Hargeisa, 22 June 2009 – Emily will be writing about her experience in Somaliland and will be offering tips to anyone who may want to visit the unrecognized republic along the way – discover Somaliland from a Non-Somali perspective. This is the Third article – It is a great privilege to be here in Hargeisa.

To Read her second part, Click Here

To Read her First Part, Click Here

Dear readers,

Here are some pictures as promised. I’ve decided to set up this article as a photo narration to give you an idea of what you are looking at.

First, I thought you might enjoy seeing for yourselves what the plane looked like which brought me safely from Addis to Hargeisa, as I described in the last article.

Hargeisa 022

Next, I couldn’t resist including an image of the famous traffic lights which the Somaliland government and others proudly advertise. I had been eagerly looking for them since I arrived, and finally counted a total of 3 traffic lights in Hargeisa, none of which function or ever seemed to have for that matter.

Hargeisa 108

Yesterday I drank fresh camel milk from the market, and despite numerous warnings I am proud to say it did not make me sick and was rather tasty. It had a sort of smoky flavor and when you buy it at the market it is poured into a plastic bag so you can take it to go, or you can drink it on site in a ceramic cup.

Camels such as those in the picture below can be spotted throughout the city’s periphery, whereas in the city itself you find more goats than camels. I have had many conversations about goats and camels since I’ve been here, and learned about the great respect Somalis have for their camels. The never ride the camels because the animals are very well respected , and instead keep them as their companions and investments which can be used to pay dowry, to buy and sell for cash, and also for milk. Goats have a similar purpose, and you can find them wandering the streets by day, and in the evening they return faithfully to their owners.

camels visit in Hargeisa
camels in Hargeisa
irreplaceable goats
irreplaceable goats

One gentleman I met here told me that he accidentally hit a goat once while driving, and has been paying the owner of the goat for three years. When I asked why he couldn’t simply replace the goat with another, he said “if your brother is killed and you are given a new man in his place, can this man replace your brother?” It is the same with goats, for that goat was his goat, and it was different than any other goat.

A few nights ago I went out with some friends to a new, local restaurant called “Obama Restaurant and Café.” I ate with the owner, a funny and interesting man who was very hospitable. He told me that there was a big party when the restaurant opened on inauguration day, and it was reported in many local newspapers. I couldn’t resist including this picture of Hargeisa’s tribute to Obama.

Hargeisa 075

To give you an idea of the landscape and architecture here, I’ve included this picture of a part of the city which in English means “camel camp”. Each part of the city has its own police station and mosque. As you can see, Hargeisa is surrounded by shallow mountains and many houses are made of different colored stones and bricks. To protect the houses from intruders, whereas in the U.S. you can find barbed wires and fencing, in Hargeisa many homes place shards of colored glass atop of their walls, fences or gates. I’ve included a picture of one of these. It is a lot more attractive to look at than barbed wire, and serves the same purpose.

View of Hargeisa's landscape
View of Hargeisa’s landscape
Hargeisa style - stone bricks and barbed wires
Hargeisa style – stone bricks and barbed wires

Finally, a photo entry would not be complete without at least one picture of the active marketplace. Here you can find a young man pushing a wheelbarrow which contains a special tree whose branches are used as a toothbrush. The leafy part is discarded and you can find lots of people chewing on the branches to clean their teeth or to pass the time.

Colgate delivery Hargeisa style
Hargeisa own ‘colgates’

I will soon be visiting other parts of Somaliland and I hope to have more pictures and stories to share upon my return.

Warm wishes and thanks for reading,



Source: Somalilandpress


  1. it is wonderful to see the narrated photos. have a safe journey and i know we all wait with anticipation for your safe return.

  2. I ilke your articles and it just shows the world needs such an open minded and appreaciative person like you, please invite your friends and families to our peaceful and beautiful country next time. Enjoy your stay in Hargeisa.

