Ethiopia: Travel – in a hidden tourism gem just outside the capital, locals seek to expand


Addis Ababa – Named after the Oromo tribe that inhabit the area, the Suba-Menagesha Forest is the perfect weekend getaway for hikers and visitors to the nearby capital of Addis Ababa. The forest, made up of both natural and planted sections, covers an area of ​​9,248 hectares of Sebeta-Hawas and Welmera Woredas of the Finfinnee Special Zone of the Oromia region. We were joined by Dame Regasa, a guide working in the park, who began her explanation by telling us a legend about how the forest dates back to the reign of Emperor Zera-Yacob.

Dame went on to give us some facts and figures about Suba. The forest, he said, is made up of three categories of plants: coniferous plants, eucalyptus plants and native plants representing a total of 167 species including 4 native. The forest is also home to more than 180 species of birds including 4 endemic to Ethiopia and 32 different species of mammals including 3 endemic. The very first nursery was also established in Suba Forest years ago, while the first log splitters were installed in the park in 1908.

We have seen that there are different activities that visitors and hikers enjoy in the forest. Walking in the forest, hiking, game viewing and visiting museums are the reasons people come to the forest. That morning we walked through towering old trees on beautiful trails covered with weeds, grass and flowers, through small valleys with singing streams and hills with seasonal waterfalls. It was all so picturesque.

Despite its attractions, Suba-Menagesha has struggled lately. Dame, who has been a tour guide for the past five years, said there is a need to educate the local community on how the local community can make a living from the forest. “Before the coronavirus epidemic, we had foreign visitors but currently we only have domestic visitors, which is always good for the development of domestic tourism.” He added that the host community would be significantly supported financially if traditional food and drink were provided to visitors near the forest. LIKE

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