photo of Ras Dashen while on a Tesfa Trek in Simiens, by permission of Kevin Rushby (posted on Instagram)
If you have been on a Tesfa trek before then why not try something new?
We have opened new guesthouses in the Simien Mountains. They are situated to the south of the National Park, in a woreda called Janamora. To access this area, until the new service roads are built you drive through the National park past Sankober and Geech, and over the back of Bwahit mountain, then down to Mekhane Berhan. There are 3 guesthouses, Taga Mariam, Khalid Abo, and Timbala, and we suggest a minimum of 4 nights, including a visit to the market at Wossen on Thursdays and Saturdays. On the final day we would suggest trekking back up towards the park and getting picked up just south of Bwahit to
Khalid Abo guesthouses
either camp at Chenek or stay in one of the lodges in the park – Simien Mountain Lodge or Limalimo Lodge.
View of Seheta Guesthouse
We have also opened a new guesthouse in Tigray in the midst of the trekking we offer in the Agame Massif. The new guesthouse at Seheta, is set just above several farms on the edge of the village and is a great base to use to explore the valleys and local churches. Again we would recommend spending several days at Seheta. At this time of year there are feasts held daily in the villages and you would be most welcome to join in. You can also link staying here with a stay in one of the other longer established guesthouses in the area.
The 2009 Tesfa diary/ note book calendar.
The Tesfa Calendar is now available in diary version, sized at 20x14cm it will fit nicely in your bag. Never be without the details of the Ethiopian date, up coming saints days & fasts, and Ethiopian holidays. Note your appointments on the month, and use the note sheet for each month to add more details. Illustrated with the same wonderful photos as the traditional hanging version.
Although smaller than the traditional wall hanging version there are more pages. So the donation we are asking from clients will be the same: 200ETB. Proceeds go to support the communities involved in the Tesfa Community Tourism.
For more information email firstname.lastname@example.org
Tesfa Calendar 2009 cover page
Tesfa Calendars are coming off the press now.
Stunning photos from the community treks.
Ethiopia dates and holidays set on a western calendar
Fasts and festivals shown clearly. A must have to anyone living in Ethiopia or planning a visit.
Email email@example.com to reserve your copy.
Wall hanging calendars 200 birr each, note book version 250 birr –
All proceeds taken as donation for the communities
Priests reading the Bible by the light of a taper
Yesterday was Palm Sunday or Hosanna. It is a very special day in the Orthodox church commemorating Jesus’s march into Jerusalem on a donkey with Palm fonds laid before him. It is marked with palms (worn by many worshippers on hands or head), processions and special services.
And now we are in Holy Week, the “Week of Pains” or the Himamat. For some strict worshippers, from Thursday afternoon until Easter morning (late on Saturday night/Sunday morning) they will not eat any food nor drink even a drop of water for the three days are known as “Qanona”. The priests neither eat nor drink but remain in the churches singing and praying incessantly. During Himamat no absolution is given.
Hailay (Tesfa Tours driver) peeling a prickly Pear – Beles fruit!
As Baloo sings in the Jungle Book –
Now when you pick a pawpaw
Or a prickly pear
And you prick a raw paw
Next time beware
Don’t pick the prickly pear by the paw
When you pick a pear Try to use the claw
But you don’t need to use the claw
When you pick a pear of the big pawpaw.
The peeled Beles fruit – no more prickles!
The season for these tasty fruit starts in May, but you are best advised to let someone who knows how to peel it (as you do not have Baloo’s claws!). So why not come up after Fasika (Ethiopian Easter) and walk through the beautiful Agame mountains around Adigrat, famed for their tasty ‘Beles’ fruits.
It is also the season of priest parties (for two weeks after Fasika)- when householders entertain their local priests to congratulate them on getting through the rigours of another fasting season. Local beer and spicy ‘Teh’lo’
Tehlo ceremony in Tigray
(meat in red sauce with balls of barley) is served and everyone celebrates the season. You will undoubtably be invited in as a guest of honour.
So come and be a guest of the local villagers in the Agame mountains this May.
