Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Awash National Park, Ethiopia

Meskel was a 3-day weekend for Ana and I, so we tagged along with a group of friends to Awash National Park, 210 km east of Addis and that means a 3 to 5 hour drive time depending on how many accidents, livestock crossings, and dump trucks you get behind. Someone once told me that all I have is time. In the 4-plus years we've lived in Africa we've had to rethink this whole time thing...it has been a long journey getting comfortable with the concept of "things will happen when they happen." I'll leave you dear reader with that thought and now let's get down to some business.     
We saw a good half-dozen accidents and car mishaps throughout the weekend. Some carrying containers like the one we had shipped. Seeing several of those tipped over and abandoned on the side of the road wasn't exactly comforting. I suppose if the Somali pirates missed hijacking our goods, maybe the Afar tribe will be watching our Breakfast Club dvd. 
Off to the Meskel festivities.
I like that the gas station we stopped at had warning flip-cards. If you smoke while filling -up your van it will burst into flames. Noted.  
Plenty of livestock grazing the space between here and there.
Livestock crossing. 
Sure, sign me up.
Light equals bugs. Long exposure equals a quasi-Jackson Pollock painting. 
Awash falls. We stayed in the national park. Mosquito net compulsory since Malaria is "rife".
Looking down the gorge.
The bulletin board at our lodge said we could enjoy a nice swim in the river. 
It was mid to high 90's (36 celsius) during the day, but the mist from the falls kept you cool.
Obligatory couples photo.
You can also take a nice swim with 5-foot lizards in the Awash River as well. 
Unintentional thorn collecting.
There were two at the campsite-the goal is to reintroduce them back into the national park, in the meantime they hone their stranger pecking skills. When the aliens invade earth, I say use ostriches and kangaroos to ward off the invaders...humans are too predictable.  
Nicknamed the "blue balls monkey" though the photo does not show his huevos azules. We here at Tibs Tummy try to keep our posts family friendly.  
A stroll around the park.
Don't we all wish we had someone special to pick things off of you.  
In the evening we took a ride out to the Hyena caves. We ran into a parent from our school and he said he's never taking his kids to the zoo again. 
In addition to the hyenas there was crack in the earth. "The continent is splitting" as the tour guide said. A few of us had fun jumping across it, then again we lost couple of good teachers, so if you're looking for a job in Ethiopia, let me know.  
This is what you think an African savanna should look like. 
Member of the Kereyu tribe guiding us to the den. At the end of the tour they were settling up with the driver, and one of the tribesmen pulled out a carbon receipt book. 
One spotted hyena. It was chasing a warthog so it seemed, and the group of us were like "wow, a real National Geographic moment" until the guide told us that they get along and often share the same sleeping area. So much for the disinformation The Lion King has been feeding us all along. "Yeah, the hyenas, go into town and eat the garbage."
Leopard tortoise moving along.
Getting to Filwoha hot springs requires a 4 x 4. 
Palm grove on the outskirts of the hot springs. 
At the foot of the ridge are warthogs enjoying breakfast. 
35 degree celsius weather got you down? Dive into a 45 degree celsius pool of water. Our friend Niclas said don't go to the side where the water is bubbling.   
We were assigned an armed scout to protect us from the wildlife but the underlying sentiment was the Afar and Kereyu tribes aren't the best of friends. We saw members of the two tribes in the bush herding animals with an AK-47 and other firearms.   
Just read that crocs like to hangout near the springs looking for foreigners to snack on. 
Camel skull.
Fixing the gate. There were several watchtowers in the lodge compound, I'm thinking they were to spy on the plotting baboons who like to make hit-and-run raids into the camp. We've heard countless stories of hand-to-hand combat over a bag of Doritos and other food items. Our friends had their first aid kit stolen. I guess the baboons didn't dig the taste of hydrogen peroxide. 
A dik-dik, think mini deer or as our friend Monica said "a chihuahua deer"
Getting ready to cause some trouble.
"Whatchu lookin' at Willis?" The warthogs we saw always traveled with their families. 
One of these in your shoe can ruin a walk.
There are about 440 different species of birds in the park. 
Just when you think you're in the wild. We spotted buzzards and their nest on the powerline.
The hand out the window means for you to pass. 
The drive home.
We saw more camels in Ethiopia in one weekend then we saw in four years in Egypt. 
Another celebration on the way home. 

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