somalia is located on the horn of Africa. It is having a border with Ethiopia on the west side. On the north-west, it attaches with Djibouti whereas Kenya lies on its south-west. This country is having a turbulent past. Things like civil war, border disputes, military coups, and warlord-ism were very common in the past.
Currently, Somalia is governed by a coalition government that consists of the Internationally recognized Transitional Federal Government (TFG) and the former Islamist government. It is interesting to note that the country is having the longest coastline on the African continent and it is having many beaches.
Planning to go on a trip to Somalia? If yes, then you have to book the flights to Mogadishu which is the capital of Somalia. It is best to get in touch with a renowned travel agency to get the tickets at affordable prices.
Travel Warning: Before you make the final decision of going to Somalia, have a look at the travel warning. As per the US State Department and the majority of the Western nations advises avoiding traveling to Somalia for any reason. The primary reason behind this is the continuous activity by the al-Qaida that is having an affiliated terrorist group like al-Shabaab. This group is involved in the various suicide bombings, kidnappings, and chaos. There is definitely a terrorist threat to foreigners in places where there is a large gathering and the places that are frequently visited by the Westerners. The places that are dangerous include airport, government building, hotels, and shopping areas. Note that Somalia is not safe for any people including aid workers as well. There is no reason to visit Somalia unless you are a part of a military or you have hired an armed guard.
Even after knowing all this, there are some travelers who love to discover different places in the world and they want to have a good traveling experience. So, if you are planning to visit Somalia, then below is a complete detail about Somalia to guide you in a better way:
Climate in Somalia
First, we are going to talk about the climate of Somalia. Basically, this place is a desert. This region is having a hot climate but there are seasonal monsoon wind and irregular rainfalls. The average daily maximum temperatures range from 30 °C to 40 °C (85–105 °F), excluding the higher elevations along the east coast. On the other hand, the average daily minimum ranges from 25°C to 40°C (77–104 °F). Note that the southwest monsoon due to the sea breeze makes the time from May to October the mildest season at Mogadishu. However, the period of December-February period in the northeast monsoon is relatively hot.
Regions in Somalia
Somalia is divided into the four regions as listed below:
- Southern Somalia: It is home to the capital and the major part of the civil war has taken place in this region.
- Central Somalia: It is the central portion of the country that is present around the Galguduud and Mudug regions.
- Puntland: It is a historic and autonomous region on the Horn. This region is developing with a developing government after the discovery of the oil.
- Somaliland: This is also an independent region with a separate government, currency, and flag. This region is visited by the tourists.
Cities in Somalia
The list of cities in Somalia are listed below:
- Mogadishu: It is the capital city of Somalia and it is considered as one of the most dangerous cities in the world
- Hargeisa: This is the capital city of the independent region of Somaliland. It is a safe place compared to Somalia.
- Kismayo: It is a port city that is located in the southern part of the country with much dangerous wildlife.
- Bosaso: It is also a port city that is located in the northeastern part of the country
- Garowe: It is the capital city of an independent region of Puntland located in Somalia
- Berbera: It is a port city that is located in Somaliland.
When traveling to Somalia, you should be aware of the two-visa restriction that traveler might have to face:
- Entry will not be given to the citizens of Israel and to those people as well who are having stamps or visas from Israel.
- Travelers who have previously visited North Korea will be denied. From them, ESTA clearance for the United States of America is needed and they have to get a visa from their nearest embassy or consulate.
Traveling to Somalia
Traveling to Somalia can be done by air, bus, car, and boat. We will be discussing all the four means of traveling:
1: Traveling by Air
If you are going to travel in a plane, then you need to get in touch with a renowned travel agency to get the cheap flights to Mogadishu or to other cities like Garowe as per your desire. The airlines that you can choose for your traveling are listed below:
First on the list is the African Express. It is a Kenyan airline that flies to and from Berbera, Bossaso, Galkacyo and Mogadishu that is from Nairobi and Dubai. Furthermore, it also flies from other locations that include Sharjah, Entebbe or Jeddah.
It is a Somali airline that is operating from Mogadishu to/ from Dubai, Bossaso, and Jeddah. Flights are available to and from Hargeisa, Galkayo, and Sharjah. The airline is using a Soviet-made Ilyushin-18 aircraft. Note that this is the only airline to and from Somalia that is accepting the online booking reservations but a passenger has to confirm the booking seven days in advance before the departure.
Previously, it was the only international carrier who was flying to Somalia. This airline is providing 2-3 services every week from Djibouti. This airline is using an Ilyushin-18 aircraft.
All the flights to Mogadishu are using the Aden Abdulle International Airport that was re-opened in August 2006. Before this, the airline was using an airport far away from Mogadishu due to security concerns in the city’s main airport.
This airline started their flight after a treaty was signed between Sheikh Zayed and Somali president
2: Traveling by Car
If you are not interested to travel by plane, then the next option is a car, but it is not recommended. This will be possible if you are going to Somaliland but generally, the borders are sealed and it is always dangerous.
3: Traveling by Bus
Traveling by bus is possible and it is relatively safe. But to travel from Ethiopia to Somaliland, you have series of buses or shared cars.
