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Harar Tour in Ethiopia

Harar Tour in Ethiopia is a 3 days cultural safari in Ethiopia. This 3 day Harar Tour in Ethiopia takes you to Harar city. This is the famous walled city located in the Eastern side Ethiopia.

About the 3 Days Harar Tour in Ethiopia

The main highlight of this African safari in Ethiopia is the people’s culture. You will enjoy great sceneries in this 3 days 3 day Harar Tour in Ethiopia. You will also have an opportunity to feed the hyenas outside the city.

3 Days Harar Tour in Ethiopia

A visit to the market will do you good in understanding the people’s way of life. This 3 day Harar Tour in Ethiopia starts and ends in Addis Ababa.

Highlights of the 3 Days Harar Tour in Ethiopia

Highlights of the 3 day Harar Tour in Ethiopia includes:

  1. Feeding Hyena
  2. Cultural experience
  3. Market Tour
  4. Great sceneries

Detailed 3 Day Harar Tour in Ethiopia Itinerary

Day 1: Addis Ababa – Walled city of Harar

Meet and greet upon arrival in the morning at Bole International Airport. Our Ethiopian safari representative may also meet you at your Addis Ababa hotel. You get to enjoy a briefing on this 3 day Harar Tour in Ethiopia.

You’ll then embark on an early flight at 0800 hrs to Dire Dawa. On arrival at the airport our tour guide will be at hand to meet you. You will then enjoy a transfer to Harar. Your 3 day Harar Tour in Ethiopia then takes a drive to Babile. The town of Babile is popular for the large market that comes every Saturday.

3 Days Harar Tour in Ethiopia

On Mondays and Thursdays there is a camel market here too. Your 3 day Harar Tour in Ethiopia will then proceed to the Valley of Marvels. The Valley of Marvels has wonderful landscapes. This place is famous for its balancing rock formations. If time allows, you’ll visit Koremi Village.

This village is made of stone houses on top of a plateau. You will later return to Harar in the evening. Your overnight will be at the Heritage Plaza Hotel. The accommodation in Harar hotel will be on bed and breakfast basis.


Day 2: Walled city of Harar

The second day of 3 day Harar Tour in Ethiopia will begin with an early breakfast. Today your 3 day Harar Tour in Ethiopia will have a full day of discovery. You will be looking for the Eastern Ethiopia’s hidden treasures. This is by touring the narrow alleyways of the walled city of Harar.

The city is famous for its colorful markets and countless mosques. You will also find shrines and the unique Harari people and homes. Today you will visit several sites in Harar. They include the House of Rimbaud, Ras Tafari’s House and Ras Mekonnen’s Palace.

3 day Harar Tour in Ethiopia also goes to the Harari National Cultural Center and the tomb of Emir Nur. It is Emir Nur who built the famous Jugol, as the wall is known by the locals.

Later in the evening you will visit the hyena man. This man feeds the hyenas every night. This is done just outside the walls of the city. It is a tradition was started a long ago.

This was to prevent these wild hyenas from hunting for food in the town. You are welcome and encouraged to feed the hyenas themselves. Your overnight booked on bed and breakfast basis will be at Heritage Plaza Hotel.


History of Hyena Feeding in Ethiopia

Records show that spotted hyenas have been present in the walled Ethiopian city of Harar.  This is for at least 500 years, where they sanitise the city by feeding on its organic refuse.

Many cultures demonize hyenas. The Hararis are at peace with them. They inhabit of a sleepy medieval walled city south of the Chercher Mountains. This is in eastern Ethiopia.

Folklore tells that this truce began two centuries ago. This was during a time of great famine. Hungry hyenas attacked and ate the citizens of this town. The town’s Muslim saints convened a meeting with the hyena leaders. They declared that they would feed the hyenas porridge if they would stop their attacks.

It is rumored to lap up djinn (evil spirits) along with the porridge. This was the start of a unique, mystical and symbiotic interspecies relationship. The city leaders even building low openings in the walls to allow the hyenas to come and go freely.

