Pay attention that the Somali visa is not valid
to enter Somaliland and vice versa. Even for Puntland
you need a third different visa.
If you enter Somaliland by land (from Djibouti,
Ethiopia or Puntland), you'll need to get a visa
in advance. The best bet is in Addis Ababa (read
the story) but it seems in London there's
a Somaliland embassy as well.
In Addis Ababa you need:
· nr1 photo
· passport (at least 6 months validity
and I'd avoid having an Israeli stamp)
you will get the visa in 1hr
The embassy in Addis Ababa is not easy to be spotted
(a post from TT by Bearet):
"I had difficulty finding the Somaliland
embassy in Addis so I'm posting details here.
It's probably best to call them first at 0116635921
to make sure the ambassador who can sign off on
the visa will be present. Otherwise normal hours
are weekdays 9 am to 3:30 pm.
Take any Bole Road minibus and get off at Saay
Pastry. Just before Saay is the Zola Cafe and
you want to walk down that adjacent side street.
The embassy is on the 8th alley off to the left,
after the Mozambique embassy and before the Madagascar
embassy. (It would have been more appropriate
if the Comoros islands embassy was located there!)
In the alley, the second door on the right side
is marked with a small sticker of a Somaliland
flag. The staff are very nice and will issue you
the visa on the spot. Bring one photo, passport,
and 350 birr or US$40. Visa good for one month,
and the ambassador encourages any and all to visit
I add to pay attention to the old version of LP
(2nd ed, Nov 2003) where in the Addis Ababa map,
the position of the Somaliland Embassy is wrong,
while in the 2007 edition it has corrected.
If you fly to Hargeisa (there are
flights from Djibouti and Addis Ababa (stopover
in Dire Dawa)), it seems you can get a visa on arrival
at the airport.
Somaliland has it own currency, the
Somaliland Shilling; in Oct 2007 the change rate was:
1 USD= 6000 SSL.
Take into account that the max note is 500 SSL, so
if you change 100 USD you'll get 1200 voluminous notes!
You can pay also in USD, but the change will be in
SSL, anyway in Hargeisa there's no lack of moneychangers.
Try to have as much 1USD notes as you can, they'll
turn out useful
I had the usual vaccinations: Ephatite
A, B, Typhus, Tetanus, Meningitis and I took Lariam
prophylaxis against malaria. If you are heading to
Djibouti take into account the yellow fever certificate
I hadn't any problem with the food or the drink, anyway
I never drank tap water.
Keep in mind in Somaliland there's no Djibouti embassy.
So if you want to do the two days overland form Hargeisa
to Djibouti you need to get the visa in advance in
Addis Ababa (it seems you need a letter of introduction
from your embassy) or in Dire Dawa (here you don't
need such letter).
Otherwise you have to fly to Djibouti getting the
visa at the airport.
If you are in Hargeisa and you need an Ethiopian
visa in one day, the procedure is to:
· go at the Ethiopian embassy at 6.30 am
· register in the queuing list
· go to the Ministry of the Foreign Affairs
(500m from the embassy) and ask for a letter of introduction
(30min for free)
· come back to the embassy, apply for the visa
and get it (20$)
Guide and info
The best source of info I found to be the Somaliland
section of the Africa 2007 Lonely Planet; not many
pages but fresh updated info. Then it comes the TT
forum and in particular this
post by Kanding
Somaliland stamps don't exist, consequently there's
no national post system. Forget sending postcards
to your friends (first of all I didn't see a single
postcard), but Fedex (international delivery company)
operates in the country and it's used by locals.
In Hargeisa there are some internet points (1$/h),
but besides being slow like the hell, the line drops
quite often, in particular when it rains; save frequently
Market in Hargeisa
Somaliland economy is based mainly on the trading
from Dubai (via Yemen) and China, so whatever you
need you are likely to find it in the market in Hargeisa.
At the time of travelling (oct2007) an escort to travel
outside Hargeisa was mandatory. You don't need it
if coming from the Ethiopian border (Wajiga) or going
northward to Djibouti but it will be hard to pass
the 5 checkpoints to reach Berbera without it. It
should cost around 20-30$/day and in the Somaliland.
To get the escort or go to the Ministry of Tourism
in Hargeisa and ask for the Director of Tourism.
If you really want to go off-of-the-beaten-track from
Berbera you can go to Burcao (3h by shared taxi from
Berbera), there's nothing to see there, but you'll
feel a kinda pioneer.