ETHIOPIANS TODAY, ADDIS ABABA (FINFINNEE), ETHIOPIA:
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𝐌𝐄𝐒𝐒𝐀𝐆𝐄 𝐓𝐎 𝐄𝐕𝐄𝐑𝐘𝐎𝐍𝐄 𝐂𝐎𝐌𝐈𝐍𝐆 𝐇𝐎𝐌𝐄 𝐀𝐒 𝐏𝐀𝐑𝐓 𝐎𝐅 𝐓𝐇𝐄 𝐆𝐑𝐄𝐀𝐓 𝐄𝐓𝐇𝐈𝐎𝐏𝐈𝐀𝐍 𝐇𝐎𝐌𝐄𝐂𝐎𝐌𝐈𝐍𝐆 — From Her Excellency Lelise Dhugaa Commissioner, Oromia Tourism Commission
It’s the season of the Great Ethiopian Homecoming and we at Visit Oromia would like to welcome you all to your country. Welcome home!
We would also like you all to travel and discover the best of home during your stay here. For several unfortunate reasons, Ethiopians do not travel across Ethiopia at the rate they should. This culture has prevented us from learning about our country as much as we should, but it is a culture the diaspora can definitely help to change. Knowing one’s country through travel is an essential part of understanding what makes home tick, and there’s no better time than this homecoming to embark on an epic trip of Ethiopia starting with its largest and most populous region, Oromia.
This trip could start right here in Finfinnee where the bustling capital of more than 7 million people has had successive bouts of development in which it got better roads and sidewalks as well as several public parks and recreation centers. The private sector has also been hard at work turning the city into one you’d want to spend a lot of time in. Cafes, restaurants, traditional eateries, coffee stands, shared workspaces, pizzerias, butcheries and all sorts of other establishments open seemingly every hour, offering outgoing spirits a never ending supply of new spots to discover. The city also has a new entrepreneurial atmosphere, one in which young innovators are changing the business environment for the better.
After sampling the classics of what Finfinnee offers, you can try and immerse yourself in its newfound youthful culture.
But the country is very large. Oromia itself is as big as the whole country of Germany. So it only makes sense to get started on the regional part of this trip early on. You can choose to follow multiple trails to visit Oromia. One is to hop from one major town to another and cover much of Oromia without delving too much into the countryside. This is a great itinerary for those with a tight schedule.
Another one, and perhaps one more fitting to those coming home, is a meticulous travel through the best of what Oromia has to offer, combing each route properly before moving on to discover even more gems. The eastern route with cities like Harar and Diredawa as well as the small towns of Kulubi and Aweday, the Babile Elephant Sanctuary which is home to not only Elephants but the endemic Black Lion too, mount Fentalle, Lake Beseka and the mystical Karrayyu homeland, the amazing food that draws from eastern traditions of the Oromo, Somali and even Yemeni cultures and the amazingly friendly people is a great way to start off your journey of rediscovering home.
If you’re the type to enjoy the splendor of nature more, then the Southwest and Western trails are perfect for you. Starting with Jimma 350 kilometres southwest of Finfinnee, nature is seen splurging on what, clearly, is a land it favors. In addition to being the natural home of coffee, the Jimma-Ilubabor trail is also home to some of the most ancient and well protected highland rain forests. Wild coffee varieties in Jimma give way to wild everything in Ilubabor where the Yayo Biosphere is the last remaining home to truly wild species of Arabica coffee. The dark green forests of the Yayo biosphere soon give way to farms and plantations for everything from coffee, tea, to pineapples and any fruits you can name. It is straight to Nekemte, the gateway to the vast Wollega hinterland, once past Bedelle in Ilubabor. Wollega is the western frontier – a land blessed with everything from coffee to gold and other minerals. Another land of royals and coffee, Wollega is also an arena for trade in the best of what this country has to offer.
The far south in Oromia is also an area of deep cultural, historical, and archaeological significance. Borena is the land of Seeraa–law–and the Gadaa system. This is a wild land tamed only by the orderly and intricate system of the people of Borena. The land is vast – bigger than anywhere in Oromia and the cattle herds even vaster, perhaps the largest in Africa. Starting with the zonal capital of Yabello past Arbaminch and Konso’s Karat, you find the ancient crater containing a lake of unbelievable saltiness called Ela Soddaa, the Borana National Park where two different species of zebra coexist and the traditions and customs of the Borana people, all amazing discoveries to marvel at.
Closer to the capital, Oromia’s towns are some of the best weekend destinations around. Bishoftu with its seven picturesque lakes, Adama with its nice warm weather and efficient service, Batu and Meqi with the expansive and rich Lake Dembel a stone’s throw away as well as all the fresh fish you can eat and Sululta with some of the best food and resorts are some destinations that can turn your weekend into a rich experience in culture, cuisine and scenery.
But you might want to go beyond that. You might want to go beyond visiting these places to investing in their potential for tourism. In that case, we would first like to congratulate you and let you know that you are making a fruitful and commendable decision. Investing in Oromia is a worthy endeavor for the savviest of investors and this becomes even more pronounced when you’re investing in tourism in Oromia – a largely untouched affair. From its many large and small lakes including Ethiopia’s largest crater lakes of Wenchi and Dendi at altitudes close to 3000 meters to the best camping experience at the Bale Mountains National Park and agrotourism of all kinds, Oromia is full of potential for a lot of incredible tourism destinations to be developed.
So, whether you come to just see friends and family or are here to partake in the economic mobilization of the country or flew here to figure out how you could contribute to your community, Oromia has something to offer – home has a lot to offer.
I, personally, am ready to engage with as many of you as possible and discuss ways we can work together. The future is bright for tourism in this beautiful country. The vast majority of our resources have yet to even be discovered let alone developed. So, I ask that you come home feeling the sense of wonder this land inspires, ready to discover it all.
Source: Visit Oromia
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