Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Exploring Bahir Dar. Blue Nile Falls.


Blue Nile Falls.

After our lakeside lunch in Bahir Dar, we all got back into the van for the bumpy ride (yes, another unpaved road) to a spot from where we would walk the rest of the way to see the Blue Nile Falls.


The falls are situated on the upper course of the Blue Nile River, about 30 kilometres (18 miles)  from Bahir Dar, and are considered one of Ethiopia's best known tourist attractions.  To be honest, I had never heard of them but Robert was excited to be going to see them.  Given that it's dry season, I wondered how much water there would be to cascade over the falls.

Along our way to the Blue Nile Falls, we stopped in a small village to pick up our local guide.  Not sure what he's going to be doing as the other guides/guards/rangers that we've also picked up along the way have not had to do a whole lot of anything. 

From a small parking lot area, we began our walk towards the falls.  We left Haile behind and followed our guide.  None of us had any idea which way it was to the falls so for that reason alone, we were glad we had our guide with us though I wondered if Haile could have led us.  A short distance later and we had arrived at the river's edge.

Walking towards the river.

The Blue Nile River.  We boarded a similar boat to get to the other side.

From the river, we followed our guide....

....past  freshly plowed fields....

....and this piece of ground with the mounds of dirt.  Quiet strange.


By now, I had developed a mild obsession for the lacy, winter silhouette of the trees.
I think they're beautiful.


I could hear the water before we arrived at the falls.  They were small falls but there was more water than I had expected.

Water from the falls flow down into a small stream which I presume feeds
into the larger river.

The falls as viewed from a hillside bluff.  You can walk down to the water's edge but I opted to stay on the bluff.

The falls made for the perfect backdrop for photos.  Here's Robert.

And here are Sam and Judy posing for me.

Here's what the falls looked and sounded like.

In the end, the falls were quite nice given that we were in the middle of dry season.  They definitely would be much nicer to see during rainy season but then it would be a very soggy, muddy hike to get to them!

On the way back to the boat, we passed by a suspension bridge - built in 2009, it's the only pedestrian bridge over the Blue Nile.  I don't know what's on the other side.


Another of those beautiful tree silhouettes.  Just so happened that two shepherds were nearby.  I really was aiming
to take a photo of the tree and not the men - explains why they came out so blurry in the photo.

We walked by field after another including one that was planted with khat (pronounced "chh-aht").  Locals chew
the leaves of the plant - it's a mild stimulant.

By the time we arrived back at the van, it was late afternoon and our day of sightseeing was over.  We dropped the guide off, who didn't do much for us other than to lead us to and from the falls.  He did answer whatever questions we had but for the most part, we were a quiet bunch when it came to questions.


Back at the hotel, I had a quick chat with Haile.  Earlier, on our boat ride to the monastery, I asked Pat if she would be interested in going to a local restaurant for dinner.  I had had enough of hotel buffet food and I really wanted to go some place where tourists can't be seen.  She agreed to come along!  At lunch, I mentioned this to Haile and he said he could arrange something for us.  Coming back from Blue Nile Falls, I wanted to confirm plans with him. I told him that he could just give us the name of the restaurant and we could get in a tuk-tuk and head out on our own. He told me to meet back with him at 7pm and I passed the message on to Pat.  Our day wasn't over yet!