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.
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,
As the Ethiopian New Year approaches, its time to book up your trek. The community trekking is getting booked up over the holidays periods -the last two weeks of October and over Christmas and New Year.
There is no better way to see the Ethiopian countryside than a Tesfa Trek. Whether you are looking for a challenging trek or an amble through the countryside a Tesfa trek is best way to see the Real Ethiopia!
I just stumbled across a good link to the article that Machan Magan wrote for the Irish Times in 2009 . Of course now there are more communities hosting guests – eleven in North
Wollo and four in Tigray, and there are other communities providing lunch. But the experience is still the same!
The new Tesfa calendar is ready now. It runs from 1Sep 2012 – 31 Aug 2013.
Below is an example of one of the months pages showing common monthly Saints’ days and other holidays
This is one of other monthly photographs featured- a shot taken from one of the Tigray community guest houses
Copies available from our office. We do ask for a donation towards the community tourism. We can post abroad.
Three new sites are opening in the mountains around Adigrat – in the Agame area of Tigray. The first (now operational – although we need a weeks notice) is called Mugulat – just south of the Adwa-Adigrat road, the second Chehat will be another month or so getting organised, and the third – Menebeyti should be a couple of weeks.
The views are staggering and the walk between them is lovely. Pictures coming soon! There are very old rock paintings need Menebeyti (also known as Amba Fekada) and some pre Axumite ruins said to date back to the Queen of Sheba.
Tesfa tours has just set up a duty mobile that one of our staff will have – +251 (0)92 349 0495.
As there are a number of holidays coming up when the office will be closed (12 Sept 2011 – New Year, 28 Sept 2011 – Meskal) this means we can still be contacted if there is something urgent.
Tesfa are opening new community sites in Tigray and Wollo near Lalibela. (May 2011)
In Tigray, near Adigrat, three new sites are opening that will allow guest to trek north from the existing sites to a place called Amba Fekada. At Amba Fekada there are the ruins of an old temple that goes back to Axumite or even pre-Axumite times. There is also a rock panting – that although small and simple is interesting in that it shows oxen ploughing a field.
These oxen have no humps – which dates the painting to the early Axumite period.
In Wollo, on mount Abuna Yoseph, Frankfurt Zoological Society have almost finished a mountain hut that will open up this Afro alpine mountain – a refuge for Ethiopian Wolves – to trekkers of more modest fitness. Previously you had to be tough to do a 40km + trek in one day. Now this trek will be divided in two.
Also in Wollo, in Gidan Woreda, there is a new community keen to start serving guests at a beautiful remote site called Kurtain Washa.
To all of you who have seen beautifully located sites – be ready to be knocked sideways. This place is magical, but it is set in high and rugged landscape.