There are also stories that the practice of regularly feeding them did not begin until the 1960s. The first to put it into practice was a farmer who began to feed hyenas. This was to stop them attacking his livestock. His descendants having continued the practice.

Some of the hyena men give each hyena a name they respond to. They call to them using a “hyena dialect“, a mixture of English and Oromo. The hyena men feed the hyenas by mouth, using pieces of raw meat provided by spectators.

Tourists usually organize to watch the spectacle through a guide for a negotiable rate. As of 2002, the practice is considered to be on the decline, with only two practicing hyena men left in Harar.


Day 3: Harar – Dire Dawa – Addis Ababa

Wake up to your morning breakfast on this Eastern Ethiopia safari. You will spend the morning visiting what you missed. This will be the last scenic and historic places of interest in Harar.

You will have a break for lunch at own expense. This will be followed by a transfer to Dire Dawa. There will be a brief tour of the lively market at Kefira.

You will later enjoy a transfer to the airport in time for your flight to Addis Ababa. You’ll arrive in Addis at 1700hrs this is in time for your connecting flight back home. Others will enjoy a transfer to their Addis Ababa hotel.

———- End of 3 Day Eastern Ethiopia Safari ———–


3 Day Eastern Ethiopia Safari Costs:

What is included in the 3 Day Eastern Ethiopia Safari cost?

  • Accommodation in Harar on bed and breakfast basis
  • all ground transport and transfers
  • Airport transfers from and to Dire Dawa
  • All entrance fees
  • All Government taxes

3 Day Eastern Ethiopia Safari Price excludes:

  • Visa
  • Items of personal use
  • Deviation from the above program
  • All Meals Drinks and beverages other than Breakfast
  • Tips and porterage

What to Carry on the 3 Day Eastern Ethiopia Safari

  • Sun glasses
  • Light and some few heavy clothing
  • Sun screen
  • Insect repellant
  • Hat
  • Comfortable shoes

Harar Tour Safari Destination

Harar City

The 3 day Harar tour takes you to the fortified historic town of Harar. This city is located in the eastern part of the country. It is on a plateau with deep gorges surrounded by deserts and savannah.

The walls surrounding this sacred Muslim city were built between the 13th and 16th centuries. Harar Jugol, said to be the fourth holiest city of Islam, numbers 82 mosques. a number of the mosques date from the 10th century.

3 Days Harar Tour in Ethiopia

There are 102 shrines, but the townhouses with their exceptional interior design constitute the most spectacular part of Harar’s cultural heritage.

The impact of African and Islamic traditions on the development of the town’s building types and urban layout make for its particular character and uniqueness.

History of Harar

It is likely the original inhabitants of the region were the Harla people. In its early history, the city was under an alliance called the Zeila confederate states.

According to twelfth century Jewish traveler Benjamin Tudela, Zeila region was the land of the Havilah, confined by Al-Habash in the west.  In the ninth century, Harar was under the Makhzumi dynasty.

Harar Called Gēy (“the City”) by its inhabitants Harari people, Harar emerged as the center of Islamic culture and religion in the Horn of Africa during end of the Middle Ages.

According to the Fath Madinat Harar, an unpublished history of the city in the 13th century, the cleric Abadir Umar ar-Rida, along with several other religious leaders, came from the Arabian Peninsula to settle in Harar circa 612H (1216 CE).

3 Days Harar Tour in Ethiopia

Abadir was met by the Harla (Harari people) , Gaturi and Argobba. Abadir’s brother Fakr ad-Din subsequently founded the Sultanate of Mogadishu and another one of his descendants founded the Hadiya Sultanate.

According to the 14th century chronicles of Amda Seyon I, Gēt (Gēy) was an Arab colony in Harla country. During the Middle Ages, Harar was part of the Adal Sultanate, becoming its capital in 1520 under Sultan Abu Bakr ibn Muhammad.

