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Ethiopia - Culture, Nature and History


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@optig Thanks very much to follow us trough Ethiopia. I have another endemic bird especially for you.

@wilddog Thanks for the flowers. Ethiopia was very different to all other countries we visited in Africa before. This rich history and culture was very fascinating for us and I think with Firew as our guide we found a citizen who love it very much to show all the beauty of Ethiopia to his guests.


I would like to add a few more pics of part 4 here. The more you can see on our homepage.  





Weißohrturako - White-cheeked Turaco (Tauraco leucotis) - endemic to Ethiopia









Fasil Ghebbi - World Heritage Site since 1979





Fasiledas bath





Debre Berhan Selassie Monastery Gondar



Shopping Mall in Gondar


Much more pics of this you can find in part 4. 


Next time we'll met the Geladas of Simien.  






Edited by Botswanadreams
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I continue to be fascinated by your report @Botswanadreams - and I think it's going to set me on the track of researching a lot more about Ethiopia's tribes and history.

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  • 2 weeks later...

@Caracal thanks very much. Your comments are always a pleasure. Our Guide Firew told me that "Layers of Time" by Paul Henze should be the best book about Ethiopian history. I haven't read it yet. 


Lets continue with the next part. Here is the link to part 5.


Welcome to Simien Mountains National Park




































Please don't struggle to much with Google.

It'll be continued.  



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I'm not too late to catch the train after all! you captured such a wonderful buzz in those markets with the colours and activities that make the cities come alive. fascinating reports on the culture, daily lives and wildlife in ancient Ethiopia. 


seems everyone managed to see the wolves in Guassa but me and @Sangeeta ! 

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@Botswnadreams I have long dreamt of visiting Simien Mountain National Park as well as Lalibela and Gondar. I'll visit them both I'm sure, but not on my trip next year.Thank you so much for your photos of endemic birds. 

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@Kitsafari I'm proud to be able showing you a bit more from inside Ethiopia. Thanks for coming with us on the struggle with Google English. It was a big look for us to see the Ethiopian wolf during our very short visit to Guassa. 

@optig I understand your wishes very well seeing more and more from Africa. I hope all your dreams will be one day reality. I've also a lot of other places in my mind. Unfortunately life will be too short to visit all. 


Let's put a few more pics from part 5 in here.





Sudanhornrabe - Northern (Abyssinian) Ground-Hornbill (Bucorvus abyssinicus)



The Obelisks of Axum 



This Obelisk was staying for years in Rom and have been only back since 2008.



Enda Yesus Church Axum



Wall Paintings outside Ende Yesus Church  



The new Maryam Zion Cathedral: an old bible in daily use 



The place were the Ark of the Covenant is said to be stored



The palace of Queen Saba: an anciened legend



Axum market





Typical hairstyle of Tigray women



Animal market in Axum



The buddle field of Adwa: It's the place were in 1896 the army of Menelik II won against the Italien. 



Yeha temple 7th millennium BC



Frees from the old temple: today included in the new church building next to the temple



Landscape around Yeha

Edited by Botswanadreams
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Great scenery all the way from Gondar to Adigrat. Such a shame you got sick and missed out on the ibex too - not fair, especially after having to switch lodge, which must have taken some time out of your day. But still, what wonderful views all the way. I will be doing that route the other way - Gheralta to Simiens via Aksum over two days. Yeha or an afternoon in Aksum? Which do you think we should we do? Only me (photography) and my Mum (religious history) as my wife now cannot go, thanks to Deutsche Lufthansa, her employers.


How long did it take from Simiens to Aksum?

And which  part of that drive was worth the most stops?

Is it worth taking the whole day with a packed lunch to drive that  route? (The alterntative is to see something in Aksum in the morning before we leave)


I know it is only your opinion and promise I will not blame you if mine is different (but I don't think so 1 we really seem to like similar things!).


google translate was good this time. Definitely very readable.



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Just getting caught up with this wonderful and comprehensive TR @Botswanadreams - what a great trip you had and yes, it seems like Kit & I are the only ones to have missed the wolves at Guassa! I’m finding this very very helpful and informative for my work as well! Thank you again.

