Harar is only about 100 km from the border with Somalia, and it’s traditionally an Arabic town.The road to Harar was interesting, with crater-shaped lands covered in black volcanic rocks, lots of monkeys by the road, and modern windmills that really caught my attention as they show the development this country has reached in the last few years.
As soon as I get to Harar I looked for a low budget hotel. When I don’t find a Couch Surfer in a place I go, I stay in a local hotel where I usually pay around 5 USD for a basic room.
The most interesting attraction of Harar is the guy that feeds Hyenas at night just off the city. I am not afraid of hyenas but I definitely have some respect for them now, after having one jumping on my back to get some meat. Check out the video.
I went to feed the hyenas with a Tuk-Tuk driver that I befriended and his brothers who were very scared. Afterwards I went to visit the old part of the city which has a mystical charm by night.
Then I visited the city by day. The old part used to be surrounded by a wall and had 5 gates. Inside there are many narrow streets in all directions with white houses and the floor covered on cobblestone. It reminds me of other Arabic cities I found in Africa, like Lamu or Stone Town.
It’s nice to get lost here and interact with the people, although sometimes you can get tired of children asking for money or people who approach you to insist on selling you something; but the experience was in general better in Harar than other small towns in Ethiopia.
I checked out some more Ethiopian products typical from this region and from all Ethiopia, like the natural wooden toothbrush that I also found on other African countries.
I took a day-tour to Bilene, a town where they have a camels market on Thursdays.
I wasn’t expecting to see this many camels until I got to northern countries of Africa, but here they are already. It’s fun to ask for the prices of the camels and bargain, they know you won’t buy one but it’s part of the experience and a way to get into the atmosphere of the place.
After visiting the market I had lunch in a street where a woman had pots in the floor selling pasta and served water on an old tomatoes tin. This experience was long overdue because I’ve seen people selling food like this many times, I just didn’t have the courage to eat there so far, but it didn’t give me any problem afterwards.
With a full stomach I went to the main road where I hitch hiked to get to the “Valley of Phallic Rocks”, or something like that.
Harar was a good city, culturally interesting and fun. I leve Harar to get back to Addis and continue my trip to the north.