Entoto Natural Park, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
During our two week stay in Addis Ababa last December, we hired a driver to take us to Mount Entoto Natural Park. Much of the city is at an altitude of about 2500 metres and is ringed by a chain of mountains reaching up to about 3100 metres.
When we left the school campus where our daughter was teaching last year it was a pleasantly mild day, probably about 20C with a clear sky. As we drove to the top of the mountain over the next hour, the temperature progressively dropped and was quite chilly at the top.
Along the way we drove through a dense eucalyptus forest. It was a bizarre feeling, almost as if we were driving through the Adelaide Hills here in South Australia – yet we were in Ethiopia. These trees were planted in the late 1800s as firewood became scarcer in the surrounding hills. More were planted over the next 50 or so years and they remain the dominant tree in the greater Addis Ababa area. They are ideally suited to the soil and climate, and provide much needed safeguards against erosion. They also provide much needed supplies of firewood and building materials for local people.