Just after sunset, beyond the old city wall and behind the main butchery in Harar, the Hyena men calls the hyenas and the most bizarre ritual of hyena feeding begin. The Harari men have had a long and strange relationship with the Hyenas that traces back 7-8oo years. When asked why do the men feed the hyena, I was told if they don’t, the hyenas would attack the livestock’s and the people of Harar. True or false, seeing these large spotted hyenas being feed raw meat from the Hyena Men’s mouth is…WOW.
You can try it yourself if you like. I did. Kneeling down next to the hyena men, he puts a short stick in your mouth; wrap a piece of raw meat around it, covering it with his hand until you are ready. As soon as he takes away his hand, the hyena comes and takes the meat from your mouth. The hyena’s jaw has incredible strength and its sharp teeth can ripe through my skin like its butter. It is quiet a thrill to meet it eye to eye. Some say that this is not a tourist attraction and it is part of a tradition. I only saw tourists there. Regardless, in the pitch darkness just outside the old city, illuminated by the headlamp of a tuk-tuk, the hyena men calls these wild animals by name and feeds them from their mouth. Its crazy and completely worth seeing.