1: The hospitality
Book flights to Somaliland and you are bound to experience incredible hospitality. I discovered that the moment I stepped off the plane at Hargeisa. People will be intrigued by your visit (Somaliland doesn’t get many tourists), and you will be welcomed as a guest everywhere you go. Expect to be invited to family dinners, given countless cups of tea, or to chew khat and talk politics with locals. Invitations will be flowing. Somaliland hospitality is some of the best I’ve ever experienced – and I’ve traveled a lot. It’s a true “what’s mine is yours,” “My house, is your house” attitude, all the way from the capital of Hargeisa, to the rural towns and villages all over the country.
2: Incredible beaches:
The sea and it’s miles upon miles of coastline is one of Somaliland’s true gems. Pristine, white sandy beaches that line the length of Somaliland’s north.
The words Somalia and Somaliland unfortunately brings up the image of Somali pirates to many around the world. However Somaliland has actually done a lot to curb the threat of piracy, and it’s almost unheard of now.
That means the beaches are now being reclaimed by locals and tourists alike, and used for relaxing, bathing, fishing, and boating. Put these beaches almost anywhere else in the world and there would be hotel buildings lined up one after another, with row upon row of deckchairs. But here, Somaliland beaches remain largely unspoiled – just as nature intended. If that’s not a reason to book flights to Somaliland, then I don’t what is!
3: To be one of the first – and to support a fledgling country
It might not be officially recognised, but Somaliland is definitely a country in it’s infancy. It has a proud citizenship that is creating an incredible country out of the ruins of a failed state (Somalia) and a lot of recent tragedy.
Around the world people hear Somaliland and they think Somalia – but this shouldn’t be the case. Unfortunately because of this, many tourists are put off from visiting Somaliland. However Somaliland is far safer than Somalia and neighbouring Puntland, and has a lot to offer to an adventurous tourist.
If you visit, not only will you be one of the first, you will also be helping a fledgling tourist economy get on it’s feet. Now that is something that could be a huge benefit to the whole country in years to come.
4: Laas Geel – Breathtaking rock art
Laas Geel is probably Somaliland’s most famous site, and no wonder.
The breathtaking rock art is thousands of years old and is believed to be some of the oldest rock art in the world. Incredibly preserved, these paintings provide a glimpse into life 5000 years ago.
Most amazingly, they do so in colour! Vivid reds, browns, even tints of green and blue can be picked out on images of animals, people and day-to-day life, all depicted by the ancestors of this ancient land. Despite years of instability, conflict and erosion, these paintings have survived. So if you’re planning on booking flights to Somaliland make sure you plan a day-trip to Laas Geel. No trip is complete without seeing them up close and personal.