Be one of a few foreigners to witness this special saints day and follow it with walk in the mountains of Meket.
A painting of Saint-King Lalibela, on a canvas in Lalibela
St Mikael’s day in Lalibela and a Tesfa Trek in Meket
Come and visit Lalibela for Senay Mikael, the St Michael’s day celebrated on Sunday 19th June is one of the biggest saint’s days in Lalibela, with it also marking the anniversary of Saint-King Lalibela’s death. The Church of Mikael in Lalibela is connected to the church known as Golgotha where Lalibela himself is buried.
Only Gena (Ethiopian Christmas) is a bigger celebration in the town.
Fly in on Saturday and see the market – a day when the town is really buzzing, and visit the other churches. After the
Entrance to Mikael & Golgotta in Lalibela
processions and celebrations on Sunday morning head off to Meket to send a couple of days trekking in the mountains before coming back for a flight to Addis on Tuesday.
See details here – prices and tour itinerary
A Meket farmer enjoys the view
Panoramic View from Gohgot Village guesthouse in Tigray at sunrise
How about waking up to see the Agame mountains in Tigray lit up with the early morning sun?
Why not use the long Meskal weekend (26-28Sep) as a get away? Contact Tesfa Tours to arrange a special trip for you.
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
Rainbow comes out over the mountains in Tigray
The Kremt rains (as the season is called) officially begins on Senay 26 ( 3rd July) according to the old church calendar and runs till Meskerem 25 (this year that will be 6th October). For those new to Addis it does not rain all day every day, but by mid August it will begin to feel like it has! For those hankering for a bit of sun, it does not rain all over the country, and certainly other parts of Ethiopia are not as wet as Addis. The Rift valley gets more frequent showers and some sweeping rain, but when the sun comes out its a good deal warmer, but up north in Tigray it stays bright. Most mornings dawn with a blue sky and cloud does not roll in till later on in the afternoon. With the sandy soil keeping the paths more dry, we keep the community treks open all through the Kremt.
Prickly Pear – the Beles fruit, from the Cactus
So why not make a long weekend trip and come on up to Tigray? The Prickly Pears (Cactus fruit called ‘Beles’) ripen and can be eaten along the way, the mountains green up and it is very beautiful. If you would like to end with a night at Gheralta Lodge, there are special low season prices to make it more attractive.
A 3 night trip, with 2 nights at the community guest houses and one night at Gheralta Lodge will cost $645 per person including local flights (with Ethiopian ID or resident card), and 4 WD transport. Excludes church entry. For full details see Journey in the mountains of Tigray
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)
Just found a great little blog by VSO staff – an account of their trek last May in Tigray:-
As everyone living in Addis knows, now is the wedding season. From the end Timkat (marking the end of the harvest time) until the Lentan fast begins is the peak time to get married In Addis Ababa on weekends cavalcade after cavalcade goes past with ribbons decorating the cars and horns beeping in celebration. In the countryside the wedding looks quite different – take away the decorated cars and replace with decorated horses, colourful pompoms handing from the bridal and saddle. The hooting is replaced with horns, and instead of banqueting in a hotel hall, shelters from the sun are fashioned with branches and leaves.
Any guests walking the rough the area will be invited to join in,something that adds to the occasion of the wedding. In many areas wedding will be held on the non fasting days of the week, especially Tuesdays and Thursdays (Wednesdays and Fridays being fasting days) as Saturdays and Sundays are days for the church (The Judaic Sabeth and Sunday). So if you want to experience something very special, how about visiting the community guest houses on a Tesfa trek before the 24th February (the start of the Lentan Fast)?