Two Days Trip to the walled town of Harar by Flight

2 days private tour of Harar Jugol (the walled city of Harar) by flight from Addis Ababa

Merit Ethiopian Experience Tours [MEET] cultural and historical tour of Harar town for two days and one overnight. This two days private guided trip uses two domestic flights of Ethiopian Airlines from Addis Ababa to Dire Dawa and back to Addis Ababa. Private transportation is organized for the transfer from Dire Dawa to Harar and back, and for the city tour of Harar.

This Two Days Tours is to discover the best of the fortified ancient Islamic city of Harar. Written as 'ሃረር' or 'ሐረር' in Ethiopia's Amharic language, Harar (or "Harer") was the Medieval Muslim Capital of Ethiopia. Harar is located 525 km east of Addis Ababa. It is famous for its strong walls and architecturally beautiful gates constructed in the 16th Century. Harar gates allows visitors to get to Jugal from five directions. Harar, an ancient religious centre of Islam, is also known as holy city of Islam in the Horn of Africa.
 
Harar was registered by UNESCO as a World Heritage in 2006 for it  is the fourth Holy City of Islam after Mecca, Medina and Jerusalem, for it is where the largest concentration of Mosques in the world is found at (99 mosques, dedicated for the ninety nine names of Allah, in 1 square kilometers area, for its fortified stone walls and five gates built in the 16th Century AD, and as it is a place where different ethnic and the  religious groups lived in harmony for hundreds of years.Harar - Inside Traditional House of Harari people at the walled town of Harar, East Ethiopia

This two-day tour of Harar includes visiting important sights, landmarks, old mosques, famous squares and Islamic tombs like Tomb of Amir Nur, Tomb of Sheikh Abadir, Jamia Mosque, and Feres Magala Square.

During the tour meet locals from Harar - Harari (Adere) at their beautiful traditional houses and at the colorful local Shoa Gate Market.

Walk the winding streets of  Harar Jegol to see the stone walls and the original gates built in the 16th Century AD - Shoa Gate, the Buda Gate (Bedri Bari), Erer Gate (Argob Bari), Sanga Gate (Suqutat Bari) and busy Fallana Gate (Assum Bari).

Visit Arthur Rimbaud's House where the famous French poet Arthur Rimbaud lived in Harar. See the fascinating Indian Architecture of the house. Enjoy displays of photographs taken by Arthur Rimbaud himself and others which show Harar's development and changes.

Other interesting places of visit include: -

  • EMIR NUR’S TOMB (or Tomb of Amir Nur) - Emir Nur is believed to erect the protective stone walls and five gates of Harar. He is also credited to establish Harar as his capital in 1521 A.D.
  • FERES MEGALA (Horses Market) is Harar's Central Square - Feres Magala. Five of the biggest roads in Harar Jegol Wall starting from the five gates of Harar meet at Feres Magala Square. Have a look around to see Medhane Alem Church - the only Church in the Harar Jegol.
  • VISIT A TRADITIONAL ADERE HOUSE - Visit one of the colorful architecturally unique two-story traditional houses of the Adere or Hararis.
  • JAMIA OR JAMI MOSQUE – Have a look at the Great Jamia or Jami Mosque - the biggest mosque in Harar. According to local legends Jamia Mosque dates back to 10th to 12th century.

Hyena Man feeding wild Hyenas at Harar town of Ethiopia

FEEDING WILD HYENAS
Drive to one of the gates of Harar, in the evening, to the Hyena Feeding Site. Gain a unique experience of feeding wild hyenas by hand. See how the "Hyena-Man" feeds hyenas calling by name. Give it a try!

The Tradition of feeding the hyenas began by leaving them some food by the gates of Harar during the drought season so that starved hyenas don't break in to cattle’s' stables and also attack people.

ITINERARY

Day 1 - FLY Addis Ababa - Dire Dawa and drive to Harar

In the morning, take Ethiopian Airlines domestic flight ET 206 (07:00 - 08:00) or ET 214 (08:10 - 09:10) from Addis Ababa to Dire Dawa (55 km from Harar). Drive for about an hour to Harar enjoying the great scenery of the surrounding mountains.Street Shopping at Harar town of Eastern Ethiopia

Before lunch visit the walls and gates of Harar which marks and identifies the city’s peculiarity. After having lunch at a local house of the Adere or the Harari people, visit the local market of Harar which is attended by the tribal people of Amhara, Oromo, and Hararis (Adere).

