Located in the Horn of Africa, Somalia was once known as the “Land of Punt” which we shall explore today!
1. It has a vast coastline stretching to about 3,333 kms, second to only Madagascar in Africa.
2. Mogadishu is colloquially called “Xamar” a reference to the multiracial confederation consisting of Somalis, Arabians, Swahilis, Persians and South Asians.
3. Further, it is one of the ethnically most homogenous groups in the continent. 85% of the population is made up of Somalis while the rest comprise of Bajuns, Bravenese, Ethiopians, Yemenis, Indians, Italians, Persians, etc. The Bantus are the largest ethnic group.
4. The Laas Geel complex contains in its caves paintings that are believed to be over 5,000 to 7,000 years old making them some of the oldest in the continent! The granite overhangs naturally preserve them.
5. It has one of the highest fertility rates amongst countries worldwide, with every woman on an average bearing about 6 children. Cultures promote big families.
6. It thankfully has one of the lowest rates of HIV cases in the continent.
7. Unfortunately, the country has one of the lowest life expectancies worldwide with an average of 53.5 years for males and 56.6 years for females.
8. The Land of Punt is an ancient kingdom which the Egyptians read of in the 1800s. It is believed by most scholars that this kingdom, known for being rich in resources, was in the Opone region of Somalia.
9. Queen Hatshepsut is said to have carried out an expedition during 1493 BCE in which living trees from Punt are said to have actually been brought back to Egypt, the first successful attempt of fauna transplantation!
10. The ancient times get more intriguing as the country is said to have developed indigenous writing systems to transcribe the Somali language back in the 20th These were the Kaddare, Borama and Osmanya, named after the developers themselves.
11. The Somali pirates are infamous. For years they had looted cargo vessels or even held the crew hostage in exchange of ransom. They even went onto face trials, even in France. You can find documentaries on them.
12. If you decide to visit a Somali friend you’ll be greeted to a fragrant home. The use of soapstone or white clay pots incense burners is very intrinsic to the locals when hosting guests or organizing special occasions. You know what souvenir to return with!
Trip Leader Niyati’s Recommendations:
1. To start off, the Laas Geel is a popular spot for all the mystery surrounding its carvings and paintings.
2. For history enthusiasts, Zelia also makes for an interesting visit as it houses of the ruins of the ancient Adal kingdom!
3. The Sa’ad Din Islands house the pretty beaches, coral reefs and even bird colonies for you to explore and see!
4. The historical settlement of Iskushubhan is a chance for you to see Puntland and also a pretty waterfall. Additionally, even Kismaya with its beaches and national park and Berbera are relatively unexplored regions with raw natural beauty.
5. Lag Badana National Park was the first to get the status of a national park in the country and with its offshore beaches and coral reefs you can see just why!
6. Mogadishu’s Old City houses medieval Islamic structures showcasing the culture of the country you’re visiting.
How to Reach:
The flight to reach Somalia would involve 1 or more layovers in either Dubai, Sharjah or Ethiopia.