The Celebration of Sheikh Hussein - 14 days and 13 nights - (Surface)

Sheikh Hussein is a town in south-eastern Ethiopia. Located in the Bale zone of the oromia region. The town is named after what, in some Ethiopian Muslim eyes, is the most sacred place in that country: the tomb of the thirteenth century Sheikh Hussein, who introduced Islam to the Sidamo people living in the area at the time, and is said to have performed many miracles.

A number of these miracles have been recorded in a hagiography published in Cairo in the 1920s, entitled Rabi` al-Qulub. Although this town is now within the homelands of the Oromo people, it has continued to be the destination of approximately 50,000 pilgrims from Muslim Ethiopia twice a year during the Muslim months of Hajj and Rabi' al-Awwal. The first pilgrimage is to celebrate his birth, the second his death. They traditionally carry cleft sticks known as "Oulle Sheikh Hussein", which are too small to serve as walking sticks and are not utilized for any practical purpose. Once they arrive at the shrine, the pilgrims take their turns entering the saint's tomb by crawling through a small doorway


Day 1: Arrival, Addis Ababa and city tour

Arrive to Addis Ababa bole airport and meet by a guide .Store the luggage in the hotel and small tea break. Then depart for city tour that covers National museum, Ethnographic museum, st, George cathedral, and the cathedral church of saint trinity. It can be added Mercato (the biggest open air market in Africa) and Entoto mountains. Back to the hotel in the evening.


Day 2: Drive to Awash and visit Awash National Park (225km, altitude 975 masl.)

Departure in the morning and arrive in the town of awash around mid day. Have lunch and visit Awash national park (possibly to spot animals like kudu, jackal, antelopes and other fauna characterized the region). Arrive to the hotel in the evening.


Day 3:  Drive from Awash to Dire Sheike Hussein  (114km ,170masl)

Depart from the park in the morning following the road that Border the park compound. On the way you will visit the village called Hardin, the habitat of the Harari Oromos, Muslims with their waist clothing. Arrive to the town of Gelemso famous for its brand of “chat”, a mildly toxic plant production and its Saturday market. Have lunch at the town of Mechare with lunchbox. And then visit the big “Chat” market which is characterized by the fascinating women selling their local products. Proceed to the direction of Sheikh Hussein. During the journey you will admire the landscape excavated from the ancient time gorge from the river named Wabi Shebele, crossing on the recently constructed bridge. Looking to the spectacular Ethiopian landscapes accompanying the road. Arrive to the town of Dire Sheikh Hussein in the evening. O/n camping


Day 4:  Dire Sheikh Hussein

The feast between the dates of 25 May- 01 June and in the seasons of Arafa( the celebration of Muslims depends on the moon calendar).The character to visit on these days during celebration comes turn to the particular famous market to the region. The feast take the name for Prophet Sheikh Hussein. Among the Arsi (the Ethiopian ancient Oromo people) it has attention and it is of ‘being supreme’. And for other Ethiopian Muslims Sheikh Hussein of Bale is still a big celebration. His legends go back to 11th or 12th century. Numerous of pilgrimages in Ethiopia, from Kenya and Somalia came to the shrine for centuries. Numerous legends return again to survive and charming the holy celebration narrating orally by the followers in the religious song. In many narrations, they attach it to the neighboring regions and many believers again will worship the holy/saint with Baahro song (the religious hymn song in the honor of the saint. Word of imitating from Arabic bahar used by the Arsi as meaning of Arabic sea, the power of nature attribute to the holy, symbolizing generousness and wellness).up to this day, it remains  fascinated from the power of songs from the faith of the people in particularly in the evening the song come shaped with the unity of believers in the rhythm accompanied by drums. lunch will be served at the camping site. Take a small break during market visit, mosque and songs are scattered on the way. the mosque is characterized by its white wall( plastered by a gypsum in which the believers  smear on their face).from the tomb of sheikh Hussein and from the holy water ( Zemzem) the believers again immerse and they  believe to be cured by drinking. Sheikh umlet, the spiritual boss actually of the community accompanied the visit explaining the story and the legend, personal unity in his kind. The hair covered by colorful pearls and respectful personal authority and listening to the believers utilizing in important religious decisions. Return to the camp for dinner and o/n.


Day 5: Drive From Sheikh Hussien to Sof Omer (146km. 1240 masl)

In the morning descend to the gorge (about 40 minutes on foot) Aynageng. There are different entrances characterized the quality of the faith. Only the pure believers succeed to pass in the narrow hole of the cave. In the adjacent space the believers pray with chewing “Chat” and incense. The cave has an important story that life must pass in the surrounding enclosure from Sheikh Hussein in praying as spiritual mediation between the two worlds (Earth and Heaven).depart to Sof Omer and lunch at the town of Ginir which is a predominantly Muslim settlements. Arrive at Sof Omer late afternoon. Dinner and o/n camping.


