Kids in Somalia
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Kids in Somalia

© Creative Commons / Robbert van der Steeg

Somalia Travel Guide

Key Facts
Area

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

Population

10.4 million (2014).

Population density

16.4 per sq km.

Capital

Mogadishu.

Government

Federal republic. 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.

Head of state

President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud since 2012.

Head of government

Prime Minister Omar Abdirashid Ali Sharmarke since 2014.

Electricity

220 volts AC, 50Hz. European-style plugs with two round pins are standard.

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: 03 July 2015

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.


Crime

There is a dangerous level of criminal activity by armed militia throughout Somalia. There have been murders, armed robbery and a number of incidents of kidnapping. There are regular outbreaks of inter-clan violence throughout Somalia.

Local travel

Food Security has improved during the first quarter of 2013 due to favourable rains and sustained humanitarian response. However, displaced people living in settlements and other vulnerable groups will remain ‘food insecure’.

The displacement and overpopulated refugee camps may lead to a significant increase in disease, increased risk of crime over food security and a heightened security threat to foreigners.

There is tension on the Somaliland/Puntland border in the Sool and Sanaag regions.

Sea travel

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 waters and international waters off Somalia. There have been acts of maritime terrorism in the seas off Somalia and Yemen. The FCO advise against all travel by yacht and leisure craft in the territorial waters of Somalia and on the high seas (more than 12 nautical miles from shore) in the Gulf of Aden, Arabian Sea and part of the Indian Ocean bounded by the following latitude and longitude: 15°N in the Red Sea, 23°N in the Arabian Sea, 78°E and 10°S in the Indian Ocean. See our Indian Ocean travel advice for more information.

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