Eco-friendly travel guide to Somalia advises how to be a responsible tourist. Learn how to travel in a sustainable way and how to respect the local people and culture. Make your trip green by supporting locally owned hotels, organic restaurants and other businesses. Read more on how to protect the environment by making conscientious choices and how to travel green in Somalia, Africa.
- Air quality: 2 / 5
- Bus connections: 3 / 5
- Train connections: 2 / 5
- Hitchhiking: 2 / 5
- National parks: 3 / 5
- Outdoor activities: 3 / 5
- Locals' English level: 2 / 5
- Safety: 3 / 5
- Accommodation: US$10 - $30
- Budget per day: US$20 - $60
- 1 Responsible Travel
- 2 Air Quality and Pollution
- 3 Respect the Culture
- 4 Top 10 Places to Visit
- 5 Explore
- 6 Eat
- 7 Drink
- 8 Activities
- 9 Accommodation
- 10 Regions
- 11 Cities
- 12 Getting There and Moving Around
- 13 Sustainable Shopping
- 14 Recycling
- 15 Work and Study Abroad
- 16 See Also
It is a country present in East Africa and is officially called the Federal Republic of Somalia. The capital and the largest city of this country is Mogadishu. There are two official languages of this country: Somali and Arabic; however, English and Italian can be understood by majority of people here. There are a majority of Muslim people living here; therefore, Islam is the most followed religion over here. The total area of this country is 637,657 km2, with an estimated population being 15893219. The currency here is called Somalian Shilling.
Air Quality and Pollution
Somalia has a higher risk of breathing problems due to poor quality of air. The mean percentage of the annual air pollution index is around 45 percent which is not good according to the air quality control unit. The pollution index is 60 in general, making this country quite dangerous to travel with respect to health issues. Factories and industries inefficient use of fuel, forest fires, vehicle emissions, etc., are the main contributors to poor air quality in Somalia. Hence, you must follow the guidelines adhered by the government concerning precautions related to bad air quality and pollution levels in Somalia to prevent yourself from serious harm.
Respect the Culture
Somalia is a country with varied traditions and customs and is an amalgamation of traditions since the proto-Somali era through interaction with neighboring civilizations, including other parts of Africa, the Indian subcontinent, and the Arabian Peninsula. The whole country is full of Muslim believers, the majority belonging to the Sunni community and the Shafi'I school of Islamic jurisprudence. Since most people are religious Muslims, they are very sincere and strict about specific cautions; mainly alcohol. According to them, drinking alcohol is banned, but few places are open for providing alcoholic drinks, especially for non-Muslims and tourists. Try not to get engaged in these things with locals and be polite while having a conservation with them.
Top 10 Places to Visit
• Laas Geel
Lying between the dusty ridges and hills on the outskirts of the Somaliland capital, Hargeisa is a beautiful archaeological site, "Lass Geel." It consist of some of the earliest cave paintings on the Horn of Africa; several alcoves and many underground tunnels here display a raw and haunting vision of prehistoric era in these parts of the island. The flocks and cattle here tend to entertain the tourists as they pass their time with these animals while touring the entire site.
Zeila is a beautiful town on the theme of Somaliland (as opposed to Somalia) beckons adventurous travelers to this part of the country, where the dry and arid land of dunes and rocky-mountains crashes into the blue pearl of the Aden Gulf. The remains of the Adal Sultanate in modern Zeila are a fantastic sight to watch and explore. You can see several tourist spots, including ruined Muslim palaces and aged colonial facades, standing like dust-caked specters of a bygone era. Nearby the location, there are many other essential landmarks with spectacular historical sightings.
• Sa’ad ad-din Island
Sa'ad ad-din Island is a spectacular historical sight that has become one of the country's rare national parks. Locals and tourists highly visit this place because of its features and natural sightings. From ivory-colored beaches to craggy sandstone rock peaks, sparkling coral reefs, to bays of turquoise water, this location is blessed with natural settings. People worldwide come here to visit the national park that boasts thousands of rare flora and fauna species. You can see kaleidoscopic schools of fish under the water, where the exotic marine creatures of the Red Sea mix with tons of animals of the Indian Ocean to create a real show of marine life.