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@pault Nice to hear that you plan to visit Ethiopia too. Limalimo Lodge to Simien Lodge is half an hour drive. So in the morning we didn't miss too much but the afternoon was really a shame. That's life. Yeha is an hour drive from Axum. I think one and a half hour is enough for this place. From Gheralta to Axum there is a direct road. You don't need to go via Adigrat. For Axum itself you should have six hours to visit all sites and including the market a full day. From Simien to Axum it was nearly a full day dive. The palast of Saba could be visit on road to Simien I would suggest. As I remember right we were at 4pm in Axum. Lets say 2/3 coming from Simien is this beautiful scenery all the way. After this 2/3 of the way is a little town. They have a place for the rubbish outside. You can't miss the bearded vulture. Firew said they are always around. 


@Sangeeta Thanks very much coming with us on this trip. Yes it was big luck to see the Ethiopian wulf in Guassa. We were on our way back and our driver saw them in the last moment. He earned this special thanks. We all had missed them without him. It makes me proud when I can help you with further planings throughout my trip report. As you maybe know from our trip to Kenya with Zarek we like to slow down a bit and go out of the beaten tracks as long as it is possible. 


The next part is online.


Here is the link to part 6.    


Welcome to Gheralta



Typical home in Tigray



Handmade 30 years old private family bible



Handcraft made for preparing injera



Pottery drying in the sun



Mikael Milhaizengi Church





Gheralta Lodge





View on the way to Maryam Korkor



Maryam Korkor Monastery



View from the plateau



On the way to Aba Daniel



My helping hands the way down



Gheralta area



Tarantapapagei - Black-winged Lovebird (Agapornis taranta) - endemic to Äthiopien und Eritrea






Abreha Atsbeha Monastery









Abreha Atsbeha Monastery



Hemprichtoko - Hemprich's Hornbill (Tockus hemprichii) - endemic to NE Africa



Meqaber Ga'ewa near Wukro: Temple 7th century BC

Edited by Botswanadreams
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Meskel Celebration 2010 (September 27th in 2017) in Mekelle


This Ethiopian calendar is always confusing because they now live in the middle of 2010. 


Adding a few pics here you can find the more and a short video in part 6 on our homepage when you like.

No visit to Ethiopia without taking part in one of the relishes events of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church it was what Firew told me during planning. I think he is right. It's a completely different world.





























After this there will be a last part about our time in the Danakil later in the new year.


All the best


Edited by Botswanadreams
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It's done. The last part is online.


We are going to one of the hottest place on earth. Please be prepared for a lot of pics from incredible places looking like from another planet. 


Danakil Depression




On the way from Mekelle to Abala



A new road leads to Lake Afdera



Lava field



Lake Afdera - salty like the Dead Sea



On the Way to Erte Ale





Lava Lake on Erta Ale on 28/09/2017



On the Way to Dallol












Helicopter from Tropic Air Kenya - grounded for 4.5 hours in the heat







Mountains from limestone and salt



Hot sulfuric lake











Salt Miners





Camel Caravans transporting salt





Salt and water


This is the end.

The next morning we drove back to Mekelle. The other day we flue via Addis home.


Thanks all for coming with us to Ethiopia with the big struggle in Google English. I'm sorry for that.





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Thank you for sharing your great adventure with us, it really was a most fascinating report, covering so much more than just wildlife. What a phenomenal outherworldly place Danakil is, standing on the edge ot the lava lake must have felt absolutely unreal.

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@michael-ibk Many thanks. Ok, you had a home match without struggling with goggle English. Yes staying at the edge of the lava lake was like being on the entrance to hell. Very unrealistic but fascinating and absolutely worth to feel the camel all the way. You can't go closer to the edge. The lava is very much cracking under you. We were trying to go a bit around for a better view inside but after the wind changed direction we had to run away. Dallol is another completely unrealistic place. I'm very happy that it was possible for us to go on a private way to the Danakil.        

Edited by Botswanadreams
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@Botswanadreams Fantastic otherworldly photos in post #36: I wonder for how many centuries camel trains have walked this route? Like stepping back in time...

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@Game Warden Thank you so much. I had to ask Firew our Guide about for how long the Afar extracting salt in this way. His answer is that the Afar have been doing this work unchanged for more than 1,000 years, as salt from the Danakil was already mentioned as a trade or medium of exchange during the Axumite Empire.