The Cactus in flower in the Agame mountains,
Our office at Kebena, Addis Ababa
Tesfa Tours office in Addis Ababa, at the Kebena roundabout is now a busy place. Our neighbours are DK doughnuts with a cafe just opened on the ground floor, Berhan International bank, and the Korean car importers Menkem have taken the top floor. We are happily on the first floor looking out over the rising wooded slopes of eastern Addis as they rise up to Entoto mountain.
So come and have a coffee and doughnut, do your banking and see Tesfa Tours! You might even drive off in a little yellow car!
The Cover of Tesfa Calendar, Photo by Tash McCarroll
The new calendar which starts on 1st September 2015 and runs till August 2016, is just being finalised. Copies should be available from Monday 17th August.For those that have not seen this before, it combines the western and Ethiopian calendars, showing both sets of dates and the main saints days, fasts and festivals.
It is a must have for foreigners living in Ethiopia and a vital tools for anyone planning trips, reconciling documents with Ethiopian dates on, understanding the saints days etc.
The pages for each month – showing all the holidays and both dates
It is also illustrated with beautiful photographs from the Tesfa community treks in Wollo and Tigray. Many of the photos of Tigray this year are taken by Tash McCarroll.
We are asking for 200 birr per Calendar, proceeds will go to support the community tourism and the communities themselves. We can post them abroad and will need to charge for the postage.
If you would like a calendar please email us on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tash McCarroll photo – Cloud gathering around the mountains near Erar
“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.” Tash McCarroll. Read this account of a trek in Tigray, illustrated with some of the most fabulous photos. (You will see some in the up coming Tesfa Calendar)
Curtesy of Tash McCarroll, portrait of a girl in Shimbrety.
Curtesy of Tash McCarroll, Low cloud around Erar, on a Tesfa Trek
Visit Gondar, spend 2 nights on a Tesfa Trek & see Lalibela for just $1,400USD per person for 4 nights and 5 days including local flights, hotels, entry fees, transfers, guides etc.
Mequat Mariam, perched on the edge of the Meket Escarpment
This short trip out of Addis enables you to see the two old capitals of Ethiopia that have shaped its history over the last eight hundred years, and in the process visit some of its most beautiful churches. In between these visits take a few days walking in stunning countryside with local communities hosting your stay. Travel through an Ethiopia few get to see, still steeped in its ancient past. It is a country and a people with a fierce pride in their own special history and culture.
On the walk you will also get a chance to see some of its extraordinary wildlife and birds. You will see much in 5 days, an unforgettable taste of this remarkable country.
Giyorgis Church in Lalibela,
Book a trip now while places are available for the May day weekend (1-5 May)
View from Enaf Community Guest house
Experience the beauty and serenity of the Mountains of Eastern Tigray. Explore the Agame massif, a much less visited mountain block just north of Gheralta. Walk along the sandstone ridges enjoying spectacular views and through the intensely farmed valleys. Among the wildlife you can see are Gelada baboons, birds of prey (Lammergeyers, Batteleur Eagles, Marshal Eagles and more) soaring on the thermals, many many smaller birds (Bee eaters, sunbirds, chats, cordon bleu and many more) and Rock hyraxes. You will be hosted by the local people, a people who still use age-old farming practices and live life with a fierce pride in their own special history and culture.
Farmhouse (Hedemo) in Agame Mountains
On the walks you will come across several lovely rock hewn churches (there is also a built up church in the style of Debre Damo on a ledge in the cliff), and rock tunnel excavated through the mountain to connect farmers to the west with the church to the east. End your trip with a night at one of the beautiful lodges in the area and see a couple of the more visited rock churches of Tigray before returning to the hussle and bussle of Addis Ababa!
Price for 2 people (sharing a room) $700 USD per person (payable in birr, Euro, Sterling or USD).
Includes Local flight (based on clients providing a valid Ethiopian Resident or ID card); three nights at Tesfa Community Guest houses with the fully catered trek & one night at Gheralta or Agoro Lodge; transport in 4WD from Mekele A/P to trek, from trek to Lodge & to explore churches & on last day back to Mekele A/P; a guide on each day, full board on the Tesfa trek and breakfast at the Lodge.
Excludes church entry fees and any arrangements in Addis Ababa. Meals (other than breakfast at the Lodge) when not on the trek, bottled drinks on & off trek.
Email Mayday@tesfatours.com for more details and to check availability
Ceiling frescoe at Abuna Yemata Goh (Gheralta Massif)