• Aibat Island
Aibat Island is another beautiful part of the Zeila Archipelago that pops up from the waters of the Indian Ocean, making this part of the country quite famous among tourists. The location is a couple of miles past Sa'ad ad-Din Island, showcasing the same tropical medley of mangrove-fringed rocks and pearly white beaches. You can visit a rustic lighthouse near the location where you can see a fantastic panoramic view of the ocean.
Hargeisa is a self-proclaimed capital of Somaliland and a place where you will find a relatively peaceful and non-violent environment. This place is not a part of Somalia, but it's a break-away state governing its society since 1991. Here, you can visit numerous historical and critical tourists spot, including honorific monuments to the great struggles with Siad Barre's totalitarian rule in the 90s. Not much of a crowded place; however, tourists come here occasionally. You can travel to various other landmarks from this location, which are a couple of minutes away from Hargeisa.
In the region of Puntland in the northern reaches of Somalia lies Iskushuban – one of the country's major attractions. The site lures thousands of tourists to this part of the country. History aside, most people come to Iskushuban to see the waterfalls, which gushes heavily in seasons and hail in as the second largest in the country. There are certain picnic spots in this location, in addition to few eateries to strike your hunger.
Being a city of warlords and marauding gangs, Mogadishu is a gorgeous old town, cascading down to the Indian Ocean in a dash of crenulated Italianesque mansions and significant historic sights. Not much to tell, but the place has an excellent history of the civil war, luring historians and explorers to learn more about this city. Apart from the rich history, Mogadishu city is a must-visit site as the place also offers you plenty of beach sites and seashores where people visit in bunches with families and friends. Mostly crowded with locals, the area gives you an energetic vibe along with a beautiful panoramic view of the ocean.
The only feature of Lamadaya is its impressive waterfalls. People worldwide come here to see the spectacular sights of the beautiful waterfalls cascading over the sheer-cut cliffs of the Cal Madow ranges, which line-up against the Gulf of Aden and cross Puntland, Somaliland, and the northern fringes of the country. These natural wonders carve their way through the ochre-hued rock of the earth and crafted curious mineral formations beneath the water's flow coming straight from the waterfalls.
Capital of the north-central Mudug region of Somalia, Galkayo is divided into two administrative areas, boasting important landmarks and making the city a center of attraction for worldwide tourists. It is a commercial hub which is another reason for thousands of foreigners crashing into this city. From hotels, guesthouses to restaurants and supermarkets, Galkayo city offers you a wide range of activities to do in Somalia. You can even participate in exhibitions by various famous artists who showcase their best artwork on this city's streets.
• Ras Hafun
Also famous by the name 'Cape Hafun' among locals, Ras Hafun is a peninsula in the north-eastern Bari region of Somalia and a home to numerous ancient structures. Local people say that it is the location of the old trade emporium of Opone. This whole place is full of ancient archaeological remains and artistic belongings, not to mention that it is also home to an ancient cemetery. You can find some similar historical structured areas existing in various other parts of the country.
Home to numerous historical sites, waterfalls, beaches, mountain ranges, hills, and national parks, Somalia can offer you a lot of unexpected and beautiful surprises. You can spend your day admiring and appreciating the exceptional rock paintings or pay a visit to its capital, or experience the extraordinary life of a fast-growing city. Somalia offers you much more than tourism, from strolling around the picturesque beaches and getting overwhelmed by the country's stunning landscape. Here, you can be a part of a community that praises and respects the local culture and blesses you with loads of information regarding the country's ancient beliefs. Below is a list of some places in the country you must visit while traveling in and around Somalia:
City parks fulfill the duty of preserving floras of the locality. Parks offer the local people a place to walk, play, rest, relax, and partake in outdoor activities. The provincial government sets up such parks to promote greenery and cleanliness. City parks, however, are not present in most countries, but luckily, Somalia has an edge over most of the countries in this segment. Such places provide you a place for physical fitness and allow you to open up and feel free. Some city parks in Somalia are:
• Beerta Nabadda – Peace Garden
• Freedom Park (Beerta Xoriyada)
• Mool fiimto
• Public Park, Hargeisa
• Tarabunka, Mogadishu
There are few but world-famous national parks in Somalia. Below is a list of such national parks in Somalia, home to thousands of rare flora and fauna species. Apart from such species, Somalia accounts some areas where marine creatures are protected and raised to increase their population. These preserved areas and national parks not only allow you to see such rare species but also enable you to perform several outdoor activities such as hiking, bird watching, hill climbing, and many more.
