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Africa » Kenya » Nairobi Province » Nairobi
February 2nd 2014
Published: February 2nd 2014
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I just put this one in because I like the photo!
Greetings from Nairobi. What a culture shock - totally different from Gondar. The first thing I did when I arrived yesterday was walk to a shop and buy a diet coke. Bliss! The house I am staying in is lovely, comfortable and CLEAN. There is even someone employed to do the cooking. Result! It has wifi too!

Enough about Nairobi for now. This blog is my final one about Ethiopia. I left Gondar 9 days ago and have been travelling since. I first went to Harar. This is totally different to other places in Ethiopia that I have visited. It is close to Somaliland, has a big Indian and Arabic influence and is predominantly Islamic. The main thing that struck me was that so many people lie around the streets and chew chat. Even when I turned up to the little traditional house where i was staying, the staff were sitting inside drinking tea and chewing chat. It is apparently a stimulant but you have to chew a lot to get an effect. Harar is famous for the hyenas that live in the city. They run around at night but I have been told that they aren't dangerous. Saying that,
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Alleyways reminded me of Morocco
I was petrified of bumping into one! Every night a man feeds the hyenas camel meat so they are always full and don't attack people. This has now turned into a tourist attraction and I even had a go at feeding them. There is a tradition in Harar where once a year, the locals feed the hyenas porridge but I can't remember the significance. Sorry.

My next destination was the Afar region. This is an area known as the "danakil depression" and borders Eritrea. It is a hostile environment and I felt sad to see how the locals struggled to survive in this environment. The area is famous for the volcano called Erte Ale which means smoking mountain in the Afar language. It also has salt lakes which are over 100m below sea level and volcanic sulphur fields, bubbling ponds and hot springs. It is one of the most amazing places that I have ever seen. The volcano is active and has a permanent lava lake. It last erupted in 2005. In January 2012 terrorists shot some tourists and scientists dead close to the volcano. Since then it has been compulsory to visit the area with protection from soldiers.
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Most buildings are painted different colours. Before Ramadan the whole city is painted white and once it is over, the walls are repainted with a different colour.
The trip was tiring and hard going but worth it. Absolutely incredible. We spent our first and third night in a village/settlement but slept close to the volcano on the second night - we walked up there in the dark to admire the lava lake, went to sleep around midnight and then got up 4hrs later to go back to the lake and then walk down. Enjoy the photos.



Bye for now.


Additional photos below
Photos: 81, Displayed: 23


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Harar

Feeding Kestrels camel meat in the muslim market.
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Feeding Kestrels camel meat in the muslim market.
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Harar

A goat eating chat!
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Munchies after eating chat perhaps?!?!
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Harar

Traditional house in the old city. I stayed here.
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Harar

Feeding hyenas. I fed them too and one went up onto my shoulders. They are pretty heavy.
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Harar

Feeding hyenas. I fed them too and one went up onto my shoulders. They are pretty heavy.
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Danakil

We had a convoy of 6 vehicles, 5 with tourists and 1 with guards, guides and cooks.
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Danakil

Toilet at our first stop. The toilets got grimmer and grimmer over the course of the trip. Gag factor off the scale.
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Danakil

First camp that we stayed in. The Afar region is pretty much barren waste land with rubbish scattered around any settlements. It really is an inhospitable place where crops don't grow, with no electricity or water.
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Living amongst rubbish
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First camp. Slept under the stars for the whole trip. Incredible - until I took my lenses out of course - then was all a bit of a blur anyway!
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Danakil

I loved sitting on top of the 4x4 (apart from when it was super bumpy).
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Camp 1
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Salt lake. Locals collect water from the lake (45% NaCl) and then let the water evaporate. I went swimming in the lake - it was so easy to float in it due to the increased density - those who had been in the Dead Sea said it was similar.
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Sacks of salt


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