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BIHAR DAR

BIHAR DAR: is located on the southern shores of lake Tana from where excursions by boat can be made to the lake’s island and peninsulas as well as to the “Tissisat Falls.” (the most spectacular water falls of the country). The Blue Nile River draws its strength from the large reservoir, Lake Tana, set at 1,830m above sea level. The lake includes more than 30 islands and peninsulas, most of which hold ancient monasteries, decorated with wonderful wall paintings from the 12th to the 20th centaury. Among its multitude of monasteries, some can only be visited by men.

Wukro Cherqos

Directly a the edge of the small town of Wuqro (47 Kms from Mekele), on a knoll of red rock, is the rock- cut church of Wuqro Cherqos.The church is supposed to have been constructed by the 4 C by the two kings Abreha and Asbeha. It is one of the first of the rock churches of Tigray. The upper part of the wool and the ceilings were painted, but now much destroyed. Nevertheless, a good impression of the decoration can be gained. A number of scenes can be distinguished: cherubim and angles, the Abune Samuel, the Nine Saints, St. Qirqos. The priests tell the story that the church was burnet by Gudit, the distinctive queen who is supposed also to have toppled the Axum stelae.

Abraha wa Atsbeha

The wonderful church of Abreha wa Atsebha is situated 15 kms.west of Wuqro. A newly built gravel road leads to within a few meters of the church and beyond to Hawzien via Degum.

The church is one of the best and largest of the rock churches of Tigray, dedicated to the famous kings of Axum, the brothers Abreha and Atsebha. They are known by that name to history, but they are said in Ethiopian legends to be kings who adopted Christianity in the 4th century. The historical king of Axum who did adopt Christianity around that time was king Ezana . His name is equally unknown in Ethiopian legendary accounts.

The church is cut into the red rock overlooking a valley, and stands out with its white painted façade sheltering two tall blue doors under arches. The church is decorated with splendid post-17th century mural paintings depicting Biblical scenes and saints. It also has several valuable treasures, the most important being the prayer cross which according to churchy officials, belonged to Frumentius- the first Bishop of Ethiopia whose ecclesiastical name was Abba Salama (Father of peace).

THE ROCK HEWN CHURCHES OF TIGRAY

Over 125 rock hewn churches are recorded with Tigray-alone. These churches date from 4th-15th century. Most of them are visited around the Gera-Alta chained mountains. Others are found in eastern and southern Tigray. Abreha-We-Atsbeha, Wukro Chercko churches are hewn in the 4th century. There are some pre Christian period hewn templates too. Special programs can be arranged to visit the Tigray Rock Churches either on surface or camping even up to 2-3 weeks. Otherwise a two or three day’s addition to the classical route itineraries can be nice to pay a visit of these churches.

Addis Ababa

Addis Ababa is the capital city of Ethiopia, was founded in 1886 by Emperor Menelik II it is the largest city in Ethiopia, with a population of 2,738,248 according to the 2007 population census. It is the headquarters of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa and the African Union. Addis Ababa is therefore often referred to as “the capital of Africa”, due to its historical, diplomatic and political significance for the continent. More than 90 embassies and consulates.

Addis Ababa lies at an altitude of 2,300 meters. The city lies at the foot of Mount Entoto. From its lowest point, around Bole International Airport, at 2,326 meters above sea level in the southern periphery, the city rises to over 3,000 meters in the Entoto Mountains to the north.

Ethiopia has often been called the original home of humankind due to various humanoid fossil discoveries like the Australopithecine Lucy. The fossilized skeleton, and a plaster replica of the early hominid Lucy (known in Ethiopia as Dinkinesh) is preserved at the Ethiopian National Museum in Addis Ababa. Meskel Square is one of the noted squares in the city and is the site for the annual Meskel festival at the end of September annually when thousands gather in celebration.

 

 

Weather and Climate

The climate of Ethiopia varies mainly according to elevation. The Tropical zone below 1,800m above sea level (about 6,000ft) has an average annual temperature of about 27°C (about 80°F) and receives less than 500mm of rain annually. The sub Tropical Zone, which includes most of the highland plateau is between about 1,800 and 2,400m above sea level (about 6,000 and 8,000 ft) on elevations with an average temperature of about 22° C (about 72°F) and an annual rainfall ranging from about 500 to 1,500 mm (about 20 to 60 in).

