Suggestions of any sites of interests in Somaliland? (ANY!)
Replies: 11 - Last Post: Jul 19, 2012 2:54 AM Last Post By: chan_kawing
Jul 2, 2012 3:58 PM
Suggestions of any sites of interests in Somaliland? (ANY!)I am planning to head to Somaliland around end of July/beginning of August kind of time.
After having read much info about the sites that's worth seeing in Somaliland, apart from those suggested in the LP guidebook I am wondering if anyone has any other suggestions on other more off-the-beaten-track/little know sites that's worth seeing in Somaliland?
I am interested in seeing virtually - anything that you might think as special. As apart from being a bit of a traveller I am also an urban explorer who is interested in seeing derelict/abandoned buildings/mines etc.
So please feel free to suggest anything here: ruins, abandoned tanks and ships, ancient caves/temples, fish markets, waterfalls, whatever - you name it!
Thanks in advance as always!
Jul 2, 2012 10:17 PM
1Even the sites mentioned in the LP are ordinary. Plus, needing a travel permit and guard, it's incredibly difficult to get off the beaten-track. I visited Hargeisa and Berbera (las gall was too expensive).
Jul 3, 2012 4:47 AM
2Fluffy can you help me out a bit here: so when I get the letter from the Police HQ in Hargeisa, aren't I exempt from the regulation of needing the armed escort from that point and free to travel to any part in Somaliland?
And also - for Las Geel, I have heard that (from a previous thread here by someone, can't remember who) the cheaper way to do it could be to get a shared taxi to Las Geel town (or whatever settlement that is, the closest to the cave paintings), which would have costs about $6 and it'd be a bus on the way to Berbera, then hitch or get some other transport from the town to the cave which is another 7km from the town itself. So I guess that makes it still possible for those on a bit of a tight budget?
Jul 3, 2012 5:56 AM
3No. The letter will state that you can travel from A to B. Not anywhere you want. But you will be exempt from military escorts and tour transport. The with doing public transport from Las Geel is almost all transport passing will already be full. This could mean a LONG time out in the exposed sun.
Jul 3, 2012 6:21 AM
4You should be able to get a permit allowing you to travel without armed escorts anywhere you want. I have known people to get one, not sure what they did to get it though as I haven't had to try. In my original post to your other question (before the internet erased it) I had put that you may not be allowed to enter areas currently in conflict (parts of Cayn, Sool and Sanag) without armed guards. I don't know how strict the government is about those things if you get to the checkpoint all the way over there but I could imagine they might restrict your movement with good reason (for them).
Definitely get to Las Geel and Berbera. They are easy to get to and interesting. Berbera has the old cement factory falling apart just outside of town and cute buildings and seaside restaurants to photograph. Somewhere near Berbera there are hotsprings you can swim in, I haven't been there so can't tell you exactly how to get to them.
I would recommend Sheikh, the drive there is beautiful in the mountains and the people are friendly in Sheikh town- you can wander to other villages if you like that kind of thing.
Burcao is interesting if you like the urban environment. It is also easy to get to. Its pretty big and developed considering what and where it is. There is a bit of a security threat against foreigners there at the moment as it is the Shabab hangout in Somaliland so don't stay in any hotels beside a mosque (I'm not kidding). If you can, try to stay at the (not so cheap) Egal or City hotels which are both on the opposite edges of town but provide good security.
It is easy to go a short way out of Hargeisa (even within city limits where you don't need armed guards) and go walking/hiking in nature. The landscapes can be pretty nice if you like deserts, if you come soon it will still be pretty green. The obvious place to go are the two hills north of town known as the Breasts of Hargeisa. You can climb them and have a nice view. Plenty of baboons, hyenas and dikdiks around.
Aside from the crumbling cement factory outside of Berbera you can find other derelict things all over the place. There was an old tank on the entrance to Burcao but I think it might be gone now. Just be careful as a lot of abandoned and crumbling buildings are a hazard for mines and unexploded ordinance. Not the best places to be poking around.
Jul 3, 2012 4:32 PM
5The obvious place to go are the two hills north of town known as the Breasts of Hargeisa.
