Introduction

A few decades ago Somalia was a magnet for travellers and, with a bit of luck and a following wind, it could be again. But right now the country is still unsafe for foreigners, with its people, places and infrastructure still recovering from over 25 years of brutal civil war. The situation is not insurmountable. There are increasing signs of hope and Mogadishu, the capital, is experiencing an urban boom thanks to massive investments from returning Somalis. And amid chaos, there is a success story: the self-proclaimed nation of Somaliland, north of the country, which has managed to retain something close to peace and stability. If Somalia does open up for travel, visitors will again be able to experience its fascinating culture and enjoy its natural attractions, bask on pristine beaches and trek across arid mountains.

Highlights

  • Mogadishu The fascinating streets of the former ‘Pearl of the Indian Ocean'.
  • Hargeisa A lively gold market where haggling erupts over jewellery.
  • Berbera The pleasure of a soft drink and fresh fish while relaxing on white-sand beaches.
  • Las Geel This astounding archaeological site, festooned in ancient rock art, tells of Somalia’s mysterious past.
  • Raas Xaafun A remarkable vista at the tip of the Horn of Africa.
  • Merca Myriad alleyways in this wonderful old Arab coastal town.
  • Bajuni Islands A fantastic archipelago blessed with glistening white-sand beaches.