Lalibela Churches and Abuna Yosef Hike

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This famous town, rich in history has many rock hewn churches. Built directly into stone, these impressive structures are connected by tunnels. Devout Christians come here everyday to pray. The surrounding mountains tower over this friendly village. There are excellent treks in the area which spend the night (or two) in a traditional community and get a rich cultural experience. The quaint village of Lalibela is a highlight of Ethiopia.

 

Lalibela Rock Hewn Churches and Community Hike to Abuna Yosef. www.beardandcurly.com

Lalibela

When to Go

The best time to visit Lalibela is between October and January during the dry season. January 7 (Ethiopian Christmas) and January 19 (Epiphany) are the two most festive days of the year. Lalibela gets packed, so make sure to plan ahead. Stay over the weekend and check out the Saturday market followed by early morning (6am) mass on Sunday.

Where to Stay

Ashiton Hotel has good rooms with wifi and hot water for 300 / 400 Birr single/double.

Where to Eat

Unique Restaurant is a locals favorite (40 – 60 Birr). Come for sunset drinks at Ben Abeba followed by a meal (40 – 100 Birr).

Lalibela Churches and Abuna Yosef Hike. Check out more at www.beardandcurly.com

Rock Hewn Churches

Two clusters of churches are located in Lalibela, all within walking distance of each other. Elevan total churches are connected by tunnels and small alleyways carved through stone. The impressive Saint George Church is the epicenter of this devout village. It is one of the most important monasteries in Ethiopia and a major pilgrimage site. Declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1978, these churches are best visited in the early morning. Hear the chants and congregation of traditional Ethiopian Orthodox worship.

Lalibela Churches and Abuna Yosef Hike. Check out more at www.beardandcurly.com

Cost

Entry to the churches cost 1,104 Birr ($50) for a 5 day ticket. No single day tickets are available and tickets are non-transferable. Although ticket prices are very expensive seeing the churches is a highlight in Ethiopia.

Lalibela Churches and Abuna Yosef Hike. Check out more at www.beardandcurly.com

Community Hike to Abuna Yosef

Aside from the importance of the 11 UNESCO churches, hiking to Abuna Yosef draws tourists to Lalibela. The first day of the hike up the mountains ends at one of the small villages. There are excellent opportunities to immerse in the local traditions and culture. The second day is a long hike up to the summit of Abuna Yosef, Ethiopia’s third tallest peak. The panoramic views of the lush green valleys are impressive. The third day is a hike down the mountain back to Lalibela. Not only are the mountains beautiful, this hike adds a wonderful cultural experience.

Lalibela Churches and Abuna Yosef Hike. Check out more at www.beardandcurly.com

Cost

Costs are negotiable and can range from $20 to $60 per person per day for the three day hike. Booking ahead will cost more, so wait to book in Lalibela for the best price. There is an additional fee of 300 Birr before Abuna Yosef summit.

Lalibela Churches and Abuna Yosef Hike. Check out more at www.beardandcurly.com

Booking a Guide

Several tour groups can organize hikes. For an excellent guide and great prices ($25) contact Damena (Dave) at +251 92 077 4790 or damensebabu27@gmail.com. Tell him Timon and Yana say hello!

Lalibela Churches and Abuna Yosef Hike. Check out more at www.beardandcurly.com

Hike Details

  • Day One: 8 miles, 4.5 hours

  • Day Two: 14 miles, 6.75 hours

  • Day Three: 8.2 miles, 4 hours

  • Difficulty: Moderate

Lalibela Churches and Abuna Yosef Hike. Check out more at www.beardandcurly.com

What to Bring on the Hike

  • Sleeping bag

  • Sunblock

  • Hiking shoes

  • Headlamps

  • Light waterproof jacket

 

 

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Visited in October 2016.

 

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