Somaliland Independence Day Tour
This is 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. A 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 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 chew khat 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.
Sunday 17th May
- Arrival in Hargeisa. We will provide an airport pick up.
- 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 chai with the friendly locals or do some shopping for t-shirts and flags for Independence Day.
Monday 18th May
- 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 from the heat we’ll visit the Somaliland national museum and cultural center. A great place to chat to some local young people.
- We will have traditional dinner that evening and toast this small nation!
- Overnight in Hargeisa.
Tuesday 19th May
- Visit the two hills called Naaso Hablood (“Girl’s Breasts”), also known as Hargeisa’s main 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.
- Visit to the busy market in downtown Hargeisa for some evening shopping and people watching.
- Dinner and overnight in Hargeisa.
Wednesday 20th May
- After breakfast we will visit 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.
Thursday 21st May
- We will head to the most important port of Somaliland - Berbera. Upon our arrival, we will visit a historical Ottoman Mosque and Ottoman houses.
- Late lunch will be served at the Ottoman houses.
- We’ll take a short boat trip to go hunt for shipwrecks in the Gulf of Aden.
- We will relax and swim at an 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.
Friday 22nd May
- After breakfast, we will have 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, followed by a last supper!