Explorations, culture, nature


Enhancements to the Extended East Route

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”

in Amharic…

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

Diet: Herbivorous

Gestation: About 22 months

Predators: Humans

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.

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