When it comes to travel bucket lists, Somalia isn’t typically a destination that sits at the top. After all, foreign offices are still advising against travel to the country due to the threat of war, droughts, and poverty. Despite this, Somalia now has a stable government in place, meaning that there’s a glimmer of hope that the country could become a tourist destination in the coming years. We can only hope that the various give to Somalia appeals do their job of elevating the country from its current struggles. Should this happen, detailed below are some of the must-visit destinations in Somalia.
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Aibat, otherwise known as Ceebaad Island in the local tongue, is a part of the beautiful Zeila Archipelago. This island sits on the Indian Ocean and showcases an exotic assortment of beaches with pearly white sands and mangrove-fringed rocks. What’s more, the sea is abundant in fascinating marine life, allowing you to make discoveries that can’t be found anywhere else in the world. This is on top of the rustic lighthouse that you can marvel at. As you look into the sky at the lighthouse, you’ll also find countless species of fascinating birds as they soar through the sky.
Sa’ad ad-Din Island
Sa’ad ad-Din Island is also a part of the aforementioned Zeila Archipelago and is the most visited of the six islets that stray from the coast of Somaliland off the ancient city of Zeila. Just recently, it has become one of the country’s rare national parks, thanks to its weathered sandstone rock mounts, ivory-colored beaches, bays of cobalt blue water, and gleaming coral reefs. As with Aibat Island, you’re sure to find colorful schools of fish under the water, as this is where the tropical creatures of the Red Sea mix with the larger animals of the Indian Ocean.
Zeila, otherwise known as Seylac in the local tongue, is a space of adventure. This is where the barren land of rocky hills and sand dunes collides with the pearly blue of the Aden Gulf, and this all takes place in the northwestern corner of Somaliland. It isn’t too far from the Djiboutian border, meaning a 4×4 is essential for access to the space – from this, visitors are presented with ancient colonialist frontages and derelict Muslim palaces, representing an era that’s behind us. Meanwhile, the Zeila Coast contains rusty ship carcasses, further expressing the history of the area to all who visit it.
Just outside Hargeisa, the Somaliland capital, you’ll find Laas Geel in between the dusty hills and ridges. This is home to some of the earliest cave paintings ever to be discovered in the Horn of Africa, and the numerous underground tunnels and alcoves just demonstrate the lasting and raw history of the location. In fact, visitors will be able to decipher colorful drawings of shepherds tending to their flocks and artistic illustrations of cattle. What’s more, the lack of development in the space means that visitors are presented with the raw and authentic history of the space.
The self-declared capital of Somaliland, Hargeisa is last but surely not least. Since 1991, Somaliland has operated independently of the rest of Somalia without the support of the country’s central government. The effect is that the area is largely tranquil and non-violent. Given that it is one of the best places to visit in Somalia, Hargeisa may experience an increase in tourism in the years to come as the situation in the nation hopefully improves.
Would you like to tick Somalia off your travel bucket list in the future?