Somaliland - Travel and visas


Visas
Getting there and away
Getting around

Visas    

All visitors to Somaliland require a valid passport, the expiry date of which should be at least six months after you intend to end your travels. A Somaliland visa (emphatically not the same thing as a Somali visa) must also be arranged in advance by all visitors. This is a requirement that is complicated by the fact Somaliland is not yet formally recognised as a country and thus lacks proper diplomatic representation in most parts of the world. A viable option for those flying to Hargeisa is to arrange a visa through a local operator or at the hotel where you will be staying. 

Getting there and away

A handful of major international carriers now fly to Hargeisa Egal International Airport (HGA). FlyDubai and Air Arabia are the best options for connecting flights coming from Europe or North America, while Ethiopian Airlines is a useful option from elsewhere in Africa. Other smaller regional airlines offering direct flights to Hargeisa and/or Berbera (BBO) from the likes of Mogadishu (Somalia), Nairobi (Kenya) and Djibouti City (Djibouti) include Ocean Airlines, African Express, Daallo Airlines, Jubba Airways and the recently relaunched Air Djibouti.

Getting around

Although occasional flights do connect Hargeisa to other towns in Somaliland, the more normal mode of transport is by road. Conditions are variable. The main road from Borama via Hargeisa, Berbera, Sheikh, Burao and Oog (the Garoowe border post with Somalia) is surfaced and can easily be covered in any sedan car. All other roads, including the ones from Borama to Zeila, and Oog to Maydh via Erigavo, are unsurfaced and too rough to risk without a 4x4. There are no buses in Somaliland, but foreigners are usually permitted to use the inexpensive but jam-packed shared taxis that run along the stretch of road from Borama to Burao, via Hargeisa and Berbera, and also to travel in the 4x4s that connect Hargeisa and Burao to Zeila and the Djibouti border. Other parts of the country may only be visited in a 4x4 with a local driver, which can be rented through one of the agencies listed under Hargeisa.

From what we know, self-drive car rental is not an option in Somaliland. It could be that overlanders with their own vehicle are permitted to drive themselves with SPU protection, but we have never heard from anybody who has done this.

Back to the top

Somaliland articles

View all

Five reasons to visit Somaliland

Somaliland is a unique, strange and intriguing place that is seemingly worlds away from its Somali neighbours. 

Read more...

The world’s best markets

From Uruguay to Uzbekistan, these are some of the best markets you'll find around the world.

Read more...

Rock on

Africa has some magnificent centuries-old rock art – how many have you visited?

Read more...

Related guides and other books

View all