From Jijiga in Ethiopia: Take the bus to Wajaale. Once you have reached, cross the border and keep your Somaliland visa with you and then take a shared 4X4 car to Hargeisa. Remember that to leave via the same route, you will need a multiple-entry Ethiopian visa. You can get a visa at the Ethiopian Trade Mission in Hargeisa. Note that these visas are not issued at the airport but you have to get it prior to your traveling.
From Djibouti: You have to leave the place in 4x4s from Avenue 26. Cars leave from Djibouti City every afternoon near 5 pm. You have to spend all night to reach Hargeisa near 8 am on the next day. As mentioned above, the borders around the rest of former Somalia are closed and they are extremely dangerous.
4: Traveling by Boat
Note that there are ports located in Boosaaso, Kismaayo, Berbera, and Mogadishu. The water outside of Somalia, especially the Gulf of Aden, is not safe due to the pirates. Be careful!
Beaches in Somalia
The name of beautiful beaches in Somalia that are located in Mogadishu is Jazeera and Liido Beach. Families visit these beaches on weekends. Sharia law is enforced, so a woman has to swim by wearing full clothes. It is not allowed for the woman to show much of their bodies or mingle with men.
Language in Somalia
Two languages thar are spoken by the residents of Somalia are Somali and Arabic. For your information, the Somali is a Cushitic language that is written in the Latin script, and it is spoken by a large number of populations.
Arabic is spoken by many individuals and this is the secondary language. The majority of the population in Somalis is exclusively Muslims and they have borrowed many religious terminologies from Arabic.
Furthermore, English is widely taught in schools. Many Somalis speak English to have communicated with the people who are handling all of the menial jobs in their country.
Currency in Somalia
The currency of Somalia is called Somali Shilling (SOS). Currently, only 1,000-shillings note is used. A glass of water will cost you 10 SOS. The exchange rate of US$1 to Somali shilling is 580 (SOS). Before traveling to Somalia, it is best to book a cheap flight to Mogadishu, Somalia to end all your worries.
Food in Somalia
Somali meals are mostly meat driven and vegetarianism is rare. Mostly, the goat, beef, lamb and sometimes chicken is fried in the ghee, grilled or broiled. It is bit spiced up using turmeric, cumin-coriander, and curry and it is eaten with basmati rice for lunch, dinner, and breakfast.
Vegetables appear as side dishes and they are used with the meat dish such as potatoes, carrots, and peas with meat and for making a stew. Other than this, green peppers, spinach, and garlic are also commonly eaten in the area.
The Somali diet consists of halal foods. In Arabic, it means the food that is “allowable” as compared to the Haram: “prohibited”). Most Somalis are Muslims and under Islamic Law (or Shariah), pork and alcohol are not allowed.
Some common foods also include a homemade bread called injera. It resembles a large spongy pancake. The second dish is the Sambusas that is similar to the Indian samosas that are deeply fried triangular-shaped pastries that are filled with meat or vegetables.
The Cuisine of Somalia is different from region to region. The cuisines are the exotic mixture of native Somali, Turkish, Indian, Persian, Yemeni, and Italian food. Note that all the food served is Halal.
Somalis love spiced tea. A minority of Somalis drink tea that is similar to Turkish tea that they have brought from Middle Eastern countries to their homeland. The majority of people, drink a traditional and cultural tea that is called Shah Hawaash as it is made up of cardamom and cinnamon bark.
In Islam alcohol is forbidden and residents of and Somalia follow this strictly. As far as the coffee is concerned, try Mirra that is made in the Somali style. Sometimes it is spiced with cardamom and it is having a strong taste. Furthermore, it is drunk with fresh dates. Moving on, the tea (chai) usually uses dollops of sugar and few mint leaves (na’ana).
Wildlife in Somalia
Due to the fantastic scenery and extreme weather, Somalia is having a wide variety of wildlife. Animals range from meerkats to lions. Many parks have taken animals out of Mogadishu for safety in zoos such as Lag-Badana Park that is located on the outskirts of Mogadishu.
It is not recommended to travel out of Mogadishu or other parts of rural because you will be shot by the military. It is best to carry a gun with you as there are cheetahs, hyenas or leopard when traveling in the night in the rural areas.
Near Fafahdhun village at a distance of 80km west of Bardera, there is a grassy land area that is called as Gelgel. Here you will find lion, ostrich, and the biggest bird in the savannah.
Places to Visit in Mogadishu, Somalia
Below is the list of places that you should visit on your trip to Somalia:
- Ruins of Mogadishu Cathedral
- Black Hawk Down Site Museum
- Mogadishu Lighthouse
- Banadir Governor Office
- Arab-Rucun Mosque
- Peace Garden
- Arch of Triumph
- Bakaara Market
Choice is Yours
This was a detail about all the tourist information regarding Somalia. The traveler needs to be very careful and they have to travel with security.
If you are a traveler from the UK, then you should book flight tickets from UK to Mogadishu at an affordable rate by contacting a renowned travel agency like Euro Africa Travel.