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Monday, 07 July 2014 09:26

Nature & culture (Harar, Djibouti, Danakil depression & Tigray Rock- hewn Churches)

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Harar town, emblem of tolerance, as several ethnic groups with different religious background live in harmony, is located 535km.east of Addis Ababa on Hararghe plateau. This ancient town was established in the 10th century and came in to formal existence in 1520 by the time of Amir Abubekir Muhamed. It was walled in the second half of the 16th century to defend from the attack of the other ethnic groups. The wall has 3343 meters circumference, 24 watchtowers and 0.38km2 area. Harar is the 4th holiest town in the Islamic world after Mecca, Medina and Jerusalem.

Day 1: After breakfast drive to Awash National Park. The park was established in 1966 and gazettes in 1969.It have a total area of 756mk2 and average altitude of 1000m. Before entering in to the park stop at lake Beseka for bird watching. Proceed to the park and pitch tents. After lunch visit the waterfall of Awash River, and game drive to different parts of the park. Beisa Oryx, Dorcas gazelle, Black backed jackal; Common jackal etc will be seen. O/N Lodge/Hotel.

Day 2: After breakfast drive to Harar. En route, enjoy the panoramic view of Chercher plateau. After check in a hotel, visit the walled part of the city. The wall had five gates in the past. Guards used to close those gates at the dusk after all the strangers are escorted out for the sake of security and keys were given to the Amir’s office. The palace of the last Amir Abdullah & Jami mosque the oldest in the wall are worth visiting. In the evening, watch the bizarre wild hyena feeding performance; i.e. the hyena men make their living by collecting bones and offal of meat that they feed the hyena from their mouth or hand. O/N Ras Hotel.

Day 3: After breakfast, an excursion drives to Argoba village and visits the house setting and decoration, and the way of life of the people. After the end of the visit drive back to Harar for lunch and then drive to Dire Dawa for an overnight stay's. O/N Hotel .

Day 4: Drive to Lake Abe of Djibouti after crossing the border. O/N Camp.

Day 5: Drive to the capital city en -route visiting the lake Assal with its spectacular view and the Salt Lake and proceed to Tadjura for it's white Sand Beach.

Day 6: Drive to Semera, Ethiopia crossing the border. O/N camp.

Day 7: Visit the place where Awash River is sinking and after that if it is Saturday visit the weekly market of Assayita. O/N Hotel / camping.

Day 8: After breakfast drive to lake Afdera about 80km. southeast of Erta-Ale at an average altitude of 103m below the sea level. The lake extends about 100km2.It is a saline water body and is a main salt extraction site. O/n camping in the village near the lake area.

Day 9: Drive to the area head quarter village called Kuserewad to deliver our permit for our visit and to organize a camel for those of you who cannot walk and for carriages of the goods to the top of the volcano. After organizing everything, drive to the village of Dodom for an overnight camping.

Day 10: After breakfast drive to the base of Erta-Ale Lava Lake, 15km to reach the base of Erta-Ale, the remaining distance will be walked on foot or on camel’s back. It is a volcano with 30km.base diameter and 1km2 calderas at its summit. It contains the world’s only permanent lava lake that measures 100m x 60m.Scientiste think that the lake has a continuous link with a shallow magma chamber that supplies it with magma. O/N Camping by the rim of Erta-ale volcano.

Day 11: Trek back to the base after the morning scenery of the volcano and after arrival and lunch drive back to the village of Dodom for an overnight camping.

Day 12: After breakfast drive to Hamed-Ela through rocky terrain. O/n camping.

Day 13: After early breakfast drive to Dalol about 20km. in the north to visit the x-phosphate-mining escarpment. The main attractions in this area are the multi- color sulphurous hot springs, the strange wavy rock formations covered with orange deposits that look rather like deliberately dyed. On the way back to the base camp, visit lake Asale, the salt extraction site. O/N camp.

Day 14: Drive to Hawzien. This route leads to the place where the ancient and the medieval Ethiopian civilization were borne. To mention only few Damat state in B.Cs which had relation with the outside world, Aksumite Empire from 2nd B.C. to the 7th A.D, centered at Aksum, the Zagwe dynasty centered at Lalibela, Gonder starting from the 17th century etc are some of the many historical places that bear traces of the then civilization in the areas. O/N Hawzien Lodge.

Day 15: Visit the rock-hewn churches of Gheraelta. O/N Gheraelta lodge.

Day 16: Visit the rock-hewn churches of Gheraelta. O/N Gheraelta Lodge.

Day 17: Drive to Mekelle the Capital of Tigray National Regional State. This place was important center of caravan trade where merchants who came from the hot salt extraction sites in Afar to take breath, to carve their salt bar in to manageable size and as temporary store. Then, Visit the palace of Emperor Yohanes IV, the patriots’ memorial monument and other parts of the city. O/N Axum Hotel.

Day 18: Fly to Addis Ababa/Drive to Dessie/Kombolcha. O/N Hotel.

Day 19: Drive to Addis Ababa and free for leisure.

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