Transafrica 2018 STOP 4

May 4, 2018

Djibouti – Hargeisa

Flight distance: 134 nm
Hours in the air: 0.47

Refreshing glimpse of new nation in the making

What a nice and warm welcome to this new nation. Everybody is very curious and friendly, no hassling at all even though it appears to be obvious that average standard of living is very low.

Hardly any streets are paved but lot’s of trade is going on all over. A curiosity is their currency which fares at 1:10’000 to the dollar and one needs to pay with a bundle of paper money just to buy a bottle of water or basic vegetables.

Besides touring the city on arrival day we took a tour today first through the outskirts of Hargeisas live stock market. The highlight was certainly our visit to the cave paintings of Laas Geel. This rock art was only rediscovered again in 2002 and dates back to at least 3000 BC. The remainder of the day was used to drive to the beach and port town of Berbera which gave us also a good insight of country side living.

We were definitely positive surprised how hard everybody here is trying to show us and the world how nice and peaceful live is in contradiction to the negative perception the rest of the world seems to have.

Facts & figures

Somaliland is a self-declared state internationally recognized as an autonomous region of Somalia. The government of the de facto state of Somaliland regards itself as the successor state to the former British Somaliland protectorate, which, in the form of the briefly independent State of Somaliland, united as scheduled on 1 July 1960 with the Trust Territory of Somaliland (the former Italian Somaliland) to form the Somali Republic. In terms of landmass, Somaliland’s territory is comparable to that of Uruguay, with an area of 176,120 km2. The climate is a mixture of wet and dry conditions. The northern part of the region is hilly, and in many places the altitude ranges between 900 and 2,100 meters above sea level.

The Awdal, Sahil and Maroodi Jeex (Woqooyi Galbeed) regions are fertile and mountainous, while Togdheer is mostly semi-desert with little fertile greenery around. The Awdal region is also known for its offshore islands, coral reefs and mangroves. A scrub-covered, semi-desert plain referred as the Guban lies parallel to the Gulf of Aden. Somaliland has been inhabited since at least the Paleolithic.

During the Stone Age, the Doian and Hargeisan cultures flourished here. The oldest evidence of burial customs in the Horn of Africa comes from cemeteries in Somalia dating back to the 4th millennium BCE. The stone implements from the Jalelo site in the north were also characterized in 1909 as important artefacts demonstrating the archaeological universality during the Paleolithic between the East and the West. In the early modern period, successor states to the Adal Sultanate and Ajuran Sultanate began to flourish in Somalia.. The first engagement between Somalis of the region and the British was in 1827. These engagements paved the way for the British to establish a protectorate in the region referred to as British Somaliland. British Somaliland was then administered by the Foreign Office until 1905, and afterwards by the Colonial Office.

Somaliland declared independence on May 18, 1991. No other country has officially recognized Somaliland’s independence, so the region has focused on creating the infrastructure needed for sovereignty and recognition as a member of the international community. It has a government elected by the people it represents—numbering about 3.5 million—with its own public and foreign policy. It has its own currency, a functionally trained military and police, and control over its territory.

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