Bole Valley and Muger Valley
Blue Nile riverThe main Gojam road crosses Entoto and winds down through the fertile grass plains of Sululta. Just before Chancho there is a turning to the left which leads eventually to the lip of the escarpment.

Here you find the cement works, the loaded cars being raised from the valley floor 600m (2000ft) beneath.

Before you reach the end of the road, however, there are various paths over the cliff edge down to the river. A worthwhile climb for those with the energy.  At the bottom lies a different world…a waterfall cascades into the icy river, on the banks the riverine forest provides a home for colobus monkeys, duiker and numerous species of birds.

Lower still the river widens out to irrigation fields of maize, and bananas, tea and other crops. On the right of the road, there is a waterfall and in the cliff face a Lammergeyers nest,

103 Km to the north from Addis Ababa, a right hand turn leads to the ancient monastery of Debrelibanos. This is the beginning of the true gorge country for which the central highlands are renowned. Breath taking views over chasms with a depth of 2000ft or more. The old monastery itself is situated behind the new church to the right high up on the cliff (women are not permitted to enter).

The first Abbot of the monastery was one Tekle Haymanot (1260) later canonized. The Abbot is titular head of the monastery and has always been regarded as the premier monk of the land. The new church stands beneath a cliff on the edge of the George. It has beautiful stained glass windows and before you enter, it is worth nothing the mosaic figures on the facade.

You can stop and spread a picnic lunch halfway between the turn off and the church. Gregarious gelada baboons peer curiously at the visitor while birds of prey soar overhead.

Portuguese Bridge
From Debrelibanos less than one km, up the main road turns right on a little rocky track. Follow the track for a short distance, then park the car and walk the rest of the way to the famous bridge. Reputed for years to have been constructed in the sixteen century by the Portuguese, the bridge is now considered to be entirely Ethiopian in origin.

Still in use today…lines of donkeys and their drivers are silhouetted against the sky as they pass slowly over it. You can climb down below the bridge the bridge to where the falls start their 600m plunge to the valley below or walk along the cliff edge to look back at the falls and the bridge.

Blue Nile George
The great Abbay River flows out of Lake Tana and cascades over the famous Blue Nile Falls then winds for about 500km through some of the most spectacular gorge country in the world. Two and half hours drive from Addis Ababa beyond the gorge begins.

Just a few kilometers down, a viaduct loops round and out from the cliff face giving a good view down the one and a half kilometer wide gorge, not however to the bottom or to the river itself which is still far out of sight. The long widening descent is accomplished in about forty five minutes.

For centuries the river is formed the natural barrier between Showa and Gojam, but now a modern bridge. If you have a day to spare, it is worth climbing out of the George on the far side and spending a night at Dejen.

Eskinder Hailu - Manager, Highway Tours

Eskinder Hailu
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