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Thanks for taking me on another amazing journey @Botswanadreams - those magnificent landscapes, the streetscapes, the architecture, the history, the proud tribes and ancient customs, the religious festivals and those prize winning parasols! and so much more all ending with the amazing Danakil Depression with for me shades of Wilfred Thesiger's stories of his trips amongst the fierce and warlike Danakils (now Afar) in that hot and arid world.

What a truly gutsy effort @Botswanadreamsto take that rough and ready camel trip to Erta Ale ( methinks I would have piked out on that) but what a memorable experience it would have been.

Count me in as an online voyager with your next safari which I think I read somewhere maybe Ethiopia again. Wherever I'll look forward to it.


PS When you get a moment Show us the Tribes and Peoples of Africa is waiting for some of your great portraits!

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@Caracal Thank you so much for all your flowers. It was really an amazing time. It was our big luck that I found Firew by accident planning and doing this trip with us by himself. Most impressive were this never ending fascinating landscapes and the people of Ethiopia. 


Ethiopia for a second time has to wait a little bit. As first Firew has to do is own research on Gambella about what's possible and what's the best time of the year for the migration.

The Tribes and People of Africa have to wait too I'm sorry because tomorrow we are off for a long trip to India. So from May on I hope there will be step by step our first non Africa trip report with pics of another part of the world.       

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@Botswanadreams please contact Sangeeta. In February I'll be visiting the Ali Dege wildlife conservation area, flying over Gambella, visiting the Surma tribe of the Omo Valley, staying one night in Lake Langano, and staying 4 nights at Bale Lodge in Bale National Park. I couldn't be more excited about this trip which frankly I couldn't have arranged most of myself. I'm sure that I'll visit Ethiopia again because I want to stay at Limalmo Lodge, see the churches of Lailabela, and perhaps other places. I have done a lot of research on Ethiopian culture and history which of course I find simply extraordinary. 

Edited by optig
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@optig I wish you a wonderful time in Ethiopia and Zakouma too. I hope after our return I can see pics from the air of Gambella and that you get the luck to find the wild ass. 

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  • 3 weeks later...

@Botswanadreams Well it took me a while to come back and finish this but it was very worthwhile. What a way to end the trip. 


So Maryam Korkor? Two questions for you having made it all the way up (well done!).


First question is whether you think my mother could make it up there (a fit but not athletic 79 years). I think it looks a bit too steep and hot.

Second question is about the route to Daniel Korkor. Is the path very narrow at any point? Can you always walk two people abreast? 


And do you think you chose well with which rock churches to visit? The three you chose are actually all on my shortlist of six. Sounds like Herbert was not into the climbing and I don't think my Mum will be either, so maybe that is part of the reason. 

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Hi @pault i think your mother can get it up maryam korkor. Importent would be to hire a pelping hand for her as a plus to the local guide. Firew chosed this 3 monasteries because of it's differente and the easier access. The other two monasteries we visited is only a short walk. I can highly recoment go in touch with Firew for your planing if you like. Best wishes from Ahmedabad India.

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@BotswanaDreams hope you're having a marvelous time in India!  And you even have internet access?!  

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@Botswanadreams, terrific to see the Bearded Vulture, and I have particularly enjoyed your images of the Ethiopian people.

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  • 1 month later...

Fantastic wanderings through Ethiopia.  You had some great visits to the markets and many cultural sites, lots of fascinating people a really well rounded trip.  Your birds--endemics and non-endemics are wonderful and excellent shots.  You really captured lovely scenery too, along with the wolves and geladas.  I read Paul's comment about you getting sick but could not find any mention of that.  I too got sick in Simien last month, probably the altitude.  Hope you recovered soon.   


This report captures the beauty and enchantment of Ethiopia.  Thanks for posting.

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@SafariChick Two wonderful but sometimes demanding month in India are over. Since a few hours I have a nice Internet access in Germany too. So it's time to look after a lot of pics and get started with a new topic on Safaritalk. 

@elefromoz Thanks for coming with us too Ethiopia. Ethiopia is a very good destination to see Bearded Vultures. 

@Atravelynn What a great statement. Thanks so much. In Semien I had half a day problems with my stomach. Maybe the attitude, maybe something else - nobody knows. Afterwards it was fine with the help of our travel pharmacy.   



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