Dire Dawa Astedader Travel Guide

  • Outside of they rooms.
    Outside of they rooms.
    by parmingeon
  • Reception and lobby.
    Reception and lobby.
    by parmingeon
  • Beautiful gardening.
    Beautiful gardening.
    by parmingeon

Dire Dawa Astedader Things to Do

  • Medhane Alem Cathedral

    This is the only orthodox church in this muslim city. It is located in the main square (Feres Magala) but it doesn't really deserve a special visit. If you have seen any other orthodox church in Ethiopia this has nothing remarkable.

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  • Ras Tafari House

    This famous big house of Harar was built by an indian trader and it shows so in its facade's details. The name comes from the fact that Haile Selassie (the last emperor, formerly Ras Tafari) spent here his honeymoon.It is not open to the public now, but if you wanna visit it you can fall ill: a doctor lives here now and he claims to cure everything...

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  • View from Rimbaud's House

    Another good reason for visiting the museum is the great views of the old city from the top. As it is located on a hill you can see all around the roofs and the maze of little streets.

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Dire Dawa Astedader Hotels

Dire Dawa Astedader Restaurants

  • Don't miss nice and cheap

    Nice caffe/mekiatto/ ,Honesty and Beautiful waitresses Meseret Melese,Netsanet Araya,Tsegereda,Mullu

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  • Mekonen Cafe

    Mekonen is located in front of Dire Dawa railway station. Cafeteria offers delicious donuts and macciato. Prices are very very low (1 birr for coffee). Beautiful waitresses ;)

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  • Street vendors

    In some corners in old town, specially near the markets, you can find street vendors that prepare fried things to take away. I had these kind of triangular samosas, filled with vegetables, that were delicious. About half dollar each,

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  • Fatira

    Fatiya is a fried tortilla filled with egg and a certain sweet flavour. A good place to taste it is the Ali Bey Cafe in the main square, but you can also find it at street vendors.

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  • Canal Cafe

    Canal Cafe (no sign outside) is located in the main street and is a good place to sit for a while and enjoy a fruit shake or a pastry. Don't expect a western cafeteria, it is just a small room offering coffee, juices and some pastry, but is a good option for breakfast or so.

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  • Breakfast at Belayneh Hotel

    The Belayneh hote is a middle range "modern" hotel jsut outside the city walls, near the bus station. I didn't stay there, but went one morning to have breakfast at the roof terrace. It is a wonderful place to watch the city life in the morning, with all those persons bustling around in the market near the Gates and the blue taxis running up and...

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Dire Dawa Astedader Nightlife

  • Any volunteer for the hyenas?

    If you dare you can get closer and feed the hyenas yourself. I did. Not dangerous at all, just a little scaring when you see all those enormous teeth. They are not tamed animals, pretty wild but "will work for food" if U know what I mean...Yussuf gives you a wooden stick with some meat and you hold it high, so the hyena has to jump a little to...

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  • Feeding the hyenas

    There is no entrance fee for the show. In fact is not a show, Yussuf just feeds the wild hyenas that come to his door at dusk every night. They live in the jungle outside the city during the day but come here for meat every night. You just have to give the man a little tip (30 Birr, 3 USD) after the feeding.

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  • Hyenas outside the walls

    If you wanna see the feeding of the hyenas at night, you can go there on your own or tell your guide to take you there. If you go alone, go to the Erer Gate (the most eastern one) and turn right looking for the tree on the pic.There you have to ask for "Yussuf" and wait outside his hut, under the tree.

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Dire Dawa Astedader Transportation

  • Buy plane

    You can also arrive here with Ethiopian Airlines from Addis. There are 2-3 daily flights, that cost about 130-140 USD the return ticket. You fly to Dire Dawa, the main city 30 kms away, and from there you have to take a minibus to Harar

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  • Bus from Addis

    There are direct buses Addis-Harar that take 10-12 hours and cost 56 Birr (5,6 USD). The buses leave Addis central station at 6am, though they actually leave at 6:30, BUT you have to be there at 5:30am and wait, as the seats are not numbered and, even buying the ticket in advance, you might find the bus full if you arrive late.At the end of the...

