Eastern Ethiopia and Harar

Harar is the capital of the East Hararghe Zone and the capital of the Harari Region of Ethiopia. The city is located on a hilltop in the eastern extension of the Oromia, about five hundred kilometers from the national capital Addis Ababa at an elevation of 1,885 metres. For centuries, Harar has been a major commercial center, linked by the trade routes with the rest of Ethiopia, the entire Horn of Africa, the Arabian Peninsula, and, through its ports, the outside world. Harar Jugol, the old walled city, was listed as a World Heritage Site in 2006 by UNESCO in recognition of its cultural heritage. Because of Harar’s long history of involvement during times of trade in the Arabian Peninsula, the Government of Ethiopia has made it a criminal offence to demolish or interfere with any historical sites or fixtures in the city. These include stone homes, museums and items discarded from war. According to UNESCO, it is considered the fourth holy city of Islam with 82 mosques, three of which date from the 10th century, and 102 shrines.

5 days





Day 1

Fly Addis Ababa to Diredawa

After a relaxed breakfast, a short flight will take you to Dire Dawa. Then you will have a lunch at Dire Dawa. Drive to Harar (50km from Dire Dawa). You will arrive in Harar late in the afternoon where you will check into a hotel. Early in the evening, you will visit man feeding wild hyenas. Then you will have dinner & spend the night there. Overnight stay in Heritage Plaza Hotel.

Day 2

Visit the Walled town of Harar

You will have an early breakfast and visit the walled city of Jegol, the house of Arthur Rimbaud (a French poetry who lived 1880’s in Harar), Emperor Haile Selassie home (where he was born & raised) and Harari Cultural Museum. In the evening, you will have dinner and stay the night at the hotel. Overnight stay in Heritage Plaza Hotel.

Day 3

Drive to Dire Dawa and Visit Dire Dawa

You will have breakfast & drive to Dire Dawa (50 Km from Harar). Upon arrival, you will check into a hotel.

After lunch, you will visit Dire Dawa (best known to be the mosaic of culture and the museum of people as most culture from around the country, and culture of the French, the Bulgarian, the Greek, the Armenian and the Indian are displayed in this remarkable city with the diverse architectural style of the buildings.

In the evening, you will have dinner and stay the night in the hotel. Overnight stay in Selam or Blossom Hotel.

Day 4

Babile + Elephant Sanctuary + Koremi + Lakes Afambo and Gumare

A small town about 30km east of Harar. Ten kilometers beyond is the fascinating Valley of Marvels. Given its name by the Italians, it is renowned for its gravity defying balancing rock formations, where tall columns of black and red rock, withered and twisted by the elements, stand topped by loose on Monday and Thursday, there is an atmospheric livestock market in the village of Babille – it’s one of Ethiopia’s biggest, attracting buyers of camels, cows, donkeys and goats from as far as Djibouti and Somaliland. The market runs from about 10am to 2pm.

Babille Elephant Sanctuary
Babille is better protected than many of Ethiopia’s national parks, and the population of elephants (which some authorities identify as a unique subspecies, Loxodonta Africana Orleans) has risen to around 400. Also resident, though unlikely to be seen, are lions (notable for their black manes), leopards, Menelik’s bushbucks, Soemmerring’s gazelles and greater and lesser kudus. The bird list is at least 227 species strong.

Koremi (Argoba Tribes Village)
This is around 19km southeast of Harar above the Erer Valley, is a definite must-see. It’s the largest of several villages of the Argoba, a deeply traditional people whose ancestors arrived in these parts in the 12th century. Unlike most of the Adare homes of Harar, the old stone houses here are unpainted and unplastered.

Lakes Afambo and Gumare
Is a salt lakes scattered around Asaita are something of a holy grail for serious adventurers. This area remains one of the Horn’s most inhospitable corners, appearing much the same as when explorer Wilfred Thesiger laid eyes upon it in the 1930s. Here the Awash River disappears into a chain of lakes, including Lakes Gumare and Afambo, which can be fairly easily visited from Asaita. The scenery is as stark, desolate and surreally beautiful as it is foreboding.

Day 5

Drive back to Addis Ababa

After a relaxed breakfast, a flight will take you back to Addis Ababa. You will arrive in Addis Ababa late afternoon where you will do some shopping for souvenirs. Finally you will be taken to a farewell dinner depending on your scheduled flight; you will be transferred out to Bole International Airport for return flight back home.
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