How to take local transport from Ethiopia to Somaliland
If you’ve been traveling in Ethiopia, Harar may be the last stop for you if you’re planning to visit Hargeisa in Somaliland too. We recently took this overland journey from Ethiopia to Somaliland and here is all the information you need to know to take local transport from Harar to Hargeisa.
On the way to the border of Ethiopia and Somaliland
Complete Guide on how to get from Ethiopia to Somaliland
We stayed at Harari Traditional House in Harar, Ethiopia which we’d highly recommend. The location is good, the rooms are clean and comfortable and the young girl there speaks good English. We were planning to get from Ethiopia to Somaliland overland in a day.
From this location (in the Old Town), walking time is about 5-10 minutes through the markets and the medina to reach the busy bus stop. This place is a little hectic, with lots of minivans going to different places, everyone bartering for you to get in their van etc. Find one guy and ask him to direct you to the next van going to the town of Jigiga. This is the first part of your journey from Ethiopia to Somaliland.
1. Ethiopia to Somaliland – First bus – Harar to Jigiga
Tell them you’re heading to Jigiga. Minivan costs about 50 birrs per seat (we each had a small 40L backpack that they strapped to the roof, but just keep eye on it). We paid a little extra for that, a seat is normally around 30 birr. Use your haggling skills so you don’t get ripped off. The journey takes about 1.5 – 2 hours.
2. Ethiopia to Somaliland – Second Bus – Jigiga to Wadaje
Change minivan in Jigiga town. This is the second step of Ethiopia to Somaliland journey. Tell them you’re going to Wadaje, the border town. This journey costs 150 birrs for 2 people or 75 each ($2.50). The journey takes 1.5 hours – it’s a straight road, very easy. Once you reach Wadaje, you jump out of the van, lots of small tuk-tuks are waiting there to drive you the 3 min to the actual crossing. The third type of transport to reach Ethiopia to Somaliland border crossing.
We paid the driver 10 birrs each ((30c) to drop us there and he was happy with that. There is a small building on the left-hand side where you go in and show the man your passport, he will stamp you out of Ethiopia. Walk 2 minutes over the border, it’s very busy, lots of trash etc.
3. Crossing the border on foot – Ethiopia to Somaliland border
There is a big building on the right-hand side, just after you see the ‘Welcome to Somaliland’ painted sign. Enter here and show your passport. The border guard will take your photo, that’s it. We asked here if we could have purchased our visa at the border, he said no – it must be done beforehand. We got our visa for Somaliland in Adis Ababa, Ethiopia.
Welcome to Somaliland – Crossing the border
4. From the border of Ethiopia to Hargeisa in Somaliland
From here, guys will approach you and offer a private taxi to Hargeisa (1.5 hr drive to the capital of Somaliland) for a total of USD $30. He wouldn’t budge on the price, perhaps we could have got him down to $25. We chose to take a minivan as this is the most common local transport from Harar to Hargeisa.
This is your final transport for your Ethiopia to Somaliland journey and border crossing.
These are also parked just outside and they depart when they fill up which seems to be quite regular. We paid 200 birrs each (still Ethiopian currency) or about $6.50 each. I guess you could have paid in USD too.
5. Where to stay in Hargeisa, Somaliland
We passed seven checkpoints on this part of the journey. The guards looked inside the van and each time, both Marty and I were required to show our passport and our Somaliland visa to the guard. Finally, our driver dropped us at our hotel in Hargeisa – The Oriental Hotel. The end of our Ethiopia to Somaliland overland journey.
The Oriental Hotel in Hargeisa, Somaliland
Oriental hotel is in a good location, downtown. Single rooms $15. Double rooms are $30. We bargained him down to $25 per night with breakfast included in the rate. The hotel is old and the rooms are basic, but they’re clean.
Downtown Hargeisa is a busy place – this is the view from the balcony of our room.
The twin beds were good, very hard. The wifi was in and out, quite unreliable. There are not many budget hotels in Hargeisa to choose from, yet this hotel was fine for a few days.
Have you done the overland trip between Ethiopia to Somaliland recently? Has anything changed? Let us know in the comments.
Rach is a self-confessed travelling foodie. Her passion for food and culture has seen her eat her way through 187 countries. She's currently on a big food adventure to visit EVERY country in the world!
When Rach isn't travelling, you can find her at the beach, drinking coffee or wine with friends or chowing down on the best eats around her home city of Melbourne, Australia.