Somaliland is not Somalia.
A self declared independent state unrecognised by the rest of the world; Somaliland has its own government and currency and has escaped the chaos that has engulfed its notorious cousin. Perched on the Horn of Africa and bordered by the Red Sea, Somaliland is a country of proud traditions born out of its largely nomadic heritage, keen to welcome visitors. This short trip gives the intrepid traveller a unique insight into a country that does not officially exist. Starting in the capital Hargeisa we wander the markets and soak up the atmosphere before heading to Baligubadle where we meet local nomadic communities and learn about the challenges they face in this parched corner of the continent. After visiting the eastern towns of Arabsiyo and Gabiley, we then travel to the spectacular rock art site of Las Geel – one of the most impressive examples of prehistoric art in Africa. From here we journey to the coastal city of Berbera with its colonial architecture and discover the stunning scenery around Sheikh before heading back to the capital, Hargeisa.
But Somaliland is above all characterised by its people – facing some of the harshest conditions on our planet, hindered in their efforts at international recognition by an underserved association, yet some of the friendliest and most exuberant people you will ever meet.
Day 1 – Hargeisa
Arrive in Hargeisa and transfer to your hotel, where the rest of the day is free to relax. Overnight Hotel Mansoor or similar.
Day 2 – Hargeisa
Spend the morning exploring the city and seeing some of its sights, including the War Memorial with its unusual monument of a crashed MiG fighter plane, the markets – including the gold and khat markets – and a traditional Somali house. Overnight Hotel Mansoor or similar. (B)
Day 3 – Arabsiyo – Dhagah Khoure - Gabiley –Jufo - Borama
A full day excursion eastwards, visiting the town of Arabsiyo and its valleys, on the way to Gabiley. Gabiley is known as the breadbasket of Somaliland and is renowned for its agriculture. We will also visit the rock art site at Dhagah Khoure and then to Borama, for the night. Overnight Hotel Rays Borama. (B)
Day 4 – Borama – Jufo –Hargeisa
Borama is an important education centre and is the home of the historic Amoud University. The first post war institution of higher learning throughout Somaliland. Morning Borama sightseeing and Amoud University then back to Hargeisa. On the way back we stop at the nomadic settlement of Jufo, before returning to Hargeisa. Overnight Hotel Mansoor or similar. (B)
Day 5 – Las Geel – Berbera
Travel to the caves of Las Geel, where rock art dating back 5,000 years has been found – one of the best preserved examples in all of Africa and a real highlight of the trip. After visiting the site we continue to Berbera on the coast, with its interesting architecture from both the Ottoman and British periods, which we explore. Overnight Hotel Mansoor or similar. (BLD)
Day 6 – Berbera - Sheikh – Berbera
We spend the morning exploring Berbera. After lunch we leave the city and travel through the mountains to Sheikh, through fantastic scenery with great views of the dry plains below. At Sheikh we visit the ruins of Ferdusa, a city dating back to the 16th century. We then back to Berbera. Overnight Hotel Mansoor or similar. (BLD)
Day 7 –Berbera – Ga’an Libah - Hargeisa
Drive back to Hargeisa via Ga’an Libah, a tall limestone ridge that rises to an elevation of 1,720m. Overnight Hotel Mansoor or similar. (BLD)
Day 8 – Hargeisa
Transfer to the airport for your onward flight. (B)