Lalibela, Ethiopia’s inside-out rock churches: very special, but expensive

Lalibela is unique in the world. More specifically, the 11 rock-hewn churches that sit in the town of Lalibela, Ethiopia, are unique. As opposed to being constructed from blocks of materials from the ground up, they are literally dug inside-out from the rock bed, 11 metres down. (Update September 2020: I have since come across … Continue reading Lalibela, Ethiopia’s inside-out rock churches: very special, but expensive

Getting up close with gelada monkeys in the Simien Mountains

When I first read about the Simien Mountains a year or so ago in National Geographic, I assumed the name derived from the Latin word simian, meaning ape. In fact, according to my tour guide, the mountains are thus named after the word for north in Amharic, because they are found in the north of … Continue reading Getting up close with gelada monkeys in the Simien Mountains

Adrenaline and sheer rock climbing at Abuna Yemata Guh, the world’s most inaccessible church

It must be said that if Abuna Yemata Guh, one of Ethiopia's famed rock-hewn churches, were in Europe, everyone would know about it. It's turning out to be something of a theme in Ethiopia (and is probably true for other developing nations, too): mind-blowing ancient monuments and unique landscapes seem almost completely unknown to "the … Continue reading Adrenaline and sheer rock climbing at Abuna Yemata Guh, the world’s most inaccessible church

Visiting Ethiopia’s Danakil Desert, the hottest inhabited place on Earth

In northern Ethiopia, there is a strange land of acidic colours and baking temperatures that has the reputation of being the hottest place on the planet - and believe it or not, people actually live there. After sleeping in the city of Mek'ele, known as the New York of Ethiopia for being a relatively new … Continue reading Visiting Ethiopia’s Danakil Desert, the hottest inhabited place on Earth