Augustas Kligys Katja Lachmann
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ON THIS PAGE:
o Wild animals - How to react
o Travelling by land: from Ethiopia to Kenya and backwards
o Hitch-hiking, buses and planes in Ethiopia
o Ethiopia: drinks, food and people
o Accommodation in Addis Ababa (Ethiopia)
Wild animals - How to react

I read the book "Between Cape Town and Kalahari". The author is Rainer M. Schröder. He and his wife went together on a trip through South Africa, Zimbabwe and Botswana. They had some friend called Willy in that book, who had 20 years experience with doing safaris and wild animals. Here I translated myself some important information:

LIONS

There is no need to be afraid of lions when meeting them in the wilderness. Lions are not up to search the near of human beings, especially they are not searching for men as victims. The reason is that they hunt for what they have learned during their "childhood". That means, everything they are interested in are animals being on the "menu" the mother provided them as tasteful and worth to hunt. Lions need a special technic to hunt animals and as men are not in their natural life circle they never learned which technic to use for hunting them. There are lion specialists i.e. that hunt buffalos because in their region are very much. If buffalos leave that area and only zebras and other animals are left, they have difficulties in hunting them. They are not sure which technic to use best because in the first 24 months of their life they learned only to hunt buffalos. Lions are always doing that what they have learned from their mother.

Elephants

There is no danger as long as the elephant does not feel threatened, but you never know what the elephant thinks. So if elephants react angry and start to follow you (a very sign for being angry), it is good to have some cloth (i.e. t-shirt) that spoils by perspiration. You should take that and throw behind you when you are sure the elephant goes after you. Elephants do not have good eyes, they rely more on their nose. So when throwing a sweated cloth the elephant will think this is what he did not like to be in it is area. The elephant will thus attack the cloth in its blind rage. That will give you time to escape - thus RUN!!! (an elephant can sprint from 0 to 50 km/h in a (few) seconds)

You should try to find out, too, from where the wind blows. Go against the wind.

It helps to make noise that the elephant does not know to make him leave from you. For example, when hitting a metal (car) with a stick. This kind of noise is not natural and not known to the elephant. Thus he will better leave as he does not know if it is a sign of danger.

One more thing: Elephants hate clapping of hands.

Giraffe

You can follow giraffes in case you search a way out of a dangerous situation. Or just in case to search a safe way to get through some area. The reason why is that giraffes are very tall and can scan the area. If there would be any danger, they would not walk there. It is good to know when wanting to cross a river, as there could be crocodiles.

Leopard

You have to be very quiet because it really hates noise and it can turn wild.

---
Anyway, always rely on your own instinct, too.

Katja, augustas, updated: 22/05/2004, created: 08/05/2004 [angola, benin, botswana, burkina faso, cameroon, central african republic, chad, congo, congo (zaire), cote d'ivoire, equitorial guinea, eritrea, ethiopia, gabon, ghana, guinea, kenya, liberia, malawi, mali, mauritania, mozambique, namibia, niger, nigeria, rwanda, senegal, sierra leone, south africa, sudan, swaziland, tanzania, togo, uganda, zambia, zimbabwe]
Travelling by land: from Ethiopia to Kenya and backwards

Ethiopia --> Kenya

You can definitely do a combination of hitching/buses/trucks from Addis to Kenya, just be prepared for a hard road when you hit Kenya. You can catch a bus from Addis to Moyale, Ethiopia, the road is paved, walk across the border and get a truck through Northern Kenya (the reverse of my trip). There is also a good chance if you hang around in the Piazza in Addis (the Taitu is , in my opinion the best place to stay, but also a great place to get info), you might find private vehicles going that route. On the truck from Moyale -- make sure you get a spot on the top. The bars are uncomfortable, but it's well worth it for the views and the comaraderie.

Day 1: Addis Ababa - Shashemene. In the morning get to the bus station at 5am as sometime between 5.00am and 5.30am the gates to the bus station open and you get to join the hectic scrum for a bus. There are plenty of buses going to Shasmemene as it is a transport hub for the south. These buses are old noisey and packed solid. Getting on the bus early is imperitive as you might be lucky enough to sit next to the driver, or at least near a door, or failing that, a window. If your in the middle prepare to sweat it out in the crampt conditions covered in chat leaves and fruit. It only takes 2/3rds of a day.

