Somali Cultural and Dialect Areas

Here is a map of Somali cultural areas, taken from Loughran, Loughran, Johnson and Samatar, "Somalia in Word and Image."

Three areas are indicated, namely the Coastal region including Mogadishu, the southern agricultural area, and the nomadic (pastoral) area. The majority of Somalis are herders of camels, sheep, goats and to some extent cattle and horses. Seasonally, the men take the camels deep into the bush, while the women and children tend the sheep and goats closer to the watering areas. The area populated by nomadic Somalis includes portions of Djibouti, Ethiopia and Kenya. There is a settled agricultural area between the Shabelle and Jubba rivers, where social organization is based more on place and less on lineage. Along the coast, from north of Mogadishu (Muqdisho) to the south, is a string of cities traditionally based on dhow trading with Arabia, India and other areas. These cities have old communities of Arab and Persian immigrants, as well as Somalis from all over the country and beyond.
The three general cultural areas differ in dialect, with further significant subdivisions as well.