Those twin hills on the outskirts of Hargeisa are actually known as ‘Maiden`s Breasts’.
For the OP,
Try to downgrade your expectations to minimise possible deception. Somaliland is just the kind of place where travellers go just to say they have been there! Besides, Ramadan is kicking in about 2 weeks time and most of food serving venues will be closed during the day - prompting you to eat at relatively expensive hotels.
Jul 4, 2012 6:17 AM
6I live here and I hear them called Hargeisa Breasts, Breasts of Hargeisa, Lady's Breasts...etc. interchangeably all the time.
Jul 4, 2012 7:07 AM
7Argh fluffy I see, thanks for the clarification. Hitching here in the Sudan is almost the same thing - so yeah probably going to try to share the cost of a vehicle if there are any tourists around - economic constraints you see ;) otherwise I think I might just bring plenty of water and give that a shot...
Euridice, thanks for the suggestions, and also many useful information there (certainly about the burcaco one!) - I think I will try to wonder into different villages to see. And an abandoned cement factory sounds interesting, but as always safety comes first - exploring is fun, dying is not fun. I will try to ask the locals for information or assess the sites before thinking about visiting them.
Africanexplorer, thanks for clarifying the the name. Perhaps a better idea would be to use the local name I guess - which is 'Nasa Hablood'. On the other hand, I think I know what to expect from Somaliland - but then it doesn't necessarily mean that I shouldn't try to look for more. And for the record, not all travellers go to Somaliland 'just to say they have been there' and to plant the flag. Certain people, certain travellers find pleasure in visiting off-the-beaten-track destinations for different reasons. For myself, I find my own kind of freedom in researching, finding and exploring little known or almost unheard of historical sites that are difficult to find these days. Also I guess, is that certain people are more fascinated by the history and politics rather than the sites of interests when they travel. It is the turbulent past and the unique politics of place like Somaliland that attracts me to go there - to understand more, and to witness nation-building, not that I wish to see them having any pyramids there or anything.
About eating, I guess there's always a cheap way to feed yourself on the road. (market?) You may say that travellers are forced to eat at expensive places in Ramadan, but if you have 2 meals a day and provided that you are smart enough to look for your next meal, you will join the locals and eat at theirs, 'karim' (generosity) is a big thing during Ramadan - you might end up saving some money on food and at the same time get to talk and experience more by doing so! (Though I am not suggesting people to exploit the hospitality here, do try to return the favour for the locals - offer to pay for their bus ride if his family are your fellow passengers etc.)
Jul 5, 2012 11:05 AM
I plan a similar trip to you and have found a Bradt guide dedicated to Somaliland where I found a lot of interesting information:
Jul 5, 2012 2:02 PM
9Yeah I saw it! But I am in Sudan so I can't have access to it. I tried to search for an e-version of it - with no success. Care to share a few inspirations from there if you can? (Just briefly, I just need the leads I guess, you can inbox me) I think we can exchange some ideas here, I also found some other places - just not sure if they are accessible yet.
If you are planning to enter Somaliland sometime round late July/early August, perhaps we can somehow meet up to cut the costs if you are doing it solo/in a pair? That is, of course, if you are interested mate.
Jul 13, 2012 9:15 AM
10I'm sure you will run into a few other tourists wanting to go to Las Geel and can all pitch in on a taxi- when I was there for a month, this opportunity came up at least once a week.
Also, there are sometimes travelers taking a private car there, and would let you hitch with them (I found them at Oriental Hotel)- long shot but it could happen.
I wouldn't rule out Las Geel completely just because of cost- the drive there and scenery, then the caves are very beautiful. I'm sure once you're there and begin asking around, you can find the low cost option.
Definitely go to Berbera. It is amazing!! When you go, visit the beach, and walk alongside the coast. About 30 minutes up is a small fishing encampment, and a Sri Lankan man lives there with a few Somali men. He speaks English and LOVES vsitors, especially if you bring him cigarettes. Super friendly and will cook you a lovely meal. He should still be there- he had been there for 6 years when I went last year.
Jul 19, 2012 2:54 AM
11That's handy ketchacha! Cheers mate, I will try to find the Sri Lankan man! :D
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