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Somalia - Facts

Formal Name: Somali Democratic Republic.
Short Form: Somalia.
Term for Citizen: Somali (pl., Somalis).
Capital: Capital: Mogadishu.
Independence: 1 July 1960 (from a merger of British Somaliland, which became independent from the UK on 26 June 1960, and Italian Somaliland, which became independent from the Italian-administered UN trusteeship on 1 July 1960, to form the Somali Republic).
Foundation of the Somali Republic: 1 July (1960); note - 26 June (1960) in Somaliland.
Constitution: 25 August 1979, presidential approval 23 September 1979.
Area: 640565 square kilometers with 3,025 kilometers coastline.
Topography: Flat plateau surfaces and plains predominate; principal exception rugged east-west ranges in far north that include Shimbir Berris, highest point at 2,407 meters.
Population: 8.7 million (UN, 2007)
Languages: Somali (official), Arabic, Italian, English & Indigenous languages include various dialects of Afar and Boni.
Religion: Islam mainly Sunni Muslim
Flag: Light blue with a large white five-pointed star in the center; blue field influenced by the flag of the UN.
Anthem: Soomaaliyeey Toosoow, Somalia, Wake Up.
Ethnic Groups: Overwhelming majority of nationals ethnic Somalis; and two agricultural clan-families (Digil and Rahanwayn).
Currency: Currency: Somali shilling (No central bank so various currencies are used, including the Somaliland shilling).
Climate: Principally desert; northeast monsoon (December to February), moderate temperatures in north and hot in south; southwest monsoon (May to October), torrid in the north and hot in the south, irregular rainfall.
Education and Literacy: United Nations estimate shows 24 percent literacy rate in 1990.
Exports: $300 million f.o.b. (2006), main export commodities are-livestock, bananas, hides, fish, charcoal, scrap metal.
Imports: $798 million f.o.b. (2006) mainl import commodities are- manufactures, petroleum products, foodstuffs, construction materials, qat.
Ports and terminals: Berbera, Kismaayo
Time difference: UTC+3 (8 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)


Travel Facts

Natural Features: Mostly flat to undulating plateau rising to hills in north Much of the country is arid, there are severe droughts.
Rainy Seasons: March to June and between September and December
Accommodation: In the main cities of Mogadishu and Hargeysa there are international standard hotels. There are also hotels in Afgoi, Berbera, Borama, Burao, Kismayu and Marka. Tourist and hunting lodges exist in national parks at Lac Badana and Bush-Bush as well as in other areas.

Getting There:
Air: The national carrier is Somali Airlines while Mogadishu (MGQ), 6km west of the city bearing the same name is the international airport
Road: There are routes to Somalia from Djibouti and Kenya. There is no border crossing with Ethiopia at present.
Sea: The principal ports are Mogadishu, Kismayu, Berbera and Marka. The Norwegian American Line operates a passenger service to Mogadishu

Travel Around:
Air: Somali Airlines runs regular services to all major towns.
Road: Traffic drives on the right. It is however difficult to travel outside Mogadishu by car.
Sea and Lakes: Coastal shipping is an important form of transport, both socially and economically.

Driving: Internationl Driving Permit required.
Passport and Visa: Required by all. Passport validity: For tourist travel passports must be valid 6 months after departure, for business travel passports must be valid 12 months beyond intended length of stay. This does not apply to holders of South African passports. Visas: Required, but NOT by the following: (1) For tourist or business visits by: (a) Citizens of United Kingdom. (b) Citizens of Australia, Austria, Belgium, British Virgin Islands, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Ireland Rep, Italy, Japan, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland & United States. (2) For tourist or business visits up to 90 days by nationals of Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Ecuador, Israel, Jamaica, Malta, Paraguay, St. Helena, Swaziland, Uruguay & Venezuela. (3) For tourist or business visits up to 30 days by nationals of Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Belize, Benin, Bolivia, Botswana, Cape Verde, Costa Rica,, Cyprus, Gabon, Guyana, (Hong Kong British National Overseas Passport, Hong Kong Certificates of Identity only) Hungary, Jordan, Korea (South), Lesotho, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritius, Mexico, Namibia, Peru, Seychelles, Singapore, Slovakia, Thailand, Turkey (Turkish Republic of North Cyprus passport not acceptable) & Zambia. Notes: (1) All persons must be of sound mind and body, have a clear record as far as certain criminal offenses are concerned, have sufficient funds to support himself for a reasonable period after arrival and be in possession of return/onward tickets and proof of departure from South Africa.
Recommended Immunisation: Diphtheria, hepatitis A, hepatitis B, malaria, menangitis, polio,TB, tetanus, typhoid, yellow fever. Recommended in some circumstances, seek further advice.
Compulsory Vaccination: Yellow fever certificate if arriving from infected areas.

International Dialing Code: 252
International Radios: BBC KHz : (datime) 17885, 11940, 9770, (evening) 21470,11940, 6005
Business Hours: Government offices are open from 0800 to 1400 Saturday to Thursday. Banks are open from 0800 to 1130 Saturday to Thursday.
Weekly Days Off: Sunday, Monday
Public Holidays: Labour Day (May 1) , Labour Day (May 1), Independence for the Somalia Repbulic (July 1), New Year`s Day (Jan 1), Independence of Somali Land (June 26), Eid -al-Fitre,Eid-al-Arifa,Hijira Ashura (Variable)

Last Updated on Wednesday 19th January 2011