Photo Samples, East Africa


To most people, East Africa is "the real Africa". 95% of all the photos of lions and cheetahs shown in magazines are from Kenya or Tanzania, and it may come as a surprise to many people, that East Africa is much more than Kilimanjaro and a dozen national parks. In particular Ethiopia contains lots of human heritage, and being the oldest continuously Christian country in the world, the culture is unlike anywhere else on earth.

As usual, all photos are, of course Claus Qvist Jessen, and none of them are to be used without my permission.

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Some of the strangest buildings in the world are the rock-hewn churches of lalibela, northern Ethiopia, here the Saint-Georges Church, the youngest and most famous one. The churches were literally chopped out of the bare rock, more than 700 years ago - all manually, whereafter the whole town was renamed according to the local King Lalibela. Claus Qvist Jessen

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Prayer and singing in one of the underground Orthodox churches in Lalibela, northern Ethiopia. Claus Qvist Jessen

Traditional Ethiopian way of making coffee; Lalibela, Ethiopia.
Claus Qvist Jessen

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Beggar; Lalibela, Ethiopia. Claus Qvist Jessen

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Another Orthodox priest; Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Claus Qvist Jessen

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One of the almost 2,000 year old stone stelae in Axum, northern Ethiopia. Claus Qvist Jessen

Road sign; Axum, northern Ethiopia. Claus Qvist Jessen

Preparing to celebrate, this elderly guard (Axum) has hardly loaded his weapon. Claus Qvist Jessen

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Celebrating the return of the "Italian Stelae", a 30+ meter, 1800 year old stone stelae which was confiscated by Mussolini in the 1930'ies. Axum, Ethiopia. Claus Qvist Jessen

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In the dry season, not much is left of the Blue Nile at Tana Falls, just a few miles south of Lake Tana. Claus Qvist Jessen

Small boy displaying one of my Rapala plugs, used in vain in the Blue Nile, right downstream Tana Falls, when I hoped for a giant Nile Perch. Not a strike all day! Claus Qvist Jessen

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A strange tradition in Harar, Ethiopia is to feed the wild, spotted hyena with meat. Every night, a local man sits down at the eastern edge of the town, and the hyena get so close that they can be fed with a piece of meat on a 20 cm wooden stick. Try not to remember that the strong jaws of the spotted hyena closes onto the prey at a force of 1100 pounds - stronger than any other mammal!
Claus Qvist Jessen

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Wild spotted hyena; Harar, Ethiopia. Claus Qvist Jessen

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Compared to Ethiopia, Djibouti is expensive and uninteresting - but not bad at all. In particular the sea-front shows lots of local colour as these fishing boats. Claus Qvist Jessen

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Scenes from the metal workers market; Asmara, Eritrea. Claus Qvist Jessen

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The Denkalia Desert along the Red sea Coast of Eritrea is one of the hottest and driest regions in the world. The desert drive from Massawa to the only sizable town, Assab, takes more than 18 hours, but fortunately a devote Muslim always knows the way to Mecca. Claus Qvist Jessen

The most deserted town on earth - almost. Assab was built to service Addis Ababa, however, after the separation of Eritrea from Ethiopia, it's been a ghost town, a ghost town with the biggest harbour of East Africa. For security reasons, photo is forbidden!
Claus Qvist Jessen

Everything is falling apart in Assab, even this dry fountain. Claus Qvist Jessen

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Old man from the desert town of Assab, south-east Eritrea.
Claus Qvist Jessen

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"I don't care!". Lazy camel at the market in Keren, northern Eritrea. Claus Qvist Jessen

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Tribal man of the Eritrean lowlands; Barenthu, north-west Eritrea.
Claus Qvist Jessen

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Colourful tribal woman; Barenthu, north-west Eritrea. Claus Qvist Jessen

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Colourful as anywhere, these woman of Tocombia, north-west Eritrea  (very close to the Sudan) are attending the weekly Tuesday market. Claus Qvist Jessen

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Cattle herder; Tocombia, north-west Eritrea. Claus Qvist Jessen

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Making traditional coffee; Tocombia, north-west Eritrea. Claus Qvist Jessen

Decorative missile outside the police station in Hargeysa, capital of the non-exixting Republic of Somaliland, northern Somalia.
Claus Qvist Jessen

At the market; Hargeysa, Somaliland, northern Somalia. All the sacks of rice and corn are marked "Donation from the USA/EU. Not for sale or trade". Obviously, the donations are misused! Claus Qvist Jessen

Butchers market; Hargeysa, Somaliland, northern Somalia. Claus Qvist Jessen

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Very decent, Somali, money changer; Hargeysa, Somaliland.
Claus Qvist Jessen

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The Somaliland currency, the Shilling, is worth next to nothing, so more than a few hundred dollars has to be transported in a wheel barrow; Hargeysa. Claus Qvist Jessen

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One of many Somali refuge camps; Hargeysa, Somaliland.
Claus Qvist Jessen

Happy girls from a refuge camp; Hargeysa, Somaliland. Claus Qvist Jessen

In Somaliland, it's still possible to see the traces of the fighting of the past. Here, at the Killing Fields-like plains outside Hargeysa, sculls and bones are still washed out of the ground, each year during the rainy season. Claus Qvist Jessen

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Somaliland tortoise roadblock on the "main road" in between the local capital Hargeysa and Djibouti. Claus Qvist Jessen

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Local mosque; Berbera, Somaliland. No entrance for non-Muslims.
Claus Qvist Jessen

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Curious (and afraid) boys; Berbera, Somaliland, northern Somalia. They had never seen a white man before. Claus Qvist Jessen

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A Somali boy tries a fishing rod for the first time; no big success. Berbera, Somaliland, Somalia. Claus Qvist Jessen

My personal bodyguard; Berbera; Somaliland, northern Somalia. A bloody idiot which cost me kilos of qat and who did whatever he could to prevent me from fishing. Claus Qvist Jessen

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Very decent girl from Berbera; Somaliland, northern Somalia.
Claus Qvist Jessen

Henna hands; Berbera; Somaliland. Claus Qvist Jessen

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