After 17 years without a functioning government, Somalia has managed to pull itself up by the boot straps and is now looking toward building a stable and prosperous country. There are still many problems, and several areas remain dangerous to travelers, but this should not take away from the fact that the country has a great deal to offer tourists. All Somalia needs is to be given a chance.
There is a host of sights and activities on offer, ranging from those in the outdoors to those focused on the region’s culture and history. Even though some regions should be avoided due to potentially unpredictable outbreaks of violence, there are still many activities on offer in stable areas like Somaliland. Adventure-seekers will be pleased with the plethora of outdoor excursions, from scuba diving and snorkeling, to exciting game safaris.
Travelers who are not attracted to adventure should not despair as there are also many activities which focus on cultural experiences. Whether interacting with locals at a busy open-air market or staying overnight at a traditional home, there are many opportunities for travelers to engage with the people of the country first-hand.
Most of Somalia is a desert region - hot, dry, and dusty conditions are present throughout most of the year. However, seasonal monsoons cool the region down and there are two rainy seasons which are welcomed by locals and traveler alike: April to June is the first rainy season, called Gu, and October to November is the second rainy season, called Dayr. As with any desert region, there are drastic temperature differences between night-time and daytime.
A great deal of Somalia’s infrastructure was destroyed during the civil war and is only now being restored. As a result, the accommodation options are limited. There are not many low-cost options and travelers will have to be content with staying in hotels, and in some of the more developed areas, resorts. The same can be said for the eating options as most of the restaurants serving international cuisine are located within hotels.
In similar fashion to the accommodation options, travel infrastructure in Somalia has been largely destroyed or, in some cases, completely ignored. There are no train lines but there are several bus services which travel both within and between cities. Car rentals are available but it is strongly recommended that a guide be hired to accompany travelers wishing to navigate their own way around the area. Taxis are an inexpensive and convenient way of navigating large cities.
- Scuba dive in the gorgeous East African waters
- Visit the site of ancient rock paintings at Laas Geel
- Experience an authentic African safari in Kismayu National Park
- Learn more about the country at the National Museum of Somalia
- Shop in the regionally famous Bakara Market
- Enjoy the beauty of the beaches at the Berbera