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BURUNDI

Burundi is located in east-central Africa, south of the Equator. It is bounded by Rwanda to the north, Tanzania to the east and south, Lake Tanganyika to the southwest, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the west. The capital and largest urban center, Bujumbura lies at the northeastern end of Lake Tanganyika. It is the second largest lake of eastern Africa and the longest freshwater lake in the world (410 miles [660 km]) and the second deepest (4,710 feet [1,436 metres]) after Lake Baikal in Russia.

 

Burundi is considered to be one of the world's poorest countries in the world due to a 12-year, ethnic-based civil war between the Tutsi and the Hutu. For more than 200 years, Burundi was an independent kingdom, until the beginning of the 20th century, when Germany colonized the region. After the First World War and Germany's defeat, it ceded the territory to Belgium. Both Germans and Belgians ruled Burundi and Rwanda as a European colony known as Ruanda-Urundi. Despite common misconceptions, Burundi and Rwanda had never been under common rule until the time of European colonization. Since gaining independence from Belgium in July 1st. 1962, the country legally changed its name from Ruanda-Urundi to Burundi.

 

Despite the conflict, Burundi is a country with few resources and with an underdeveloped manufacturing industry. The country’s economy mostly depends on its agricultural sector, with tea and coffee being its chief exports. Coffee, is the principal export crop and source of foreign exchange. Cash crops of lesser importance include cotton and tea. Unexploited mineral resources include considerable nickel deposits, as well as significant reserves of vanadium, uranium, and phosphates. Geologic assessments also indicated a possible major petroleum reserves beneath Lake Tanganyika and in the Rusizi valley. Burundi has other mineral resources such as copper, cobalt, feldspar, rock, and quartzite. The country is also a producer of limestone, peat, sand and gravel for domestic consumption and as building materials. Mineral production, however, is generally limited and includes niobium, tantalum, gold, tin, and wolframite (a source of tungsten). Burundi has been experiencing a growth in its economic status since the end of the civil war and stability in the country’s political system.

 

Burundi is inhabited by three population groups: the Tutsi, the Hutu and the Twa. Since claiming independence, it has been plagued by tension between the dominant Tutsi minority and the Hutu majority. The ethnic violence sparked off in 1994 made Burundi the scene of one of continent’s most intractable conflicts. Official languages are Rundi (Kirundi), a Bantu language that is the standard medium of communication throughout the country, and French - since Belgium is a French and Dutch speaking country. Swahili, the language of trade, is widely spoken in Bujumbura, the nation’s capital as is French. It is notable that Rundi is spoken by both the Hutu and Tutsi. Every Murundi is a musician at heart, according to Ntahokaja in his article entitled La musique des Barundi (The music of the Barundi). His soul is a taut string which vibrates at the slightest breeze. He sings for all events of life, joyful or sad. The Barundi possess a broad repertoire of songs adapted to all states of mind and all circumstances of life.

Burundi cuisine is very representative of the African culinary culture. bananas with beans - a special recipe that is made with dried red kidney beans, green bananas (plantains are also a good option), palm oil, Onion and pepper. Culinary influences range from European to South Asian, and inevitably, East African. South Asian contributions include curried dishes, a side of beans and traditional rice. Many restaurants also offer French-inspired, European fare. Popular dishes include: Ndagaa (recognize it as most delicious food in Burundi made from Fish). Fish in Tomatoes and Onion. Red Kidney Beans with Plantains. Hot Sauce (Pili Pili). Chicken with Bulgur Wheat (Boko Boko Harees). Lentil and Bean Soup (Soupe aux Lentilles et Legumes).

 

The cultural aspects associated with the music in Burundi are numerous, rich and varied. Every Murundi is a musician at heart, according to Ntahokaja in his article entitled La musique des Barundi (The music of the Barundi). His soul is a taut string which vibrates at the slightest breeze. He sings for all events of life, joyful or sad. The Barundi possess a broad repertoire of songs adapted to all states of mind and all circumstances of life. Joyful songs and sad songs - the latter fewer in number - enhance family and official gatherings, accompany certain rituals and ceremonies and are associated with certain trades.

 

  • Landmarks and top tourist sites include:

  • Lake Tanganyika, Bujumbura

  • Rusizi River National Park

  • Ruvubu National Park

  • Lake Rwihinda Natural Reserve

  • Kibira National Park

  • Kigwena Natural Forest

  • Gitega, Burundi; Gishora, Drummers

  • Mount Heha; Saga Beach, Burundi

  • Source du Nil; Chutes de la Kerera

  • Vyanda Natural Reserve

  • Bururi Nature Reserve.

