Expedition to the Horn of Africa: Martian landscapes of Djibouti, whale sharks, camels and amazing Mogadisho

SOMALIA + SOMALILAND + DJIBOUTI

January 3 - 11, 2025
Tour Somalia, Somaliland, Djibouti
Find yourself on another planet – discover amazing Horn of Africa with its Martian landscapes of Danakil desert and the lowest point in Africa, the country of camels and the coast of whale sharks, the lost caves of Laas Geel and god-forsaken Mogadishu.

Traveling in Somalia is accompanied by paramilitary police guards.
SCHEDULE AND COST: TOUR TO SOMALIA
Dates: January 3 – 11, 2025
Duration: 9 days / 8 nights
Number of participants: 7 – 12

Cost per person:
3 750 USD subject to 11 – 12 participants,
3 990 USD subject to 10 participants,
4 190 USD subject to 8 – 9 participants,
4 290 USD subject to 7 participants.

10% early booking discount (in case you book before August 3, 2024)

Everything is included except for:
- international flight to Mogadishu and back from Djibouti,
- flight from Mogadishu to Hargeisa,
- flight from Hargeisa to Djibouti,
- international medical insurance,
- Djibouti e-visa (25 USD, price can be changed), to be arranged on your own at https://www.evisa.gouv.dj/ in advance,
- Somalia visa (60 USD, price can be changed), we arrange and obtain upon arrival (or on your own in Somalia embassy in advance),
- Somaliland visa (60 USD, price can be changed), we arrange and obtain upon arrival (or on your own in Somaliland embassy in advance).

Estimated cost of flight Moscow – Mogadishu: USD 700 – 1000. (Usually bought on your own, we consult you).
Estimated cost of flight Mogadisho – Hargeisa: USD 170 – 250 (We can assist in buying the ticket, and you reimburse).
Estimated cost of flight Hargeisa – Djibouti: USD 170 – 300 (We can assist in buying the ticket, and you reimburse).
Estimated cost of flight Djibouti – Moscow: USD 700 – 1000. (Usually bought on your own, we consult you).

Single supplement in Djibouti: USD 360 (single supplement in Somalia and Somaliland is provided by default)





TRAVEL PROGRAM: TOUR TO SOMALIA, SOMALILAND, DJIBOUTI,

Day 1. January 3, 2025 (Friday). ARRIVAL AND ACQUAINTANCE WITH MOGADISHU (SOMALIA)

Arrive in Mogadishu, meet our guide and transfer to the hotel for rest and lunch break. If we arrive with Qatar Airways flight at 1 pm, then we will start our tour directly from the airport.
Today we start getting acquaintance with amazing Mogadishu city, ruined but charming. We visit the sea shore nearby the Fish market to see the local life and fishermen of all ages with the beautiful ocean waves. We take a walk to Arba Rancoon Mosque, Berta Salaanta, the unknown Soldiers monument and the Parliament area. If the actual security situation allows us, we also take the drive (escorted with the armed security) to the Cathedral and out of Mogadishu to see the dunes along the beach on the Indian Ocean. Dinner at the roof floor of our hotel with very fresh sea food.

* Recommended flight:
flight with Ethiopian Airlines from Moscow to Mogadishu via Addis Ababa (2 hour 25 minutes stopover), departure from Addis Abeba at 22:00 on January 2 and arrival in Mogadishu at 11:05 am on January 3, or
flight with Turkish Airlines from Moscow to Mogadishu via Istanbul (1 hour 50 minutes stopover), departure from Istambul at 20:10 on January 2 and arrival in Mogadishu at 8:40 am on January 3, or
or any other flight with arrival in Mogadishu no later than at 13:00 on January 3.

