One hour and a half drive from West Hargeisa, the sunlight beams through the aperture of the adjacent mountainous city, that is the ‘Daaqada Borama’ -- The Window of Borama. Borama is a striking, scenic, and green city where the famous Somali poet exhorts those with weary eyes to watch its beauty, “Indhihii Basaasow Borama Ma Aragteen?” - “To the tired, worn out eyes, have you ever seen Borama?
Borama is the capital city of Awdal region in northwestern Somaliland and the second largest city in the country. The city is surrounded by undulating hills, lofty mountains, and magnificent valleys, and a people so connected with its marvelous nature from which they seek solace. Many people spend afternoons on the top of the hills and small mountains, enjoying the sunset with a Somali fragrant tea flavored with local herbs and ginger. On a picnic, families spend a whole day in valleys where children explore and play in the ravines; teens make their way across the valley and climb the towering mountain, while the adults prepare food and snacks - mainly roasted lamb.
At the entrance of the city lies the SAW hotel, a big and modernized hotel named after the majestic mountain nearby. There is a lot of satisfaction in watching the beauty of the sunset behind the great SAW Mountain, while enjoying your Salool (popcorn and local coffee) and bun in the well-decorated garden of the hotel.
In the Western part of the city, you can visit Darey Macaane Valley which means ‘The Organic and Sweet’. The valley edges brightly colored orange and banana trees. In the summer, many locals and tourists from different regions of the horn visit Darey Macaane, you find people laying down under the cool shade of trees while enjoying fruits right off the trees. Others would rather play and swim through the soft streaming waters, flowing over the bright stones along the valley and eventually resting on a bed of large gray rocks.
Source: google photos
One of the most beautiful spots in Borama is Seeraha, an evergreen range of fields in the city with a rich history. The local authorities at Borama have been protecting it for decades. You will understand why it is preserved by the local people when you bask in the vast greenery of the place, it is wild and untouched.
Seeraha is also every tourist’s first visit. Many tourist agencies have set up shop - Dalaxiidoon. If one would want to discover this place for days it is advised to stay at hotels like Safari Hotel and Rays Hotel, the most famous ones for visitors from the horn.
The local cultures and customs are influenced by Borama in many ways, because of the hidden benefits of connecting with nature, the local people of Borama live a simple and plain life. For visitors, this births a humbling experience when encountering the hospitality and generosity of its people.
Locals are always well dressed in a modish way. It is well known that locals of the city are Somalis’s most cultured people too. The city itself is considered a university city. It is a campus to some of the oldest universities in Somaliland, including Amoud University, Eelo university, Admas University college, and more, home to many intellectuals and knowledge seekers.
Somalis have a shared cultural value that bonded them, but after the civil wars and the collapse of the Somali republic decades ago, every city in Somaliland and generally Somalia has experienced war. People fled from their homes, and most of the cities were destroyed. Social Cohesion was lost. Somaliland’s breaking away from Somalia has been kismet for the Somalilanders to convalesce and heal from the destruction and secure stability. It takes a big effort to resuscitate and stabilize social life, and everything around it. Borama’s elders, elites, and poets are highly lauded for contributing to the peace and keenness among Somali societies.
Amoud University was established in Borama as the first public higher institute in Somaliland, years after the crumple. It is been named after the beautiful valley of its neighbors. People of Borama’s establishment of Amoud University as "a vehicle of peace and development" was hopeful for the young Somalis in the horn, giving them the confidence that despite the disintegration there is a birth of a new path. Amoud University has served as a vehicle of peace in the region. After decades of its establishment, many young ambitious Somalis from all over the horn come to Borama to pursue their studies.
Amoud University Source: Amoud University Facebook page
In Borama, a common occurrence is seeing a mother graduate with her son, a token of women's huge contribution to the development. Here, spreading peace and love is valued, and despite the urban splurge nature remains sacred. This is where hotels, hospitals, and schools are encircled by the serenity of nature, where people find romance in mountain climbing and walking the valleys, and where every Somali feels at home.
The most honest and attractive stories that any Somali that ever visited Borama will admit is how they find solace in the splendor life of the city and the geniality and friendliness of the locals.