An Indian supermarket in Hargeisa. Entrepreneurs have come from all over the world to set up shop in Somaliland. Most of them go to Hargeisa and there’s a noticeable income disparity between the capital and the rest of the country.
Money is pouring into infrastructure. A few years ago, the drive from Ethiopia to Hargeisa was a grueling ten-hour ordeal over roads that turned from bad to nonexistent. Now most of the way is paved, cutting travel time nearly in half. There’s also a good road between Hargeisa and Berbera. The rest of the country is lagging behind and many places are only accessible with off-road vehicles or on the back of a camel. In the cities and towns, there are still many ruined buildings, their walls pockmarked by bullets. In Berbera, the rusted hulks of several sunken ships poke out of the water.
Most visitors come to Hargeisa first, either overland from Ethiopia or flying into the airport from other East African cities. The town center is all new and crowded with streetside markets, food stands, and colorfully painted trucks bringing in goods from all over East Africa. There is virtually no street crime and visitors are perfectly safe in daylight hours. The Somalis here are sick of war and don’t want trouble. Hurting the wrong person could lead to clan vengeance, setting of a cycle of vendettas and making Somaliland like the rest of Somalia.