The Oriental – The frontage of Somaliland's, and quite possibly the Horn of Africa's, greatest hotel: the Oriental. This grand but weary rest stop oozes a charm often lacking in more upscale venues.
Meeting place – The airy, sunbathed inner courtyard, which acts as the nucleus of the Oriental, is a popular spot for locals, businessmen and others to gather for lunch and typically energetic conversation.
Drinks service – Tea is served and dispatched from the bar at one end of the hotel's courtyard. Guests won't get anything stronger: no alcoholic drinks are sold in Somaliland.
Breakfast – Mohamud Hassan, a British Somalilander visiting from London, enjoys a traditional Somali-type pancake for breakfast, and a cup of Somali tea, made with lots of spices, milk and sugar.
Standard room – Rooms are simply furnished and functional, with a TV, hot shower and fan. They're always spotlessly clean and neat thanks to housekeeping staff who go to painstaking lengths to give rooms a full overhaul every day.
Spotless cleaning – One of the housekeeping staff, Naaj Ma, in action. Beds are upended, floors are mopped and nothing escapes being wiped and dusted.
Kitchen – Mohamed Abdi, the Oriental's cook, has been working in its kitchen for more than 10 years. During mealtimes, the kitchen turns into a scene of controlled chaos.
Teapot cabinet – The Oriental's collection of stainless steel teapots is stacked in a cabinet in the courtyard bar. According to one guest, all of the teapots have long since lost the hinges that attach their lids.
Room service – A rare moment of extravagance at the Oriental: a room service delivery of Somali tea and a slice of cake.
'Wonderful Somaliland' – A collection of photos and pictures give a short history of the hotel and Somaliland. Posters proclaiming "Wonderful Somaliland, the newest tourist destination in Africa" might not be entirely accurate, but they hint at what might be if Somaliland gains international recognition.
Inner courtyard – The heart of the Oriental is its inner courtyard. Its 20 rooms are all on the second level.
Hargeisa from on high – The best views in Hargeisa can be enjoyed from the Oriental's rooftop. Below, the city's rambunctious market sprawls through the streets, selling just about everything.
Noisy neighbors? – Next door sits the massive Ali Mataan mosque. For the unprepared, the first 4:30 a.m. call to prayer can be a surprise. It's possible to get used to it and sleep through -- just.
Regular guests – British Somalilanders visiting from the UK, Jirdeh Farar (left) and Mohamud Hassan (right), enjoy breakfast. Both are Oriental regulars, often staying for more than a month at a time at the hotel.
Reading and relaxation – Due to the hotel's prime location, Somaliland locals come throughout the day to chat, have a cup of tea and a snack, or to read the papers within the courtyard.
Design – Explaining the precise design scheme of the Oriental Hotel is somewhat of a challenge -- suffice to say it's quirky and unique.