Accommodation: Shamo hotel or another safe hotel of similar level in Mogadishu
Meals: lunch, dinner


Day 2. January 4, 2025 (Saturday). MOGADISHU

Morning after breakfast, escorted with the armed security we visit the atmospheric fish market where fishermen bring and sell huge sword fish, sharks and other marine giants. Take a walk to the port, to the old lighthouse to observe the local life of fishermen and their amazing catch.
Visit the local school and get acquaintance with the Somalia teachers and students. Drive to Hamarweyn Market and Hamarweyn area – the old part of the city with picturesque buildings in the style of Arab and Moorish architecture and carved stone walls and cool patios. Here we can see all the Mogadishu city from one of the roofs. We visit kat market, the harbor, the beaches, including Gezira beach or Liido beach where we can swim, and Banadir the crumbling Italian colonial waterfront, from where we can take iconic pictures of Mogadishu. Lunch break at the Liido beach with the beautiful view, or in the hotel.
Dinner at the roof of our hotel with very fresh sea food.

Accommodation: Shamo hotel or another safe hotel of similar level in Mogadishu
Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner


Day 3. January 5, 2025 (Sunday). MOGADISHU – HARGEISA (SOMALILAND)

Early morning transfer to the airport for your direct flight to Hargeisa at 9:00 with African Express (the schedule may change!) or another later flight with another airlines.
Afternoon arrival in Hargeisa – the capital of the unrecognized state, once being the part of Somalia and still legally considered the part of it. However, Somaliland, English speaking part of Somalia, has its own visas which we obtain upon arrival in the airport.
Sightseeing in Hargeisa in the afternoon: the smashing money market with pounds of the cash to be sold, as well as the main market known as Suuq Wayn. Walk around the streets of Hargesa.
Dinner in traditional restaurant with camel meat and overnight in Damal Hotel Hargeisa.

* Recommended flight:
- direct flight from Mogadishu to Hargeisa with Air Djibouti, departure from Mogadishu at 15:10 am on January 5 and arrival in Hargeisa at 16:50 on January 5, or
- direct flight from Mogadishu to Hargeisa with African Express, departure from Mogadishu at 9:00 am on January 5 and arrival in Hargeisa at ­­­­­­10:00 am on January 5, or
- flight from Mogadishu to Hargeisa with Ethiopian Airlines with 1 hour 15 minutes stopover in Addis Ababa, departure from Mogadishu at 12:20 pm on January 5 and arrival in Hargeisa at 17:05 on January 5.

Accommodation: Damal Hotel Hargeisa
Meals: breakfast, dinner


Day 4. January 6, 2025 (Monday). HARGEISA – LAAS GEEL – CAMEL FARM – HARGEISA

Early in the morning we take the COVID test with picking-up result in morning next day (only those who don't have COVID full vaccination certificate – will need this COVID test certificate for crossing to Djibouti next day).
Later on, drive straight (50 km) to Laas Geel for visiting amazing rock painting caves. This UNESCO World's Heritage site is dated to (unbelievable!) 9000 – 3000 years BC! Of course it is considered the most significant monument of Neolithic era in all Africa. Las Geel, consisted of 20 caves, one of which is 10 meters length, is very impressive, colors of petroglyphs are very vivid.
Driving to the west, where on the greener areas we meet the traditional Somalia camel herders. Here on the local farm we can see camels, sheep, hear about nomadic practices, milk a camel and taste fresh camel milk. Supper around the fire.
Driving back to Hargeisa. Dinner and overnight in Damal Hotel Hargeisa.

Accommodation: Damal Hotel Hargeisa
Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner


Day 5. January 7, 2025 (Tuesday). HARGEISA – DJIBOUTI CITY (DJIBOUTI)

After breakfast, we visit a local school to talk to the kids. Then bustling livestock market of Hargeisa. Somaliland, together with Somalia, house almost half (!) of world's 14 million population of camels.
Lunch and transfer to the airport for the direct flight to Djibouti city at 17:20 with Air Djibouti (the schedule may change and still not available!) or at 12:00 with Ethiopian Airlines via Addis Ababa.
Around 18:00 arrival in Djibouti city – the capital of Djibouti, former French part of Somalia Peninsula. Meet the guide, transfer and check-in at the hotel.
Visit historical city center in the evening. Dinner and overnight at Atlantic Hotel 4* in downtown Djibouti.