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COMOROS

 

Comoros is an archipelago island nation in the Indian Ocean located at the northern end of the Mozambique Channel off the eastern coast of the continent between northeastern Mozambique and northwestern Madagascar. Other countries near the Comoros are Tanzania to the northwest and the Seychelles to the northeast. The islands emerged from the floor of the Indian Ocean as a result of volcanic activity.  The name Comore is Arabic word for Moon, hence the name Moon Island. Its capital is Moroni, which means the heart of fire due to its proximity to the volcano on Grande Comore. There are four main islands commonly known by their French names: northwestern-most Grande Comore (Ngazidja); Mohéli (Mwali); and Anjouan (Nzwani). The fourth island of the Comorian archipelago, Mayotte, is claimed by the country of Comoros but administered by France. Mayotte voted against independence from France in 1974, as a result has never been administered by an independent Comoros government. In addition, Mayotte became an overseas department and a region of France in 2011 following a referendum passed overwhelmingly. Grande Comore is the largest and loftiest island. It rises near its southern end in an active volcano, Mount Karthala, which, at 7,746 feet (2,361 metres), is the country’s highest point. Karthala has erupted more than a dozen times in the past two centuries.

 

Since gaining independence from France on July 6th 1975 the country has experienced more than 20 coups or attempted coups  which lead to the assasination of many heads of states. The current president, Azali Assoumani, a former coup leader was declared winner of the May 2016 presidential election after violence and vote irregularities forced a partial re-run of the poll.

 

The volcanic islands of the Comorian archipelago have very limited natural resources. However, the island has been called the “perfumed islands” for their fragrant plant life also known for their great scenic beauty. The aromatic plants such as frangipani (Plumeria), jasmine, and lemongrass lend a delightful fragrance to the islands. Few manufacturing plants exist and are generally limited to the processing of agricultural products - such as vanilla, essential oils, cloves, and copra for exports. Although most food products are imported. There are also sawmills and woodworking establishments. Since Comoros is made up of islands, fishing is a significant part of the market economy. However, its potential has yet to be fully realized as the industry exists only on a small scale.

The islanders reflect a diversity of origins. Malay immigrants and Arab and Persian traders have mixed with peoples from Madagascar and with various African peoples. Most of the islands’ inhabitants speak island-specific varieties of Comorian (Shikomoro), a Bantu language related to Swahili and written in Arabic script. The Union of the Comoros has three official languages – Comorian, Arabic and French.

  • Major tourist sights include; 

  • Mount Karthala Volcano

  • Chomoni Beach (Grande Comore)

  • Bouni Beach (Grande Comore)

  • Nioumachoua Beach (Fomboni)

  • Mosquee du Vendredi (Moutsamoudou)

  • Plage de Moya (Moya)

  • Grand Mosque du Vendredi (Moroni) Mutsamudu Citadel

  • Moheli National Park (the only park).

Comoros cuisine is a fusion of African, French and Arabs. Languste a la Vanille giant lobster boiled in a rich vanilla sause; Ambrevades au Curry; Mkatra Foutra; Pilaou.

Zanzibar's taarab music, however, remains the most influential genre on the islands, and a Comorian version called twarab is popular. Leading twarab bands include Sambeco and Belle Lumière, as well as singers including Chamsia Sagaf and Mohammed Hassan.

DJIBOUTI

Djibouti is a strategically located country on the northeast coast of the Horn of Africa and lying on the Bab el-Mandeb Strait; Arabic Bāb al-Mandab which literally means “the gate of tears.” A strait between Arabia (northeast) and Africa (southwest) that connects the Red Sea (northwest) with the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean (southeast). It is bordered by Eritrea in the north, Ethiopia in the west and south, and Somalia in the southeast. Although Djibouti is one of the smallest countries in Africa by population and area, it is also a geo-strategic country, serving as great strategic and economic important regions on the planet. Djibouti serves as a gateway to the Suez Canal, one of the busiest shipping routes in the world and is the principal maritime port for imports from and exports to neighboring Ethiopia. Due to its political stability and general welfare index comparing to its neighboring country like Somalia and Eritrea, the country is a prime location for foreign military bases including Camp Lemonnier and ensured a steady flow of foreign assistance. Its former colonial power France maintains a significant military presence and also hosts America's largest military base in the continent. It also headquarters the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) regional body. Djibouti’s capital, Djibouti city, which means the city of seven masks inhabits over 70% of the population and the only country with its capital named after itself; and is built on coral reefs that jut into the southern entrance of the gulf.

