Lalibela Ethiopia Holidays - 13 Days
13 Days 12 Nights
Experience the ‘Real Ethiopia’. Ethiopia is a varied and diverse country, with at its core an age-old culture of farmers, who have been ploughing their fields with ox-drawn ploughs for a few thousand years. Their life is intrinsically linked to the agricultural seasons and the ancient Ethiopian Orthodox calendar with its saints’ days and festivals punctuating their life.
Local communities near Lalibela invite you to accept their hospitality trek through their age-old lands. Set in the dramatic landscape of the highlands of northern Ethiopia, with basalt cliffs, Gelada Baboon and birds of prey soaring on the thermals, your visit in Meket will be the highlight of your trip to Ethiopia.
You will stay in spartan but comfortable local cottages (tukuls) designed using local materials, set on the edge of the communities’ villages. Food will be prepared to suit western tastes, along with a traditional coffee ceremony. Donkeys will carry your luggage as you trek with a trained local guide from one village to the next along escarpments and through church yards of ancient trees. This is a fantastic opportunity to slow down and become part of this ancient land.
Best time to go: The trekking sites are open from 1 Oct – 15th Jul. Oct – Jan is the best time to visit.
Oct: after the rains have ended the landscape is at its most beautiful, with fields of green crops, flowers, butterflies and birds in their mating plumage.
Nov – Dec: The fields turn golden as crops ripen, and harvest activities begin to start.
Mid Dec – mid Jan: Peak agricultural season. Timkat celebrating the baptism of Jesus by John, is the most important festival in calendar, and it is possible to join local communities in their celebrations.
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Half day trek starting at Werkaye Mariam Where you will be dropped for lunch – to Mequat Mariam. Easy walking, through villages and along to the escarpment. Werkhaye Mariam is outside Filakit, a 2 hour drive from Lalibela.
Full days trek (7 hrs) to Wajela, following escarpment and across the farmed plateau top, with lunch stop at stunning escarpment location called Meskal Mikael.
Full days trek (5 hrs) to Aterow with optional extra walk to magical forest surrounding old church, and cave churches.
Full days trek (5 hrs) to Yadukulay site, perched on hill top.
A short walk down from Yadukualy takes you to the road from where transfers can be arranged, or take a steep walk back up onto the main escarpment. From here you walk around to Dufti Mariam where the village will serve you lunch with superb views to the lower lands to the west. After lunch the trail takes across the plateau and along the escarpment edge to Boya. The walk will take you all day, arriving at Boya around 4pm. This guest house is on a promontory with a great sunset view over the lands below
Walk along the escarpment, with views when beside the edge, and farming activity across the plateau. Its a full days walk, but not a tough one, with a stop for lunch at a village called Waro, and chances to see Gelada Baboons and probably drop into someones house. Arrive mid afternoon at Aina Amba – drink in the views with a cup of tea made from the wild thyme.
Aina Amba is close to the road so a transfer can be arranged, or you can continue your trek either eastwards along the ridge to the remote high guesthouse at Kurtain Washa. The trail to KW (8hrs) gets a bit more rugged and the scenery more spectacular as the day goes on. Lunch is served at a Melkidefer community on the way. Next day you can walk to Geneta Mariam or pick up a transfer on the main road The alternative is the trail down to the river below from Aina Amba and up the other side to Geneta Mariam. Also about 8 hours, its a tough day with the ups and down. Geneta Mariam is close to Lalibela and is the gateway to the trail onto Mnt Abuna Yoseph (4300m).
Full day walk (8hrs) along escarpment east from Aina Amba with views over the deepening gorge to the north & mnt Abuna Yoseph in the distance. Lunch stop at Melikdefer and wilder landscape as the trail leads up to Kurtain Washa. NB It is also possible to walk 7 hours from Aina Amba to Geneta Mariam
Full and long days walk (10hrs) from Kurtain Washa over the ridge and into the valley for lunch at village of Kulmesk. Follow the dirt road (almost no traffic) on to Geneta Mariam.
A days walk (7hrs) having visited the rock hewn church by Geneta Mariam scramble up the ridge to a fascinating built up cave church called Mekina Medhane Alem. After a picnic lunch carry on to the remote Tadios Amba with stunning views back west.
A shorter days walk (6hrs) following the ridge north eastwards to reach the highland of Abuna Yoseph above the farmed land. Just after reaching the drop off on the north eastern ridge you will find the mountain huts nestled below in the valley. A good place to spot wolves!
Use the morning t o look for wolves and climb the Rim Gedel peak (approx 4300m). Later on head down around the mountain and onto the west facing ridge overlooking Lalibela. Enjoy a sunset at Ad Medhan Alem guesthouse.
Walk down into Lalibela town. A pleasant walk (2-3hrs) that takes you through giant Heather forests.
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