Women and children in Dollow, Somalia © Trocaire
*Tourists are warned against travel to all regions of Somalia, and that rates of kidnapping, murder and terrorism are high.
Somalia is a country on the coast of the Horn of Africa, with a history dating back millennia. The ancient Egyptians knew the region as the 'land of spices' and ancient historical texts note the prosperity and trading power of the people living along this coastline. During the colonial era the region was so sought after that the territory was divided between the British, Italian and French, partly to dilute the power of a local population unified under the same language and religion.
Tragically, however, Somalia has been beset for many decades by civil war, clashing warlords, and waves of rebellions and coups, and has for some time been considered one of the most dangerous countries on earth. Despite various efforts to stabilise government and subdue warring factions, Somalia has been essentially in a state of anarchy for around three decades. Since 2016 Somalia has effectively been divided into six separate states: Jubaland in the far south, South West, Galmudug, the independent state of Somaliland in the middle, Puntland to the northeast, and Hirshabelle. Of the six, Somaliland is the only destination with a proper administration and some semblance of peace and stability.
One day, peace will return to this tragic part of the world. When it does, tourists will experience the thrill of a virtually undiscovered destination, including the delights of the longest coastline in Africa. Visitors will get to enjoy 1,864 miles (3,000km) of beaches, astounding scuba diving at Las Geel, world-class Neolithic rock paintings and a unique ancient culture, to name but a few of the jewels in Somalia's crown
Hopefully that day comes sooner rather than later...
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