 

Founded in 1285, the Ifat Sultanate was a prominent medieval kingdom with established bases in both northern Somalia and Djibouti. Ifat ruled the region until Emperor Amda Seyon I of Ethiopia defeated them in 1332. In the mid-1800s, the French purchased a part of northeast Africa, naming it French Somaliland. In 1967, the area was renamed the French Territory of the Afars and the Issas, with Djibouti remaining its capital. In 1945 Djibouti was transformed into a French overseas territory, but local ethnic fighting, land disputes with Ethiopia and Somalia. The country took Djibouti as its name when it gained independence from France on June 27, 1977, formerly French Somaliland. The official languages are French and Arabic with 93% of the population being Muslim. Hassan Gouled Aptidon was the nation's first president. In 1999, Aptidon resigned at the age of 83. He led the country for two decades and Ismail Omar Guelleh succeeded his five-term presidency.  Guelleh was re-elected a second term in 2005, and a third in 2011. With no strong challenger, Mr. Guelleh won a fourth term of office in the April 2016 presidential election.

 

As a significant regional port, Djibouti's modern economy revolves (almost totally) around the shipping and refueling industries, as the country has limited natural resource with only 4% of the land being arable. Due to this unemployment rate is low even though it a rising developing country. However, the country is making efforts to alleviate the situation by instituting a wide range of domestic policies one of which being the new  Djibouti and Addis Ababa railway currently being constructed. Lake Assal in Djibouti lies 155 m below sea level, making it the lowest point on the continent. It is used for quarrying salt. Salt is exploited—some is exported and some use for domestic consumption. Other exports include aircraft parts, animal hides and skins, and live animals. Also, all the country’s electricity is generated by fossil fuels.

 

On the basis of linguistic criteria, the two major ethnic groups are the Issa, sometimes call Somalians as they are from a sub Somalian clan and speak a language from the Somali dialect and the Afar. Both groups speak related, but not mutually intelligible, eastern Cushitic languages. Cushitic languages is a division of the Afro-Asiatic phylum, comprising about 40 languages that are spoken mainly in Ethiopia, Eritrea, Djibouti, Somalia, and northwestern Kenya.

Djibouti shares similar cuisine with Ethiopia and Eritrea in that they both have Injera and it is the country’s traditional flatbread; Banana fritters; Samboussa; Harira; Niter Kibbeh are popular dishes.

 

The musical styles, techniques and sounds of Djibouti consist of traditional Afar music resembles the folk music to Ethiopia; it also contains elements of Arabic music.

 

Major tourist sites includes:

  • Djibouti City

  • Mt. Ardoukoba (is a fissure vents volcano which erupted in 1978)

  • Tadjourah; Obock

  • Djibouti National Park

  • Foret du Day National Park

  • Lake Abbe (surrounded by limestone chimneys and a lunar-esque landscape and bubbling hot springs and Lake Assal, one of the most saltiest lakes in the in the world) Presidential Palace; the Central Market Maskali Island

  • Moucha Island.

UNESCO Heritage site in Djibouti includes:

 
ERITREA

The country prides itself on its location as it occupies a strategic area in the Horn of Africa.  Bordered by Sudan, Ethiopia and Djibouti, on the east side with both countries sharing similar cultures. The country is considered to be one of the most secretive states in the world. According to the UN, the government wields absolute power an extensive surveillance network, torture, forced labor and detention without trial are common and indefinite military service. Eritrea’s capital and largest city is Asmara (Asmera).

 

The Italians colonized Eritrea for about 60 years before they were ousted by the British during the WWII. In 1947 Eritrea became part of a federation with Ethiopia, the Federation of Ethiopia and Eritrea. Subsequent annexation into Ethiopia led to the Eritrean War of Independence, ending with Eritrean independence following a referendum in April 1993. Hostilities between Eritrea and Ethiopia persisted, leading to the Eritrean–Ethiopian War of 1998–2000 and further skirmishes with both Djibouti and Ethiopia. In 1991 the Eritrean People's Liberation Front defeated the Ethiopian government. Eritrea officially celebrated its 1st anniversary of independence on May 24, 1992. Tensions with Ethiopia remain high across a closed and heavily fortified border. The perceived threat of war is said to have been used by the government to clamp down on society. Eritrea is a one-party state, and its 1997 constitution which provided for the existence of multi-party politics, has never been fully implemented.

