Places We Go / Somalia

The Wildlands of Somalia

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:

Somali border guards

The overwhelming majority of any drive though will consist of mile after mile of this:

Rural Somalia

Rural Somalia

Rural Somalia

Mountain in Somalia

Crossing a wadi… Extremely noteworthy due to the fact that it actually has a little water:

Crossing a wadi in rural Somalia

This is as lush and green as it gets in Somalia:

Somali wildlands - as green as it gets

Huge termite mounds are sprinkled across the landscape:

Termite mound in Somalia

And the driving experience is charged with the occasional explosion of excitement upon seeing goats…

Goats in Somalia

or a tortoise…

Wild Tortoise in Somalia

A tortoise in the Somali Countryside

or wild camels:

Wild camels of Somalia

Wild camel in Somalia countryside

But, mostly, it is this… A true frontier in a world without many left:

Somalia Desert

Somalia wildlands

4 thoughts on “The Wildlands of Somalia

  1. At the first checkpoint we went through, I remember our driver gave to the soldier a bunch of bananas, or in other words, the soldier took the bananas without asking permission. Of course, that’s the minimum the driver could have done for us being let through into the Somali wildlands!

  2. Pingback: Las Geel « The Velvet Rocket

  3. “This is as lush and green as it gets in Somalia”

    Somalia is a country bigger than France. Easy with the generalization.

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