Blogs from Amhara Region, Ethiopia, Africa


Africa » Ethiopia » Amhara Region » Bahir Dar January 4th 2019

Bahir Dar effectively completes our short circuit of northern Ethiopia. From here it's a direct, but full day by bus back to Addis Ababa. The city is a regional capital so is a sizeable place with a few decent sights so is a fine place to stay for a night or two. The main attraction here is Lake Tana, one of the largest lakes in Africa and the source of the Blue Nile, though the lake is certainly not blue but a disappointing dull muddy colour. On the lake there are quite a few islands some of which have historic monasteries. These are some of the oldest and most important in the country and are known for their impressive murals. As we can't visit all of the monasteries - they are well spread out - we ... read more
Murals in Monastery
Mural of St George
Miriam monastery in Lake Tana

Africa » Ethiopia » Amhara Region » Gondar December 10th 2018

We made it to Gondar – the Camelot of Ethiopia. The trip here wasn’t too bad but ended up being 4 step journey and as expected a long day as buses leave at 5am! It turned out to be a easier than I expected as we didn’t have much waiting time and once we reached Gashena about 2 hours south of Lalibela, the roads were excellent (the road is called the Chinese road – built quite recently by guess who). The only annoying part of the trip was that our bus does not take us all the way into Gondar but drops us about 10km outside meaning we need to take a local bus into the town. The town here is something of a revelation after Lalibela. We are staying in what could loosely be described ... read more
Gondar Royal compound
Church interior Gondar

Africa » Ethiopia » Amhara Region » Lalibela October 8th 2018

Ethiopia is a bit of a weird place. Amongst the things (and there are a few) that make it odd is the calendar. They use a different month system (13 months), but this can normally be ignored if you keep to short timescales as the years are the same length. More surprising is the year. New Year’s Day is September 11thand the calendar is either 7 or 8 years behind that used in the Western world so we are now early in 2011. We first realise this as one brand of beer we drink has a New Year competition (which we don’t win!). Another slightly odd thing is the widespread celebration of St George who even has a beer brand named after him. St George is worshipped in every church we visit here. We decide to ... read more
Typical house on the way up to Mary Monastery
View near Lalibela
View from pass above Lalibela

Africa » Ethiopia » Amhara Region » Lalibela October 7th 2018

The rock hewn churches of Lalibela are considered to be Ethiopia’s number one tourist attraction. They are also on a suitable circuit for us to travel in the relatively short time we have here. Most tourists choose to fly to Lalibela from Addis Ababa as by bus it takes a day and a half. We decide, of course, to go by bus. Lalibela is not much of a town, but for some that’s part of the appeal. The churches are tourist sights but they are also places of active local worship and it you are here at the right time you witness some extraordinary gatherings. Though these are Christian churches, it’s also Orthodox Christianity and is a very different style of worship to what we in the western world are used to. On one of the ... read more
Town of Lalibela looking over to the 1st church complex
Church of St George

Africa » Ethiopia » Amhara Region » Gondar March 8th 2018

Arrived 10th Feb Saturday morning in Gondar, one of the ancient capitals of Ethiopia, developed in the 16th cent up to the 18th.After two hours sleep on the plane I could do little more than have a juice drink (layered mango, guava, avocado and pineapple) before I had to lie flat and close my eyes. Saturday evening meal was a buffet in a local restaurant which was as lovely as the food in Iran (my favourite world food). Even the carbohydrate staple, injera, which I’d heard was as inedible as nsima (Malawian staple) was ok. Slightly sour as it is made from fermented tef flour (a type of rye grass) but a most unprepossessing colour – a sort of grubby dishcloth shade. It is made into a pancake which can wrap around meat or veg, or ... read more

