.....(Hal-ku-dhigyo Dhaxal-gal Noqday) = ..... President, C/raxmaan A. Cali: ''Jamhuuriyadda Somaliland dib ayay ula soo Noqotay Qaran-nimadeedii sidaa awgeed, waa dal xor ah oo gooni u taagan maanta (18/05/1991) laga bilaabo''...>>>>> President, Maxamad I.Cigaal:''Jiritaanka Jamhuuriyadda Somaliland'' Waa mid waafaqsan xeerasha u-degsan Caalamka! Sidaa darteed, waa Qaran xaq u leh in Aduunku aqoonsado''...>>>>> President, Daahir R. Kaahin: ''Jamhuuriyadda Somaliland waa dal diimuqraadi ah oo caalamka ka sugaya Ictiraafkiisa''...>>>>> President, Axmed M. Siilaanyo: ''Jamhuuriyadda Somaliland, Boqol sano haday ku qaadanayso helista Ictiraafkeedu way Sugaysaa! Mar dambena la midoobi mayso Somalia-Italia''.....[***** Ha Jirto J.Somaliland Oo Ha Joogto Waligeed *****].....

Thursday, July 12, 2012

In a Country Called Somaliland: TO GO OR NOT TO GO?

That was the first question. The idea of entering a country that doesn’t officially exist, and that most people would never dream of visiting, fascinated us. Our research indicated that Somaliland was stable and generally secure, and several recent online trip reports detailed safe visits by independent travellers who entered easily by land from eastern Ethiopia. Nevertheless, deciding to visit a place whose name is synonymous with Somalia – possibly the world’s worst country – is not easy. Our countries have no diplomatic representation there, government reports warn against all travel (although, admittedly, they lump Somaliland together with Puntland and Somalia), and there is an element of uncertainty, especially given Somaliland’s proximity to unstable regions. Visiting Somaliland sounds exciting… unless it means spending the next three years in the desert waiting for a ransom, while everyone in the world wonders what the hell we were thinking.

So we take it one step at a time. Touching down in Addis Ababa, the first thing we do is find the Somaliland Liaison Office, which acts as a de facto embassy for this de factocountry. We are pleasantly shocked to be issued visas within 30 minutes by friendly women in the office, who go so far as to get the Ethiopian Vice-Consul in Hargeisa on the telephone to reassure us that we can get a visa in Somaliland to re-enter Ethiopia. They tell us that things in their country are peaceful and going well. It seems that they want us to visit. Heading eastwards toward Harar, we keep checking. We email several hotels in Hargeisa to enquire about the safety situation, and ask various people in Harar for their advice. I purchase my obligatory veil.

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