Territory

Wonders of Somalia

Cal Madow mountains, Somalia
Cal Madow mountains / Abdirisak, , public domain

WorldBlue  Highlights

Last decades have been very hard for Somalia. Country has experienced devastating civil war and poverty, there is a possibility that this large country can divide into smaller countries.

These events have "closed" Somalia for general tourism and most people in the world don’t realize how incredibly rich is the cultural heritage of this country. The most amazing wonders of Somalia are:

  • Prehistoric and ancient cave paintings. Somalian cave art belongs to the world’s best prehistoric art, here are hundreds of sites with beautiful and often – mysterious paintings and undeciphered signs.
  • Ancient port cities. Today Somalia has some of the most feared pirates in the world but millennia ago it was known for its welcoming, rich port cities which were attracting ships even from present-day Indonesia and Malaysia. Many of these ancient cities have been preserved up to this day.

Map with the described wonders of Somalia

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WorldViolet Top 25 wonders of Somalia

Geological wonders

Lamadaya

Sanaag

Impressive waterfall in Cal Madow mountains. These falls have formed tufa formations.

Lamadaya - base of waterfalls. Somalia

Biological wonders

Daallo Frankincense Forest

Sanaag

Lush forest of frankincense trees (Boswellia frereana) at the base of Cal Madow mountains. Thanks to the trees in the air is a constant, intense fragrance. Other rare plants, including Gabel Elba dragon’s blood tree (Dracaena ombet). Here live also numerous rare animals.

Cal Madow forest, Somalia
Berde Ficus near Qabuurta

Awdal

Giant fig (Ficus spp.) tree, possibly the largest tree in Somaliland, grows near Qabuurta village.

Archaeological wonders

Laas Gaal

Togdheer

Group of 10 caves and shelters with beautiful, well-preserved cave paintings, created 11 – 5 thousand years ago. Undeciphered inscriptions are under the drawings. In this region have been found numerous other caves with paintings.

Laas Gaal rock art, Somalia
Dhambalin

Togdheer

Rock shelter in sandstone with some of the best polychrome paintings in Africa, a testimony of one of the oldest pastoral societies in the world. Here are depicted different animals: bovines, goats, sheep, dogs, snake, turtle, and also at least eight giraffes that are extinct here now. The site includes also paintings of humans with bow and arrows, one seems to be riding a horse. Many animals and people have white belts. Paintings were made from 5000 to 3000 BC.

Qa’ableh

Sanaag

Ruins of ancient town with numerous archaeological landmarks including purported tombs of former kings – megalithic stone settings.

Karin Heegan

Sanaag

Granitic hill with prehistoric rock art – more than 100 figures, mostly bovines, also goats, camels, three humans. Cave in the hill was inhabited roughly in 100 BC – 400 AD, but it is possible that drawings are older.

Sheikh

Togdheer

An ancient town with numerous historical structures that include interesting ancient temples.

Wargaade Wall

Bari

Ancient (possibly – 2000 years old) fortification wall built from dressed stones around Wargaade settlement, 230 by 210 m large. Abandoned after the coming of Islam.

Buur Heybe rock paintings (Gogoshiis Qabe)

Bay

Rock paintings and remnants of prehistoric settlements from the Middle and Late Stone Age. Here have been found skeletal remains of 14 people. Site is located at some 300 m tall granitic inselberg.

Jilib Rihin and Haadh rock art

Sanaag

Rock paintings of cattle and human. Interesting detail is white belt on them.

Architecture wonders

Merca

Shabeellaha Hoose

An ancient port city, established in the 5th century AD. Whitewashed buildings at the sea form picturesque skyline. Earlier city walls surrounded the historical center, fortified lighthouse – Jamia tower – rises above the city.

Barawa

Shabeellaha Hoose

A picturesque port city, founded in the 10th century AD or earlier. Its historical center consists of coral stone buildings with large windows, there are remnants of city walls. The city has a tradition of ornate handicrafts in local style.

Barawa, Somalia
Mogadishu Old City (Hamar Weyne)

Banaadir

The historical center of Mogadishu – an important port city since the 1st century AD or earlier. Old buildings are located at the ocean, forming an impressive waterfront, there are remnants of city walls.

Old Mogadishu
Maduna

Sanaag

Medieval city, founded in the 15th or 16th centuries. The old city includes several hundreds of drystone buildings, large mosque.

Fakr ad-Din Mosque

Banaadir

Old mosque in Mogadishu, built in 1269 from marble, coral stone and glazed tiles. Building has sophisticated design.

Taleh Fort

Sool

An enormous fortress, the former administrative center of Dervish state, constructed around a group of Dervish tombs. Constructed in 1910 – 1912.

Taleh Fort from above, Somalia
Gondershe

Banaadir

Seaside medieval port city with fortifications. Established in the 14th century AD or slightly later.

Las Khorey

Sanaag

This town contains ruins of fortress, palace (Sha’a) and other buildings from the 13th – 14th centuries, when it was the capital of Warsangali Sultanate.

Old Arba Rukun Mosque

Banaadir

Possibly the oldest mosque in Mogadishu, built in 1260. Its round tower rises 13.5 m tall and has been built from coral stone.

Amud Old City

Awdal

Ruins of an ancient city with ruins of hundreds of buildings, city walls. City flourished in the 15th – 16th century AD.

Botiala Fortress

Bari

Old, massive fortress rising above the Botiala town and port.

Almnara Tower

Banaadir

Massive tower in the center of Mogadishu, built in the 15th century. Structure served as a lighthouse and fortification tower.

Maydh

Sanaag

Ancient port town, home of Sheikh Isaaq in the 12th or 13th century AD. Contains tombs of ancient rulers.

El Ayo

Sanaag

An ancient coastal town, possible trade city in the times of Ancient Egypt and Greece. Town and its surroundings are rich with prehistoric burial cairns.

WorldYellow Recommended books

The Last Camel: True Stories of Somalia


THE LAST CAMEL is a collection of stories about the people who live in a little village in Northern Somalia. These are compelling tales about African spirits, clever women, untouchable Midgaans, sagacious elders who struggle with modern technology, bandits, and a few goats. The stories are embellished; each one illustrates a special aspect of Somali culture. The tales are told by a young American Peace Corps teacher who lived alone in the village of Arabsiyo in Northern Somalia in the late 60s.

Somalia tour


Africa has regained one of its giant nations in tourism. Somalia in tourism may sound outrageous to many outsiders, but the reality is that this once infamous land is now open for tourism, receiving a huge market. The popular war movie titled Black Hawk Down has effectively embedded a very disreputable stereotype in international media…


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