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Published: October 16th 2018
The flight from Dubai on Ethiopian was surprisingly comfortable plenty of legroom reasonable food and beverages and good entertainment if only my fellow travellers weren't so over the top it would have been pleasant.
I find the Africans I meet extremely friendly almost overly friendly which leads to suspicions that may be totally unwarranted, but I am more cautious than I would like to be.
Getting through immigration was easy and Nur and I were soon heading for our hotel transfer vehicle and our hotel located in the Bole area of town. After check in we walked to the Black Rose to meet his mate who works as a correspondent for Reuters. The bar was quite nicely set up and the booze is cheap, we then moved further down the road to the Piano bar which has live music and women performing on stage, like strippers without any stripping. When I filmed their gyrations, the bouncers got some what annoyed and insisted I delete the footage, we left there at 3am Dubai time and walked back to the hotel, Addis Ababa is very safe by African standards.
I awoke about 830am and
went down to breakfast it was average, so I didn't eat much, before returning to my room, at midday we headed out into the crowds as we were going to meet Nur's mate Aaron for lunch I wasn't paying attention and I lost him in the crowd. I waited for a time, but he didn't come back so I grabbed a bite to eat organised a tour to the Rift Valley and headed to the Ethnological Museum located in the former King’s house in the grounds of the University of Addis Ababa. The displays were quite good, but I had some stomach problems, the loo was awful no tp or running water, so I waddled the kilometre or so to the National Museum while being hounded by a would be guide hoping the loo there would be better. It was worse, it was disgraceful, you would think here there would be decent toilet, the museum had some nice fossils but was a disappointment for the most part, so I went back to my hotel to use the loo there.
A short time after arrival I went to the hotel next door to meet Nur, we had dinner
and a few beers before heading back to the hotel.
The day began at 630am as we hit the road, it took us some time to wind our way out of one of the continents largest cities. The roads initially were in a poor state, but the Chinese continue building road projects across the nation so improved when we hit the new freeway. As we travelled south into the Rift valley the beautiful expanses of the African landscape opened as far as the eye could see.
It is mostly farm land here but as we reached the first of the country’s seven Rift Valley lakes we had already seen so much of the people's day to day lives, the country’s colourful churches and mosques were a highlight. Lake Koko is one of the smaller lakes, but it has a large bird population, the diversity was amazing. It was particularly amusing to watch large flocks of White pelicans follow the fishing boats around the lake. We continued our journey south towards the town of Zway located on the lakes western shore. The lake has a surface area of 440 square kilometres and is as deep
as 9 metres. The lake contains five islands and we would visit Tulu Gudo which is said to have housed the Ark of the Covenant in the monastery perched on a hill, we also skirted Bird Island where I counted nine nesting species.
Prior to visiting the islands, we went looking for one of the lakes hippopotamus bloats which consists of ten animals, but we only saw five. The hippos were cool to see in such deep water, but it was the birds that stole the show and in particular the Marabou Stork. Other interesting species included the strange Hamerkop, Sacred Ibis, Yellow bill storm, Great Pelican, African Fish Eagle, various cormorant and duck species.
We then continued to Abidjatta-Shalla National Park where we saw Ostrich, Warthog, Hornbills, Grant Gazelles and maybe a couple of Kudus, unfortunately during a time of political turmoil nomads moved into the park with livestock causing huge damage.
We then moved on to Lake Langarno, smaller than Zway this lake is Bilharzia free, so resorts have sprung up around the lakeshore, one of which we stopped at for lunch. Animal herders have caused great damage here
to as have the char coalers.
There is some political unrest in the region the Oromia people currently have power in the country and instead of using it sensibly they encourage gangs of youths to paint flags everywhere and cause havoc in every town we passed through. We are staying the night in a lakeside resort at Zway which is quite good and cheap.
Next morning after breakfast we made the return journey to Addis Ababa stopping occasionally to take photos, we also visited a tourist market looking for souvenirs some of which I would have liked to purchase. The rest of the day we just hung around the hotel till it was time to the airport. Aaron arrived around 7pm he had spent the day reporting on the mass rallies around the city and joined us for a quick drink. The airport was busy, and it took quite a while to get through security but we were soon on our way home to Dubai.
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