- About VAST
- About Ethiopia
- VAST Cares
Unique not only to Africa, but the entire world, Harar stands as one of the most fascinating cities in the world. Harar is the crossroads of the history of Africa and Arabia, a meeting point in the Horn of Africa where styles, languages, and architecture converge. Its creation is unknown, but by the 11th century, Harar became the center of Islam in the Horn of Africa. The 16th century was the city’s golden age, a time when poets penned the beauty of Harar and coffee was the drink of choice. Later the city was walled and off-limits to Christians. Intrepid explorer, Richard Burton, won the fame for the first Christian to enter the walled city, known as the jugol, in disguise as an Arab trader in the 1850s. Many more came, and today the city’s prized visitors are the tourists who come from all over Ethiopia and the world to witness a truly distinctive culture.
While in Harar, walk through and experience the street life, colorful markets, numerous mosques and old houses, which are slowly being remodeled for modern times. As night falls, hyenas slowly infiltrate the city’s walls, and the courageous Hyena man comes out to feed them. Visitors can decide or not to directly feed the hyenas.
On the way, you will spend a night in the Awash National Park, one of Ethiopia’s oldest national parks, located on the Awash River Gorge and home to numerous animals and plants. Here, in the dry savannah, visitors get that stereotypical African landscape and will take part in a short and exciting game drive. On one side of the park, visitors can sit in natural hot springs under a forest of palm trees. Watch Afari tribesmen using the park as a transit corridor, who may also stop for a quick swim.
Beyond Harar is the small town of Babile, which sits in the Valley of Marvels. The stark landscape, resembling another planet or the imagination of Dr. Seuss, is where the hot winds from Somalia have shaped boulders. Then south of Babile, you will visit the Harar Wildlife Sanctuary where conservationists are working under very difficult conditions to save the last herds of elephants native to that area as well as other species like the black-maned lion. As pressure from groups living in Ethiopia’s Somali and Oromia region mounts, the hundreds of elephants currently living in the refuge are at serious risk. Tourists visiting the park will only help ensure the animals’ future.
Day 2: Drive Addis – Awash National Park
This Morning drive to south east of Addis to the Awash National Park for a game view and visiting the Filwoha/Hot Springs. There is a variety of different habitats for birds, flowers and plants; the revere forest by the Awash River, wet lands, Acacia woodlands and Savannah grasslands Rocky hills, cliffs and escarpments. In this tour you might see the following inhabitants of the National Park. Swayebes hartebeest, Beisa Oryx, Salt Dik dik, Hamedrayas and anabus baboon, Sommering gazelle, Klipspring, Warthog, Golden jackal, Mount reedbuck-fentallo volcano. Overnight at Lodge.
Day 3: Drive Awash – Harar
Leaving Awash you will drive to Harar, through the scenic Hararghe Mountain looking at the coffee and chat plantation left and right of the road, an important trading centre and also famous for its ancient building. Arrive in Harer and in the evening, attend the hyena-man show. You will decide to feed or not to feed the hyna. Overnight Hotel.
Day 4: Full day sightseeing Harer
This day you will have a city tour of Harar, is a labyrinth of small streets surrounded by old city walls. Its architecture reflects a strong Islamic influence. On sightseeing of Harar we will visit the markets, the French poet- Rimbaud house, the harari museum and the tomb of the Emir Nur, the ruler who built the walls around Harar known Jugol. The Harer wall is one of our UNESCO resisted sites. Overnight Hotel.
Day 5: Excursion to Babile Elephant sanctuary –Drive to Dire Dawa
Today you will drive to Babile Elephant Sanctuary. This sanctuary is established in 1962, the elephant of Babile to a unique race, Loxodonta Africana orleansi, partially on the basis of their small tusks. The sanctuary also provides refuge to the black-maned Abyssinian lion, various antelope including greater and lesser kudu, the striking hamadryas baboon, and a spectacular selection of dry-country birds, including the endemic Salvadori’s serin. Then drive to dire Dawa, then you will visit the city, 2nd populous towns in Ethiopia, the old part of the town is made of twisting streets and Arab-Style houses with Somali women in black velvet, their face covered with purple veils.Overnight Hotel.
Day 6: Drive Dire Dawa – Addis-Dinner-Departure
After breakfast you will drive to Addis, Sightseeing on the way. In the evening you will attend a folkloric dinner where you will have a chance to taste several national dishes and watch dances of the various ethnic groups of Ethiopia. The traditional coffee ceremony will also be served. Then according to your departure schedule you will be transferred to the airport.