Two resources the country thrives of are livestock and gold, gold contributes to fifteen percent of exports. Eritrea has a dry and inhabitable coast due to the three tectonic plates as discoursed in the Ethiopia country profile. Agriculture is by far the most important sector of the country’s economy, providing a livelihood for most of its population. Most Eritreans live in-land which is fertile land rich with subtropical rain forest like Fulfil and green presebterous cliffs  and Kenyans in the island. Land degradation is arguably the most critical environmental problem facing Eritrea therefore, National Action Programmed to combat Desertification for Eritrea by requiring the entire population from the age of fifteen to take a month off and tear hillsides with rocks to prevent erosion and holding moisture. Along with food and live animals, fish from the Red Sea constitute a significant percentage of the country’s exports.

There are about nine ethnic groups, the major ethnic groups are the Tigrinya and Tigre and are the two major local languages and Arabic English being the official languages. The bulk of the people in the Eritrean highlands are Tigrinya.  Most people are Habesha people who are incredibly unique Semitic mixed Africans that can only be found in Eritrea and Ethiopia.

Eritrea is home to many archeological sites which include: Adulis, Black Assarca shipwreck, Keskese, Matara, Eritrea, Nakfa, Eritrea, Qohaito, and Sembel.

Major tourist sites include:

  • National Museum Asmara

  • Dahlak Islands

  • Massawa Islands

  • The Dahlak Marine National Park

  • The Semenawi National Park

  • National Parks of Eritrea

  • Asmara zoo

  • Nda Mariam Orthodox Church

  • Al Khulafa Al Rashiudin Mosque.

 

Eritrean Cuisine is similar to Ethiopian cuisine. The two staples are: Kitcha, which is a very thin, baked unleavened wheat bread or pancake and injera, a spongy pancake made from taff, wheat and/or barley, maize or sorghum. The grains are ground up, made into watery dough and then left to ferment for a couple of days before being fried or baked. Injera is eaten with stew, usually called zigni, made from whatever is available (meat or fish, vegetables or a combination of the two). It is simmered for hours, in a tomato sauce spiced with berbere, chili powder and other spices. Tsebhi is a meat sauté prepared with lamb or beef, fresh tomatoes and hot peppers. Italian dishes are also very popular in Eritrea. Most restaurants serve lasagna, spaghetti and other pasta's. There are various Pizza restaurants in Asmara.

 

The traditional musical instruments of Eritrea have similarities with those of countries in the rest of the Horn of Africa. They include the stringed instruments, drums (Krar, Abangala, Rebaba and Chira-Watta) and wind instruments (Shambiko Embilta, Melekhet and Horn).

The instrument common to all of the nine ethnic groups is the drum, referred to as kabro (Afar), kalambura (Bilen), kabbur (Nara) or kebero (Saho and Tigrinya). The drum sets the beat for their musical tunes and rhythms. On some occasions it is the only instrument used for a song accompanied by dance, as is the case in the Afar and Saho’s keke dance. Bilen, Tigre and Tigrinya have a dance commonly performed by a group of both sexes in a circle.

UNESCO Heritage sites in Eritrea include:

1. Asmara

Located at over 2000 metres above sea level, the capital of Eritrea developed from the 1890s onwards as a military outpost for the Italian colonial power. After 1935, Asmara underwent a large scale programme of construction applying the Italian rationalist idiom of the time to governmental edifices, residential and commercial buildings, churches, mosques, synagogues, cinemas, hotels, etc.

 
ETHIOPIA

Ethiopia is a country on the Horn of Africa. It shares borders with Eritrea to the north and northeast, Djibouti and Somalia to the east, Sudan and South Sudan to the west, and Kenya to the south. Hailed as the "cradle of humanity," Ethiopia boasts a human history that dates back millions of years. Known to have both ancient and prehistoric history as some of the oldest specimen of modern day humans were found. Ethiopia is the only country in Africa that is not colonized despite attempts by the Italians apart from a five-year occupation by Mussolini. Also attempts were made by Libya. The capital is Addis Ababa (“New Flower”), located almost at the center of the country. Ethiopia is the largest and most populated country in the Horn of Africa.

