Somalia 10 places worth your holiday

by Alice

Somalia, located in the Horn of Africa, is a country rich in history, culture, and natural beauty. Despite the challenges it has faced over the years, Somalia offers a plethora of unique and captivating destinations that are worth exploring. From pristine beaches to historical landmarks, here are ten places in Somalia that should be on your holiday itinerary.

1. Mogadishu: The Pearl of the Indian Ocean

Mogadishu, the capital and largest city of Somalia, is often referred to as the Pearl of the Indian Ocean. With a history that spans over a thousand years, this bustling metropolis offers a fascinating blend of ancient and modern attractions.


Historical Landmarks

One of the city’s most significant landmarks is the Mogadishu Cathedral, built by Italian colonists in the 1920s. Though damaged during the civil war, efforts are ongoing to restore this magnificent structure to its former glory. Another notable site is the Arba Rucun Mosque, one of the oldest mosques in the city, dating back to the 13th century.


Beautiful Beaches

Mogadishu is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in Africa. Lido Beach, with its white sands and clear turquoise waters, is a popular spot for both locals and tourists. Here, you can relax under the sun, swim, or enjoy fresh seafood from nearby restaurants.


Cultural Experiences

For a taste of local culture, visit the Bakara Market, one of the largest and busiest markets in East Africa. This vibrant marketplace offers everything from fresh produce and spices to handmade crafts and textiles. It’s a perfect place to immerse yourself in the local way of life.

2. Hargeisa: The Cultural Capital

Hargeisa, the capital of the self-declared Republic of Somaliland, is known for its rich cultural heritage and vibrant arts scene. This city provides a more relaxed and safe environment for travelers compared to other parts of Somalia.

Laas Geel Cave Paintings

One of the most remarkable attractions near Hargeisa is the Laas Geel cave paintings. Discovered in 2002, these prehistoric rock art sites feature some of the oldest and best-preserved cave paintings in Africa, dating back over 5,000 years. The vibrant depictions of animals and humans offer a glimpse into the lives of ancient communities.

Livestock Market

Hargeisa’s livestock market is one of the largest in the region and a vital part of the local economy. Visiting the market is an unforgettable experience where you can see camels, cattle, and goats being traded. It’s a lively scene that highlights the importance of livestock in Somali culture.

Cultural Centers

The Hargeisa Cultural Centre is a hub for arts and culture in the city. It hosts regular events, including exhibitions, poetry readings, and traditional music performances. This is an excellent place to learn about the artistic heritage of Somaliland.

3. Berbera: A Historic Port City

Berbera, located on the Gulf of Aden, is one of Somalia’s most important port cities. Its strategic location has made it a significant trading hub for centuries.

Historic Architecture

Berbera is known for its unique architecture, which reflects its long history of trade with different cultures. The Old Town is filled with Ottoman-era buildings, many of which are still standing. These structures provide a fascinating insight into the city’s past.

Marine Life

The waters around Berbera are teeming with marine life, making it a fantastic destination for diving and snorkeling. The coral reefs are home to a variety of fish species, sea turtles, and even dolphins. The pristine beaches and clear waters offer an ideal setting for underwater exploration.

Sheikh Mountain

For nature lovers, a trip to the nearby Sheikh Mountain is a must. The mountain offers stunning views of the surrounding landscape and is home to a variety of wildlife. Hiking trails lead you through lush greenery and offer a chance to see unique flora and fauna.

4. Laasqoray: A Secluded Gem

Laasqoray, also known as Las Khorey, is a secluded coastal town in the northeastern part of Somalia. It is known for its stunning natural beauty and historical significance.

Ancient Ruins

The town is home to several ancient ruins, including the remains of a medieval mosque and a fort. These structures provide a glimpse into the town’s rich history and its role as a trading post.

Pristine Beaches

Laasqoray’s beaches are some of the most beautiful and untouched in Somalia. The clear blue waters and soft sandy shores offer a perfect setting for relaxation and swimming. The town’s remote location means that you can enjoy the beaches without the crowds.

Dhow Building

Laasqoray has a long tradition of dhow building. Dhows are traditional wooden sailing vessels that have been used for centuries along the East African coast. Visiting a dhow-building yard offers a unique insight into this ancient craft.

5. Kismayo: The Gateway to the Jubba River

Kismayo, located in the southern part of Somalia, is a major port city and the capital of the Lower Jubba region. The city is known for its strategic location and diverse attractions.

Kismayo Beach

Kismayo Beach is a beautiful and serene location perfect for unwinding. The long stretch of sandy beach and the gentle waves make it an ideal spot for swimming and picnicking. The beach is also a great place to watch the sunset.

Jubba River

The Jubba River, one of the longest rivers in Somalia, flows near Kismayo. The river is an essential water source for the region and offers opportunities for boat trips and fishing. Exploring the river by boat allows you to see the diverse ecosystems and wildlife along its banks.

