YPT are proud to announce our return to Africa for a third year! So join us for a truly off the beaten track experience to one of the planet’s least visited destinations – Somaliland.
The tour begins in the capital city of Hargeisa; gateway into the former British protectorate and self-declared republic of Somaliland. This de-facto state declared independence from the rest of Somalia in 1991; however, no international organization has recognized its sovereignty.
Still recovering from a brutal civil war, today the area is very safe and the local people are extremely welcoming and interested in foreign visitors. Somaliland is fundamentally different from the other countries in the region — and almost anywhere else on the planet. We’ll take you to smoke shisha and chew chat with the locals, swim in untouched waters, and visit ancient cave paintings!
This tour can be done as a standalone, or combined with our Eritrea Tour. As always, we offer discounts on group bookings and for returning Pioneers.
Dinner at a newly opened and popular Syrian restaurant run by refugees from Damascus. We’ll have a chance to chat with them and hear how they find life in Somaliland.
After dinner you can walk around the bustling city center in Hargeisa, and have some chai with the friendly locals or do some shopping for t-shirts and flags for Independence Day.
Wednesday 16th May
Visit the two hills called Naaso Hablood (“Girl’s Breasts”), also known as Hargeisa’s landmark. On the way we visit the cemetery for British Soldiers who died here battling against the Italians during the Second World War. Hargeisa is the former capital of British Somaliland, while Italy controlled what is now Somalia.
We will have lunch at a Somali-Yemeni restaurant with some Somalilander intellectual icons who will give us the political, social, historical and cultural introduction of the country.
We will then take a walking tour around the city center of Hargeisa to get a sense of the people and the city. Here you will see street money exchangers and their “chunk” of bills, the central market, and the MiG Jet fighter War Memorial which stands for the atrocities committed by the dictator during the Civil War. The War Memorial is in the middle of the buzzing centrum and a great place for a coffee and chat with Somalilanders about politics and history.
Visit to the busy market in downtown Hargeisa for some evening shopping and people watching.
Dinner and a night out to hang around with the local Somalilander people.
Thursday 17th May
After breakfast we will take a visit to the livestock market where you can purchase your own camel or goat! For those who can’t fit a camel in their luggage, this market will provide great photo opportunity and a chance to see how the locals do business.
Afternoon visit to Laas Geel, the most important rock art site in Africa. These caves contain some of the oldest cave paintings on the horn of Africa; the vibrant colors and well-preserved paintings are estimated to be around ten thousand years old.
Make the 60km drive back to Hargeisa and spend the evening at your leisure.
Friday 18th May – Independence Day!
We’ll get up nice and early for a quick breakfast before hitting the streets to observe the military and civilian parades. Everyone will be dressed in the national colors on the street, and this is one of the only places on earth to take part in an Independence Day celebration in an unrecognized country!
After lunch and a short break, we will visit ex-child-soldiers’ house, who now are successful investors and entrepreneurs. We will listen to their stories with some Somali tea and chaat, the local drug, and have a chance to ask them some questions about their experiences.
We will have traditional dinner accompanied by traditional music and dance – the night will finish very late with all of the celebrations taking place. Feel free to wear national costume!
Saturday 19th May
We will head to the most important port of Somaliland, Berbera. Upon our arrival, we will visit historical Ottoman Mosque and Ottoman houses.
Late lunch will be served at the Ottoman houses, and we will relax a bit (it will be VERY hot).
We’ll take a short boat trip to go hunt for shipwrecks in the Gulf of Aden.
We will relax and swim at untouched beach, where local youth and families come and enjoy their down time. (Due to local culture, ladies will need to cover their body while in water.)
Tour the historic town of Berbera in early evening, where you will find more Ottoman, Persian, and British architecture of historic interest. This will be a great chance for some amazing photographs.
We will have fresh seafood at the waterfront for dinner.
Sunday 20th May
After breakfast, we will have a short free time in Berbera.
We head to the Berbera Airport to see one of the longest runways in Africa. It was built by the USSR in the 1970s and used by The USA as an emergency-landing site for the Space Shuttle. (TBC)
We’ll drive to the small town of Sheikh in the mountains, stop for some afternoon tea, and walk around and enjoy the pleasant climate.
We’ll make the drive back to Hargeisa, followed by dinner and a night at the arcade and bowling center, sheesha lounge, and girls’ basketball and boys’ football matches.
Monday 21st May
End of Somaliland tour and drop off at the airport
For Part 2 – Eritrea group: Airport transfer to the airport to catch the 7:25am flight to Dubai where we stop over before heading to Eritrea!