Best time to visit Somaliland

Somaliland is not a summer vacation hotspot – temperatures soar and sizzle from May to September, making travel now all but impossible.
With its hot, dry climate getting hotter and drier in the summer, Somaliland is not a year-round destination. The best time to visit is from October or November through to March, when temperatures reach the high 20°Cs, but can drop as low as 12°C in December and January. The coast is hottest, hitting 45°C in June, July and August and the desert wind whipping up dust, but altitude helps pull down temperatures in other parts of Somaliland. Hargeisa, at 1,300m above sea level, can have cold nights of 5°C from November through to February and March. May to September is the hottest season and travel is difficult now.

Hargeisa Weather Chart

 
MIN °C
MAX °C
RAIN (mm)
JAN
12
24
2
FEB
13
27
7
MAR
15
29
30
APR
17
29
65
MAY
18
31
60
JUN
18
31
35
JUL
17
29
50
AUG
17
29
65
SEP
17
31
65
OCT
15
28
20
NOV
13
26
7
DEC
12
24
2

Things to do in Somaliland

Things to do in Somaliland…

Join a small group or tailor made tour. There’s virtually no tourism in Somaliland and traveling independently is almost impossible. Joining an organised trip is essential, and will include accommodation, a knowledgeable guide who can act as interpreter and a vehicle with a driver who can find remote sites. You will also be accompanied by a so-called Special Protection Unit form the Somaliland police, although according to Jim O’Brien, owner of specialist travel company Native Eye, who knows Somaliland, “this normally consists of an old guy with a rusty rifle…” Resourceful, proud and determined, the people of Somaliland make a visit here truly memorable, so make sure you spend time with them. Despite living in a tough part of the world, with a harsh, dry climate, in a country that is held back from international recognition by an undeserved association with Somalia, the people of Somaliland are friendly, exuberant and legendary for their hospitality. Combine with other countries. Somaliland sits within the Horn of Africa, with Djibouti, Ethiopia and Eritrea. If you’ve made it here – which very few people do – it makes sense to combine Somaliland with its neighbours. Tours of two weeks will introduce you to the capital city and spectacular landscapes of Djibouti; to the hot springs, crater lakes, salt mines and Afar people of Ethiopia’s Danakil Depression; and to the cave art and historic coast of Somaliland.

Things not to do in Somaliland…

Confuse Somaliland with Somalia – they are not the same. Somaliland is an independent state, with its own government, army and currency. Despite 20 years of de facto independence, it is still not recognised by the rest of the world, and is frequently lumped in with travel advice applying to its troubled, chaotic neighbour Somalia. This can make it seem like a no-go area, but it’s not, and a specialist travel company with a good local team can operate tours safely in this region. Wear revealing clothes. Islam is the state religion of Somaliland and Sharia law is in place. Although it’s not compulsory for women to cover their heads, it will cause offence if they don’t, with local people too polite to speak out. It’s important to cover arms and legs, too, with shorts for men frowned upon. As you’d expect from a Muslim country, alcohol is not available and it’s illegal to bring it in. Forget to pack a sense of adventure. Somaliland rewards the intrepid traveler with ancient cave art, historic ports, lush mountains and a thriving capital. Western culture has yet to make any impression and there is almost no tourist industry, so don’t expect slick service, but you can rely on a warm welcome from its proud, resourceful people.

Our top Somaliland Vacation

Somaliland tours

Somaliland tours

The Ultimate Somaliland 4 Days Highlight Tour.

From US $800 to US $1200 4 days ex flights
Tailor made:
This trip can be tailor made throughout the year to suit your requirements
Helpdesk
Hello. If you'd like to chat about Somaliland or need help finding a vacation to suit you we're very happy to help. Rosy & team.

Somaliland travel advice

Official advice

The British Government currently advises its citizens against all travel to Somaliland and Somalia (check your own national government’s advice if not a UK citizen). This advice does not take into account the fact that Somaliland is an independently governed republic, with a very different political climate and attitude to foreign visitors to that of Somalia. Tour operators who run trips here monitor the official advice and seek advice from their on the ground contacts, too. It is generally considered safe to travel here, but you will need to take out specialist insurance. An insurer specialising in adventure travel, such as Campbell Irvine, can help.
How to think about Somaliland

How to think about Somaliland

Jim O’Brien, from our specialist supplier Native Eye, has this travel advice:
“Somaliland really needs to be treated as a separate country from Somalia proper. It declared independence in 1991 and has escaped the ravages that have been visited on its larger neighbour. With the exception of the far east of the country – which can still be a little precarious – it’s a safe and friendly place to visit. Sadly, for political reasons its independence isn’t recognised globally, so it still gets lumped in with Somalia, which we think is rather unfair.”
Choosing Somaliland

Advice on choosing Somaliland

“It’s probably not a country for first time visitors to Africa. The infrastructure, although improving, is far from perfect, and you have to expect a few ‘bumps in the road’ when traveling here. However, for those who are looking to increase their knowledge of the continent and are prepared to withstand a less than polished experience, it’s very rewarding.”
The welcome you can expect

The welcome you can expect

“People here are exceptionally friendly and as a Westerner you can expect to be treated very well, by people who see your visit as recognition of their independence and sovereignty.”
Best time to visit

Best time to visit

Aled Evans, from our specialist travel company Undiscovered Destinations, has this Somaliland advice:
“Generally speaking, the best time to visit is between October / November and March, when the temperature will be hot (mid 20s usually) but not uncomfortably so. The hottest season is from May to September and travel can be difficult during this time with temperatures in the 30s.”
Safety advice
“Somaliland is a self-declared state and an autonomous region of Somalia. Although not internationally recognised, Somaliland has a working political system, government institutions, a police force and its own currency. It feels very welcoming and relaxed and as a tourist you will be a source of intrigue to the locals, who are very polite.”
Food tips

Food tips

“The food is not very exciting to be honest! A mixture of rice, pasta (the Italian influence) and flat breads served with vegetables and sometimes spiced meats.”
what to expect

What to expect

“Somaliland does not have many ‘stand out’ tourist sites as such. As one of our clients said ‘Go for the incredible array of colourful prehistoric rock art, for the lively camel and sheep sale, and to witness the emergence of this poor but proud breakaway republic.”
Written by Joanna Simmons
Photo credits: [Page banner: YoTuT] [Barren landscape: YoTuT] [Tourist with locals : joepyrek] [Women - covered up : Oxfam East Africa] [Somaliland man : Oxfam East Africa] [sunset in village : YoTuT] [smiling children : Joepyrek] [beach sunset: YoTuT] [Armed guard: YoTuT] [Somali food: adar saqadhi] [Camel market: joepyrek]
Convert currencies