All the best Hargeisa travel tips including things to do in Hargeisa, Best Places to visit in Hargeisa, Top Somaliland attractions, accommodation in Somaliland and everything you need to plan a trip to Somaliland.
The largest city and capital of Somaliland is called Hargeisa. It is situated in the Horn of Africa’s Maroodi Jeex area. In 1941, it replaced Berbera as the seat of government for the British Somaliland Protectorate.
In addition to being the second-largest city in Somalia after the capital Mogadishu, Hargeisa also served as the Isaaq Sultanate’s secondary capital from the middle to the end of the 19th century. The top locations in this lovely city will be discussed in this article. Continue reading to learn more!
Under the direction of Sheikh Madar and his mullahs, Hargeisa was first established as a watering and trading post between the shore and the interior before developing into an Islamic Tariqa community. The protectorate won its independence in 1960, and on July 1 of that year, it merged with the Trust Territory of Somaliland (formerly Italian Somaliland) as planned.
At an elevation of 1,334 meters, Hargeisa is located in a valley in the Galgodon (Ogo) highlands (4,377 ft). The city is a recognized commercial hub for various businesses like trading, construction, retail services, and the preservation of Neolithic rock art.
According to an estimate in 2015, just under a million people live in Hargeisa. However, since almost all visitors are employed by NGOs or other organizations, there is very little tourism (and no tourism industry) aside from the occasional couch surfer.
Although the city is a calm and welcoming location, a successful visit does necessitate some planning.
The city is connected to several East African locations via the Hargeisa International Airport (HGA), all changeable. Addis Abeba, Djibouti, Dubai, Bossaso, Mogadishu, Dire Dawa, Wajir, and Nairobi are just a few possible destinations.
Some cheap flights to Hargeisa need a three-hour bus ride to Berbera before taking off. Therefore, it’s vital to be sure your chosen airline operates flights into and out of Hargeisa.
For overseas visitors, a visa to Somaliland is necessary. These are available via the Somaliland representative offices in London or Addis Abeba (in person or by post).
Since there isn’t much diplomatic representation in Hargeisa, you should make your travel arrangements (and have your visas in order) before you leave for Hargeisa.
Transportation in Hargeisa
Unofficial shared bus service in Hargeisa charges 1,500 Somaliland shillings for each trip (as of April 2011). Consult a local for directions. Traffic signals were once functional in Hargeisa, but currently, only sporadic police officers are responsible for directing traffic.
All vehicles have Somaliland license plates, and every resident who is allowed to drive must possess a photo driver’s license.
Although they cannot be hailed on the street, taxis can be reserved through your hotel. For instance, in April 2011, a taxi ride from the Maan-Soor Hotel to the airport cost US$25.
Places to visit in Hargeisa
In terms of tourism attractions and activities, Hargeisa is incredibly lacking. However, the inhabitants in Hargeisa will be more genuinely interested in your narrative and your motivations for visiting their country, so taking in the scenery and sharing a meal with them is frequently the finest thing to do there.
Here are a few of our top recommendations for places to see in Hargeisa.
Laas Gaal (Laas Geel in Somali), which is outside of Hargeisa, is a must-see. It is a collection of caverns and rock shelters with well-preserved cave artwork. The paintings, which date to 9,000 BCE, are among the earliest pieces of art from Africa.
A letter from the tourism ministry and a $20 fee are required to visit. First, check out the entrance building’s small museum with maps. Maps indicate that the park has 20 shelters with artwork, the most prominent of which are shelters 2, 3, and 10.
The route should be discussed in advance because guides frequently only take you to shelters 2 and 3 before turning around and going to shelter 10, which is a little further.
The primary shopping area in Somaliland is a large, chaotic market like those in Somalia. The busiest market in the city offers a vast selection of goods, including electronics, cereal, meat, purses, apparel, and perfumes.
Every group of products has a certain market niche. It is possible to spend hours discovering all the hidden corners and watching Somaliland residents do grocery shopping every day. Although unusual, some stall owners might object to photography, so check with them first.
The primary mosque of the city is two tall minarets and is painted a bright white. Around noon on Friday, hundreds of worshipers swarm into the streets to pray. Non-Muslims are invited to observe but cannot enter.
MiG Jet Memorial
A Somali Air Force MiG jet shot down while bombing the city during the Somali Civil War is displayed at the memorial, and murals and mosaics show scenes from the conflict.
Best Restaurants in Hargeisa
Due to the pastoral nature of Somali ancestry, Ethiopian cuisine is a particular favorite among modern foods. There is salad, rice, spaghetti, or cheeseburgers. In addition, there are cakes, donuts, and foods from the tropics. Call a restaurant and request what you want, but not pig because it is against the law.
The “nicer” restaurants’ food is typically safe because the hot and dry weather and climate of Hargeisa make it impossible for most infections to survive. The same is true for the water: While it is usually clean, you may want to avoid drinking the government-provided piped water if you only travel briefly. The filtered water bottle is made in the area and is often secure.
The paintings at Abtiyo Fastfood are finer than the food, but there aren’t many options for cheap “International style” cuisine anyhow.
Keep reading: Top 10 Best Restaurants in Mogadishu 2022
A wide variety of entrepreneurial businesses, including finance, retail, import/export warehouses, gem cutting, construction, food processing, textiles, and cattle trade, have their financial centers in Hargeisa. As a result, it is a well-liked destination for those who want to experience the local culture and way of life in Hargeisa.
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