Animals and Plants
Which animals live in Somalia?
In Somalia, as in many other East African countries, there are many large wild animals. Elephants, giraffes, antelopes, leopards and lions or zebras are residents of the country – however, they only occur in the national parks where they are protected. Because not only people died in the civil war, but also animals. These often found no more areas of retreat. Today they are protected, but the stocks have to recover first. In the national park in Kismayu you can still see some of the East African animal species.
There are also many reptiles such as the Egyptian cobra, the African tree snake, the ordinary Mamba or spitting cobra. The Nile crocodile is native to the south of Somalia. Many other animal species can also be found in the national parks.
Bird species such as saddle storks, starlings or yellow-billed cocos find retreats. More than 700 species of birds have been counted in Somalia.
The naked mole rat is a special animal that shuns the daylight and lives primarily in Somalia, but also in Kenya and Ethiopia. He belongs to the family of sand diggers. The naked mole rat is about the size of a mouse, has incisor teeth and tiny eyes, but has big toes that it uses to dig. The way of life of these animals is very interesting because they have a queen who gives birth to all the little naked mole rats. It’s like being in a beehive.
What is growing in Somalia?
Somalia’s flora is not very varied. The north of Somalia is a semi-desert, here there are only isolated oases with palm trees and small bushes. Frankincense and myrrh bushes also grow on the mountain slopes. A thorn bush savanna spreads to the south, in which acacias thrive. In the dry savannah there is then again a denser shrub and grass growth. To get more information on Somalia and Africa, check diseaseslearning.
Overall, Somalia is a dry country and the desert is taking up more and more space. In the south there is a little more water, here are also the two major rivers of the country.
Livestock and bananas
Somalia is one of the poorest countries in the world and is dependent on help from abroad. In addition to the civil war, recurring flood and drought disasters meant that people were unable to provide themselves with essentials. Piracy off the coast is also a problem.
Many Somalis live as nomads by raising cattle. They take their camels, sheep and goats out, mostly to the Arabian Peninsula. This is an important source of income for people. Bananas are also used on a small scaleand dates running. Agriculture is mainly practiced in the south, where the Jubba and Shabelle rivers provide water. Corn and millet are grown for their own needs.
The Somaliland region is more stable than in the rest of the country. Although it has declared itself independent, it has not yet been recognized by the international community. In the former British colony of the same name, child mortality is lower, the level of education and medical care are better. The ports of this region are gaining in economic importance.
The following video gives you a small impression of what the Somaliland region looks like. The pictures come from the city of Hargeysa.
Eating in Somalia
Lots of influences
Somalia has always been a country where many influences have been mixed. As a transit point for traders, many influences came from abroad such as Yemen, Persia, India, but also Italy and Turkey. Depending on the location, the kitchen was also influenced accordingly.
The food regulations are Muslim, of course this also has an impact on Somali cuisine. So the Somalis do without pork and alcohol. And the meat has to be halal, which means pure or allowed.
Even if we list a few dishes here, you should know that in many regions the people are very poor and cannot eat very variedly. Many are starving. The civil war also left its consequences, because the cultivation of fruit and vegetables was neglected during this time and the herds of cattle were also greatly reduced.
A pancake for breakfast
A thin flatbread called Canjeero is typical of Somalia. Somalis also like to eat this bread, which is more reminiscent of a pancake, for breakfast. There is also goat liver or eggs in a tomato and onion sauce. In addition to the flatbread, there is also other bread or a variation of the canjeero called Malawax, which is much sweeter and greasy.
Rice dishes and a lot of meat
Rice is very popular in Somalia, especially Basmati rice. Somalis like to season their rice dishes with cumin, cardamom and cloves.
Meat is an important source of income and many Somalis roam the country with their herds of goats, sheep or camels. It is not easy for those who want to forego meat in Somalia. There are vegetables, but at most as an accompaniment to a meat dish. You can also buy vegetables at the markets in the larger cities.
Meat stews made from goat, beef, mutton or lamb are popular. Potatoes or vegetables are also added. These are then called maraq and they are usually served for lunch. This is also the most important meal of the day in Somalia.
Spaghetti and corn porridge
There is also spaghetti, the Italian cuisine sends its regards here. By the way, these spaghetti are called baasto in Somalia.
Also typical is a maize porridge, which is available in many African countries under different names. In Somalia it is called thrush. It is cooked with milk, butter and sugar.
Camel and goat milk is a popular drink. Milk is not just a drink, it is also an important food. You can get fed up with it when there is nothing else.
Cambuulo for dinner
A dish called Cambuulo is often served for dinner. These are boiled beans to which Somalis add butter and sugar. But dinner is not as important as lunch. Sometimes there are also filled dumplings with minced meat and chillies or fried dough balls.
Is there fish?
Although Somalia has such a long coastline, there is not very much fish. On the one hand, the fishermen often have problems pulling fish from the sea at all (compare also pirates), on the other hand, the fishermen are scary to the nomads in the interior and they do not particularly appreciate them. Even so, more fish is eaten near the sea than in the rest of the country.
And something sweet?
Children love Xalwo, which is a sweet candy made from jelly. Gashatoo is also popular, something sweet that involves grating coconuts and mixing them with oil, water, sugar and cardamom. This sweet is eaten everywhere in Somalia.