Going down in the Blue Nile Gorge
Favorite thing: After we walked for some time along the edge of the Blue Nile Gorge, we saw the road winding down. We got again in our bus to continue our route.
The winding road dropped more than 1000 M into the Blue Nile Gorge. At the bottom of the gorge we had to cross the river by a bridge, which, like the winding road, was built by the Italians.
The bridge is a beautiful piece of civil engineering. It's strictly forbidden to take a picture of the bridge. I don't know why, because everywhere in the area you can buy a coloured postcard of the bridge in full glory.Related to:
- Road Trip
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Favorite thing: Ethiopia is one of the main ornithological destinations in Africa, where more than 860 species of birds have been recorded. I read that the 40% of the tourism in the country comes for this purpose: bird watching. Bahir Dar is one of the places in Ethiopia where I saw more different species of birds, being the most common the king fishers and various parrots and the most searched (and protected) the white pelican (Pelecanus onocratulus), the Ethiopian ibis (Bostrychia caranculata), the Poicephalus flavifrons and the Columba albitorques. There are birds everywhere, even in your breakfast in the garden of the hotel, which I did not appreciate a lot (picture 2). Don’t try to do a romantic walk by the lake with a bird watcher: he /she will stop every five minutes (and you also for solidarity) for THE picture. I don’t like birds a lot but I took some pictures me too.
The culture con
Favorite thing: The rock temples of Lalibela are awesome....the country boasts a lot of other cultural sights but 2,500 km of travel only revealed a few third rate ruins. Don't be conned into making a trip up north to Axom to see the Ark of the Covenant...it doesn't exist...no photos, no drawings...nothing! It's a really interesting country but don't expect to see many historical sights...all the museums we visited were just a total waste of money.
Fondest memory: Probably the flies and dust...will really miss them.Related to:
- Historical Travel
- Museum Visits
Banks -Telephone - Internet
Banks with ATM: Only Dashen Bank has ATMs connected with Cirrus, Master card, and Visa, and you can withdraw money with no problem. There are many branches in Addis and several more cities around the country. I remember I took money in Harar, in Dere Dawa, in Mekele, in Bahir Dhar, in Gondar, in Awasa, in Aksum and some other cities. I am sure there is no bank in Lalibela.
Telephone calls: In Addis Ababa a telephone call to Europe cost us 3-5 per minute, when we called through internet. Ask around, locals will guide you.
Internet is easily available and cheap in most cities and towns in the country. In big cities it is much cheaper. In Addis you can find it as cheap as 10 birr an hour. The connection is usually quite good in Addis but very slow in other parts of the country. Outside Addis Internet comes up to 50b or 60b per hour.
In good hotels and Internet Cafes you can connect your Lap Top if you carry it along.
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Favorite thing: Juices in Ethiopia are divine! They are pure, fresh and no water is added. You should have one every day! It is absolutely necessary for our tired bodies! And a small tip from me: Never drink it when you are really tired, relax first for half an hour so that you give your stomach the time to get ready to digest properly.
My favorite combination is mango, avocado and papaya. Guava is also very tasty and goes well with pineapple and banana. They cost 6-8 birrs in the small juice shops.
There are a lot of this kind of shops in every place in Ethiopia so make use of them.
The juice shop in the photo is in Piazza in Addis, next to Oslo Cafe. Get in if you are around...
Click on the photo to see the shop
Favorite thing: Macchiato was one of my favorites in Ethiopia. You can see it spelled in a lot of different ways and the same goes with the taste... This is espresso coffee with a dash of milk, usually foam. It bears the Italian influence that is very common in Ethiopia. It is supposed to have very little milk but sometimes it has too much milk or too much sugar. So make it clear when you order that they bring the sugar separately and you put as much as you like! Don't forget!
Talo, traditional dish in Tigrai
Favorite thing: "Talo" is the traditional dish of the area of Addigrat. It is beef cooked in a typical tomato sauce in a clay pot, and served with local white cheese on top. It is escorted by salad and rice.
But the most important are those little balls, made of barley flour, and served around the main pot. These little balls are not cooked, they are completely raw, so it was very difficult to swallow more than two...we only did it to honor and please our wonderful hostess. This is between you and me of course and I hope she never has the chance to read this...
You can see the bottles with "tej" in the photo. We had two of them each...!
Tej is my favorite. It is a kind of honey wine and it is really delicious if it is home made. I think the tej I tried in a small village in Tigray, Atsbi, was the best in Ethiopia. Tej can be strong with a lot of alcohol or lighter, you can order it the way you like. It is brewed with fruit and is sweet and very refreshing?
You don't realize the pleasant effect it has on you while drinking it...you do when you stand up and go on with your activities..... Try to keep cool if you plan to drink a lot of it....I also liked the beautiful long-necked bottle it is served in and the lovely color.