• Lag Badna-Bushbush National Park
• Hobyo grasslands and shrublands
• Jilib National Park
• Kismayo National Park
• Hargeisa National Park
• Daallo Mountain
Beaches are an essential part of an island as tons of people go there for swimming, resting on sunbeds, watching marine life, and viewing the fantastic panoramic view of the ocean. Somalia has numerous beaches, luring people worldwide to relax and participate in adventurous water sport activities such as swimming, parasailing, diving, and many more. Some best and famous beaches of Somalia are:
• Gezira Beach – Mogadishu
• Bosaso Beach – Bosaso
• Baathela Beach – Berbera
• Batalaale Beach – Berbere
• Liido Beach - Mogadishu
Somalia is a country with many hidden secrets and history behind its existence. It has numerous historical and archaeological sites, including several landmarks that make the country a key element in its tourism. People worldwide visit the country to see such historical sights and grasp information to learn its cultural and historical beliefs. Some of the famous landmarks in Somalia are:
• Cal Madow
• Masjidk Isbahaysiga (Mogadishu Central Museum)
• Catholic Church
• Karin Hegan
Museums offer you a glance of something protected for centuries. Somalia holds a lot of museums in the country where you can find many interesting facts about the place you are visiting. Below is a list of some famous museums in Somalia that allow you to be a part of its exhibits and showcases historical and archaeological remains from the Civil War period. It would be best if you visited these museums while in Somalia.
• Saryan Museum
• National Museum of Somalia
• Hargeisa Provincial
• The Somali Museum of Minnesota
• Barqash Museum
Not a party hub, yet there are many cafés and restaurants in the country where travelers can entertain themselves in the evenings. Sampling local food can be tricky here as most travelers/tourists are generally disappointed to eat at local restaurants. However, people tend to love Somalian cuisine which has a great taste. Most established restaurants are located in large hotels, but few places provide you with traditional delicious delicacies. Some of the best restaurants in Somalia are:
• Hiddo Dhawr
• Nomad Café
• Royal Lounge
• Creams Gelato Hargeisa
• Zafaran Restaurant
Somali cuisine is enriched with the country's regional dishes making it quite different from other countries' dishes. Chefs love combining traditional and international cuisines that result in a mouth-watery food you have never experienced in your life. There are various influences from countries like Turkey, Italy, India, Arab, and Ethiopia, making Somalia a country with varied tastes and preferences. Here is some best food you must try while traveling in Somalia:
• Baasto iyo Sugo Hilib Shiidan
• Bariis Ishkukaris
Since Somalia is a Muslim country, there is not much nightlife and even alcohol is prohibited. Also, nightclubs are not a popular trend here; therefore, you might get disappointed concerning alcoholic drinks. Most people here spend their time in nightclubs or restaurants drinking local tea. Even though the country is a non-alcoholic zone, you can experience other regional drinks while visiting in Somalia. As the country's cuisine varies from region to region, its regional drinks will surely fascinate you with their exceptional tastes.
