Why I Went There?
My friend Phillip planned the whole trip to Africa. I was just tagging along. I didn’t know much about the three countries that we visited (Djibouti, Somalia, Eritrea), but I saw this as a great opportunity to visit the continent for the first time, and to get out of my traveling comfort zone.
Where Did I Go?
We landed in Hargeisa the day before Somaliland’s Independence Day. We then went on a 2-day trip to the caves of Laas Geel and the port town of Berbera and the mountain village of Sheikh.
My Other Blog Posts on Somaliland
The expenses below are per person. US dollar is accepted everywhere, but Solamiland shilling is used for small items like a bottle of water.
Total Days: 5
Total Expenses: 325 USD
Average: 65 USD/day
The above includes 60 USD for the visa (arranged in advance through Ambassador Hotel), and a 60 USD arrival tax.
Some sample prices:
A basic 2-bed hotel room: 30 USD a night
2-day car rental with driver and armed escort to Laas Geel/Berbera/Sheikh: 300 USD (100 USD per person)
Meal at restaurant: 3-4 USD
How Is It Like to Backpack in Somaliland?
This is not a country developed for mass tourism, as there are no hostels or tourist buses. I didn’t see any other tourists except for a tour group of about 10 staying in our same hotel.
Most locals I encountered spoke good basic English.
For those who like to drink, keep in mind that alcohol is illegal in Somaliland.
While I felt safe walking on the streets with a DSLR camera in my hand, a couple of caring locals warned me to not do that. People for the most part were very curious and friendly, and I didn’t feel intimidated by them.
As far as accommodation, it’s best to stick with the ones that cater to foreign tourists. The staff there will be able to get taxis for you (without getting ripped off), or arrange tours (car, driver, armed escort) to visit other parts of the country.
This was an eye opening experience for me. I had never been in a place where I felt like a celebrity with a mob following me all the time. There’s just a unique rawness about Africa that makes it very special.