Road distances on the historic circuit

On p74 of the 5th edition we give the road distance of the historic circuit as about 3,000km, in the context of how long you’d need to travel the historical circuit. It has been pointed out that this is probably an exaggeration, and it occurred to me that the comment dates back to the first edition, in 1995, when info was less freely available than it is today, and I’ve never thought to recheck it.

The problem is how? There are no official figures that I’m aware of, and I wouldn’t rely on any one map either (road distances on these are also often inaccurate). However, I personally checked most of the distances on the map on p178-9 of the new edition against a car milometer a few years ago, so they should be accurate for all practical purposes.

Add those up and you get as follows:
AA – Bahir Dar – 580km (via Debre Markos)

BD – Gondar – 185km

Gondar – Axum – 336km (a few stretches here are far longer than indicated on some maps, due to gorges that mapmakers presumably didn’t allow for)

Axum – Mekele – 257km

Mekele – Woldia 234km

Woldia-Lalibela-Woldia 350km

Woliia- AA – 523km

So looks like the total distance is about 2500 rather than 3000 – though of course you might add on some kms with excursions & diversions… and even though roads have improved hugely since 1995, quite a few are still bad enough to make it feel like a lot more than 3,000km 🙂



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