  3. hi emily, its great to see a foriegner visiting somalia in so many years, lol i admire your courage to delve into the largely unknown.

    i have heard many people differ in politics concerning the sool sanaag and ayn regions, is it true that these areas are opposed to the idea of seccesion?, in 2007 the streets of lascanood erupted with protests and anger over somalilands alleged invasion of territiories belonging to the dulbahante and warsangali clans. somaliland defends its incursion saying its their former boarder that they inherited from the british, but since the british have already left is there any point for s/land to hold claims over these three areas?

    i like to be neutral when it comes to delicate matters, and seeing that you're an honest person what better comentary to hear from??? lol

    best of wishes

  4. Emily–__I have been reading your articles with much interest! I can't wait for more. It sounds like you are having some incredible experiences.__Take care of yourself!__Jayne (mom's friend)

  5. Hi Emily __What a amazing pictures , I am sure lotts of Somalilander like me want you to go to the other Cities like Berbera, Sheikh and Burao and I am sure the people of Somaliland would welcome you every town you go.__I am glade you drink Camel milk which is very healthy, i am not a doctor but as far as I know it is really good for your stomach.__goodluck and I hope to see more people like you to come our beaufitull nation.__M.Jirdeh__Toronto Canada

  6. oH; oH;
    it's a wonderful Emily
    it's a unbleafble
    thank u very much…………..

  7. Emily thanks for your pictures. The speak for themselves. Enjoy your stay in the promised land.

  8. thankz emily
    it was very interesting .
    emily have a safe journey

    i cant wait part fourth

  9. Hi Emily,

    I am a very proud Somalilander who lives now in Boston, MA USA. Since you started this blog of yours, I have been eye-ing the very narrative story-telling you possess and to the ways you have talked about your experiences whether it was the journey inside the airplane or your life inside the City of Hargeisa.
    I read every single writing of yours with tears in my eyes and I am proud to say that you are typical example for the youngsters in America with your insight, confidence and patience. You have reminded me how absolutely we are a people of passion and life with ease and simplicity and that's how life should be.
    What takes my breath away is the way of your analogical comparisons, of things we know in America & Somaliland, that points out every step of the way.

  10. …In response to your gratitude and respect to Somaliland and it's people, I am equally amazed to say I have lived most of my "BEST" years here in Boston at a wonderful peace, education, and together with wise-generous American people.
    In addition to that, I should say I know some of your Somali friends here in Boston whom, some of them, are the editors of this website. Also, I am keen to meet you at return and have enjoyed every bit of your coverage. Also, as some of your readers suggested, I was a former resident of the city of Berbera. So, I recommend you to visit there and have pictures of Batalale beach and the port of Berbera.

    Have a safe summer in Somaliland and we welcome you back at Logan International Airport at your return kindly dear.

    A. Farah
    Boston, MA U.S.A

  11. Great blog Emily, glad to see that you are having a wonderful time..Other places of interest, the caves of Laas Geel, the Gabiley-Borama corridor, as green as rolling hills of Virginia, Allaybaday, the red sands of Buuhoodle, the coastline and beaches of Berbera and Saylac, the mountain ranges of Sheekh, Burco, and of course the Daallo mountains…looking forward to your next travelogue..enjoy yourself and enjoy the hospitality of the people of Somaliland..

  12. A great travelogue Emily..glad to see that you are having a great time, other places you should visit, if you have the time..the Laas Geel ancient caves, the Gabiley-Borama corridor, as green as the rolling hills of Virginia, Allaybaday, the coastline and beaches of Berbera and Saylac, the red sands of Buuhoodle, the ranges of Sheekh, Burco, Ceerigaabo, and of course the Daallo mountains..enjoy your visit and enjoy the hospitality of the people of Somaliland..looking forward to the next installment.

  13. Great travel blog, Emily, glad to see that you are enjoying yourself, other places you can visit, if possible, the ancient caves of Laas Geel, the Gabiley-Borama corridor, as green as the rolling hills of Virginia, Allaybaday, the coastline and beaches of Berbera and Saylac, the red sands of Buuhoodle, the ranges of Sheekh, Burco and of course, the Daalo mountains..looking forward to the next installment, enjoy the hospitality of the people of Somaliland

    • Any way, Emily glad to see you are enjoying Somaliland, other places to visit if possible, the ancient caves of Laas Geel, the Borama-Gabiley corridor, as green as the rolling hills of Virginia, the coastline and beaches of Berbera and Saylac, the red sands of Buuhoodle, the ranges of Sheekh, Burco, Ceerigaabo, and of course the Daalo mountains..looking forward to the next installment and enjoy the hospitality of the people of Somaliland..

