As I am sure many of you are aware YPT are now in the third year of running tours to the unrecognized state, the Republic of Somaliland.
So, what is Somaliland? Is Somaliland the same as Somalia? And can you say you’ve been to Somalia if you visit Somaliland? The YPT geniuses are here to answer these questions!
What is Somaliland?
Somaliland, or as it is officially known the Republic of Somaliland is a completely unrecognized state (as in no UN nation recognizes it), that declared independence following the Federal Republic of Somalia’s descent into being what is now known as a failed state back in 1991. Somaliland roughly comprises what was formerly known as the British Somaliland Protectorate, that was briefly independent as the State of Somaliland, before being incorporated into the Somali Republic. Following so far?
Is Somaliland the same as Somalia?
Yes, and no. Dejure Somaliland does not exist, it is a part of Somalia, and on all official maps you will only see the Somali Republic, not the Republic of Somaliland, but then you have defacto. Somaliland defacto exists as a functioning fairly well run state, where ironically Somalia, the country largely does not function at al. Also whilst they are ethnically the same, they had a large period apart from each other, and are both in many ways culturally unique.
Can you say you have been to Somalia if you have been to Somaliland?
This is a GREAT question, and it depends massively on your view on things. If you are chasing the 193 UN member states, then it WOULD count, the same way that visiting Abkhazia, or South Ossetia count as visiting Georgia, or Nagorno-Karabakh counts as visiting Azerbaijan, BUT if you follow the YPT rules of what counts as visiting a country, or people like the 100 club, then it would not. The Republic of Somaliland is Somaliland, and the Somali Republic is Somalia.
Is it safe and should I visit?
Compared to Somalia, Somaliland is a functioning state that is much safer than the Somali Republic, or a number of other “real” countries in the region. That being said, due-diligence and proper planning should always be done in this part of the world. As for if you should visit Somaliland? We certainly think so, and it is one of the main parts of our yearly Africa schedule.