Exploring Ethiopia in March 2016
Jul 18, 2015
My second visit to Ethiopia - how I loved this beautiful, thought-provoking land and its people.
The topography is fascinating - high mountains and plateaux, the Rift Valley and crater lakes. The birdlife is exceptional and despite it being the dry season I found irises, jasmine, red hot pokers, St John's Wort and the beautiful white Abassyinian rose that clambers up into the trees.
The drive to the rock hewn churches of eastern Tigrai, which involved driving over 4 mountain passes with astounding and all encompassing views, was one of the most beautiful and exciting days of the trip. These enigmatic churches built high up in the rock are a fascinating contrast to Lalibela's famous rock cut churches that are cut down into the rock. To get to most of the Tigrai churches you have to walk or clamber up and this gives a thrilling sense of discovery. I did not see another tourist all day.
On a day trip out from Lalibela I drove through rolling farmland busy with people ploughing, winnowing, herding cattle and fetching well water. I watched a beautiful young mother prepare injera (the spongey pancake made of pounded tef grain) for her family over a little fire and then I slowly walked up to the peaceful cave monastery of Yemrehanna Kristos, surrounded by wild olive and juniper. Eagles nested in the tall trees and Paradise Flycatchers and glossy starlings flitted around the mouth of the cave.
Frances Fedden travelled in Ethiopia independently in March 2015. You can visit the sights mentioned in the article on Kudu Travel's Exploring Ethiopia ~ from the Blue Nile to the Simien Mountains in March 2016.