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Published: November 11th 2012
30th Oct ’12 Drive from Harar to Awash Saba
On our way we stopped at Aweday to visit the largest Chat market in Ethiopia. It was really busy with big bundles of chat being carried around. There were numerous little stalls and buying and selling was going on everywhere.
The people were really friendly, shaking our hands and saying salam. One lady was touching our hands and skin and grabbed Howard’s chest much to everyone’s amusement, it also happened to another man in our group and a few of the women had their bra straps twanged (Ethiopian women do not wear bras). A man with withered legs was pulling himself around on the ground with plastic cups on his knees. Another man came over to show us his really deformed toes – like cauliflowers.
After we made our way through the market and out again we carried on driving to Awash, stopping for photos of the volcanoes, lava fields and craters that dominated the landscape. Then we passed through lots of lush green scenery where lots of crops were being grown, most people are subsistence farmers.
As we descended down to the plains the land was much
more dry and arid and we saw lots of small villages of little round wood and mud huts. One area we travelled through we didn’t stop in as the local tribe (Danakil?) are renowned for being very fierce. They are reputed to castrate their enemies and apparently the Italian owner of a restaurant in Addis Ababa is supposed to be one of their victims. The rumour is so strong that he has had to raise his counter to stop people looking over to check out whether or not it is true!
After arriving in Awash Saba we checked into our hotel which is owned and was built by an Ethiopian lady and then went out to visit the Awash National Park. At the entrance gate we picked up our armed scout and drove into the park. It was a savannah type landscape with lots of acacia trees and dominated by the dormant volcano – the Mount Fantelle Crater.
Our first stop was to visit the waterfalls, the water level was quite low so lots of rock was exposed but the series of falls were still impressive. Climbing back up to the top we walked along the edge to
see yet more falls and to look down on the river where we spotted a huge crocodile basking on a rock on the opposite bank – so I guess the Lonely Planet’s claim that you can swim safely here might be slightly inaccurate!!
We then did our game drive which reminded me of our Ranthambore experience! We did see lots of birds and not much else as we went deeper into the park. We had to leave by 5pm as that was when the park was due to close and just before going out we spotted a few Besia Oryx – kind of large antelope type animals with very long horns which are quite beautiful.
We saw the sun set over the savannah and then watched the moon rise behind a mountain on the way back. As we were leaving the park we saw a tribe of baboons sitting up on an electricity pylon, apparently this is a regular occurrence and nobody knows why they have taken to doing this but a few have been known to fry themselves!!
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