Tourism Related Information in Somaliland
The land of the Republic of Somaliland is historically regarded as a home and residence to one of the earliest civilizations in the Horn of Africa. The most important feature showing the olden history is thought to be the Neolithic cave paintings of Laas-Geel dating 5,000 years before this was discovered by French Archaeologists in 2002. The country is rich of tourism resources, and as categorized by the Tourism Department, it comprises of Eco-Tourism, Religious Tourism, Archaeological Tourism, Health Tourism Products, and Historic & Ancient settlements. There are nearly 200 tourism sites registered by the Tourism Department within all the regions. Although, this sector is very underdeveloped, lacks investment for further exploration, development, conservation, marketing, preservation and legal framework as well, yet, there is gradual increase of the Somaliland Diaspora tourists, and foreign nationals’ year after the other particularly visiting more on the rock arts, historic sites, and the stunning tourist-liked sites including along the coast of Saaxil and Sanaag regions.
Procedure and Relevant Service Fees on Tourism:
- Get Permission Letter with $10 or $15 and $25 for nationals and foreigners respectively from the Tourism Department. The letter is addressed to the Regional Authorities, Police Commanders, Immigration Offices and the Regional Tourism Coordinators for the security concerns, and cooperation with them. This is particularly made for the foreign visitors, but there is no any restriction against the Somaliland nationals going out for the tours;
- The Tourism Department charges foreigners $25 for Laasgeel site visit, and $10 to $15 for all the other sites in Somaliland;
- Request Police escorts from the SPU/RRU to follow the visitors (If they are foreigners) to the sites outside the cities for security precautions. The standard escort allowance is $25 for one escort. Only one solider is necessary for the one-vehicle transport, and can be 2-3 policemen depending on the number of visitors. Without the police on board, visitors with foreign nationals cannot exit the major cities;
- Service fee (Transportation) for the Tour Operator ranges from $100 to $175 per day depending on the distances of the destination sites within the regions and outside the Capital City, Hargeisa;
- Accommodation cost per visitor per night ranges from $15 to $85 including depending on the locations and at the hotels recommended by the Tour Operator/Guide and including breakfast/dinner for some of them;
- Service fee for the Tour Guide is $30 to $50 per day depending on the distances of the chosen destination sites (Sometimes the Tour Operator is also the Tour Guide for the visitors, and sometimes they are different);
- If sea tour is included in the plan, then there is additional cost of $80 to $100 per visitor, and if group of visitors, for instance two or more persons, this may go down to the minimum cost $25 per person (For both nationals and foreigners). At Maansoor Berbera, visitors of nationals and foreigners are charged $50 per person, and $150 to more than one group visitors touring the sea, and diving;
- For camping tours, there should be tents or sleeping bags, mosquito nets, meals, etc for the night out stay.
The Ministry of Trade Industry & Tourism is responsible for the tourism management, and there are several privately owned Tour Operators including Somaliland Travel Agency. These Agencies, and the alike Tour Operators can sponsor the foreign visitors in the process of obtaining visas, and they can facilitate all the other processes in cooperation with the Immigration Department, Tourism Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, other line Ministries, and Security Forces as well.
Important Instructions to the National and Foreign Tourists:
- Don’t take photos of public and security service related offices without permission;
- You cannot do mining or digging of the land for minerals without holding prospect license;
- Neither foreigner or citizen of Somaliland can travel with carrying gemstones, other minerals or previous items without passing legal procedure, and holding official authorizing documents for such deal;
- Make sure to register any previous stones or other minerals at the first Immigration Office on your arrival to Somaliland, and if don’t, you will be forced to leave anything of these at the Airport or the other Immigration Exit of Somaliland.
- Somaliland Forestry and Wildlife Conservation Law – No. 69/2015 prevents hunting , seizing, harming and killing any kind of Somaliland wildlife, and no hunting license can be issued;
- Neither nationals of Somaliland or foreigners are allowed to hunt, whether it is seizing, shooting, trapping, collecting eggs, bones, skin, wings and any part of the wildlife body’s and any part trading, or commission on such business;
- Foreigners interested to visit Somaliland for hunting purposes will not be granted entry visas to Somaliland, hunting permit, and security service at all;
- No alien species of wildlife can be imported to Somaliland and no kind of Somaliland native species of wildlife can be exported to abroad;
- Only Somaliland president can give as present maximum of two species of Somaliland wildlife that is not eliminating and those native and available only in Somaliland;
- A harmful animal can be shot and killed with the acceptance of the Ministry of Environment & Rural Development.
Tourism Program and Packages for Somaliland Diaspora:
The Somaliland Diaspora Agency in collaboration with the Ministry of Trade, Industry & Tourism has prepared affordable packages for the Somalilanders from the Diaspora who is coming home for their vacations or visits to go tours to the liked and the most visited sites as well as the regions of the country, and not limited but includes the following:-
- Laasgeel Package,
- Ga’an-libah Package,
- Gabiley and Dhagax-kurre Package,
- Bulahar Package
- Borama and Awdal Oogo Package,
- Zeila and Sa’adadin Package,
- Berbera Package.
- Guban East Package (Coastline between Sahil and Sanaag regions)
- Sheikh and Wagar Package,
- Burao and Togdheer Package,
- Las’anod, Taleh and Sool Package,
- Sanaag, Erigavo and Daallo Package.
And there are other packages as well both for day-returns tours, overnights, camping, several days or a week lasting packages particularly more within the eastern regions of Somaliland accompanied with professional tour guides.