Date: 15th November 08
Location: Debre Birhan, Ethiopia
Weather: Clear blue skies and cold overnight, scattered clouds in the day. 32°c
Status: Happy Ethiopia has come up with the goods and is awesome….
Up at first light to get a full days drive in, yesterday was a pretty hard short drive on roads which I didn’t enjoy! We packed up the tent and said goodbye to Johann the biker from South Africa and turned north out of the village passing the early morning traffic of horse drawn carts and donkeys.
The road was the same as yesterday for the first 50kms and rose in altitude again until we were sitting right up in the clouds at 3100m, the Colonel not particularly liking the thin air which has exacerbated his wheezy chest and resulted in more unsightly smoke being produced….a bit of a worry as we have now left the relatively mechanic-safe environment of Addis and entered the much more rural countryside.
As we entered a tunnel which had ben drilled through the mountain range the road suddenly improved and the smooth tarmac of the south was back with us, much better for the average speed as we’d only been running at just over 40kph for the last hour.
At the side of the road we spotted a group of Gelada Baboons picking away at the mountain grasses, they’re pretty rare and the subject of a few nature documentaries I’ve seen so we were really chuffed to have seen them and been able to photograph them from the comfort of the Colonel. They have a strange red/pink marking on their chests which looks like a conventional baboon’s ass!
The scenery was incredible and the wow factor is back in the truck as Bre and I struggle to photograph all of the amazing sights were experiencing. The green, fertile, mountainous terrain is punctuated by vast flood plains with rocky, dry river beds which in the rains you could imagine look like aqua battlefields not the serene grazing lands we’ve driven through today.
As the road stayed the good tarmac we’ve come to love we managed to cover a good few kms in the latter part of the day and managed to get all of the way through to Weliyda around 380kms from our starting point. It’s a pretty non descript sort of town but gives us the ideal stepping stone to get into Lalibela early tomorrow to visit the famous rock-hewn churches which make up one of the official eight wonders of the world.
We’re staying in the car park of the Lal Hotel in the town, it was our first choice but was then also recommended to us by a little Italian overlanding lady we met on the drive here today. I thought I was doing something pretty extreme with this travelling thing but she’s doing Rome to Cape Town all by herself in a Toyota Land cruiser….mad.
End of day location: Wolida, Ethiopia
Distance covered: 380kms