Eastern Ethiopia: Harar, Dire Dawa, Awash National park, Danakil Depression
Eastern Ethiopia is very different from the North both in terms of its landscapes and its people, the territory is arid and dry, the people are nomadic and most of them are Muslim. It is home to the Afar and Somali people, both strong and determined peoples capable of enduring in even this harsh environment. The biggest tourist attraction is the city of Harar, an ancient and holy city famous for its austere city walls, as a center of learning and Muslim scholarship (the town has 99 Mosques), as a site of pilgrimage, and for its superbly handcrafted goods. Dire Dawa, created as an important railway junction this modern city has developed into a major commercial center. The arid and semi-arid woodland and savannah of the Awash National Park, which surrounds the dormant volcano of Fantale, rings day and night with the calls of wild animals and the songs of its bird life. The beautiful clear pools of the Filwoha hot springs are one of the parks most special attractions. In the middle of the Afar territory the traveler finds Asaita, a very hot, poor and barren town which serves as the starting point for his visit of the 30 saltwater lakes, the volcanic hot springs. Then Hadar (better known as the monumental anthropological discovery site of Lucy) and the Danakil Depression.
NOT TO BE MISSED:
AWASH NATIONAL PARK: one of the finest reserves in Ethiopia with over 300 species of birds, lions, Grivet Monkey, Greater Kudu, Swayne’s Hartebeest, Anubis Baboon, Defaffa Water buck…
HARAR: City walls, Rimbaud House, Hyena performance, the Mosques, Babille Elephant Sanctuary, and a unique site Dakhata, better known as “The Valley of Marvels” thus named for its volcanic territory which mother nature has etched into a 13km range of suggestive rock formations.
DIRE DAWA: the traditional Kefira Market
ASAITA: Afar villages, street markets, salty lakes like lake Gamarri, Afambo, Bario, Lac Abbè