Ethiopia (April-May 2015)

3. Gabriel Wukien to Axum via Damo Gellila

Return to main Ethiopia April-May 2015 webpage


To see the map below with a better resolution in another tab, click here.

To see all the waypoints in Google Earth, click here (.kmz file).

This page covers the section of the red path between waypoints 14 and 47.



Just after leaving our 5th camp (waypoint 14) we crossed many villagers going to a market, probably in Werkamba. I stopped and took a few photos. My interpretation of the scene in the rightmost photo is the following: the man is trying to sell a chicken to the woman at a reduced price (if he succeeds he will not have to carry the chicken to the market and he will have immediate cash to buy other products); the woman is interested by the discounted price, but wonders if she may get a better chicken or better deal at the market.


School along the way.


Women walking in the sun.


Traditional farm.


Soon after passing this farm we reached a small village named Tabia Selam. There a policeman (the only one in the area) confiscated both my passport and the IDs of Gebru and Gebrehiwet. It soon became obvious that he wanted money from me in order to return them to us. I refused and many hours later, in the evening, he finally gave us back our IDs without any counterpart. It was too late to resume hiking and we set our 6th camp in the village (waypoint 17).


The trail after Tabia Selam crossed hilly terrain with many ups and downs.




Farm on a hill.


Farms amidst extremely steep terraces (?).


We then reached a river where we all (Gebru, Gebrehiwet, our two porters of the day, and me) bathed and washed (waypoint 22).


On the other side of the river we climbed steep terrain, mostly through dry, narrow gullies. We only found this small source where Gebrehiwet filled several bottles.


Landscape, terraces, and farm further up.





After crossing a pass we reached the nondescript (but very friendly) village of Gwala Goulo at the bottom of a small valley. We put our 7th camp near the school (waypoint 26).


Paintings on the walls of the school buildings.


On the next morning we had a gorgeous sunrise, here seen from my tent.


Soon after leaving Gwala Goulo we passed by a well equipped with a pump, the village′s main source of clean water. Women were active pumping water into their ubiquitous yellow jerricans.


We ascended another flank of the Gwala Goulo′s valley and reached a pass facing north, offering a beautiful view toward Damo Gellila (the big rock formation at the center of the picture). The location of Damo Gellila is marked with an orange pin in the map at the top of this page.


Later we reached a plateau. We passed by a number of farms where people (often young kids) were active plowing fields.


Another view of Damo Gellila in the background.


Looking north to the southern portion of the so-called Adwa Mountains. These ″mountains″ are a collection of differently shaped rock formations created by erosion. They spread over a relatively large area east of the town of Adwa.


Another view toward the Adwa Mountains, as we were approaching the village of Edarga Amous (in an area called Kurkura). I was told that the large construction in the middle of the photo was the remains of a house owned by a governor in Emperor Haile Selassie′s time.


Kids in the village of Edarga Amous. Although the village was not very large, there were many young kids.



Unusually large house in Edarga Amous. I heard that it had been built by an Italian during the Italian occupation of this region (1936-41). We set up our 8th camp in this village (waypoint 39).


Sunset seen from our camp in Edarga Amous with Damo Gellila on the right.



On the next morning we left accompanied by a family from Edarga Amous.



We stopped by this relatively clean river where we washed ourselves and a few clothes (waypoint 40).


As we were getting closer to Damo Gellila, the rock formation looked increasingly impressive.



A woman and her donkey.


We put our 9th camp under this tree (waypoint 44) near Damo Gellila.


Gebru at the camp with Damo Gellila in the background.


Damo Gellila seen from the camp at two different times in the evening.



Leaving our camp toward Axum.


Along the way we passed by several ambas (flat-top mountains).



The impressive sight of high-schoolers leaving ONE school as we reached Axum. There are several such high-schools in Axum, each with its distinct uniform: blue, brown, green.... (Ethiopia′s fertility rate was still 4.64 in 2012, compared to 4.78 in Eritrea, 3.26 in Bolivia, 2.71 in Morocco, 2.21 in Bangladesh, and 1.88 in the United States.)


For more photos in Axum see Section 4 below.


Sections of the trip (click on the links below to access the corresponding webpages):

-             1. Mekele to Maryam Hibeti

-             2. Maryam Hibeti to Abba Yohanni and Gabriel Wukien

-             3. Gabriel Wukien to Axum via Damo Gellila

-             4. Axum to Maryam Wukro

-             5. Maryam Wukro to Hawzen

-             6. Abuna Gebre Mikael and Debre Tsion Abuna Abraham

-             7. Hawzen to Medhane Alem Adi Kasho via Abreha we Atsbeha


Return to main Ethiopia April-May 2015 webpage