Blogs from Tigray Region, Ethiopia, Africa

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Africa » Ethiopia » Tigray Region May 31st 2017

January 15, 2015. What a splendid time it has been in this "country" of Somaliland. I could have easily stayed a few more days but with one week before I flew home, there was time left for one more grand adventure. I have itchy feet today, time to move. I'm at the airport in Hargeisa, trying to get standby ticket back to Addis Ababa. The airport staff were all very encouraging, told me that I had picked the right day. And just like that, I got a ticket, waved goodbye to this most amazing place, jetted to the West and in an hour was on the ground in vibrant Addis Ababa. At the airport (ouch) they made me pay for another visa, as I had traveled "internationally". At the domestic airport, as I feared, I discovered ... read more
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Africa » Ethiopia » Tigray Region January 2nd 2016

02/01/16 after a Mekele mango juice head to Hawzen, 2 hrs from Mekele on the local bus route 36brr £1. check in at place of stay 110 brr and catch motorbike through Megab onto the nearby rock churches 150 brr entry each so only see one, 40 min climb including some vertical & scrambling up rock to reach the cave church. Incredible creation and wall paintings inside are amazing. Return and get dropped off in small town of Megab, spend the last hours of light walking under the rock landscape in the rural countryside, back to Hawzen for 10brr. Catch most of the man Utd Swansea game in a large bar/restaurant with lovely tibs, salad & injurer. 03/01/16 catch my daily juice and head off for another excursion the other side of Hawzen in view of ... read more
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Africa » Ethiopia » Tigray Region July 3rd 2014

My friend Hannah and I spent a night in Sinkata to visit a friend of hers, check out a cluster of rock-hewn churches nearby, and then in the morning run to Hawzien to check out another church there. The town itself looks more like a pueblo in an arid region in Mexico than a settlement in northern Ethiopia. The Peace Corp volunteer there said that they have no water eight months of the year. Most of the way to Mekele (2 hours by minibus) and to Hawzien (40 minutes by minibus) is paved now, but the main road in town seems to be the last step in this process. Once it is done (a year or two?), Sinkata might grow some decent restaurants and places to stay. For the time being, it looks like a war ... read more
Sin Kata
Farm near churches
Petra and Paulos Melehayzenghi

Africa » Ethiopia » Tigray Region July 1st 2014

I stayed in Mekele with my friend Hannah, a Peace Corps volunteer. It was by far the most comfortable and modern city I've visited in Ethiopia, so it was the perfect place to relax for five days. I'll write much more later, but I've added a few photos below.... read more
Axumit wine with Coke
coffee ceremony
Hannah on narrow market alley

Africa » Ethiopia » Tigray Region June 28th 2014

It's worth it to stop in Axum for a few hours, though its reputation as a tourist destination is generally disappointing. The entire town seems to be under major construction. After weaving our way through giant trucks, rock breakers, and heavy machinery, we came to the ruins, and one aggressive tout. The monuments were impressive, though many of them have collapsed. The underground section was closed while we were there, though it looked interesting. We spent maybe twenty minutes looking around and then walked toward the bus station for some coffee and lunch. The main road is actually quite nice and peaceful. Once the construction is complete in a couple of years, Axum might be a more pleasant place to spend some time. I'll write more later; there are several photos below.... read more
rock breakers
Amazing bayunet (sp?) dish
fallen monuments

Africa » Ethiopia » Tigray Region February 5th 2014

If I were a songwriter I would write a song about “Everyone Needs a Little Tenderness.” I am sure there are songs about that but this would be reserved for those most in need. I would dedicate it to the Eritrean Unaccompanied Refugee Minors (URMs) living in Ethiopia. To the lovely children I just visited, shook hands with, hugged, sat in their one room mud “homes” on the beds of clay and stone, listened to their stories and who stole my heart. To say they need extra tenderness is an understatement. These are children just like ours; they like to look cute, they enjoy playing, they want to catch the eye of the opposite sex. However, on a deeper level they are children who have broken hearts. Their fathers and older siblings were taken away by ... read more
So many children
Sleeping area
Girl's bedroom

Africa » Ethiopia » Tigray Region July 21st 2013

Africa whispers to me from afar, beckoning me to return when I have been absent too long. It has been three years since my wanderings on that grand continent and those whispers were growing in intensity. Thus, in order to silence them, I embarked on my fourth visit to Ethiopia. My previous tours of Ethiopia were in 2008 and 2010. Not much was different between those times, but the three years since have brought significant chagnes – some good, some not so good. My initial impressions were positive, for the international arrivals section has been upgraded to be spacious or brighter. My greatest shock was seeing an ATM in the arrivals area. Previously Ethiopia housed only two ATMs in the entire country – in the Hilton and the Sheraton, but they were endemic now. They lay ... read more
Morning clouds - near Mergab, Tigray Region, Ethiopia
Friendly waiter in Hawzen - Tigray Region, Ethiopia
Outer corridor of Medhane Alem Kesho - Tigray Region, Ethiopia

Africa » Ethiopia » Tigray Region » Mek'ele March 17th 2012

On leaving Axum, we decided we wanted to try visit some of the rock-hewn churches, which Tigray is famous for. We decided to get to Adigrat first and use it as a base. Unfortunately, a lot of the churches aren't easily accessible (one requires you to climb up a rope to visit), especially when relying on public transport. By the time we arrived in Adigrat, we were too late to make it out to visit anything, so just had a walk around town. There isn't much to see or do in Adigrat and they certainly do not get many tourists there. There is quite a few NGOs there though, as it bore the brunt of a lot of fighting in the most recent Ethio-Eritrean War. After one night there we got a bus south on the ... read more
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Africa » Ethiopia » Tigray Region » Mek'ele December 13th 2011

It has taken Ethiopia a long time to shake off its international image as a nation blighted by famine, pestilence and civil war. In 1985 Bob Geldof and his gang of activists raised awareness of mass starvation in the horn of Africa with the famous Band Aid concert which went a long way to generating support and money for the people in need. An inevitable consequence of this though has been to brand Ethiopia as a symbol of despair. When I visited the African country last summer I expected the worst; bloated children, emaciated old women and fly-ridden cattle, basically a tear jerking collection of skin and bones. What I encountered was a totally different experience. Driving through the highlands of Ethiopia I was totally unprepared for the sheer greenery and abundance of beauty. Long grass ... read more

Africa » Ethiopia » Tigray Region » Mek'ele December 9th 2011

You scratch another flea byte as you head deeper into the Danakil Depression. As the temperature exceeds 47°c sweat pores down your face saturating you stinking clothes. Choking on toxic fumes you study the alien landscape while you pass turquoise lakes and blinding white salt pans. For a moment you feel a sense of vulnerability as your mind drifts back to the 2007 kidnappings. Losing your concentration you fall once again as a frozen lava chamber gives way beneath your feet. Suddenly Afar nomads surround the expedition team and the real adventure begins. Under the protection of the Ethiopian army, you drive in a convoy for security. With the recent infiltration by Eritrea terrorists and temporary closure of the Danakil Depression, you remain vigilant while Ethiopian soldiers scout the region, remaining on high alert. “Those who ... read more
Bubbling Sulphur Lake
Alien Landscape
Salt Pan Formation




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