Over 2,400m above sea level (approximately 8,000 ft) is the temperate zone with an average temperature about 16°C (about 61°F) and an annual rainfall between about 1,300 and 1,800 mm (about 50 and 70in). The Principal rainy season occurs between mid-June and mid-September, followed by a dry season that may be interrupted in February or March by a short rainy season. At Addis Ababa, the capital city of Ethiopia which elevation ranges from 2,000 to 3,000 m (7,000 to 10,000 ft), the maximum temperature is 26°C (80°F) and the minimum 4°C (40°F).

Tips for Traveler

Calendar

Ethiopia is in GMT+3 time zones. Ethiopia follows Julian calendar which has 12 months having 30 days each and the thirteen month called Pagume has 5 days or 6 days (in the leap year). Ethiopia counts in 12 hours clock. The 12 hours clock first cycle starts with one at 7am and goes on to 12 at 6 am the second cycle starts at 7 pm “one” goes on to 6 am “12”.

Climate and Clothing

The climate of Ethiopia varies based on its topography. There are two seasons’ dry season which runs from October to May and rainy season from mid June to mid September. Mostly casual clothes are acceptable for dry season rain coats and Jackets for rainy season. There is a rule to take off your shoes before you entered to churches and Mosques. Trekkers in the Simien and Bale Mountains will need warm clothes, water-proofs and 3-4 season sleeping bags.

Currency

The local currency in Ethiopia is birr which is made up 100 cents issued by the National Bank of Ethiopia. There is no limit on the amount of foreign currency that may import in to the country. However, money exceeding the amount originally brought in cannot be exported. Foreign currency can be changed in banks and authorized hotels only. It is in illegal to change money anywhere else.

Visas

Visitors should obtain visas from the Ethiopian Embassy in their country of residence. Now a days about some of tourist generating countries are obtain tourist visa on arrival at Bole. It will charge you about $50 per visa. If somebody wants this arrangements we can made through our company.

List of Tourist Generating Countries; Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, Check republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Korea Republic, Kuwait, Luxembourg, Mexico, Netherlands, Newzealand, Norway North Korea, Poland, Portugal, Russian Federation, Slovakia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden Switzerland, Thailand, United Kingdom, United States

Tipping

Tipping is the judgment of the clients based on the service rendered. When tourists get extra service, they like to reward them for a job well done. Most people would like to say a special “thank you” to their Tour guide and driver. If you are in group like six and more it is better to give $ 5 per person per day for tour guide and $2 per person per day for the driver. These individuals are with you throughout the entire tour. Then present this gratuity by an envelope with your name on it.

Photographing

Permission should be sought before photographing individuals and in many parts of the country, particularly among the ethnic groups living by the Omo River, people will demand a fee. In some sites (Blue Nile falls for example) there is a charge for video photography.

Food

European type of dish like pasta and Macaroni is always available. But Ethiopian has a national dish called Enjera (a flat, circular pancake like prepared from fermented dough from a grain seed called teff) served by different kinds of cooked meats, vegetables and pulses. Vegetarians can use “fasting food” (for devout Ethiopian Orthodox Christians fast days make up more than half the year), a colorful spread of salads, vegetables and pulses, devoid of all meat and animal products. One eats national dishes with the right hand (water for washing is usually brought to the table before the food is served), tearing off pieces of Enjera to pick up the “toppings”.

Market

Bargaining is common in Ethiopia markets when you buy souvenirs. However, there is also fixed prices too when material cost is posted on it. National museum of Ethiopia gives clearance certificate if you want to export antiques.

No Smoking

Tour has a no smoking policy in museums, churches, with in the vehicle etc. There is a frequent pp and meal stops are made, providing ample time for those who wish to smoke. This assures for the well-being of all members of the tour.

