Puntland in Somalia – A Dangerous Visit To An Unexplored And Beautiful Nature

 There are several destinations in every corner of the world that are not quite suitable for every traveller. Those are the spots for only the bravest and most adventurous types that don’t care a lot about comfort or their safety. One can find places like that on every continent, but Africa probably has the most of them. One such region in Somalia, called Puntland, is only suitable for people with an Indiana Jones character. Before making a decision whether you belong to that group or not, try gathering as much information as you can possibly get about this specific destination. When it comes to Puntland, I can give you a complete and detailed briefing about the region, all without making things beautiful.

puntland somalia

Puntland – All About

Puntland is a region in Somalia that has a high level of autonomy but without any desire of becoming independent – which is a truly rare occasion in Somalia and other African countries. It is located in the northeastern part of Somalia and it holds the biggest and most beautiful part of its coast. It has a very warm climate but its amazing beaches will help you withstand the heat easily. Puntland has access to both, Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean, which would be perfect for sailing if there were no pirates. So, if you don’t want to run into the real Jack Sparrow, then it would be best to stay near the shore.

The capital city of the region is called Garowe, but Bosaso is the largest and most populous city, which is also the main centre of economy and if any, tourism. The best accommodation can be found in Bosaso and since it is also the safest city in the entire region it may be wise to pick it as your headquarters too. You can easily reach it by sea because there is a huge port. However, due to pirates, it may be better to catch a flight. Namely, Bosaso has a big and modern airport with multiple international lines which make it an obvious choice for transportation.

Bosaso puntland somalia

History – Rich And Vivid

Puntland is a historic region of Somalia which was ruled by various local dynasties for centuries. But in the late 19th century Puntland partly lost its independence by becoming an Italian protectorate. Somalia regained independence in 1960, Puntland had become one of its regions. Unfortunately, Somalia never got a chance to preserve as a functional state and such a situation finally escalated in 1991. The terrible civil war has actually never been formally finished, however, there has been no big combats since the late 90’s.

In 1998 Puntland officially became an autonomous region in Somalia which helped it regain the stability. In the last few years, the situation has become much better and there were a few large investments which significantly improved the general state of the economy in the region. Bosaso is now one of the fastest developing cities in entire Africa.

puntland somalia

Memorable Landscapes, Beautiful Coastline, And Heavenlike Beaches

The Puntland State of Somalia has perhaps the most beautiful coastline in the entire African continent. Namely, the country has a total of 1,300 km of coast, followed by beautiful white sandy beaches. Puntland does not have ordinary beaches, quite the contrary, each and every one of them is untouched and unspoilt by tourists. It represents pure nature and heaven-like beauty. If you are one of the lucky people who have had the chance to swim and sunbathe in Puntland, your memories will never fade away, because such a marvellous experience is simply unforgettable.

The coastline of Puntland is abundant with fish as well as other natural marine resources. As a matter of fact, of all the coastline in Somalia, Puntland has the richest habitats, and that’s what makes it so attractive and desirable. The population as well as the rare and brave tourists who dare to visit Puntland enjoy spending their time snorkelling and diving because only in Puntland will you have the chance to see so many different species of fish and other sea animals. For instance, one can see long-tail tuna, skipjack, bonito, yellowfin tuna and much more. However, the beauty of Puntland’s coastline and its reefs will soon be destroyed due to illegal trawlers and increased fishing efforts of the local population.

Once you step away from the beaches and continue your trip to the continental parts of the country, you will surely be amazed by numerous landscapes that are sometimes hard to capture even by the best photo cameras. One simply has to be present to witness the beauty of such an unspoilt country.

puntland beach somalia

Must Know About Puntland

Never Walk Alone While In Puntland

Should you, by any chance end up in Puntland, always register your visit with the local police and ask for protection. Kidnapping, killing and robbing are not rare in Somalia, hence all the tourists are recommended to hire armed guards to protect them. This way, you will hopefully walk around safely and hopefully come back home safe and sound. During my time in Puntland, I hired 3 armed guards.  During your visit to Puntland, although you may have put an itinerary together, your armed guards WILL have the final say.

Respect The Dress

Having in mind that the population in Puntland is mainly Islamic (Sunni-Muslims), as a tourist you are expected to respect the dress code. Namely, both men and women are to wear clothes that cover their body, but laws for women are somewhat more strict. For instance, a woman needs to cover her entire body, except for the hands and feet. Men are required to wear clothes that do not show knees.

Cover Any Tattoos You Have

Tattoos are not allowed on your body according to Islam, hence tourists are expected to cover them while in Puntland. In order to avoid any inconvenience and quarrels with the locals, you can always use a scarf, hat, or even a bandage to cover your tattoo.

Wherever You Go, Always Have The Somali Tea

The well-known drink in Puntland, and also in the rest of Somalia, is of course, tea. It is a traditional drink that is very aromatic and relaxing. It’s a black tea, spiced with cardamom, ginger, and cinnamon. Everyone adores it, and you won’t be an exception that’s for sure.


It should go without saying but make sure you have insurance and the correct insurance. Most normal travel insurance does not cover you for a red zone. On top of this insurance make sure you get crisis response cover including kidnapping. The only company I could find was First Allied Travel Insurance.


My planning took around 5 months in order to make sure I was able to sit here after and type a nice story on my keyboard. If you are keen to visit Somalia then make sure you plan very well. Make sure you have a very clear Itinerary, make sure you cross the T’s and dot the I’s. Make sure you have a backup plan. After you have done this check everything, then check again and again.

On A serious note, why have you read this? If you’re planning a trip to Somalia then my advice is simple. 

Don’t go to Somalia! You have to be either stupid or brave. I believe I was brave 🙂 but I’ll let you decide that.

puntland somalia

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