A Peugeot taxi entering the main city gate, which leads into the center of the 1000-year-old walled city of Harar.
A passenger hails a Peugeot 404 cab just outside the old city walls.
Drivers congregate in the central roundabout of Harar, which acts as both a meeting place, taxi depot and repair shop.
While there are some variations in models, the most common taxi is the Peugeot 404, first manufactured in 1960 and produced until 1975.
One of the reasons the Peugeots have remained in service so long is that they’re relatively easy to repair; if you have the know-how and the right parts that is.
A driver changes a tire near the central roundabout. As most of the Peugeots are 50 to 60 years old, making repairs is a constant problem for drivers.
A driver enlists some bystanders to get his taxi going with a running start, a not too uncommon method with the vintage automobiles.
Known for its colorfully painted walls, winding alleys and historic architecture, Harar is also famous for being the fourth holiest city in Islam.
While there are some small customizations and the occasional color change, the overwhelming majority of the cabs are the same sky-blue paint job.
Harar’s main street, one of the few areas in the old city that four wheeled taxis can actually access. Tuk-tuks are better suited for navigating the larger alleys but most of the narrow lanes can only be accessed on foot.
A portrait of the 19th French poet Arthur Rimbaud decorates one of the taxis. Rimbaud was famous for being one of the first foreigners to live in Harar and worked there as a merchant after finishing his literary career.
The original Peugeot 404 instruction book, a must have manual for anyone operating the cars. According to the drivers, the best thing about their vehicles is that as long as you have the parts and the book you can fix any problem yourself.
Alemu Yama looks under the hood of his Peugeot 404. “A car never dies with quality,” he says.
Belete Mulatu stands in front of his taxi, which he believes won’t be on the road much longer. “They won’t be on the road more than two or three years,” he says. “The new Prime Minister will change things.”
While he takes pride in the longevity of his Peugeot, after thirty years of driving the same car Alemu Yama is looking for a change. “I would prefer a new car, because of the fuel economy.”