Some popular drinks you can prefer in most restaurants are:
• Balbeelmo (grapefruit)
• Raqey (tamarind)
• Isbarmuunto (lemonade)
• Fiimto (vimto)
• Laas (lassi)
• Ice cold sodas
The tap water of this country is not safe for drinking even after performing additional purification. Therefore, it is advised that you must not consume it directly from the stop. This country is currently facing a lack of water not only for drinking but also for domestic purposes. The climate of this country plays a significant role in the scarcity of water ask. This country experiences hot summers, which forces the water to evaporate. Even the precipitation is not enough which is received by this country and only. According to a survey, only 52% of this country's total population As there is a lack of water supply in the private water suppliers have raised their price very high so that an ordinary person cannot afford. These steps from these private water suppliers have forced a lot of village people to make open wells as the primary source of water. However, these open wells are highly unsafe because they are available to many harmful contaminants that can degrade the quality of water or open to many microorganisms, which can cause some severe damage. Due to lack of water supply and illiteracy, many people defecate in the open, not only males but also females. It can be harmful to them. Various diseases are caused either by drinking contaminated water or other various reasons, including diarrheal, cholera, and respiratory infections. According to further investigation, there were 900 deaths due to cholera, and the majority of them were children. In the village, girls and females must collect the water, leading to various crimes and accidents.
There are the different activities which can be performed in is country. There are caves in this country that contains ancient cave paintings of domesticated African. This cave is open for 24 hours every day. These caves can explain how the Neolithic time's older people live in these caves through the paintings. This cave is made up of granite rocks. If you are a Nature lover, then there is a National Park present in this country that opens at 6:00 AM and closes at 8:30 PM. This National Park can help you to get rid of the polluted air. This National Park even has clean water and a waterfall where you can relax, and even this National Park is connected with a water body along its coastline where you can spend some time watching waves. If you are tired, then there is a very famous beach where you can relax anytime as this beach is opened 24 hours. You can even take boat tours available on this beach. Even if you are alone, many people visit this beach every day to make friends here easily. different museums in this country can help you learn many things about this country's history. The National Museum is the oldest museum in this country which was established in 1933. There is a mountain range in this country where you can track or hike to reach this mountain's peak. The hill's height is around 2500 meters above, so you can get a beautiful view of the entire city or country on reaching the peaky. There is a cape in this country. There are local flea markets and local markets organized in different parts of this country where you can experience a lot of handicraft work. There are various options through which you can explore many things, and there are other things in this country but the ones listed are the most visited by tourists.
This country's area is more than 600,000 square kilometers, which means that this is a very vast country. There are well-developed cities, and these cities hold different accommodations depending on the rate of tourism. There are hotels present in a broader range than any other accommodation options in this country. There are very few beds and breakfast types in this country because many people visiting this country choose hotels over any other accommodation. Therefore different types of accommodations are comparatively lesser in range than hotels. However, there are still few rest houses which the government runs to take care of tourists. Rest houses the temporary and short-term accommodation option. More to this there are apartments present which can help you living independently without any interruption by anyone. There are few luxurious hotels in each city that can offer you premiums and let Judas lifestyle through the facilities they serve entire staff. Many of the hotels have outdoor pools, 24 hours reception that can help you check in that restaurant anytime. There are hotels which are established near beaches or water bodies.
To control various types of pollution and overcome water scarcity or contribute their part towards conservation of water, few people have established their green hotels in this country, especially in this country's capital. A Jazzier Palace hotel is present in a prime location near the governor’s office and Old City Shanghai. It is a premium type of hotel which offers free internet access, relaxing rooms, well ventilated and spacious rooms. There is no air conditioner in any of the rooms to conserve and protect nature. Other green hotels are also present in this country, offering various other facilities. These accessible hotels are present in developed cities of this country. There is another hotel which is Hotel Shamo which even provides complimentary breakfast, and it is present near the beach so that you have a walk to the beach when you get bored. You even get a room service which can help you to clean the room. There is an amusement area for kids.
Hostels and Guest Houses
There are few posters which are present in this country that too in some of the cities. There are different hostels in this country which offer various facilities and charges according to the facilities they provide. Some hostels are present near the grocery stores or markets to purchase fruits and vegetables and other essential products to cook in the hostels with a kitchen attached to the rooms. Hostel rooms are generally rooms that are shared, and only basic facilities are provided. There are significantly fewer hostels in this entire country because many tourists who visit this place choose to stay in the hotel, which is also a suitable type of accommodation for the short term. Those who want to stay for a longer time in this country often choose apartments; therefore, there is significantly less tourist who prefers to remain in a hostel. In hostels, you may not get privacy as the rooms are shared.
