The Young Pioneer Podcast Season 2 continues with another from-the-field episode recorded during YPT’s recent Horn of Africa tour in Somaliland!
This two-segment episode of the Young Pioneer Podcast opens with an interview with YPT’s newest staff member Morgan Bourven. Hailing from France, Morgan first travelled with YPT to Tibet and North Korea in 2014, and has recently joined as our guide focused on our cruise tours, such as Greenland, Svalbard, Antarctica and the Grand South Atlantic.
Following Morgan’s interview, we continue with our multi-part interview series recorded in the field during our most recent Horn of Africa tour. Last episode, we heard our interview with our local tour partner in Djibouti, and from Djibouti the tour continued on to the Republic of Somaliland, which happened to be celebrating its Independence Day on May 18.
Being an unrecognized state, Somaliland is what we would call a classic YPT locale. For those unfamiliar, Somaliland sits at Somalia’s northwest tip on the Gulf of Aden. Ruled for centuries by several successive sultanates, six leading tribes signed a protectorate agreement with the British in the late-19th century creating British Somaliland. In 1960, the British government agreed to grant independence to British Somaliland so that it could unite with Italian Somaliland to the southeast – known today as Somalia – and form the Somali Republic.
In 1969, the Somali army seized control of the Somali Republic in a coup led by general Mohammed Siad Barre, who ruled for 22 years until his government collapsed in 1991. During the 1980s, Hargeisa, the capital of Somaliland today, was a stronghold of anti-Barre opposition. So much so that Barre levelled the majority of the city with a brutal airstrike in 1988. Accordingly, after the fall of Barre’s government, northwest Somalia declared sovereignty as the Republic of Somaliland, whilst the various iterations of Somalia’s central government in Mogadishu — despite years of civil war and an insurgency by the Islamic extremist group Al Shabaab — has continued to claim Somaliland and regard its independence as illegitimate.
Nevertheless, Somaliland has flourished in comparison to Somalia in the south; it has had five democratically elected presidents, its capital Hargeisa is well developed and safe for locals and tourists to walk freely. The experience is a very different one from visiting Somalia, so much so that Somalilanders – or landers as they refer to themselves colloquially – are quick to point out the relative prosperity and peace found in Somaliland over Somalia. During our recent visit, host Justin Martell did have a few minutes to speak with our local Somaliland guide about the country’s history and his hopes for the future, the recording of which is contained in this episode for your listening pleasure!
If you enjoy the Young Pioneer Podcast, please subscribe and leave a review and rating on your preferred podcast service. Keep an eye out for our next episode recorded in a very different but also classic YPT destination: Eritrea, often referred to as the North Korea of Africa!
And if you have not already listened to the other Young Pioneer Podcast episodes featuring a wide variety of fascinating guests with various connections to the world of adventure travel, check out the full list of episodes here: