Arrival into Harar in Ethiopia
To do the hyena feeding you’ll need to be in Harar, and as the feeding occurs at dusk (7pm ish – changes depending on the seasons), you’ll need to spend at least a night in the town of Harar. You have to be keen if you want to get there – it’s a long, scary and gruelling bus journey in a crampt and overcrowded mini-bus trust me!
From the capital city, minibuses run from Addis Ababa directly to Harar, but also to Dire Dawa with a connection to Harar. To organise the mini-bus your best bet is actually just talk to locals in the streets and in your hostel and they’ll sort you out. It really is that simple. I booked my mini-bus around 1pm in Addis Ababa and got on my minibus at 8.30pm. The minibus journeys can be long, gruelling and dangerous so be prepared for that. It will be worth it when you rock into Harar. My mini-bus took 15 hours in the end (a story for another post) and cost 300 Birr (which is about 16-17 $US Dollars).
The view over the old city of Harar – a great spot by day and the hyenas come out at night!
Walk to the hyena feeding in Harar – it’s the quickest way.
What price is it?
For me, and the other three guys that did it, it was 100 Birr each. That’s somewhere between $5 and $6 US Dollars. That’s totally worth it, believe me. In fact I’d say it’s a bargain as this is a special travel memory.
What happens at hyena feeding?
Well the story goes that at dusk/nightfall wild hyenas roamed the streets of Harar scavenging and looking for food. The locals decided to befriend them and try to tame them over the years and it’s worked. The hyenas now turn up at dusk and are ready for a live show which they are the stars of. The hyenas, in their innocent lives, are unaware of how popular or cool their activity has become. So after years of nightly hyena feeding by the local “hyena men”, Harar’s people realised the potential of this odd occurrence and as such turned it into a kind of tourist pull. A way for the locals to make money, the hyenas to get fed and the backpackers to get up close and personal to hyenas. Everyone’s a winner here.
An overview of what happens at the Hyena Feeding in Harar?
We headed down the street to feed hyenas.
Within minutes he is whistling out and calling hyenas to appear from nowhere. And they do. They are quick off the mark. One hyena comes and stands a mere 4-5 metres from us. The hyena knows the score. It’s going to get fed raw meat by the humans that are here!
The hyena man goes first so you can see how it’s done. He holds a bit of meat on a stick. The hyena comes up, hungry and eager.
Then the hyena man bites a piece of wood and holds it in his mouth. Meat is put on the other end of it. Again the hyena rocks up, snatches it with its jaw and walks back.
There are 3 main things you will do in terms of positions when feeding hyenas in Harar, and here are the three:
1. Feed them mouth to mouth.
2. Hand to Mouth – Hold a piece of wood in your hand. Put meat on the other end. The hyena comes up, takes it, eats it and walks back.
3. The hyena will jump on your back, in my case he walked up my back digging his paws in and devouring the food. It’s hard to stand still and stay calm when you think about what’s actually happening! This for me was the craziest moment. He jumped right on my back onto my Northern Ireland flag I had draped round me. Then he bit the food right by my ear! It was amazing!
The feeding a hyena by hand is the calmest and easiest part. We’ve all done that before with dogs, kangaroos etc. But the whole experience is just memorable!! I will never forget Harar or the hyena experience!!
How dangerous is hyena feeding in Harar?
Yes, of course. Like a lot of things we do on our travels, it has risks. You don’t sign any documents, there are no tourist tickets issued. It just happens by “the tree” on the backstreets on the edge of Harar. There is no real health and safety in place. But if you’re up for it, DO IT. I highly recommend it.
Are photos allowed?
Of course it’s fine! It’s easy to spot a tourist here. Also – if you’re scared you don’t need to do it – you can just go there and watch it from a distance – no problem. If you do this, it’s honourable to give an amount of money (at your discretion) to the “hyena man”, as he’s working for you and putting on a show.
Overall this is an amazing experience and I totally recommend hyena feeding in Harar.
It is not ideal to travel by air with your dog, but sometimes there is no other option. You’ll need to consider transport dog crates, and the key is to make the trip as stress free for your dog as you can.
