Harar’s legendary hyena men are a pair of rather idiosyncratic fellows whose job description entails luring wild hyenas to two specific feeding sites outside the city walls. Touristy as it sounds, a visit to one of the hyena men is an unforgettable, and rather eerie, experience. It starts at dusk, when the hyena men call their familiars individually by name. After a while, the first few animals emerge from the shadows to slink towards the feeding site. The hyena men then start feeding bones to these massive-jawed carnivores, passing them across by hand, or even with their mouth – and inviting bold tourists to do the same thing.

The hyena men operate outside the city walls, one at a site close to Felana Gate, north of the old city, and the other between Erer and Sanga gates, to the southeast. Most tourists visit with a guide and many also take a car or taxi – neither is strictly necessary, but both might be reassuring when you leave the feeding site at night knowing that hyenas are prowling around.

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