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Ethiopia Trip Pictures (Page 1 of 2) from Nov. 20 to Dec. 12, 2007

To proceed to Ethiopia Photos Page 2 or Ethiopia Journal.

Route through ETHIOPIA. Covered approx. 3500km on the motorcycles of which 1200km not paved.

Nov. 20, 2007. We entered Ethiopia from Sudan late evening and set up camp in front of the Custom Building.

Nov. 21, 2007. From the Custom Office it is another 160km of dirt road ...

... through some beautiful landscape to Gondar.

We had not seen greenery and mountains since northern Tunisia.

Stopping for a picture from the mountain pass.

Pretty dirty we arrive in Gondar and stay at the Balagez Pension.

Nov. 22, 2007. GONDAR has a few historical sites, which can be seen easily in a day.

We start of with a visit to the ROYAL ENCLOSURE,...

...located a 5 minute walk from our hotel.

The castle was built by Emperor Fasilidas ...

Approx. 1640AD.

Gondar was the capital of Ethiopia from 1632 to 1886.

The fortress is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

This building is the best preserved and ...

... we are able to wandering around inside.

The BATH OF FASILIDAS is currently under renovations, ...

... most of the work is completed by women.

No heavy machinery here, it is all done by hand.

A closer look at the bath house and swimming pool with some great scaffolding.

At the northern end of town lays DEBRE BERHAN SELASSIE CHURCH.

The priest takes us inside the church.

This church has definitely the best murals and ...

... frescos we would see in Ethiopia.

Every inch of wall and ceiling space was covered ...

...with stories from the Bible.

Crucification of Christ.

Ascension to heaven.

Last Supper.

Our room at the Balagez Pension for only 70Birr/night ($7.70CDN/night).

Secure parking and some excellent food.

Nov. 23, 2007. We decide to head to Bahar Dar first and then back track to complete the historical route.

The road between Gondar and Bahar Dar is a 160km of twisty new tarred asphalt.

A small village. Housing consists of the typical Ethiopian Straw Huts.

The scenery is amazing and dotted with these weird rock formations.

40km from Bahar Dar we take a hike over this 16th Century bridge built by the Portuguese.

Females have a hard life in Ethiopia. A local woman carrying fire wood up a steep hill.

The bridge leads over a gorge that used to see a lot of water from the Blue Nile ...

... but since the completion of the power plant most of the water is diverted.

Our first view of the BLUE NILE WATERFALL.

Due to the power plant water diversion the Waterfall has been reduced to a 1/4 of its original size.

We follow the path of the locals.

The guide takes us to the base of the Waterfall, ...

... which we require to cross this river.

A nice way to cool off.

Ruby gets spray of the waterfall.

Eating sugarcane.

We trek to the top ...

... for one final look back.

Staying at the Ghion Hotel at the shores of Lake Tana in Bahar Dar.

Our most expensive hotel room in Ethiopia for 125Birr/night ($14.00CDN/night).

Its grounds were filled with beautiful flowers.

A nice place to take a day to recharge.

We meet Katja and Alex from Switzerland in their Overlander.

LAKE TANA, a bit of a disappointment.

The locals taking a bath in the brown muddy water of Lake Tana.

Nov. 25, 2007. We return to Gondar and head north to Simien Mountains.

101km of gravel/dirt road and the most amazing scenery.

We had heard that the road to Aksum was in bad condition, but decided to take the historical route anyway.

At one of our many stops to take pictures of the incredible scenery ...

... we were jointed by curious locals.

We are at approx. 2500m elevation at this point and some are barefoot.

Staying at the Abysin Hotel for 60Birr/night ($6.60CDN/night). Some arrive on Donkey.

Our room at the end.

Nov. 26, 2007. A day trip into the SIMIEN MOUNTAINS NATIONAL PARK.

We climb from 2600m at Debark to 3253m elevation.

The scenery is breathtaking.

The Simien Mountains tower over this canyon.

The vegetation is amazingly green for the elevation.

We stop continuously to take pictures.

This is one of the parks were we are able to take the motorcycles.

Approx. 30km into the park we come upon the GELADA BABOONS.

With the scout at close range we are able to approach the baboons.

Some are humanlike especially in their mannerism.

We could get as close as a couple of meters before they would shy away.

One baboon was cleaning his nails and sitting on a rock just like we would.

Baby Baboons playing on the rock.

It was fascinating to watch them at close range.

They clean each other.

A Baby Baboon hangs on to the tail of Mama Baboon.

