Outlet of the Blue Nile

Lake Tana & its Monasteries

The Blue Nile outlet, a 20-minute boat ride east of Bahir Dar, has far greater geographical significance than it does natural beauty, although there's plenty of birdlife and you might see the odd hippo. From here, the Blue Nile snakes its way, eventually tracking north and 5223km to the Mediterranean; it joins the White Nile in Khartoum, Sudan. Although you can organise a dedicated boat excursion here, most visitors come as part of a boat trip that takes in nearby monasteries.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Lake Tana & its Monasteries attractions

1. Blue Nile Bridge

1.75 MILES

You can only reach the famous outlet of the Blue Nile by boat, but you can get pretty close along the Gonder road, 2km out of town, where a bridge spans…

2. Debre Maryam

1.89 MILES

The original 14th-century (some say 12th-century) church at Debre Maryam was rebuilt by Tewodros in the 19th century. It’s unattractive both outside and…

3. Martyrs Memorial Monument

2.29 MILES

Just past the bridge is a large Martyrs Memorial Monument dedicated to those who died fighting the Derg. Its fountain cascading down to the Blue Nile is…

4. Fish Market

3.15 MILES

There’s a one-table fish market in the mud-hut deacon’s village behind St George’s Church. The catch is brought in by tankwa in the morning and pelicans…

5. St George Church

3.24 MILES

One of the largest churches in Bahir Dar and right next to the water, but it's not a patch on Lake Tana's monasteries.

7. Main Mosque

3.52 MILES

Bahir Dar's largest mosque and an important local landmark.

8. Main Market

3.65 MILES

If you can tear yourself away from the lake, visit the large and lively main market. It’s busiest on Saturday – market day – when people stream into town…