Never Judge Somaliland By Its Cover

I really liked Somaliland, especially when I started to dive deeper into the culture like flirting with women in a full Burka and Veil, twice.  They started it, I promise.  In the present day, Somaliland resembles most Muslim countries; men have the latest beard fashion designs, women enjoy being covered head to toe in clothing in the middle of a semi desert, and they love foreigners that come in and wear shirts with pony tails.  I know this for a fact since I dared to try this the first day I arrived.

Somalilanders love foreigners and tourists

And as far from what you see on the street, they love to have a good time.  If you haven’t heard about the openness of Somali culture and how they smuggled me into Somaliland, you should read the story to really understand how the people of Somaliland are willing to help anyone, especially foreigners.  While some people may think it’s because they are yearning to be accepted and recognized in the world, I would beg to differ, it’s just part of their culture.

I even received great hospitality from Somalilanders in Ethiopian city of Jijiga, the last major city before you arrive at the border.

Somaliland License

Somaliland License

Somaliland is viewed as a country that is dangerous and is also a strict Muslim society.  As I dropped of my passport for my South Sudan Visa this morning, I couldn’t help but think that I travel to these countries to try and shed them of their bad image.  Half of the people that live in Somaliland seem to be security personnel, everyone else seems to work for the government.

The infinite amount of security checkpoints is more of a feeling of safety if you ask me, it is very similar to the safety situation in Johannesburg.  Not once was I asked for my passport or where I was going.

All Muslims should be like Somalilanders, while I haven’t been to many other Muslim countries to compare, the people of Somaliland love life.  They are curious, gracious, very giving, and love to have fun.  They won’t admit to that nor will they show it on the street so let’s keep that secret between you and I.  I was asked countless times on the street where I am from which I promptly replied “Earth” due to my identity crisis.

red beards, henna beards in Somalia, Somali beards, why do Somali men paint their beard's red

Meet Mr. Awesome.. & his Awesome Red Somali Beard

I can’t remember the countless times I was approached by a local when we were randomly walking around the city looking for one of the dozens of government offices.  We were asked where we going and then asked to be given a ride to our location.  VIP service in Somaliland.

There is also a hidden culture that lies beneath the Burka’s, Veil’s and exquisite Somali Tea.  There are parties that are held in house compounds and outside of city limits in the country, a bit like a bon fire party.  We all know what makes a great party but Alcohol is illegal in Somaliland (**Cough**).  I got to experience a little side of Somaliland life that most people don’t get to see and I’m grateful for it.

I can’t wait to return to Somaliland in 10 years when things are more developed.  Should be fascinating.


  1. When people offer to drive you everywhere, how do you know which ones wants to kidnap you? 😉

    Will you venture into the “real” Somalia, or just stay in Somalialand? What about Puntaland?

    I look forward to following your footsteps!

    1. Puntland and regular Somalia are not for white people to put it lightly… Puntland is the land of the pirates and while there is some sense of order there… regular Somalia is a war zone. There is no law and order which is not something I want to get myself into. I did think about flying into Mogadishu and spending a day in the airport and then flying out just to say I have been there…. lol

      1. I wonder how the reality for a tourist on the ground is really like in regular Somalia and Puntland. 
        Europeans/Americans might think Somalialand is a “war zone” – yet your experience proves it’s not. 
        There are probably calm pockets in regular Somania and Puntland. Getting to those oases might be tough though…..

  2. really enjoying your blog. just stumbled upon it as i was trying to learn a bit more about the blog world. been traveling for years and writing about my journey’s mostly via my food experiences 🙂
    i do it for 3-5 months a year but eventually want to do it full time. like you!
    well done

  3. “All Muslims should be like Somalilanders, while I haven’t been to many other Muslim countries to compare, the people of Somaliland love life. They are curious, gracious, very giving, and love to have fun.” WTF! As a Somalilander I find you to be incredibly ignorant and narrow minded. Do you really believe the world’s 2 billion plus Muslims are all terrorists, incapable of any display of humanity???
    You’re clearly the sort of traveller that’s a thrill seeker and gets off on travelling to “dangerous”, “terrorist” infested lands armed with stereotypes and no respect for people’s cultures.
    ADVICE: get your foolish self back to the land of the stupid aka America!
    FYI Somaliland is considered to be one the safest places to live in Africa, so there goes your danger myth!

      1. Lol marcello I can assure the person who is claiming to be somalilader is not what he is claiming ..he is from Somalia and is upset about your observation about how cool Somaliland is ..they get angry when anyone from outside praises Somaliland ..don’t pay attention to him ..we have to deal people like him daily . They always try put us down but we don’t let that slow us .we are heading to our goal slowly but steadily .thanks for the kind words

  4. Yo Somaliland guy he wasn’t offending Somaliland he was complimenting how kind they were in a joking way… Don’t you know they guy loves the country I found out there’s quite a load of foreigners settling in Somaliland like Turks Pakistan Saudis and Yemenis opening up business….I guess the peace and freedom is getting recognised

  5. Thank you very much telling and uncovering the hidden truth! I really appreciated how beautifully you explained the real Somaliland. World knows nothing about Somaliland, as soon as they hear this “Somali” they will visualize a very bad image in their minds, even many of them does not know that there is difference between Somaliland and Somalia.
    Yes, Somalilanders love foreigners and I agree with you” this is not they are looking for recognition and to be accepted by world community as a country but its part of their culture”. They are very kind people and they are always smiling and like to ask you many questions.
    The security is very tough, although the crime is not high like Johannesburg; there is no car theft, women rape and Bank robberies in Somaliland.

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