Flora & Fauna

Ethiopia is among the six biodiversity regions of the world where two of the twenty five biodiversity hotspots are located here. Such as the Horn of Africa Biodiversity Hotspots and Eastern Afromontane Biodiversity Hotspots, and they provide the opportunity of having considerable amount of flora and fauna endemism. As a day’s journey the travelers may pass from Tropical to almost Alpine conditions of climate, so great also is the range of the flora and fauna. In the valleys and lowlands the vegetation is dense, but the general appearance of the plateaus is of a comparatively bare country, with trees and bushes thinly scattered over it. The glens and ravines on the hillside are often thickly wooded, and offer a delightful contrast to the downs.

Facts about Ethiopia

Location: 9.0300° N, 38.7400° E

Area: 1,127,127 square kilometers (which mines, more than three times larger than Germany)

Capital city: Addis Ababa

Neighboring countries: Djibouti in the east, Somali in the south east, Eritrea in the North, south Sudan in the west, North Sudan in the north west and Kenya in the south.

Population: in total (estimated data for the year 2012): more than 87,302,000 people

Largest Cities: Addis Abeba (the capital city), DiraDawa, Mekele, Bahir Dar and Gonder.

Language: English is widely spoken throughout the country but Amharic is the Federal Working language. However, being a multiethnic country, Ethiopia has 80 ethnic groups and has 83 different spoken languages and more than 200 dialects

UNESCO Sites: Lalibela- Axum- Simien Mountains National Park- Gonder – Tiyastelae – Lower Omo Valley – Hadar (Afar Region) – Harar –Konso .

Time: universal time GMT + 3 hours.Making arrangement concerning meetings, it is worth remembering that the European manner of counting time is different than the Ethiopian one. The day is divided into 12 hours of day and 12 hours of night. Six o’clock in Ethiopia is 12 o’clock (midday) of central European Time.

Calendar: The Julian calendar is in use, a year is divided into 12 months, each counting of 30 days, and thirteenth month of 5 (6 in a leap year) days. Practical information: Offices working hours are Mon – Fri, 8.30 a.m. -12.30 p.m. and 1.30 p.m. -5.30 pm. The shops are open without a midday break till the late hours of the evening.

Internet:  Internet is available in most tourist sites.

Religion: Christians 50%, Muslims 35% and others 15%.

Festivals: New Year 11 September, Meskel (The finding of the true cross) 27 September, Christmas 07 January, Timket (Ethiopian Epiphany) 19 January, Id al Fetir and Arafa as to the Islamic calendar, National Day 28 May.

Geography: Highland (more than >1000m): 56%, Lowland (up to1000m): 44%, Major rivers: Abay (Blue Nile),Tekeze, Awash, Baro, Wabe Shebele & Genale, Major lakes: Tana, Abaya, Chamo, Ziwayetc.

Annual Rainfall: Maximum: More than 1400mm in northwest Ethiopia, Minimum: less than 400mm in the northeast and southeast lowlands

Annual temperature range: Minimum: 0C at the highest peaks, Maximum: 50C at the lowest points.

Life Expectancy: 54 years

Economy: Agriculture: Employment: 85%, Contribution to GDP: 47%, Export: 90%; Major exports: Coffee, cereals, oil seeds, hides, flowers and chat.

Manufacturing & service: Employment:15 %

Government: Federal Democratic Republic with 9 National Regional States & 2 special city administrations –Addis Ababa and Dire Dawa.

Electricity: Voltage 380/220V and plugs are the two-pin variety

Airlines serving Ethiopia: Ethiopian Airlines, South African Airlines, Kenya Airways, Djibouti Airlines, Airway Egypt, Lufthansa, KLM, Saudi Arabia Airlines, Turkish Airlines, etc. Ethiopian airlines give reliable service. Currently, Ethiopian Airlines and one private company provide charter services.

Road transport: Almost all the tourist destinations are linked by road. At present, Ethiopia has been embarked on the construction of new roads and upgrading of the existing ones.

Water transport: This sector is not significant, except excursions on some lakes and crossing Bahir Dar to Gorgora (90 km) on Lake Tana.

Railway lines: The only railway line is the one that links Ethiopia with Djibouti through Dire Dawa (780km). However, it is old and needs maintenance and its service is currently not reliable.

Accommodation: Addis Ababa, the capital offers a vast range of hotels from luxury hotels to shoestring ones. But, the service of the latter category is spartan. Outside Addis Ababa, too, there are modest hotels that give decent service. Moreover, at present tourist standard hotels are sprouting in and outside the capital. Yet, it is advisable to book ahead especially during the peak season (September – April).

