The hyena feeding is in Harar so you'll need to get a crazy minibus out to it - it may take a while but it's worth the journey!
From the capital city, minibuses run from Addis Ababa directly to Harar, but also to Dire Dawa with a connection to Harar. To organise the mini-bus your best bet is actually just talk to locals in the streets and in your hostel and they'll sort you out. It really is that simple. I booked my mini-bus around 1pm in Addis Ababa and got on my minibus at 8.30pm. The minibus journeys can be long, gruelling and dangerous so be prepared for that. It will be worth it when you rock into Harar. My mini-bus took 15 hours in the end (a story for another post) and cost 300 Birr (which is about 16-17 $US Dollars).
Harar offers amazing views and hyenas come out at night.
Walk to the hyena feeding in Harar - it's the quickest way.
What price is it?
The price is about 100 Birr per person. 5 or 6 US dollars
What happens at hyena feeding?
Well the story goes that at dusk/nightfall wild hyenas roamed the streets of Harar scavenging and looking for food. The locals decided to befriend them and try to tame them over the years and it's worked. The hyenas now turn up at dusk and are ready for a live show which they are the stars of. The hyenas, in their innocent lives, are unaware of how popular or cool their activity has become. So after years of nightly hyena feeding by the local "hyena men", Harar's people realised the potential of this odd occurrence and as such turned it into a kind of tourist pull. A way for the locals to make money, the hyenas to get fed and the backpackers to get up close and personal to hyenas. Everyone's a winner here.
What happens at hyena feeding in Harar?
We walked down to feed hyenas.
We arrived around 7pm and got ready to feed the hyenas
You'll be buzzing and you won't feel scared. I was loving it and couldn't wait to get face to face with one of these beasts!
We made videos and took photos of him and it was great fun to watch. After Feder had his go, I was third up and so excited.
There are 3 main things you will do in terms of positions when feeding hyenas in Harar, and here are the three:
1. Feed them mouth to mouth.
2. Hand into mouth.
3. The hyena will jump on your back, in my case he walked up my back digging his paws in and devouring the food. It's hard to stand still and stay calm when you think about what's actually happening! This for me was the craziest moment. He jumped right on my back onto my Northern Ireland flag I had draped round me. Then he bit the food right by my ear! It was amazing!
It's a crazy experience if a tad scary!
Is the hyena feeding in Harar dangerous?
Yes, of course. Like a lot of things we do on our travels, it has risks. You don't sign any documents, there are no tourist tickets issued. It just happens by "the tree" on the backstreets on the edge of Harar. There is no real health and safety in place. But if you're up for it, DO IT. I highly recommend it.
Are photos allowed?
Of course it's fine! It's easy to spot a tourist here. Also - if you're scared you don't need to do it - you can just go there and watch it from a distance - no problem. If you do this, it's honourable to give an amount of money (at your discretion) to the "hyena man", as he's working for you and putting on a show.
Honestly if you end up in Harar in Eastern Ethiopia, do the hyena feeding!!! It's an amazing experience!
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