Despite being a land rich in culture and natural beauty, Somalia has been plagued by war, drought, and extreme poverty. Somalia is located on the coast of the Horn of Africa where it borders Ethiopia and the Samali Sea. Most Western nations, including the U.S., advise against traveling to this East Africa nation because the risk of kidnappings remains high. Nevertheless, travel once thrived in Somalia and it may again. If you have the opportunity to visit safely, you’ll want to enjoy its most renowned attractions.

01Mogadishu

MOGADISHU, SOMALIA

Mogadishu is the capital of Somalia, founded during the 10th century. Many of its medieval structures, such as its mosques and tombs, can still be viewed. Today, this port is Somalia’s most populous city. Some of its most celebrated attractions include Liido Beach, Mogadishu Cathedral, Bakara Market, the Governor’s House, and Gezira Beach. Many parts of the city have been ravaged by civil war, but renovation is in progress.

02Lag Badana-Bushbush Park

Lesser kudu make their home in the national park. mlharing / Getty Images

The Lag Badana-Bushbush Park is famous for its tropical splendor and lush landscapes. Located on the coast, the park is filled with coconut groves, coral reefs, and postcard-worthy islands. Many rare animals make their home here, including the lesser kudu and lions. The park is also home to a wide array of regional plant species, making this a rich area that’s important to experts worldwide.

03Xaafuun

The enchanting coast of Somalia. HomoCosmicos / Getty Images

Also known as Hafun, Xaafuun is located on the coast of the Guardafui Channel. In the past, it was an important trade post. Archaeologists have found Mycenaean pottery that dates to the 16th century BCE. One of the highlights of the town aside from its dazzling coastal views is its historic fort. If you’re visiting the area, be sure to explore the area’s magnificent headlands.

04Laas Geel

A prehistoric cave painting of Laas Geel. HomoCosmicos / Getty Images

The site of Laas Geel is located on the outskirts of Hargeisa on the Somali disputed area of Somaliland. The cave formations of Laas Geel feature some of the earliest cave paintings located on the Horn of Africa. The rock art may date to 9,000 BCE, according to archaeologists. The cave paintings are especially vivid and depict scenes of cattle and giraffes. With its prehistoric tunnels and caves, the site is a glimpse into a far distant past.

05Iskushuban

Iskushuban Abdirisak at English Wikipedia

Located in the northern region of Somalia, Iskushuban is an ancient settlement complemented by Islamic fortifications and a nearby lake. Its seasonal waterfalls and desert landscapes are a major regional attraction, so if you’re visiting the Horn of Africa, this port town is a must-visit destination. Be sure to explore its dust-strewn fortifications that are in ruins but remain utterly enchanting.

06Berbera

The port town of Berbera.

Berbera is a port town that has long been a center for trade, connecting Somali traders with Phoenicians, Egyptians, ancient Greeks, and Parthian Persians. Today, Berbera is contested between Somaliland and Somalia. Its deep port is important for the region’s commerce. Berbera features a wide array of attractions such as its picturesque port, Baathela Beach, a NASA runway, and the nearby outpost of Dubar Springs.

Vidas Pocius / Getty Images

07Lamadaya Waterfalls

Don't miss a view of the Lamadaya Falls. DavorLovincic / Getty Images

Picture-perfect Lamadaya is a stunning natural attraction of Somalia. Its main attractions are its waterfalls and the deep plunge pools below them. Visitors to the park typically set off from the town of Ulheed. As one of the region's most-celebrated natural attractions, the falls are a not-to-miss destination.

08Kismayo National Park

Wild boar make their home at Kismayo National Park. Joesboy / Getty Images

Kismayo National Park is renowned for its natural beauty. It’s located in the southwest region of Somalia and is home to East African game like leopards, lions, wild boar, antelopes, and zebras. As the region grows stable, wildlife safaris may yet again thrive in the region. If you’re searching for a place to enjoy an outdoor adventure of the eco-tour variety, consider a visit here.

09Naasa Hablood

One of the conical hills of Naasa Hablood. muendo / Getty Images

Naasa Hablood is a major natural attraction of Somalia. It features twin hills that are situated outside the city of Hargeisa. The peaks have long been popular with tourists as well as locals. The hills are famed for their distinctively conical shape, so if you’re visiting the region, these unusual features are worth checking out.

10Zeila

Old mosque in Zeila. Retlaw Snellac Photography / Flickr

Located in lands disputed between Somalia and Somaliland, Zeila is, nevertheless, an important attraction of the region. The town is located on the Gulf of Aden and features ruins of Islamic palaces and colonial structures. The coastal waters are dotted with the decaying wreckage of ships. The port city is now mostly devoid of any infrastructure as well as many former residents who have fled because of civil war. However, the people who remained make their living through local trade and fishing.