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Blue Nile Falls

The Blue Nile Falls

Bahir Dar Tours

The perfect holiday in Bahir Dar

We'll take you to see exquisite artwork in island monasteries, marvel at the Blue Nile Falls and visit the vibrant market of this lakeside town.

The most Westerly of the towns on Ethiopia’s Historical Circuit, Bahir Dar acts as a natural start or end point to trips through the North of the country. It is one of the largest towns outside of Addis Ababa, acting as the capital of the Amhara Region and is home to one of the county’s most pre-eminent Universities. This all ties together to make it one of the more modern cities in Ethiopia, with excellent flight connections to Addis Ababa and the other towns frequently visited on an Ethiopia Historical Circuit holiday, as well as being a 4-hour gentle drive from Gondar. The town is found on the Southern shore of Lake Tana, so retains a cool and pleasant climate throughout the year.

From a historical perspective, the main attraction of visiting Bahir Dar is the chance to visit the Lake Tana island monasteries, 20 of which are dotted around the lake shore. Architecturally they don’t compare to the churches of Lalibela or castles of Gondar, but they are home to some beautiful murals and it is fascinating to see how much of a key role the monasteries play in the lives of the surrounding villages. Access to the monasteries is by boat, which is a lovely way to explore in itself and offers superb views across the lake back towards town.

Slightly further afield, around 40kms from Bahir Dar, are the Blue Nile Falls where the eponymous river crashes 45 metres over the precipice to create a beautiful spectacle when the river is flowing heavily. In recent years a hydroelectric programme has somewhat limited the amount of water that flows over the falls, but it remains an impressive sight. There is no set schedule as to when water is held back for the power station, so our advice is always to speak to your guide who will find out the daily conditions of the river and you can make a decision as to whether you visit or not.

As one of the more ‘major’ towns in Ethiopia, Bahir Dar is home to a better infrastructure than most and, as such, has more luxurious places to stay than other towns in the North of the country. This is a good place to spend a few additional days for visitors looking to enjoy a little rest and relaxation at the end of the trip. Kuriftu Resort & Spa is a particularly good choice with good food, a lovely swimming pool area overlooking the lake and an excellent spa with a varied range of treatments on offer.

Our favourite Bahir Dar hotels and lodges

Best Places to Stay in Bahir Dar

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