Airplane travel for dogs is fraught with problems, and most pet owners who have made any enquiries about transporting animals by air are aware of dogs being injured or worse on such trips. Don’t misunderstand me, most dog air travel is incident free, but because things can go wrong, planning ahead can mean the difference between a smooth journey for your dog or one with mishaps.
Prior to looking at transport dog crates or buying your airline tickets, the first thing you should do is to call the airline to ascertain their current policies in relation to pet travel. If you plan to transport a puppy, you also need to bear in mind the federal regulations that provide that a dog cannot be less than 8 weeks old as at date of travel, and must have been weaned for at least 5 days before the flight date.
Puppies and small dogs (usually less than 15 pounds in weight) can sometimes travel with you, in transport dog crates or other pet carriers, underneath your seat. If traveling with a small dog in this way, then, it is imperative that you ensure that the transport dog crate or other pet carrier’s dimensions are such that the crate or carrier will fit underneath the seat. Large dogs obviously cannot be slid under seats, and need to go in the cargo compartment of the airplane. It is still essential that the transport dog crates are of a suitable size for the dog, so as to minimize any distress caused to the dog. They need to be big enough so the dog is not completely confined, but not so big that the dog can be injured if the crate is handled carelessly.
These are some steps you can take to ensure a less stressful trip for your pet if you need to transport them by airplane:
– book a direct, non-stop flight wherever possible. Avoid plane transfers and stop-overs.
– confirm your flight before you leave home, to ensure that there have been no changes to your flight schedule.
– take your dog for a walk shortly before you leave for the airport.
– will your dog need food during the flight? Ask your vet well in advance. Generally pet owners are advised to ensure that their dog starts the flight with an empty stomach, but with long flights food may be required, and it will vary depending upon your dog’s usual feeding schedule, your dog’s usual food, and your dog’s size and age.
– make sure your dog will have a good supply of water during the flight in order to keep him properly hydrated.
– arrive at the airport in plenty of time.
– toilet your dog just before you place him in the transport dog crate if at all possible. Enquire in advance whether there are facilities for your dog to toilet at the airport. If not, get your dog to go immediately prior to leaving for the airport, or stop enroute to the airport just before you get there.
– before boarding your dog, stay with him for as long as the airport staff will allow you to. And ask whether it is possible for you to personally deliver your dog to the gate.
– notify the flight staff once you board the plane that your dog is flying with you and that he is traveling in the cargo compartment (unless he’s with you in the passenger compartment, that is).
– upon arrival at your destination, go immediately to the baggage area to welcome your dog.
Oh the magnificent winter wonderland of Antarctica! It offers endless fun and amazing travel memories. During my trip I ended up at Jougla Point on Goudier Island, which got me reminiscing about working in Public Relations and had me in awe of the world around me. It’s the most remote and amazing continent to see! 
This place served as a reminder to me that travel is really about seeing new places and having amazing experiences and in this fantastic wonderland I was many miles from those busy office blocks of a big city! The commerical world is out of your mind as you wake up in a world of endless snow, strong blizzards, penguins and complete wilderness. Just amazing!
Jougla sits nicely on Goudier Island. My visit there was special as the adjoining part of Goudier Island houses a British Base – Port Lockroy! Jougla Point was the first stop off that day and prepared me for the epic trip across to Port Lockroy. It’s unlikely I will visit Port Lockroy again but the place left a lasting impression – sliding penguins and in the background a flying British flag!
The previous night we docked off the coast of Goudier Island. Our boat was the MS Expedition, a marvellous red vessel, great place to relax on board with Antarctica outside. Just amazing feeling and the next day we were all set for the landing at this place.
There was a sense of magic in the air when a snowstorm greeted our departure from the ship and over to the small Jougla Point. This is the adjacent island to Port Lockroy, the British Base. 
Penguins were the main attraction. And lots of them, sliding up and down and all over the snow! Just epic – such a breathtaking landscape! The background scenery is immense.
Jougla Point was probably our quickest and shortest Antarctica landing. It was all quite surreal and I’d give a lot to be standing back there right now in a blizzard miles from civilisation.