If you are in search of a real adventure, then you should place Somaliland in your traveling list. It is definitely a stable region within the continent. This region is having its own parliament, visa, security forces, and currency.
If you are going to travel to this place, then you have to book a cheap flight to Hargeisa by a renowned travel agency to make your journey problem-free. As you are going to travel, so you should be aware of all the things before visiting Somaliland. Below is a travel guide and things that you can do in Somaliland:
Visa for Somaliland
A visa is compulsory for all the people who want to travel to Somaliland. You can get in touch with a hotel in the country that can help you with the process. In this way, you will get your visa on your arrival at the airport of Hargeisa. Furthermore, you can visit the Somaliland Liasion Office located in Addis Adaba, Ethiopia. Here you can get the visa within an hour.
Remember that you can’t get the Ethiopian visa in Hargeisa if you are not having an onward visa for Ethiopia or Djibouti. In this case, you will have to travel via plane because these visas are not issued at the land borders. It is recommended to get a multi-entry visa before traveling to Ethiopia as it will allow you to get more travel options.
Hotels for Staying
In Hargeisa, the Oriental Hotel is the best choice. It is located in the heart of the market area in Hargeisa. Furthermore, Damal Hotel is also a good choice as it is also receiving positive reviews. Note that if you are moving out of Hargeisa, then the choices will be less and the standard will be lower as well.
There are many different food points in Somaliland. Excluding pork and chicken, all other meats and fish are easily available. You can also get a good variety of vegetables, rice, and local bread. Moreover, you can also eat at the popular street vendor, the food available is very affordable and delicious. If you are traveling outside the Hargeisa, then the choices are very limited and the restaurant closes early so it is best to carry snacks.
You can easily use public transport between Hargeisa and Berbera if you are having a Special Protection Unit (SPU) waiver form and travel permit. Furthermore, traveling to Sheikh and Burao using public transport is also possible but options are limited. Organizing transportation for the Ethiopian or Djibouti border is easy but remember that the road is rough and very tiresome as well. If you are going to travel any place, then you will need a vehicle of your own because you need an armed SPU. When going to leave the country, then you have to pay $30 for the departure, $3 for the security, and $10 as an airport fee. Keeping all this in mind, you have to keep a sufficient amount of dollars with you because there will be no change available.
Things to Do in Somaliland
The places to visit in Somaliland are very less but we are going to list all those below:
1: Laas Geel Cave Painting
This is one of the interesting tourist attractions and you should not miss this place. It is a complex of cave painting that is well-preserved and it is considered as the oldest horn in Africa. The rock art is believed to be 6000 BC old but it was discovered by the team of French researchers who finds this place with the help of local villagers who believed that this place was haunted.
2: Money Market in Hargeisa
Technically it is not a market, you will see stalls for exchanging your money. The currency in Somaliland is called as Somali Shilling. The Shillings comes in a low and few denominations. The exchange rate is the 10,000 Shilling to one US Dollar just like the Indonesian Rupee. The highest denomination is 5000 Shilling. The commonly used note is of 1000 that is equivalent to the 10 cents of the US dollar. If you want to make a small purchase, then there are no coins. The lowest note is the 500 Shillings that is equivalent to 5 cents.
3: Hargeisa War Memorial
Somaliland is not a place full of monuments or landmarks. The monument of War Memorial is located in the Freedom Square. This site is having a MiG-17 jet fighter that locals brought down by throwing and rocks and shooting at the plane. This plane represents Somaliland’s Independence and struggles with the central Somali government. This landmark is located in front of the Damal Hotel. Go to the top floor of the restaurant for enjoying your meal or drink and have some high views of Hargeisa.
4: Hiddo Dhawr
It is a kind of cultural center and lives music venue where you will hear some traditional music. There are some scheduled performances where you can see the bands playing on the stage if you are in the town. This is the only place where you can enjoy local cuisine in an authentic manner and see how the Somalilanders live.
5: Hargeisa Cultural Center
It is a privately owned venue that was opened in 2014. It is a mix of art gallery and library. This center was created by the Red Sea Foundation that is also running the annual Hargeisa Book Fair that is also called as Hargeysa International Book Fair. Inside the building, you will see a traditional garden that is having local plants and fruit frees.
Some other places that you can visit during your trip also include the Saryan Museum, Port Town of Berbera, Beach in Berbera, Coastal Town of Zyla, and Livestock Market in Hargeisa.
This was a brief about all the things that you should know about Somaliland before your travel. If planning to travel from UK for some adventure in Somaliland, then get flight tickets from UK to Hargeisa at affordable rates.