Injera, tibs & lab

Another case of fortune rewarding the brave. I decided that after 3 days in the city, it was time to raise my horizon. I organised a trip to Bishoftu, about 50km southeast on the Djibouti road.

Bishoftu is the town’s name in Oromo – the local language (Amharic is the country’s official language). The town used to be known as Debre Zeyit – the “Christian” name given to it by Haile Selassie. You’ll still see the old name on some maps.

Bishoftu is known for its collection of crater lakes. I saw 3, but could have visited another 3(at least) had I wanted to push the boat out. (Sorry about that – couldn’t resist it.)

Lake Hora was the best for birdlife. Mid morning is not ideal, but I saw several species in a short space of time. No idea what they all were, but even I could identify the pelicans – lots of them. Strangely enough we heard a hyena howling on the far shore. My guide picked that up. I thought it was the birds!

Lake Hora

Lake Boshoftu Guda was the most scenic – with Mt Yerer rising to 9,900 ft in the background. It doesn’t look that big because the surrounding countryside is already at 6,000 ft.

Lake Bishoftu Guda

Best for lunch was Lake Bishoftu. A wonderful lakeside restaurant for injera with tibs and lab.

the lakeside lunch spot

Injera is a bit like bread. It’s made from tef, and looks like tripe. Tef is a local grain. Tibs – bits of meat in a spicy sauce, quite like curry. Lab is a soft white cheese. You tear off a bit of the injera, grab some tibs or lab with it (all using the right hand only) and pop it in your mouth. It tastes better than it sounds.

Part of the day’s fun was seeing the countryside on the way, and a small provincial place as compared with the capital. The big eye opener for me was the traffic. Totally crazy. And that’s before you factor in the donkeys and the horse & carts. The main objective of the Ethiopian highway code must be population control.

Very glad I went, and very, very glad I wasn’t driving.

© iain taylor 2012
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