I neglected Africa for a long time on my travels. In January 2017 I visited Ethiopia and was positively surprised. However, stomach problems due to poor hygienic standards made travelling more difficult.
I am quite busy at the moment and therefore, I limit the text to the minimum.
Injera, the national dish of Ethiopia. The underlying flat cake is made of teff grain and is slightly sour.
Genna Festival in Lalibela
I visited the city of Lalibela during the Genna Festival, the Ethiopian Christmas. Thousands of pilgrims visited the more than thousand year old churches in the city.
Bet Giyorgis church
The most famous church in Lalibela is Bet Giyorgis, dedicated to St. George. It was dug into the rock at the end of the 12th century in the form of a Greek cross and is three stories high.
A door at a church in Lalibela
A shepherd at Lalibela
These pilgrims could be from a Bible movie.
The pilgrims were the most interesting part of the festival for me.
This pilgrim had his enlightenment
… and he too is at peace with himself and the world.
The Christmas mass lasted all night until sunrise.
Thousands of pilgrims who did not find a place in the church attended the Mass in the open field.
Next I visited the Danakil Depression, an area in the north of Ethiopia that is on average 125 meters below sea level.
There is a huge salt plain, very similar to the Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia. While it is bitterly cold in the Salar de Uyuni, pleasant temperatures prevail here in the late afternoon.
In the place with the highest average temperature on our planet, these people extract salt. The salt is cut into rectangular pieces, which are then transported away with the camels.
After the work is done, the salt plates are transported by camel caravans to the next road.
The Danakil Depression is a no man’s land on the border with Eritrea. Five years ago, terrorists attacked a group of scientists and killed several people. Since then Ethiopian soldiers have been accompanying the visitors. I did not want to visit this area for security reasons. After meeting several enthusiastic travelers, I changed my mind. It was definitely worth it.
On the road …
A friendly desert dweller
Erta Ale Volcano
The Erta Ale volcano is one of the few volcanoes with a constantly bubbling lava lake. Our group climbed the volcano at night. They let us reach the lava lake until a few meters. For safety reasons I stayed only a few minutes and then got to safety.
Dallol is an area of several hundred meters in the Danakil Depression with sulfur, salt and iron deposits that provide a very impressive color spectacle.
The pictures above show that the trip to the Danakil Depression was worth it. The salt plain, the bubbling lava lake and the colorful landscape of Dallol was extremely impressive.
An Ethiopian beauty
Tigray region – Hawzien
The Tigray region in the evening light
… and in the morning light. In these mountains there are some of the oldest preserved Christian churches. They were built deliberately difficult to access so that enemies could not reach them.
Abuna Yemata Guh Church
This church can only be reached by a vertical wall. After all, over the centuries footsteps have developed in the rock. I decided to go for the safe way and had myself secured with a rope and a climbing harness. To reach the church, one goes over the one meter wide path in the foreground of the picture. On the left, the rock wall falls vertically several hundred meters into the valley. Heart palpitation is guaranteed, as one is no longer roped up on this path.
At the entrance of the church, where I am sitting in the picture above
Inside the church
Maryam Korkor Church
The second church I could reach after a strenuous hike without climbing. The priest comes to open the church.
The priest sits in the entrance of the church
And this is the view from his seat. In the foreground, one sees the one meter wide cliff that forms the way to the church. In front, the rock wall falls again vertically several hundred meters into the valley. To walk slowly, not to look down and to keep the nervousness under control is the motto.
The priest prays in his church
Debre Berhan Selassie Church
This church is located in the city of Gondar and is known for its paintings.
A priest rests before the beginning of the Timkat Festival. In his hands he holds a cross of the Coptic church.
A mystical and peaceful place.
After my visit to Ethiopia, I flew on to Kenya.
This text is an automatic English translation from the German original by deepl.com