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Somalia: Jazeera Beach

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Jazeera Beach | Somalia | Africa

[Visited: December 2014]

What better to do on a hot afternoon than to drive south of Mogadishu, and head to the beach? On the way on the dirt road, we pass the wreck of an airplane that was shot by Al Shabaab just before landing, carrying African Union soldiers. The wreck has been taken apart; the useful elements have been removed, and it takes a second look before you start to recognize parts of the fuselage, the wings, and the cabin. Yet another reminder how important, and fragile, safety is. We see rows of orange sand dunes, pass some man-made salt pans, before we arrive at the sea. After we walk through a restaurant, which has a feel it has not been used in a while, we step on a beach of white sand.

Picture of Jazeera Beach (Somalia): The small rocky islet with old white mosque in swimming distance from the beach of Jazeera

On our left, we see a lovely small fishing village at the end of a small bay. Ahead, across shallow waters, a small rocky island, on which we see a white mosque, that my guide assures me is very old. It must also be this islet after which the beach and village are named, jazeera meaning island in Arabic. We first take a refreshing swim, and the water feels much nicer than I had imagined, even though there is some seaweed through which you have to make your way. It is tempting, of course, to swim to the mosque, but we still have other things planned for later that afternoon. Instead, we charter one of the fishing boats, and go for a ride, passing the mosque - unfortunately, the door on the stairway is closed. We pass another islet where someone seems to have planned construction, and turn around at the fishing village, passing the two islets on the ocean side, before coming back to the beach.

Picture of Jazeera Beach (Somalia): Small, old mosque on the rocky islet off Jazeera beach

While the beaches in the city attract a crowd, Jazeera beach is completely empty. Looking south, I see a wide beach, and equally white sand dunes rising from the shore towards the west. I am, therefore, surprised that when we come back from our short excursion, a few locals have arrived, and have set up a shaky table with handicrafts made from shells, turtle shell, and lobster. One of them speaks Italian and tries to convince me that his pockets are empty and that I need to buy something. But I don't want to: not only are all these things forbidden; moreover, I would not buy them even if it was allowed. He smiles, saying that I can then at least buy fresh lobster? Still, I walk away with one of the necklaces around my head - a gift from the sister-in-law of the guide who has accompanied us on our visit, and which will serve as a souvenir of my visit to this peaceful beach, not even an hours's drive from the city.

Picture of Jazeera Beach (Somalia): Sea, beach, and desert seen from a small boat on the sea off Jazeera beach
Picture of Jazeera Beach (Somalia): Jazeera fishing village seen from the beach
Picture of Jazeera Beach (Somalia): The beach at Jazeera is a long empty stretch of sand

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