Things You Should Know Before Visiting Somalia

It is the season of mass migration also referred to as the ‘Japa season’. A lot of people are really leaving Nigeria to seek greener pastures. No one will blame them for taking this decision. The educational situation of the country is deteriorating, the level of insecurity is quite alarming, and the economy is nothing to write home about.

You can also choose to travel to various countries that are visa free or that allow visa on arrival. There are about 48 countries you can consider. You can consider Haiti, Mauritius, Mauritania, Niue, Benin Republic, Senegal, Sierra Leone, and Somalia, among others.

If you are considering traveling to Somalia, it might not be the right decision for various reasons, with terrorism topping the list. However, below are things you should know about Somalia before making your decision.

1. Geographical Location

Somalia is an African country located in the eastern part of Africa, also referred to as the Horn of Africa. This country shares its borders with Ethiopia on the west, Djibouti to the northwest, the Gulf of Aden to the north, the Indian Ocean to the east; and Kenya to the southwest.

The capital of this country is called Mogadishu and is located in the northern part of the country along the Indian Ocean. This country has more than 25 main cities filled with both foreigners and citizens of the country.

2. Population

According to worldometers.info, as of September 17, 2022, Somalia has about 16,941,837 people. This country ranks at number 73 in the list of countries by population. As of 2015, foreigners only dominated 0.23% of the population.

3. The People

The citizens of Somalia are usually referred to as Somalis. They are extremely accommodating, hospitable and open. They are divided into more than 500 clans and subclans despite sharing a common language and religion. However, the Somalis constitute the largest ethnic group in Somalia, occupying about 85% of the nation’s population.

4. Languages

The official languages are Somali, Arabic and English. Somali is spoken as the mother tongue spoken by the Somalis. It is written officially in the Latin language and the Arabic language. Arabic is also spoken in Northern Somalia.

5. Religion

Islam is the predominant religion in Somalia. Over 99% of the population practices this religion. They are Sunni Muslims. The remaining 1% is shared by the Christian community, a small Sufi community, and some Shia Muslims.

The constitution that binds this country frowns upon the propagation of any other religion or conversion.

6. Climatic condition

Somalia is one of the countries that has a tropical climate. This country is mainly dry and hot. You must adequately prepare for this hot weather condition before traveling to Somalia. There are two rainy seasons called the Gu and the Dayr. These seasons are usually between April and June, and October and November respectively.

The best time to visit Somalia is during the second winter dry season. This season is usually between January and February and is referred to as Hagaa. During this season, the humidity of the rain subsides and the temperature is usually lower than during the first dry season. The first dry season is referred to as Jilal.

7. Time Zone

Somalia uses the East African time. This makes them two hours ahead of Nigeria. This time zone can easily be adjusted to Nigeria since there is just little difference.

8. Currency

The currency spent in Somalia is called Somali shilling and is abbreviated as SOS.

9. Mode of visa

As a Nigerian, you don’t need a visa to travel to Somalia. All you need is to have a valid passport to travel, and then you can obtain a visa on arrival at ports of entry in Somalia.

Nigerians visiting Somalia can only stay for a duration of one month. To extend your stay, you can visit the Immigration and Emigration office in Somalia.

10. Minimum wage in Somalia

According to minimumwage.org, Somalia does not have a minimum wage. Salaries are agreed upon directly with the employer through negotiation or bargaining.

According to salaryexplorer.com, a person working in Somalia earns around 259,000 SOS monthly. Salaries range from 65,600 SOS to 1,160,000 SOS.

11. Employment

Somalia tops the list of countries with a high unemployment rate, with about 19.87%. Somalia is currently experiencing unemployment due to a lack of job opportunity. Getting a job might be a bit difficult as a foreigner.

12. How to get work permit

To get a work permit in Somalia, you need to contact the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation. You are expected to have your passport and other travel documents ready.

13. Average cost of living

According to numbeo.com, the average cost of living per month for a family of four is estimated to be 716,830.86NGN without rent

A single person spends 205,932.70NGN monthly without rent. The cost of living in Somalia is on average 9.21% higher than in Nigeria. However, rent in Somalia is, on average, is 84.64 lower than in Nigeria.

14. Average travel cost

According to rome2rio.com, the fastest way to travel from Nigeria to Somalia is to fly. This takes about eight hours and costs $550-$2100.

15. Crime rate and security

According to travelsafe-abroad.com, Somalia is a dangerous country to travel to and it is not recommended to travel to. Regular occurrences like civil war, military coups, and border disputes are regular in this country.

It is a dangerous destination for travelers. Other crimes include kidnappings, pickpocketing, muggings, and other types of crimes. It is advisable for foreigners to take proper measures. You need to be security conscious and be careful while traveling or moving within the country.

16. Attractions

According to traveltourist.com, below are the top attractions and places you should visit in Somalia.

Hargeisa

This is one of the most peaceful and non-violent places in Somalia. Hargeisa is a city that is presumed to be an outsider. This means that people assume it is not a part of Somalia, but the self-proclaimed capital of Somaliland- a break-away state that has been running its own government since 1991.

There are scary and horrific monuments to the great struggles associated with Siad Barre’s totalitarian rule in the 90s. The level of law and order found in this place cannot be found in any other country.

Laas Geel

Laas Geel is one of the hotspots in Somalia located between the rusty ridges and hills on the outskirts of Somaliland capital, Hargeisa. It is home to various early cave paintings that have been discovered over the years on the Horn of Africa. Tunnels and various alcoves can be found here, and this displays a raw and haunting vision of prehistory. Laas Geel leaves visitors with history.

Zeila

Zeila also known as Seylac is a town that attracts various adventurous travelers to a north-western corner where the dry and arid land of sand dunes and rocky hills crashes into a beautiful pearly blue of the Aden Gulf. Visitors get to see the ruins of Muslim palaces and old colonial facades.

Zeila also has a coast where rusting ship remains sit beautifully at the shore and the rollers of the Indian Ocean spray whitewash into the air.

Sa’ad ad-Din Island

This is one of the most visited islands out of the six islets in Somaliland. Recently, it has become one of the country’s unique national parks. It has amazing things from sparkling coral reefs to bays of turquoise water, ivory-colored beaches to craggy peaks of sandstone rock.

There are also various schools of fish living under the water where a lot of creatures mix to create a real show of marine life.

Berbera

This is a city that was formerly regarded as afocal point for traders across the Indian Ocean Basin. It has a gorgeous desert-like backcountry, along with the sun-kissed beaches of Batalale and Bathela which are close to the town.

This is one of the places you would love to visit in Somalia as a tourist and also as a resident.

Lang Badana- Bushbush National Park

This is one of the top attractions in Somalia. It is a land with waxy palm trees and fine golden sands where the calm Indian Ocean kisses the shore. It is often mistaken as a veritable paradise.

Lamadaya

Lamadaya is the home of one of the beautiful waterfalls that are an attraction in Somalia. It is located in the northern part of Somalia. It is the largest in the nation and houses one of the area’s rare waterfalls. These waterfalls flow throughout the year.