Ethiopia :: Ethiopia
Category: Places :: Country
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Ethiopia is a chaotic, colourful and picturesque country. It is extraordinary. The Amharic language is unique, they calculate time in units of 12 hours with their day starting at 6:00 in the morning, and follow their unique Julian calendar, which consists of twelve months of thirty days each and a thirteenth month of five days (six days in leap year). Their calendar is seven years and eight months behind the Western (Gregorian) calendar.
The landscape is astoundingly beautiful and the people are interesting, with many different tribes and a rich culture. The countryside has an old-world charm; in short rural Ethiopia looks like a movie set for a film that plays off a hundred years ago.
Rural Ethiopians live mostly in sapling supported clay huts and farmers still plough their fields with oxen drawing wooden framed ploughs. Heavy loads are either carried by women or on donkeys and most people walk or travel by donkey cart. People fetch their water in bright yellow containers from puddles, dams, rivers or wells.
On the roads everything on foot has right of way. Vehicles simply have to manoeuvre their way through the people, cattle, horses, donkeys and donkey carts, none of which makes any effort to get out of the way. In country towns we’ve seen so far, three wheeled tuk-tuk taxis are the only common vehicles. In Ethiopia you don’t get traffic jams but we have been frequently stuck in a cattle jam!
Ethiopia is a fertile country and agriculture flourishes. However, a huge culture of entitlement appears to have been created by Western aid, given in response to the drought and famine of the 80’s.
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In Ethiopia. a ‘campsite’ means that you can erect your tent on a piece of ground and if you are lucky, you may get to share some public toilets and showers and hopefully be free of onlookers.
We have found that it is not an easy country to travel. Distances are huge, the going generally slow and they have virtually no facilities for campers. (Jul-2015).
When entering Ethiopia from Kenya through the dry south-west, and as there is no border post there, you have to report to Immigration and Customs at Omorate, about 57 km to the north-east. On the way you may pass various tribes who still adhere to their traditional dress; the Omorate women wearing bright loin cloths, beaded jewellery and short, reddish hair strings.
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