The first idea was just to fly it over. From Jeddah in Saudi Arabia to Kampala in Uganda. I believed that Ethiopia was at war. How could I not, it seems like every news we hear is: thousands are dying of hunger due to the constant conflict.
However, in the meantime I was informed that, at this moment, there is no conflict in Ethiopia. Emphasizing this moment. Because if they are not in the state of war on Tuesday, doesn’t mean they won’t be on Thursday, let’s put it that way. And then I started online research wanting to know what was really going on. As I understand conflicts, when they happen, are based in the north of Ethiopia, in Tigray. For decades this region has been a reason for conflict with Eritrea (which also used to be a part of Ethiopia once). That means that, starting from Tigray up to Addis Ababa and further towards Kenya it is peaceful. There is no shooting, however there is hunger. Poverty, even by African standards. Furthermore, that means no infrastructure and that finding food supplies out of the cities is questionable. And you will not find many cities traveling from Ethiopia to Kenya. But you can encounter unfortunate people who get food by stealing.
If you add a term bicycle to your internet search, it turns out that all of those who drove through Ethiopia – drove north. To be precise: Tigray, around the city of Mekelle and south towards Addis Ababa. I couldn’t find information on anyone riding a bike beyond that region. I haven’t investigated thoroughly, but it seems to me that there were some tours organized for guys with plenty of money. How it operates is that they would drive you in some jeeps for 200km, then let you cycle around for a bit, not too far and too long and get back to the jeep. And that’s not my cup of tea, not only because of money. It’s simple, my goal is not to be able to say: I have been there.
That would be the downside of the story.
On the other hand, while questioning the obstacles, I also found many reasons to visit Ethiopia, too many to give up just like that. All I knew about it, till yesterday, was that they had Haile Selassie who was Tito’s pal and the first statesman from Africa to visit Yugoslavia. I knew that people are poor, perhaps the poorest in the world. And, yes, I knew about coffee.
Along the way, I also learned that Ethiopia is the only African country that has never been under colonial authorities. There are over 80 ethnic communities and as many languages. That it is the twelfth biggest country in the world, in terms of surface area, that almost 50% of the population is Orthodox, and about 40% Muslims. There are many endemic species. No need to mention the beautiful African nature, that goes without saying. In the anthropological sense, modern man first arose on its soil. The real origin of Rastafarians, which we all associate with Jamaica and Bob Marley, is Ethiopia. Bob Marley himself believed that Haile Selassie was the embodiment of divinity. And having said that, how could I look into the eyes of Manu Chao (who considers Marley the greatest musician of all time) and just fly over Ethiopia?And I also learned all sorts of other things, for which, I’m sure, I would regret the rest of my life for not traveling through Ethiopia, and yet being so close.
So, I have made another plan, a route that includes Saudi Arabia, Ethiopia (from Addis Ababa), Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana and South Africa.


Part through Saudi Arabia – 1200km

The mileage is similar to my first plan, because I would not start from Beirut, but from Riyadh. I will stop by to visit my friend Nemanja Cvijetić and take the bus to Jeddah. From Jeddah by plane to Addis Ababa and beyond as I previously planned. Although that northern part near Eritrea is also bugging me.
Of course, this is not a final route. It is necessary to get appropriate visas  and there are a thousand other things to take care of.
But let’s leave this route here, so that I don’t forget what I planned. My head is already starting to explode due to the countless information that I gather on daily bases.