Before decide to join a boat tour ,you can check some official price written on the board ,It’s the price from Lake Tana private boat tour association.This signboard is located by the lake near Gion hotel.The price to 3 monasteries like.. to Zegai,Kepran gebriel and Beta mariam cost 500 Birr( per boat)for metal boat, and 800 Birr for fiver boat. 5 passenger maximum .If more than 5 people on board they’ll charged extra 50birr. per person .
They also have boat service crossing the lake to Gorgora cost 3,500 birr for metal boat and 4,000 birr .
A few kilometers from Bahir Dar you'll find the Blue Nile Falls.
You can arrange transport from Ghion Hotel where many tourists unite and where daily trips are being organised or directly at the bus station. I don't remember the exact price of the transport but it was something in the range of €1-€2.
To get to the falls you have to hike a little (some 30min max). The route is basically a circle, so you can choose between two opposite directions you can take. I have no preference.
You'll always have to take a ferry (not as fancy as it sounds, just a simple boat with a little motor), which costed 10Birr or so.
The Falls are wide or not wide depending on the season, but in my opinion always worth the trip!!!!!!!
To show you that walking at night in this city is very safe.But can you see some thing in this picture? …..... Flying car..!!!!!
Ethiopian invented new technology car.. ,car move without wheel..! just flying a lttile bit above the ground.
Nooo…….... Just..... Joking….!! :0 )
It’s because the picture was blur..so it looked like those 2 cars has no wheels.
And I just want to confirm that walking in this city is very safe.There are many people came out to walk around.The temperature was cool down ,people seem to have good mood.They jusy came out to meet,see things and chatting.There were street lights along most of the road which show that the city has very good organize and enough income for payment and maitainance......,very impressive
Walking around along the lake is quite safe.There are no begglar hanging around along the river .During day time ,when it still hot,the city is quite empty ,but there are so many people come out to meet each other in the evening because temperature is much cooler down ,many of them even wear some jacket.There are many couple of all age walking happily around town.It’s a nice walk,seeing people passing by.
On the third picture, when I was taking this picture ,there ‘s a youngster ride bicycle passing by and see us.He stop his bicycle and try to practice his English with us..faranji.He was the only one in the city that try to approach us and he was very talkative.He was so brave to ask me email address but in a nice and friendly way.This area was the beach in front of Gion hotel .When I wanted to walk through the back gate (which was locked) into the hotel area ,hotel security didn't allow him to enter,but he let us through ,may be he thought I was the hotel guest.I don’t know what he said but I guess that security try to keep hotel guest to be safe from disturbing.
Bahir Dar is set at altitude of 1,830m.It lies on the southern tip of lake Tana,with tropical climate,make the city very green.There are many street lining with palm trees ,it’s really beautiful.
Talking about people..If you've heard about annoying characteristic from children that always follow faranji or some young man try to be your amater guide.There are no such thing in this city..People here are quite relaxing .They look at faranji of course but they let us be free.Almost nobody try to bother us.I asked Mola about this ,and he confirm that this city is different ,people are nice and we can walk every where safely.I can feel it..When I said hello to them ,they seem to be a little shy and said hello back with beautiful smiling.So lets say.. my first city in this country made me quite impressed.
While walking around Bahir dar,lets know a bit about Bahir dar. Bahir Dar or Bahar Dar in Amharic: means “sea shore” is a city in north-western Ethiopia and is about 578km north west of Addid Ababa. It is the capital of the Amhara Region
Bahir Dar is a Special Zone, a designation in between a chartered city ,or something like a district
Bahir Dar is one of a tourist destination in Ethiopia, with attractions such as boat trip along Lake Tana and Blue Nile river and visitting blue nile falls at south western of the city. The city’s avenues is lined with palm trees and many beautiful flowers. In 2002 it was awarded the UNESCO Cities for Peace Prize for addressing the challenges of rapid urbanization.
Here are some pictures of Bahir dar .
From University area,I walked down to the lake shore to ask around the price from some private boat that may give me good price .I got one promised price for 3 islands 600 Birr.The owner hang around at the pier ,you don’t need to make much effort to find them ,cuz they ‘ll see us “faranji” and immediately approach us.And now it depends on how we negotiate the service ,how many and which islands they’ll bring you and what kind of boat, slow boat with small engine or a little bit better and faster boat ,just negotiate well .If possible ..ask to see the boat and confirm well that it’ll be the boat they present.I just confirm by taking picture of the boat.This one in my pic,look ok with roof and life west ,good for small group of few people on board,but I didn’t impress much,cuz he’ll bring us only 3 islands ,may be because his boat and the engine is quite small and it can’t be fast enough to bring us to too many islands. But if you are not keen on the monastery much ,3 islands may be enough,and those 3 islands will normally be the most "must see" one.
By boat you can access this monastery , preferably in the morning cause the waves on the lake aren't as strong as in the afternoon.
Trips can be booked from the Ghion Hotel for a reasonable price. Just ask if there is a boat leaving the next morning and ask to join. We paid 100 birr each (and another 10 or so to access the monastery).
Although I am not that much of a church visitor, the church at this peninsula was a pleasant surprise for me, not only because of the paintings but also because of the age the building and the decorations.
