Flights to Kisimayo
In the south of Somalia, Kisimayo is the third-largest city in the country. It is right on the coast and does have a decent supply of basic services for travellers. As a major port city, Kisimayo is more geared towards industry rather than tourism and you will not find very many attractions. The infrastructure is not great so this would only be a good destination for more adventurous travellers who are fine being independent. Travelling to Kisimayo in groups would be advisable.
Getting a flight to Kisimayo may be a challenge as there are no operating airports near Kisimayo, and even the main Aden-Adde International Airport (airport code: MGQ) in Mogadishu has no commercial service at this time. You can only get flights to Kisimayo that arrive at the K50 Airport. It is over 400km away and only one airline, Daallo Airlines, has flights coming from Nairobi or Djibouti. To get to either of these cities from South Africa, you can fly with Kenya Airways, South African Airways or Air Botswana.
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The Tourist Attractions of Kisimayo:
You will need to speak either Somali or Arabic to be understood in Kisimayo, and the city is strictly Islamic. Modest dress is a must and other cultural restrictions should be respected (no drinking of alcohol, for example).
As mentioned, Kisimayo isn’t much of a city for tourists. There are several Western-style hotels for accommodations and a mix of restaurants for dining. Several mosques are quite old but there are no specifically historic sites in Kisimayo. But even just seeing the residents going about their business, particularly in the market areas can be interesting due to the diverse population of people who live in this city.
There are some public buses for transport around the city but a rental car would likely be more comfortable as well as convenient.
Lag Badana-Bushbush National Park
Farther south along the coast from Kisimayo, near the border with Kenya, is the Lag Badana-Bushbush National Park. Across the border, the park continues as the Boni National Reserve. Some parts of the park are forested but most is open grassland. There aren’t reliable tourist services or staff at the park so you are free to explore the area on your own. Many African animals are found in the area, including buffalo, wild dogs, warthogs, hippos and the occasional elephant.
You may not think of beaches when you think of Somalia, but the coastal location of Kisimayo gives it some gorgeous sandy stretches of beach. They are usually deserted as it is not a popular pastime with the residents to just go to the beach to sunbathe.
When Should You Visit?:
The weather is Kisimayo is extremely consistent through the year and you’ll find that most months are the same as the others in terms of climate. It is generally around 30C (86F) in the daytime, with little variation. It will get a couple degrees hotter in March and April, and then a couple degrees cooler in July and August. It seldom rains in Kisimayo so you will have extremely dry weather no matter when you go.