Day 6:  Visit Sof Omer cave and Drive to Dinsho  (170km, altitude 3000masl)

Visit to Sof Omer cave on foot (the name driven from one Muslim saint), the 3rd biggest in east Africa. The cave is crossed by Web River about 7 times. (It is advisable to wear outfit clothes).In the cave is allowed to be passed from one gate to the exit about 17 km distance on foot. In the wall it is possible to admire the geological structure of the ground. A wonderful reflection in the water of the river turns to a magical and mysterious excursion. Lunch at the town of Robe during driving time to Dinsho. Arrive late afternoon in the town situated to the northern part of bale mountains national park.


Day 7: Dinsho

Walk to the surrounding of Gheze park and spot to the animals (warthog, Minilik bush back, mountain Nyala, endemic birds, baboons, serval and other species characterized the place).flora (to the lower stem vegetation) and web river waterfall. It is possible fishing in the nearby small pond. The excursion bring visitors to an altitude of about 3000m altitude. The road is feasible with half transportation (off- road) or on the horse back for about 15km long. Visit the neighboring road with the possibility of admiring further flora and fauna (the road is feasible in about 2 hours).return to the guest house to dinner and o/n.


Day 8: Drive from Dinsho to Goba (105km, 3800masl)

The morning is dedicated to visit Fincha Habira waterfall.17km road will be practiced on a horseback or modified the program in the prefer of the group to proceed the way on foot with off road. The waterfall is not presenting its maximum splendid, but fascinating in its harmonious and the indoor location to the least explored and uncontaminated atmosphere. Along the way it is possible to spot at red fox (Ethiopian wolf) at a distance (at example scattered range of 250 in 100km2).This animal is endemic to Ethiopia protected from the extinction. Lunch at Robe trying to explore the local food. Depart for Lake Ghebre Guracha (it is to mean a black person). There is ancient belief and thinking that the place was the settlement to the presence of evil in the Senatte region. Visit the lake on foot (about 1:30h one way). It is advised to wear thick clothes looking the freezing weather at an altitude of 4000 masl).admire the breath taking scenery and also the small beautiful lakes along the way. Dinner and o/n at Goba Wabi Shebelle.


Day 9: Goba

Depart to mount Tulu Dimtu 4377masl high being the second tallest mountainous panorama among the highest points in Ethiopia. The strange landscapes reported the bygone period with its piece and majesty. Depart to Rira a small town located near the entrance of Harenna forest. Trekking following the road covered by uncontaminated forest with its harmonious and unique vegetation. During your walk, you remain covered by the roof of trees that blocks the sunlight and creating a magical atmosphere. Within 4 hours it is necessary to consume lunchbox wondering the area, variety of endemic birds, wall of bamboo, endemic plants and the silence mantle and mysterious that winds the visitor. Exit to kacha and meet the car or your means of transportation. Return to the hotel to Goba. dinner and o/n Goba Wabi Shebelle.


Day10: Drive from Goba to Negelle Borena (205km, 1510masl)

Departure to Negelle Borena .The road is characterized passing through the forest. At half way again cross over Genale River. Lunch at Negelle Borena. Visit the biggest Muslim animal market that falls on Saturday ( main market day).the marketers are with a particular local clothes from the area, lively colors and handicraft jewelries. Move to the high plateau(13km) by car for bird watching in particular  Sidamo Lark and Prince Rusplis Turaco  and other endemic birds.(it is advised to take a binocular).return to the hotel for dinner and o/n.


Day 11: Drive from Negelle Borena toYabello (275km, 1610masl)

Departure to Yabello via Megga. Along the flat road pass through the acacia forest and other vegetation of temperate climate. Dik dik and other animals are spotted along the road. Visit El sod also called house of salt. in this lake the Borena Oromo local residents extraction work of salt extraction. They make huge collection and then they sell it on market days for merchants. Up on arrival in Yabello Dinner and  o/n hotel.


Day12:  Yabello

Departure to Dillo another salt lake, go down on foot for about 3 hours to admire the extraction of salt always by hand. Visit the Borena population, visit the Saturday market and proceed to the 3rd salt lake so called Megado (close to the Kenya border), where one can find the immigrant tribal people from Kenya after a conflict to occupy the grazing land. O/n and dinner at yabello.


Day 13: Drive from Yabello to Awassa (300km, 1900masl)

Departure to Hawassa passing across false banana (Enset) plantation which is a stable food for the locality, coffee farms, with a visit of sidamo village and the surrounding on foot. Visit the city of Awassa which is a newly bustling capital city for the Southern regional state. Awassa is widely liked by residents of Addis Ababa who spend their weekends there. Visit the smallest Rift Valley Lake and meet with local fishermen. Dinner and o/n in hotel.


Day 14:  Drive from Hawassa to Addis Ababa (275km, 2400 masl)

Departure in the morning and along the road visit Abijata and Shalla twin lakes national park to spot aquatic birds of flamingos, pelicans, and other bird species, local fauna. the sequence of volcanic lakes are parts of the famous rift valley. Lunch at Langano another Rift valley lake where one can swim in as it is the only Bilharzia free lake. It is also another place frequently visited by Addis Ababa residents at the weekends. Up on arrival to Addis Ababa time for shopping and in the evening be taken to traditional dinner with a spectacular Ethiopian local music and cultural live dancing.


Off-Road Ethiopia Tour wishes you a pleasant stay!


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