This waterfall is also known as Tis Issat meaning smoking water, as the continuous dropping of water creates a smoke-like bounce of water droplets. The Blue Nile Falls has an enormous height of 37 to 45 meters or around 150 feet and its width is estimated at about half a mile. Watching the river water drop down the waterfalls is truly breathtaking
Bahir Dar was very different from what I have already seen in Ethiopia. It had an occidental look, people had an occidental look and did not care too much about us. It was the only place in Ethiopia where although being super beautiful + intelligent and with blue eyes, people ignored me (and I was happy for that). Bahir Dar, being very flat, is also the only place where bicycle seems a very extended means of transport, which is very nice! There are lots of cafés, restaurants and other amenities thought for local people and not for tourists like us. People enjoyed meeting, chatting in the cafés, going to restaurant with friends . . . That is the big difference between Bahir Dar and other Ethiopian sites like Lalibela, where local people seem to live and work for tourists and all the amenities are basically thought for tourists.
Once you are face to face with the falls go down again to have another side view from below. It is a muddy path but there is a pleasant corner at the end where you can sit on the rocks, admire the falls and take more pictures without getting another shower (picture 1).
It was during this excursion to Tis Isat when I understood the meaning of the Ethiopian proverb on my homepage “The foot that is restless will tread on a turd”: all the path from the village to the falls is full of mud, mud and sometimes slippery stones to avoid mud . . . or to fall on it (picture 2). That’s why I decided to take long stick and a young + handsome valet to help me along the way, crossing the small streams and jumping on the stones. He was expensive (I had to pay also for the rent of the stick!) but turned to be also a good company and told me nice stories. However, some younger tourists were luckier than me ;-) (picture 3)
Going back to the main point, you can watch the falls for the last time taking a cup of coffee under the shadow of a tree.
Once Lake Tana is left behind, the Blue Nile travels between papyrus and cultivated fields for 32 km to fall 45 m down on the Tis Isat falls. Tis Isat (smoke of water in Amharic) was described on my guidebook as a “melange of mists and rainbows” and it is really how I saw it. It seems that falls are more impressive during this period (rainy season, between June and September) even if the colour of water is more brown than blue because of the mud.
Once you arrive to Tis Isat village there is an admission ticket to pay at the Tourist Office. There you can also arrange a guide but it is not really necessary as you will always be surrounded by children showing you the way and eventually selling some souvenirs.
From the Tourist Office there are two possible paths: the so called eastern path, the shortest path, which crosses a beautiful 17th century Portuguese Bridge. If you take this path you will have a nice front view of the falls but from a certain distance.
We decided instead to take the less steep but more adventurous western route, which starts at 50m of the ticket office. After 1-2 km of walk you have to cross the Nile’s banks by motorboat (picture 2) and then follow the river above the falls crossing beautiful green landscapes with chatt fields (picture 3) to meet the falls for the first time from the side. Views from here are gorgeous! But if you want still more impressive shots go down (picture 4) for a front view and feel that “smoke of water”, that “melange of mists and rainbows” on your skin. This is the main viewpoint (picture 5).
Tis Isat was without any doubt one of the highlights of my Ethiopian trip.
During my recovering walks in Bahir Dar we tried to reach the Blue Nile Outlets also by foot. We took a taxi in the city centre direction to Weyto Village, stopped after the bridge and went down to the shore. There, some villagers welcomed us and played the spontaneous guides along the shore (not necessary but unavoidable . . .) for few coins. Well, at the end it was not possible to reach exactly the Nile Outlets by foot but we were able to see some nice papyrus canoes (tankwas) which look exactly as the ancient papyrus canoes depicted on the Egyptian walls (picture 3). Not far from them, there were also two smiling hippos. Have you seen the main picture?: yes, OK . . . hippos are vegetarian but . . . I would not like to be on those boats so close to them!
NB: if you like walking a lot you can avoid the taxi and go there by foot, it is not too far from the city centre. It's just that I was too exhausted!
On the skirts of Mount Gishe there is a small stream called Gilgel Abay (Small River in Ahmaric). The Ethiopian tradition considers this stream as the source of the Abay Wenz (Big River) or Blue Nile River and a small church built nearby testified that. The birth of the Blue Nile was until only few years ago almost unknown by Europeans. Although it was described for the first time by a Spanish Jesuit in 1613 and later by a Scottish explorer in 1770, people did not believe them. Being forgotten during years, the Blue Nile was charted for the first time by Robert E. Cheesman,v British consul in Gojjam. That happened in the thirties (yes, 1930!), when almost all the world already appeared on the map.
Ethiopian tradition and Scientific Community usually don’t go together and nowadays scientists consider Lake Tana as the outlet of the Blue Nile. From there, the Nile River -generally regarded as the longest river in the world- starts its journey, 5223 km, crossing three different countries until the Mediterranean Sea.
Usually the Lake Tana Churches tour includes the visit of the Blue Nile Outlets. If you are lucky, it is a good occasion to see one hippo or two.
Founded by Empress Mentewwab in 1747 on Zegue Peninsula, this is the most famous (and visited) church and also my favourite one.
To visit this church, a local guide is compulsory and he will come to offer you his services as soon as you go out of the boat. To get the church you will have to walk for a while along a path crossing exuberant vegetation but full of souvenir stalls. Unfortunately they offer nothing interesting dispersing also the charm of the walk.
The church forms part of a small complex with some huts -I suppose for the monks- and a museum displaying 16th and 17th century crosses and crowns. It is built of stone and it has a round form, which can be considered as an adaptation of the local hut (picture 2). Inside, it is decorated which beautiful paintings on its walls.
Paintings show you the life of Christ, Mary and different saints (picture 3). But they also show you the consequences of being a bad guy (picture 4). Especially beautiful are the equestrian saints being this picture one of the most represented images about Ethiopia (main picture). But common people could also appear on the paintings: a small donation for the Church and they could have their face represented on the walls for the eternity (picture 5).