Las Geel rock art in Somaliland.
Las Geel is an area near the capital of Somaliland, Hargeisa. It is famous for some of the best preserved rock art in Africa, dating back 9000-3000 years BC, set in several caves. Now for some people the prospect of visiting what is essentially an outdoor art gallery may not be that exciting, but the area itself is very beautiful and rugged.
Having spent a few days in Somaliland already I decided to visit Las Geel. Technically your supposed to bring your own security guard for protection, which I did, but have heard reports that you can visit without one, but may run into problems in the area with local security. Anyway the guard only costs 20 dollars and is kind of fun to have around, and also doubles as a tour guide for the area.
Hiking up the small escarpment you arrive at the first cave, covered in paintings depicting cows and other animals. The caves were apparently used in the past as cover when it was raining, and the herders painted the art when using as shelter. The reason so many cows are portrayed is related to the area being used heavily for grazing them in the past.
Moving onto some more caves in Las Geel, the most impressive being a massive overhang with great views, you can see more of the rock art and generally soak up the ambience of the place. In the heat of the day it’s good to go slow and appreciate your surroundings.
Las Geel is a snakes paradise, with all the rocks and caves to hide in, and rodents for food running around. One’s mind does tend to think before stepping around certain rocks that could be good cover for them!
Visiting Las Geel is worth it, if anything just for the surrounding area, the paintings being an added bonus. And for people into neolithic paintings, well it’s obviously a must see site! Although I don’t personally know many neolithic fanatics 😉