After watching the jackal feeding in Harar, it is back to the Most Exotic Marigold Hotel for an early night. Next day we hit the road early, and stop on the way at a local "chat" market. Chat is the dope that the locals chew - it is legal and a big business here, even exported to nearby gulf states. There are a lot of wild looking people here, so we do one pass up and back and then head for the safety of the 4WD.
We stop overnight in Awash - the first place we have seen with air-conditioners. The next morning we are off bright and early again to visit the Awash National Park. We arrive at opening time, and pick up our scout, who is armed with what looks like an ancient .303. He is very knowledgable about the wildlife, and takes us for a walking tour through the savanna when we spot a couple of oryx in the distance. We get out to stalk them, but they are smart enough to always stay out of camera range.
From there we go to a vantage point that overlooks the Great Rift Valley, and stop for a few photos of the valley and the river. Apparently the river never makes it to the sea - it peters out in the desert of northern Ethopia.
After the photo stop, we trek down into the valley to see the Awash Falls - it doesn't rank with Iguazu or Niagara, but is impressive none the less. Apparently we are there at a good time - the rainy season has just finished and there is still quite a lot of water in the river.
We trek back up to the top and visit the local tourist lodge, where it is time to sample the lcoal coffee. It's hard to find a bad coffee in this country - although you have to tell them to hold back on the sugar, as they like it sweet here.
We drop the scout back at the entry point - and I casually ask if the gun is actually loaded. "Oh, yes," he says proudly, and pulls out the clip to show us - and then points to the reserve supply in his belt.
From there we carry on towards Addis, and finally turn south towards Arbaminch. We pass hectares of greenhouses on the way - they grow flowers here that are airfreighted to Holland for next-day sale.
The day ends when we arrive at the Sabana Lodge on Lake Langano. The lake is apparently one of the few in Africa that you can swim in, and the lodge is set up as a beach resort. Our room is very comfortable, and the restaurant is very well appointed, so we sample a few beers, have dinner and turn in for the night.