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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.