Exploring Somalia: A Practical Travel Guide

Exploring Somalia: A Practical Travel Guide

Exploring Somalia: A Practical Travel Guide


Somalia, located on the eastern coast of Africa, offers adventurous travelers a unique and diverse experience. From long stretches of sandy beaches to rugged mountain ranges, and bustling markets to ancient ruins, Somalia is a country rich in history and natural beauty. However, it's important to note that Somalia has faced political instability, so it's essential to research and stay updated with travel advisories before planning your trip.


Prior to visiting Somalia, most travelers will need to obtain a visa. It is recommended to apply for a visa well in advance to allow ample processing time. Contact the nearest Somali embassy or consulate for specific visa requirements and application process.


The official languages of Somalia are Somali and Arabic. English is also widely spoken, especially in urban areas and tourist destinations. Learning a few basic phrases in Somali can go a long way in connecting with the local people and enhancing your overall travel experience.


The official currency of Somalia is the Somali Shilling (SOS). However, due to the country's political instability, the economy does not function with a traditional banking system. It is recommended to carry sufficient United States Dollars (USD) in cash when traveling to Somalia. Credit cards and traveler's checks are not widely accepted, so it's essential to have cash on hand for transactions.


Getting around in Somalia can be challenging due to the lack of infrastructure and public transportation. However, there are options available for travelers.

  • Taxis: Taxis are the most common mode of transportation within cities. Negotiate the fare before starting your journey.
  • Domestic Flights: Domestic flights are available for traveling between major cities in Somalia.
  • Private Vehicles: Renting a car with a driver or opting for a private vehicle can be a convenient way to explore Somalia. However, ensure that you choose a reliable and reputable rental company.


Somalia experiences a hot and arid climate throughout the year. The coastal regions have a tropical climate, while the inland areas are more desert-like. The temperature can reach as high as 40°C (104°F) during the day, so it is advisable to pack lightweight and breathable clothing. It is essential to stay hydrated and protect yourself from the sun by wearing sunscreen, a hat, and sunglasses.

Top Destinations


Mogadishu, the capital city of Somalia, is a melting pot of culture and history. Visit the Mogadishu Cathedral, the National Museum of Somalia, and the Bakaara Market – one of the largest outdoor markets in Africa. Relax on Lido Beach and immerse yourself in the vibrant local culture.

Laas Geel

Located northeast of Hargeisa, Laas Geel is a must-visit for history and archaeology enthusiasts. These ancient rock art caves are home to stunningly preserved paintings depicting wildlife, ancient rituals, and everyday life. A guided tour is recommended to fully understand the significance of this historical site.


Hargeisa, the capital of Somaliland, offers a unique blend of traditional Somali culture and modern development. Explore the bustling local markets, such as the Livestock Market and the Central Market, where you can find traditional crafts and goods. Don't miss the opportunity to visit the Hargeisa War Memorial and learn about the region's past struggles.


Located on the Gulf of Aden, Zeila is a historic port city with a rich trading history. Explore the ancient ruins of the Palace of the Sultanate of Adal and visit Fakr ad-Din Mosque, one of the oldest mosques in Africa. Take a stroll along the picturesque coastline and witness the vibrant fishing industry.


It is important to stay informed about the current security situation in Somalia before planning your trip. Due to political instability and the presence of militant groups, certain areas of Somalia can be dangerous for travelers. It is advisable to check travel advisories from your home country and register with your embassy upon arrival. Additionally, hiring a local guide who is familiar with the area can help ensure a safer travel experience.


Despite its challenges, Somalia offers a unique travel experience for those seeking adventure and rich cultural immersion. From the historic landmarks and archaeological sites to the breathtaking natural beauty, there is much to explore in this diverse country. By staying informed, planning ahead, and taking necessary precautions, you can embark on a memorable journey through the captivating landscapes and vibrant cities of Somalia.