Tips and how one can journey to Somaliland in 2020

Posted On Jun 4, 2020 By admin With Comments Off on Tips and how one can journey to Somaliland in 2020

Somaliland travel

Everybody knows about Somalia, but not many know about Somaliland, a country within Somali frontiers that testified self-independence in 1991 but, since nobody in the international community recognized it as such, it became one of those self-administered spirit countries.

Legally, it belongs to Somalia but, from a tourism point of view, traveling to Somalia is like visiting a brand-new country, a particularly plotting and mysterious one.

Camel markets, Medieval mosques and ancient stone art drew by some of the oldest pastoralist civilizations, Somaliland is a truly off the beaten path- and very safe- end which you can’t miss in your trip to the Horn of Africa.

I spent 10 days backpacking in Somaliland and the present guidelines contains tips and everything you need to know to travel there, from visa tips-off to transcend know-hows, approximate budget and more.

This is the most up-to-date Somaliland travel blog available on the internet but also, don’t forget to read my tips-off for traveling to Eritrea

travel to Somaliland

In this expedition navigate to Somaliland you will find:

Visa Getting in Best time Travel insurance Top events Somalia& Somaliland Somali beings Language Food Safety Solo female travelling Police bodyguards Currency and credit cards Prices Moving around Accommodation Internet& SIM Card Books about Somaliland

How to get a visa for Somaliland

The first thing you need to know is that, despite being legally bound to Somalia, Somaliland acts like an independent country, so different immigration rules apply, similar to what happens between Iraq and Iraqi Kurdistan( predicted my travel guide to Iraqi Kurdistan ).

This means that a legitimate sightseer visa for Somaliland doesn’t allow you to travel to Somalia, and a legitimate visa for Somalia doesn’t allow you to travel to Somaliland.

Therefore, in order to get your visa, you can’t apply at the Embassy of Somalia, but you need to find a particular Somaliland Mission.

However, since Somaliland isn’t an official country, this draws things particularly challenging, as they don’t have more than a few goals around the world.

somaliland missiom djiboutiThe Mission in Djibouti, where I applied for my Somaliland visa

Getting a Somaliland visa in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Most travelers travel to Somaliland as one of the purposes of a multi-country trip around the Horn of Africa, so get a visa at the Embassy in Addis Ababa seemed to be the most frequent choice.

According to travelers, these are the requirements 😛 TAGEND

It expenditure $100, and they are acquired USD 2 passports photos, 1 passport reproduce You get it on the same day

Here you can find more information about the process.

Getting a Somaliland visa in Djibouti City, Djibouti

This is where I went mine. Very easy and cheaper than in Addis.

Since Djibouti is rather a small city, getting to the Mission was fairly quick and the issue is the reporting requirements 😛 TAGEND

It expense $60, paid after regional currency 2 passport photos, 1 passport follow, 1 Djibouti visa emulate You pick it up 24 hours later

Getting a Somaliland visa in another country

If you aren’t traveling in the Horn of Africa, you may as well get the visa in your home country or any other where you find a Somaliland Mission.

Here you can see an updated list of Somaliland representative offices but I am not sure if you can get a visa in all of them, you will have to figure it out by yourself.

As far as I know, nonetheless, anyone can apply at the Mission in London and in Washington D.C and, apparently, getting one in London expenditures PS30.

Somaliland Visa on Arrival

If you are flying in, you can also get a VOA if previously ordered with your hotel in Hargeisa.

Hotels that can arrange your VOA 😛 TAGEND

Oriental Hotel( Budget) Damal Hotel( Mid-range) Ambassador Hotel( Luxury)

However, only citizens of the EU, USA, Canada, China, and a few other Asian countries can apply for a VOA, but I recommend you contact the hotel to know all requirements, as well as their fees.

Typically, a VOA expenditure $60, plus possible inn fees.

visa for SomalilandMy visa for traveling to Somaliland

How to get into Somaliland Tips on how to travel to Somaliland by aura

Hargeisa has an International Airport with flights from Addis Ababa, Djibouti, and even Dubai and Jeddah.

