YoTuT

photo: YoTuT

View Map

Overview

Little-known and unrecognized by the outside world, Somaliland seceded from the rest of war-torn Somalia in 1991, and since then it has functioned as a reasonably stable self-governing state. It is not an easy travel destination, but it has much to offer adventurous travelers. An obvious highlight, discovered as recently as 2002, is the rock art site of Laas Geel, whose centerpiece is an inclined 100-square-meter ceiling panel daubed with hundreds of well-preserved multicoloured paintings dating back at least 5,000 years. Laas Geel is an easy day trip from the capital Hargeisa, a fascinating, friendly and profoundly Somali town notable for ...

Little-known and unrecognized by the outside world, Somaliland seceded from the rest of war-torn Somalia in 1991, and since then it has functioned as a reasonably stable self-governing state. It is not an easy travel destination, but it has much to offer adventurous travelers. An obvious highlight, discovered as recently as 2002, is the rock art site of Laas Geel, whose centerpiece is an inclined 100-square-meter ceiling panel daubed with hundreds of well-preserved multicoloured paintings dating back at least 5,000 years. Laas Geel is an easy day trip from the capital Hargeisa, a fascinating, friendly and profoundly Somali town notable for its busy camel market and the total absence of cosmopolitan airs and trappings one would associate with a capital city. The venerable seaport of Berbera, with its crumbling Ottoman architecture and superb offshore reefs, is of unknown antiquity, but it is almost certainly synonymous with Malao, a trade port described in the 1st century "Periplus of the Erythraean Sea," and it may well have been the trade center known to the ancient Egyptians as Punt. Elsewhere, the vast Somali landscape is sparsely populated by nomadic camel herders and studded with mysterious unexcavated relicts of earlier inhabitants ranging from ruined medieval trade cities to gigantic burial cairns and carved stelae. The scenic highlight is the remote Daallo Escarpment, which rises about 7,000 feet from the coastal plain, and hosts some of Africa’s most eagerly sought birds, including the endemic Archer’s buzzard, Archer’s francolin, Warsangli linnet and Somali golden-winged grosbeak. Elsewhere, wildlife may not compare to Africa’s top safari destinations, but the likes of Hamadryas baboon, desert warthog, hyena, jackal and various dry-country gazelles are often seen along the roadside.

Philip Briggs
About the Expert

Philip Briggs has written or contributed to 50-plus editions of Bradt, Insight, AA and Berlitz guidebooks to African destinations.

view full overview

Philip Briggs for Triporati

Must See, Do

Save It for Next Time

info

If time is short, save these attractions for a second visit.

Compare Flight, Car Rental, and Hotel Rates

Note: A new window will open for each site you select.

Note: A new window will open for each site you select.

Note: A new window will open for each site you select.

Facts at a Glance

  • Location: Somaliland is an unrecognised self-declared de facto sovereign state that is internationally recognised as an autonomous region of Somalia in Eastern Africa, bordering the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean, east of Ethiopia.
  • Language: Somali, Arabic, Italian & English
  • Currency: Somaliland Shilling
  • Research: Wikitravel | Wikipedia

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    The relatively cool months of November to March are the most comfortable time to be in Somaliland. They also coincide with the dry season, which reduces the risk of roads being impassable after flash storms.