by Michael Sazhin - 4 years, 8 months ago
We crossed the border by land to neighboring Somaliland. Somaliland is still technically part of the nation of Somalia and is not recognized. However, Somaliland has its own government, currency, border control, and is run more like a nation than the rest of Somalia. Yet, Somaliland is not recognized by the rest of the world as the separate country that it is. The city of Zeila still displays war scars from the fight for independence from Somalia.
There are vast expanses of desert where short of a few camels and herders, there is nothing to be seen for hundreds of miles. Camels are occasionally brought to villages to drink well water and eventually are brought to Hargeisa to be sold in the famous camel market. There are more camels living in Somalia than people. They are used for transport and meat but are mainly exported to Saudi Arabia in exchange for cars and other necessities. Because of out of control inflation, Somaliland's currency is practically worthless. Instead of armored cars, money changers transport their bricks of paper currency by wheelbarrow. Cave paintings in Laas Gaal were only discovered recently and are considered to be nearly 10,000 years old.
The only African animals to be seen in all of Somalia were gathered in one place. The garbage dump! Marabous, Vultures, Spoonbills, Jackals, Hyenas, Baboons, and Warthogs, animals normally found in Africa's Savannahs, are confined to this toxic waste dump. It is the one place they are safe from human predation and food is plentiful. Remains of slaughtered goats, camels, and cows are dumped here and make for a feast to be remembered. Toxic waste pools of motor oils and chemicals form lagoons for water birds. This is a Somalia Safari!