What is Somaliland?
Somaliland is located at the top of the Horn of Africa. In 1991 the area declared itself independent from Somalia. However, it has never been recognized by such bodies as the African Union or the United Nations. So officially it is still part of Somalia. The area has a high degree of self-government and therefore has little or nothing to do with the government in Mogadishu. It is also a safe area to travel around. The problems that are elsewhere in Somalia are not reflected in this region.
When is the best time to plan your visit to Somaliland?
The best time to travel to Somaliland is from October to April. Especially in the winter months (November to March ) you have a pleasant temperature of about 20 degrees. The vast majority of Somaliland has a desert climate with mild winters and extremely hot summers. The summer months (June to August) are generally the hottest. Temperatures can then reach 40 degrees.
Do I need insurance for my trip to Somaliland (Somalia)?
Somaliland is not an officially recognized country. That means it usually falls under Somalia. Everyone must take out travel and health insurance before leaving for Somaliland. Whether Somaliland is covered by your policy differs per insurance policy. In most cases this will not be a problem. If not, we recommend that you check with one of the following international insurance companies: Global Underwriters or IATI Travel Insurance. They have different packages and you can put together exactly what works best for you.
Do I need a visa for Somaliland (Somalia)?
You need a different visa for Somaliland than for Somalia. You can get the visa for Somaliland on arrival in the capital Hargeisa. You must complete a visa form for this. You will receive this form from us before you leave, so you it can print and take with you. After passport control you have to pay US $ 60 at the box of the Ministry of Finance, after which you get the visa. So bring $ 60 in cash for the visa.
What is the time zone in Somalia?
Somalia uses the time zone UCT +3.
Somalia has no difference between summer and winter time.
How can I pay and how much will I spend in Somaliland?
In Somaliland they pay with the Somaliland Shilling. This currency is not internationally recognized. Always make sure you bring enough cash with you when traveling. In Somaliland there is no option to withdraw cash. It is best to exchange money with the guide, he knows where good money exchange offices are with a good exchange rate. It is better to bring American Dollars. These are accepted everywhere and can easily be changed.
Of course, it mainly depends on yourself how much you actually spend in Somaliland, but as a guideline we would suggest approximately € 15 to € 25 per day, which should be enough. If you would like to buy souvenirs, it is better to bring some extra. Soft drinks usually cost around € 1 and a meal between € 5 and € 10. Tipping local guides is always encouraged. They don’t earn much in this part of the world and it often makes a big difference to them. Of course this is according to your own preference.
Do I have to arrange my international flight to Somaliland myself?
We are always available to advise you when booking a flight. However, most customers prefer to book the flight themselves. Often this is cheaper in terms of price and you can pick your own preferences.
What is the voltage and which plug should I use in Somaliland?
The complete electricity supply in Somaliland is 220 Volt / 50 Hz. Usually, you can use the European or UK plug. However, we recommend to bring a universal plug. There is also regular power outages, so make sure to charge everything as soon as there is power in your hotel.
Is there internet access and can I make calls in Somaliland?
Internet is sometimes available at the accommodations. However, the connection is not very steady and fast. It is possible to buy a local SIM card. The guide can help you with this.
What are the local customs in Somaliland?
Many people in Somaliland are conservative Muslims. They are also often not used to tourists. But as soon as they know more about you, you notice that they are often very welcoming people.
A few rules to keep in mind:
– The people of Somaliland feel a strong pride about their own region. Although they are not internationally recognized, they feel different from the rest of Somalia.
– Wear simple clothes (t-shirt with pants / skirt).
– Do not drink alcohol in public.
– Always take off your shoes when entering a mosque or house. Never show your shoe sole when you sit down.
– Don’t pass by someone who is praying.
Is it safe in Somaliland?
Although Somaliland is officially part of Somalia, it is a safe place to travel to. Little is noticeable in this part of the country of the unrest in other parts of Somalia. Only in the border region with Puntland ( a different semi-independent portion of Somalia ), there may sometimes be tensions. The areas in Somaliland that we visit are places where we feel comfortable and where we feel we can bring people. If the situation changes, we will also respond immediately. We therefore demand a certain flexibility from our travelers.
A few things to keep in mind;
– Do not go out on your own in the evening. Always discuss this with the local guide.
– We do not discuss the itinerary or the name of the hotel with anyone. While it will of course only be out of curiosity that someone asks, we don’t share this information with others purely as a precaution.
– We advise everyone to register with your local embassy. If you have problems on the spot, it is much easier to get in touch with the embassy on site.
Can I take pictures in Somaliland?
In general, you can take photos freely in Somaliland. However, there are a few things to keep in mind.
– Do you want to take a photo of someone? Always first ask the person in question for permission. Don’t just take pictures of women or praying people.
– Do not take pictures of military, military installations, police officers and government buildings.
Eating and drinking Somaliland
Somaliland is not known for its spectacular cuisine. In most restaurants you will find a stew with lamb, camel or goat. In addition to the stew, you get bread or rice with some vegetables. Somaliland is not an area for vegetarians: there are few vegetarian options. And even if it is said that the dish does not contain meat, it still does not guarantee that there will not be some meat in between. It is not possible to drink water from the tap in Somaliland because the filter system is not good. There is no alcohol sold in Somaliland. Tourists are allowed to bring with them up to 2 litres of alcoholic beverage.
What should I wear in Somaliland?
Somaliland is a conservative country. That means women should wear a headscarf with a long skirt or pants. It is best for men to wear long trousers with a t-shirt. In most hotels in the big cities you will be able to do laundry if time permits.
Health and hygiene
Somaliland is a developing country with a very turbulent recent history. Healthcare is therefore very limited. Also in terms of hygiene, the standard much lower than in the Western world. Make sure you have enough disinfection gel, sunscreen and insect repellent.
We advise you always to the last (health) risk programs for the region where you’re going to visit. Check with your own government for the latest info about your destination.