Blue Nile Falls
Only five minutes away from Bahar Dar town lays Blue Nile River’s grandest and most remarkable spectacle – the picturesque Blue Nile Falls. Locally called Tis Isal, or “Smoke of Fire,” the Blue Nile Falls features a 37-to-45-meter cascade that effortlessly awes observers with its powerful surges of crystal clear mountain waters.
Spanning 800 kilometers before reaching the prairies of neighbor Sudan, and with an impressive width of 400 meters during the rainy season, the Blue Nile Falls immortalize the long history of greatness of the legendary river as an integral segment of the African natural heritage.
Near the mighty waterfalls are equally succulent ravines and forests that provide shelter for a significant number of underbrush monkeys and birds. From these gorges, one can often see the rainbows created by the mist from the Blue Nile River’s powerful spray.
With its striking appeal and natural heritage, the Blue Nile Falls is truly a must-see for nature lovers and adventure-seeking travelers.
Church of St. George
Once considered as the eighth wonder of the world, the monolithic Church of St. George in Lalibela in the region of Amhara is one jewels of the country’s cultural history. Constructed in the early 13th century, it was the last to be completed yet the most popular among the eleven churches in the sacred area of Lalibela.
Ethiopian history relates that the church was built by King Gebre Mesquel Lalibela in accordance to what he believed was a presentiment from St. George. The 25x25x30 meter structure was carved out of rock and features a deeply trench where a baptismal pool is found.
The Church of St. George has been a remarkable religious symbol in Ethiopia since its completion. This place of worship is also listed by the UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.
Great Rift Valley
The Great Rift Valley is a geological fault system on the plate covered by East Africa and parts of Southwest Asia. It has a length of more than 4,000 miles and stretches far beyond the territorial boundaries of Ethiopia.
The rift, with an elevation ranging from 1,300 to 6,000 feet above sea level, is believed to be a product of thermal currents occurring along the earths’ mantle.
In Africa, the Great Rift Valley lands on Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania and Malawi, hailing from the Red Sea. A number of Ethiopian lakes, small and long alike such as Lake Turkana and Lake Nyasa, are directly over the fault system.
Today, the area is filled with wildlife such as waterbucks, buffaloes, flamingos, and zebras.
One thing very special about this valley is that, when you gaze at it, you are in fact gazing at the only geological feature on Earth that can also be seen by astronauts on the moon.
An accidental work of art, one might think, after witnessing the wonderful Semien Mountain along the mountainous ridges of the African continent.
The Semien Mountain was formed after years of incessant damage and wearing down of the Ethiopian tableland. The boondocks were then beautifully formed with steep slopes and dipping valleys and even rose supreme alongside Ras Dejen, the highest Ethiopian mountain and fourth highest in all of Africa.
Through the years, Semien Mountain has been functioning as a national park providing habitation and protection for some of rare animals such as the walia ibex, an endangered goat species which can now be found only in the country. Apart from this wild goat, the park is also home to the Gelada baboon and the aloof Ethiopian wolf.
More than 50 unique species of birds are also sheltered in the national park.
Apart from the animals, the flora of the park is equally striking. Semien Mountain is divided into three botanical zones: the lower slopes where various herbages are grown, the forest alpines, and the high slopes where pasturage grasses are grown.
Nechisar National Park
The Nechisar National Park is one of Ethiopia’s outstanding attractions for having contrasting yet complementary natural features.
Nechisar, meaning “white grass,” earned its name for having white grass protected prairies. These plains are found in the east portion of the North Omo Zone and Arba Minch.
Apart from grass prairies, the park also features tall forestries, undergrowth covered lands, and the Amaro Mountains where low rolling hills lay near the base.
On the other end, the Nechisar National Park also hosts bodies of water such as the famous Lake Abaya and Lake Chamo which, in fact, occupy a significant portion of the park. These lakes are a major attraction in the park, capturing on-lookers with their distinct features.
Lake Abaya, located at the northern area, is of reddish-brown tone whereas Lake Chamo is awe-inspiring with its crystal white shorelines on the southern part of the park.