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Somalia Travel

Somalia, also referred to as the Somali Republic, is perched on the easternmost Horn of Africa and features the longest coastline on the African continent. Somalia is probably most known for its troubled history and uncertain future. It has been the site of numerous border disputes, military coups, civil wars, and rampant warlordism. However, Somalia has a resilient people that cherish their heritage and seek to rebuild their country's beauty.

Somalia travel

Somalia is largely a desert with the majority of the Somali population concentrated in the numerous towns along the coast. There is a substantial nomadic portion of the population that traverse the interior desert regions of the country, however, recent droughts have forced many of them to settle down as fisherman along the coastal areas. Somalia's eastern beaches stretch along the Indian Ocean and are protected by one of the longest coral reefs in the world.

Mogadishu is Somalia's capital and largest city. For centuries, it has functioned as an important regional port. In its bazaars and markets, you can find traditional Somali crafts like handmade gold and silver jewelry, hand-woven baskets, tribal woodcarvings, and artistic pipes carved from meerschaum. Mogadishu is also the childhood home of the world famous supermodel Iman.

Tucked into the granite mountain alcoves of Hargeisa city, Neolithic cave paintings, called the Laas Geel, were recently discovered. Over 10,000 years old, the paintings depict ancient cattle worship, prehistoric camels, and native antelopes. Outside the cities, the robust Kismayu National Park holds many East African trees and animals, some that are quite rare.

Somali is the official language and spoken by the majority of Somali people. However, Arabic and English are used extensively by natives that provide services or mingle with visitors.

Somali cuisine varies regionally and includes many unique flavors and native specialties. The most important thing about Somali cuisine is that it is bound by Halal standards, which translates to "allowable" in Arabic. This means that they are prohibited from consuming pork and alcohol. Within these guidelines, Somalis produce some interesting local foods. Cambuulo is a dish of slowly cooked adzuki beans that are mixed with butter and sugar. Sambusas are triangle shaped pastries that are filled with available meats or vegetables, and then deep-fried. Injera, indiginous homemade bread, is reminiscent of a large, spongy pancake. Nomadic Somalis particularly like Otka, a type of jerky made from camels that is dried out and fried in butter with spices.

Somalia's climate is divided between desert and tropical conditions. Year round, it is usually excruciatingly hot in the desert regions, and moderately hot and humid in the coastal areas.

It is not a typical destination on anyone's travel calendar; however, many visitors find their way into Somalia for business purposes, research projects, international aid programs, and relief work. Despite its history of perpetual conflict and upheaval, Somalia has a unique culture and vast untamed wilderness worth exploring.

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