Hargeisa has a semi-arid climate and thanks to its high altitude it rarely experiences very hot or very cold weather. The winter months of November to February welcome warm temperatures with average lows of around 12-13°C and highs around 24-27°C. This is also the drier period which tends to be more popular with visitors. Summer runs from March through to October, which is when the climate heats up and there is a slight increase in rainfall. Minimum temperatures are generally in the region of 15-18°C and maximums peak at around 28-31°C. Whichever season appeals to you, your best bet for finding a cheap flight to Hargeisa is by looking around and comparing deals.
Although you may not find a cinema or theatre in the city, book a flight to Hargeisa in August and you will find its annual book festival. The event celebrates literature, theatre, film and music and was set up to ensure the survival and promotion of Somaliland’s tradition of storytelling.
Hargeisa is the capital of the Somaliland region, Somalia. Not normally the first place that springs to mind as a tourist destination, Hargeisa and the area, however, can be enjoyed with a little forward planning. After your flight to Hargeisa lands, you will be welcomed warmly to this rapidly growing city. Hargeisa has a developing cultural life, a growing urban skyline and, of course, the problems that come with a rapidly growing population. You won’t be overrun with other tourists here, but you will find that most people speak English. On arrival the first thing you will notice is the noise – mobile phones competing with calls to prayers and vehicle horns. As you explore this city of contrasts, admire the exterior of the modern Jama Mosque with its domed roof and tall twin minarets. Look out for the Somali Air force MiG fighter jet which crashed during the civil war. It now stands proudly on display surrounded by colourful murals depicting war scenes. In the central market you will find everything from perfume to pasta, electronics to emeralds and pyramids of delicious looking fruit and vegetables. The long journey to Laas Geel is well worth making. It is a complex of caves and rock shelters that contain amazingly well-preserved cave paintings. Dating from around 9,000 B.C., these are the earliest known art on the African continent.
It is important to note that in Hargeisa all women must wear long dresses or skirts and cover their hair and upper arms. Men should not wear shorts or vests. If you do decide to venture out of Hargeisa you must apply for permission and take a government security guard with you, your hotel will be able to advise on this. Always ask for permission before using your camera as there are lots of restrictions on what can or can’t be photographed.
Hargeisa has an informal bus service and safe taxis. Taxis cannot be hailed in the street, but your hotel will arrange one for you. It is possible to organise 4×4 safari rides from Hargeisa into the surrounding countryside where you will encounter kudu, wildebeest, gazelles and a wide range of birds.
Visitors who take flights to Hargeisa Egal International Airport (HGA) will find the town located just a mere 2 miles (4 km) away. To get from the airport into Hargeisa you will need to hire a car, use the informal shared bus service or take a taxi. Some of the hotels run a shuttle bus service for their guests.