The Most Unforgettable Moments in Kismayo

Planning to visit Kismayo, Somalia? These travel tips, photos and destination advice will help you plan your trip to Kismaayo, Jubbaland.

kismayo, kismaayo, Jubaland, Somalia
Kismayo City, Somalia

In Somalia’s southern Lower Juba (Jubbada Hoose) province, Kismayo or Kismaayo is a port city. It serves as the autonomous Jubaland region’s business hub.

The city is located close to the mouth of the Jubba River, where the waters discharge into the Indian Ocean, 528 kilometers (328 miles) southwest of Mogadishu. The United Nations Development Programme estimates that Kismayo had 89,333 residents as of 2005.

This blog “We Somalia” will showcase some of this unique city’s best qualities. To learn more, keep reading!

Background

jubaland flag
Jubbaland State House, Kismayo

The Ajuran Empire, which ruled most of southern Somalia and eastern Ethiopia during the Middle Ages, included Kismayo and the surrounding area. Its territory stretched from Hobyo in the north through Qelafo in the west to Kismaayo in the south.

The Geledi Sultanate ruled Kismaayo in the early modern era, and the Boqow dynasty took over in the late 1800s. After the passing of the final sultan, Osman Ahmed, the kingdom was eventually merged into Italian Somaliland. The city was designated the official Kismayo District’s center after Kenya gained independence in 1960.

From the early 1990s till the end of the civil war, Kismayo was the scene of multiple clashes. Islamist terrorists took over the majority of the city in late 2006. In order to regain control of the region, a new autonomous regional government called Azania was declared in 2010 and formally established in 2011.

The city was retaken from the Al-Shabaab terrorist group by the Somali National Army and AMISOM soldiers in September 2012. The Juba Interim Administration was subsequently acknowledged and given formal status in 2013.

Kismayo’s climate

Due to the extraordinarily high potential evapotranspiration, Kismayo has a hot, dry environment while receiving just about 375 millimeters (15 inches) of rainfall annually.

Year-round heat, seasonal monsoon winds, erratic rainfall, and recurrent droughts are the weather’s hallmarks. The Southwest Monsoons, or “gu rains,” which start in April and extend until July, bring in a lot of fresh water and encourage the growth of lush flora. However, the xagaa (hagaa) dry season comes after the gu season.

Reaching Kismayo

reaching kismayo
Image source: Roda Hassan, Kids playing Guitar at Kismayo Beach, Somalia

Only regular flights from Mogadishu, the capital of Somalia, are flown into the domestic airport in Kismaayo by Garoonka Airlines. About 11 kilometers to the southwest of the city’s center is where you’ll find the airport.

The airport was shut down for a while when the civil war began, and severe damage was done to its infrastructure. The Islamic Courts Union, however, reopened the institution in October 2008 following modest improvements.

With direct connections to Garbaharey, Bardera, Beled Hawo, Mogadishu, and Buale, Kismaayo has extensive road transit. However, buses only on schedule go between these cities.

Rental vehicles, taxis, and minibusses all provide local transportation in Kismayu. In addition, there are a lot of travel agencies in the city.

The Interim Juba Administration started a program to repair and beautify Kismayo’s transportation system in January 2015.

The program, which is a part of a larger urbanization campaign, involves clearing blocked streets and lanes, demolishing any unpermitted buildings there, and expanding the municipal road network.

The expansive docks of Kismayo are located on a peninsula along the Somali Sea coast. The peninsula, which was once one of the Bajuni Islands, was later joined by a little causeway when the present Port of Kismayo was constructed in 1964 with American assistance.

Following the military revolution in Somalia in 1969, the port operated as a base for both the Somali Navy and the Soviet Navy. After substantial wear to the 2,070-foot-long (630-meter) four-berth, substandard dock at the harbor necessitated significant upgrades to maintain operations, Somalia and the United States jointly rebuilt the port in 1984.

Economy in Kismayo

Kismayo is the Jubbaland region’s independent market and commercial hub. Salama Bank and numerous other money transfer companies are among the banks with a presence in Kismaayo.

Places to visit in Kismayo

places to visit in kismayo,  kismayo beach
Liido Beach, Kismayo

Numerous prestigious educational institutions, notably Kismayo University, are located in Kismayu. In addition, Kismayu, the third-largest city in Somalia, is home to a number of modernized eateries and retail malls with both traditional and contemporary aspects.

Here are a few well-known locations in Kismayo.

Kismayo University

The Kismayo University, a premier higher education facility in Kismayu built to strengthen the talents of local students, is located along the Kismayo-Mogadishu Road. It was founded on September 5th, 2005.

Kismayo Stadium

One of the most notable landmarks of Kismayu is the multipurpose Kismayo Stadium. The stadium is located a few miles to the east of Farjano SRCS Clinic, in the city’s center.

Hotel Cascasleey

One of the well-known hotels in Kismayu, Hotel Cascasleey, offers 22 rooms with the most modern amenities and services, including TV, internet, AC, and 24-hour electricity.

Kismayo Beaches

Kismaayo is renowned for its pristine beaches, the most well-known of which is Arrow Beach, which is situated about 15 km south of the city center. A rental car can take you to the beach.

Food in Kismayo

food in kismayo
Image source: Mecca Hotel, Kismayo

Kismaayo is known for some of the best authentic restaurants serving up Somalian cuisine. One of the best restaurants in Kismaayo is Mecca Hotel and Restaurant. With a popular branch in Vermont, this restaurant symbolizes Somalian cuisine perfectly.

Although Mecca Hotel Kismayo refers to it as “multicultural cuisine,” it has a unique Somalian flavor. Best-selling dish is coconut chicken stew, and also serves traditional Somali rice with chicken, beef, or goat meat.

The multicultural element originates in Somalia itself, as Mecca Hotel notes; Italy conquered the nation, and as a result, its cuisine contains distinctly Italian foods like pasta and meatballs.

Read more: Top 10 Best Restaurants in Mogadishu 2022

To conclude?

calanley kismaayo,  calanley beach, kismaayo
Alanley Beach, Kismayo

The Somali city-states, including Kismayo, participated in a successful commercial network that linked Somali traders to Phoenicia, Ptolemaic Egypt, Greece, Parthian Persia, Saba, Nabataea, and the Roman Empire. The diversity of ethnicities and customs that call this special city home best capture the allure of Somalia.

This city has seen its share of historical disputes. Yet, efforts for the continued development of Kismaayo are quite evident and visible in popular locations all around the city.

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