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  • Blue taxis

    These old 50s PEUGEOT taxis were everywhere in Harar, though I didn't find them anywhere else in Ethiopia. Somehow reminded me to those old cars you can find in Havana (Cuba) that must be repaired by their own drivers with invented pieces. I never really used them, as distances are really short in the old town and I had nothing to see in the modern...

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Dire Dawa Astedader Shopping

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    Souvenirs

    by SirRichard Written Nov 11, 2006

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    There are many things to buy here, things you can only find in Harar (colourful fabrics, baskets, collars) and also things you can buy in Addis too, but will find cheaper here: jewelery, silver, antiques.
    There are not many (if any) souvenir shops, most of the artisans sell their work in their little ateliers and they are not signalised. The best way to find them is to take a guide and tel him to take you where you want to go.

    The shop entrance inside a courtyard
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Dire Dawa Astedader Local Customs

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    Chat

    by SirRichard Written Nov 17, 2006

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    Not those conversations across the net. Chat here is a herb that is chewed and has some "narcotic" properties. It's a kind of "soft drug" very popular here. When I was arriving by bus, at the last bus stop before Harar there were already many sellers in the street. Most (and I mean at least 80%) of the passengers bought a bag of chat and kept chewing it all the way to Harar.
    You can find it anywhere, it's like chewing gum. It reminded me somehow the COCA leaf you can find in Peru, socially accepted and even recomended for some therapeutical purposes.

    Women selling chat
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Dire Dawa Astedader Warnings and Dangers

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    Beware of butcheries

    by SirRichard Written Nov 11, 2006

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    If you are a sensitive soul or plan to have a big steak for dinner, don't enter traditional butcheries in Harar (nor anywhere in Ethiopia), as their concept of hygienic measures is drastically different from ours. Flies buzzling around is just the funny detail. I saw a couple of men tearing a camel to pieces in the middle of the street and became vegetarian for the rest of the trip!

    Butchers
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Dire Dawa Astedader Tourist Traps

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    Guides: to take or not to take

    by SirRichard Written Nov 11, 2006

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    As soon as you arrive, many kids and young men will come to you offering their service as a guide. I'm not very fond of guides, but if you really want to find something in the old town you better go with a guide. They can also take you to specific shops, which are rather "hidden" for touristic standards.
    I arranged one for 6 USD who would take me the followinh day to see all the madrassas, shrines, tombs, houses... We met early in the morning and he took me around in the morning. Showed me the famous houses, we visited some kind of private houses typically harari, saw a few artists shops... I payed him 3USD, and arranged to meet him after lunch. But after lunch he never appeared back so I went wandering around the old town in the afternoon.
    I tried to find again the places we had seen in the morning (I had even taken notes on their locations) but it was impossible, all the alleys seemed the same, all the gates similar, all the courtyards identical!!

    A street in the old town
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Dire Dawa Astedader Off The Beaten Path

  • Sewing machines

    As you wander around the old town you will find different streets for different professions. A strrt for carpenters, another for metal workers... in the pic you can see the street of tailors, all lined up with their sewing machines.

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  • Coffee factory

    Ethiopian coffee is world known and some say Harar produces some of the best coffee here. My guide took me to a coffee factory. It was small, almost familiar, a little room so full of smells and flavours. They were roasting coffee in a traditional oven and packing it manually in paper packagings. I should have bought some, but somehow I prefer to...

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  • Dire Dawa Astedader Hotels

    10 Hotels in Dire Dawa Astedader

Dire Dawa Astedader General

  • Main Street

    Inside the old walled city there is only one street that can be called so: the main street from Harar Gate to the main square. That will be your reference point if you get lost, the place to meet someone and so. The rest of the streets are really narrow alleys that make an impossible maze.

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  • The walls

    Harar old town is surrounded by old walls and has a few gates around. Those gates are not in use anymore, they are simply remains of the past. But Harar was once a well protected city in which outsiders were not welcome.Nowadays there is not much left of the walls, and the remaning parts are not well preserved, so don't expect real amazing walls,...

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  • Balconies

    The balconies in the old town reminded me those I saw in Zanzibar (Tanzania), with all that wooden embroderies and galleries. Most of them are poorly conserved and would need some restoration, but only those at Rimbaud House are somehow restored.

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