Ethiopia (April-May 2015)

1. Mekele to Maryam Hibeti

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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.

 

itinerary-3

 

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.

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Loading the mules.

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Start of the trek.

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Church along the way. Many churches have green surroundings with large trees.

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First river crossing, where we stopped for lunch (waypoint 2).

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A typical Tigraian landscape.

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We set our first camp under this fig tree near Togoga village (waypoint 3).

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Sunset seen from the camp.

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″Modern″ houses with walls made of crude wood posts (sometimes covered by mud) and roofs made with corrugated iron sheets ...

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... and, in striking contrast, a traditional farm with stone walls and a straw-thatched roof.

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Field plowing. It was the end of the dry season and fields were being prepared for a new seeding.

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Already plowed fields.

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Empty reservoir used to collect rain water. I saw many such reservoirs along the way.

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At a water source (waypoint 4).

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More plowed fields near the small town of Hagere Selam.

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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?

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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.

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The path further down.

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Traditional farms along the way.

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Church under an escarpment.

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Views over the neighboring mountains during the descent.

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Sandstone carved by children to create games.

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We eventually reached the riverbed in an un-inhabited area. Two porters followed by Gebrehiwet can be seen in the middle of the picture.

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The riverbed was mostly dry, with some isolated pockets of water.

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Termite mound.

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Large lateral cave cut by the river (waypoint 7).

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Further down along the riverbed.

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Reaching the large plain between the towns of Werkamba (waypoint 11) and Hawzen (waypoint 86).

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Farm.

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We reached the plain in an area entirely covered by sand with sparse vegetation.

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We set up our 3rd camp in this area, and friendly children soon came to see us.

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Our camp (waypoint 8).

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Gebrehiwet cooking under a large tree to get protection from the wind (and the sand).

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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.

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The external facade of Maryam Hibeti with rock-hewn pillars.

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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.

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Sections of the trip (click on the links below to access the corresponding webpages):

-             1. Mekele to Maryam Hibeti

-             2. Maryam Hibeti to Abba Yohanni and Gabriel Wukien

-             3. Gabriel Wukien to Axum via Damo Gellila

-             4. Axum to Maryam Wukro

-             5. Maryam Wukro to Hawzen

-             6. Abuna Gebre Mikael and Debre Tsion Abuna Abraham

-             7. Hawzen to Medhane Alem Adi Kasho via Abreha we Atsbeha

 

Return to main Ethiopia April-May 2015 webpage