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Somalia Country Guide

  1. Country Facts
  2. Health
  3. Media
  1. Intro
  2. Geography
  3. People
  4. Travel
  5. Embassies & Visas
  6. Finance
  7. Cities/Regions

Quick Facts

Region: Africa
Full Name: Somalia
Capital City: Mogadishu
Language Spoken: Somali (official), Arabic, Italian, English

Somalia Travel Insurance

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Geographic data

10 00 N, 49 00 E

Elevation Extremes

lowest point: Indian Ocean 0 m highest point: Shimbiris 2,416 m

Land boundaries

total: 2,340 km border countries: Djibouti 58 km, Ethiopia 1,600 km, Kenya 682 km

Natural hazards

recurring droughts; frequent dust storms over eastern plains in summer; floods during rainy season

Natural resources

uranium and largely unexploited reserves of iron ore, tin, gypsum, bauxite, copper, salt, natural gas, likely oil reserves

Land use

arable land: 1.64% permanent crops: 0.04% other: 98.32% (2005)

Environmental current issues

famine; use of contaminated water contributes to human health problems; deforestation; overgrazing; soil erosion; desertification

Climate

The Jilal starts around January and is the harshest period, hot and very dry. Gu is the first rainy season lasting from March to June. Hagaa, during August, is a time of dry monsoon winds and dust clouds. The second rainy season is from September to December and is called Dayr. Required clothing Lightweights and rainwear.

Time difference

time difference: UTC+3

Population

8,863,338 note: this estimate was derived from an official census taken in 1975 by the Somali Government; population counting in Somalia is complicated by the large number of nomads and by refugee movements in response to famine and clan warfare (July 2006 est.)

Age structure

0-14 years: 44.4% (male 1,973,294/female 1,961,083) 15-64 years: 53% (male 2,355,861/female 2,342,988) 65 years and over: 2.6% (male 97,307/female 132,805) (2006 est.)

Median age

total: 17.6 years male: 17.5 years female: 17.7 years (2006 est.)

Population growth rate

2.85% (2006 est.)

Birth rate

45.13 births/1,000 population (2006 est.)

Death rate

16.63 deaths/1,000 population (2006 est.)

Net migration rate

0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2006 est.)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female under 15 years: 1.01 male(s)/female 15-64 years: 1.01 male(s)/female 65 years and over: 0.73 male(s)/female total population: 1 male(s)/female (2006 est.)

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 48.47 years male: 46.71 years female: 50.28 years (2006 est.)

Total fertility rate

6.76 children born/woman (2006 est.)

Business Practices

Lightweight suits or safari-style jackets without a tie are acceptable for business meetings in hot weather. Office hours are typically 0800-1400 Saturday to Thursday.

Crime

All forms of violent crime, including looting, banditry, armed robbery, and kidnapping are common. Inter-clan conflicts continue in Mogadishu, the Baidoa area, the lower Shabelle region, the Juba Valley north of Kismayo, and parts of the northwest. A common crime against the foreign community is residential theft. Foreigners are most often targeted because they live in the most developed areas of Mogadishu. Foreigners often protect their homes with pet dogs and guards. There is a high level of street crime. Foreigners who display their wealth are most obvious targets of pickpockets and purse-snatchers. Visitors should be aware that Somalia is Moslem country that is liberal when dealing with foreign ways, but there is indeed a limit to its tolerance. Visitors, especially female visitors, should dress conservatively to avoid being targets of confrontation and harassment.

Hotels

In the main cities of Mogadishu and Hargeysa there are international standard hotels. There are also hotels in Afgoi, Berbera, Borama, Burao, Kismayu and Marka. The latter boasts the best hotel in Somalia set in attractive parkland offering ethnic accommodation in chalets.

Communications

Telephone IDD service is available in Somalia. The country code is 252. Outgoing international calls must go through the operator.

Electricity

is a 220 volts AC, 50Hz. Electricity 220 volts AC, 50Hz.

Plug Types

C

Food And Dining

In peacetime, restaurants in the major cities serve Chinese, European, Italian and Somali food.

National specialties:
? Lobster, prawn, squid, crab, fresh tuna.
? Somali bananas, mangoes and papaya.
? Roast kid and spiced rice.

Tipping:
10 to 15 per cent is normal in hotels and restaurants.

Nightlife
Local bands playing African and European music perform at nightclubs. There are frequent traditional feasts with ritualistic and recreational dance, music and folk songs.

Entry departure requirements

Note The Somali Embassy in London is closed at present owing to civil war in Somalia. Contact the Foreign Office (website: www.fco.gov.uk) for any information regarding entry into Somalia.

Visa immigration information

Passports

Valid passport required by all.