Attend the ceremony of Chewing Chat (mild stimulanomo, and Adere (Harari). Then visit the House of Arthur Rimbaud - a famous French poet, who lived in Harar in the late 19th Century AD. Explore "Jugal" - Harar’s old walled town by walking with a local tour guide.

The main gate of Harar Town Eastern EthiopiaIf interested, check out one of Ethiopia's breweries - Harar Brewery. In the evening, drive to one of the gates of Harar where you can visit the ‘Hyena Man’ as he is feeding wild hyenas by hand and mouth.

Accommodation at Harar on this 2-day trip to Harar is organized at Ras Hotel or at Harari Cultural Guest House - Rewda Guesthouse.

Day 2 - Drive to Dire Dawa and FLY to Addis Ababa

Visit a coffee processing small scale industry. The Coffee from around Harar is one of the best types from Ethiopia. Then, attend a typical traditional Ethiopian coffee ceremony. Explore some of the oldest mosques and shrines of Harar. Finally, drive back to Dire Dawa and visit the colorful spice market and the old Train station which was founded by the French in the 1900s.

Take the Ethiopian Airlines domestic flight ET 221 (15:50 - 16:50) from Dire Dawa back to Addis Ababa.

HARAR, ETHIOPIA - FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS WITH HELPFUL ANSWERS

Get facts and insightful answers about the fortified historic town of Harar, Eastern Ethiopia. We list common visitors’ questions about Harar city and provide short useful answers.

Where is Harar city in Ethiopia?

The walled town of Harar is located 525 km (326 miles) east of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia’s Capital City. Harar, the capital of Harari Region, has an elevation of 1,800 meters above sea level. The city of Harar is 50 km away from Dire Dawa town (where the closest airport to Harar is).

How to go to Harar from Addis Ababa?

You can go from Addis Ababa to Harar town by ground transportation (525 km), fly with Ethiopian Airlines to Dire Dawa and drive 50 km to Harar. Or use the Addis Ababa – Dire Dawa - Djibouti Railway Service and drive 50 km by private transportation from Dire Dawa to the city of Harar.

When was Harar founded?

Harar (Hārer) existed as part of the ancient Ethiopian Axumite Empire at least in the 7th Century AD. It was through Harar town that the first Muslim migrants arrived to Ethiopia from Arabia in the 7th Century AD.

Is Harar worth visiting? What makes Harar special?

Harar is a fascinating unique town even from Ethiopians perspective. The historic holy city of Harar is quite different from the famous historical and religious sites of Northern Ethiopia.

Few facts to qualify Harar as one of the best places to visit in Ethiopia: -

  • The town of Harar was the medieval Muslim Capital of Ethiopia
  • Harar (Harar Jugol) is enclosed with stone walls built in the 16th Century AD
  • Harar is the 4th holiest city of Islam next to Mecca, Madinah and Jerusalem
  • Harar is an ideal place to see authentic harmony and unity in diversity
  • Harar is a site where you can feed wild hyenas with your own hands
  • Harar is enlisted by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site

How many gates have Harar Jugol?

The 3.5 kms (2.2 miles) long stone walls of 5 meters (16 feet) high encircle the historic town of Harar. The original gates of Harar are five (5) in number namely Shoa Gate (ሽዋ በር), Buda Gate (ቡዳ በር), Sanga Gate (ሠንጋ በር), Erer Gate (ኤረር በር) and Fallana Gate (ፈላና በር).
Historically, the five gates linked Harar with the major trade routes of the time.

In 1889, one more gate is added to the walls of Harar – Duke’s Gate.

What to buy from Harar, Ethiopia? Best souvenirs from Harar?

Coffee from Harar is one of the best coffee types in Ethiopia. Don’t miss the chance to buy Coffee from Harar. Other best souvenir to buy from Harar is the colorful intricately woven grass baskets of the Harari people.

Harar is also famous for its jewelry made of silver. Frankincense and other resins are some other items visitors may want to buy from Harar.

NOTE - The 2 days tour to visit Harar can be scheduled to three days tour by driving one way to Harar, visiting Awash National Park, and flying back from Dire Dawa.

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