Hargeisa is the capital of Somaliland, a self-declared republic in the country of Somalia. It is the second largest city after Mogadishu, the national capital. Hargeisa was part of the Adal Sultanate's domain during the Middle Ages. The British established a protectorate in the region in 1888 after signing successive treaties with the then Somali Sultans. This was administered from British India until 1898.
Hargeisa is situated in the north-western Waqooyi Galbeed province of Somalia. It lies in an enclosed valley of the Galgodon highlands at an altitude of 1,334 meters above sea level. The Sheikh and the Daallo mountains are situated nearby. To the south lies the Haud savannah, famous for the different species of wildlife. Hargeisa is also situated near the town of Gabiley that serves as an agricultural center in northern Somalia. The city of Arabsiyo, famous for its lemon production, is also located nearby.
How to Reach (Transport) :
Hargeisa is served by the Hargeisa International Airport that connects the city with several locations in East Africa and other cities like Dubai, Mogadishu, Jeddah and Nairobi. Private carriers like Jubba Airways and Daallo Airlines offer domestic flights within the country. The easiest modes of public transport within the city are taxis and buses. Cars can also be rented at an affordable rate.
When to Visit :
Hargeisa experiences a semi-arid climate with warm winters and hot summers. In spite of its location on the tropics, this city never faces extremes of temperatures due to its elevation. April to September are the wettest months. The ideal time to visit this place would be between November and February, when the temperatures are comparatively cooler with lesser rainfall.
Fairs and Festivals :
Besides the traditional festivals of the Islamic calendar, Hargeisa does not celebrate many unique festival or event.
- June 26 is celebrated as Independence Day all over Somalia with much gusto.
- Neeroosh is held annually in July. It celebrates the beginning of the solar year in Somaliland. Locals build massive bonfires and dance to welcome the arrival of summer. A general mood of joy and hope prevails in the entire region.
- Eid al-Fitr is celebrated around August at the end of the holy month of Ramadan. This day is marked with family gatherings, feasts and other ceremonies.
- Eid al-Adha, also known as Tabaski, is celebrated in October. It is held to commemorate the willingness of Ibrahim to sacrifice his first son to God. The holiday lasts for a couple of days and includes grand feasts.
- The Day of Ashura falls in November. This is a day of mourning observed by both Shia and Sunni Muslims, and is a public holiday in Hargeisa.
There are not many tourist sites in Hargeisa. The few attractive spots are as follows:
- Hargeisa Provincial Museum chronicles the ethnographic and cultural development of Somaliland. Built in 1977, this is a fascinating place to visit and learn about the history of the area.
- Ten miles from Hargeisa is Laas Geel, a series of caves that exhibit ancient Neolithic paintings and rock art. This is a must-see for anyone visiting Somaliland.
- The Berbera Seaside near Hargeisa is undoubtedly the best beach in the entire country. This beach is ideal for surfing, snorkeling and scuba diving.
- In order to get the real vibe of the place, the Central Market and the Livestock Market must not be missed out by any tourist in Hargeisa.
- East of the market place is the Jama Mosque that hosts the main Friday prayers in Hargeisa. The white-washed facade with a domed roof and the twin minarets are a treat to the eyes.
The only western-standard hotels in Hargeisa are the Ambassador Hotel and the Maan-soor Hotel that offer a variety of rooms and modern amenities. The other hotels present in this city include Oriental Hotel, Safari Hotel, Imperial Hotel and Sugal Hotel that offer fairly habitable rooms at an affordable rate.
Last Updated : February 19, 2014