In the highlands of Ethiopia, the Blue Nile gorge is one of the most amazing canyons in Africa. A great route when you're traveling from Addis Ababa to Lake Tana.
The Blue Nile runs South from it's source at Lake Tana through the Ethiopian highlands, before it turns west into Sudan to join the White Nile. Underway, you'll find the Blue Nile falls, and the Blue Nile gorge. Certainly a nice route for adventure travelers.
Below is our tale about this route when we traveled with an overland truck from Addis Ababa up north to Lake Tana. Do you also want to follow this route? Find out which Adventure Travel tours in Ethiopia follow this route.
More Adventure travel tales in Ethiopia:
Bahir Dar, Lake Tana
Ancient African Tribes
Other African Tales:
Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
Masai Tribe, Kenya
While we are still driving through Addis Ababa, the waving already starts. Everybody who sees the overland truck with white people to the sides and on top starts waving at us. We wave back enthusiastically, and very much enjoy the ride.
Slowly, the roads get more quiet as we reach the outskirts of town. And then, we are treated to the landscape of the Ethiopian highlands. Mountainous, with a lot of green and acres where teff is cultivated, a grain used in the traditional Ethiopian dish injeera.
Once in a while we pass a small village, partly with nice traditional huts, and partly with new houses with galvanised corrugated iron roofs, ugly but cheap.
Halfway through the day we stop in a large village. Immediately the local population surrounds the truck, and everybody who steps down from it.
Many people appear to speak a little English and try to start a conversation with us. About all kinds of things, but also about what we think about the famine in Ethiopia.
But, to be frank, we haven’t seen any famine here yet. Nevertheless, we can see a lot of poverty, and there is a lot of asking for “money”, “pen”, or “birr”.
Our first bush camp is set up on a beautiful location. We are on top of the Blue Nile gorge, one of the nicest canyons in Africa.
We enjoy great views while we are setting up our tents, and some local children appear out of nowhere to watch us. They are a bit shy, but enjoy singing with us.
We have a good meal, created by our cook, and after sitting at a campfire for a while, we go to bed early.
When we break up our camp the next morning, all the kids are back. They are eager to pick up anything we leave behind, so we need to be a bit careful.
But after a friendly goodbye we ride down into the Blue Nile Gorge, a beautiful descent. When we arrive down at the Blue Nile river, we pass it via a bridge, and ascend again.
We stop at a great location with a small waterfall and limestone rocks to shoot some pictures. When we arrive at the top of the gorge, the landscape is relatively flat again, with a lot of teff acres and villages.
When it is time to set up camp, we cannot find a good spot. Everything is acre, or there are to many people, which makes camping more difficult. Around 6 o’clock we decide to go to a hotel in a small town.
We do not have to set up our tents, the rooms are relatively clean. But that’s more than we can say for the bathrooms, these are gross.
Most of us decide to wash themselves with a tub in their room. We decide to use at least the toilets, keeping our nose tight, but others prefer to pee and poo in plastic bags and Tupperware boxes…
The next morning we drive for a few hours before we reach the Blue Nile Falls.
While we have lunch, we are surrounded by children who want to lead us to the falls. They try to earn a few birr by guiding us, but they are merely in our way.
Everybody has one or two personal helpers, who are asking lots of questions. The small children are cute, the older ones are just annoying.
The Blue Nile falls are great. Nowadays, a part of them is used for generating electricity, but what remains is still fantastic.
From the main viewpoint we walk further down to the falls. We need to cross a stream, and our personal guides are trying to help, but are not very helpful. Some of us, however, are carried all the way over the stream.
We arrive at another viewpoint, and walking further down we reach the bottom of the Blue Nile falls. Here we stand in the fog of the falling water.
We climb back up, and have to cross the Blue Nile river to get back to the truck. Unfortunately, we cannot use the papyrus boats that lie there, but have to use a motorized boat instead.
It brings us to the lovely village near the falls, where everybody comes to ask for money. “Remember me? I helped you.” Yeah right, in that case he aged 10 years and changed sex.
From the Blue Nile Falls it’s a small drive to Bahir Dar. Here we make camp at a campsite at Lake Tana.
With a great view over the lake, where pelicans are fishing. There are vultures in the trees as well, and we spot hornbills and fish eagles. It’s a small paradise after a tiresome but great journey from Addis Ababa.
Are you interested in visiting the Blue Nile gorge and Blue Nile Falls? Find out which tours are going there on the Adventure Travel Ethiopia page.