  14. Emily, if possible don't miss the ancient caves of Laas Geel, beaches of Berbera and Saylac, the rolling hills of Borama, Gabiley and Allaybaday, the ranges of Sheekh, the reds sand of Buhoodle, Burco, Ceerigaabo and of course, Daalo mountains, enjoy the hospitality of the people of Somaliland

  15. Marvelous Emily,

    It seems every one I talk to wants me to express appreciation for part 3 of your article. It was well written and contained lovely pictures and scenes. I think your article was a great motivator for many non- somalilanders who need a little extra push in order to visit our Home-land.

    What a wonderful surprise this is. I wait the coming part 4 including with the pictures of University of Hargeisa.

    Thank you and keep these good articles coming.

    Hargeisa, Somaliland

  16. Emily is a typical American- adventurous. She is the one, bravo!. I really appreciate your courage. Foreigners cannot differentiate between Somalia and Somaliland. To them, all Somalia is a shit hole where people are killing with dilapidated and ruined cities.
    I heard there are even Super Markets in Hargeisa and you can find everything you want. Is that true?

  17. emily the only thing that i would say is you saw the relaty in somaliland life as it is fantastic place to live and to recomment to the people that would change the life in somaliland because as you see is pacefull place. Emily the next time that you come back i wish you would got important staff to somaliland. your lover Calamada

  18. HI, EMILY





    • I don't think that's a fair request walal as it would affect her journalistic impartiality. Please try to imagine how difficult it would be for her to satisfy your opinion of 'the perfect images' when everyone can have their own interpretation of that.

  19. Hi, emily

    I follow your reportsf rom Djibouti
    Every, I spend my holydays in sld, specially in the Area of Kalabeydh, Gabiley, Tog Wajaaleh, Arabsiyo and "bien sûr" Hargeisa
    I invite to visit the special Town of Tog-Wajaaleh. It 's El Passo/CuidadJuarez
    because the sld/ethpiopian border crosses the town
    I think you'll find a lot of interessting things in this growing village without roads, sanitations, public infrastructures
    One thing: estimate the value of goods inside the temporary constructions
    sometimes you'll find 1 000 000 US $ goods laying under a construction worthing 3 or 4 000 US $!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  20. Emily!

    Are u still in Hargeisa? don't u get a weekend to go to the country side. You would have seen the real camel boys – not cow boys, try to milk a camel!. I've heard there is a drought and camels may have immigrated far away, however you'll find some local herds if you ask somebody and if you go to Berbera there are the famous Mohamed Ali camels in the city suburb. One Somali poet described camels "the living stone" because they can travel across the desert for days without needing any water and still carry your stuff.
    looking forward to the next post.

  21. Emily, I am Jayne's mom and have known your mom since she was about 8. I think I will worry for your grandmother, whom I also knew. I look forward to your next pictures and installment of this daring and brave adventure. Please take care and remain well and safe. Penny (Jayne's mom)

  22. Hi! Emily. Plz don`t be afraid to critizise our wrong doings. Even though we are proud of our Somaliland and Hargeysa in perticular. I know you`ve seen a lot of plastic bags on the trees in and around the city. What i am saying is you dont have to write only the nice things you see. Looking forward to the next post.
    Good luck and take care

    • i thought it was khat at first, too. actually it is toothbrushes but looks very similar before the leaves are cut off.

  23. Hello Emily:
    Your journey is truly fasinatig and I am honestly enjoying everything about it, Please visit Berbera and Shaikh, you will be in for shock ….I mean how hospitable the Somalilanders are yet humble.
    Please keep updating us.
    London, UK

  24. Hi Emily,

    i have injoyed reading your experience from my home town Hargeisa>>><<
    may i suggest the city of sheikh for your next visit….definetly you will injoy it

  25. Hi Emily, i just bumped into your story and i'm truly captured by your sheer bravery and great personality. It takes a strong person to leave their comfort zone and travel to another continent and a new democracy in the making.

    I'm fascinated and at the same time learning about Somaliland both in your words and pictures. I have never gone to Somaliland, but my Grand Parents hail from Burao and Ergabo, i reside in Birmingham, United Kingdom and hopefully, i will get courage to visit my motherland, thanks to you, keep up the good work, and may Allah guide you in your Journeys across that beatiful land, 'Inshaalah'.