From 1916-1974 was marked by the reign of Emperor Haile Selassie. He came to power after Iyasu V was deposed.  Iyasu V was the designated but uncrowned Emperor of Ethiopia (1913–16). His mother, Woizero Shoaregga, was the eldest daughter of the emperor Menelek  II. Due to Iyasu's youth, Menelek agreed to the suggestion that he appoint a Regent ((Enderase), a queen regent/ female monarch,  who is the guardian of a child monarch reigning temporarily in their stead) during the minority of his heir apparent; until Iyasu came of age. Iyasu was replaced by Menelek’s daughter, Zauditu. Since it was considered unseemly for a woman to serve in her own right, Ras Tafari, the son of Ras Makonnen and a cousin of Menelek, served as Zauditu’s regent and heir apparent.  In 1928, Zauditu named Tafari king. On April 1, 1930, Zauditu died, and Tafari declared himself emperor  on  November 2nd  1930. He was crowned Haile Selassie I (“Power of the Trinity”; his baptismal name). He undertook a nationwide modernization campaign from 1916, when he was made a Ras and Regent (Inderase) for the Empress Regnant, Zauditu, and became the de facto ruler of the Ethiopian Empire. Haile Selassie instituted projects for roads, schools, hospitals, communications, administration, and public services. The combined effect of these projects resulted to increase the country’s exposure to the world economy.

 

The Italo-Ethiopian War, begun from (1935–36), an armed conflict that resulted in Ethiopia’s subjection to Italian rule. The Italian command used air power and poison gas to separate, flank, and destroy Haile Selassie’s poorly equipped armies. Emperor  Haile Selassie, went into exile in the United Kingdom in 1936. For five years (1936–41) Ethiopia was joined to Eritrea and Italian Somaliland to form Italian East Africa. Italy joined the European war in June 1940, the United Kingdom recognized Haile Selassie as a full ally, and the emperor was soon in Khartoum, Sudan, to help train a British-led Ethiopian army. This joint force entered Gojam on January 20, 1941, and encountered an enemy quick to surrender. On May 5th the emperor triumphantly returned to Addis Ababa. Defying the British occupation authorities, he quickly organized his own government. Emperor  Haile Selassie stayed in power until 1974, when a military junta known as the Derg, deposed of the Emperor and established a socialist state. Torn by bloody coups, uprisings, a wide-scale drought and massive refugee problems, the regime was ultimately toppled in 1991 by a coalition of rebel forces, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF). A constitution was adopted in 1994, and Ethiopia's first multiparty elections were held in 1995. A border war with Eritrea late in the 1990's ended with a peace treaty in December 2000. Hailemariam Desalegn was sworn in as prime minister of Ethiopia in September 2012, ending a period of uncertainty following the death of long-term leader Meles Zenawi.

 

Ethiopia's landscape is in the middle of three plates the African, Arabian and Somali plates. The single plate that exists today, the African plate, is slowly dividing into two plates, the Somali plate and the Nubian plate, that will rupture completely in approximately 10 million years. The Earth’s crust is divided into different sections called tectonic plates. The split is said to be occurring because of a “Superplume" a giant section of the earth’s mantle that carries heat from near the core up to the crust. As the rift continues, it will eventually cause the eastern part of Africa to split away from the rest creating a new “Somali plate” and sea in the process. The Nubian or Arabian plate will carry most of the continent, while the smaller Somali plate carries the Horn of Africa. As a result, Ethiopia is divided into two portions, the Western and Eastern Ethiopian highlands also known as the Ethiopian Plateau and Amhar Mountain.

 

Ethiopia has limited mineral resources.  Only gold and tantalum are of significance. Deposits of gemstones, niobium, and soda ash are also mined, and there is potential for the exploitation of other mineral resources, including petroleum and natural gas. Hydroelectricity, the most important source of power for industries and major cities, is generated at several stations, Awash River, Blue Nile River or its tributaries, the Omo River, the Gilgel Gibe River, and the Shebele River. Ethiopia’s exports are almost entirely agricultural. Coffee is the primary foreign-exchange earner; other exported products include khat, hides and skins, live animals, oilseeds, and gold. The Ethiopian Highlands are home to the continents largest continuous mountain range  and home to 80 percent of Africa's tallest mountains. These highlands have helped shelter and a contributing factor of preventing Ethiopia from foreign conquest and preserve one of the world's most distinct cultures.

