Navigating SoMaliland: What to Know Before You Go

Traveling to Somaliland: Essential Tips and Facts

Somaliland, a self-declared independent state located in the Horn of Africa, offers a unique and off-the-beaten-path travel experience. If you are planning a trip to this fascinating region, there are a few important things to know before you embark on your adventure. From its history and culture to safety considerations and practical tips, here are the key points to consider when traveling to Somaliland.

Understand the Status of Somaliland

Somaliland declared independence from Somalia in 1991, but it is not internationally recognized as a separate country. However, it operates as a peaceful and autonomous region with its own government, currency (Somaliland Shilling, not Somali Shilling), passport, security forces, and institutions. Throughout this article, we will refer to it as Somaliland for simplicity.

Navigating Somaliland: What to Know Before You Go

Safety and Security

Many misconceptions surround the security situation in Somaliland. It is important to recognize that Somaliland has been a relatively peaceful region compared to its neighboring countries. The area enjoys a stable government, functioning institutions, and its own security forces. Nevertheless, like any other travel destination, exercise caution, be aware of your surroundings, and follow travel advisories from your government.

Navigating Somaliland: What to Know Before You Go

Visa and Passport

To visit Somaliland, you will need a separate visa from the one required to enter Somalia. Somaliland has its own immigration system, so ensure you apply for the appropriate visa in advance. Entry visas are obtainable at Hargeisa Egal International Airport and land borders.

Navigating Somaliland: What to Know Before You Go

Currency and Banking

The currency used in Somaliland is the Somaliland Shilling. While US dollars are widely accepted, it is recommended to carry local currency for day-to-day expenses. Credit cards are rarely accepted, and ATMs may be unreliable, so it is advisable to carry enough cash for the duration of your stay.

Navigating Somaliland: What to Know Before You Go

Communication and Internet

Telecommunications in Somaliland have made significant strides, with reliable mobile networks and internet connectivity available in most urban areas. You can easily obtain a local SIM card at the airport or in major cities to stay connected.

Navigating Somaliland: What to Know Before You Go

Dress Code and Cultural Sensitivity

Somaliland is a predominantly Muslim nation, and it is important to respect local customs and Islamic traditions. Dress modestly, particularly when visiting religious sites or mingling with locals. Women may consider wearing loose-fitting clothing that covers their shoulders, chest, and knees.

Navigating Somaliland: What to Know Before You Go

Local Customs and Etiquette

Somalilanders are renowned for their hospitality, and visitors are often warmly welcomed. Greetings are important in Somali culture, and it is customary to greet with a handshake. Remember to be polite, respectful, and ask for permission before taking pictures, especially of individuals.

Navigating Somaliland: What to Know Before You Go

Hygiene and Health

Prioritize your health and safety by practicing good hygiene. Drink bottled water, and avoid consuming raw or uncooked food. Consider obtaining travel insurance that covers medical emergencies and vaccinations, such as hepatitis A, typhoid, and tetanus, before traveling. Additionally, pack a basic medical kit that includes necessary prescription medications, antiseptics, and band-aids.

Navigating Somaliland: What to Know Before You Go


The official languages of Somaliland are Somali and Arabic. English is also widely spoken, especially in larger cities and tourist sites. Learning a few basic Somali phrases can greatly enhance your experience and foster connections with locals.

Navigating Somaliland: What to Know Before You Go

Attractions and Experience

Somaliland boasts a rich cultural heritage and natural beauty. Explore the vibrant markets of Hargeisa, discover the ancient rock art at Las Geel, or marvel at the stunning beaches along the coastline. Somaliland also offers unique opportunities for camel trekking, exploring nomadic villages, and hiking in the picturesque landscapes.

Navigating Somaliland: What to Know Before You Go

Use eSIM to access the internet anytime, anywhere

Using an eSIM for internet access when traveling offers a multitude of benefits, including convenience, cost savings, global connectivity, and flexibility. Its ease of activation, security features, and compatibility with modern devices make it a compelling choice for travelers seeking a seamless and efficient way to stay connected while exploring the world.

Read more: 10 Reasons Why you should use an eSIM when Traveling

If you are planning a trip to Somaliland, buy a Somaliland eSIM now.

Traveling to Somaliland provides a chance to witness a lesser-known part of Africa, where warm hospitality, rich history, and untouched landscapes converge. By familiarizing yourself with the region’s unique characteristics and embracing the local customs, you can ensure a memorable and rewarding journey.

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