Hargeisa is the capital city of the self-declared republic of Somaliland. According to an estimate in the previous years, it has more than 800,000 inhabitants. Other than the occasional couch-surfing, there is very little tourism in the region and there is no proper tourism industry. Most of the visitors coming to this place are working for the NGO or for another organization. The city is very peaceful as compared to the other part of Somalia and it is a very friendly place. If you are planning to visit it, then it is best to do proper planning for a successful visit. Hargeisa is definitely a rapidly evolving and vibrant city that needs to be discovered.
Planning your next trip to Hargeisa? If your answer is yes, then connect with a professional travel agent to book the flights to Hargeisa at an affordable rate. Hargeisa is having very limited sights to visit however if you are planning to go there, there is a guide below that will be helpful for you:
Traveling to Hargeisa
Hargeisa International Airport (HGA) is connecting the city with different locations in East Africa. Some of the cities included in the list are Addis Ababa, Djibouti, Jeddah, Bossaso, Dubai, Mogadishu, Dire Dawa, Wajir, and Nairobi. It is important to note that some flights that especially connect in Berbera begin with a three-hour bus journey to the Berbera. After this, the passenger has to take the actual flight. So, it is better to ensure that the airline that you have selected will take you in and out of Hargeisa.
Traveling Via Bus: For Overlanding, you have to make a start from Harar of Ethiopia, then you have to change a minibus at Jijiga to the border. There are many mini busses that will be departing from Hargeisa anytime for $5.
Traveling Via Road: Hargeisa has an informal shared bus service that will cost you 2,000 Somaliland Shillings per journey. It is best to get guidance from the locals. Hargeisa previously had working traffic lights but now the traffic is controlled by the occasional police officer. All the residents who want to drive should hold a photo driving license and all cars should have Somaliland license plates.
Furthermore, you can also book taxis via your hotel and they are quite expensive. For instance, the fare from Oriental hotel to airport will be $10 or more.
A Somaliland visa is a must for foreign travelers. You can get the visa at the Somaliland representative offices located in Addis Ababa in person or from London in person or by post. Remember that there is very little diplomatic representation in Hargeisa, so you should have your onward travel plans arranged and you should have a visa in your hand before you are going to travel to Hargeisa.
The exchange rate is very poor at the airport. The exchange will act as the arrival tax. Remember that you should exchange less money because you will not be able to convert your shillings back to the dollars. It will be best for you to spend them all before living in the city. As the exchange rate is very much less as compared to the dollars, you will have to carry a large number of notes with you. The most frequently used note is the 500 shillings.
Note: There is only one courier service available in Hargeisa and that is DHL.
Instructions for Clothing
Women who are going to travel to Hargeisa should wear long dresses or skirts to the ankle. Trousers are not allowed. It is important for you to cover the hairs and upper arms at all times.
Men are not allowed to wear shorts or armless t-shirts. It is also not polite to take pictures of people (male or female) without their permission.
Things to See and Do in Hargeisa
As mentioned above there are very few tourist sights and activities that can be performed in Hargeisa. The market is located in the center of the town. The local residents are also very friendly and they greet foreigners in the street. In comparison to the other places in Africa, they will not try to sell you anything and they are more interested to have a conversation with you and ensure that you feel welcome. To visit the place, you have to contact a renowned travel agency in your area to book cheap flights to Hargeisa from your desired location.
One important thing to note down here is that if you are planning to leave the city for visiting any place, then it is important for you to take a government security guard with you. They are called the “SPU”. In the past, some of the incidents have occurred, so it is good to take the security with you when traveling.
Now, let’s have a look at the places that you visit to see the beauty of Hargeisa:
1. Laas Gaal:
It is located outside Hargeisa. It is a complex of caves and rock shelters that have preserved cave paintings. The paintings tell us about some of the earliest known art in the Horn of Africa and the African continent that connects us to 9,000 B.C. For visiting this place, you have to fill up a form at the Ministry of Culture and Tourism located near the University of Hargeisa. You have to make a payment of $25 at the Ministry of Finance cashier that is located 1.4km away. After that, you have to return to the Ministry of Culture and Tourism to get your permit and it will be checked when you will be entering into Laas Gaal. A car on sharing from Hargeisa will cost you $80 to $100. Remember that as mentioned before SPU is required for the trip. You can complete your trip in 5 hours from Hargeisa.
2. Lion Zoo:
The next place to visit is a private zoo. It is 20 minutes away from Hargeisa downtown on your way to Laas Gaal. You can see five or six lions in the cage and can touch them. The entrance fee is not defined. If you want to take photographs, then you have to pay $5.
Furthermore, there is plenty of wildlife in the Sheikh mountains and the Daallo mountains located near Hargeisa. You might see Kudu, wildebeest, gazelles, and many different species of birds. For this trip, you need to take SPU with you.
3. Red Sea Beach:
It is a three-hour drive and it will be a nice day trip for a relaxing weekend. The Maan-soor hotel branch located in Berbera provides the facility of scuba diving. For this trip, you don’t have to travel with the SPU and you can take a shared bus.
4. Naasa Hablood:
For this trip, you have to hire SPU, pack your lunch and go climbing. This place is also called the ‘Breasts of Hargeisa’ and it is visible from the Ambassador. You can travel for 45 minutes to reach the destination, climb the hill, and walk around the area to see fossils and some rare insects. Hyena. Be back on time for lunch.
5. Hargeisa Market:
Don’t forget to visit the Hargeisa Market for an authentic local experience. You will see stalls piled high with a different kind of vegetable and fruit. You will also see some unexpected things like perfume and wind-up radios.
You should try out the street food at the central night market. You will find items like fried camel liver with vegetables, camel milk, and fresh juice. This will give you a truly Somaliland experience.
This was a brief about the beautiful sight and views of the Hargeisa. If you are interested in visiting this place, then book cheap flights to Hargeisa Somaliland to have an enjoyable journey.