Livestock market

Owners marking their camels.

Hargeisa doesn’t have much in the way of sights, but one that is definitely worth seeing is the livestock market. Located about a 20 minute walk from the main drag, it takes place daily in the morning, and it is best to go early to see the most animals and activity.

As I have mentioned before, the livestock trade is the backbone of the Somaliland economy. Most of the livestock are sent to the port of Berbera, where they are exported to the Middle East. At the Hargeisa livestock market, animals are traded for both domestic use and export.

The market is a large open dirt plot, with a handful of shelters.  Essentially, it is just a gathering of animals and people under the hot beating sun. There are a couple crowds of docile camels that just stand there with their camel perma-smiles and occasionally get herded around by their owner.

The owner of the camels welcomed us to have our photo taken with his animals. In doing so, we soon attracted a crowd of curious Somali observers, so that we were soon squeezed in between a crowd of camels on one side and a crowd of people on the other side.

Also for sale are goats, sheep, and a handful of cows. Although there is lots of open space in the market, the owners keep their herds together in a dense little pack, so you will come across a cluster of twenty goats huddled closely together as if they were packed into a small room.

The price of the camel depends on the sex of the camel, its age, its size, and its state of health; an average adult male camel will cost $800. Goats cost between $50 and $100 dollars. We left without buying anything!

Like a goat night club.

Like a goat night club.

A crowd of camels - for sale!

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