Visas

Required by all except transit passengers continuing their journey by the same or first connecting aircraft, provided holding onward or return documentation and not leaving the airport.

Types of visa

Tourist, Business and Transit.

Validity

Dependent on nationality.

Application to

Contact the Somali Embassy in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (tel: (1) 635 921/2; fax: (1) 627 847). The British Embassy in Ethiopia can also help with up-to-date information concerning travel to Somalia, available consular services, visa application requirements, visa costs and temporary residence.

Note

Upon arrival, all visitors - except those under 18 years of age - must exchange US$100 or equivalent into local currency. Please note that the exact amount to be exchanged may vary according to region.

HIV entry requirements

No Test Required

Departure tax

The equivalent of US$20. Transit passengers and children under two years are exempt.

Embassies

The Somaliland Mission to the UK

Somaliland Mission, 234 - 236, Whitechapel road, London E1 1BJ
Email: [email protected]
Telephone: 020 3441 2631
Website: http://www.somaliland-mission.com/

United Nations Development Program for Somalia (UNDP)

Street address: Springette off lower Kabete Road, Spring Valley, Nairobi, Kenya
Postal address: PO Box 28832, Nairobi, 00200 Kenya
Tel: (20) 418 3640/2/3/4.
Website: www.unsomalia.net or www.so.undp.org

European Commission Somalia Unit (ECSU)

Street address: Union Building, Ragati Road, 00100 Nairobi, Kenya
Postal address: PO Box 45119, 00100 Nairobi, Kenya
Tel: (20) 271 2860 or 3250.

Travelers are advised against all travel to Somalia because of the dangerous level of criminal activity and internal insecurity. Westerners and those working for western organizations have been targeted in recent shootings.
There is a high threat from terrorism in Somalia.
Those travelers deciding to visit Somalia should take strong security precautions.
This advice is based on information provided by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in the UK. It is correct at time of publishing. As the situation can change rapidly, visitors are advised to contact the following organizations for the latest travel advice:

British Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Website: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/somalia

US Department of State

Website: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/international-travel/International-Travel-Country-Information-Pages/Somalia.html

Currency

Somali Shilling (SOS) = 100 cents. Notes are in denominations of SOS500, 100, 50, 20, 10 and 5. Coins are in denominations of SOS1, and 50, 10 and 5 cents.

Currency restrictions

The import and export of local currency is limited to SoSh200. The import of foreign currency is unlimited provided declared on arrival and exchanged at the national banks within five days after arrival. The export of foreign currency is limited to the amount declared on arrival. All foreign exchange transactions should be recorded on the official currency form which may be required prior to departure from Somalia.

Banking hours

Sat-Thurs 0800-1130.

Currency exchange

US Dollar bills are the easiest currency to exchange; hotels are the easiest and safest places. Avoid money changers in crowded areas.

Credit cards

Not accepted.

Travellers cheques

US traveller's cheques are preferred but generally not recommended.

City/RegionCity/Area codeFollowed by
Somaliland2+ 6 digits
  1. Health Information
  2. Recent Disease Outbreaks
  3. Hospital Database

Dental care

Avoid dental treatment as the standards of care and hygiene cannot be guaranteed.

Medication Availability

Medication in short supply and even when available is often out of date, heat damaged or counterfeit and therefore should be avoided

Blood supplies

Blood supplies should be considered as unsafe

Medical facilities

 

General caution

Recent medical and dental exams should ensure that the traveler is in good health. Carry appropriate health and accident insurance documents and copies of any important medical records. Bring an adequate supply of all prescription and other medications as well as any necessary personal hygiene items, including a spare pair of eyeglasses or contact lenses if necessary. Drink only bottled beverages (including water) or beverages made with boiled water. Do not use ice cubes or eat raw seafood, rare meat or dairy products. Eat well-cooked foods while they are still hot and fruits that can be peeled without contamination. Avoid roadside stands and street vendors. Swim only in well-maintained, chlorinated pools or ocean water known to be free from pollution; avoid freshwater lakes, streams and rivers. Wear clothing which reduces exposed skin and apply repellents containing DEET to remaining areas. Sleep in well-screened accommodations. Carry anti-diarrheal medication. Reduce problems related to sun exposure by using sunglasses, wide-brimmed hats, sunscreen lotions and lip protection.

Specific concerns

AIDS occurs. Blood supply may not be adequately screened and/or single-use, disposable needles and syringes may be unavailable. When possible, travelers should defer medical treatment until reaching a facility where safety can be assured. Fungus and skin infections, including boils and prickly heat, are quite common, especially during the hot season. High humidity can cause problems for those susceptible to sinus ailments or neuromuscular complaints such as rheumatism and neuralgia. An almost constant wind and fine-blowing sand may cause some difficulty to contact lens wearers.

