Lake Tana is the source of the Blue Nile. The attractive, sleepy city of Bahir Dar, or Bahar Dar, that sits on its southern shore is an ideal gateway to some of Ethiopia’s most atmospheric and picturesque destinations.
On the many islands that can be found in the lake your local guide will walk you down the wide avenues lined with palm trees and flowers that lead to numerous 16th and 17th-century Ethiopian Christian monasteries. The modest exteriors of these huts fail to even hint at the richness of the magnificent biblical scenes that are painted on their walls.
You may wish to make the short journey out of Bahir Dar to the Zege Peninsula, to visit Ura Kidane Mihret - undeniably the most beautiful church in the region. A circular building, the inner walls are covered in paintings notable for their graphic images depicting martyrdom. Not for the faint-hearted, perhaps.
Things are more soothing at the spectacular falls that can be found an hour’s drive from Bahir Dar. The Blue Nile Falls are some of the most impressive in all of Africa, the water tumbles some 45 metres from the summit where, during the rainy season, the river can be up to 400 metres wide.