Africa » Ethiopia » Amhara Region October 18th 2016

Today, I traveled further to Bahir Dar and therefore directly visit the Blue Nile Waterfalls in Bahir Dar. Simply named it, there are three top things to do in Bahir dar: The Blue Nile Waterfalls inclusive walking the trails, Lake Tana and the city of Bahir Dar itself (especially the markets). Therefore, Bahir Dar should be on every traveler list traveling north to Ethiopia. It is possible to drive in one day to Addis Ababa, but you can take your time and travel in a minimum of two days up to Bahir Dar. The distance is 320 km to Addis Ababa. At the start of the third day, it was time to leave our hotel from Debre Markus quite early at 7.30 am. Before leaving, a traditional Breakfast was served with injera, hot sauces and vegetables. ... read more
From Teff to Injera
From Teff to Injera
Blue Nile Waterfalls

Africa » Ethiopia » Amhara Region » Debre Markos October 17th 2016

After one day in Addis Ababa it was time to leave the Capital and to travel north. I will keep travelling North, taking a West Route via Lake Tana and Gondor / Simien Mountains, until I reach Lalibella. From here, I will travel back to the Addis Ababa again, this time taking a east route via Kombolcha. What can you expect in the North? The nature is beautiful with meadows, the Highlands, the deep canyons and the mountains. Today I visit different viewpoints to see the great nature for the first time of my Trip to North Ethiopia. The Simien Mountains contains endangered animals with only populations left in the Siemein Mountains The top three animals to see at the Siemien Mountains are the Gelada Baboons, Walia Ibex, and the Ethiopian Wolf (which actually looks more ... read more
A small town 2 hours north of Addis Ababa
Portraits in the local town
Portraits in the local town

Africa » Ethiopia » Amhara Region » Lalibela January 8th 2016

The singular most popular tourist attraction in Ethiopia can be found in Lalibela. The small town in northern Ethiopia is home to 11 spectacular churches. Chiselled from solid volcanic rock about 900 years ago, the shrines plunge as much as four storeys into the earth. The churches have turned Lalibela into a place of pride and pilgrimage for worshippers of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, attracting 80,000 to 100,000 visitors every year. The 11 Ethiopian Orthodox churches here have to be seen – and walked through – to be believed. They were built in the 13th century on the orders of King Lalibela, not from the ground up but chiselled out of the town's red volcanic rock hills. Arguably the most spectacular of Lalibela’s churches is Bet Giyorgis. The church lies in a hole some 15m deep, ... read more
Pilgrim at Bet Giyorgis
Bet Giyorgis
Woman outside Bet Maryam

Africa » Ethiopia » Amhara Region » Lalibela December 25th 2015

I leave Gondar the next day 25/12/15 on the 5am local service for 150 brr to Lalibela, meet four Belgium lads on the bus which ends up cram full, not a great deal of leg room for non Ethiopians hah but none the less we eventually reach Lalibela around 4pm, I track down the recommended Salem guest house stay for 300 brr which is very pleasant and near the main cluster of churches. I spend the next two mornings at the churches for mass, this can be from midnight onwards but I'm not that keen. I meet Baruch on my first afternoon after viewing the bustling Saturday "farmers" market and tag along with his guide for the second morning (a busier Sunday), I even manage to find the football on the Saturday via a football den ... read more

Africa » Ethiopia » Amhara Region » Gondar December 18th 2015

18/12/15 Kick off our Simien trek with a drive to Debark and meet (Josi) Joshua our guide & Sanet our scout. Start our trek at 4000 meters and reach first camp by 5pm. Day 2 cover 10 miles and camp above a hill, learn how cold the nights are! Day 3 11 miles, day 4 11 miles, day 5 drop further into the lowlands with its fascinating agricultural landscape and large community, covering 9 miles. Day 6 cover 9 miles again before reaching our final camp/private farmyard paddock with with livestock inside a small village. 24/12/15 walk 5 miles to the nearest town to catch our return van to Gondar. A brilliant week minus some frosty cold nights and blisters for me. Lots of birds & vultures spotted, Ethiopian Wolf, impressive Ibex, other deers, Gelada, vervet ... read more

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