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Located on Lake Tana, the source of the Blue Nile, Bahar Dar is a sleepy lakeside town with wide avenues of palms and flowers. Bahar Dar's main attraction is the selection of Ethiopian Christian monasteries which are found on some 20 of Lake Tana's 37 islands.
Most of the Bahar Dar monasteries date from the 16th and 17th centuries and have changed little since their founding. They are simple huts decorated with colorful scenes from the Bible and lives of the saints.
The Zege Peninsula is home to the Ura Kidane Mihret and Bet Maryam monasteries. The former is one of the most-visited of the monasteries. The round building consists of three concentric circles, the innermost of which is the Holy of Holies containing the monastery's replica of the Ark. The walls are covered in bright paintings, many of which depict violent martyrdoms. Bet Maryam has an interesting museum/treasury.
Bahar Dar's other star attraction, the Blue Nile Falls, is about an hour's ride out of townThese falls are one of Africa's most spectacular as the river above the falls is 400 metres wide while beneath the falls it follows a much narrower course which is around 37 metres deep.
Best time to be there
There are two seasons: the dry season prevails from October through May; the wet season runs from June to September. Temperatures are determined by altitude, with highlands (including Addis Ababa) rarely exceeding 25º C. In the lowlands it can get considerably hotter exceeding 40ºC, while in the Danakil Depression it can approach 60ºC
GMT + 3 hours
Visa Required for UK passport holders, obtainable on arrival at a cost of 50 USD per person.
Our experts can tailor-make the perfect holiday to suit your individual requirements, however, if you need inspiration or a starting point, below are some of our suggested trips and experiences:
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