 

Ethiopia has a very diverse population with over eighty different ethnic groups and tribes. The major ethnic groups are the Oromo, Amharic and Somali Tigrayan Sidama. Ethiopians claim to be descendants of King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba, her first son Menelek I was the first emperor of Ethiopia. They also have a Habesha population as in Eritrea. Habesha's are known to have partial genetic markers as Arabs and Jewish. Ethiopia also has its own calendar that is seven years and three months behind the standard English calendar.

 

Ethiopian cuisine is distinct, unique and consists of vegetable and often very spicy meat dishes. The cuisine follows the culture, formed and informed by millennia of trade and exchange with the Middle East, Asia and the Mediterranean. Amidst this storm of positive culinary influence, acquired spices blend with Ethiopia’s indigenous ingredients. Popular dishes include:

  • Doro Wat (a thick Chicken Stew, served atop "injera", a large sourdough flatbread)

  • Injera (This spongy pancake-like flatbread made from fermented tef (a gluten-free grain indigenous to Ethiopia) is fundamental to every Ethiopian meal)

  • Berbere (is composed of ground semi-spicy chili peppers (which themselves are called berbere to further confuse) mixed with upwards of 20 individual herbs, spices and ingredients including garlic, cumin, coriander, ginger, and fenugreek)

  • Yetsom Beyaynetu (Vegetarian Mixed Plate)

  • Maheberawi (Meat Mixed Plate)

  • Minchet (Spicy Ground Beef Stew)

  • Key Wat (Spicy Beef Stew)

  • Mesir Wat (Red Lentil Stew) 

  • Kik Wat (Split Pea Stew)

  • Ethiopian Coffee.

 

 

Ethiopian music is extremely diverse, with each of Ethiopia's ethnic groups being associated with unique sounds. The music is about love, war as well as patriotism, songs of victory, songs that incite support for a certain crusade with wonderful melodies and poetic lyrics. The spirituality of Ethiopians is expressed in the form of music. All these types of tunes and melodies are prepared and performed using various traditional instruments. The most characteristic and widely used instruments are the masinko, the krar, the washint, the begena, the kebero, and the tom-tom. 

 

 

Landmarks and major tourist sights includes:

 

  • Addis Ababa (the capital)

  • Axum/Aksum (the ruins of the ancient city of Aksum mark the heart of the once-powerful kingdom of Aksum)

  • Bahar Dar

  • Harar (Harar is a historic fortified town in eastern Ethiopia that is considered the fourth holiest city of Islam and has wild hyenas in the city. For generations these hyenas have scavenged within the city walls at night, through this they have become ‘friendly)

  • Somaliland, Gondar (Gonder)

  • Lalibela

  • Simien Mountains

  • The Omo Valley

  • Rock-Hewn Churches of Lalibela (Lalibela) Semien Mountains National Park

  • Abijatta-Shalla National Park (contains two lakes, Abijatta and Shalla, separated by a mountain. The park is known for its abundant birdlife and scenery)

  • The Rift Valley (is endowed with numerous hot springs, beautiful lakes, and a plethora of crazy, African wildlife)

  • The Blue Nile ( the longest river in Africa. It is locally known as Tis Isat, is 400m wide and 45m deep. When the water falls into a gorge, it creates the most spectacular view, a sight to rival Niagara falls even – the Blue Nile Falls)

  • Fasiladas Bath Timket (Gonder)

  • Holy Trinity Cathedral (Addis Ababa)

  • Erta Ale (is a volcano in the Afar region of northeastern Ethiopia and the hottest places on earth, according to earth scientist Dougal Jerram)

  • Hadar (is an archaeological site in the Lower Awash Valley of Ethiopia that was made famous by the 1974 discovery of “Lucy,” a partial hominid skeleton. Lucy is over 3 million years old and one of the oldest, most complete and best preserved adult fossils ever discovered, according to the Institute of Human Origins at Arizona State University)

UNESCO Heritage site in Ethiopia includes:

1. Tiya

It is best known for its archaeological site, a UNESCO World Heritage Site remarkable for its large stone pillars, many of which bear some form of decoration. The menhir or stelae, "32 of which are engraved with enigmatic symbols, notably swords," mark a large, prehistoric burial complex.

2. Rock-Hewn Churches, Lalibela

The site contains eleven medieval cave churches from the 13th century. The whole of Lalibela offers an exceptional testimony to the medieval and post-medieval civilization of Ethiopia. Lalibela is one of Ethiopia's holiest cities, second only to Aksum, and a center of pilgrimage.

