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Lalibela, Ethiopia (Center on Interactive Map)

Map of Lalibela, Ethiopia

Map of Lalibela, Ethiopia

Church of St. George, Lalibela
Variable Sunbird (Nectarinia venusta) Yellow-rumped Serin (Crithagra xanthopygia) Northern Fiscal (Lanius humeralis) Pied Wheatear (Oenanthe pleschanka) - Non-Breeding Long-billed Pipit (Anthus similis) Isabelline Wheatear (Oenanthe isabellina)
Rueppells Chat (Myrmecocichla melaena) Abyssinian Catbird (Parophasma galinieri) Red-billed Firefinch (Lagonosticta senegala) - Female Banded Barbet (Lybius undatus) White-breasted White-eye (Zosterops abyssinicus) Mocking Cliff-Chat (Thamnolaea cinnamomeiventris)
White-winged Cliff-Chat (Thamnolaea semirufa)

Lalibela is the site of some famous rock-hewn churches


Africa: Egypt and Ethiopia

1/25/2011: We took an early morning flight from Bahir Dar to Lalibela via Gondar. Flying over the highlands, it was amazing to look out the window to see farms covering absolutely every speck of level earth on extremely rugged terrain.

After a long ride from the airport into town, we were greeting by swarms of children whereever we went. The most common greeting was "Hello Money" followed by "Hello Pen" and the ever more eloquent, "Give me 250 birr to buy a football". Upon telling these kids that we were from America, they would inevitably shout "Obama". Maybe he would enjoy his deified status in Ethiopia, but I did not.

We walked around in the rock-hewn churches for the afternoon, and while I would not say that the churches are exciting by any stretch of the imagination, they are considerably more impressive than the pyramids in Egypt. I was fortunate enough to go into the "Men Only" church where I stood a few short feet away from a curtain hiding the tomb of Lalibela himself!

On the nature front, there was a hill above town that looked climbable and it appeared to have a tree or two. Our guide from the church wanted to take us, and there was a bunch of nonsense about riding mules to go on a pilgrimage to some monastery. Of course, the next mule that I ride will be the mule that comes to rescue me in the event that both of my legs are broken in a place that the helicopter can't reach. The guide also could not wrap his mind around the idea that I was not interested in seeing another monastery.

Anyway, the shoe keeper from the day before had the imagination to believe that faranji can walk up a hill, and we set out for the top. There were small patches of forest here and there, and we made it to the top pretty quickly. Since we were already there, we visited the monastery which had a prototype for the churches we had seen in town.

Back in town, we were chastised by the church guide for going to the monastery without an "official" guide. Then, we walked around in yet some more churches. And there was another Timkat celebration with people banging on drums and chanting all night long just outside our hotel room. I was counting the minutes in anticipation of our flight to Egypt.

Prior to our flight back to Addis, I wanted to explore a river valley below the town. I had some crazy idea that there would be some wildlife near the river. The highlight of that walk was meeting the cow pie vendor who gathered up cow pies to sell at the market in town.

Looking at the landscape around Lalibela, one would get the impression that the area is desert. But, when we got to the airport, I noticed that the fenced off area around the runway was covered with tall grasses. The billions of goats and donkeys had eaten all the grass outside the fence for miles around.

Previous Visit (Bahir Dar: 1/23/2011)
Next Visit (Sinai Peninsula: 1/28/2011)

Species Recorded (26)

Birds ( 26 )

Old World Tree Warblers ( Phylloscopidae )
Common Chiffchaff - Phylloscopus collybita

Kites, Hawks, Eagles, and Allies ( Acciptridae )
Augur Buzzard - Buteo augur

Pigeons and Doves ( Columbidae )
Dusky Turtle-Dove - Streptopelia lugens

Sunbirds ( Nectariniidae )
Scarlet-chested Sunbird - Chalcomitra senegalensis
Variable Sunbird - Cinnyris venustus
Tacazze Sunbird - Nectarinia tacazze

Bee-eaters ( Meropidae )
Ethiopian Bee-eater - Merops lafresnayii

Barbets ( Lybiidae )
Banded Barbet - Lybius undatus

Swallows ( Hirundinidae )
Rock Martin - Ptyonoprogne fuligula
Eurasian Crag-Martin - Ptyonoprogne rupestris

White-eyes ( Zosteropidae )
White-breasted White-eye - Zosterops abyssinicus

Old World Warblers and Gnatcatchers ( Sylviidae )
Lesser Whitethroat - Curruca curruca
Abyssinian Catbird - Sylvia galinieri

Thrushes and Allies ( Turdidae )
Rueppell's Chat - Myrmecocichla melaena
Isabelline Wheatear - Oenanthe isabellina
Pied Wheatear - Oenanthe pleschanka
Moorland Chat - Pinarochroa sordida
Mocking Cliff-Chat - Thamnolaea cinnamomeiventris
White-winged Cliff-Chat - Thamnolaea semirufa

Wagtails and Pipits ( Motacillidae )
Long-billed Pipit - Anthus similis

Shrikes ( Laniidae )
Northern Fiscal - Lanius humeralis

Starlings and Mynas ( Sturnidae )
White-billed Starling - Onychognathus albirostris

Cardueline Finches and Allies ( Fringillidae )
Streaky Seedeater - Crithagra striolata
Yellow-rumped Serin - Crithagra xanthopygia

Old World Sparrows ( Passeridae )
Red-billed Firefinch - Lagonosticta senegala
Village Indigobird - Vidua chalybeata




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