Tela is a kind of beer they usually make at home, which is different depending on the skill of the beer maker. I didn't like it but I don't drink beer anyway...
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Coffee ceremony !!!
Favorite thing: Coffee time is especially “honored” in Ethiopia as this is a time to relax and forget the hardships of life.. It is an important part of their social and cultural life. They have it three times a day but they like it most when they gather with family and friends and enjoy every minute of it, particularly after a hard working day, or when they have a special guest. Although I normally try to avoid coffee it was impossible to refuse this as it is considered a gesture of respect and hospitality.. I sometimes hid my cup but most of the times they discovered me and made me have more...
It is served in exquisite cups and usually has a long ritual. They cover the floor with big tree leaves and ornate it with fresh flowers. Then they bake the coffee beans and sometimes they pass the baked coffee around the guests to let them smell the beautiful scent. This part I hated, though, because I was stifled and couldn't stop coughing...anyway..
This coffee is quite tasty and it can be great if you get used to it. They always start the ceremony burning sticks of incense. If you drink your coffee without sugar don't forget to tell them as they serve it with tons of it..!
Click on the photo for more...
some useful words...
Favorite thing: Here are some useful Ethiopian words
Amharic is the official language of the country. There are plenty of dialects but in general they all understand amharic..
ferentzi = tourists
muk waha = hot water
beka! = enough(the most polite when they are very pushy)
chow = salt
sikuar = sugar
berbere = pepper
dabo = bread (not injera)
eshi = yes ( you will often hear them just take a deep breath for “yes”)
Yikerta = excuse me, please( for calling the waiter(or just clap your hands))
buna = coffee
kazkaza = cold
muk = hot
birra = beer
siga = meat
shai = tea
And here is a useful guide for local english expressions:
Highland = bottled water
Plastic = empty bottle of water.
Where are you? = where are you from?
Soft = paper napkin, tissue paper or toilet paper
Favorite thing: COUNTRY INFORMATION:
Visa: Visa at Bole Intl. airport in Addis Ababa takes 10 minutes. Costs 20 USD.
Mobil phone: Good connection with foreign SIM cards from 2010.
ATM: Some few ATM's inside the luxury hotels in Addis Ababa. It gives a normal rate.
Recommended language: English.
Infrastructure: Very poor.
Friendliness by the people: Very friendly. Some begging.
Attention by Police/military: Very polite and helpful. No corruption.
Crime: Addis is a safe city. The central regions of Ethiopia is among the safest places in Africa. But some fraud against tourists.
Rainy period: Addis Abeba: July, August and September.
Price level: Very cheap for most things except hotels.
Airport departure tax: Nothing from ADD.Related to:
- Adventure Travel
Visa on arrival
Favorite thing: "Visa on arrival" will be issued at Bole Intl. airport if you have a nationality from a socalled tourist-generating country. Just line up in queue. 4-5 officers will issue the tourist visas quickly. Make sure to have your passport and 20 USD ready. For a single entry visa you don't need photos and you don't need to write anything. The visa is valid for 3 months.
I was in Addis for the second time in 2010. The visa rules are just the same as it was in 2008.
17. Korea Republic
22. New Zealand
26. Russian Federation
27. South Africa
32. United Kingdom
33. United StatesRelated to:
- Arts and Culture
Using mobile phone in Ethiopia
Fondest memory: I was in Addis Ababa the first time in 2008. Ethiopian Telecommunications Corp was the only mobile phone operator in Ethiopia at that time. And a foreign SIM card was at that time very hard to use. The situation is quite different now with more operators. Using a foreign SIM card is easy, but roaming is still too expensive. If you stay a longer time you should get an Ethiopian SIM card in one of the many phone shops here. It's cheap to buy credit, and you can also recieve calls without having credit. The country code is +251.Related to:
Favorite thing: NEWS ON MONEY-WITHDRAWAL:
Most guidebooks still do not mention it, but now you can get cash at ATMs of DASHEN BANK with EC-, VISA- and Master-Card plus PIN in most larger cities. For a list of ATM-locations see under the respective link ("City" for Addis Ababa and "upcountry" for other towns in Ethiopia) at
Some amharic words
Favorite thing: Amharic is the main Ethiopian language. Here are some words...
Say hello to a man - dhnanhe
Say hello to a woman - dhnanish
Say hello to many people - dhnanachu
White man - ferenjy
Ethiopian man - habesha
Thank you - amesegnalehu
You're welcome - chiger yelem
I like you - ewodishalew
I love you - afekrshalehu
My love - yene konjoRelated to:
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Bahar Dar, Ethiopia
Satisfaction: Very Good
Good for: Couples
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