|Posted by Marco on August 21, 2012 at 4:40 AM|
By Dr. Munib Wober, researcher, Harvard University
Note: we are absolutely proud to be followed and encouraged by a man of the stature of Dr. Munhib, we propose him to join our association as a Member at Large, hoping to be soon able to welcome him home again! The Editor.
In this document, we present some enhancements to the Extended East Route proposed by the
visionary Prof. Marco Vigano. The enhancements presented here are limited to sites along what is now
known as the Jijiga Highway.
We propose the following:
1) That the Jijiga Highway be renamed the ‘Great East Highway (GEH)’ or “Tallak Mesrak Godana”
2) Entrance to the highway is along the southern flanks of Aw Hakim Mountain. This part of the
mountain along the highway is currently unsettled and mostly free of tree cover. A short hike up
this face affords a comprehensive view of Harar both inside and outside the Jogol. A parking
area and a trail should be developed to ascend this face to the summit with view points along
the way. As part of this trail construction, the mountain should be planted with trees to mitigate
erosion and decline of the water table. A plaque providing relevant information such as the
name of the mountain, the name of the trail, distance, and elevation gain should d be erected at
the trail head. Along the trail various plaques should provide information on some of the more
interesting aspects of the scenery.
Harar from Mt. Hakim
3) Further along the highway, at Daketa, there are some very interesting rock features that dot the
landscape. A parking area should be constructed along the highway and a large plaque should
announce the existence of this tourist worthy site (i.e. Daketa Rock Formations). A trail
should be constructed through the rock formations to a highly scenic spot.
4) Further along the road still in the Daketa area one can see Somali camel herders and their
camps. A perfect opportunity for the Somali to earn some tourism revenue is to offer camel
rides in the Daketa Rock Formations for travelers less inclined to walk. A sign at a parking area
should announce this tourist stop.
5) Further along the Highway is Gursum with all the glorious opportunities for tourism described
elsewhere by Prof. Vigano.
Up the Kundudo from the Immis falls. Two hundred and fifty metres in three amazing jumps
6) Further along the Highway is the Babile Elephant sanctuary. By re-tagging some of the elephants
with radio collars, as started by Dr. Yirmed, it would be possible to offer an elephant viewing safari.
Again a parking area with Road Sings should announce this attraction.
Here is some relevant information on the elephants in the sanctuary:
Amharic Name: Zion
Scientific Name: Loxodonta Africana
Size: Up to 11 feet
Weight: 31/2 - 61/2 tons (7,000 13,200 lb)
Lifespan: 60 to 70 years
Habitat: Dense forest to open plains
Gestation: About 22 months
Long believed to be a separate Loxodonta subspecies, recognised to be L. africana by a party directed by our Dr. Yirmed.
7) Some of these rest stops should have small either road side or sit down eating establishments.
There should be restrooms good enough and clean enough for International travelers.
For all roadway stops there should be signs not only at the location of the attraction, but a
couple of miles on either side of it, to prepare the traveler for what is coming and afford
him/her a decision window.
Example of scenic area road marker
Example of a plaque to provide information on some of the more interesting aspects of the scenery .
The views expressed here are meant to initiate dialogue.
The author has extensive international travel and expedition experience but is not in the tourism business.