Somalia, Africa - Stein Travel
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Even before its current state of anarchy, Somalia was not somewhere people were rushing to visit. The terrain is mostly desert, the climate uniformly hot and rainfall irregular at best. Now however, it is completely off-limits, not only to travellers, but hardy NGO workers, soldiers and gung-ho backpackers as well.

In fact, given the almost total disorder prevailing here, the complete absence of government, and frequency of ambushes, murders, kidnappings and intermittent faction fighting, this is the one country on earth travellers should leave off their itineraries. Not even Chuck Norris would visit.

The capital, Mogadishu, has the distinction of being the most lawless city on earth. Its former colonial edifices are now reduced to pockmarked husks, its busy streets devoid of activity, and its tormented, famously industrious people engaging in only the most rudimentary commerce. On the plus side, Mogadishu is the only place in the country with reliable Internet access.

Since 1991 Somalia has effectively been divided into three separate states: Somalia to the south, the independent state of Somaliland in the middle, and Puntland to the north. Of the three, Somaliland is the only destination with a proper administration and some sense of peace and stability.

Somalia has recently achieved notoriety by hosting the single biggest upsurge in piracy since Blackbeard learnt to sail. Centred on the remote port of Eyl, the Somalia pirates are a law unto themselves, hijacking ships for ransom and governing their region with total impunity.

One day peace will come to this tragic part of the world. When it does, tourists will experience the thrill of a virtually undiscovered destination. There are 3,000km (1,864 miles) of beaches, fabulous corals and mountains to see; world-class Neolithic rock paintings and astounding scuba diving at Las Geel; plus the unique Somali culture with its warm welcome and tasty food.

Information & Facts


Somalia practises very strict and conservative cultural traditions. As a predominantly Islamic country, it is not permissible to photograph women, policemen, or any military building or personnel. Avoid religious debates and respect Islamic traditions such as the call to prayer, and fasting during Ramadan. Alcohol is prohibited in Somalia. Always dress conservatively: men should wear long pants, and women should keep their arms and leg covered. Homosexuality is punishable by death. In greeting, only members of the same clan exchange handshakes or kisses.

Duty Free

Visitors to Somalia may import up to 400 cigarettes/40 cigars/400g tobacco, one bottle of wine or spirits, and a reasonable quantity of perfume for personal use.

Passport Visa

Upon arrival all visitors over 18 years of age must exchange USD 100 or equivalent of other freely convertible foreign currencies into local currency. It is highly recommended that passports have at least six months validity remaining after your intended date of departure from your travel destination. Immigration officials often apply different rules to those stated by travel agents and official sources.

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