The walled city of Harar

Strange, delightful Harar has long been a city of mystery and romance. Mosques, minarets and markets, overhanging balconies, cobbled streets and colourfully robed locals, all jostle against the ancient walls of this centre for Muslim learning - a city which once struck its own currency and still has its own language. It was also the longest home of French enfant terrible Arthur Rimbaud, who quit poetry at 20 to become a coffee trader here. You, too, can experience Harar’s unique blend of magic and mystery - once you’re out from behind your camera’s lens. Head to the outskirts of the city on dusk to watch a practice handed down for generations; a local man calls up wild hyenas and feeds them meat by hand or from between his teeth. The bizarre ritual is meant to discourage the animals from stealing livestock, but is now more an illustration of the city’s unique cultural fabric. Only one person fills the role at any one time, and as the ravenous hyenas get closer, you’ll be amazed at how relaxed the caller remains.

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