Kids in Somalia
Pin This
Open Media Gallery

Kids in Somalia

© Creative Commons / Robbert van der Steeg

Somalia Travel Guide

Key Facts
Area

637,657 sq km (246,201 sq miles).

Population

10.3 million (2013).

Population density

16 per sq km.

Capital

Mogadishu.

Government

Somalia gained independence from the UK and Italy in 1960. At the Arta Peace Conference in 2000, an interim parliament was established. The northern part of the country considers itself independent as the Republic of Somaliland with Ahmed Mohamed Mohamoud as president since 2010, although it has not achieved international recognition. Federal republic since 2012.

Head of state

President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud since 2012.

Head of government

Prime Minister Abdiweli Sheikh Ahmed since 2013.

Electricity

220 volts AC, 50Hz. Round two-pin plugs are used.

Not your average tourist destination, Somalia is strictly a place for the most seasoned of travellers. Travel is possible in the northern districts of the self-proclaimed Republic of Somaliland, but travellers should avoid visiting other areas.

The anarchic turmoil of the country hides a country with a hugely varied landscape of mountains, deserts, tropical forests, undiscovered beaches and coral reefs along the Gulf of Aden. Sadly, much of it is being destroyed through unregulated logging, droughts and civil war and the future doesn't bode well for this war-torn country.

Somalia developed from a string of Arab sultanates along the northeast coast of Africa. As Arab influence waned, the British, French and Italians established protectorates on the Somali coast during the late-19th century. These were the subjects of various treaties, forged amid frequent border clashes between the colonial powers and the neighbouring Ethiopians, and between the European powers themselves.

Modern Somalia was created on 1 July 1960 from British and Italian Somalilands. Inherited tribal rivalries and territorial disputes have dominated the country's subsequent history. Years of fighting between rival warlords and an inability to deal with famine and disease have led to the deaths of up to 1 million people. The area is still extremely volatile, with attacks taking place, especially in the capital of Mogadishu.

Travel Warning: The US state department and British Foreign Office advise against all travel to Somalia, including Somaliland, due to ongoing violence and instability in the region. British nationals in Somalia are urged to leave.

Travel Advice

Last updated: 28 August 2014

The travel advice summary below is provided by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in the UK. 'We' refers to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. For their full travel advice, visit www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advise against all travel to Somalia, including Somaliland except for the cities of Hargeisa and Berbera to which the FCO advise against all but essential travel. Any British nationals in areas of Somalia to which the FCO advise against all travel should leave. Any British nationals in Hargeisa or Berbera who are not on essential travel should leave.

There is a high threat from terrorism, including kidnapping, throughout Somalia, including Somaliland. Terrorist groups have made threats against westerners and those working for western organisations. The FCO believes that there is a constant threat of terrorist attack in Mogadishu. The FCO also believes that terrorists continue to plan attacks against westerners in Somaliland.

Terrorist attacks could be indiscriminate, including in crowded places, high-profile events, events involving government officials and in places frequented by foreigners.

Piracy is a significant threat in the Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean. There is also a high threat of maritime terrorism in the territorial and international waters off Somalia.

All areas across Somalia are suffering food shortages resulting in the displacement of thousands of Somali people.

The FCO is unable to provide consular assistance in Somalia.

Newsletter