There are apartments present in this country, especially in geode, a city current in this country. It is a city in which many tourists visited and stays for a longer-term. Therefore, many people have started establishing apartments, which can be given to tourists at affordable rates. Apartments are known for their privacy which they provide as the entire flat will be yours and there will be no one such as room service, cook and other people to disturb you. Apartments are best for those who want to stay in a particular city or a country for a longer time. These apartments are furnished and have basic facilities. Every apartment comes with a balcony and our kitchen so that The person can cook his food. Many of the restaurants and cafes present in this country do not maintain hygienic standards. Therefore, it is better to cook your food. If you do not have anything to do for the day, you can sit on the balcony and enjoy the city view. Different apartments have different facilities apart from the rooms, and mostly you will find two-bedroom, one hall and one kitchen type of flats.
Couch surfing is a method of staying in a foreign country where you visit the local family ready to welcome you. It is the best way to experience the culture and how the locals of that country treat the tourists. Couch surfing is not advised in this country because the country's crime rate is very high. Couch surfing can help you to save a lot of money as you do not have to spend anything on the accommodation. Couch surfing can be brutal for you if you have a fixed and rigid daily routine because every family has its own rules and regulations. As you are a part of the family with whom you live, you have to follow those rules and regulations.
If you are a nature lover, then you must try camping once. Camping in this country can be very dangerous as there are many violent crimes which happen with tourists. Another problem with camping is that you are open to many different bugs and insects that can cause skin infection. Camping on mountains or any hilly region is better than camping on open ground as camping on a hill provides a beautiful view, and the air is often more relaxed. However, camping on Hills can be an issue because there is less food availability in hilly areas. Therefore, you have to pack your bags accordingly. You do not have to pay anything for camping, but you might have to purchase the essential items required for camping.
Getting There and Moving Around
There are a total of 5 intentional airports present in this country that can help you reach this country. Flights are the best way to get to this country. However, there are other methods which are also present through which you can get this country. There are international buses present in this country. You can reach this country but not from every country. The most popular country that has established bus routes to this country directly is Ethiopia. There are few ports and few of the cities through which you can reach here by the water. Waterways are not safe because of pirates.
There are around 62 airports that are present in this country. Out of these 62 airports, five international airports are present in this country. The main International Airport which is present in this country is Aden Adde International Airport. This airport has an elevation of around 28 feet. This airport is prime in this country's capital and is named after the first president of this country. It is a significant airport that faces maximum passenger’s food travel to this country internationally. According to some older stats, it was found that once this airport handled around 439879 passengers.
Buses act as the most common means of public transport that are preferred not only by the locals but also by most tourists. You do not have to spend much while traveling through buses because the ticket prices are not very high. The locals of this country, especially those living in the cities, are friendly and helpful. Therefore, you can ask them while traveling through buses if you have any confusion with your destination. With these buses' help, you can make a lot of friends, and there are intercity buses present between cities, including Hargeisa, Borama, Burao, Berbera. These buses' seats are comfortable for long journeys; however, there are no air-conditioned and premium buses.
There were trains in this country in the earlier time, but they dismantled them during the British rule in this country. In the present scenario, there are no railways present in this country. More to these trains are known to cover a long distance. In this country, there are other ways such as intercity buses to cover long distances, which are the most popular means of transportation for this country's people. This country lacks development; therefore, there are no railways present or built from the 1940s after the railway was dismantled.
With this method's help, you can save a lot of money as you do not have to spend on transportation. Hitchhiking in this country can lead you to some serious trouble. However, there are still people in this country who are gentle and humble towards tourists, but finding them can be difficult; therefore, many robbers are searching for tourists. While hitchhiking, you would have to wait for a long time because many people do not have their vehicles. They are dependent on public transportation.
