Dangers & Annoyances
Hargeisa is a safe city, but the usual precautions apply. Avoid walking alone at night, don’t be ostentatious with valuables, and beware of pickpockets in crowded areas.
There’s a profusion of internet cafes in the centre, most of them tucked away in anonymous buildings. Connection speed is decent assuming you’re not streaming YouTube, though machine quality varies wildly. Rates range from US$0.50 to US$1 per hour.
Most transactions can be conducted using US dollars, but if you want to change money, head to one of the Dahabshiil branches. You’ll also find plenty of foreign exchange stalls near the central market; you can’t miss them – they’re piled high with blocks of notes held together with elastic bands. Most hotels also change money and don’t take commission. Somaliland is a strictly cash economy – forget about travellers cheques and credit cards. One ATM had just been introduced at the time of research (in the same street as Oriental Hotel) but it didn’t accept foreign cards – check while you’re there. Money transfers from a number of countries are possible.
There’s no post office in Hargeisa. You’ll have to use courier services, such as DHL (hotel staff can assist with this).
Making phone calls is easy and cheap. You can also bring your mobile phone and buy a local SIM card from Telesom or any other mobile phone company.
Hotel owners (especially at the Ambassador and the Oriental Hotel, among others) are the best sources for travel information and can also help with visa matters, escorts and car rentals. You can also head to the Ministry of Commerce, Industry & Tourism, which is in the vicinity of the Imperial Hotel.