In Somalia, a country located in the so-called Horn of Africa, the climate is tropical, hot all year round, and generally dry.
Precipitation is generally scarce, typical of a desert or semi-desert climate in vast areas, while the wettest areas are occupied by the savannah. The driest areas are the northern coast, where annual rainfall drops to around 50 millimeters (2 inches) per year, and the north-east, where it remains under 200 mm (8 in). On the other hand, the rainiest areas are the northwest, where lies the extreme offshoot of the Ethiopian Highlands, and precipitation reaches 500 mm (20 in) per year because of the altitude (see Hargeisa), and the south-west, where it even exceeds 500 mm (20 in) per year in the hilly interior (see Baidoa).
The rains occur in two periods, which are caused by the zenith passages of the sun, from March to late May (the Gu) and from October to early December (the Dayr). Typically, the wettest months are April-May and October-November, but there are some exceptions: on the northern coast, where it rains very little, in practice even these months remain dry; in the southern part of the coast, crossed by the Equator (see Mogadishu), the second rainy season in practice is not felt, while even July is quite rainy.
However, the rains in Somalia are quite irregular from year to year, they usually occur in the form of short showers and thunderstorms, and given the aridity of the soil, which has difficulty absorbing water, when they are more intense than usual they can give rise to flash floods. This usually happens in the south, in the valleys of the two main rivers, Juba and Shabelle, in the rainy season of Gu, and until July (therefore from March to July), but sometimes even in the north, when the albeit rare tropical cyclones reach the area (see below).
During summer the northern part of Somalia is affected by the southwest monsoon, which is characterized by currents heading to the Arabian Peninsula. However, since the winds blow from the dry inland areas, they do not produce special effects in Somalia, except for the passage of some cloud banks over the area.

The north coast

On the north coast, overlooking the Gulf of Aden, the climate is desert, characterized by hot and muggy winters and very hot summers, when the temperature can reach 45 °C (113 °F). The wind from the desert, especially in summer, can lift up clouds of dust. The rains are very rare and sporadic, and amount to approximately 50 mm (2 in) per year.
Here are the average temperatures of Bosaso (formerly Bender Cassim).
Bosaso - Average temperatures
Min (°C)212122242631323028222120
Max (°C)293031343741414039333029
Min (°F)707072757988908682727068
Max (°F)8486889399106106104102918684

On the northern coast the sun shines all year round; however, in summer some cloud banks can reach the area, as part of the aforementioned monsoon. Here are the sunshine hours per day in Berbera, in the western part of the coast.
Berbera - Sunshine

Beach in Somaliland

Northern mountains

In the northern mountainous areas, the climate is milder because of the altitude.


In Hargeisa, located in the northwest at 1,300 meters (4,250 feet) above sea level, at night it can get cold in winter, when the minimum temperatures may drop below 5 °C (41 °F), from November to March. Daytime temperatures are pleasant in winter, while in the summer months they are acceptable, since they hover around 30 °C (86 °F).
Here are the average temperatures.
Hargeisa - Average temperatures
Min (°C)121315171818171717151312
Max (°C)242729293131292931282624
Min (°F)545559636464636363595554
Max (°F)758184848888848488827975

This northwestern area is one of the rainiest in the country, and the rains are not so scarce, since they amount to 415 mm (16.5 in) per year. In fact, here there is only one rainy season, from mid-March to mid-October, when, however, rainfall is not really frequent and usually not abundant.
Here is the average rainfall.
Hargeisa - Average precipitation

In the north, there is another mountain range, parallel to the coast, the Karkaar Mountains, whose highest peak is Shimbiris, 2,450 meters (8,038 feet) high. These mountains are quite green, especially on the northern side, and above 1,200 meters (3,900 feet) there are forests, while the coast to the north as previously mentioned is desert, and the plateau to the south is semi-desert.

The east coast

On the east coast overlooking the Indian Ocean, temperatures are more stable throughout the year compared with the northern coast; in spring, the temperature slightly rises, and the hottest month is usually April in the south and May in the north, while in summer the temperature decreases because of the prevalence of air masses coming from the ocean. However, the northern part is a bit hotter than the southern one.
The rainfall on the east coast increases as you head south, and while the north is definitely desert, with precipitation lower than 100 millimeters (4 inches) per year, in the center it increases to about 200 mm (8 in), and in the south it exceeds 400 mm (16 in).


