EQST 004 Senbete (Sunday) Market – 1 to 2 days
This trip can only be done on a Sunday, the day the market takes place.
Pick up from the hotel is earlier than usual at 6.30 am, since it is about 275 km to Senbete or about 5 hours’ drive up the main road north, or the Asmara road. There is spectacular mountain scenery en route. We should aim to get to the market before it gets hot, and before the other shoppers imbibe too much local beer, honey wine and home distilled spirits! Markets in Ethiopia are not only about buying and selling, but are major social occasions, where people meet and exchange information. Once the business is done, the socializing begins.
Senbete market is a place where the highlands and lowlands meet, and brings together different ethnic groups: the Afar (with their camels and distinctive knives), the Oromo, the Amhara, Gurage and Argoba. (The latter claim descent from the Muslims who fled persecution in Saudi Arabia before the triumph of Islam.) Visitors can buy different kinds of crafts, jewelry, baskets and woven materials.
We can either take a picnic lunch, or stop at a local restaurant. We should set off back to Addis Ababa after lunch, arriving early evening. This trip is a bit long for one day, and can easily be extended to 2 days with an overnight at Ankober Lodge, situated at the old imperial capital, on the escarpment overlooking the Afar lowlands. See EQST 005 for more details.