by Philip Briggs


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 A note on this book’s price

There is a reason no other publisher produces a guide to Somaliland: it is not an easy book to produce. The research is extremely challenging, the production is expensive and, because Somaliland is such a niche travel destination, the sales potential is very limited. Unfortunately, the first edition of this book did not recoup its costs. We were left with a difficult decision: increase the retail price to make a second edition possible or admit defeat and allow the guide to go out of print. We don’t like to admit defeat.

This second edition is significantly more expensive than the first edition, but we sincerely hope you’ll understand why that is the case, and feel that the revised price still represents excellent value for such vital and unique information. We are committed to providing high quality travel content at the keenest possible price, and to encouraging and promoting travel to those places ignored by other travel publishers. We believe that Somaliland deserves a travel guide and that travellers there need one – indeed, that a good guidebook is one of the most important items they’ll pack. Furthermore, we have faith that thinking, adventurous travellers will agree with us, and that there is a future on the travel shelves for guides to off-beat places like Somaliland.

If you have any comments on our pricing of this guide, please do drop us a line at using the subject line ‘Somaliland guide’. Many thanks.


About this book

The pioneering first edition of this guidebook was the first dedicated entirely to Somaliland, and this second edition, fully updated and with a foreword by Simon Reeve, continues Bradt's groundbreaking tradition of publishing highly specialist guides to newly emerging destinations. Significantly, this new edition also covers Addis Ababa and eastern Ethiopia - the main gateway into Somaliland. Also included is a detailed historical and archaeological background to a region whose wealth of rock art, ancient burial sites, ruined cities and historical ports stretches back 5,000 years and has links with ancient Egypt and Axum as well as the more recent Ottoman and British empires. Comprehensive birdwatching and wildlife sections include details of where to look for of the region's endemic and near-endemic birds and mammals, while the guide also contains the only proper maps available for the capital Hargeisa and other large towns such as Burao, Berbera and Borama, compiled from scratch using GPS.
Somaliland ranks among the world's most obscure and uncharted travel destinations. It comprises the former colony of British Somaliland, which merged with its Italian namesake to form the Somali Republic upon attaining independence in 1960, but unilaterally seceded from the rest of war-torn Somalia in 1991. Now a peaceful and fully functional self-governing democracy, Somaliland still awaits official recognition by the UN AU and most other such organisations more than quarter of a century later. Yet despite its obscurity, this ancient and largely arid land has much to offer the truly intrepid traveller, and the low-key, low-rise capital Hargeisa Is easily reached by air or overland from neighbouring Ethiopia.
With this unique guide, discover Las Geel, the most alluring rock art site on the Horn of Africa; the charmingly decayed Ottoman port of Berbera, which provides access to some splendid beaches and offshore reefs; the spectacular Daallo Escarpment, swathed in fragrant evergreen forests that support several endemic bird species; and the abandoned city of Maduna, the most impressive of several mediaeval Islamic ruins dotted around the arid interior.

About the author

Guidebook writer and Africa expert Philip Briggs first backpacked through East Africa in 1986. He undertook a pioneering trip to Somaliland in 2011 to research the first edition of the Bradt guide to this fascinating and peaceful but little-known country, which seceded from the rest of war-torn Somalia in 1991, but remains officially unrecognized outside of its own borders. He returned in 2017 to research the second edition of the Bradt guide, which features vastly expanded coverage of facilities in the capital Hargeisa. Philip has written and co-authored more than a dozen Bradt guides to other destinations, among them neighbouring Ethiopia, the only country that has full diplomatic links with Somaliland, and he has contributed to many other books, travel and wildlife magazines.

Reviews Contents


Press reviews

'Briggs' love for Africa, and his deep respect for its people, inform and illuminate the whole experience.'
Travel Africa

'Somaliland appears in a first edition and is the item of choice for anyone planning a visit to the region - including Addis Ababa and Eastern Ethiopia. From visa requirements and how to travel in the region to sights to see and places to stay, this covers one of the world's least-charted travel destinations and provides everything needed to understand the area and its attractions. Most guides list Somaliland as a side attraction to other nearby areas: this dedication to the country as a whole is a 'must' for travelers who want in-depth coverage over generalities, and is a pick for any independent travel library.'
California Bookwatch

'The Somaliland guide book is very good and provides a lot of necessary information about Somaliland. I commend you for this great piece of work and hope you will continue updating it.'
Ali A Awale
Head of the Somaliland Mission UK
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Chapter 1 Background Information
History, Government and politics, Economy, People, Language, Religion, Education, Arts and music
Chapter 2 Natural History
Lay of the land, Mammals, Reptiles and amphibians, Birds, Marine wildlife
Chapter 3 Practical Information
When to visit, Suggested itineraries, Tour operators, Red tape, Getting there and away, Safety, Women travellers, Gay travellers, What to take, Money and budgeting, Getting around, Accommodation, Eating and drinking, Public holidays and weekends, Shopping, Photography, Media and communications, Cultural etiquette and travelling positively
Chapter 4 Health
Preparations, Medical problems

Chapter 5 Hargeisa
History, Getting there and away, Orientation, Getting around, Tourist information and tour operators, Where to stay, Where to eat and drink, Shopping, Other practicalities, What to see and do
Chapter 6 Las Geel and the Berbera Road
Aw-Barkadle, Las Geel, El Sheikh and Bulhar, Ga'an Libah Reserve, Beira Hills, Xabaalo Tumaalood
Chapter 7 Berbera and Surrounds
History, Getting there and away, Getting around, Tourist information, Where to stay, Where to eat and drink, Other practicalities, What to see and do, Around Berbera
Chapter 8 Sheikh and Burao
Sheikh, Burao
Chapter 9 Sanaag
Burao to Erigavo, Erigavo, Daallo Forest, Maydh
Chapter 10 West of Hargeisa
Rock art sites on the Borama road, Tog Wajaale, Borama, Zeila, Giriyad Plains, Looyada
Chapter 11 Overland Routes to Hargeisa From Addis Ababa
Addis Ababa, Dire Dawa, Harar, Jijiga
Appendix 1 Language
Appendix 2 Further Reading