Top 10 things to do in Somalia

Somalia

One of the least visited nations on earth, this nation is also wrought with political instability, civil war, and rampant kidnapping.

Somalia is a country.

Somalia (/sɵˈmɑːliə/ so-MAH-lee-ə; Somali: Soomaaliya; Arabic: الصومال‎ aṣ-Ṣūmāl), officially the Federal Republic of Somalia (Somali: Jamhuuriyadda Federaalka Soomaaliya, Arabic: جمهورية الصومال الفدرالية‎ Jumhūriyyat aṣ-Ṣūmāl al-Fiderāliyya), is a country located in the Horn of Africa. It is bordered by Ethiopia to the west, Djibouti to the northwest, the Gulf of Aden to the north, the Indian Ocean to the east, and Kenya to the southwest. Somalia has the longest coastline on the continent's mainland, and its terrain consists mainly of plateaus, plains and highlands. Climatically, hot conditions prevail year-round, with periodic monsoon winds and irregular rainfall.

Somalia has a population of around 10 million. Around 85% of residents are ethnic Somalis, who have historically inhabited the northern part of the country. Ethnic minorities make up the remainder and are largely concentrated in the southern regions. The official languages of Somalia are Somali and Arabic, both of which belong to the Afro-Asiatic family. Most people in the country are Muslim, with the majority being Sunni.

In antiquity, Somalia was an important commercial centre, and is among the most probable locations of the fabled ancient Land of Punt. During the Middle Ages, several powerful Somali empires dominated the regional trade, including the Ajuran Empire, the Adal Sultanate, the Warsangali Sultanate, and the Geledi Sultanate. In the late 19th century, through a succession of treaties with these kingdoms, the British and Italians gained control of parts of the coast and established the colonies of British Somaliland and Italian Somaliland. In the interior, Muhammad Abdullah Hassan's Dervish State successfully repelled the British Empire four times and forced it to retreat to the coastal region. The Dervishes were finally defeated in 1920 by British airpower. Italy acquired full control of the northeastern and southern parts of the area after successfully waging the so-called Campaign of the Sultanates against the ruling Majeerteen Sultanate and Sultanate of Hobyo. Italian occupation lasted until 1941, yielding to British military administration. Northern Somalia would remain a protectorate, while southern Somalia became a United Nations Trusteeship in 1949. In 1960, the two regions united to form the independent Somali Republic under a civilian government. Mohamed Siad Barre seized power in 1969 and established the Somali Democratic Republic. In 1991, Barre's government collapsed as the Somali Civil War broke out.

In the absence of a central government, Somalia's residents reverted to local forms of conflict resolution. A few autonomous regions, including the Somaliland, Puntland and Galmudug administrations, emerged in the north in the ensuing process of decentralization. The early 2000s saw the creation of fledgling interim federal administrations. The Transitional National Government (TNG) was established in 2000, followed by the formation of the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) in 2004, which reestablished national institutions such as the military. In 2006, the TFG, assisted by Ethiopian troops, assumed control of most of the nation's southern conflict zones from the newly formed Islamic Courts Union (ICU). The ICU subsequently splintered into more radical groups such as Al-Shabaab, which battled the TFG and its AMISOM allies for control of the region, with the insurgents losing most of the territory that they had seized by mid-2012. In 2011–2012, a political process providing benchmarks for the establishment of permanent democratic institutions was launched. Within this administrative framework a new provisional constitution was passed in August 2012 which reformed Somalia as a federation. Following the end of the TFG's interim mandate the same month, the Federal Government of Somalia, the first permanent central government in the country since the start of the civil war, was formed. The nation has concurrently experienced a period of intense reconstruction, particularly in the capital, Mogadishu. Through the years, Somalia has maintained an informal economy, based mainly on livestock, remittances, and telecommunications.

Overall rating: 4.0
Country
Typical length of visit: 7 days

Top 10 things to do in Somalia

Merca

Merca
Merca is an ancient port city in the southern Lower Shebelle province of Somalia. Facing the Indian Ocean, it is the main town in the province. It is located approximately ...

Mogadishu Cathedral

Mogadishu Cathedral
Mogadishu Cathedral is a Roman Catholic cathedral located in Mogadishu, Somalia. When still operational, it served as the seat of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Mogadiscio. In 2013, the Diocese ...

Beledweyne

Beledweyne
Beledweyne is a city in south-central Somalia. Located in the Beledweyne District, it is the capital of the Hiran province. The town is situated in the Shebelle Valley near the ...

Kismayo

Kismayo
Kismayo is a port city in the southern Lower Juba province of Somalia. It is the commercial capital of the autonomous Jubaland region.The town is situated 328 miles southwest of ...

Mogadishu

Mogadishu
Mogadishu, known locally as Xamar, is the largest city in Somalia and the nation's capital. Located in the coastal Banaadir region on the Indian Ocean, the city has served as ...

Erigavo District

Erigavo District
Erigavo District is a district in the northern Sanaag region of Somalia. Its capital lies at Erigavo. ...

Hargeisa

Hargeisa
Hargeisa is a city in the northwestern Woqooyi Galbeed province of Somalia. It is the second-largest city in the country after Mogadishu, the national capital. Hargeisa serves as the capital ...