Trekking from Makarabia to Mulit camp
1800m, 16km, ascent 690 metres, descent 592 metres
I think some of my fellow travellers will remember this as the best trekking day of all on the Highlands of Ethiopia trip that I joined with World Expeditions. It is marked by great birdlife and landscapes, beautiful scenery, a most hospitable muslim-run café, and wet feet!
It seems that the beauty of today surprises a few people. As we are heading into the lowlands, the temperatures are quite high, so we look up the shade when we can.
We embark on a steep descent to the Ansiya Wenz River and then have five river crossings. Wet feet are unavoidable and we are asked to keep our boots on. Some of us try to do the first two crossings barefoot or in sandals, but then give up. They too strap on their walking boots again and luckily the sun doesn’t take long to dry our shoes at lunchtime. Some of the river crossings are a bit harder and I’m happy with the guides and muleteers around.
After the fifth river crossing, we are back on the north side of the river and we leave her behind to climb around a bluff and then trek down to cross the Dri River.
As there is a slippery section on this narrow river we cross with care. When we hike back downstream on the other side, we discover a most beautiful deep bathing pool! It’s below a gorge section and is perfect with a powerful little waterfall at the back and a bit of shade around the sides. It is lovely swimming. Back on the trail we see ourselves trekking upstream again. It’s time for lunch which we enjoy in the shade by the river.
It’s been a good day!
A steep sunny ascent follows to Hawaza (400m). Because today was a sunny Ethiopian afternoon and vegetation was reasonably open around the trekking trail, it was a pretty intense ascent for most of us. With some extra rest stops we reach Hawaza School.
And then, something magical! A café corralled in behind a bamboo fence with homemade log seating and shade. We sit drinking sodas, taking a rest from our trek, and eating corn on the cob when the owner comes out of the little café. She performs the long coffee roasting ceremony that is known for Ethiopia: Jebena Buna. Washing the coffee beans, roasting them, crushing them with pestle and mortar, and then boiling them on the fire. The Buna is excellent!
Reluctantly we leave her and her coffee shop behind for another 45 minutes or so of hiking a better undulating path to the homestead where we are camping tonight. The backdrop is made up of rock pinnacles and the views from just outside are amazing at sunset and sunrise.
In the evening we have a campfire party after a starlit dinner. There is a lot of singing and dancing and some local Ethiopians even come in to join. A cute little boy plays the one string Ethiopian violin, called the Masinqo.
*This blog post on trekking in Ethiopia was written by John Millen who joined the trip in October.