Our Somaliland holidays and tours show you a nation that officially doesn’t exist, breaking new ground to push the frontiers of adventure travel. The self-proclaimed republic of Somaliland suffers from an undeserved association with its troubled neighbour Somalia. Yet is a far cry from the chaos of Mogadishu.

With its own government, army and currency this plucky country remains unrecognised by the rest of the world for more than twenty years. It has fewer tourists visit each year than visit Antarctica. With some of the best rock art sites in all of Africa, ancient burial sites, nomadic communities and a surprising amount of wildlife, Somaliland has much to offer those prepared to look beyond confused stereotypes.

The modest capital Hargeisa is a delight to explore, while the Red Sea town of Berbera is home to a wealth of picturesque historic buildings that are testament to its previous importance on coastal trade routes. But the most lasting impression will be the people you meet. They are proud of their country, welcoming to visitors and with a determination that is often lacking in other parts of the continent.

Top highlights on Somaliland holidays and tours

  • Check out Las Geel, one of the most important rock art sites in the Horn of Africa, with numerous well preserved paintings
  • Travel through remote desert landscapes, dotted with nomad encampments
  • Explore the busy and colourful markets of Hargeisa
  • Wander through the old quarter of Berbera, Darole, with its Ottoman era buildings and atmospheric streets
  • Meet some of the most welcoming people on the continent

Part of the joy of travelling here is the sense of discovery. Somaliland holidays and tours can be unpolished at times, and makes few concessions to tourism, but visitors are rewarded by an authentic experience that can be lacking in our ever-smaller world. Stop at a nomad encampment and most likely you’ll be invited in for tea, by people who have probably never encountered a tourist before. And while somewhere like Las Geel would anywhere else be thronged with visitors, the experience somewhat sanitised, here you’re almost certain to have a world-class site all to yourself.

Culture

Somaliland is almost completely Muslim, and very few other religions exist here, if at all. Western culture has made few inroads into this country and almost all women will cover their heads – female travellers may feel more comfortable bringing a headscarf to wear, although it’s not compulsory.

Somaliland society is based on clan membership, and one of the main clans here is the Isaq. The clans are stratified into a hierarchical structure, with ‘noble’ and pastoral clans, then further divided into sub-clans – confusing to the outsider but an integral part of Somali life and politics.

Like much of the Horn of Africa, Somaliland has a strong nomadic tradition. Most Somalilanders are at most a couple of generations away from having led a pastoral lifestyle. Despite a growing urban population, head out into the countryside and it’s a completely different picture, with family groups tending small herds of livestock and driving their camels across the desert scrub to find grazing.

The official language here is Somali, spoken by just about everyone. English is spoken as a second language and among the younger and better educated sections of Somaliland society.

When to go on holiday to Somaliland

The best time to visit Somaliland is from October to March. Outside of this time it can get very hot, with temperatures easily pushing forty degrees Celsius. Summer is officially the wet season, although in this region the rains can be unpredictable and scarce, leading to problems for those who rely on fresh grass for their animals.

Start planning your Somaliland tour

Check out our small group tours to Somaliland: The Horn of Africa and Djibouti, the Danakil Depression and Somaliland. While many of our trips are small group adventures with set departures, as a bespoke operator, we can design and create trips to suit any traveller, from solos to larger groups. If you would like to find out more about tailor-made Somaliland holidays or our group tours, call us on 01473 328546 or email us via our contact page. We’d love to hear from you.

Somaliland Holidays and Tours

Somaliland

Good for:Historic Sites and Rock Art