Kismayo National Park

Kismayo National Park is home to a variety of wildlife, including elephants, giraffes, and numerous bird species. The park offers safari tours that provide a chance to see these animals in their natural habitat. It’s a great destination for nature enthusiasts and photographers.

6. Bosaso: The Commercial Hub

Bosaso, located in the northeastern part of Somalia, is the main port city of the Puntland region. It is a bustling commercial hub with a vibrant atmosphere.

Bosaso Beach

Bosaso Beach is a popular destination for both locals and visitors. The beach’s clear waters and soft sands make it a perfect spot for swimming and sunbathing. The waterfront is lined with restaurants and cafes where you can enjoy fresh seafood and local dishes.

Mountains of Bosaso

The mountains surrounding Bosaso offer breathtaking views and excellent hiking opportunities. The Golis Mountains, in particular, are known for their rugged beauty and diverse flora and fauna. Hiking trails lead you through scenic landscapes and provide stunning vistas of the city and coastline.

7. Bardera: A Historical Oasis

Bardera, situated on the Jubba River, is one of Somalia’s oldest cities. Known for its rich history and fertile lands, Bardera is often referred to as an oasis in the heart of Somalia.

Historical Sites

Bardera is home to several historical sites, including ancient tombs and ruins that date back centuries. These sites offer a glimpse into the city’s past and its role as a center of Islamic learning and trade.

Agricultural Lands

The fertile lands around Bardera are ideal for agriculture, and the city is known for its production of fruits and vegetables. Visiting local farms provides insight into traditional farming practices and the importance of agriculture to the local economy.

Jubba River

The Jubba River plays a crucial role in the life of Bardera. The river not only supports agriculture but also offers opportunities for boating and fishing. Exploring the river and its surroundings allows you to experience the natural beauty of the region.

8. Zeila: The Ancient Port City

Zeila, located in the northwestern part of Somalia, is an ancient port city with a rich history. Once a major center of trade and Islamic culture, Zeila offers a wealth of historical and cultural attractions.

Historic Buildings

Zeila is home to several historic buildings, including mosques, tombs, and ruins from its time as a bustling port. The Old Town is filled with structures that reflect the city’s diverse cultural influences, from Arab to Ottoman to Ethiopian.

Mangroves and Wildlife

The coastal area around Zeila is known for its mangrove forests and diverse wildlife. The mangroves provide a habitat for numerous bird species and marine life. Exploring these areas by boat is a great way to see the natural beauty and biodiversity of the region.

Beaches and Coral Reefs

Zeila’s beaches are pristine and less crowded than those in other parts of Somalia. The clear waters and coral reefs make it a perfect destination for snorkeling and diving. The underwater life around Zeila is vibrant and diverse, offering a unique experience for marine enthusiasts.

9. Galkayo: The City of Resilience

Galkayo, located in central Somalia, is known for its resilience and vibrant community. The city has overcome numerous challenges and continues to thrive as a center of commerce and culture.

Cultural Festivals

Galkayo hosts several cultural festivals throughout the year, celebrating Somali heritage and traditions. These festivals feature traditional music, dance, and poetry, providing a rich cultural experience for visitors.

Local Markets

The markets in Galkayo are bustling with activity and offer a wide range of goods, from fresh produce to handmade crafts. Visiting these markets gives you a taste of the local lifestyle and an opportunity to buy unique souvenirs.

Galkayo Lake

Galkayo Lake is a popular recreational spot for locals. The lake offers opportunities for fishing, boating, and picnicking. It’s a peaceful place to relax and enjoy the natural surroundings.

10. Lamu Island: A Slice of Paradise

Though technically part of Kenya, Lamu Island is culturally and historically connected to Somalia. The island offers a tranquil retreat with its beautiful beaches and rich heritage.

Lamu Old Town

Lamu Old Town is a UNESCO World Heritage site known for its well-preserved Swahili architecture. The narrow streets, historic buildings, and bustling markets provide a charming and immersive experience.

Beaches and Water Sports

The beaches on Lamu Island are stunning and offer a variety of water sports, including snorkeling, diving, and sailing. The clear waters and vibrant marine life make it a perfect destination for beach lovers.

Cultural Festivals

Lamu is known for its vibrant cultural festivals, such as the Lamu Cultural Festival and the Maulidi Festival. These events celebrate the island’s rich heritage and feature traditional music, dance, and poetry.

Swahili Cuisine

Lamu Island offers a unique culinary experience with its blend of Swahili and Somali cuisine. The local dishes, often featuring fresh seafood and aromatic spices, are a treat for the taste buds. Dining in one of the island’s many restaurants is a delightful experience.


Somalia, with its diverse landscapes, rich history, and vibrant culture, offers a unique travel experience that is both rewarding and unforgettable. From the bustling streets of Mogadishu to the serene beaches of Lamu Island, each destination has its own charm and story to tell. While Somalia is still emerging as a tourist destination, those who venture to explore its treasures will find a country full of warmth, hospitality, and untapped beauty. Whether you are a history buff, nature lover, or simply looking for a new adventure, Somalia’s top destinations are sure to leave a lasting impression.



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