3. The Omo River (also called Omo-Bottego

The prehistoric site near Lake Turkana is the location of many fossil findings, such as Homo gracilis.

4. Awash River

Palaentological findings from at least four million years ago, such as Lucy, give evidence of human evolution. Its course is entirely contained within the boundaries of Ethiopia and empties into a chain of interconnected lakes that begin with Lake Gargori and end with Lake Abbe (or Abhe Bad)

 

5. Konso Cultural Landscape

Konso, named after the Konso people, is known for its religious traditions, waga sculptures, and nearby fossil beds (the latter an archaeological site of early hominids).

6. Harar Jugol, the Fortified Historic Town

The city is on a plateau and surrounded by gorges and savanna. It contains 82 mosques, 102 shrines, and unique interior design in the townhouses. It is said to be the fourth-holiest city of Islam.

7. Fasil Ghebbi

Is the remains of a fortress-city within Gondar, Ethiopia and was the home of Ethiopia's emperors.

 

8. Axum or Aksum

The original capital of the Kingdom of Aksum, it is one of the oldest continuously inhabited places. Axum was a naval and trading power that ruled the region from about 400 BCE into the 10th century. In 1980, UNESCO added Axum's archaeological sites to its list of World Heritage Sites due to their historic value.

 
KENYA

 

Kenya has been described as "the cradle of humanity" due to fossil discovery in 1924 revolutionized the search for human ancestors. The name Kenya is derived from various dialects and means "Gods Resting Place." Situated on the equator on the east coast, overlying the East African Rift Valley along the largest lake in the continent Lake Vitoria and the Indian Ocean to the east. The coast provided historically important ports by which goods from Arabian and Asian traders have entered the continent for many centuries. Kenya is known for its rich deserts, mountains, reefs, beaches, tribal culture and a great wildlife. Kenya is home to one of the largest desert lakes and freshwater and alkaline volcanic lakes due to its serenity in the world, Lake Turkana (formerly Lake Rudolf). This makes Kenya a volcanic zone, however, most volcanos are extinct. The last volcanic eruption occurred in 1910, the "Emuruangogolak." As a result of the volcanic activity, was the formation of the second largest mountain in Africa, Mt. Kenya. Close to Mt. Kenya lies one of the longest rivers, Tana River  which empties into the Indian Ocean. Another mountain is Mt. Longonot. The capital of Kenya is Nairobi.

 

A Persian Prince of Shiraz, Ali ibn al-Hassan Shirazi, founded the medieval Kilwa Sultanate during 10th century, which at its peak spanned the entire length of the Swahili Coast, including Kenya. Arab migrants soon began settling the coast, and established autonomous city-states. Eventually, elaborate mosques were built and Islam was introduced to the region. In 1888, the Imperial British East Africa Company arrived, and built the Kenya-Uganda railway. After decades of colonial rule the country gained its independence from Great Britain in December, 1963 and on December 12 1964, the Republic of Kenya was proclaimed. Mzee Jomo Kenyatta became its first president and remained in office until his death in 1978. Daniel arap Moi became president following Kenyatta's death and retained that office until 1988. Daniel arap Moi was reelected in multiparty elections in 1992 and 1997. He was constitutionally barred from running in 2002 and Mwai Kibaki won and was then re-elected in 2007. Violence erupted following the 2007 election with the Kikuyu people being targeted, and Kibaki's opponent, Raila Odinga, accusing the government of fraud. His supporters carried out attacks for months, until UN Secretary General Kofi Annan brought both sides together and negotiations were ultimately reached. Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta is the fourth and current President of Kenya, in office since  April 9th 2013.

 

Agriculture is also the largest contributor to Kenya’s gross domestic product (GDP). Kenya is a leading producer of tea and coffee, as well as the third-leading exporter of fresh produce, such as cabbages, onions and mangoes. It is the third largest tea producer in the world. Soda ash (used in glassmaking) is Kenya’s most valuable mineral export and is quarried at Lake Magadi in the Rift Valley. There is also Limestone deposits, vermiculite, gold, rubies, topazes, and salt. Kenya is currently known as the financial hub of Central Africa and is laying foundations to dominate the entire African continent since the introduction of the  proposed Nairobi International Financial Center Bill, 2016. The Nairobi Stock Exchange was founded in 1954, is one of the largest in sub-Saharan Africa. Currently home to the digital industry since the introduction of M-Pesa, a mobile payment service. 

