Working for birds in Africa

Visiting

Fri, 01/25/2013 - 15:07 -- abc_admin
Somalia_Sunrise

A beautiful sunrise in Somalia

Image Credit: 
Abdi Jama

Birding tours

Birding AfricaBirdquest and Rockjumper organise bird tours to Somaliland.

Guides

NatureSomaliland can offer guiding services in Somaliland.

Contact ‘Abdi A. Jama, Tel: 00-252-2-4138813’

abdi.jama@ymail.com

Trip reports

Bram Piot sent this trip report* and bird list of a day's birding around the Hargeisa area of Somaliland in April 2014.

Charles Davies has written this very comprehensive and interesting trip report * following his visit to Somaliland in June 2012.

Richard Fleming has written a very interesting and entertaining blog of a trip to Somaliland in 2011.

Bram Piot provided this trip report Birding in and around Hargeisa,Somaliland, December 2010. It contains details, maps and species seen in a day's birding around Hargeisa.

Hugh Buck of Buckbirds sent us this trip report in 2010 of one of the first trips in recent years to explore Djibouti and Somalia. A number of unusual and rarely seen endemic and near endemic species were found on this tour.

We have received a species list from Abdi Jama which resulted from a day-long birding trip south of Hargeisa on May 25, 2009 with John Miskell. Abdi comments as follows: "as it happenned we lost three hours to a rainstorm in the late afternoon. We basically stayed within the 19c quarter-degree of the Somalia grid  even though we did enter square 26c a tiny bit ( N092802 / E440559 to N090000 / E440000). We recorded 79 species; the most interesting being an African Cuckoo and a Blue-Capped Cordon-Bleu. We enjoyed every stop we made along the way but the most interesting, at least to me, was the huge Quoladay Plain, about 60 km south of Hargeisa. The first showers of the rainy season had already arrived and the crescendo of displaying lark and pipit species was almost deafening. There were interesting species everywhere we looked. We wished we could get closer to a dark-grey 'pipit' we encountered on this plain. It just would not let us get closer for inspection. We are still wondering what it was. I have to thank John Miskell for his expertise and patience pointing out important sights and sounds. I am going to copy his recording methodology every time I get out birding from now on. Please take a look at our list and do give us feedback."

We understand that Giles Mulholland visited "Somaliland" in December 2003 and produced a trip report but we do not have a reference for it at this time.

The following Somali Ecological Society publications are available from John Leefe, The Spinney, Clipsham Road, Stretton, Oakham, Leicestershire LE15 7QS. All are photocopies except the first: Birdwatching in Southern Somalia; Checklist of the Birds of Somalia; Checklist of the Mammals of Somalia; Birds of the Balcad NR; Checklist of the Birds of the Balcad NR; A Guide to the Mammals of the Balcad NR; Nature Trail Guide of the Balcad NR; SES Newsletters 1-5.

Logistics

Because of great security concerns in Somalia, only the breakaway entity of Somaliland is accessible for birding tours at present. Normally, tourists arrive in Somaliland from Djibouti or Ethiopia.

If one is coming from Djibouti, Daallo Airlines has a daily flight to Hargeisa, the capital of Somaliland. If coming from Addis Ababa, there are quite a few regional airlines making daily connections to Hargeisa: Air Ethiopia, Suhura and Osob.

Daallo Airlines has a Sunday flight between Hargeisa and Addis. An alternative route for visitors is to travel overland from Djibouti City to Hargeisa.

The following notes admittedly plagiarised from the internet demonstrate that Somalia is a country which can be visited by the determined traveller. "I went to Northern Somalia in Summer 2000 travelling from New York to Addis Ababa on Ethiopian Airlines, then on to Hargeisa. Daallo Airlines now has flights from Amsterdam / Paris / London to the Horn of Africa. I stayed at local hotels in Hargeisa. I also travelled by rental car to the cities of Berbera, Amoud and Burao which were all very beautiful. I flew to Calmadow in Sanaag Region known for its beautiful green mountains and scenery. I travelled to the port of Bosaso in the north-east, and LaasCanood. All in all an incredible trip. I would suggest against going to Southern Somalia because it is still too dangerous for tourists but I would recommend Northern Somalia."

Safety

Other safety and health issues are no different from those in many African countries. Guidebooks, travel companies and websites provide much of the advice one needs, but key points warrant repetition here: (1) be aware of the risk of malaria and seek current advice, sleep in a sealed tent or under a net and take prophylaxis as recommended; (2) always ensure you have sufficient water and some method of purification (even if this comprises a pot and a campfire for boiling); (3) do not underestimate the danger of being in the sun for too long, ensure you use sun-block, drink plenty of water and wear a hat; (4) be aware of the risk of AIDS; (5) ensure that you take a reasonably-equipped first-aid pack with you including supplies of hypodermic and suturing needles. See the following 2 websites for safety and travel information: US Travel and UK FCO.

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