Ethiopia is known for all its beautiful nature, the amazing landscapes, and greenery with mountains and water. It even has a volcano to visit. And we didn’t even mention Lalibela yet, the famous church carved out of the rocks.
It’s going to be amazing, you must think. But this is not the case at all.
Amongst world cyclists, Ethiopia is infamous. All cyclists know Ethiopia is horror. The people are very unfriendly towards cyclists. The children drag on your bike, they shout ‘You! You! Money! Money! You!’, and they throw stones at you. The adults ignore you and in shops they laugh at you. No, it isn’t a nice cycling place. You’re probably thinking, it can’t be that bad. We did think that at first. But no! We read many journals, blog posts and books. Many people think it will be okay, but once they are in the country, they discover it is really as bad as they say. Only old cyclists with gray hair get respected. But all the others enter a nightmare. We read about cyclists struggling to get up the steep hills, followed by children throwing stones, slapping you, trying to steal your stuff or jumping right in front of your bike. About people chased by motorcyclists, who shout and spit in your face. But still we were in doubt. We are cycling to Cape Town after all, and Ethiopia is part of the route.
But when we met Steven and Will, who both recently cycled Ethiopia and told us about their experiences, we were convinced. Their stories confirmed what we all already heard, but then even worse. Will even told us about a cyclist in Ethiopia who was stabbed! We don’t want to experience those things! Both Steven and Will told us without any doubt that they would never ever ever ever go back to Ethiopia. With those stories in mind we did some thinking.
There are cyclists who really want to ride every part of the route, who don’t want to use any other way of transport along the road. But Joyce and Luca don’t think that way. The cycling is a way to see the world and meet people. But if this way doesn’t work, we just try another. We are doing this journey for fun and cycling Ethiopia is no fun. So we won’t. We are going to take a bus. We heard the people are nicer when you don’t cycle, and stones can’t reach you when you are in a bus. So we will do some touristic tours to see the incredible nature, but without getting stoned. And once we cross the Kenyan border we’ll get back on the bike!
We’ll keep you posted on our adventures, whether they are by bus or by bike!
Do you want to read about cycling Ethiopia from people who survived it?