* Recommended flight:
- direct flight from Hargeisa to Djibouti with Air Djibouti, departure from Hargeisa at 17:20 am on January 7 and arrival in Djibouti at 18:00 on January 7, or
- flight from Hargeisa to Djibouti with Ethiopian Airlines with 2 hour 35 minutes stopover in Addis Ababa, departure from Hargeisa at 12:00 am on January 7 and arrival in Djibouti at 17:25 on January 7.

Accommodation: Atlantic Hotel 4* or similar hotel in Djibouti city
Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner


Day 6. January 8, 2025 (Wednesday). WHALE SHARK TRIP

Morning after breakfast, picked up at 7:45 from hotel and then drive to Arta Plage. We drive through a scenic wadi to use local boats and boat drivers at Arta Plage. We search for whale sharks, and hopefully swim and snorkel with whale sharks. The chances to find whale sharks in warm waters of Indian ocean in January are really high however not 100% guaranteed and very much dependent on the weather.
After looking for whale sharks we will stop at an isolated beach to snorkel on pristine coral reefs and have lunch on the beach. Lunch break.
Scuba diving can be planned as an option at extra cost.
Drive back to Djibouti city in the afternoon, dinner and overnight in the hotel.

Accommodation: Atlantic Hotel 4* or similar hotel in Djibouti city
Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner


Day 7. January 9, 2025 (Thursday). SOUTH CIRCUIT AND LAKE ABBEH

After breakfast in the hotel, we drive to the south. The South Circuit of the Republic of Djibouti goes through the Grand & Petit Bara, which is the most desert area of the country. Then visit shortly Afar and Somali people village of Dikhil. Drive to Afar village of As Ela and have a traditional lunch in the local house. Afterwards drive to Lake Abbeh.
Lake Abbeh is the largest one in the chain of six salt reservoirs located on the border of Djibouti and Ethiopia. This amazing lake is located in a basin called the Afar Point. A unique place where the giant Arabian, Somali and Nubian plates slowly move away from each other, which creates a fantastic landscape. Boiling water of thermal springs with a high content of calcium carbonate for centuries created peculiar limestone pipe columns (called here "chimneys" or "fumaroles"). Some of these columns, surrounded by swirling steam, reach a height of 50 meters, reinforcing the mystery of the landscape. Interestingly, the name Abbe means "rotten", since the smell of hydrogen sulfide emanates from the lake. On the shore of Lake Abbe, parts of the film "Planet of the Apes" was shot.
Explore the area until the sunset. After dinner, real nomad folkloric dance can be arranged. Overnight at Lake Abbeh tourist camp with all amenities and the beautiful view on the lake Abbeh chimneys.

Accommodation: Lake Abbeh tourist camp
Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner


Day 8. January 10, 2025 (Friday). LAKE ABBEH AND LAKE ASSAL

Wake-up call for the sunrise is early in the morning. We drive to the chimney's area for sunrise and visit hot springs.
After visiting and exploring Lake Abbeh, back to tourist camp for breakfast and visit Afar traditional village nearby. En route we stop in Kouta Bouya to visit the village, after lunch at La Palmeraie, we drive to another lake – Lake Assal to visit the lowest point in Africa. En route, you stop for visiting scenic views of Canyon and faults – part of the Danakil depression. The Lake Assal or Bahr al Assal in Arabic, the sea of honey (153 m below sea level) is located 107 km west of Djibouti city. After visiting Lake Assal and surroundings, drive to Djibouti city for dinner and overnight.

Accommodation: Atlantic Hotel 4* or similar hotel in Djibouti city
Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner


Day 9. January 11, 2025 (Saturday). DJIBOUTI CITY – RETURN FLIGHT

After breakfast in the hotel, transfer to the airport to catch international flight back home.

