Hyena Feeding: The Eastern Ethiopia Escapade


Talking about adventure, I want to begin with a reflective saying by Shana Alexander regarding holidays, travels and vacations “It is not really rest or even leisure we chase. We strain to renew our capacity for wonder, to shock ourselves into astonishment once again.” Well, Ethiopia the land of extremes offers many stirring opportunities for daredevils and thrill seekers, and the old walled city of Harar, which looks as if an episode straight from the enchanting legend of the Arabian Night, is one of it.  Image

The Eastern part of the country is dry, hot, wild and Muslim. It contains magnificent landscapes, cities cloaked with a flagrant historical aura and mystery and a pervading sense of adventure. If one place had to be singled out, it would be Harar, the gem of the place.   Image

Before the nightfall and meet the Harar Hyenas, getting ecstatically lost in Harar’s captivating history by wandering through the mesmerizing alleyways along with the aroma of the best coffee in Ethiopia “actually in the world” that winding through the streets, make it all worth the visit. Let us start with the distinct architectural feature in Harar; it is the fascinating traditional Harari (Adare) houses and it is a must see.Image

This style of house- called gegar- is unique in Ethiopia and is evocative of the coastal Arabic Architecture.  Legend has it, in 1875 Harar was under the Egyptian occupation that lasted for a decade.Image

Clay armored with wooden lintels is whitewashed. The house is carefully built to remain cool whatever the outside temperature. Image

The upstairs room serves as a bedroom. The main living room consists of raised platforms of different levels, which are covered in colorful carpet, cushions and stools. The wall richly decorated with handmade crafts like dishes, cups, pots, plates, the colorful and the collectable Harari baskets  all made by the Harari(Adare) woman.Image

Beside, the thick 5m-high walls that were built in the 16th century around the town, numerous mosques, shrines and tombs, Harar is the city with fascinating 368 alleyways squeezed into just 1sq Km that invites for journeying. ImageImageImage

There is no doubt that the beautiful Harari (Adare) women add dazzling color to the town with their radiantly hued clothing and baskets on their head. Image

Harar is the city that can be visited at any time of year and it is a city many foreigners inhabit among them is the famous French poet Arthur Rimbaud, who spent some of his last year in the city.Image

Since we are still in Hara, it is now time to get up close and personal with a dozen Hyenas that comes down from the surrounding hills. An incredible feature of Harar is the ‘Hyena Man’, who bravely feed the erratic beasts by hand and mouth, each evening on the outskirt of the city.  Image

When the nightfall the Hyena men set themselves up just outside the city walls for the thrilling spectacle of Harar. Image

The Hyena men know the animals and calls them by the names they given them. ImageImage

You can expect to see more than 10 Hyenas in one particular hyena feeding ritual and if you are brave enough, you can try it yourself, few fearless travelers do, and that is an adventure indeed!Image

So if you are up to for the adventure of a lifetime, nature devotee and city types, Harar and Eastern Ethiopia as a whole is the place to visit.

About Sara Genene

I am a traveler... on an endless journey of self-discovery!
This entry was posted in Adventure, Africa, culture, Tourism, Travel, Travel and Tourism, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

20 Responses to Hyena Feeding: The Eastern Ethiopia Escapade

  1. westiedad says:

    Great post! Beautiful photos too.


  2. Aren’t there also hyena’s in the hills above Addis Ababa? We would like to see them!


  3. Wow, this is fantastic! Harar would deff be on my list when I finally make it to Ethiopia. Though there is no way Im feeding a hyena by the mouth


    • Sara P.G. says:

      Harar and Eastern Ethiopia as a whole is a must see and I hope you do one day. Though it is scary seeing this thrilling Harar spectacle is an adventure by itself:) Thank you so much for stopping by!


  4. linda says:

    This post makes me want to jump on a plane and go!The beautiful clothing on the women,and the basketry! I think I’d take a pass on the hyena feeding though……………..


  5. wrygrass.com says:

    The houses and women’s clothing are just gorgeous. I don’t know if I’d be able to calm my nerves down enough to feed a hyena but to see one live would be incredible. What an amazing ritual! I always enjoy your posts and photography.


  6. T.D. says:

    I’ve seen this is a documentary special in the U.S. but it’s great to hear a native write about hyena feedings. Amazing, but scary!


  7. Great photos, love the colours 🙂


  8. Astounding hyena pictures! Thanks for taking us inside structures, and some information about the architecture.


  9. Theresa says:

    Beautiful shots of a beautiful city, but no thank you to feeding the hyenas!


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