Immunization

Cholera: Although limited in effectiveness, vaccination may be appropriate for persons living and/or working in less than sanitary conditions for more than 3 months where medical facilities are unavailable. Vaccination may also be appropriate for travelers with impaired gastric defenses who are planning an extended visit or being exposed to unsanitary conditions. Vaccination is not advised for pregnant women, infants younger than 6 months old, or persons with a history of severe reaction to the vaccine. Hepatitis A: Consider active immunization with hepatitis A vaccine or passive immunization with immune globulin (IG) for all susceptible travelers. Especially consider choosing active immunization for persons planning to reside for a long period or for persons who take frequent short-term trips to risk areas. The importance of protection against hepatitis A increases as length of stay increases. It is particularly important for persons who will be living in or visiting rural areas, eating or drinking in settings of poor or uncertain sanitation, or who will have close contact with local persons (especially young children) in settings with poor sanitary conditions. Hepatitis B: Vaccination is advised for health care workers, persons anticipating direct contact with blood from or sexual contact with inhabitants, and persons planning extended stays of 6 months or greater (especially those who anticipate using local health care facilities, staying in rural areas, or having intimate contact with the local population). Meningitis: Meningococcal vaccine is not considered necessary for travelers to Somalia under normal circumstances. Current conditions, however, have increased the risk of transmission of meningococcal meningitis. Persons staying for extended periods or having close contact with the local population should consider vaccination. Pregnancy is a relative contraindication to vaccination. Protection may be less effective for infants and children aged 3-23 months than it is for persons aged 2 years and older. Polio: A one-time booster dose is recommended for travelers who have previously completed a standard course of polio immunization. Refer to CDC guidelines for vaccinating unimmunized or incompletely immunized persons. Pregnancy is a relative contraindication to vaccination; however, if protection is needed, either IPV or OPV may be used, depending on preference and time available. Rabies: Preexposure vaccination should be considered for persons staying longer than 30 days who are expected to be at risk to bites from domestic and/or wild animals (particularly dogs), or for persons engaged in high risk activities such as spelunking or animal handling. Need for vaccination is more important if potential exposure is in rural areas and if adequate postexposure care is not readily available. Typhoid: Vaccination should be considered for persons staying longer than 3 weeks, adventurous eaters, and those who will venture off the usual tourist routes into small cities, villages and rural areas. Importance of vaccination increases as access to reasonable medical care becomes limited. Contraindications depend on vaccine type. Note: All routine vaccines (such as DTP or Td, Hib, MMR, polio, varicella, influenza and pneumococcal) should be kept up-to-date as a matter of good health practice unrelated to travel.

Disease risk summary

Insect-borne diseases: are major causes of illness. Many diseases are endemic, with only scattered cases being reported and, from time to time, more extensive outbreaks. Dengue fever - occurs Filariasis - prevalent Leishmaniasis - occurs (both cutaneous and visceral types may be found, particularly in the drier areas) Malaria - common Relapsing fever - occurs Rift Valley fever - occurs Typhus - occurs (louse-, flea-, and tick-borne types occur) Food-borne and water-borne illness: highly endemic. The dysenteries and diarrheal diseases, giardiasis, the typhoid fevers and viral hepatitis are widespread. Echinococcosis (hydatid disease) is widespread in animal-breeding areas. Dracunculiasis - occurs Helminthic (parasitic worm) infections - prevalent Schistosomiasis - common Other hazards: Diseases such as measles and diphtheria are commonly reported, and cases of polio still occur regularly. Influenza risk extends throughout the year. Meningococcal meningitis - occurs Rabies - occurs Trachoma - prevalent

Entry requirements

Yellow fever: A yellow fever vaccination certificate is required from travelers coming from infected areas.

Recent disease outbreaks

No recent disease outbreaks

NameAddress
Al Hayat HospitalWardhigley District, Mahamud Harbi Road Mogadiscio
Medina Hospital ( The Police Hospital )Medina Hospital Mogadiscio Mogadiscio

Media

Somalia's disintegration has been reflected in its media. Broadcasters and journalists operate in a dangerous environment and many Somalis rely on foreign broadcasts for their news.
Press: Qaran, Xog-Ogaal and Ayaamaha are Mogadishu based. Somaliland Times ? Hargeisa is an English-language weekly publication.
TV: Somali Telemedia Network (STN) is a private channel, rebroadcasting Qatar-based Al-Jazeera TV and CNN. Somali Broadcasting Corporation (SBC) is a private network based in Puntland.
Radio: Radio Mogadishu, Voice of the Republic of Somalia is a FM station operated by the transitional Government. Radio HornAfrik is a widely-listened-to private FM station in Mogadishu, which rebroadcasts BBC programs.

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