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Visiting Ethiopia November 2007--Tips?  
User currently offlineMaverickM11 From United States of America, joined Apr 2000, 17827 posts, RR: 46
Posted (7 years 2 months 3 weeks 4 days ago) and read 1157 times:

A friend of mine and I would like to check out Ethiopia for Thanksgiving and I have a couple questions:

1) Is it safe? My feeling is yes, in spite of the Somalia/Eritraen border areas, recent French tourist kidnappings, and the Ogaden region, but I may be blissfully naive.
2) We'd like to see Lalibela, Gondar, Bahar Dar, and maybe Harar...can we do it on our own (we don't speak a lick of Tigrinya or Amharic) or should we get a tour?
3) I'd also like to check out Hargeisa in Somalia (or Somaliland, depending on who you're asking) just cuz I want to say I've been to Somalia and that region is relatively safe...any one been?

Thanks!


E pur si muove -Galileo
11 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineLAXspotter From India, joined Jan 2007, 3650 posts, RR: 5
Reply 1, posted (7 years 2 months 3 weeks 3 days 13 hours ago) and read 1127 times:

Quoting MaverickM11 (Thread starter):
1) Is it safe? My feeling is yes, in spite of the Somalia/Eritraen border areas, recent French tourist kidnappings, and the Ogaden region, but I may be blissfully naive.
2) We'd like to see Lalibela, Gondar, Bahar Dar, and maybe Harar...can we do it on our own (we don't speak a lick of Tigrinya or Amharic) or should we get a tour?
3) I'd also like to check out Hargeisa in Somalia (or Somaliland, depending on who you're asking) just cuz I want to say I've been to Somalia and that region is relatively safe...any one been?

I will ask one of my Ethiopian friends


Historic country with great food



"Patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel" Samuel Johnson
User currently offlineMaverickM11 From United States of America, joined Apr 2000, 17827 posts, RR: 46
Reply 2, posted (7 years 2 months 3 weeks 1 day 10 hours ago) and read 1125 times:

Quoting LAXspotter (Reply 1):
Historic country with great food

True that!

Also does anyone know how expensive the domestic flights are more or less?



E pur si muove -Galileo
User currently offlineBofredrik From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 3, posted (7 years 2 months 3 weeks 1 day 9 hours ago) and read 1125 times:

Ethiopia is not a democracy with many political prisoners.

User currently offlineMaverickM11 From United States of America, joined Apr 2000, 17827 posts, RR: 46
Reply 4, posted (7 years 2 months 3 weeks 1 day 9 hours ago) and read 1125 times:

Quoting Bofredrik (Reply 3):
Ethiopia is not a democracy with many political prisoners.

No sh!t Sherlock



E pur si muove -Galileo
User currently offlineCopaair737 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 5, posted (7 years 2 months 3 weeks 1 day 2 hours ago) and read 1125 times:

My grandfather went there many years ago, and actually met Haile Selassie. Apparently, he had a bunch of tame cheetahs that he would walk around with a leash. I guess it was quite the experience.

No idea how things are now though.

-Copa


User currently offlineLAXspotter From India, joined Jan 2007, 3650 posts, RR: 5
Reply 6, posted (7 years 2 months 3 weeks 1 day ago) and read 1125 times:

Quoting Bofredrik (Reply 3):
Ethiopia is not a democracy with many political prisoners.

I would expect that from someone else

Maverick, you have nothing to fear, when are you planning on going? Im trying to get in contact with my friend. Well, I will tell you as soon as possible.

Quoting Copaair737 (Reply 5):
Apparently, he had a bunch of tame cheetahs that he would walk around with a leash

Tame cheetah, that is scary.



"Patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel" Samuel Johnson
User currently offlineETStar From Canada, joined Jan 2004, 2103 posts, RR: 7
Reply 7, posted (7 years 2 months 3 weeks 22 hours ago) and read 1125 times:

Quoting MaverickM11 (Thread starter):

1) Is it safe? My feeling is yes, in spite of the Somalia/Eritraen border areas, recent French tourist kidnappings, and the Ogaden region, but I may be blissfully naive.

It is safe. The Somali and Eritrean borders are quite far away from the places you mentioned. The European tourists that were kidnapped were in a very remote corner of the country. As with any place in the world that you visit, be aware of your surroundings and stay alert.