I recommend you check on Ethiopian Airline, Daallo Airline, Fly Dubai and Air Djibouti.

You can also check immediately on Skyscanner.

Gratuity on how to travel to Somaliland by land

How to travel to Somaliland from Djibouti- I employed this alternative and it was easy. In Djibouti City, there is a departure point for 4×4 heading to Somaliland and I am specifying 4×4 because, formerly you cross the border, there are no arteries until Borama- nearly 300 km after- but only desert and sand. It was quite an adventure. How to travel to Somaliland from Ethiopia- Very easy. I used it to get out of Somaliland. The closest, most famous city is Harar, but you are not able find direct transportation to the border, but you should go first to Jijiga, the capital of Ethiopian Somalia. How to travel to Somaliland from Oman- That’s right. You can enter Somaliland via Berbera from Salalah( Oman) by boat, and it’s completely legal and doable. I actually met a tourist couple who did it, on a merchandise ship, but they had to wait in Salalah for nearly next three weeks for the ship to depart. Read my Oman travel guide. How to travel to Somaliland from Somalia- This border is closed to strangers.

how to travel from Dijibouti to SomalilandThe Dijibouti-Somaliland border, and the Air France truck

Best time to visit Somaliland

I don’t know how can you handle the heat, but I can’t and, as you may imagine, Somaliland can get somewhat sizzling in summer, specially the coastal part, with temperatures averaging 45 oC.

Hargeisa sits at an altitude of 1300 m, so the brave might be somewhat cool there, but still, time isn’t a great time to go.

Therefore, the best time to visit Somaliland is from November until March.

I called it at the end of January and the weather was great, especially in Hargeisa, where the temperature never reached above 25 oC, and we even had some rain one day.

Travel policy for Somaliland

Somaliland belongs to Somalia so, as you may imagine, most governments consider it a conflict zone and therefore, most travel insurance companies won’t cover for this trip, unfortunately.

However, I did some research and there are two insurance companies that do cover 😛 TAGEND IATI Coverage

Budget travel insurance that spreads Somalia and valid for any type of trip and nationality.

They have many different contrives and readers of this blog can get an exclusive 5% discount.


True Traveller

Great travel insurance for backpackers likewise valid for Somalia but exclusively Europeans can purchase it.


If you want to know more about insurance predicted how to find the liberty backpacking traveling policy for your errand

5 Top events in Somaliland Getting high on khat

Khat is a drug, literally, a flower with amphetaminic effects frequently devoured in the Horn of Africa and Yemen, and extremely popular across all Somalia.

If you are traveling in Somaliland, you must spend at least one afternoon eating khat with locals.

If you get to taste good quality one, it can get quite an experience.

Read my post: Fear& loathing in Somaliland

can you vi SomalilandTypical khat stall

Feeding gazelles

What was the highlighting of your excursion to Somaliland? Some parties asked me.

Difficult to say, my errand was overall great, but what astounded me the most was going for breakfast to a random cafe in Berbera and unexpectedly being surrounded by gazelles.

I won’t enter into the ethical issue of having wild swine in your garden-variety, but various cafes have gazelles wandering around freely in their plot and if you get some needles from a tree, they won’t hesitate to approach you.

northeastern AfricaFeeding gazelles, somewhere in Berbera

Visiting livestock markets

Somaliland is a particularly traditional country and livestock markets abound, and I strongly recommend you see the one in Hargeisa, which takes plaza every single day.

visit SomalilandCamel market of Hargeisa

Meeting Somalis

Backpacking in Somaliland is one of those journeys where, candidly, there isn’t much to do, but the foreground is meeting new people.

Expect consignments of smiles, beings asking you for photos and endless chewing-khat requests, like this funny Somali dancing 😛 TAGEND

Checking epic rock artistry locates

The only proper touristic thing as such to do is checking out a few caves containing some 5,000 -old rock art paintings which apparently, are some of the most impressive and well-preserved of this particular kind in Africa, and ONE of the highlights of my visit to Somaliland.