There are many other methods of moving around in this country, including walking bicycles or hiring a private taxi. Walking or bicycling can be dangerous as this country has various conflicts, leading to terrorism, violent crimes. Hiring a taxi can be safer, but you must know multiple scams that happen with this country's tourists. There are Toyota pickup trucks as a common means of transport, but that can be uncomfortable because many people are picked up from one place that can be suffocating.
A flea market is present in this country where farmers of a particular area place their stalls and sell vegetables in bulk. You can purchase from these flea markets in bulk quantities and store them as fresh fruits and vegetables. Other than this, local markets are usually seen in the village’s area where you can get handmade products instead of machine-made. It helps local businesses to become independent and start earning. It also generates employment. More to this, there are other flea markets present where second-hand products are bought and sold. In developed cities of this country, there are grocery stores where you can find organic fruits and vegetables. These are better for health and nature as well. Second-hand products help in reducing waste and often costs lesser than the original product. His is because its owner has used second-hand products and now he is selling them.
Recycling is done in this country. It is done in a unique way, which has been proved to impact nature positively. A man of this country recycles plastic and converts it into roof tiles which are proved to be better and stronger than the concrete tiles. On a lesser basis, other elements are also recycled in this country, including metal scraps and paper. Recycling is beneficial, especially in reducing waste to a certain level. Recycling is the first method of waste management. However, there are still people present in this country that are not literate enough, and they do not know about recycling; therefore, they either burn their waste or dumps it. Literacy is very much critical in any country so that they can learn about recycling. There are no recycling plants present in the village or other rural areas with fewer resources available, and even the people living there do not need it.
The waste management of this country is insufficient; therefore, a lot of cities are dirty. More this, many people burn their waste instead of properly dumping it. Open area dumping is widespread in this country in which people throws their dustbin. Other than this, few organizations help reduce waste by collecting it from different localities. Later, some part of the total waste is sent for recycling. Trash consumes a lot of land and causes pollution. It also releases a toxic smell if it is kept for a long time.
Work and Study Abroad
The education system of this country is not good enough to produce well-educated children. There have been a lot of challenges and drawbacks which the students in this country face. There are a lot of children who are unable to go to school. The classrooms are always crowded with a lot of students. Books hardly reach children due to their shortage. The rooms are dirty with significantly less ventilation. Along with it, other problems such as well qualified teachers are not available due to which students are not getting proper education which they deserve. Even the government of this country is neutral on this issue. Several other reasons such as the water and bathroom facilities are not good enough and hygiene has been an issue. Still, the education pattern of this country is divided as 2-4-4-4. Early childhood comprises of two years. Primary education is divided into lower and upper primary, and each of it takes four years. Later the student is sent for secondary education, which comprises four years. The last is the University, and on average, university education takes four years to complete.
There is no such university with access to an exchange student program because it lacks educational resources. Many universities do not even have the infrastructure to build up an ideal environment for studying. The exchange student program is a program in which a student from his home college is sent to a foreign country to complete his degree. Not every college or University has access to this program. Only universities with established relations and partnerships with other universities in foreign countries have access to this program. The main motive to establish this program was to become independent, understand different cultures and traditions, and get educated with teachers from other countries.
An Au pair is a person who stays with the locals and his family for free, but in return, he has to take care of the child. There is no involvement of cash at any point; however, it is entirely the host's choice whether he wants to give you money or not. It is better that you must not expect the cash to get shelter and meals to exchange for your work. You must not try au pairing in this country because the crime rates are very high, and this country is not safe. Even the people of this country have no such work to provide.
Volunteering is social work that you do out of your hobby or intrinsic feeling; therefore, you cannot charge anything for volunteering. Volunteering in a foreign country can be expensive because there's no income from such work and you would have to spend a lot on your accommodation, etc. There are stills organizations present in this country working on various issues, such as reducing pollution, which is a significant issue. Some organizations are constantly working in the village area to provide education to the children who are not getting it correctly.