Protests in Gondar, Ethiopia: Still safe for backpacking?
Gondar, Ethiopia protests have many wondering, ‘Is it safe to travel?”
I love Ethiopia, travel Ethiopia, & live in Ethiopia.
But while avoiding real work, I came across an article posted on Yahoo stating ten killed during protests in Gondar, Ethiopia.
It was the first I heard of violence in Gondar, Ethiopia, and unfortunately the second of recent ethnic clashes in the country.
My Opinions for Backpacking Ethiopia (and other African countries)
1. I still believe Ethiopia is a very safe country to travel.
No country is 100% safe and even the “safe countries” don’t guarantee a risk-free travel experience anymore. The US Embassy has issued a travel warning for Gondar, Ethiopia, but the rest of the country remains unaffected.
2. Don’t avoid an entire country because of violence in one area. African countries contain thousands of different cultures and tribes. One part might be clashing with another, the rest of nation will be unaffected. I’ve already shared detailed, specific safety advice and explained how to know where you’re traveling to is safe. But to keep it short, don’t write off Ethiopia or other African countries for one clash in one area. Sometimes you should and sometimes you shouldn’t, and in this case there are still lots of reasons for backpacking Ethiopia.
3. Avoid Protests.
A news reporter from Europe was raped during the Egyptian protests. Yet my Canadian friend living in Cairo was perfectly safe. Why? Because despite hearing gun shots, seeing tear gas, etc. my friend was on the other side of the Nile far enough away from the demonstrations.
The other ethnic violence that occurred in Ethiopia this year happened to protesters. The many 2015 protests in America resulted in several deaths, injuries, and arrests.
Dangers of Protests
And while violence, rape, and other awful acts are NEVER justified NO MATTER WHAT, they are much more likely to happen to someone at a protest than not at a protest in the same city at the same time. If you feel so strongly about the issue, and a peaceful protest is what you think will help, than do so.
But as a traveler, who probably doesn’t know about or care about the issue, avoid the protests! Don’t watch. Don’t participate. Stay far away, and most likely you have nothing to fear.
Don’t let protesters in Gondar, Ethiopia scare you away from the country or the continent.