Bahir Dar, Ethiopia

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What was supposed to happen

Fly 5 hours from Lalibela to Gondar, transfer, then fly from Gondar to Addis Ababa, transfer, and then fly from Addis Ababa to Bahir Dar.  Arrive.  Try to find hotel (we weren’t able to make advanced reservations).
What actually happened:
When we checked in at the Lalibela airport — long story short — it turns out that 3 guys had chartered a special flight that day from Lalibela to Bahir Dar — a 25 minute (as opposed to 5 hour) flight.  It was going to arrive in 5 minutes and depart 5 minutes later.  And for whatever reason, they were going to let us mooch a ride.    Once we arrived in Bahir Dar, the one nice resort (nice is an understatement) in town offered to let us stay for 50% of the price.  Well worth it – check out pictures of sunrise over the Lake (above).

Suffice it to say, the rest of our visit in Bahir Dar was a continuation of this unbelievable luck.

Highlights include:

  • the Saturday market, where people from anywhere within a 24 hour walk come each week to trade livestock, materials, food, and anything else you can think of
  • Lake Tana — while it’s known for its monasteries, the highlight for me was seeing the elusive Hippos and the boats make of papyrus!  Lake Tana is also the source of the Blue Nile River, which is the Nile River’s main tributary
  • Blue Nile Falls (Tis Isat) — even though 75% of the once magnificent falls are now diverted for hydro-electric power, it was still great to make the trip to see the Falls
  • Daniel —  the first (of two total) Ethiopians we met who spoke fluent English.  Long story short, he is now a tour operator/comedian for Ethiopian Airlines.  He live sin B.D and took us out to the most fun places in the city.

Travel to Bahir Dar

Where to stay: Kuriftu Resort & Spa – what a splurge!  This eco-lodge is covered in beautiful flowers and is right on the shores of Lake Tana

Where to eat: Wude Coffee (across from the Kuriftu), St. Gabriel’s “bar” for the only truly cold Dashen beers in town, Chewata Bar for a great place to go out at night
Travel Tips:

  • Don’t make advanced hotel reservations – at the airport are staff from all the hotels and the prices become negotiable
  • Make all sightseeing arrangements through the Ghion Hotel next to the Kuriftu
  • Go on a Saturday to see the market
  • Get Daniel’s e-mail from me – best guide in the area
  • “Bahir Dar is great aside from the Malaria.”  For a visit here, be sure to have anti-malarials and bug-repellent
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