There aren’t a lot of roads in Somalia. Those that do exist mostly pass through rough countryside, interspersed with the occasional village and frequent checkpoint.
Upon arriving at a checkpoint, if you don’t have an armed guard with you, a bribe will be required and all of your passport details will be carefully taken down in a painstakingly slow process. When one travels with a guard, however, you will simply be waved through the checkpoint.
I have no idea what the soldier here was actually saying, but he looks like he is saying, “Come on give me the bribe. Hand it over.”
And we did indeed have to give the soldiers at this particular checkpoint a pretty hefty bribe in the form of a large amount of khat (qaat or jaad in Somalia, and chat in Ethiopia) to be allowed to proceed.
By the way, you can see my passport on the ground next to the other soldier as he is going through the ritual of copying down our passport information as I described above:
The overwhelming majority of any drive though will consist of mile after mile of this:
Crossing a wadi… Extremely noteworthy due to the fact that it actually has a little water:
This is as lush and green as it gets in Somalia:
Huge termite mounds are sprinkled across the landscape:
And the driving experience is charged with the occasional explosion of excitement upon seeing goats…
or a tortoise…
or wild camels:
But, mostly, it is this… A true frontier in a world without many left: