Traveling in Somalia
Somalia is often regarded as the most dangerous country in the world, and I’d agree that Mogadishu is one of the most dangerous cities on earth. But like all countries, one or two parts don’t represent the entire nation. Likewise Somalia has several different regions to explore, some are even travelable by Westerners like myself! Power in Somalia is split up by various local governments and militias. I spent this entire trip in what’s known as Somaliland; the most stable region of the country. I still plan to visit the two other main regions of Somalia which includes the pirate controlled Puntland in the northeast, and the militant controlled Mogadishu area in the south.
I had even considered going to Puntland or Mogadishu on this trip, but was told I’d need to hire at least 10 guards and two vehicles. This would total well over $1,000 a day and still had the risk that we might be attacked or even being turned over by militants by my own guards! With no reliable support, I had no choice but to put those two regions on hold.
Western Somalia has a self-ruling area known as Somaliland with the capital city of Hargeisa. In comparison to the rest of Somalia, one can almost call it safe! Somaliland has some organization and infrastructure, so many journalists also base themselves here. This could be a good place to start your vacation into the most dangerous country in the world.
Located on the coast of northern Somalia, Berbera has lots of history and a good mix of culture. Its history includes being the British colonial capital in Somalia, as well as many buildings from built by Arabs and even some from the Ottoman Empire. Berbera is now Somalia’s largest sea port and also handles most of neighboring Ethiopia’s exports. Travelers to Berbera can enjoy a walk through the city, swimming at the beach, and even scuba diving!
Sheikh is a small picturesque town built up in the mountains. The drive is only a few hours from both Hargeisa or Berbera, and is a highlight of Somaliland. Expect to come across wildlife and some of Somalia’s best scenery!