Drinking in Danger - Mogadishu: how to relax in the world's most precarious places

If it’s recommendations on drinking alcohol in Somalia you’re looking for, let’s make this easy for you: you’ll be lucky to find any and probably dead if you do. 

Firstly, you’ll be lucky to find any because 99.8% of Somalis are Muslim, sharia law is the basis for all Somali legislation and sharia is historically ingrained in the culture. The history of Islam in Somalia dates back to before the religion was even officially founded when the Prophet Muhammed encouraged some of his oppressed followers in the Middle East to flee across the Red Sea. 


The places in our "Drinking in Danger" series have been placed on the Canadian government's "avoid all travel" list. This does not mean that you shouldn't visit as the perceived danger is often very different from the reality on the ground. Other cities in the series:

Always devout, life in Somalia has become even more so since last year when all Christian celebrations were outlawed. No turning water into wine then. Not that it mattered much as it was estimated that there were under 100 Christians in the country 10 years ago and likely fewer now. 

The lack of other religion aside, all food served in Somalia is halal, thus eliminating alcohol and pork anyway. 

If you are lucky enough to find a drink, you might be dead before you get to enjoy it. The various militant groups and warlords vying for control of the country, firstly, won’t let you drink alcohol, secondly, are extremely violent and, thirdly, will likely kill you anyway just for being foreign. 

So if you’re in Mogadishu, don’t drink alcohol and don’t walk outside without bodyguards. But do drink the local spiced tea made of cardamom and cinnamon and taste the wide variety of regional Somali cuisines. 

Check out The Village, a restaurant opened in 2008 by a Somali-born Londoner, but be careful - it is targeted by the militias and on several occasions has been rocked by bombs and suicide bombers. There’s also Abdille Nuradin’s Bar which has had equally explosive experiences to the Village. Even if you’re at a hotel that caters to tourists, you have a large chance of getting kidnapped.

Basically, you can’t really relax in Mogadishu. Maybe try heading down to one of the beaches and hang in the breeze with the fishermen. 

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