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Thursday, Trip to Babilla Camel Market

Harar, Ethiopia
Thursday, October 10, 2019
After breakfast at the hotel, I walked a few blocks over to the main gate to meet Sharif my guide for the day. We caught a minibus to Babille and we sat up front with the driver in the comfortable seats. Sharif was still a little sullen over the pay dispute that we had the day before. He thought that I should have paid him more for the city tour and I thought that I had paid him the appropriate amount. Sharif is more of a hustler than a tour guide but he is still pretty good.

The minibus ride was pretty calm and there was some nice rocky scenery on the way to Babille. We got there in about 45 minutes. I had Sharif take me to the city livestock market first because I though there might be enough camels there for the experience. There were no camels there, only some ragged cattle and goats.

We took a took the remaining 10 kms to the Somali Refugee Camp where the real camel market is located. The drive through the Valley of Marvels rock formations was very scenic. There were also a new kind of baboons along the road waiting for food. They were light gray, hamadryas baboons with big red butts.

Around the camel market, there were thousands of refugee tents and hundreds of camels at the market. It was set in a scenic area with some low mountains around. I was the only tourist there at first and then the two Brits from my guesthouse arrived with their driver. I run into them everywhere that I go.

We spent about an hour walking around and taking pictures of the groups of camels. Our tuk tuk was waiting for us for a fixed, round-trip price of 400 birr. When we were ready to leave he decided that he wanted more money so I threatened to take a minibus back to Babille. Sharif the fixer smoothed everything over and talked the driver off the ledge.

We had a coffee in Babille and then went to the bus station to catch a minibus back to Harar and we got there in record time. I paid off sharif and threw in and extra 100 birr for him and his three illegitimate children so he was happy.

There was afternoon electricity at the Rewda Guesthouse and decent internet so I spent the rest of the day planning and making hotel reservations for the next week. Emage the guesthouse guide was there and I helped him set up a new room on Booking.com. We also fixed the map location of the hotel on Booking. That's one thing that drives me crazy with the hotels, when their map location is wrong and you can't find them.

In the evening, I went to the north hyena feeding site once again because I can't get enough of it. I got there at about 18:30 before the hyenas showed up. This site is in the city so the hyenas enter on the streets. The first one appeared out of the shadows at about 19:00 and then a few more showed up for a total of about five. The hyena man did his normal show to the large group of local and foreign tourists. Just like the night before, as soon as the hyena man left, the hyenas all laid down and shut off.

PHOTOS

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