Entertainment: In the capital Addis Ababa and other large cities films in Amharic and English are shown

Food and drinks: There are several national dishes. The national dish ‘Injera’ cannot be found anywhere else in the world. It is a flat, sour dough pancake made of mostly small seed grain called ‘teff’. Injera is served with sauce (meat or vegetable). ‘Doro watt’, chicken stew is the most delicious national sauce to eat Injera with. During the fasting periods the Orthodox Christians consume vegetable dishes. Ethiopians mostly dine together round a large plate on a woven basket that serves as a table. Morsels of chicken and meat are served at the end after one has filled up his/ her stomach with Injera and sauce. One eats Injera with right hand. Water for washing hands is usually brought before the food.

Sparkling and still water, along with other soft drinks and several brands of locally brewed beers are available throughout the country. Ethiopia produces her own wines and spirits and the imported ones are available, too. ‘Tela’ home made beer, ‘tej’ wine made from honey, tea and coffee are common.

Visitors who find the Ethiopian dishes spicy can get Italian, Arabic, Chinese, American, Indian, French, Greek and other specialty dishes in Addis Ababa and European dishes outside Addis Ababa.

Photography: Visitors should ask people for their permission before taking their photographs, specially the pastoralist people. Photography in churches is allowed but not with flash especially the paintings and manuscripts. Churches ask payment for videography. There are laws and regulations about photography in sensitive areas like palaces, military camps etc.

Filming: Foreigners who wish to shoot feature or documentary films in the country need to get permission from the Ministry of Information.

Souvenirs: Most of the souvenir shops in the historic route and in Addis Ababa are stocked with artifacts that reflect the Ethiopian Orthodox religious tradition. There are also other shops in Addis Ababa that sell woodcarvings from the southern and western parts of the country and woven baskets of different nationalities. Gold crosses and other antique artifacts are not allowed to be exported and may be confiscated if found at the airport search. The National Museum in Addis Ababa can issue a clearance certificate.

Visa: A passport with 6 months validity is required. Travelers with passports of European Union, USA, Canada, China, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Brazil, New Zealand, the UK, Israel, Russia, South Africa and Australia can be issued a visa of up to 3 months validity at the Bole International airport upon entry. All other countries can arrange a visa in advance from the Ethiopian embassy or mission in their or neighboring country.

Clothing: Warm clothes with water repellent bags are essential throughout the year in the highland regions and light cotton clothes in the lowland regions. Easily removable shoes are preferable while visiting churches. Sunglasses and hats and sun barrier cream are necessary, too

Health and Precaution: Vaccinations against yellow fever, hepatitis type A and B, tetanus, typhoid, polio and cholera are recommended. For those visitors coming from countries where yellow fever and cholera are reported, it might be mandatory.

Malaria: Visitors need to bring insect repellent cream & spray for mosquitoes. For tours to the historic route (high altitude areas) there is no worry of malaria but chloroquine and paludrine for the tours to the low altitude like Awash, Gambela and Omo is advisable. Ask your doctor for the prescription. Malaria may appear during unusual weather and at a place which was previously free of malaria as a result of climate change.

Security: Violent crime in Ethiopia is rare. However, visitors should of course take the usual precautions; don’t carry not, much money while walking in the towns, only the amount required at the time and leave the rest in the security box of your hotel reception. Keep your wallets and or handbags close to your body in crowded areas.

Climate: Though located in the tropics, Ethiopia has a temperate climate due to its high altitude. As the altitude varies, so does the temperature and humidity. Regarding categorization, Ethiopia traditionally has five climatic zones: Alpine, Temperate, Sub-tropical, Tropical and Desert. Large parts of the country get high rainfall from June to September. Less rain comes in some parts in November- December, in others from February- April, still in others in October.

Price and currency : The local currency unit, the Ethiopian Birr, is divided into 100 cents that has; 1, 5, 10, 50 and 100 denomination notes and coins of 1, 5, 10, 25 and 50 cents denomination.1 US Dollar = 18 Ethiopian Birr, 1 Euro = 23 Ethiopian Birr, 1 GB pound = 27 Ethiopian Birr. The exchange rate is the same throughout the country. Exchanging currency in banks, in particular in the areas distant from the main cities. can be time consuming.

