Abi Aday & Aba Salama Church

This walk is more interesting for its scenery than for i’ts rather inaccessible church. It is situated in Tembien in the vicinity of Abi Aday. The best accommodation is Ras Alula Hotel in Abi Aday where you can find a young boy to accompany you to the amba or to guard your car during your absence, but there is no problem with the farmers. Adwa is far away.    
From Abi Aday, travel in the direction of Adwa, then turn right after about 15km towards the village of Workamba on a very bad road. Near a small hamlet (km21), you could stop to look at a monument commemorating the war between Italian and Ethiopian troops (Ras Kassa/ Ras Seyoum / General Soma). Shortly after this, turn right at the fork, then, in the village of Getszem Eleseley, turn left under a high-tension line near a superb fig tree, passing near a tank (from the civil war). At km29/30, you need to stop because the track is completely broken, and to go on foot between fences of aloes and thorny bush for about one hour with the peak of Kornale on the left. The track arrives at a little village, from where you need to walk East/North-East) for 15 minutes to the edge of an impressive red cliff called Dergouagoua. This is the canyon of the Adeha river, with beautiful mountains all around (Hirakouo to the East and Amba Ferei to the South). Near the rim, there are two sheepfolds built in stones. It is forbidden for women to go further, but there was nobody around when we visited (incredible in Ethiopia!). From here, it is more difficult, maybe impossible if you suffer from vertigo, as you have to go down on a ladder, cross a big rock, climb a second ladder and follow a narrow ledge above a terrifying drop. It is only 20 meters along the cliff, then you need to jump on a ladder to get between the amba and a peak. There is a high ladder (maybe 5 or 6 meters) but it was not sealed on the wall and it was impossible to climb above the middle. It is certainly the reason why we saw anybody. So we didn’t see the church, but the landscape is one of the most beautiful I saw in the marvellous mountains of Tigrai.

Yolande and Jacky BOTTINI


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