Mandaba Medhane Alem

Monastery in Gorgora

Of Tana’s four far-northern monasteries, all west of Gorgora, Mandaba Medhane Alem, which hosts ancient biblical manuscripts and some of Ethiopia’s most dedicated priests, is the only one that most consider worth a trip, even though its paintings only date to 1991. It takes 30 minutes by boat, 90 minutes by tankwa (available at Tim and Kim Village lodge), or two hours walking from town.

Despite a mid-20th-century overhaul, some original features of the building remain, and the monks here are considered some of Ethiopia's most pious.