The largest town of western Ethiopia is Jimma and it is a convenient stop on the road to the far (south-) west of the country. Once it was the capital of the former Kaffa province and the former capital of the Kingdom of Jimma lies just north of the modern town. Lake Boye and Kofe Swamp are found nearby the town and are of particular interest for birders.
Abba Jiffar’s Palace
Abba Jiffar was the last king of the Kingdom of Jimma. After his death in 1932, the kingdom is absorbed by the Ethiopian Empire. The recently restored palace is found in Jiren, 8 km north of Jimma. Together with the Jimma Museum in town, it is well worth a visit to learn about this little-known kingdom.
The Origin of coffee
Halfway Jimma and Mizan Tefari the town of Bonga is found. This was the capital of the former Kingdom of Kaffa. Another small kingdom in the area, but much wider known. According to the legend it is in this area where the young herdsboy Kaldi discovered the stimulating properties of the coffee plant, many centuries ago. From here the use of coffee found its way all over the world. Ethiopians are proud this liquid gold originates from their country and a tasty cup is served everywhere. They keep the memory of origin well alive and a popular chain of coffee houses in Addis carries the name of the herdsboy.
Lush and green
Entering western Ethiopia brings one to a lush and green hilly area with patches of (indigenous) forest, waterfalls, swamps, and coffee & tea plantations. Road conditions make it sometimes hard to travel although road construction is found everywhere. It is easy to break a long journey to explore some of the natural beauty found everywhere.