Hurrah! Hyenas in Harar
02/01/16 after a Mekele mango juice head to Hawzen, 2 hrs from Mekele on the local bus route 36brr £1. check in at place of stay 110 brr and catch motorbike through Megab onto the nearby rock churches 150 brr entry each so only see one, 40 min climb including some vertical & scrambling up rock to reach the cave church. Incredible creation and wall paintings inside are amazing. Return and get dropped off in small town of Megab, spend the last hours of light walking under the rock landscape in the rural countryside, back to Hawzen for 10brr. Catch most of the man Utd Swansea game in a large bar/restaurant with lovely tibs, salad & injurer.
03/01/16 catch my daily juice and head off for another excursion the other side of Hawzen in view of the opposite mountains. Return and catch local bus back to Mekele, jump on another line to airport for Addis flight. Arrive before completely dark and have a go at walking to near meskel square, in fact get all the way there, find orange pension” in relative distance for 250 brr, enjoy a huge greasy burger locally for 50 brr and 04/01/16 head for the Harar bus at 4am. Some debate if Selam buses are ever fully booked up the day before but I manage to grasp one of the remaining seats. Bus reaches Harar including a v long lunch break at around 4pm. Leaves me enough time to find the delightful theodros hotel, fresh out of the worst rooms but I grab the next best thing with shower for 200 brr. I take up the offer from a local guide an head for the dusk Hyena feeding in the east of the old city. Teasing wild animals with meat on a stick is quite up my street but as tipped by other travellers the hyena men rank pretty highly on my Ethiopia trip, that’s including a top dollar danakil excursion. The original reason the practice begun being to leave the local hyenas with a full belly so to reduce night attacks on the livestock. Apparently in decline yet with tourist interest it’s sure to continue. 100 brr well spent when you have the beast breathing down your neck or eating from your mouth.
Harar is Ethiopia’s Muslim hot pot sporting a historical walled city, winding cobbled streets and colourful markets. I understand a decent Turkish population exist yet many compare it to Fez. I didn’t get carried away ticking off the shrines or city gates, I missed the museum too but the various market areas and colourful traffic make it worth it alone. 05/01/06 Walked up to the top of the surrounding hills on the first morning to get a perspective of scale without a map. Then wondered the spice & veg markets under cover, heaps of khat (chewy plant) everywhere, camel meat, recycling, linen & counterfeit goods market and I tied my best to try all the different fried street food treats before dark. A second trip to the hyenas was a must before some local fasting food for dinner.