Car Hire in Hargeisa
Hargeisa is the capital of the Republic of Somaliland, or the autonomous region of Somalia. Car hire in Hargeisa is limited as there are few facilities that provide short-term rentals to individuals. Most visitors use taxis or hire a private driver. Visitors looking to rent a car in Hargeisa can use locally owned and operated businesses such as Goud Motors, Garas Motors, and Caalami Motors. Car rental in Hargeisa is restricted to one-way rentals and crossing borders is discouraged.
Car Hire at Hargeisa Airport
Egal International Airport (HGA) is Hargeisa’s local airport, with daily international flights. There are no options for car rental in Hargeisa’s only airport. Visitors will need to take a taxi to the city centre or arrange with the rental company in Hargeisa for an airport pickup.
Driving in Hargeisa
While Hargeisa is not known for tourist attractions, visitors will find the city does offer many restaurants, internet cafes, tea shops and shopping malls. Visitors who rent a car in Hargeisa will need to be careful when driving around. Traffic congestion is common in the city, as there are more cars than the infrastructure can cope with. Roads are shared with large SUVs, minibus and donkey carts. Drivers should be wary of the lack of traffic signs and traffic lights in the city. The main roads are paved, however many of the smaller roads and alleys are still dirt. Drivers may want to take this into account when choosing which type of vehicle to rent. Police will sometimes assist in directing traffic, so pay special attention when they are present, as their directions will supersede other traffic rules.
Whether you hire a car in Hargeisa to drive yourself or get a private driver, you will also need to hire a Special Police Unit member or SPU. SPU members are essentially bodyguards and mandatory for visitors travelling outside of the city. Most importantly, visitors need to note that cars in Somaliland are right-hand drive and that you must drive on the left.
Parking in Hargeisa
Parking is usually directly in front of buildings; however, it’s common to double park in Hargeisa. Drivers need to be cautious when parking anywhere they could be blocked in. Visitors should stick to designated car parking sites and most car parks are free.
Where to Go and What to See in Hargeisa
If you use a car hire in Hargeisa, you can easily take a quick day trip to the UNESCO World Heritage Site, Laas Geel, roughly an hour east of Hargeisa. Laas Geel has some of the world’s oldest and best-preserved rock art, dating back to 9000 BC. The seaside town of Berbera, a two-hour drive north to the Gulf of Aden, is another popular day excursion. The road to Berbera is somewhat rough, but once there, travellers can visit the shipwrecks found along the coast or simply enjoy the famous beaches. Travellers who hire cars in Hargeisa will also be able to visit the nearby camel market just on the outskirts of the city. Camels are somewhat revered in Somaliland and can sell for upwards of the equivalent of thousands of pounds.