Somaliland travel blogLas Geel cliff prowes

Differences between Somaliland and Somalia

I believe the tale between Somaliland and Somalia is a complicated situation that goes beyond my appreciate, but let me exactly give you my 5 cents.

During colonialism, today’s Somalia was split into 2 different regions: the western part was under British rule, while the east was under Italian rule.

Check this map from Wikipedia 😛 TAGEND

Somali-Somaliland War Memorial

Like it has been happening with most of the provinces, at the end of the colonial times, the British and the UN selected their own borders as they satisfied, this route coalescing the 2 Somalias into a single one.

Here you can check more unrecognized countries I inspected

Therefore, Somaliland has always had a feeling of becoming an independent nation, and, because of many rationalizations, mainly conflicts and political problems, in 1991, Somaliland decided to self-declare independence from Somalia.

However, as I was noted in the preface , nobody recognized it as such, and, when I say nobody, I signify none , not even its onetime colonizer( the UK ), the Olympic committee, the FIFA or the World Bank.


Somaliland is on his own, vacated and, even though they have full liberty to become independent, they will never will, as the present decision has been delegated to the African Union and they don’t want to recognize them because this could lead a massive African change, as hundreds of minorities across the continent might claim the same thing.

Yet, do you know what is the main difference versus Somalia? While Somalia is an despotic regime immersed in a Civil War and, mostly, a neglected country, Somaliland is a serene, safe democracy and, the reason why despite all the internal difficulties, specially saving, Somalilanders will never miss gaining their independence.

how to visit SomalilandSomali-Somaliland War Memorial in Hargeisa

People in Somaliland

Somaliland is mostly composed of Somalis, a big ethnic group spread across Djibouti, Eastern Ethiopia , northern Kenya, and of course, Somalia.

Somalia is the most homogenous African country, ethnically speaking.

how to travel to Somaliland

It is a extremely patriarchal culture- particularly Muslim republican- where I conceive gals have very little claims, and I don’t recall ensure a single woman not wearing a hijab, in the field I toured at least.

Other than that, Somalis are nice, warm and welcoming beings but, of course, this is an extremely poor country and sometimes you do assemble people who at first, seem they just want to have a conversation but then they ask for money.

This is something I have noticed a great deal in Africa. While in Muslim Asian countries such as Iran or Pakistan, parties are always willing to offer their help for free, some people I when backpacking in Somaliland( not all, of course) are later asking for a tip.

You too need to be careful with your camera, and ever invite first, because countless Somalis don’t like cameras, and they can get very angry, even though they are you take a shot from far away, and I am talking here by own experience.

In any case, most interactions and knowledge with the local people are truly great.

Chewing khat Eating khat is kind of a lifestyle in Somaliland. All mortals eat it and mostly, life in its own country stops after noon until the evening. Regardless of all the social issues khat has brought to the Somali society, it’s an interesting occasion to see and ordeal. Khat get you high-pitched( if you get a good-quality one, which payments from $10) but you need to munched it( and swallow) for a couple of hours at least, laundering it down with soda or any sugared guzzle because khat is extremely bittered.

advocateA regional buster present me some khat


All Somalis speak Somali a Cushitic language, the family of many languages spoken in northeastern Africa.

It’s difficult to describe how it sounds like, but what I can tell you is that they use some Arabic words, as Arabs have been trading in this region for centuries and in fact, Arabic is widely taught in schools.

As per their script, they use the Latin Alphabet.

Do they speak English?

Since this used to be a British colony, you fulfill many Somalilanders speaking impeccable English and most people is common knowledge certain basic words.

In fact, “theyre using” countless English oaths in their language, like figures for example.

The language shouldn’t be a barrier when traveling in Somaliland.

Cuisine: what are you going to eat when calling Somaliland?

Fact: nobody is trips Somaliland for the food.

Actually, this is one of the worst countries I have been to when it comes to food.

All right, it’s not that bad, but it’s just boring, basic, and there’s nothing memorable to bring back home, except for some fresh fish I had in Berbera. That was good.

