A wild road trip to Lalibela, in Ethiopia
Lalibela is a town in Ethiopia, known for its monolithic churches built during the reign of Lalibela, king of the country, at an elevation of 2.541m (8,336ft) above the sea level. It’s located in the Lasta Amhara Region, in the northern part of the country.
The tiny and winding road to the town is partly made of tarmac and partly sand. It’s called D31. It’s pretty narrow and covered by daily buses and land cruisers. Lalibela has survived in its current form because it was historically very difficult to access. The best time of year to visit the city is during the dry season of October to March. Starting from Gashena, the road is 59.5 km (36 miles) long. Allow 1-2 hours to complete the journey.
There are 2 routes more, both in gravel. The firstroute is from the west, branching from the main road between Bahar Dar and Gondar at Werota. From Bahar Dar and Gondar you can reach Debre Tabor in a day, then the next day catch a bus to Dilb, and the following day join a vehicle heading from Woldia to Lalibela. The second route approaches from the north along the road that connects Axum to Lalibela via Adwa, Abi Aday and Sekota. Without a private vehicle you may find it difficult to complete the 130km stretch between Sekota and Lalibela.
Pic: Niran Jongwutiwes