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Aromatic Market in a Marvelous City

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Tucked inside the walled city of Harar, Ethiopia is a wonderful market loaded with local Berber spices, fresh coffee beans, herbs, and incense.

The smells and sights are terrific, but the friendliness of the people sets this shopping area apart from others I've visited. Everyone seems to be happy to stop and talk about their products, your travels, etc. If you have time to chat with vendors but you don't speak their language, find a tour guide to act as an interpreter.

For the best experience, stay at a Harar B&B for a few days. The houses inside the wall are intimate and affordable. You'll wake up every morning to the sound of the muezzins and the smell of newly brewed coffee!

For the nicest place to lay your head, I like Rewda Guest House. You can find Rewda's current number via online travel websites that list motels, etc. When you arrive, be open to staying at her sister’s place (Zubeyda Waber Harar Cultural Guesthouse) if your room is no longer available. Reservations in Ethiopia tend to be suggestions, not be flexible and gracious and the locals will help you out.

Cost of a single room: about $20 per night.

Make the market tour a part of each day. On Thursdays the place expands beyond the city's gate where you can buy everything from fresh breads to fruit and handmade baskets.

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by Kiara Downey
AFAR Local Expert
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