Two weeks in Ethiopia, late March. A welcome break from the rain , high temperatures, and heavy humidity of Gabon. A few highlights from the trip…
Manyatee coffee host. Manyatee, a small village at the base of the Bale Mountains, produces shade-grown coffee under the canopy of Harenna Forest. The traditional coffee ceremony, from roasting beans, lighting incense, grinding and steeping the brew was a special treat after a trek through the forest, where we saw Silver-cheeked hornbills, Gray woodpeckers, a Robin chat, Narina’s trogans, a Broad-billed roller, Paradise flycatcher, Black flycatcher, Tambourine dove, Black-headed orioles, and heard but failed to spot the Black-winged lovebird.
Curiosity prompts a young village girl to peer through a window during our coffee ceremony in Manyatee village.
Covered painting, Lalibela. Many religious paintings are covered in fabric to protect their holiness from degradation.
Reading light. A priest at Asheton Maryam Monastery reading in the light that filters through a doorway entrance to the church.
Ababa on trek to Asheton Maryam Monastery, near Lalibela. Ababa led the way along a steep mountain trail to the Monastery at 3150 meters above sea level. Closer to heaven and God, as the local priests believe, left us breathless from the stunning mountain top view as well as the lack of oxygen.
Hilltop meditation. The view from the mountain at Asheton Maryam Monastery serves well the contemplation of the universe.
A group of boys arrived at Asheton Maryam Monastery and disappeared through a stone door. A mesmerizing chant drifted from the depths, drawing me into the chanting room where elders were leading the students in song.
An elderly worshipper rests at a church entrance in Lalibela.
Standing rocks. Powerful rocks. Powerful even as they lie broken and scattered. The stelae of Tiya, Ethiopia are part of a prehistoric burial complex. Weapons and symbols carved in relief on the stelae surfaces suggest they may be 600 to 1000 years old. If you stop to listen, finding quiet between the breezes that cool your face, you might hear the whispers that echo from a life past. Children playing, laughing. Footsteps in the dark, dancing in the firelight. The chur-r-ring of nightjars as they circle and dip beneath the starlight.
Fan-tailed Ravens. A pair of ravens play on a rising thermal as the valley warms below Lalibela.
Variable sunbird. Metallic blues and greens reflect in the sunlight as a sunbird searches for nectar among flowers on a hillside in Lalibela.
Walking main street. Village street, between Gondar and Debark, on the way to Simien Mountains.
Vendor in Lalibela. One of many shops lining the streets of Lalibela, selling baskets and religious icons.
Mercato. Vendors converse in the Mercato, an outdoor market in Addis Ababa thought to be the largest open air market in Africa.
Mountain forest. The scent of sage wafts in the breeze as the sun warms a hillside high in the Simien Mountains. Forests full of mosses and lichens gather moisture from clouds and passing storms.
Gelada monkey. A large male sits on a savanna in the Simien Mountain Highlands. The “bleeding heart” patch of bare skin on his chest signals his virility to females in his family. Normally eating grass, they spend most of their day digging for roots during the dry season when the grass is less nourishing.
Formidable canines flash toward a passing female, warning her away from a sitting male in the Simien Mountains. Families include four to eight females with young, protected by a large male. The lip-curl and a flashing white eyebrow marking are early warning signs of potential confrontations.
Feeding across a mountain savanna, Gelada monkeys spend their days grooming, feeding, and procreating. When night falls, they climb over the cliff edge to sleep, free of the threat of leopards and hyenas, clinging to the cliff face.
Debark. The gateway to Simien Mountains National Park, Debark is a lively frontier town particularly crowded on Friday morning during market.
Harenna Forest, the second-largest forest in Ethiopia covers 4000 square kilometers of lower elevation Bale Mountains. The forest along the road is heavily grazed by livestock, with shade grown coffee cultivated beneath the canopy. Little is known of the lions and painted dogs that haunt its interior.
Living in the canopy of Harenna Forest, Colobus monkeys feed on leaves and fruits. They live in family groups of 3-12, a dominant male, and females with offspring.
A Dr. Suess wonderland of moss and hanging lichens, the Erica Forest is found between 3200 and 3800 meters above sea level. Bale Mountains National Park.
Wearing traditional dress, Zubeyda hosts visitors to Bale Mountain Lodge.
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