Bahir dar

Bahir Dar; is the busy capital of the Amhara Region situated at the shores of Lake Tana. The town has palmed fringed roads and a very pleasant atmosphere. It’s a nice place to roam around and to explore the local market or the shoreline of Lake Tana. Bezawit Hill, with a palace of Emperor Haile Selassie, gives a nice view on the town. Bahir Dar is also an excellent base to explore the surrounding area.


Blue Nile Falls

About an hour drive south-east of Bahir Dar, you arrive in the small village of Tis Isat which translated as ‘smoking water’. You are now close to the spectacular Tis Abay or Blue Nile Falls. These waterfalls have been very small because of the nearby hydro electrical plant but recently more often the water is following its original course to bring the falls back again. Especially from August till November, at the end and the first months after rainy season, you can expect an impressive sight. Year round it is a worthwhile visit with the authentic village of Tissisat and the Portuguese bridge near the Falls to explore. Different walks are available and it is a perfect place for birders as well. Best visit is in the morning while it is still cool and the sun gives perfect light from behind while admiring the falls.

The Source of the Blue Nile

Nearby Bahir Dar lies the ‘Source of the Blue Nile’ or the place where the Blue Nile flows out of Lake Tana on its way the join the White Nile in Khartoum and to proceed as Nile to Egypt. Geographically the source is at Gish Abay where 3 small springs feeding the biggest river flowing into Lake Tana. These springs are considered holy by the orthodox church.

Lake Tana

Lake Tana is the largest lake of Ethiopia and one of the larger lakes of Africa. It covers an area of almost 3700 km2 and is dotted with many, most very small, islands which have been a save harbor for treasuries belonging to the orthodox church during Islamic uprising. The monasteries on these islands are well worth visiting but woman travelers are only welcome at a few of them. To reach the central islands means a full day trip out of Bahir Dar, but there are beautiful churches nearby. The adventurous traveler might consider to cross Lake Tana to Gorgora on the northern side of the lake, visiting some island monasteries on the way.

Zeghe Peninsula

You don’t have to go far from Bahir Dar to reach one of the most beautiful churches of Lake Tana. It’s about one hour by boat to reach the with lush vegetation covered Zeghe Peninsula and a short walk leads to the 16th century Ura Kidane Mihret church. And the good thing is that women are allowed. If you have more time, the peninsula has more churches (women allowed) and it is a pleasant walk from one to another. You might find beautiful birds and monkey on your way. Between Bahir Dar and Zeghe lies the Kibran Gabriel Monastery but unfortunately only men are allowed. Nearby the Source of the Blue Nile, you find the Debre Maryam Church, accessible for men and woman.


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