Their star dish, which they eat throughout the day is a lentils stew announced ” penis”, and literally enunciated like “penis” , no kidding.

When you walk in a cafe, you just say you require a “penis” and they will bring you these lentils.

Other than that, pasta with tomato sauce is also the staple but, as you may imagine, it is not good pasta.

They ever ingest with their handwriting, even a dish of spaghetti with tomato sauce.

Alcohol is illegal in Somaliland It is only available in the black market but some locals do make their own at home and you are likely to see some drunk parties at night. I arrived in the city of Boroma at 3am and, while looking for a hotel, there was this creepy local who approached me deeming a plastic bottle with some quirky matt grey liquid in it. He was massively wasted, drooling, and trying to hug me or something, but it was very easy to push him out. After a few days, a young, well-educated local told me that home-made alcohol is a big deal in Somaliland, but most of it is just so strong and basically, very dangerous, so meeting beings fucked up like that guy from Boroma is very normal.

Somaliland cuisineMy neighbourhood friend feeing some penis in Zeyla

Is it safe to travel to Somaliland?

In short: Somaliland is safe but Somalia is not.

All the negative things you see in the media about Somalia referring to pirates, missiles, or Al Shabab, happen in Somalia mainland.

There have been some terrorist attacks in Somaliland, yes, but the last one was back in 2008, a long time ago and, since then , good-for-nothing has happened so far, plus the country enjoys one of the lowest crime rates in the world.

Can it happen again or, could there be possible kidnappings?

Look, I am no professional, and the FCO advice claims that all the country is a massive NO-GO, but you already know that their conviction is very biased and all I can tell you is that so far, all travelers have had a great time traveling in Somaliland.

Just apply common sense and proceed safe!

Check this video from this very isolated, hence very safe place in Somaliland 😛 TAGEND

Solo female expedition in Somaliland

I have only talked to one noblewoman about her journey to Somaliland and all she told me was that she had a great time there, but I am afraid she didn’t give me any further details, but she was a woman with a large traveling experience in traditional Muslim countries, and I feel the experience in Somaliland as a solo wife shouldn’t differ much from the one in Sudan or Pakistan.

If you are a woman who traveled to Somaliland( solo or accompanied) let me know if you’d like to write a guest post for Against the Compass or merely communicate me your experience to joan @againstthecompass. com.

somali womenSomali ladies spawning butter from camel milk, in the camel market of Hargeisa

Do there is a requirement a police escort for moving separately in Somaliland?

Before traveling to Somaliland, I heard that in some areas, basically anywhere outside Hargeisa, a police bodyguard was mandatory, and they would assign you one upon your entrance in that destination.

This wasn’t my case nevertheless( and I inspected numerous homes and went through a lot of checkpoints ).

In the beginning, I thought that may had been an aged guideline which didn’t apply anymore but I discover there was a solo female traveler who toured Somaliland just a few weeks before I and the police did ascribe her an escort.

This means that it might just depend on the policeman’s feeling and sensing and, since Somalis are an extremely patriarchal civilization, you might have a higher chance of getting a police escort if you are a solo female traveler.

In any case, your experience regarding this topic is very welcome in specific comments division

Horn Of AfricaFunny story: this guy was an enormous fraud who followed me for like 1 hour, feigning he was a police escort and, as a proof, he was wearing a shirt that clearly said ” bodyguard”, but he was too stupid to understand that his shirt necessitated being a male escort( like a female accompany ). He made up this story to get some coin, of course

Need to know about fund: currency, exchange, credit cards Currency

Somaliland has its own currency, which is the Somaliland Shilling and, approximately 😛 TAGEND

1USD= 8500 Sh

Their currency has suffered a massive devaluation and today, their biggest is note worth 5000 Sh, which is barely 60 cents.

On the other hand, USD are widely accepted, to the fullest extent that in most plazas, you are eligible to even pay a bottle of spray in USD and get the change in Somaliland Shillings.

