Rondreis East Ethiopia - Weekend Trip Harar

Hoogtepunten van Oost Ethiopie


Day 1 - To Unesco city of Harar

In the morning you fly from Addis Ababa to the biggest Eastern city, Harar. Located at an altitude of 1,855m, with 386 alleyways crammed into just 1sq m, is the unique and vibrant, ancient stone-walled city of Harar. The lively World Heritage listed city has been the capital of the Harari region for thousands of years and is stepped in history and charm.

Once an independent city-state, Harar served as an important political, commercial and cultural crossroads between Africa, India and the Middle East. During the middle ages, it became a centre for Islamic culture, sometimes referred to as ‘the fourth holiest city in Islam’, you can find a total of 82 tiny mosques which date from the 10th century within the city when Emperor Menelik II conquered the city in 1887, Harar was assimilated into Ethiopia. Today, the city is a melting pot of different ethnic groups such as Somalis, Oromo, Arabs and Turks.

Day 2 - Food & Citytour in Harar

Harar is a fascinating place to explore on foot. On a guided city & food tour, we’ll wander through the narrow alleys of Harar’s old town, stopping off to visit some of the original Harari houses with walls covered in handicrafts. We also go to mosques, shrines and tombs of important Islamic leaders, the Harar cultural center, Rimbaud’s house and Ras Tafari’s house. Along the journey, we’ll visit some of Harar’s best fresh markets and stop-off for authentic local cuisine and coffee in cosy restaurants.

In the evening, on the outskirts of the city, we’ll have the chance to attend a night show of hyena feeding. The daily ritual which involves feeding sticks of raw meat to wild hyenas by hand is deeply embedded in the traditions and beliefs of the local people, said to acquire good luck and discourage the wild predators from attacking.

OPTION EXTRA DAY - Babile Camel Market

In the morning, we set-off on a beautiful drive to Babile around 35km east of Harar on the way to Jijiga. The small town is mostly inhabited by Somali people and known for its mineral water, elephant sanctuary and for hosting one of Ethiopia’s biggest livestock markets where traders come from long distances to buy camels, donkeys, goats and cattle. Around 7km from Babille, we’ll stop off at the Dakhata Valley otherwise called ‘the valley of marvels’ due to view its special sculpted rock formations.

Day 3 - To Dire Dawa and flight back to Addis Ababa

Depending on your flight you will drive back to Dire Dawa. The driver will pick you up at the hotel. The journey takes more or less 2 hours.

About Dire Dawa

Dire Dawa is one of the most historical cities in eastern Ethiopia close to Harar. Influences from the French, Greeks and Arabs can be recognized in both culture and architecture. You can visit a variety of churches and mosques. What makes Dire Dawa so special, is the chance to take a train journey to Djibouti. The first train connection was established in the early 20th century making it one of the first in Africa. There is the Ethiopia-Djibouti railway yard where you can walk across a train graveyard. The old train track is no longer in use, a new train was built several years ago by Chinese investors. Sometimes you can take the train to and from Djibouti with cargo and locals on board.

OPTION EXTRA DAY - Dire Dawa Day Trip

EXPERIENCE: Although the old train tracks are no longer in use, it is still possible to make a special trip around Dire Dawa. With a 6-person train or 20-person train (depending on how many you are) it is possible to drive down the old train tracks for half a day to the border of Djibouti. This route is completely off-the-beaten track. Along the way, you will learn about the nomadic Somali and Afar people. Together with the guide you will visit their remote villages. A unique experience for the adventurous traveller!

Covid-19 safety measures during this trip

This trip is recommended by Yared Tour as a covid-19 safe travel experience in Ethiopia. This means that different aspects of the trip have been carefully considered in terms of physical distancing and hygiene standards. Ethiopia is a vast country and the rural areas in particular are sparsely populated.

During this trip you can expect:

  • Face masks provided for travellers

  • Careful selection of accommodation providers with high hygiene standards

  • Driver/guide trained in health and safety, first aid and covid-19 protocols

  • Vehicles regularly sanitized

  • Social distancing encouraged throughout the trip

  • Hand sanitiser provided for travellers and driver/guides

  • Temperature checks for travellers upon start of tour

Please read our Covid-19 Measures page for all up-to-date information about covid-19 in Ethiopia.