Minefields (or suspected minefields) exist many places around the world and Somalia/Somaliland has them as well. Many of the landmines were laid during the 1988-1991 Somali civil war. There are many reasons why landmines are laid. Defense is one reason. For example to protect certain things such as borders or airfields. There are several ways minefields are marked and one example is given in the picture with this tip. If you see a bunch of red painted rocks in some sort of line, most likely that represents the marking for a minefield and you should stay away. This picture was taken outside of Erigavo.
COUNT YOUR MONEY !
When you enter Somaliland there is a mandatory money exchange of $50 and they give you a bad rate of only 5500 per Dollar. You get at least 6000 or more on the street from the Moneychangers. If you argue your case and hand over less, you will probably get away with it. Now, $50 = 275,000 Shillings! And it gets worse. The only note now in circulation is the 500 Shilling note. So you get 550 notes! I did not count it and I looked at it later and I am sure I did not get 550 notes. I do not blame the people at the airport, it was pure chaos. I think that there was a mix-up. So count your money! And do not be afraid to show loads of money. No one will steal from you here.Related to:
- Work Abroad
- Business Travel
Common house flies are just plain nasty. They happily fly onto and eat animal droppings. In Africa these nasty critters spread some seriously bad diseases. They can even carry Typhoid – which you should be inoculated for before any adventure to Africa. Keep a good hat or other item handy to wave flies away. They always show up and there is always some animal excrement for them to jump onto before they land on your food – if you let them.Related to:
- Family Travel
- Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
Somaliland is a semi-desert environment, except during the rainy season. You are going to get dusty no matter how hard you try to not get dusty. I would recommend very light coloured clothes like a tan or beige colour. It will hide the dust better and be just a bit cooler for you. I would suggest you take a good lens cleaning cloth for cameras. I did not have that much of a problem, but did end up cleaning my 2 cameras after my visit.Related to:
- Study Abroad
- Business Travel
And you thought Mad Max was fiction?
I was a foreign correspondent in Africa and I saw many nasty things in many nasty places, but with the exception of maybe Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, I worked in none nastier than Somalia. Mogadishu is a mean, corrupt and violent city. Problem is, once you leave the Mogadishu you will find a world of even more extreme violence and desolation in the form of the rest of Somalia, which resembles a more barren version of Thunderdome.
Bandits hunt the land, pirates hunt the sea and war lords rule everything in a country with no real law or order. Be warned, Somalia is a very, very dangerous place which ranks at the top of my list of destinations I cannot believe I was stupid enough to agree to a posting to.
Take you pills and shots!
Make sure to take all your medicines before arriving here. This is sub-sahara africa and all the anti-malaria, hepetitis A, etc. drugs are required. Wear long sleeve shirts and pants to decrease chance of sun exposure and mosquito bites.
In Somalia, two competing telephone companies use different lines. So you have to have 2 phone lines if you want to be accessible to everyone. You can't call STC using Barakat (Telesom) or vise-versa. There are cellphones though.
Unfortunately, this place is...
Unfortunately, this place is just plain anarchic for the most part. Tribal warlords, famine, and drought make it a rather inhospitable place. The people individually are beautiful, but the political situation, in spite of the new president, is still very dodgy.
Like in any country, Somalia has its share of dangerous places. But with some hard currency, you can buy your way out of basically anything. If your short on money, your wits might help. No really, Somalis have nothing against people who visit their counrty. They rarely see outsiders so probably won't know what to say if they do.
I think it's better not to go...
I think it's better not to go to Somalia. It's very dangerous there. The people who live there are going to other country's, because it's to dangerous in there own country.
I think that it's very stupid and dum to go there.
The warlords are seemingly...
The warlords are seemingly still fighting each other. From what I understand, it's not a safe or comfortable destination.
Also, don't believe what you read in many magazines about the accommodations there. The Official Hotel Guide (OHG) is very misleading and I doubt they've investigated many of the places they say are fine. I chose a place that had a great write-up. When I got there the swimming pool was full of lumber; the beach littered with garbage and rubber tires. The elevator was not running, nor was electricity available during the day. Worse, an abbatoir just up the coast attracted lots of sharks and a child was killed only days before I arrived. Having a wonderful time, wish you were here.
make sure you don´t run out of gas
when you travel outside Hargeysa across the country, make sure you have enough fuel. Gas stations are few between Hargeysa and Berbera, and you cannot always rely on them being stocked sufficiently.
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