Day 2: Shashemene - Yalebo. Buy a ticket the night before for Moyale, the border town (the bus will stop over night in Yalebo). Again, get there at 5am. I got on a 4.50am which was top banana as I got the choicest seat. If you get to these places early they may let you in to the bus station before the masses as you are a white person, which is less stressfull. Shash - Yalebo is a full day, like 12 hours.

Day 3: Yalebo - Moyale. Get on the same bus for the half day trip to Moyale. It'll leave between 5 and 5.30 and if your late they dont care - you'll get stuck in the nowheresville that is Yalebo.

If your lucky then you might get a Landcruiser share taxi on the evening of day three from Moyale to Wadjir. I had to wait untill the next day when I got a bus to Wadjir. Again, buy your ticket to Nairobi, overnight in Wadjir.

Day 4: Moyale - Wadjir. This takes 8 hours but there are loads of bandits so army guys with guns travel on the bus with you and also roam the countryside. The alternative is to go via Marsabit and Isiolo, which is supposed to be safer, but Ive spoken to 3 different groups of people who went this way and its 2 1/2 days sitting on top of a cattle truck because the road is unspeakable and only these vehicles will take you. The Moyale - Wadjir 'road' is just terrible, rather than unspeakable!

Day 5: Wadjir - Nairobi. Bus left at 3am for the 12 hour trip to Nairobi. The hotel got all the passengers up and made breakfast and we all stayed in the same place so I think that this is the done thing, as it means arriving in Nairobi in the late afternoon, rather than at night (not good), as the streets are very dangerous. You've now made it to Nairobi!


Kenya --> Ethiopia

The starting point is at Isiolo -- this is were you catch a truck. Fortunately going North the trucks are filled with cargo as opposed to cattle -- as they are going South. You want to board the truck at around 4:30 AM -- make sure you have a flashlight. The trucks leave from the central area in Isiolo -- you can get someone to help you procure a position but it will cost extra (there are a lot of touts around, but very very very few travelers -- at least when I was there -- I wound up being the only one.) At least a year ago -- despite Lonely Planet indications -- there are no longer any buses. It should cost around 450 Kshillings for the trip. You will overnight in Marsabit. The ride is hard, and you go through some extrodinary places. Two different deserts with many different tribal peoples. Once you get to Moyale, most likely you will be covered with dust and very impressed by the beginnings of the paved road. You'll need to change money with one of the rasta guys. Make sure you have USD in smallish denominations. Ethiopia fixes the exchange rate so it should generally be around 8 birr/USD. Lots of cheap places to stay in Moyale -- mostly brothels and be prepared for bedbugs. You catch the buses up the hill at the bus station early early in the morning -- around 4:30 AM . Sometimes you can buy tickets the night before and persuade the bus driver to let you get a seat before the stampede starts. On the truck there will be be very few if any ppl who speak English so practice a little Swahili -- you might want to bring snacks. Make sure you have plenty of water.

MORE INFORMATION:

More about this road you may find in the following ThronTree (Lonely Planet) threads:
Overland Safety from Ethiopia to Kenya
Ethiopia and Kenya

by Jen www.freejen.org, Tristan Byrnes and augustas, updated: 19/05/2004, created: 14/05/2004 [ethiopia, kenya]
Hitch-hiking, buses and planes in Ethiopia

Local transport through Africa is shockingly inexepensive -- but it is also very very hard. You do have the option to take luxury buses and sometimes it's worth it. Also internal flights in Ethiopia are not so expensive and worthwhile if you want to head North etc. Ethiopia is different from Tanzanian and other countries in that they don't allow people to stand in the aisle of the buses and well Ethiopians are generally very skinny so it seems like you have more room. However, at all costs, do your best to get a window seat in the front. Ethiopians believe fresh air is very bad for you, even if the temperature is saharan inside the bus. The only time you will see a window opening is if someone is going to vomit. The drivers and conductors generally believe in opening the windows, thus the front is usually cooler. If you get window control, you can usually get away with opening the window a crack for a breaths of fresh air, before everyone starts putting on their parkas and complaining. Of course, in the front you can see everything coming, and it's not for the faint of heart. In the end, I was of the opinion, that faster is better -- usually the quickest way out of the extremely uncomfortable situations.

