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North Ethiopia
Written by Jerem   
Thursday, 26 January 2012

Coming from Sudan, the landscape changes rapidly near the border, from the desert to some kind of savanah,

last day in sudan last day in sudan

and then the road climbs to the ethiopian high plateau

1st mountain road 1st mountain road

ethio plateau 1 ethio plateau 1

ethio plateau 2 ethio plateau 2

ethio plateau 3 ethio plateau 3

First 'big' city after the border isGonder. As most of Ethiopia, this city as a rich history, and hosts one of the famous sights of the country : Fasiladas' palace (XVIIIth century) and some other castles built in the same complex.

Gonder Gonder

100 kilometres north of Gonder is the Simien mountains national park, some of the most impressive landscapes of Ethiopia. The park lies at more than 3000 metres high with some peaks above 4000 metres, the higher being Ras daschen at 4600 metres high.

Simien mountain 1 Simien mountain 1

West of the park is a very steep and high escarpment, dominating part of the ethiopian plateau.

Simien mountain 2 Simien mountain 2

Simien mountain 3 Simien mountain 3

Simien mountain 4 Simien mountain 4

There are few villages on these mountains, not accessible by road, but boasting very nice views

Simien village Simien village

Simien sunset Simien sunset

The walk down to the camp, with the mandatory 'guide'...

Simien scout Simien scout

As any national park in Africa, the simien park is home to some 'exotic' animal species :

some birds...

Simien birds 1 Simien birds 1

some other birds...

Simien birds 2 Simien birds 2

monkeys...

Simien monkeys Simien monkeys

and funny-looking kind of dears

Simien bamby Simien bamby

I continued my route up to the north of Ethiopia, riding what is said to be the worst ethiopian main road. In the last years, ethiopian road infrastructure improved a lot (thanks to the chinese road companies again), and this 200 kilometres mountaineous stretch is the last main road still not paved. Currently the work are in progress and make the driving even worse.

road work road work

road work, slow down road work, slow down

where the dust mixes with the exhaust gases

dust and exhausts dust and exhausts

Fortunately, the landscapes are still very rewarding

debark to axum road 1 debark to axum road 1

debark to axum road 2 debark to axum road 2

debark to axum road 3 debark to axum road 3

debark to axum road 4 debark to axum road 4

debark to axum road 5 debark to axum road 5

debark to axum road 6 debark to axum road 6

I eventually met again Willem and Esther on that road

WE again WE again

using a good stretch of road to overtake a donkey

overtaking a donkey overtaking a donkey

and back to the asphalt roads again

back to asphalt roads back to asphalt roads

Religion, especialy ethiopian orthodoxism (a separate branch of christianity), is very important in daily life. Lots of churches are worth a visit, they have nice paintings...

churches paintings 1 churches paintings 1

churches paintings 2 churches paintings 2

... and nice books with pictures for those who can't read ethiopian alphabet

book book

When not on the high plateau, Ethiopia can be hot, and cactus-like shadow is welcome

shadow under cactus shadow under cactus

Some other strange birds along the road...

ethio pit stop ethio pit stop

strange bird again strange bird again

Then my route goes south, with still a lot of elevation and maybe a bit more water and greenery

axum to lalibela road 1 axum to lalibela road 1

axum to lalibela road 2 axum to lalibela road 2

axum to lalibela road 3 axum to lalibela road 3

axum to lalibela road 4 axum to lalibela road 4

And up again to dry high plateau

axum to lalibela road 5 axum to lalibela road 5

Next stop are the 11 rock hewn churches of Lalibela. Some of them are now protected from the rain by the UNESCO-funded hideous roofs.

lalibela 1 lalibela 1

Lalibela 's churches attract a lot tons of pilgrims for the orthodox christmas, furtunately for me, i was there at that exact time

lalibela crowd 1 lalibela crowd 1

lalibela crowd 2 lalibela crowd 2

lalibela crowd 3 lalibela crowd 3

To access the church, this way please...

lalibela crowd 4 lalibela crowd 4

But i eventualy managed to take a picture with nobody on it !

lalibela church detail lalibela church detail

Most famous of all, and maybe one of Ethiopia's emblem is Bet Giyorgis cross shaped church

lalibela bet giyorgis lalibela bet giyorgis

 

Comments  

 
#1 Tom-e 2012-01-27 00:34
I follow your trip Jeremy. ;-)
Very nice pictures.

Greetings,

Agnieszka i Tomek ( Poland )
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#2 James Cameron 2012-02-04 15:09
Dude,

How the hell are you? ..and where the hell are you. Bryce and myself almost got to Cape Town (Gaborone) and boom clutch went. Should be stuck here for a while.. so close lol. Anyway drop us a line and let us know what's happening.
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#3 Wangjing 2012-03-02 00:48
They really let u in, wow, those religious ppl! Interesting any way! U ve got monkey n dears along ur way!
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