ABOVE lalibela

Gelada Baboons & the Basalt Ladder

(25 km return, 1,200m total climb, 3600m max elevation)

This tour offers a tremendous variety of views with the option of a night in a beautifully located and delightfully comfortable ecolodge. As you wind ever higher up through successive lava flows you will see the endemic gelada baboons, and soaring eagles. Rock hyrax are also common on steep ground but well camouflaged. After traversing through a dense juniper forest you will walk beneath the basalt columns and enormous boulders of the final and largest cliffs at Selmbiye. You have then reached the lofty plateau inhabited by the highlanders. Two optional Ecolodges are available for food and accommodation along the route. Optional visit to Asheten Mariya monastery.

Approximate cost: $70 for 2 days to include guide, water, donkey and luggage porter, all meals, accommodation at Wedebye guesthouse.

Asheten Mariya (Monastery and Viewpoint)

(up to 9 km return, 650m total climb, 3200m max elevation)

This may be a shorter walk but if the 600m elevation gain doesn’t get your heart racing then the views certainly will. Visit the ancient monastery of Asheten Mariya and take in the sights from the Achado viewpoint over Lalibela below and towards the valley of the Kechin Ababa River.  The option of a traditional meal is available at Asheten village.

Overnight stay option: Stay in a tent or traditional tukul at Jegolye Family Eco-camp in Asheten village.

Approximate cost: $20 (+ entry fee for monastery) + $10 for meal, water and coffee ceremony.

Fertile Bargota River Valley

(up to 10 km return, 500m total climb, Lalibela is max elevation)

This is a shorter walk down from Lalibela to the Bargota Valley where two rivers converge and  age-old irrigation techniques allow farmers to grow a wide-range of crops for the local markets. Watch the busy farming community working the volcanic soil to cultivate such crops as potatoes, chilli, garlic, tomatoes and cabbage. If you wish to try buna (coffee) or another local food your guide will organise for you to enter a local home where you will be most welcome to catch a clearer glimpse of Ethiopian life.

Approximate cost: $35 to include meal, water and coffee ceremony.

A) Highland Culture B) High Mountain Vista

(31 -35 km return, 2100m total climb, 3600 to 3750m max elevation)

A) This 2 to 3 day tour delivers a great insight into the way the highlanders live, 1 vertical km above Lalibela. Choose your accommodation between Tesfa Ecolodge, dramatically perched atop the tallest basalt cliffs, or within the traditional guesthouse in the small village of Wadebye. Learn more of the local culture, architecture and customs. You will experience highland hospitality and may try kolow, ketaw and of course injera. There is ample opportunity to quietly observe the timeless farming rhythms over the extensive high rolling plateau beneath the rocky summit of Abuna Yosef.

B) There is also the option to extend this walk to include the jaw-dropping view Northwards over the jagged peaks. Here too is the opportunity to stay and enjoy the views at the Degosach Ecolodge.  On the return leg of this circular tour you visit Kenkenit Michal monastery before finally passing through the lush fruit and vegetable plantations made possible by irrigation from the Kenkenit and Bargota Rivers.

Approximate cost: $145 for 3 days to include guide, water, donkey and luggage porter, all meals, accommodation at Wedebye guesthouse and accommodation at Degosach Ecolodge.