Quoting MaverickM11 (Thread starter):
2) We'd like to see Lalibela, Gondar, Bahar Dar, and maybe Harar...can we do it on our own (we don't speak a lick of Tigrinya or Amharic) or should we get a tour?

Great cities to visit. Lalibela, Gondar and Bahar Dar are part of Ethiopian Airlines' "Historic Route", with daily service. Gondar is amazing, not that crazy about Bahar Dar, and have not been to Lalibela. Harar is also a great city to visit (you would need to fly to Dire Dawa, then go over land). If you get a tour, you would pretty much eliminate the need to arrange for one once you get to Addis, and dedicate your time to the tour(s). Also leave some time to hang out in Addis, and do try the food and traditional performances at select restaurants.

Quoting MaverickM11 (Thread starter):
3) I'd also like to check out Hargeisa in Somalia (or Somaliland, depending on who you're asking) just cuz I want to say I've been to Somalia and that region is relatively safe...any one been?

Never been. It should be interesting to hear about it, if you do go there. There was a trip report from someone who flew Hargeisa to Addis Ababa or Dire Dawa in the last year or two.


User currently offlineMaverickM11 From United States of America, joined Apr 2000, 17827 posts, RR: 46
Reply 8, posted (7 years 2 months 2 weeks 6 days 19 hours ago) and read 1125 times:

Quoting ETStar (Reply 7):
The Somali and Eritrean borders are quite far away from the places you mentioned

I'd definitely stay away from those areas. In fact as a general rule of thumb I'd avoid most African borders.

Quoting ETStar (Reply 7):
The European tourists that were kidnapped were in a very remote corner of the country.

Where was it? I have to admit that after seeing the phenomenal series "Planet Earth" I want to go to the Danakil Depression in the Northeast but I'll probably not make it there any time soon.

Quoting ETStar (Reply 7):
Great cities to visit. Lalibela, Gondar and Bahar Dar are part of Ethiopian Airlines' "Historic Route", with daily service. Gondar is amazing, not that crazy about Bahar Dar, and have not been to Lalibela. Harar is also a great city to visit (you would need to fly to Dire Dawa, then go over land).

Good to know. On a related note I've heard Aksum is a let down--pretty much just the stelae and that's it.



E pur si muove -Galileo
User currently offlineComorin From United States of America, joined May 2005, 4903 posts, RR: 16
Reply 9, posted (7 years 2 months 2 weeks 6 days 10 hours ago) and read 1125 times:

Teanestellen!

I lived in Addis during the Haile Selassie days. I remember great Pizza and Italian food ( 'Villa Verde'), not mention Injera-Wat! The connection with Italy left a legacy of style and good roads. We would go for drives to Langano lake, Sodere hot springs and Hippo haunts (Awash river?).

Ethiopia is a beautiful country with cool temperatures. It has the Rift Valley, lakes aglow with flamingoes, and of course sites of antiquity. However, it was a poor country even then, and I am nor sure it's any better after the revolution. Reading the book 'Dark Star' by Paul Theroux suggests that Ethiopia is still an unsettled place.

Anyway, do let us know how your trip goes! Good luck, and enjoy beautiful Ethiopia...


User currently offlineETStar From Canada, joined Jan 2004, 2103 posts, RR: 7
Reply 10, posted (7 years 2 months 2 weeks 6 days ago) and read 1125 times:

Quoting MaverickM11 (Reply 8):
Where was it? I have to admit that after seeing the phenomenal series "Planet Earth" I want to go to the Danakil Depression in the Northeast but I'll probably not make it there any time soon.

It was in the Afar region. Danakil Depression is also in the same area.

Quoting MaverickM11 (Reply 8):

Good to know. On a related note I've heard Aksum is a let down--pretty much just the stelae and that's it.

True, but the proximity of Axum to the other historic cities and the ability to package it up with the rest makes it worth visiting, even for a day.


User currently offlineIakobos From Belgium, joined Aug 2003, 3316 posts, RR: 34
Reply 11, posted (7 years 2 months 2 weeks 5 days 10 hours ago) and read 1125 times:

Aksum (or Axum): you can safely erase this small ghost city from your program.
Only curiosities are: the poorly preserved obelisk, the funny old guardian of the (never seen) religious relics and the Belorussians manning the SAM site nearby.
...speaking from experience...


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