Whether taking in stunning views from unspoiled mountain paths or enjoying the hustle and bustle of the local markets, Hargeisa is a rapidly evolving and vibrant city just waiting to be discovered.
Top things to see and do
- Pay a visit to the Hargeisa Market for an authentic local experience. Think stalls piled high with every kind of vegetable and fruit you could imagine, as well as unexpected surprises like perfume and wind-up radios.
- Relax with a refreshing glass of traditional tea at the Kulan Art Café. Decorated with the work of local artists, there's a nice laid-back feel to this cosy little eatery. And don't leave Hargeisa without ordering a tasty anbabur – a kind of pancake – for breakfast.
- Make sure you visit the Jama Mosque for Friday prayers, when huge crowds gather for worship. Two tall minarets rise from each end of this whitewashed building, making it one of the city's main meeting points and a must-see for all visitors.
- If you want to get an insight into the local agricultural life, go to the recently renovated livestock market. One of the most vibrant and colourful places in Hargeisa, farmers travel here from the surrounding villages to sell livestock including sheep, camels and goats.
- Join up with a guide and head out into the hills surrounding Hargeisa for some truly exhilarating views over the city. There's also a fascinating array of exotic birds to spot, as well as boar and antelope.
Tips for travellers
For a fascinating day trip out of town, head to LaasGaal, an atmospheric group of caves where some of the oldest paintings in Africa can be found. The images are almost perfectly preserved and thought to date back to around 9,000 BC. You'll need to hire a guide and pay a small fee, but it's well worth the effort.