Hargeisa is the capital of the self-proclaimed republic of Somaliland. In recent years, it has been one of the safest places in what the rest of the world still officially considers to be Somalia.

8 things to do

All Places

Central Market

Somaliland's main shopping district is a expansive, chaotic, typical Somali market. The capital's liveliest market sells a huge variety of items, from electronics to cereals, meat to handbags, clothing to perfumes. Each category of items has its own section of the market. Hours can be spent exploring the nooks and crannies, observing the daily ritual of grocery shopping in Somaliland. You're unlikely to be hassled, but some stallholders may object to photography, so do ask first.

SEE   —  Independence Rd

Ambassador Hotel

One of only two Western-style hotels in Somaliland, the Ambassador is where foreign ambassadors stay when visiting the country. The facilities are top-notch by African standards, with a 24-hour gym, laundry, restaurants, non-alcoholic bar, room service, free Wi-Fi and a mosque. Additionally, the English-speaking hotel staff can organise visas, flights and tours to major Somaliland sights. Safe for solo female travellers.

SLEEP   —  +252 256 6666 —  Airport Rd

Oriental Hotel

One of the oldest hotels in Somaliland, it's a decent budget choice right in the centre of town, adjacent to the gold market. Rooms are clean with working fans, though nothing flash. It's a good deal for independent travellers and backpackers. The English-speaking hotel owner, Abdi, is happy to arrange visas, transport, tours and soldier permits. There's also a pleasant, cheap restaurant in the courtyard.

SLEEP   —  +252 251 4999 —  Arwada Rd

Livestock Market

Hundreds of Somali farmers come to buy and sell their livestock daily, including sheep, camels, goats and cattle. It was recently renovated by UK Aid and the UN Food and Agricultural Organization. The market is best visited in the morning, and make sure to ask before taking photos of animals.

SEE   —  Map

Jama Mosque

The city's central mosque, painted a bright white with two tall minarets from which the call to prayer is made. Hundreds of worshippers overflow into the streets at around midday on Friday for prayer. Non-Muslims are not allowed entry but are welcome to observe.

SEE   —  Independence Rd

Maan-Soor Hotel

Slightly closer to the city centre than the Ambassador, and also of Western standards. Has a restaurant, cafe, Wi-Fi and a sports centre, all set in sprawling grounds. Staff can organise flights and visas. Be aware, there is a similarly named hotel in Berbera.

SLEEP   —  +252 225 3639 —  M Warsame Rd

MiG Jet memorial

The memorial displays a Somali Air Force MiG jet that was shot down while it bombed the city during the Somali Civil War; murals and mosaics display scenes from the war below.

SEE   —  Independence Rd

Red Sea Hotel

Another budget option, with clean, but basic rooms and services and no hot water. The helpful manager will often offer to personally drive guests to their destination.

SLEEP   —  Map

About Hargeisa

Hargeisa, with 1,200,000 inhabitants (according to a 2000 estimate), is the capital of the self-declared republic of Somaliland. Apart from the occasional couch surfer, there is very little tourism (and no tourist industry), as almost all visitors are working for an NGO or other organization. The city is a peaceful and friendly place, but does require some planning to ensure a successful visit.


Source: wikivoyage