South Somalia – Inevitable Destination In The Future

 Southern Somalia is a region reserved only for the hardcore adventurers, who are not afraid of getting a bit dirty and who do not seek for a lot of comforts. If you love playing Call of Duty – Mogadishu, then this place is perfect for you. But bare in mind that you can actually get hurt here. Nevertheless, this region has a lot to offer to any visitor willing to explore its nature and beauties. What you should also be aware of is, a high level of precaution is needed when visiting this country. That is why I will tell you all you need to know about Southern Somalia, from first-hand experience.

Southern Somalia – All About

Southern Somalia lies on the beautiful coast of Indian Ocean. Entire Somalia has only two permanent rivers called Jubba and Shabelle, and they both flow through the south of the country. That is why the region has the biggest sources of water, and they are mainly responsible for the beautiful and untouched nature that can be seen in the area.

The largest city in the region is Mogadishu, which is also the capital of entire Somalia. Unfortunately, despite its beauty, Mogadishu is considered to be one of the most dangerous places in the world. Although the situation has improved in the last few years, most of the world suggest their citizens not to visit this part of the world.

Nevertheless, if you still decide to come here, the best way to do that is by air. There is a huge, and recently renovated airport just a few miles from the city centre. Although the Government has recently started to invest in the city’s infrastructure, most of the roads are muddy, especially after the rain. Since the driving culture in Mogadishu almost doesn’t exist, it is advised to hire a driver.

mogadishu things to do old town

 How Did Mogadishu Get Into Such A Mess?

Somalia’s recent history is quite bloody, especially since the outbreak of the great Civil War. The country gained independence from Great Britain back in 1960, but soon everything started to fall apart. Namely, in 1969 Somalia’s President was assassinated by a bodyguard, and this event caused a huge crisis. The military coup that followed brought General Barre as the country’s leader, which soon turned into a terrible and brutal dictatorship. His reign was the major cause of a brutal Civil War which started in 1991 and finished in 2006.

As soon as the civil war had ended, another one started. This time various paramilitary formations were a new cause of fighting in the country. Among them, radical Islamist groups were the most dangerous and one of them, called Al Shabaab even took over Mogadishu. Somali Government managed to defeat them with the help of Ethiopia and other African countries but they are still not completely crushed, even today.

In 2012, the first democratic Government of entire Somalia has been named, for the first time since the outbreak of The Civil War. Since then, the situation has started to improve slightly. The war is over but there are still some occasional combats, especially in the area of Mogadishu.

mogadishu things to do

 Major Attractions in Somalia

It is truly sad that Southern Somalia had to withstand such a long period of vicious destructions since the entire region is truly beautiful and it has a lot to offer. Mogadishu itself is incredible, especially the old town with its narrow streets and native architecture.

The Bakaara Market is also a great spot to check out and probably the only place where you can get some souvenirs. If you want to know a bit more about Somalia’s turbulent history then check out the recently reopened National Museum.

The monumental Union Mosque is one of the city’s biggest landmarks, but the Mogadishu Cathedral is equally impressive. Also, be sure to see the Governor’s Palace which is a remarkable monument of colonial architecture in Somalia. There are other great places but these are the safest to see, so be sure not to miss your chance.

mogadishu things to do

The Question Of Accommodation And Safety in Somalia

If you are one of the travel enthusiasts who is not scared of war-torn surroundings, then staying in Somalia would be a real challenge and adventure for you. The capital city of Southern Somalia, Mogadishu, hosts tourists and foreigners, but the groups are very small since it is not advisable to visit the country unless you have a really strong reason. There are several hotels in the city, but perhaps the most popular one among them all is Safari Hotel. It has many advantages, and what is crucial, it is well-guarded and it has never happened that a tourist who stayed in the Safari Hotel was either killed, kidnapped or hurt in any way. What is more, the hotel is situated in the central part of Mogadishu, close to the markets and city hospital. Safari Hotel has also great restaurants that serve either traditional or international meals, and you should not, by any chance, try searching other, better places to eat.

Should you visit Mogadishu when Safari Hotel is entirely booked, you can also search for other options such as Amira Castle Hotel, Villa Rose Guest House, and Hotel Shamo. The best advice I can give you when it comes to choosing a hotel is to pay attention to hotel’s security. Make sure your hotel has 24-hour private security. Any way round, you are risking your own life. Also be aware that if your armed guards do not like your choice of hotel, for whatever reason they will move you to a nearby guest house or hotel of their choose.

mogadishu football guards

Beaches And Nice People That Play Football Every Day

Visiting a country where it was almost impossible to survive for the last twenty years, and where it becomes extremely dangerous to go even in 2017, does not give you much hope for experiencing beautiful and nice things. Thats where you would be wrong, the entire country has many amazing beaches and among a thousand of them, and some of the most beautiful can be found in Mogadishu. The Jazira and Lido Beach are truly marvellous and are among the best in the world.

Seeing Somali beaches is absolutely breathtaking. It seems like you are between two extremes. On one side, there is a marvellous and unforgettable view of the white sand beaches and crystal clear sea. But once you turn around to the other side, all you can see are city ruins, buildings that were beautiful once in the past, that now crave for renovation and rebuilding. Seeing this, however, gives you hope that Southern Somalia may be the future paradise for tourists, once the conflicts are over.

Visiting Somali beaches will bring you happy moments because there are often local teams that play football on the sand. When you see them, you realise that the spirit of the Somali citizens has not yet died, and that future times may indeed bring reconciliation and coexistence to the country. You can even join the teams and experience their team spirit as well as share their happiness once they win the match. These moments can indeed make you smile and forget all the sad stories and pictures you have witnessed.

mogadishu attack hotel
mogadishu football beach

Tips That May Save Your Life

Insurance

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.

Water

Don’t drink water in your hotel. Buy it in the local store, and avoid buying water and meals on the stalls and markets because these are not 100% safe either.

Driver

If you want to move around the city, the best option is to hire a vehicle with a driver, and of course, armed guards.

Guards

  Never go out without your security guards. Having armed people to follow your every step is indeed something every traveller has to arrange. If you think you can wander the streets of any city in the Southern Somalia and return to your hotel unhurt, you are very wrong. Kidnapping, robbing, and even killing tourists is frequent in Somalia.

Armed guards are a must. Foreign visitors usually hire 3/4 of them. This way, you will hopefully feel a little safe and you will come back home unharmed and be able to type your story on your keyboard.

Planning 

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, if you’re planning a trip to Somalia then my advice is simple. 

Don’t go to Somalia! You have to be either be stupid or really love real life call of duty- Mogadishu. 

Somalia may be the future paradise for tourists, once the conflicts are over so at least wait until then.

My Final Note

Always expect the worst to happen and be prepared for things to change in an instant. One day I was playing football with kids outside a hotel, then the very next day that hotel had a terror attack from a car bomb, 51 people died. That morning everything felt normal and calm until this happened.

mogadishu football
mogadishu attacck

If you found this article interesting then I suggest you check out my other two articles on Somalia. Puntland and Somaliland

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