29 Oct Top 10 Places You Should Visit in Somalia by Anderson Ezie
Despite the difficult social situation in Somalia, there are still things the country can boast of, and this is not to say its friendly and cheerful people which is, without doubt, a plus. Tourists may be concerned about the situation in the country so they may not want to include Somalia in their vacation list of places to visit, but as organizations like Hunger Reduction International work alongside the government and other humanitarian organizations to restore and improve the situation in the country we can only hope for the best in the future. Somalia, in fact, has a regulated and established tourism industry since the country gained independence in 1960. The Ministry of Tourism was established after independence, and by 1969, Somalia had passed a Fauna law on hunting and forest conservation which defined game reserves, partial game reserves, and controlled areas. Today, the two autonomous regions of Somaliland and Puntland have their separate tourism offices. It would interest you to know that there are historically symbolic places dating as far back as 20,000 BC. In fact, one of these sites, Laas Geel is considered the most vivid rock art in Africa. Now let’s take a trip to the famed land of nicknames and see the places you could be visiting someday.
The ancient paintings covered with overhanging of granite on the remote outskirts of Hargeisa remained unknown until a group of French researchers visited the site in 2002 to carry out an archaeological survey on Somaliland. The researchers unearthed these unique paintings comparable to those in other parts of the region created at about the same time. The vast paintings depicting animals and cultural costumes spanned ten rock alcoves or caves. Although dating back to 2,000 BC, the Laas Gaal paintings remained well preserved. Thanks to the covering provided by the elaborate ancient caves. Everything about the Laas Gaal is spectacular it suggests religious practices of the past, the calendars used by some educated herders thousands of years ago, their sense of safety and love for aesthetics. The adornment of the animals speaks about how valuable it was to the people at the time, and some archeologists have described Laas Gaal as a historic work of art hanging in an ancient louver. To crown it all, Laas Gaal is located in Hargeisa which is one of the safest cities for tourists in all of Greater Somalia.
Lag Badana-Bush bush
The Lag Badana-Bush bush national park on the southern coast of Somalia is the first national park to be established in Somalia. The park was established to become the center of tourism in the country. The park is gracefully located along coral reefs and offshore islands. The diversity of the park’s fauna is characteristic of the country’s location between tropical and temperate zones. From gerenuks, elephant shrews, camels, and giraffe all the way to the beautiful bee-eater birds. Lovers of reptiles will surely like to see garter snake, angled worm lizard, and. sand boa. The Lag Badana is also home to over 200 vascular plant species and the rare animals like the lesser kudu are a common sight in the area.
National Museum of Somalia
The Somalia National Museum was rebuilt in 2019, about 30 years after it was abruptly shut down in 1991. The Islamic styled building which consists of four exhibition floors was built on the behest of the emir of Zanzibar in the 19th century. The ground floor of the building houses ethnographical exhibitions, while the first floor holds post-independence and other exhibitions representing the country’s struggle against colonial rule. The third and second floor of the building exhibits, historical arms, modern army exhibitions, language, and literature.
Saryan Museum uses various media such as presentations, exhibitions, public programs, and special events to provide a unique learning and exploring opportunities for visitors of all ages. The museum which is located in Hargeisa, the capital of Somaliland is a repository of materials relic of the socio-political situation in the history of the country. Among these historical materials, there are exhibits from the Somali National Movement, which fought for the independence of the region. Tourists visit the Saryan Museum all year round to explore the not so distant socio-political history of Somalia.
Hargeisa War Memorial
To this day at the Hargeisa Freedom Square, a forlorn MiG17 fighter jet hangs above a tall pyramidal ascent. The supporting walls bear the sad images of despair and war which would leave many newcomers quizzed enough to ask important questions. A woman raising the Somaliland flag looks towards the sky from ruins, and behind her, a recent amputee, bleeding from opposite arm and leg raises his head to the sky as well. The monument represents the war between the two regions of Somali, Puntland, and Somaliland. Somaliland suffered a series of attacks that saw over 70,000 persons fleeing their homes never to return forever. The government of Said Barre remains famous even today for its oppressive approach to what he felt would restore national hegemony. Want to know about Somali’s history and the story of genocide? Visit the peaceful tourist town of Hargeisa someday.
According to historical records, early followers of the Prophet Muhammed fled Mecca to Zeila in 615 AD. Natives of Zeila say that the mosque built by the early Muslims faced both Jerusalem and Mecca. The mosque is considered one of the first mosques outside the Middle-East, a relic of Islam’s first entry into the African continent. The Arabs first Administered the town which was on the shore of the Gulf of Eden before seceding power to the Turks, Egyptians, and later the British in the 18th century. Zeila is a major trading and commercial port. Although the structure was built with materials that could have lasted until this moment, years of war and unrest has reduced the historical mosque of Zeila and other buildings around to rubble with only parts left standing. Either way, you would still want to take a photo or two of this site when you visit.
Sa’ad ad-Din Island
Sa’ad ad-Din Island boasts of some of the richest coral reefs, with beautiful beaches and diverse species of birds. The exoctic mix of marine creatures from the Red Sea to the big mammals of the Indian Ocean also makes Sa’ad ad-Din Island a spectacular place you would want to add to your list someday. Its translucent water is the home to some 130 species of fish and as for the birds we talked about earlier get ready for a face-to-face experience with adorable white-eyed-gulls and crab plovers. The Island is close to Hargeisa, and some who have visited this place call it the snorkelers and diver’s paradise. Sa’ad ad-Din Island is one place you have to visit and you can do that even now because unlike the media would have you believe, the region is relatively safe.
If we move a few miles farther from Sa’ad ad-Din Island we will arrive at a tropical melange of mangrove swamp. The glistening white beaches are the home to varieties of marine creatures, the kind you may not have seen ever before. There have also been lots of stories about a famous rural lighthouse and as you explore, you will hear birds chirping away in the stillness of the lonely skies. There is also a lot of beach sand on the Aibat island so get prepared for some natural exfoliants that can keep your skin healthier.
Iskushuban is one place you would like to visit. The structure of this centuries-old rock appears like a catacomb with crenulated walls that gushes water during the season. In truth, however, this historical site used to be the base of the great Marjeeteenia Sultanate, which conquered and ruled the end of the horn of Africa between the 19th and 20th centuries. Whether you simply want to see the waterfall during the season or get some piece of Somalia, and Africa’s rich history, Iskushuban is a place for you.
If you love waterfalls visit the largest waterfall in Somalia. The rapids pour across the carved cliff of the Carl Madow ranges, arranged against the Gulf of Aden. Lamadaya stretches across the two regions of the country towards the north. A wonder to behold, Lamadaya carves through the ochre rock of the earth before forming pools beneath, and the bottom contains rich mineral deposits.
Hunger Reduction International is a humanitarian organization working tirelessly to uphold the right of Somali people. We work with civil society organizations, the government, and other NGOs to uphold, ensure food security, gender quality, and by extension, the ideals defined in the UN Sustainable development goals. Despite the crisis in the wake of disasters and COVID-19, we believe in the potential of Somalia and the Somali people. We directly promote hygiene, education, clean water, skills acquisition, rehabilitation, and the empowerment of people in Somalia irrespective of their class or background. As you plan to visit some of the beautiful places discussed in this article someday, you could use the donate button to support lives and make a positive change in the world however little. We hope you enjoyed reading this article.