Even though strife with political upheaval, the tourism industry in the Somaliland region of Somalia has been blossoming. Somaliland has recently been attracting an influx of tourists, signifying a change in the global perception of the region.
Since gaining its independence after the merging of two territories in 1960, the republic of Somalia has undergone many hardships. Challenged by civil war and the absence of a trustworthy centralized government, the people of Somalia have had to rely on their own steadfastness to move forward and leave the country’s troubled past behind.
While Somalia struggles, one territory in the country has been able to achieve something that had been deemed nearly impossible. In Somaliland, a region in the northwestern corner of the country, peaceful, fair, and org
anized national elections have taken place since 2003. Since Somaliland is not recognized as being independent from Somalia, as it wishes, the territory is setting an example not only for Somalia but also the rest of the continent to follow.
The Top 5: What to Do in Somalia
1. Laas Gaal Cave Paintings:
A French archaeological team discovered these ancient artifacts in 2002. In order to preserve the cave, there’s currently a restriction on the number of tourists allowed to visit the site at a time.
This historic town is home to many British colonial buildings, untouched for some 40 years.
Formerly a part of the Ottoman Empire, Zeila was also a dependency of Yemen and Egypt, as it served as a major trading city in the 19th century. There one can view old colonial landmarks, coral reefs, towering cliffs, and beaches.
4. Freedom Arch of Hargeisa:
The arch and the war memorial in this city’s center are worth visiting. Both sites offer commentary on Somalia’s remarkable progress.
5. Naasa Hablood Hills:
Located on the outskirts of Hargeisa, these twin hills are considered by native Somalilanders a majestic natural landmark.
Getting In and Around
All who wish to visit the country require a visa.
Very few major airlines from the U.S. or the U.K. fly directly to Somalia. Traveling through the Middle East is the best way to get to Somalia.
Safety and Security
The northern region of Somalia, Somaliland, is the only area in Somalia considered fit for tourism and travel. Somaliland is developing quickly but still shaking off some of the crime that was associated with the civil war. For more information, check Britain’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office
’s website or the U.S. Department of State
’s travel page. Take note: the Department of State’s travel warnings
are worth reading.