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The last frontier of traveling? Perhaps, but in reality it’s really not that daring – that’s not to say, however, that Somalia isn’t a great place to go if you’re trying to get off that well trodden path because after you set one foot in the horn of Africa you’ll instantly have 99% of other travelers trumped in the ‘where’s the coolest place you’ve ever been’ conversation the next time you sit round the campfire!

Safety in Somaliland

How do you get a visa for Somalia? Good question. And the answer is refreshingly easy. Presumably if you’re paying a visit to Somalia:

a) you’ll be in Africa before you enter

b) you plan to visit Somaliland (and not Somalia proper)

OK, there are 3 Somaliland representations (read: embassies) in the world – one in England, one in America and one in Ethiopia. I presume that if you’re heading to Somaliland then you’re in Africa already and you’ll be going to Somaliland via Ethiopia by land so here’s the deal:

  • When in Addis, go to the Somaliland ‘embassy’ (note: NOT the Somali embassy)
  • Pay your $40 and wait for the boss to stamp your paper (normally within 1 hour)
  • Collect your passport the same day
  • Get the bus from Merkata Market bus station to Harar ($6 – 12hours)
  • I’d recommend spending a couple of days here, check out the crazy hyena pics:
  • Get the bus from Harar -> Jijiga ($2 – 2 hours)
  • Get a bus from Jijiga -> Wajeela ($2 – 2 hours) (the Ethiopia/Somali border)
  • Stamp out of Ethiopia in the Mao building, walk across the border and stamp into Somaliland
  • Get a bus/taxi to Haeigeshia from the border ($4/$30 – 2 hours)

Find the nearest internet café, change your facebook status to something involving you being in Somalia and watch the notifications roll in!

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9 thoughts on “Backpacking in Somalia – How To Get There

  1. How long time did you spend in Ethiopia and Somaliland in all? I’m going to Ethiopia for a month, and I’d love to go to Somaliland as well.

  2. I met a guy in Harar who was doing this too. He seemed to suggest you can also get a visa in Dire Dawa these days (though I have no proof whether he did or not). I was in Harar last week, but didnt even know there was a proper bus from Addis Ababa to Harar. It was all abit crazy. I met a guy in the petrol station who asked me if I wanted to get on a mini-bus that night to Harar so I said yes. The minibus was a DEATH bus. Bounced up and down the whole way, killed a cow, almost went off a cliff edge, broke down for a few hours and even had a smashed windscreen. The entire time I was hemmed into the corner in an overcrowded minibus. Found out later it was illegal! Now if I’d know there was a bus…please don’t tell me you even had your own seat and leg room on the bus? Anyway great advice for Somaliland here Johnny! Safe travels.

    1. hey ron, yeah it’s definitely safe mate but you can’t do it in one stint. I’d stop over in Harar for a couple of days, the journey from start to finish will take 2 full days, no night buses. But like I say a break in harar works out nicely =)

  3. Its WAY better to take a bus from Bole Mikael directly to Jijiga OR an even more comfy way is taking Sky Bus to Jijiga or first to Harar and then Jijiga. The Bus is soo nice with air conditioning, snacks and movies. For a few bir more than the merkato busses, I find it a GREAT bargain, especailly for a long hot bus ride like this one. Tickets are sold at Taitu Hotel in Piassa.

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