Tour – Trek in the Tigrains mountains
Duration – 5 nights and 5 days
Transportation – Drive and Flight
Accommodation – 1*, 2* and 3* hotels and best lodge
Tour Code: ATT-CBT-0017
This is a Five days Cultural and Historic Tigrai tour with-in Tigrai which passes through the scenic highlands of Tigrai, visiting the historic, archaeological, political, cultural and religious destinations of Tigrai . The trip covers mainly the following attraction sites:
- Mekelle, the political, Socio-Economic, religious and event center of Tigrai
- Ganta Afeshum Ranges, known for the Peak Mountains and Rock-Hewn Churches and breathtaking landscape.
DAY 1 – MEKELLE CITY TOURAND DRIVE ADIGRAT
After a relaxed morning breakfast, take a city tour of Mekelle, founded by Emperor Yohannes IV as his capital, after he relocated his power base from Debra Berhane, to Mekele in 1881. Mekele is also the capital city of the Tigray National Regional State. Late this afternoon we will take a Mekelle City Tour. We will view to the impressive DejatchAbraha Castle built in the heart of the city around 1906. Today the castle is a hotel. We will also stop to visit the Hawelti (Monument of the Martyrs) erected to dignify the valiant fighters who sacrificed themselves to emancipate their people from the dictatorial military regime (1974-1991). The artistic tower, spiraling more than 100 feet above the ground and mounted by a large ball, is visible through much of Mekele. This is the centerpiece of the large war memorial. The memorial is modern and engrossing. As you enter, on each side, there are larger than life figures representing the victims and victors of the war. Appropriately black and stick like, the figures include mothers and children trekking out from the famine, several of them not making it. With them are the hardy Tigrain fighters, machine guns over their backs and trusty donkeys in tow. These peasant fighters overcame the Soviet backed might of the Derg military regime.
Later after a lunch break, we will visit historical Atse Yohannes IV Palace, which is named after the famous King who ruled Ethiopia from 1872 to 1889. Emperor Yohannes chose Mekele as the seat of his government and built his graceful palace, still intact, in the 1870s. The palace now serves as a museum and is highlighted by the Emperor’s throne, the royal bed, his ceremonial dress, rifles, and many other valuable historical collections. The fantastic throne of Atse Yohannnes IV was made by the Italian engineer Giacomo Nareri in 1874 and it is the eye catching centerpiece of the museum. After our visit we will take a scenic flight to Addis Ababa and end of service.
DAY 2- TREKKING TO SHIMBREYTI
The closest site to Hawzen and the south is Shimbrety. It is built on the sandstone escarpment on the western edge of the area, at about 2,800meters with great views towards Adwa and the lower land to the west. The peak at the end of the ridge – Dega Amba – dominated the view to the south, with the cliff faces around it. There are also views back to the south east, and along the ridge heading northwards. There is also a good possibility to see Gelada baboon on the cliffs around Shimbrety.
Down below if taking the direct route down you pass the village and pretty valley around Shimbrety is an easy walk to Gohgot, and not that long to Erar, although this has some up and down sections. Shimbrety is the closest to Gheralta Lodge, although as it is some 20 km away it may be good to get a transfer to either the trail head at Muzety or to the village at Dega Amba below Shimbrety itself. Muzety to Dega Amba is about a 90 minute walk, and the walk up to Shimbrety from there takes about another hour.
DAY 3 – TREKKING TO GUAHGOT
Guhgot Hidimo (community guest house)
The most southerly site to the east is Guhgot. Guhgoy is set at the foot of a cliff at around 2,600m, but still on higher ground with views into the valleys. It is close to a number of rock-hewn churches including Gohgot Eyesus and Mariam Bahara, and not too far from a very old built up wooden church two thirds of the way up a cliff called Debri Giyorgis. Debri Giyorgis can be visited on the way to Enaf a walk with one steep uphill section and other uphill stretches. The lovely church of Mariam Bahara is the way to Erar or Shimbrety.
DAY 4 – TREKKING TO ENAF
Enaf, the most north easterly of the four sites, is also the highest of the four at almost 3,000m. It has wonderful views over the whole range of sandstone ridges and valleys that stick out like fingers from the peak (3,330m) just west of Adigrat. From Enaf it is possible to climb the peak and reach Erar in one day – but this is a tough walk. It is a great walk to Enaf from Gohgot – with some climbs and spectacular paths. There are also facinating churches on the way.
It is also possible to walk down to the outskirts of Adigrat from Enaf. It is about 15 km, quite a hard walk up but not too bad if going down (depending on your knees). It takes about 4 hours to the main road. There is a new lodge here that will be ready in Sept 2011 (Agoro Lodge). Agoro Lodge is situated on the dirt road that comes down from Enaf and is on the edge of the mountain a few kilometers from Adigrat town.
DAY 5- TREKKING TO ERAR
After a morning breakfast, trek to Erar. Llike Shimbrety is on the sandstone escarpment on the western edge of the area, also at 2,800meters. It is a bit closer to the mountains on the Adwa side with some interesting pinnacles of rock in view to the northwest. About a 90 minute walk from Erar is the village of Kiat underneath the cliff face, with its lovely rock church Kiat Mariam. The walk down may take about 30 minutes, but going back could take up to 1 hour. Near the top of the path is the trail head where vehicles can pick you to take you on to Axum or Adigrat.
In organizing your trip to the community sites of Tigray we can arrange for transfers from the airports in the area (Axum and Mekele) and will be happy to link your trip to a stay in the wonderful Gheralta Lodge in Hawzen just south of our sites. There is also a lodge near Enaf site on the outskirts of Adigrat. Tesfa Tours can include stays in these lodges as part of your tour.