Somalia Quick Guide

A Somalian travel guide is an essential resource for anyone who plans to visit this African nation. The country, officially called the Federal Republic of Somalia, has a long coastline on the Horn of Africa, bordering several other countries to its south, west, and northwest. It is also bordered by Ethiopia to its northwest, Djibouti to its northwest, the Gulf of Oman to the south, and Kenya in the southwest.

Because of the long coastline, ships can be used to enter the country. This is a major advantage compared to many other countries in sub-Saharan Africa where ocean traffic is limited due to rough weather and rough currents. Because of the country's location, shipping lines now regularly dock in Mogadishu port. There are three seaports in total, with each serving a variety of purposes. With more than a quarter million passengers a year, this port is the world's busiest.

The capital city of Mogadishu is also home to a large number of government buildings and foreign institutions. This is the hallowed grounds where Saleh Bari met with an Italian priest who became the first president of the new country. This is a prime spot for a Somalian travel, because this is where history was made. At this point in time, Mogadishu was mostly rural and farming. Today, it is one of the most developed cities in all of Africa.

Since this is a Muslim country, travelers should be prepared for some cultural gaps. Wear conservative clothes, as this will not only be welcomed but expected. Do not bring Western foods into the country. Rather, purchase food items from vendors on the outskirts of town. You can find a wide variety of cuisine that you will be able to enjoy during your stay.

Another aspect of life in Mogadishu revolves around religion. All non-Muslims living in the country are required to be covered with a head scarf (hijab). It is strictly prohibited for them to take part in public celebrations or events. Even going to school can lead to fines and jail time, so people are far more modest than they used to be. However, this does not mean that all of life is religiously restrictive. There are many places of worship throughout the city and along the coastline.

If you are traveling with children, make sure you separate them from males who are not family members. Family members are exempt from all Muslim laws regarding women. In fact, when traveling with your children you will need to have an arranged marriage, which is usually sponsored by someone within the clan or community. If you get caught doing this, you could face up to ten years in prison. If caught, you could also lose your child.

The language of Somalis is derived from Arabic and is widely spoken throughout the country. Unlike other African countries, English is widely spoken and used as a second language. In addition, Somalis tend to be quite liberal and are accustomed to different cultures. This means that you will not run into any surprise or difficulties once you enter the country.

As you can see, there is not much of a hassle in traveling to Mogadishu. You will not run into any major difficulties or hassles. The one thing that you should consider doing before traveling to this part of Africa is getting an actual plan, which will help you navigate through the country and find all of the best places to visit. This is especially important if you are traveling with an extended family or are traveling as a group.

What vaccinations do I need?

Up to date information for vaccinations before you travel to Somalia are available from the NHS Fit for Travel website.

Is it safe to travel?

Best time to visit?

The best time to visit Somalia is from january until december, when you will have a warm temperature and limited till little rainfall. The highest average temperature in Somalia is 31°C in march and the lowest is 27°C in july.

Do I need a Visa?

You will need a visa for all travel to Somalia, including Somaliland. If you arrive at Mogadishu International Airport, you can get a single entry visa, valid for one month, for US$60 in cash. You may also be required to provide a letter of invitation on arrival in Somalia outlining the purpose of your travel. You can usually get this from your place of work (a hotel booking may also suffice). Without this letter, you could be denied entry.

See which forms you may need for entry into Somalia.

What currency do i need?

The official currency of Somalia is the Somali Shilling (SOS). If you're looking to transfer or spend money in Somalia you can grab amazing Somali Shilling deals via (GBP to SOS).

What about the wildlife?

Wild animals are found in every region. Among the latter are the lion, Sudan cheetah, reticulated giraffe, hamadryas baboon, civet, serval, African bush elephant, bushpig, Soemmerring's gazelle, antelope, ibex, kudu, dik-dik, oribi, reedbuck, Somali wild ass, Grévy's zebra, hyena. Elephants are also found here.

What is the traditional food?

Oromo food? Cad iyo Cano. Cad means Meat and Caano is Milk. This the real meal that you may see every restaurant that is owned by Somalis.

What Languages are spoken?

The most widely spoken languages are Oromo (approximately 20 million speakers), Sidamo (some 3 million speakers), and Hadiyya (more than 1 million speakers) in southern Ethiopia; Somali, the official language of Somalia with about 15 million speakers. You can learn some basic Oromo before you travel to Somalia and really impress the locals!

How much do you tip?

The currency in Somalia is the Somali Shilling (It is customary to leave a tip after having paid the bill, usually of no more than 15 percent of the total price of the meal.).

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Useful Numbers

  • Police: 888
  • Ambulance: 999
  • Fire: 555
  • UK Embassy: -2843854

Time Difference

The GMT time difference is 2 hours

Travel Apps

Grab a travel app or two

Learn Oromo

Learn some Oromo before your trip to Somalia

Somalia Guidebook

Stay informed before, during and after your trip to Somalia by buying a guidebook.