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Blog: Countries That Don’t Exist


Dec 2016

Countries That Don’t Exist

Posted by / in Africa, Blog, Featured Posts, frontpage, Horse Riding Holidays, Tavistock Travel Agents /


Hidden worlds

Desert - full moon rise
3 ‘Countries’ that Don’t Actually Exist
… but you can still visit.

Here are 3 countries to add to your Bucket List; they have flags, functioning governments and an independent spirit, but the world hasn’t acknowledged them, and they haven’t secured a seat at the United Nations General Assembly, so they don’t officially exist!

1. Greenland
Queen Margrethe II of Denmark travelled to Greenland in 2009 to give it self-rule; she even wore national dress for the occasion: knee-high sealskin boots and a hoodless anorak. She delivered the self-governance law to Greenland’s parliament, so ending 300 years of Danish authority. She remains Greenland’s head of state, but the world’s largest island gained control of its police force and justice system, and Greenlandic became the official language. Nearly there, but not fully independent.

But should I visit?  Definitely. Access the icy isle by air or expedition cruise; sail the fjord-serrated coast, trek to the Arctic Circle and see the Northern Lights.


Glaciers by day, Northern Lights by night!

2. Somaliland
In 1960, former British Somaliland became independent for five days before joining Italian Somaliland (the southern part of the country) to create the Somali Republic. Not a happy marriage so British Somaliland seceded and reverted to “independent” in 1991 complete with its own parliament, currency, car registrations, even biometric passports. But it remains unrecognised by any other state. The rest of the world prefers to pretend the Somali Republic is a viable country.

But should I visit?  Not really; bit of a war zone still.

3. Barotseland
Every year the Zambezi River floods creating a great show at Victoria Falls, but serious inconvenience for people who dwell on the floodplain. Floodplain residents, such as the Barotseland people, are obliged to move to higher ground, leaving their waterlogged villages behind. Barotseland has a history stretching back five centuries; during the colonial period Barotseland was a British protectorate, governed alongside Northern Rhodesia (now Zambia) but with greater autonomy. Barotseland has always been a mobile kingdom. When Zambia gained independence, Barotseland was supposed to maintain that element of self-rule, but successive Zambian governments have eroded the agreement. In 2012, the royal household announced a peaceful disengagement from Zambia.

But should I visit?  Yes. The far west of Zambia is magical. The magnificent Liuwa Plains; wonderful Kafue N.P. and only a handful of intrepid visitors to share it with.


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