In the capital, Mogadishu, which is located in the southern part of the east coast, just north of the equator, temperatures are high and stable throughout the year. However, there is an increase between March and May, and a decrease between July and September, which is, albeit slightly, the least hot period. This is due to the south-east trade winds, which in this southern part of the country blow in summer. Typically, the humidity is high, although sea breezes temper the heat. Sometimes, however, there can be torrid (hot and dry) days, when the wind blows from the interior, and this can happen all year round.
Here are the average temperatures.
Mogadishu - Average temperatures
Min (°C)232325262524232323242424
Max (°C)303031323130292929303131
Min (°F)737377797775737373757575
Max (°F)868688908886848484868888

Rainfall amounts to 430 mm (17 in) per year; the first rainy period is shifted forward by a month and can last an extra month, and therefore from April to July, then the rains drop and remain infrequent until November, without there being a clear recovery in October-November, as is the case in other parts of the country. However, the rainfall records are quite high from March to November, this means that during some years, there may be periods much rainier than usual.
Here is the average precipitation.
Mogadishu - Average precipitation

The sun shines frequently throughout the year, but especially in winter. The least sunny months are June and July, ie the months when the rains are more frequent.
Mogadishu - Sunshine


The south-west

In the southwest inland areas, winter is scorchingly hot, and in February and March the temperature rises further, before the rains. For example, in cities like Bardera and Garbahare, the maximum temperature is normally around 37 °C (99 °F) in January and 39 °C (102 °F) in March, while in summer it drops to 33 °C (91 °F).


A similar trend is found in the city of Baidoa (or Baydhabo), which, however, is a bit milder because it is located at 500 meters (1,600 feet) above sea level.
Here are the average temperatures.
Baidoa - Average temperatures
Min (°C)202122222221202021212120
Max (°C)333435333231303031313232
Min (°F)687072727270686870707068
Max (°F)919395919088868688889090

In Baidoa, precipitation amounts to 570 mm (22.5 in) per year; the two rainy seasons, April-May and October-November, are very pronounced, while in the rest of the year it rains very little.
Here is the average precipitation.
Baidoa - Average precipitation

Sea temperature

The temperature of the sea in Somalia is high enough for swimming all year round. In the Gulf of Aden, more closed and more to the north, it is lower in winter and higher in summer, when it becomes very warm, reaching 30 °C (86 °F) for several months.
Here are the average sea temperatures in Bosaso.
Bosaso - Sea temperature
Temp (°C)252627283030303030292726
Temp (°F)777981828686868686848179

On the east coast, the sea temperature becomes higher in winter as you head south, while from June to September it drops slightly because of the wind, which blows with more consistency and speed.
Here are the average sea temperatures in Mogadishu.
Mogadishu - Sea temperature
Temp (°C)272728292827262626272827
Temp (°F)818182848281797979818281

Tropical cyclones

Sometimes the center-north of Somalia, but especially the north-east, in the Horn of Africa (in the region called Puntland), can be affected by a tropical cyclone, as happened in November 2013, November 2015 and May 2018. Cyclones form from May to December, and are more frequent at the beginning of the period (May-June) and at the end (October-December). Although in this country cyclones are rare (and this is confirmed by the fact that the average rainfall in northeastern Somalia is low), they can bring intense winds and torrential rains.
The south of the country, where Mogadishu is located, being at the Equator, is generally spared by cyclones, or is affected marginally.

Best Time

The best time to visit Somalia in its entirety is winter, from December to February, since in this way you can avoid both the summer heat in the north, and the rains of the transitional seasons. It must be recalled that in the mountainous northern area, nights can be cold, while in the inland areas of the southwest, winter is hot. Moreover, in December, especially in the first half, tropical cyclones are still possible.

What to pack

On the north coast, all year round, bring light clothing made of natural fibers (cotton or linen); in winter, a light sweatshirt for the evening; in summer, lightweight clothing, long and made of natural fibers, a desert turban.
In the northern mountains, bring light clothes for the day, sunglasses, a sun hat, desert boots or sandals; in winter, a sweater and a jacket for the evening; in summer, a sweatshirt and a light jacket for the evening.
On the coast of the Indian Ocean (see Mogadishu), all year round, light clothing of natural fibers, a light sweatshirt for the evening, a scarf for the breeze; sunglasses, a sun hat. In the central and southern part, you can bring a light raincoat or umbrella between March and November (especially between April and August).
When going to the reef, you can bring snorkeling equipment, including water shoes or rubber-soled shoes.
It's better for women to avoid shorts and miniskirts.

Back to top