WESTERN ETHIOPIA: AMBO AND WONCHI, GAMBELA, GIMMA
Western Ethiopia is the country’s least known and least traveled region. Travelers pass through the Welega high plains then move on through the luxuriant Illulabor forest to wind up in Gambella, a rustic fluvial port town which at the beginning of the twentieth century underwent a major economic and social boom due to the trade of coffee, salt, bees’ wax, liquor, cotton and slaves. Situated along the banks of the Baro River, Ethiopia’s only navigable waterway, not far from the Sudanese boarder, Gambella has fallen into decadence and seems to relive its past with its old colonial storehouses, the old merchant villas immersed in magnificent tropical vegetation. Nuer villages skirt the city’s edges and the Anuak marketplace is located to the north of the city. Returning towards Addis one finds Gimma, the capital of the Kaffa region, home of the nation’s coffee plantations. Kaffa’s unique geographical position gives it a temperate climate, perfectly suitable for any kind of agricultural crop. Tourists can purchase beautiful handcrafted goods, succulent honey and the famous three-legged stools in the market place.