Somalia, I am sure many of us have heard and are aware of this African country. It is situated on the Horn of Africa and shares its border with Ethiopia on the west, Djibouti on the north-west and lastly Kenya on its south-west. We all are aware of some common facts about this country like it’s a third world country, people are extremely poor, necessities of life are not available and most importantly law and order situation is extremely worse.
This region has a troubling, complicated history and political situation. Not so long ago, civil war, military coup and border disputes with its neighboring countries were held regularly. Since 2007, the situation has improved a bit after the Ethiopian Army left its borders after defeating an Islamist government.
Currently, Somalia is governed by a coalition government that includes the former Islamist government and people from internationally recognized Transitional Federal Government. Even though now it is ruled by its people we cannot see many positive changes here. Violence and terrorism have been on an increase due to the re-emergence of the Islamist groups and warlords and the government seems to be losing on getting control over them.
To enter Somalia most of the countries do require a visa, it can also be acquired on arrival at Bosaso Airport and it is valid for 30 days. Somali Shilling is the official currency but US dollars are also accepted, travelers are advised to change a small number of dollars into shillings as the currency exchange rate is always fluctuating. It is better to keep cash without instead relying on plastic money as ATM’s are not widespread and mostly found within Somali banks.
If you want to come to Somalia you can find some flights in a week but they are no direct flights. The most preferred time to book flights to Mogadishu is in April and you can find daily flights leaving for Somalia from London, Istanbul and Dubai airports very easily.
As a traveler if we talk about the natural beauty of Somalia, this country is blessed with magnificent landscape from mountains to clear blue countless beaches, ancient historical sites, rich indulging food to engaging local customs and traditions, name it and you can have it here. It has the longest coastline in entire Africa and could easily become the most desirable tourist destination in the world, but with terrorism ruling the country this looks nothing more than daydreaming.
When it comes to the question is it dangerous to travel to Somalia the answer is yes it is quite dangerous to visit this country if you are all on your own, a situation can be less dangerous if you are sent here by your government or working with some international NGOs. For travelers who wish to go there and experience its unexplored beaches and terrains, it is not the right time now.
Keeping in mind the most recent violent history; Somalia is currently the very dangerous destination for travelers who wish to come here. Several countries of the world have advised against in visiting this part of the world for the potential reasons of terrorism, kidnapping and other violent crimes. Visiting Somalia on your own can have serious consequences and you can end up seriously injured or get killed by warlords. It is an economic decision to book a cheap flight to Mogadishu but at the cost of an arm, leg or life I think one should pass it.
There has not been an effective government in Somalia for the last 17 years. So the basic infrastructure and commodities of life are almost at zero levels here. There are no roads in most of the areas and if there is a road it is muddy. There are limited options available to roam around in the city buses and taxis and neither of it save to travel, especially buses that can easily be blocked and people inside are robbed, mugged and even killed if they resist or attackers feel threatened.
Medical Facilities In Somalia:
Health and medical facilities in Somalia are extremely limited even in the big cities like Mogadishu. You cannot have proper medical care if you get severely ill or injured in any terrorist attack. If you have to visit this country take all advised vaccinations before arriving here as there are high chances that you may not get any here. Somalia has a high rate of HIV/AIDS so take extra precautions if you are planning to take part in high-risk activities and if you become the victim of any unfortunate incident like violent crime or get raped get medical help as soon as possible. Cleanliness and hygiene levels are awfully low and food borne, waterborne and other infectious diseases like cholera and hepatitis are very common so drink only boiled or bottled water and avoid eating raw or under cooked food.
High Scams Risk:
Terrorism is not the only that you have to deal with in Somalia you have to be very vigilant to avoid any kind of unfortunate incidents. Some scammers will try to take advantage of travelers, so always double-check your change never settle on the said price negotiate in advance be very careful if you are using an ATM and be wary of anyone who is trying to distract you. Although the police force has established to tackle such crimes due to poverty and high-level corruption it is difficult to control growing street crimes.
Is it safe to travel to Somalia? It is the million-dollar question and comes to every traveler’s mind who has added this country in his or her bucket list. The US State Department and most of the Western nations advise their citizens to avoid all kinds of travel to this war-torn country. This region is still the main operating ground for many terrorist groups who are involved in kidnapping and suicide bombing of the masses.
Their main targets are the places where foreigners are frequent like crowded places, airports, government offices, hotels, restaurants and shopping areas. No one including the aid workers are safe in this country unless you are military, there is no reason for you to be in Somalia.