The sixteenth century was the city’s Golden Age. The local culture flourished, and many poets lived and wrote there. It also became known for coffee, weaving, basketry and bookbinding.

From Harar, Ahmad ibn Ibrahim al-Ghazi launched a war of conquest in the sixteenth century that extended the polity’s territory and threatened the existence of the neighboring Christian Ethiopian Empire.

His successor, Emir Nur ibn Mujahid, built a protective wall around the city. Four meters in height with five gates, this structure, called Jugol, is still intact and is a symbol of the town to the inhabitants. Silt’e, Wolane, Halaba and Harari, lived in Harar while the former three moved to the Gurage region.

Harar functioned as the capital of the Harari Kingdom from 1520 to 1568. It became an independent emirate in the 17th century and was integrated into Ethiopia in 1887.

From the late 16th century to the 19th century Harar was an important trade centre between the coast and the interior highlands and a location for Islamic learning.

Today Harar is the administrative capital of the Harari People National Regional State (HPNRS). The historic town has a traditionally functioning community, forming a complex social-environmental whole.

3 Days Harar Tour in Ethiopia

Here each element has its symbolic and practical significance. The Harari people are distinguished by the continued cultural traditions and quality of their handicrafts. These include weaving, basket making and book binding.

The organization of the communities through traditional systems has preserved its social and physical inheritance and, significantly, the Harari language.

Why 3 Day Harar Tour in Ethiopia?

It’s easy to feel lost, both geographically and in time, when you’re in eastern Ethiopia’s Unesco World Heritage-listed Harar.

The ancient walled city, scattered over hundreds of narrow alleyways clustered together like a maze. It has plenty of old-world charm. Wherever you look, there’s a noteworthy feature.

These include traditional Harari houses, 16th-century gates, watchtowers, and uniquely constructed mosques and shrines.

Harar continues to bear the significant handprint of the trade that once flourished here, from India, the ­Middle East and the rest of Africa.

You could choose to spend all your time on Harar tour in one of the several local museums. Here you will get to admire coins and artefacts that ­illustrate how the arts and mercantile trade thrived in the town.

But the streets of Harar’s old town are where you’ll witness a distinctive ethnic identity on your Harar tour. There are different language and culture here that serve as a living museum.

Little wonder, then, that British orientalist Sir Richard Burton was one of Harar’s distinguished visitors.

Taking you even further on your Harar tour, go off the straight-and-narrow. Proceed down a path of intrigue is the relationship that the town has long shared with hyenas.

Most evenings at dusk, around the outskirts of the city, you can witness the human-­hyena ­interaction that Harar is ­famous for. The much-­maligned beasts approach the “hyena men” from out of the dark, in small packs of three or four. This is in response to what clearly is a familiar call.

The creatures behave playfully as they’re fed under the supervision of the experts. You can also get involved on your Harar tour, by proffering a meat stick.

History of Hyena Feeding in Harar

It is said that early in the time of the town there was a widespread famine and the hyenas had taken to attacking people out of hunger. There are several versions as to what happened next.

One is that a woman was making porridge (shure) and a group of hyenas came running towards her, apparently with the intention to attack. She got up to run, thinking that death was certainly upon her, but the hyenas instead began eating the porridge.

The towns-people realized that the attacks could be stopped if they fed the hyenas porridge. Since that day, at many shrines around Harar.

During the Muslim festival of Ashura, hyenas are fed porridge laced with butter. The legend says that the hyena king, who is very handsome and entirely white, comes first to try the porridge.

He tastes it and if it’s to his liking, the remainder of the hyenas comes to eat. The Murid at the shrine then examines the leftovers and makes predictions about the coming year. This is based on how much porridge the hyenas have eaten.

This is actually as much reality as it is legend and can be seen on your Harar tour firsthand. While the hyena king is not exactly handsome and white, he does indeed test the porridge. After the spectators have gone, the rest of the hyenas come to eat.