Somalia Local Customs

  • Man holding a bundle of khat
    Man holding a bundle of khat
    by canuckmike
  • Moneychangers box with zaad number for paying
    Moneychangers box with zaad number for...
    by sachara
  • Buying khat
    Buying khat
    by sachara

Somalia Local Customs

  • Khat, legal drug in Somaliland

    Everywhere in every town or village you have many small green kiosks selling khat. It's the most popular purchase in Somaliland. You buy it in bundles like a bouquet of flowers. Khat is a stimulant drug with amphetamine effects. It is 100% legal in Somaliland. in the country you see many trucks transporting khat. It is important to consume it as...

    more
  • Khat

    Khat (or qat) is everywhere in Somalia/Somaliland. It is the only thing that runs efficiently here. I was told that if a khat truck crashes, there will be one dispatched within 30 minutes to pick up it's cargo and be on it's way to it's destination. And that khat truck don't stop at road checkpoints. They just honk their horns, drive through and...

    more
  • female travellers should wear a veil in...

    while Somali women love flowing fabrics in bold and vivid colours, you will not see women in public who do not cover their heads. Female visitors should also bring along a scarf etc to wrap it over their hair when they are outside a hotel or restaurant. If it´s a village restaurant or a place that is strictly local, keep the scarf on! Given the...

    more
  • Miraa or drowsiness in the afternoon

    whether it´s called miraa or khat - chewing the leaves is one of the favorite pastimes of somali men. It is a legal drug, and usually consumed in company. As it leads first to elation and then to a certain tiredness, afternoon drowsiness after a bit too much miraa is common. Business meetings should therefore take place in the morning/before lunch...

    more
  • THE FLAG OF SOMALILAND

    The citizens of Somaliland are very patriotic and proud of their country and independence. They NEVER want to be reunited with Somalia. They have had peace for 16 years and wish to keep it that way. You will find the flag and its colours all over Hargiesa. Their flag represents their unique country. The flag is divided up as follows:GREEN: The...

    more
  • THE MAN MISSING A FOOT

    This very nice man asked me to take his picture. A lot of people do this. They do get a little disappointed when they find out that you cannot print the picture for them. They would like a copy! What was a bit different was this gentleman was missing his right foot. I noticed as I walked away from him in the market. Then I realised I could see 2...

    more
  • YOU CAN HAVE 4 WIVES !

    Before you get too excited, just remember that all wives must be treated exactly equally or her family will take offence and you would not want that. What this means is that if you have 4 wives, then you must have 4 houses. If one is given a car, all 4 get a car. If you live in an apartment building, then you would have to have an apartment on 4...

    more
  • SUULI

    Suuli is the generic term for toilet. I found it a most useful word to not only say, but to write down as well. I would also make friends with the hotels as they will always let you use their clean toilets if you have introduced yourself first.Please feel free to add this to your "Custom Travel Guide" and print it off before you go!

    more
  • WHAT TIME IS IT?

    Somaliland is +3 hours ahead of GMT (or UTC). Unlike neighbouring Ethiopia, you can talk about the same time without worrying about local variances. You can express it in European (24 hour clock) time if you wish.

    more
  • ELECTRICITY

    In Somaliland the Electrical current is 220V (50HzHz) and they use British style 3 square pin plugs (pictured). Modern electrical sockets have a switch to turn it off while putting in and removing your electrical plug. Older ones do not have this safety device. The current is strong enough to kill you. I found out to my horror that sometimes hotels...

    more
  • WATER TRANSPORT

    Water is really heavy and many homes and businesses do not have running water. So they use donkeys. These little fellows are super strong for their size and you will see them hauling water around on small metal carriages all over the place. If you get a chance, slip these little guys a piece of fruit, they would appreciate it.

    more
  • TREE PROTECTION

    All across Hargeisa you will see what looks like stone bunkers for very small trees. Somaliland suffers from deforestation and you will see a lot of people cooking with charcoal and wood. The stones are put around small trees so that they will not be burned. The city of Hargeisa is trying to add a lot more trees back into the city.

    more
  • You may want an ‘Unofficial’ Tour Guide

    If you are travelling independently like I did, you may want someone to show you around. The hotels will set you up with a fantastically overpriced ‘Official’ Guide and or/taxi. Don’t bother. The city of Hargeisa and Somaliland are safe. Also there is no such thing as an ‘Official’ tour guide here. I met MR. MAHAMED AHMED WARSAME in the market area...

    more
  • Ask before taking pictures.

    In this culture it is considered inpolite to snap pictures of people with out their permission. Always ask with a smile, and say 'sawir'(picture)? They will understand and either say/motion, yes or no. Also be careful or taking pictures/video of governmen/military areas.

    more
  • Somali culture

    Somalis like visitor who make a effort in understanding their culture. Remember, this is a Muslim country so greet everyone with 'Asalamu Alaykum', which means hello in Arabic.

    more

Top Somalia Hotels

Saylac Hotels
See nearby hotels
Mogadishu Hotels
12 Reviews - 17 Photos
Hargeysa Hotels
20 Reviews - 113 Photos
Borama Hotels
1 Review - 3 Photos

Instant Answers: Somalia

Get an instant answer from local experts and frequent travelers

107 travelers online now

Comments

Somalia Local Customs

Reviews and photos of Somalia local customs posted by real travelers and locals. The best tips for Somalia sightseeing.
Map of Somalia