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Jimma

The western part of Ethiopia is one of the greenest, wildest and for tourism yet undiscovered places of Ethiopia. Between Jimma and Gambela, wlid forests and vast coffee plantations shape the landscape. Coffee is an important topic in this area, where coffee is believed to come from.

Jimma, located at 335 km south west of Addis Abeba, is the biggest town in western Ethiopia and the center of the Kaffa region, where coffee originally comes from and where the biggest coffee plantations can be found. Its origin and establishment dates back to the early Oromo monarchy (one of the five Gibe kingdoms) whose capital was situated at the site called Jiren (9 km north of Jimma town). The town became more important under Italian occupation (1935-1941), when they started to modernize the town by constructing buildings in their typical fascist style.

Major sights are the Jimma Museum and the former Place of the Kaffa King Abba Jiffar. A scenic sightoutside of Jimma is the big Gibe hydroelectric dam, which has to be surrounded in order to get to Jimma on the land way. Flights are also connecting the town up to three times per week with the capital city and with Gambela.

In the Kaffa area, some of the last vast original mountain rain forests cover the hills. It is an important issue to protect those forests from ongoing deforestation, so some NGOs in the area dedicate their work to its protection.

Bonga is the legendary place where coffee was first discovered by the young shepherd Kaldi who notices that his goats were hyperactive after they chew the fruits of a certain plant. The original tree, mother of all coffee plants is believed to be found here. In the dense green surrounding of Bonga a variety of old churches and historical sites are said to be hidden and yet hardly uncovered to the public.

Further west Wushwush is the most famous Ethiopian tea plantation, which can also be visited.

Near the small town Mizan Teferi in the far south-west of the country, Bebeka, the oldest and largest coffee plantation of Ethiopia can be found. It contains an area of 9340 hectare and in harvesting time some ten thousands of workers are employed. . The production volume is around 15.000 quintals of coffee per year. A tour through the vast plantation and the facilities is offered and guests can stay in the plantation’s guesthouse.