YPT are proud to announce the return of one of our African classics! 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 Eritrea in our Horn of Africa Combo. As always, we offer discounts on group bookings and for returning Pioneers.
Please note that the itinerary may change depending on the Somaliland government. Your safety is our top priority. Safety and security are the first questions in many people’s mind when travelling to a foreign country. If you are considering joining us on this exciting adventure, please note that Somaliland is NOT Somalia; and the country has been free from terrorist attacks since 2008. The Somaliland government does everything to ensure the security of their country, especially foreign visitors. We have a strong network in the country to provide us with the most up-to-date security information, including a leading international travel security consultant firm and the local government. We only lead our tours to protected regions. We will travel with SPU (Special Protection Unit) soldiers when outside of Hargeisa. They are trained specially to protect foreign visitors. We also have several backup itineraries – i.e., in the unlikely event that an alert occurs in our destination, we will immediately change our itinerary.
Airport pick-up and we will take you to our hotel, hotel Sugaal.
Dinner at a lively canteen off the main drag of Hargeisa. 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.
Monday 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 colours 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 from the heat, we’ll visit the Somaliland national museum and cultural center. A great place to chat with some local young people.
We will have a traditional dinner at Summer Time Restaurant, an institution in town, that evening and toast to this small nation!
Overnight in Hargeisa
Tuesday 19th May – Hargeisa
Visit the best view of Hargeisa, the Massala View. From there, we will be able to spot most of the important buildings of the city but also the twin 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 an excellent place for a coffee and chats with Somalilanders about politics and history.
Visit to the busy market in downtown Hargeisa for some evening shopping and people watching.
Dinner of traditional camel meat at Ararat Restaurant
Overnight in Hargeisa.
Wednesday 20th May – Laas Geel/Hargeisa
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 excellent 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 colours 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.
Buffet dinner at a Yemeni Restaurant.
Thursday 21st May – Berbera
We will head to the most important port of Somaliland, Berbera. Upon our arrival, we will visit the historical Ottoman Mosque and Ottoman houses.
Late lunch will be served at the Ottoman houses, and we will relax a bit (it will be sweltering).
We’ll take a short boat trip to go hunt for shipwrecks in the Gulf of Aden.
We will relax and swim at the 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.) For those who have their diving license, it may be possible to organise a diving excursion (extra cost, optional)
Tour the historic town of Berbera in the early evening, where you will find more Ottoman, Persian, and British architecture of historic interest. This will be an excellent chance for some fantastic photographs.
We will have fresh seafood on the waterfront for dinner.
Friday 22nd May – Hargeisa
After breakfast, we will have short free time in Berbera.
We’ll drive to the small town of Sheikh in the mountains, stop for some afternoon tea, walk around and enjoy the pleasant climate.
We’ll make the drive back to Hargeisa for our last dinner in Somaliland.
Saturday 23rd May – Asmara
End of our tour for those who do not continue onwards to Eritrea!
YPT can arrange extra accommodation, transportation to your next destination or additional tours in Africa for you!