As far as giving money to drivers. If they expect payment they will negotiate up front -- and the amount will seem outrageous. It is best to find an AID worker who is traveling and very bored, or a truck driver. Figure out the "real" price for a bus fare and go from there. This can be done by talking to the local children. It is technically illegal in Ethiopia for drivers to pick up western hitchhikers, primarily to prevent the rip-offs -- of which the Ethiopian government is very sensitive. Of course, everyone ignores the rules. You will find that people will buy you chai and meals, even fellow bus passengers -- be gracious and if it's a long trip, be sure to treat at the next stop. There is a great culture of sharing food. If you open a packet of biscuits or something on a bus it's good manners to share with your neighbors. They will share with you! and you make lots of friends this way.

by Jen, www.freejen.org, created: 14/05/2004 [ethiopia]
Ethiopia: drinks, food and people


Water and other drinks

Bottled water is readily available just about everywhere even at the remote stops -- the African travelers drink it as well. However, after around 2 months I was drinking water -- with no intestinal ramifications. India is far worse. Carry some iodine with you and an empty water bottle, or even better a light weight filter , and eat lots of yogurt before you go. In Ethiopia, they have Ambo -- which is a huge bottle of sparkling mineral water just about everywhere. Also be sure to drink lots of spris -- fruit juice served in layers -- more like pulp that you eat with a spoon. The avocado is excellent!


Food

Food in Ethiopia is injera -- the flat pancake made from teff with shiro (chickpeas), salad and other concoctions. There are local restaurants in most towns and most restaurants serve it as well. The dish is meant for two -- and your table neighbor might stuff food in your mouth -- this is considered a great show of hospitality. I had no problems eating anything in Ethiopia or anywhere in Africa. The food is always very fresh -- they only kill/cook what they need. The nastiest food is generally in the big hotels or restaurants catering to westerners. That being said, there is some very good eating around the Piazza in Addis. Pizzas, etc.. Depending on where your are -- the muslim areas will serve lots of goat (delicious) and beef in the Amharic areas -- raw is the preferred method, but you can always ask for it to be cooked. Don't be shy about asking to go back into the kitchen to look at the dishes and pick. If you hate injera -- you will be eating spaghetti with tomato sauce. Addis has some good western groceries stores -- so stock up if you want any treats. I, of course, bought peanut butter, and a few cans of sardines both turned out to be a very worthwhile investment. If you are in an area with lakes (Arba Minch), make sure you eat the fish. Very very good.

People

Watch out for the "Farangi prices" left over from the Dirge. On the historical route -- it's common for Faranjis to be charged double for even a bottle of water. Be polite but find out the local prices and always carry lots of small change. Give them the local price and walk away. If there is an arguement, offer to get the police and a priest. It also helps to learn a few words of Amharic so you can pass yourself off as a resident AID worker or teacher. The word for Thank-you, amasiganalo (phonetically), is very rarely used, but the Ethiopians are delighted if you do say thank you in their own language, and you wind up making friends as well.

Never, never, ever, use your finger to point at anything. Very bad manners, and of course use only your right hand to eat.

The children and the "you , you , you:" This gets very annoying, but realize that it's direct translation from the Amarhic, and is a polite form of address. I would usually say "you, you, you " back, or engage the children in a conversation -- they learn in English and love to practice their few phrases, "where you go", "how are you", "how old are you", and "are you married." I would also sometimes stop and explain that it's much better to say "hello, and goodbye." You will get lots of requests for biros, or pens. There is a big debate about whether or not it's a good idea to give children pens, but school supplies are extremely short, so I brought a few extras to hand out. Never would give out sweets though, and of course, don't give any children money.

by Jen, www.freejen.org, created: 14/05/2004 [ethiopia]
Accommodation in Addis Ababa (Ethiopia)
In Addis I stayed at the Taitu after trying out the Baro, Wutma, and National hotel (the brothel not the nice one). The Taitu is by far the best. Very inexpensive rooms in the back set in a beautiful garden. It's the oldest hotel in Ethiopia and popular with some very interesting traveler types. The other places are ok, but in my mind over-priced, with the exception of the National, which is a full-out brothel and very cheap. In fact most hotels are brothels. The prostitues are very entertaining, have more freedoms then most Ethiopian women, but very hard tragic lives.
by Jen, www.freejen.org, created: 14/05/2004 [ethiopia]
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