More Baby Baboons playing.

As we get deeper into the park the scenery get even more stunning.

The plateau below are cultivated.

This mountain range reminded us of Copper Canyon in Mexico.

Our road as it makes its way further into the Park.

Another 7km onwards we park the motorcycles and ...

... take a stroll.

This viewpoint is directly across the waterfall, ...

... shear cliffs on the side we stand and ...

... shear cliff where the waterfall plummets to its depth.

We are told it is 300m free falling waterfall.

More hikers join us and we can not resist to take a pictures of the scouts hanging out.

As we return to the motorcycles we walk through a field of more Baboons.

The scout leads the way.

Again we are fascinated by their mannerism.

We could spend hours watching them.

We return to the motorcycles and are joint by a group of trekkers. Different ways of transportation.

With the motorcycles we are able to get right to the edge of the cliffs.

Locals are interested in us and the motorcycles.

The mandatory scout on the back of Mike%u2019s motorcycle with his rifle hanging over his shoulder, as he has no vehicle.

Meeting up with Stefan, the Swiss Globetrekker Travel Agent, in Debark (originally met in Jordan/Lebanon in 2006).

Nov. 27, 2007. The road from Debark to Aksum. Ever changing conditions as we drop from the Simien Mountains ...

... into the mountain range below via switchbacks.

No safety railing, but more great scenery.

It is hard not to stop every 5 minutes to take more pictures.

A view of our road as it winds it way up and down the mountains.

As we pass through small village we met up with another Spanish motorcyclist on a BMW 650.

More mud and water to cross. 245km and 8 1/2 hrs to complete the stretch between Debark and Aksum.

Some better road, which then turned into the worst road ...

... on this portion between Debark and Aksum. We descend into the valley below...

... only to come up via switchback the other side.

Nov. 28, 2007. AKSUM, once the home to a great civilization, has numerous historical sites scattered over the town and surrounding area.


Here seen is the Great Stele, largest stele ever erected by humans.

Underneath the now broken into several pieces 33m long Great Stele ...

... lies the Mausoleum.

There are several large stele still standing in the field.

The third largest Obelisk, King Ezana%u2019s Stele is 24m tall ...

... and stands covered halfway with scaffolding.

The tomb of the Brick Arches was gated off, ...

... we snuck through a small opening and descended the steps.

There are more obelisks scattered in the field, ...

... as well as more tombs underground ...

... to be explored.

Climbing out of one of the tombs.

Opposite the Northern Stelae field lies the ST. MARY OF ZION CHURCHES.

We get an unique peek at the former Kings%u2019s crowns.

The significance of the small church that it is said to house the Ark of the Covenant.

The new church overshadows the old small square church.

Some of the paintings depict the journey of the Ark of the Covenant.

We are able to get a close up view of a 1000 year old bible, ...

... where the pages were made out of goat skin, worn on the edges from the continuous use.

Mike was able to visit the adjacent monastery ...

... to view the frescos.

(no women allowed).

Further up the hill is the QUEEN SHEBA BATH.

A large water reservoir, where the locals fill up their canisters with water.

1.8km up the hill lies the TOMBS OF KINGS KALEB AND GEBRE MESKEL.

A stair way leads into the Tomb of Gebre Meskel.

It contains several rooms, and one houses 3 sarcophagi.

Our next destination is 2km around the mountain. Locals use cows to separate the wheat from the chaff.

We see the ABBA PENTALEWON MONASTERY in the distance on the hill.

The path leads past farmer fields and between large cactus trees.

A 14 year old boy tells us the ins and outs of the place.

We are shown the well worn bible. Once again the pages are made of goat skin.

The priest brings out the treasures of the church.

Every church has special crosses.

Our view over Aksum from the Monastery.

Frescos inside the church.

The monastery is off limits for females, ...

... but Mike is able to enter with the priest equipped with a torch.

A panoramic view from the top ...

... over the Aksum region.

We met Paul and Marion from Scottland.

After a quick refreshment we continue our exploration.

Inside the King Bazen Tomb ...

... located just north of the Ezana Park.

Aksum does not get a lot of Tourists and a lot of these places it is just us wandering around.

A good 2km walk to the west end of town takes us to see DUNGAR.


Only the portion of the first level remain.

Inside the kitchen/oven room.

Steps leading to Throne Room.

Another of those weird cactus trees in bloom.

Across the Palace of Queen Sheba lies the GUDIT STELAE FIELD.

A stele that did not make it to its destination.