A few friends and I spent a four day weekend at the end of May trekking in Tigray organised by Tesfa Tours. It was a few days that felt like weeks away from the bustle of Addis and work and we were treated to hiking in some of the most stunning landscape I have ever seen.
Views from top of the plateau we hiked up onto Day 3
A quick flight up from Addis Ababa to Axum and then 2 hour drive East to the start of our trek not far from Adigrat. We pulled off the side of the road and were met by two local men and their donkeys who would carry our bags for the day up to our first guesthouse perched at 3,000m up at Enaf. We stepped out of the van and within ten minutes set off up the trail.
Donkey loaded up with our shared bags
The walk up for the first day was gradual and once we got off the gravel road the landscape changed and we could see amazing views across the valley ahead of us. As we negotiated our way along the plateau it opened up and we were met with children herding goats and sheep home for the night and excited to see guests approaching before the hurried off down the steep side of the cliffs to the valley below and home for the night.
Panorama view of the valley and guesthouse at Enaf
As we stood on the cliff top gazing at the breath taking views across the Agame massif and villages below you couldn’t help but feel tiny as the huge and stunning landscape reached as far as the eye could see. We settled into the guesthouse, had a quick dinner and headed to bed early falling asleep to the sounds of donkeys calling out in the valley below.
The sunrise at the start of day 2
We woke up to a beautiful sunrise which slowly revealed the stunning valley and landscape below. As the sun got higher more mountain peaks started to appear and we could see in the far distance where we were headed over the next few days.
Views across the valley below
Looking out the doorway from the guesthouse
Before we set off walking we ate our breakfast of scrambled eggs and bread on the rooftop of the guesthouse. As you can see the view wasn’t too bad from up there.
Breakfast on the rooftop of the Guesthouse at Enaf
One of the ladies who took care of our meals at the guesthouse
Another of our stunning cooks from the guesthouse
The guard at the guesthouse pulled his gun out to pose for a photo with a view
As we made our way along the edge of the plateau we shared the trail with donkeys, cows, sheep, goats and their minders making their way up the paths towards higher grazing areas. We then started the long decent down into the valley below and continued along it and up towards our next guesthouse.
Heading down into the valley
Heading along a trail
Finally down in the valley
We arrived at the next guesthouse, Gohgot, which was tucked in at the bottom of a cliff. After a hearty lunch meal of shiro and injera and rested for a few hours in the afternoon in preparation for another hike to a nearby rock-hewn church.
Panorama from guesthouse at Gohgot
Young girl at the guesthouse
In the afternoon we took in a two hour round hike to Gohgot Eyesus church which was tucked up in one of the nearby valleys. We had to hail the priest to bring the key and climb with us so we could go inside before climbing up to the entrance.
Gohgot Eyesus church
The priest clasps his cross
Mother & baby on the trail
On the third day the scenery changed we trekked across the valley for a few hours passing schools, people busy farming, and by children running out to greet us before we started our climb up another mountain.
Donkeys carrying water joined us as we crossed the valley and approached our next climb
The climb led us along trails that weaved along the edge of the cliff and provided spectacular views across the valley where we had come from over the past few days.
The donkey comes along the trail while Meghan waits up ahead looking over the valley we have just crossed
Nathan heading up the final climb to the plateau
Some sheep who greeted us at the top
The plateau we were staying on for the last night was quite small with only four families homes on top and the guesthouse. This offered us stunning views of the Gheralta Mountains in the distance, where we would be heading the next day to visit one of the rock-hewn churches, and all sides of the valleys around us.
View out one side of the plateau
The guest house at Shimbrety perched on the edge of the plateau
We visited with a family who lived next to the guesthouse and shared the always great Ethiopian hospitality, coffee and conversation. One of the young boys from the family had joined us earlier in the day as we had explored the edge of the cliff and watched a family of Gelada baboons make their way around the cliff edges, playing, eating and enticing one another.
The hoodie gang
One of the girls from the family
A pile of cow pooh once dried used for lighting fires and building walls
Again the next morning we woke up early and looked like someone had taken a paint brush to the sky and then keep spraying new colours across the canvas as the sun rose. The low cloud made for some spectacular scenes as it wrapped itself around the cliffs and covered the valley below.
Low clouds over the valley
A young girl came out to meet us as her dog barked and warned us to stay well clear of her home. It was a sweet exchange as she asked for her photo to be taken and once she saw flashed a smile it headed back to her house pleased. (The photo will make its way back up to her in the new trekking season after the rains!)
The colours she was wearing matched the landscape
The polaroid came out for the final time and we took and shared some photos with our great hosts before we headed off down the side of the mountain and onto our final adventure and climb to Abuna Yemata church.
Loads of beautiful people and smiles
One of the final views as we reached the valley below
I would recommend this trip to anyone who loves nature, people and doing something that will give you a real taste of Ethiopian culture and the beauty of this country. I would go again tomorrow…. Want to make this journey too? Contact Tesfa Tours based in Addis Ababa – community based tourism. Email firstname.lastname@example.org http://www.tesfatours.com/contact-tesfa-tours/
Also helps to have great friends along on the journey!