A few more questions on itinerary planning
Replies: 10 - Last Post: Sep 21, 2010 12:38 PM Last Post By: buffaloboy
Sep 18, 2010 12:56 PM
A few more questions on itinerary planningHi,
We will spend, my girlfirend and I, 17 days in Ethiopia over Xmas / New Year.
We are finalizing the itinerary (thanks for the help on my further post) but have a few more questions:
1. Bahir dar: Are the Blue Nile Falls really worth it or "just another waterfall". And how long does it take ? And how long would you spend in Dahir Bar?
2. Tigray Rock Hewn Churches: what is the best base: Axum or Mekele? Cost is not the primary matter (well, as long as it remains reasonable), but best possibilities to see the nicer churches and shortest trip.
3. Simian mountains: how long? We are definitely no hard core trekkers and do not really enjoy camping (we prefer huts, yes, with old age you turn comfortable ;-), but have nevertheless enjoyed longer treks in the past. I planed 3 days from Gonder, is that realistic? And do tours enable you to see much more on a shorter period of time or is it just wasted money?
Our itinerary? Addis Abeba - Dahir Bar (2 -3 days, the first one "lost" after a long flight -Vienna / Cairo / Addis Abeba / Dahir Bar straight- to rest) - Gonder (1 day) - Simien Mountains (3 days) - Gonder - Lalibela (3 days) - Axum (2 days) - Mekele (2 days) - Addis Abeba (2 days). We plan to fly Addis Abeba - Dahir Bar, Gonder - Lalibela, Lalibela - Axum & Mekele - Addis Abeba to save time and energy.
Ok, I think that was it. Thanks a lot for your help!
Sep 19, 2010 1:21 AM
If you want to join up with a group of other people, then you're better off arranging things in Axum -- I spent a week in Mekele in April and literally only saw two other faranjis in town that whole week, and ended up having to hire my own private 4x4/driver/guide to go see some churches, which was pretty expensive.
However, if you're not looking to join up with another group of people, then Mekele is better. You might consider using Wukro as your base of operations for church-viewing as well.
Mekele, by the way, is the best town in the far north: good hotels, good food, pleasant city, no "You You Faranji" harassment on the street. It's a great place to spend a few days if you're just looking to relax a bit.
Sep 19, 2010 1:58 AM
2To answer your first question, No the falls are no great shakes but it is the exit for the Blue Nile from Lake Tana and then ends up in the Med. You also cross the oldest bridge spanning the Nile and the walk is ok but in general you could miss the falls and not be greatly concerned.
Your third question about the Simiens.
Three days is easily doable from either Debark or Gondar which is where you will probably start from.
The first day will take you in a mini van to Debark where you are signed in at the rangers office, pay your loot and then ride in your mini van to Sankaber which is your overnight camp.
The second day will be spent walking and you will most likely visit the waterfalls, see the Geladas and enjoy the views befor ending up at Giche Camp.
From Giche in the morning you walk a bit to the road, get picked up by your minivan and and head back to Gondar which will take the better part of the day.
Just some tips. Stock up on food for you and your guide/scout in Gondar.
Take some small Birr notes to buy eggs and stuff at Debark.
Buy some firewood from the markets befor you set off in Debark.
if you enjoy a beer buy them in Gondar at the supermarket at the bottom of the hill.
Sep 19, 2010 2:02 AM
Sep 19, 2010 2:06 AM
4By the way:
Dumpendebat, I already read what you wrote about Mekele, and I definitely want to go there.
That is exactly what we are looking for. And if we have to spend a few more Euros to rent a jeep to the churches, so what? I prefer by far cities off the beaten track, which is unfortunately almost undoable when you are on a short trip! ;-(((
And Simsy, thanks for your input.
We will consider the Blue Nile as a possibility but not a must depending on time.
And do as you say for the Simiens
Sep 19, 2010 2:12 PM
5you might find it helpful to go to
Bradt Ethiopia Updates
Index and look up
some good accounts of these peoples experiences in two areas
Sep 20, 2010 12:18 AM
Sep 20, 2010 1:14 AM
7Giles, Bradt for Ethiopia just eats the LP book.
The maps and information leaves LP for dead.
Sep 20, 2010 2:36 PM
Sep 21, 2010 2:15 AM
9Bradt website has a section of Updates on Ethiopia.
It is very different to this website
not so much people asking questions more people posting their experiences
worth checking out for you it has a good index
Sep 21, 2010 12:38 PM
10Tigray Churches: depends what you mean by "reasonable" for the cost - a 4x4 w/ driver was around $100/day for me this past July. I chartered one from Axum, stayed two nights at the Italian lodge, then back to Axum and flew on to Lalibela. If you want to get yourself to the lodge, you can then hire a car & driver per day through them - don't know the cost, but I don't think it's so much cheaper. Gheralta Lodge is unbelievably fantastic - in a country where budget to mid-range accommodation ranges from "bearable" to "a dump", this place is heaven and very convenient to the Tigray churches. Book early for high season, I assume, as it's a small place.
I agree that the Blue Nile Falls is missable - I enjoyed them and I found the walk over the Portugese Bridge and to the Falls really quite beautiful - but on a scale of world sights, it's not high.
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