Somalia — Travel Tips
The official languages are Somali and Arabic but Swahili is also widely spoken, most prolifically in Southern Somalia. The Southern region is a former Italian protectorate so Italian is also spoken in this area. English is generally spoken as a second or third language and is the main language spoken in the business and tourism industries.
The national currency is the Somali shilling, which is divided into 100 cents. Travelers should be aware that there are no credit card facilities in the country and no hotels, restaurants, or stores accept credit cards of any kind. There are also no ATMs, which means travelers need to keep large sums of money on them. Currency is most easily and most safely exchanged at hotels, as currency exchange offices in crowded areas are often targeted by robbers. The easiest currency to exchange is US dollars as many exchange outlets do not keep euro.
Somalia is on East Africa Time, which is GMT +3.
The country uses electricity at 220V/50Hz and uses European plug outlets.
The international dialing code for Somalia is +252. There are no international roaming agreements with any countries as of yet, so travelers need to purchase a local SIM card in order to stay in contact. Luckily, there are several cell network operators in the country, most of which offer GSM connectivity, including Somafone, Nationallink, Hormuud Telecom, and Telsom Mobile. While there is an internet service provider in the country, namely SomaliNet, there is limited wireless internet access. There are, however, a few internet cafés in the major cities. Travelers should consult with hotel staff before going to an internet café, especially in volatile regions like Mogadishu, as lone travelers are targets.
Tourists are allowed to carry: 200 cigarettes or 25 cigars, or 450g of tobacco; 50mL of perfume and 250mL eau de toilette; 1.1 liter of wine or spirits; and gifts and other goods not exceeding the value of US$500 into Somalia duty free.
Consulates in Somalia
European Commission, Nairobi (Kenya): +254-20271-2830
Italian Embassy, Mogadishu: +254-2446-578
Djibouti Embassy, Mogadishu: +252-5930477
Yemeni Embassy, Mogadishu: +252-90-721285
Somali Police (Puntland): +252-54-24640