Trip reference number: YW_10823
Coffee originates from Ethiopia. The word ‘coffee’ comes from the word ‘Kaffa’; the green jungle region in the southwest of the country. Walking through beautiful jungle with Colobus Monkeys swinging overhead, we will experience the beauty of its diverse flora, fauna, wildlife and local people; visiting the coffee plantations and villagers who work there, learning everything about the processes that allow the beans to be exported to the international market.
With group members arriving during the afternoon and evening, today is a ‘free’ day for you to arrive, be transferred to the start hotel, and to shake off any travel fatigue, before the start of your adventure in earnest, tomorrow.
After breakfast, and a welcome briefing from your guide, we begin our coffee focus with a trip to an impressive local coffee company to see the beans washed and processed for export. We have an optional visit to the Hamlin Fistula Hospital in Addis, run by the charity Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia (see Adventure pack for details). Watch traditional musicians and dancers in a cultural show this evening before dinner at a local restaurant.
We will hop on a short national flight down to the city of Jimma, from where we will drive the two hours to Bonga in the Kaffa Biosphere Reserve, marvelling at the beauty of African landscapes on the way. We will stretch our legs by taking a walk up to the high point above Bonga, offering us massive views of the lush area we are to explore in coming days. Our guesthouses are located just outside of the town, amidst immaculately maintained exotic gardens surrounded by acacia trees and jungle.
When coffee plants are not maintained they grow into huge trees which still bear the caffeinated fruit. We will walk through idyllic farmsteads to view one of these ancient wild coffee forests, where lichen hangs from the shaded trunks; one of the few remaining in the world today. We will then walk through a wild coffee farm located in the heart of the jungle and meet the people who maintain it.
We appreciate many of the products grown in this part of Ethiopia today and treat our senses to the sights, sounds, smells and tastes of honey, and tea! We start the day with a 2km walk to see the Barta waterfall before being welcomed by local hosts and producers at their farms.
A 40min drive from our guesthouse takes us to the start of a lush 3hr (round trip) walk to the ‘Mother Tree’ in Mankira Wild Coffee Forest, the oldest in the region.. We will view Colobus Monkeys and all manner of tropical birds and wildlife the way. Returning to Bonga for lunch, this afternoon we enjoy a visit to a local Spice Farm, yet another small scale producer in the area, from whom we can learn about local life and the economy here .
An early start this morning gives us a chance to travel a little further (2-3hr journey) right into ‘Medicine Man’ country! Expect bumpy roads and a feeling of adventure! We are given an excellent tour of the plantation and a delicious lunch before returning to Kafa in the afternoon.
In Jimma (2hr drive), a major nerve centre for coffee in the Oromia region, we will visit the palace and museum of Abba Jifar, King of the Gibe Kingdom of Jimma. The largest and most powerful of the five kingdoms of Gibe, it was established around 1830, when silver Maria Theressa Dollars and bars of salt were the main circulation of currency. Jimma is a very lively town so we can explore the markets and later on some of the nightspots from our hotel.
This morning we take a short national flight back to the capital. After freshening up in our rooms we will take a short guided tour of the city, stopping off at the Red Terror and Ethnographic Museum to get a feel for the city and fill in any gaps in our understanding of recent Ethiopian history, before our last group dinner in one of the best restaurants in town!
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