On arrival in Bahir Dar, we made the short drive to Laka Tana, Ethiopia’s largest lake covering over 3500 sq km. We took a 30min tranquil boat ride across the lake passing many local fishermen hard at work & then walked through the forest up to Ura Kidane Meret, the Zege Peninsula’s largest and most famous monastery. Although it didn’t look overly impressive from the outside, the inside told a different story adorned with floor to ceiling brightly coloured paintings and 14th to 20th Century crosses and crowns. My guide, Eyob, was superb and as we moved from the chanting area to the holy area, he explained the meaning behind each painting & the various objects found inside.
We then visited a second monastery, Azuwa Maryam, which was smaller in size with a thatch roof but no less impressive on the inside. The walls were covered with brightly coloured scenes, which had been painted onto cotton and then plastered onto the walls. Some had degraded slightly over time but considering their age, they were in immaculate condition. We headed back to shore on the boat ready for the journey north to Gondar. Ideally we'd advise a one or two night stay in Bahir Dar to enable you to have enough time to explore the area and soak up the atmosphere of this bustling lake shore town.