Credit cards are accepted in a very small number places: at the airport and large hotels.

Brief information on major destination cities is given below.

Addis AbabaThe capital of Ethiopia. – Average altitude: 2408m – Average annual rainfall: 1070.1 mm – Average annual temperature: 15.80C – Main rainy season: June – September – Coldest season: November – December – Hottest season: March – May – Total population (est.): More than 3 million.

Bahir Dar: Located 565 km north of Addis Abeba.- Average altitude: 1830m
Average annual rainfall: 1455.8mm – Average annual temperature: 18.80C- Main rainy season: June – September – Coldest season: November – December – Hottest season: March – May – Total population (est.): 183,489.

Gonder: Located 745km north of Addis Abeba – And 180 km north of Bahir Dar. – Average altitude: 2400m. -Average annual rainfall: 1101.7mm – Average annual temperature: 19.60C – Main rainy season: June – September – Coldest season: November – December – Hottest season: March – May – Total population (est.): 213,673.

Lalibela: Located 700 km north of Addis Abeba. – Average altitude: 2600m – Average annual rainfall: 772.6mm – Average annual temperature: 18.70C – Main rainy season: June – September – Coldest season: August – September – Hottest season: February – April – Total population (est.): 15,000.

Aksum: Located 1024 km north of Addis Abeba.- Average altitude: 2100m – Average annual rainfall: 729.7mm – Average annual temperature: 18.40C Main rainy season: May – September – Coldest season: December – January – Hottest season: March – May – Total population (est.): 51,727.

Jimma:  Located 346 km km west of Addis Abeba.- Average altitude: 1,740m – Average annual rainfall: 1486mm – Average annual temperature: 18.80C Main rainy season: June – September – Coldest season: November – December – Hottest season: March – May – Total population (est.): 174,446

Harar: Located 525 km east of Addis Abeba..- Average altitude: 1300-2200m – Average annual rainfall: 600-800mm – Average annual temperature: 18.0C – Main rainy season: June – September – Coldest season: November – December

Ethiopian Coffee

Do you know where the word ‘coffee’ comes from? It is from ‘Kaffa’, a coffee growing region in Ethiopia. This makes Ethiopia the birth place of coffee. It is the home land of “Arabica coffee” that grows wild in the forests of Kaffa, Illubabor and Gamogofa. Coffee drinking is an important social and cultural tradition in Ethiopia, and is practiced with ritualized and elaborate ceremonies. But it was not always so. Hundred years ago, most Ethiopians had never drunk coffee. Along with tobacco, the brew was considered evil by the Christian Orthodox church, and church members were banned from drinking it on pain of ex-communication.

Ethiopia engages in an elaborate coffee ‘’ceremony’’ at important occasions. Ethiopia is the oldest exporter of coffee in the world. Domestic consumption was estimated 100,000 tons annually. Ethiopia is a nation of true coffee drinkers who produces some of the world’s finest original coffees such as Yirgacheffe, Limu and Harar. More than 4,500 different Ethiopian coffee species are preserved in a coffee field Gene Bank in the Kaffa region which is a good indication of the rich diversity of the Ethiopian coffee population. Just briefly, that our landscape resources are giving birth and offering different but unique flavored coffees. We are the unique and the proud possessor of distinct coffee flavors who have wider choices to offer consumers worldwide.

In the southwest highlands of Ethiopia, the forest coffee ecosystems of Kaffa, Sheka, Gera, Limu and Yayu are regarded as home of Arabica coffee. These forest ecosystems also housed variety of medicinal plants, wild animals and endemic species. Coffee is cultivated in the forest as member of the shrub community in harmony with wild animals. Yet flavor appellations are not so well known, but are nonetheless worthy.

The western highlands of Ethiopia are reservoir of new coffee varieties, which are resistances to coffee berry disease or leaf rust. We are already gifted with two worldwide known coffee types, Limu and Jimma. Other flavors and aromas known by our domestic consumers are coming soon to coffee consumers all over the world.

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