 

Kenya’s population is entirely African, and is divided into three language groups: Bantu, Nilo-Saharan, and Afro-Asiatic. The Bantu group is the largest.  The largest people are Kikuyu, Kamba, Meru, the Luhya, Gusii and Nyika peoples. There are two official languages; English and Kiswahili, Kiswahili being the only African language in the African Union.

 

Kenya cuisine is a mix of traditional food as mixed and diverse as it’s tribe's, history and landscapes. Each tribal area has its own specialties. Common dishes includes: Ugali combined with Sukuma Wiki (ugali is made from cornmeal and Sukuma wiki is collard greens or a form of kale); Nyama choma (is roasted or grilled meat); Irio (boiled green peas and mashed  and whole kernels of maize (corn) are added to give the mash some extra starch and texture.); Pilau and biryani (Pilau is rice cooked with flavor bursting spices like cumin, cardamon, cinnamon, and cloves and Biriyani is another form of spiced rice);  Wali wa nazi (White rice is cooked with grated coconut milk, best enjoyed with a serving of fish or chicken curry, some vegetables, or even bean stew); Samosas  (small triangular pockets of spiced meat or vegetables put in a pastry wrapper and deep fried). 

 

The music of Kenya is very diverse, with multiple types of folk music based on the variety of regional languages. The guitar is the most dominant instrument in Kenyan popular music. The Luhya of Western Kenya developed a very distinctive dance style called Sikuti after the local name for a drum. This extremely energetic dance is usually performed by paired male and female dancers, and accompanied by several drums, bells, long horns and whistles.

 

Kenya's rich wild life is a prime tourist sight with more than 50 national parks and reserves. Most popular ones include Maasai Mara (lies along the border of Tanzania basically part of the "Serengeti." Coined with the term "The Great Migration," the largest terrestrial mammal migration in the world making it among the seven wonders of the continent.

  • Amboseli National Park

  • Samburu National Reserve

  • Hell's Gate National Park

  • Amboseli National Park

  • Tsavo West National Park

  •  Nairobi (the largest and busiest city)

  • The Nairobi National Museum

  • Mombasa (Kenya’s second-largest city, lies along the Indian Ocean)

  • Fort Jesus (built by the Portuguese in 1593, today serves as a museum with numerous exhibits that chronicle the colorful history of the country) The Malindi

  • Lamu Island

  • Lake Nakuru

  • National Peace, Love and Unity Monument

  • The Jomo Kenyatta Statue

  • The Giraffe Center Giraffe Hotel

  • The Ruins of Gedi

  • Ruins of Mnaradi Ruins of Plate

  • Ruins of Takwa Milinga

  • Ruins of Diani

  • Ruins of Shaka

  • Bomas

  • Siyu Fort

  • Hyrax Prehistoric Sight and Museum

  • African Heritage House

  • Iten Kenya (home of the champions)

  • The Carnivore Restaurant. 

UNESCO Heritage site in Kenya includes:

1. Sacred Mijikenda Kaya Forests

The site comprises eleven forests spread 200 km (120 mi) along the coast of Kenya. They hold the remains of villages built during the 16th century by the Mijikenda, and are now considered sacred sites.

2. Mount Kenya National Park/Natural Forest

Established in 1949 to protect Mount Kenya, the wildlife and surrounding environment, which forms a habitat for wild animals, as well as acting as an area for the catchment of water, to supply Kenya's water. Initially, it was a forest reserve, before being announced as a national park. Currently, the national park is encircled by the forest reserve.

3. Lamu Old Town

The town is the oldest Swahili settlement, and is built in coral stone and mangrove timber. It features inner courtyards, verandas, and elaborate wooden doors.

4. Lake Turkana National Parks

Turkana, as Africa's largest saline lake, is an important area for the study of fauna and flora. It is a breeding ground for the Nile crocodile, hippopotamus and several venomous snakes.

5. Great Rift Valley

The site features three lakes: Lake Bogoria, Lake Nakuru and Lake Elementaita. A highly diverse population of birds, including thirteen threatened species, frequent the area.

6. Fort Jesus, Mombasa

Fort Jesus was the only fort maintained by the Portuguese on the Swahili Coast, and is recognised as a testament to the first successful attempt by a Western power to establish influence over the Indian Ocean trade. Designed by Italian Giovanni Battista Cairati, it was built between 1593 and 1596, by order of King Philip I of Portugal, to guard the Old Port of Mombasa.

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