* Recommended flight to Moscow:
- flight from Djibouti to Moscow with Qatar Airways with 9 hours 30 minutes stopover in Doha, departure from Djibouti at 19:25 am on January 11 and arrival in Moscow at 14:40 on January 12 or
- flight from Djibouti to Moscow with Turkish Airlines with 2 hours 30 minutes stopover in Istanbil, departure from Djibouti at 0:10 am on January 12 and arrival in Moscow at 12:20 on January 12 or
- any other flight with departure from Djibouti any time on January 11.

* Or for those who continue traveling to Eritrea, at 11:55 am flight with Ethiopian Airlines to Asmara, Eritrea, with the stopover in Addis Ababa.
* Recommended flight to Asmara (Eritrea):
- flight from Djibouti to Asmara with Ethiopian Airlines with 1 hour 20 minutes stopover in Addis Ababa, departure from Djibouti at 12:55 am on January 11 and arrival in Asmara at 17:10 on January 11 or
- any other flight with departure from Djibouti any time on January 11 and arrival in Asmara any time on January 11.

Accommodation: no
Meals: breakfast

Cost includes:

• Accommodation in mid-range hotels in Somalia and Somaliland, based on SINGLE accommodation
• Accommodation in good mid-range hotels and tourist camp in Djibouti, based on TWIN/double accommodation
• 3 times a day meals throughout the entire itinerary
• mineral water during the entire trip
• all airport transfers
• all transport as per program: 4WD SUVs (Land Cruiser or similar) in good condition with AC and experienced drivers for land tours in Somalia, Somaliland and Djibouti and Toyota Coaster bus in good condition with AC and experienced drivers for city tour in Djibouti city
• motor boats in good condition for sea tours & professional captains
• all travel permits and local communities financial support
• Escort services (SPU Police escort for Somalia and Somaliland parts)
• Whale shark tour
• All entrance fees
• visa facilitation
• government tax
• Experienced English speaking guides
• Russian and English speaking team leader throughout the entire itinerary



Cost excludes (additionally paid):

  • international air tickets to Mogadishu and back from Djibouti
  • flight from Mogadisho to Hargeisa one way
  • flight from Hargeisa to Djibouti one way
  • international medical insurance
  • Djibouti visa
  • Somalia visa
  • Somaliland visa
  • Video filming and photography fees
  • Sodas & alcohol beverages
  • Tips & personal purchases
  • Single room supplement for Djibouti

To take with:

- sets of clothes suitable for the weather conditions, including lightweight clothes (shorts, T-shorts), and one set of warm clothes (hoody or light jacket), long sleeve clothes
- sun hat/panama
- swimwear
- raincoat
- comfortable trekking footwear, light footwear (sneakers)
- sleeping bag for warm weather (for 1 night in Djibouti)
- mosquito net
- personal hygiene items (towel, wet tissues, soap)
- sunblock set (cream, spray)
- repellents
- sunglasses
- big backpack (or tourist bag, or suitcase) for stuff
- small backpack for radial walks (25 – 30 L)
- head torch
- individual medical kit (analgesics, antiseptic, antibiotic, antiviral, intestinal, multivitamins, rehydration, court plaster, your personal medications)
- anti malaria prevention pills (up to you to decide)
- no any COVID requirement exist (requirement may change)
- photo and video camera, tripod
- power bank, batteries
KEY FEATURES:
TOUR TO
Somalia, Somaliland, Djibouti

Best season: October – May


Amazing Mogadishu with its ruined blocks, oriental markets and incredible atmosphere

The lowest place in Africa - Afar Point and Danakil Desert

Martian landscapes of Lake Assal and Lake Abbeh, where "Planet of Apes" was shot

Laas Geel – the most significant African historical monument of Paleolithic age

Camping with nomadic camel herders of Somali tribe

Snorkeling with whale sharks – the largest fish on Earth

Wonderful desert landscapes of the Horn of Africa and original cuisine


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