Exchanging coin

Theoretically, if dollars are professed everywhere, you would not need to exchange, but get some regional money is more pleasant as, in traditional places, you will ever get the price in shillings, so you don’t need to make unnecessary calculations.

You can easily exchange in many residences but I recommend you go to the money market in Hargeisa, which is an attraction in itself, as you to have seen neighbourhoods loaded with hundreds of cash bricks but, in fact, most bricks are comprising representatives of 1000 notations, which means that they aren’t carrying much coin in their hands.

Ascribe posters

International credit cards are not accepted, but there are a few ATMs in Hargeisa from where you can withdraw some USD at a 3% commission.

I could cash out several hundreds with my Mastercard.

These banks are Premiere Bank and Dahabshil Bank and you can find their ATMs in downtown Hargeisa.

Check the money market of Hargeisa 😛 TAGEND

my visit to Somaliland

How much does it cost to travel to Hargeisa?

Somaliland is the cheapest country I visited in the Horn of Africa , is not simply because expenditures are low, but likewise because there is nothing to spend money on.

Price of “the worlds largest” conventional things:

Meal in a regional sit( penis ): 10,000 Sh Meal in a neighbourhood region( with meat ): 20,000 Sh Meal in mid-range place: 30,000 -4 0,000 Sh Main course in a top restaurant:$ 8- $12 Fresh juice: 10,000 Sh Water 1L: 2,000 -3, 000 Sh Local bus to pretty much any township: 20,000 -4 0,000 Sh Budget accommodation: $10 – $15 Mid-range housing: From $25

Median daily budget for backpacking in Somaliland


Other than that, the only expensive things I had to pay were the admission to Las Geel ($ 35 with guide included) and the 4×4 expedition from Zeyla to Borama ($ 50 ).

somaliland ShillingsSomaliland money

How to move around: transportation

Moving around the country is very easy and cheap.

Most towns are connected by bus, including Boroma, Berbera, or Burao and you exactly need to go to the bus station and ask for departure epoches. In Hargeisa, the bus terminal is in the city center.

Moving around is slow though, as the roads are not in very good condition.

If you want to go south of Boroma, to Zeyla and Djibouti border, there is a requirement a 4×4 but you can share it with other neighbourhoods if you go to the station.

Where to stay in Somaliland: housing

Somaliland is surprisingly well-sorted of hotels.

There is actually some domestic tourism, particularly among foreign Somalis who are visiting the country. I met a few of them in 2 different hotels.

Hotels I abode at 😛 TAGEND

Zeyla: Kaboode Guest House- There existed 1 guest house and paid $20 for one light. Most overpriced( it’s a rudimentary shanty ), but it can be negotiated if biding more lights. Borama: Oslo Hotel- Basic but clean-living, and paid $15. Hargeisa: Maamu Hotel- Super value-for-money, around $20 – $25 per nighttime, but they have many different offices. Berbera: Barwaqo hotel- Basic but clean and paid $10 for a private chamber with its own bathroom. The inn eatery provides stunning fish.

Internet& SIM Card Wi-Fi

All inns I stood had Wi-Fi , not very fast, but it manipulated reasonably well.

Outside of my hotels, except for a illusion restaurant in Hargeisa, I never envisioned Wi-Fi.

SIM Card

I got my SIM Card in a street stall right at the Djibouti-Somaliland border.

I went Telesom and I remember I paid like$ 3 for a SIM Card with 1GB internet and calls. It’s so cheap.

Books about Somaliland

Somaliland travel guide by Bradt- The only proper travel guidebook to Somaliland is the one from Bradt, published in December 2018, so it is quite updated and sacrifices a great overview of “the two countries “. I adore Bradt.


northern Kenya

Becoming Somaliland by Mark Bradbury- Great analysis to understanding the story of Somaliland, from declaring independence to becoming a democracy in one of the most turbulent parts on Earth.


Olympic committee

More intelligence for traveling to Somaliland

Read: Fear and loathing in Somaliland

Also, spoke my travel guide to Eritrea

And my travel guide to Sudan

Interested in the Middle East? Check out all my navigates and articles

Somaliland travel guide

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