No guns. No roadblocks. No fear. No oppression. Relax: Hargeisa is not Mogadishu. The image of a butterfly emerging from its cocoon may be too poetic for a capital that still bears the scars of the civil war that destroyed the country in the past decades, but Hargeisa is an energising city with lots of good vibes.
Although tourist sights are as scarce as hen’s teeth, it feels so exotic to be the only foreigner wandering in the streets. People are genuinely surprised to see a real ‘tourist’, so be prepared to be the focus of attention. Fear not, it’s hassle-free. And it’s so astonishing to see that Hargeisa has all the conveniences a traveller could hope for: decent hotels with English-speaking staff, a couple of restaurants with tasty food, internet cafés, electronics stores, bureaux de change, teashops, markets, bus stations, taxis…but no alcohol (it was too good to be true!). It’s a free economy, and it shows. The streets are alive, the roads are busy and the air thick with a very bearable cacophony of mobile-phone ring tones, vehicle horns and calls to prayers. Throw in the mandatory dust and you’ll have an idea of present-day Hargeisa’s attire. Now it’s your turn to delve in.
Last updated: Sep 24, 2008
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