Ethiopia (April-May 2015)
1. Mekele to Maryam Hibeti
To see the map below with a better resolution in another tab, click here.
To see all the waypoints in Google Earth, click here (.kmz file).
This page covers the section of the red path between waypoints 1 and 9.
We started trekking on the morning of April 27 from a small village located 3km west from Abreha Castle in Mekele (waypoint 1). Many local villagers were on their way to Mekele′s market.
Loading the mules.
Start of the trek.
Church along the way. Many churches have green surroundings with large trees.
First river crossing, where we stopped for lunch (waypoint 2).
A typical Tigraian landscape.
We set our first camp under this fig tree near Togoga village (waypoint 3).
Sunset seen from the camp.
″Modern″ houses with walls made of crude wood posts (sometimes covered by mud) and roofs made with corrugated iron sheets ...
... and, in striking contrast, a traditional farm with stone walls and a straw-thatched roof.
Field plowing. It was the end of the dry season and fields were being prepared for a new seeding.
Already plowed fields.
Empty reservoir used to collect rain water. I saw many such reservoirs along the way.
At a water source (waypoint 4).
More plowed fields near the small town of Hagere Selam.
Dry fountain with three levels of basins in Hagere Selam (waypoint 5). What was in the mind of the person who decided to build this fountain in a place where water is so scarce?
Hagere Selam lies on a mountain ridge. Beyond that ridge our path descended quite abruptly and the scenery changed radically. Here, a priest and a porter at the beginning of the descent.
The path further down.
Traditional farms along the way.
Church under an escarpment.
Views over the neighboring mountains during the descent.
Sandstone carved by children to create games.
We eventually reached the riverbed in an un-inhabited area. Two porters followed by Gebrehiwet can be seen in the middle of the picture.
The riverbed was mostly dry, with some isolated pockets of water.
Large lateral cave cut by the river (waypoint 7).
Further down along the riverbed.
Reaching the large plain between the towns of Werkamba (waypoint 11) and Hawzen (waypoint 86).
We reached the plain in an area entirely covered by sand with sparse vegetation.
We set up our 3rd camp in this area, and friendly children soon came to see us.
Our camp (waypoint 8).
Gebrehiwet cooking under a large tree to get protection from the wind (and the sand).
On the next morning Gebru and I retraced back some of our path of the previous day to enter the side-valley in which the church of Maryam Hibeti is located. The church remained invisible until we were very close to it.
The external facade of Maryam Hibeti with rock-hewn pillars.
Unfortunately, we could not find the priest and we only saw the church from outside. I took the following photo through one of the openings. It shows the rock-hewn internal facade of Maryam Hibeti. The church is partially underground.
Sections of the trip (click on the links below to access the corresponding webpages):