Community Trekking in Lalibela

3 Day Tour

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Departure dates on request


In the basalt mountains around Lalibela, communities farm in the age old way with ox-drawn ploughs, and had tools. Life for the farmers is hard, but they have a ready smile and love to receive guests. Enjoy a walking holiday in these highlands.

Lalibela is one of Ethiopia’s most sacred sites, with a network of 11 churches hewn into the bed rock. It was constructed in the late 12th century by the Saint-king Lalibela. Previously it was known as Roha (strangely reminiscent of Lord of the Rings , when taken alongside the next capital: Gondar).

Pick either an ambling walk through the landscape of western Meket where Tesfa first started working, or a more rugged trek between Eastern Meket and and Lasta (Lalibela’s district) and Gidan. In this more eastern part the landscape gets a bit wilder but you are still in farming areas, and hosted by the communities. Just north east of Lalibela is the Afro-alpine mountain: Abuna Yoseph. A trek up here takes you onto the moorland meadows home to the iconic Ethiopian Wolf and other wildlife, but again your hosts are still the communities.
Mequat Mariam, a remote parish based around the church of St. Mary's of Mequat, was the first community site to begin hosting guests in 2003 and is the most westerly of the Tesfa sites. The tukuls (thatched round cottages) are set on a promontory of the Meket plateau with staggering views to the west and south. A small troop of Gelada Baboons patrol the escarpment, and a troop of Vervet monkeys sometime come up for a visit. Lammergeyers, vultures, buzzards, kites, ravens and many other birds soar over the site.

Mequat Mariam boasts a 'rock bar', a smooth sheltered ledge that is warmed by the afternoon sun and invites guests to sit with a sundown drink a watch the golden glow at the end of the day turn red as the sun sets over Mount Guna.

Most people start their trek to Mequat Mariam at the community called Werkhaye Mariam. Here the local community provide a sit down lunch of local fare: local enjara (a sour pancake made from local grains notably teff) and vegetarian stews, washed down with a traditional cup of hand roasted & ground, freshly brewed coffee. Soft drinks, water and beer are for sale.

From Werkhaye it is a 3 hour walk to the first site, following well beaten trails through the landscape.

It is a full day's walk between Mequat to the next site: Wajela - about 7 hours walking + stopping time. The walk combines sections following the escarpment edge with incredible vistas and sections across the meadows and grazing land. There are plenty of opportunities to see the communities at work. On the way Meskal Mikael community provide a lunch much like that at Werkhaye Mariam, but besides a cliff edge with ribbons of water (except in the driest seasons) dropping of the edge into the boulder strewn land below.


There are a number of factors which will influence the price of your travel arrangement

What's Included in price

  • This tour includes accommodation, food: breakfast, simple picnic lunch (or where developed, a lunch stop with another community), snacks on arrival and dinner, local beverages (tea and coffee), guide and pack animals or porters to carry luggage (a reasonable amount only – max 20kgs- in soft bags if possible).

Community Trekking in Lalibela - 3 Days
Itinerary which specialises in sustainable community-based trekking holiday in Lalibela

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