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Crossing Borders: Ethiopia to Somalia

Yeah, another border crossing on foot. I trust in several travel reports which promise, there is an open border close to Jijiga in Ethiopia. There are regular buses from Addis to Harar. They start very punctual at 5.30 am. You even get a bottle of water and a small snack. Plus: If you check in luggage, they give you a recite. Wow, what a difference after West Africa, where you sometimes do not even get your own seat.

 

Anyway, after approximately 12 hours (and 300 Birr → 14 Eur) you reach Harar, still in Ethiopia. The best is to spend a night here, do the hyena feeding and stroll through the wonderful old city. Next stop should be Jijiga. The bus stop in Harar is close to the “Shoa Gate”. Mini buses depart frequently but unregulary they wait until they´re full. It takes two and a half hour, costs 40 Birr (2 Eur), landscape is beautiful. The driver probable tries to charge extra for your luggage, but there is no need to accept it. You better buy some biscuit before and make friends with other passengers so that they support you :) Best strategy!

 

Better leave Jijiga quickly, it is too noisy and dirty here. Just from the same bus stop where you arrive, you take a minibus to Togo-Wuchale. 2 Eur, 2 hours. This is the border town. Against every experience you have with border town, Wuchale is different. It is so peaceful and calm. There are no street sellers, we even missed money-exchangers!

 

We had a wonderful walk through the afternoon sun towards the Ethiopian immigration. Out of respect I put my headscarf on but I am pretty sure nobody would have said anything if you don´t do it. Ethiopian side: exit stamp, no questions, no problems. You walk another 400 meters and then welcome to Somaliland!

 

My feelings: I am flashed! I cannot believe it. You just crossed a small road, and everything, e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g is already different. All people are just so so happy to see us. They cannot stop laughing. They welcome us! They are so happy. Dont think they ask for money or that they are baggers. No! Immigration officers are so polite and welcoming. The full taxi waited for even for us until we got our passports stamped. It is the most comfortable taxi after months! It even smells newly and clean. For 7 Dollars (yes, you pay everything by your imported Dollar, because Somaliland is not connected to the global money network. Hence, there are no ATMs) you reach Hargeysa within four or five hours.

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