Eastern Ethiopia & Rift Valley











Standing on the east wall of the Great Rift Valley, the medieval walled Islamic city of Harar is famous for its historical and cultural sites. The dominant features are the traditional Harari house; the childhood home of late Emperor Haile Selassie; the exciting open market that presents medley of people and culture; the Rimbaud House named after the French poet who lived there in 1880 and the hyena-feeding ritual - where, after dark, the legendary Hyena Man feeds meat by hand - and mouth - to the wild hyenas that haunt the city's fringes. A half day excursion from Harar can be made to Babile Valley of Marvels, situated about 30km from Harar, which is noted for amazing rock formations.

The Afar region is part of the Ethiopian Rift Valley. Since the late 1960s it has attracted the attention of researchers because of its uniqueness as the world's only active, superior triple junction where the complex tectonics and volcanism of an area between three separating lithosphere plates (African, Eastern African, and Arabian) can be observed on dry land. From archaeological point of view it was from this region that LUCY, the most important hominid skeleton dated at about 3.5 million years discovered. Any one who wants to visit the homeland of this Great, Great, Great grandmother of the 6 Billion people of the world have to travel to the Afar region. The Denakil Depression, at 120 meters below sea level is one of the lowest points on earth's surface and it is found in the Afar region.

Awash National Park
Awash National Park – situated at 211km east of Addis Ababa and astride the Awash River – is a reserve of arid and semi-arid woodland and savannah. The 827 square kilometers of the park area encompass the semi-dormant Fantalle volcano as well as an extensive area of hot springs. The rolling game viewing plains afford for their visitors quite variety of animals and more than 400 bird species.

Rift Valley Lakes
Africa's largest and most famous geographical feature, the great volcanic Rift Valley in Ethiopia, is home to a chain of sparkling lakes and hot springs that nestle in the depths of the valleys. The seven lakes in this region are habitats of a wide range of birds and indigenous animals. Some of the lakes are even alkaline brown, yet surprisingly ideal for swimming. The landscapes, with two dramatic escarpments, create a thrilling backdrop for so many activities.