Blogs from Somalia, Africa

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Africa » Somalia September 23rd 2017

After returning to Dubai I returned to work the following day expecting to begin by new job, didn't really happen though, it is a new team and it took several weeks to get started so in that time I continued writing strategic products. I also began physio on the injured ankle completing three sessions over a three week period and last week l began walking home from work, it only takes about 15 minutes which is a bonus in 40 degree heat. I have four distinct sets of friends now and I try to socialise with two groups each weekend as different people have interests. When not working or socialising I have been planning a trip to Somaliland which at times has been quite frustrating, getting a visa for province of Somalia which broke away during ... read more
Down town
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Africa » Somalia May 29th 2017

"ONLY A CRAZY MAN WOULD GO TO SOMALI TERRITORY". It all started years ago when I traveled to east Africa, first to Tanzania and then to Madagascar. As I flew over, I knew somewhere down there was the Horn of Africa, the area that had been an integral part of trade routes for thousands of years. There, separating Yemen and Oman from Africa, was the Gulf of Aden, coming right in from the Indian Ocean. I knew most of the ships on earth, including massive oil tankers, passed through these straights back and forth to the Suez Canal. I knew about volatile Somalia, unpredictable Yemen. Like many, I knew of the Blackhawk Down incident in Mogadishu and crazy piracy on the coast of Somalia. My 10 year old daughter was once obsessed with pirates and Somalia. ... read more
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Africa » Somalia December 13th 2015

Just to confirm that almost everywhere on the planet is worth visiting and almost everyone on it is actually really nice: here is Somalia. Actually it's the self-declared but internationally unrecognised independent Republic of Somaliland which forms about a third of Somalia. Democratic elections since the 90s, their own president, currency, flag, passports and even embassies abroad. Despite being peaceful and with a growing economy no countries recognise their independence because they follow the lead of the African Union who have thrown so much effort and money at supporting the government in Mogadishu who vehemently oppose Somaliland independence. It's safe enough that moneychangers have their cash piled up on the street, there's incredible 8000 year old rock art that would be UNESCO recognised if Somaliland actually existed, the beautiful desert is full of wildlife, the beach ... read more
Las Geel
Money changers in Hargeisa
Somali Desert

Africa » Somalia November 12th 2015

Geo: 12.5222, 48.2192Slept late today after doing laundry in the middle of the night again. I was awake at 3:30 and had the laundry bagged and ready to go expecting to wake up about then. So much easier to do laundry with no one else around so I took advantage of not being able to sleep regularly all the time. When I went to the launderette, I found the fire doors between areas of the ship closed. It was simple to open and pass through them. I did not know that they were closed at night.At noon, we were in the Seabourn Square area enjoying coffee, tea, and snacks when the captain made his daily announcement. Typical of what we hear each day if we remember to turn the TV on or are out in the ... read more

Africa » Somalia » Somaliland January 3rd 2014

Travelling is usually beset with issues: sometimes transport, sometimes scams, and sometimes officialdom. Almost all pass without much inconvenience or concern, for it a part of the travel experience. However, in Somaliland, I found myself in a very inconvenient situation due to a person who strove to make my time in their country a difficult one – and surprisingly he worked for the Ministry of Tourism. The drama began when organising a travel permit through the Ministry of Tourism. My friend, Muhyadiin, had already secured a driver to take us to his home town of Gabiley to help him celebrate the birth of his first child. After arriving at the Ministry, I met a senior employee who became my nemesis – Abdisalam Shabeelle. A brief conversation in a darkened office followed. “Where are you going?” Abdisalam ... read more
Me practicing to be a money changer - Hargeisa, Somaliland
Green in Hargeisa - Somaliland
Proudly holding khat - Hargeisa, Somaliland

Africa » Somalia » Somaliland » Berbera December 28th 2013

Grumbling, slobbering camels surrounded me as the sunlight battled to break through the thick clouds. Their owners barked words, the obstinate camels loudly complained. A hazy blanket of dust gradually rose as dozens of camels shifted across the dirt ground. Some camels needed coaxing to move, which required much noise and activity. Feed was distributed, and this silenced most as they contentedly munched on their daily ration. For the first time, the scene had some semblance of order. My guide through Hargeisa’s animal market was Abdullah, a diminutive elderly man with a weathered dark face, whose quietly spoken voice held a thick accent. His clothes were dusty, but in such an environment, it would be impossible to keep them otherwise. “Where are you from?” questioned Abdullah. “Australia.” I replied. “You have many camels in Australia.” he ... read more
Scenery near Berbera - Somaliland
Cute looking camels - Hargeisa animal market, Somaliland
Muse Abdijama - guard of Las Geel, Somaliland

Africa » Somalia » Somaliland December 25th 2013

It is one of the least visited tourist destinations in the world. The mostly empty Ethiopian Airlines flight contained just one other fellow traveller as our small plane uneasily bobbled to its destination of Hargeisa in Somaliland. Passing through immigration and collecting luggage was relatively easy and I was soon in a taxi bouncing along rough roads of a city in the horn of Africa. The scene before me was exactly as I had imagined – dust and dirt was kicked up by the passing traffic, and when it parted, I could espy men sitting out the front of whitewashed walls, sipping a hot beverage and chatting beneath the warm sun. Children gambolled in the side streets amongst small squat homes with flat roofs, whilst the colour to this scene was added by the vibrant hues ... read more
Cali Mataan Mosque at dusk – Hargeisa, Somaliland
Mountains of money - Hargeisa, Somaliland
Cheeky Ethiopian girls - Hargeisa, Somaliland

Africa » Somalia » Somaliland » Berbera March 30th 2012

It was another early start today, as we wanted to visit the rock paintings in Laas Geel and get to Berbera by the afternoon. We took a bus down to the city centre and found where the cars were going to Berbera. For some reason, they have buses that provide local transport around Hargeisa, but to travel outside the city there are only shared taxis. A crowd of nearly 50 people gathered to see how the 3 white guys would get on, with everyone seeming to want to have their contribution. Half of them looked like they had been chewing chat since the night before. Chat is mildly narcotic leaf, that is chewed over the course of the day. It is fairly popular here in Somaliland and in parts of Ethiopia. We negotiated places in one ... read more
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Africa » Somalia » Somaliland » Hargeisa March 28th 2012

First to explain, Somaliland is a separate state to Somalia and has been since the early 90s. It just has not been recognised by the international community yet. So, this trip was not some suicide mission into Mogadishu nor was I in search of any pirates. I had been told that it was safe to visit and quite interesting. As I wanted to visit Harar in the east of Ethiopia, I decided it wasn't that much more of an effort to get to Somaliland. From Jijiga, we got a minibus to the border town of Wajaale. There, we completed the formalities on the Ethiopian side, had our bags checked not-that-thoroughly and walked through the rope across the street that formed the border and into Somaliland. We got stamped in and had some camel for breakfast. We ... read more
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Africa » Somalia » Somaliland » Hargeisa December 27th 2011

You live in Somalia where law and order is collapsing around you, a country where warlords and terrorists preach hate against your moderate values and beliefs. A country consumed by war and piracy in which you want no part, a country failing to provide the basic services that you need. Crippled by corruption and poverty, you look for a way out, a distant land rising from the rubble, a shining light amidst the political darkness, a glimmer of hope in the horn of Africa. That future is Somaliland. Mogadishu is the corrupt capital for the failed state of Somalia, a place where pirates and terrorists rule. The Fund for Peace has ranked Somalia number one according to its ‘Failed States Index’. Yet to the north, the breakaway region of Somaliland is stable and at peace. Un-recognized ... read more
My Bodyguard
Cattle Market
Somali Child




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