Northern Ethiopia Adventures


Photo taken by the author

Hippo sightseeing on Lake Tana, Ethiopia

“Adventure, without it, why live?”

– Johan Radcliffe

After spending about four-and-a-half weeks at the project site in Harbu Chulule, I then travelled to Northern Ethiopia to take in my own travelling adventures to end off my time in Africa before coming home to Canada.

I went to four different places: Bahir Dar, Gondor, Simien Mountains, and Lalibela.

For the first three of these I hired a guide, whom I was referred to by some friends of mine.

Bahir Dar was a 40-minute plane ride from Addis.

I was greeted by my guide at the very small airport and in one day I saw an Ethiopian Orthodox Monastery, three hippo’s and the Blue Nile Falls, which are similar to Niagara Falls in Ontario, Canada.

The water level at these falls was quite low, as the rainy season had not started yet.

Now, these hippos, you have to understand something here.

I was told right from the beginning of stepping onto this long in length, white-seated, comfortable, 10 mph engine boat, there would be a very slight chance in seeing any hippos. The percentage was actually quite high of not seeing them – at 75%.

With that, our boat driver ventured our craft into an area on Lake Tana where it drains into the Blue Nile River & where these animals are known to be.

We kept our eyes peeled on the water ahead of us, as well as to the port side and starboard side of the vessel.

We looked and looked, and saw nothing…until the first mammoth slowly lifted its head out of the water, with its two large eyes staring intently at us.

Over a period of the next 10-15 minutes, we would see the other two hippo’s appear on the surface: one-by-one, two at a time, or all three at once. It was as if they were putting on an entertainment show for us to sit back (or lean forward) and enjoy.

After this, I went to Gondor.

The main highlight was being able to go on a city tour and seeing the castle complex.

It was pretty cool to see the ancient library, as I am a bit of a nerd myself.

Also cool was seeing the various castles that had been built by the emperor’s of the day for this city and learning the history behind each of these castles.


Library in Gondor

Next, was on to hike the Simien Mountains for 3 days and 3 nights. This was an adventure in-and-of-itself.

I quite enjoyed the scenery of the mountains and the sense of accomplishment after each day’s hike across rugged terrain.

I met up with 3 American’s, which was fun to have some company for the hike.

One couple I ran into were from New York City, of all places, and we finished the mountain range together.

The three of us ended up travelling together to our next stop in Lalibela, and like all travelling companions and new friends are, my mind was enlarged and my heart was content.

In Lalibela, I toured the 11 underground, monolithic churches and had a tour guide (a different one) help give me the history of these churches.

The structure’s interior and exterior were quite impressive to see. I learned lots about the building process of these churches and the history of each one. These rock-hewn churches have been named a UNESCO World Heritage Site, so I can now cross them off my bucket list.

What about you? What has been an adventurous travel trip you’ve taken? Tell us about it in the ‘Comments’ section below.


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