Somaliland is a self-declared state but largely regarded to be an autonomous region of Somalia. Located on the southern coast of the Gulf of Aden. It is bordered by the rest of Somalia to the east, Djibouti to the northwest, and Ethiopia to the south and west. The country was ruled by dictator Mohammad Barre for over twenty years until the outbreak of the Somali Civil War in the late 1980’s. The war caused the death of tens of thousands of Somalilanders, many were killed by the Siad Barre regime due to their tribal affiliations. the region suffered extensive damage to its economy and infrastructure during the Somali civil war and is still recovering today: it’s not uncommon to see burnt out tanks and vehicles on the sides of the road and buildings damaged by bullets and artillery. The republic is a member of the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization, an advocacy group whose members consist of indigenous peoples, minorities and unrecognised or occupied territories.
The republic is rich in sights and locations, from stunning African beaches to camel markets and the fascinating scenes of the local money changers with their twenty foot high stacks of cash are a sight to behold. The country is a safer way to see Somalia and use as a location for a war torn, African country.
Security situation in Somaliland:
Whilst Somaliland is considerably safer compared to Somalia itself, this is a poverty stricken country with an 80% unemployment rate so there is a low level of crime, petty theft and a lack of basic services. Somaliland and Puntland territorial claims overlap and the border region between them is a conflict zone and is not safe for travel. As always, knowing a little of the local language or having an interpreter can go a long way when requesting information should you wish to learn about the surrounding area. As an extra precaution when travelling outside of the major cities, the local government requires that foreign travellers be accompanied by an armed SPU guard (Special Protection Unit).
Access for filmmakers and journalists in Somaliland:
Getting into Somaliland requires a visa which is thankfully not difficult to get, the Somaliland embassy in London can issue a visa. The whole process is thankfully non-bureaucratic and can be done via post, which makes London the most convenient place to get a visa for travellers who live in Europe or want to obtain a visa before travelling to the region. Pioneer Media have been operating in the region for the past four years and through our mixture of on the ground contacts we can guarantee entry permits, journalist and film permits as well as access to local fixers. We will deal with all the bureaucracy and entrance applications on the ground. Similarly, we can arrange film logistics within the country at ease. Staff and translators can be found for very affordable rates.