There are four communities in Eastern Tigray running their own guesthouses, that have been operational for several years : Erar, Enaf, Gohgot and Shimbrety.
These four form a diamond shape in the red sandstone mountains of the Agame massif just to the south and west of Adigrat.
Shimbrety is the furthest south, nearest to Gheralta, and on the western ridge of the Agame massif. It can be reached by walking from either Muzety – a short but bumpy drive north from Hawzen, or from Idega Arbi, a further 20 minutes drive north. The guesthouse is on the top of the ridge with wonderful views in different directions. There are a few scattered farmsteads on the top here, from where the Shimbrety community staff come. We were amazed to find Gelada Baboons along this ridge too!
Erar is further north along the same ridge, again with great views west, here some of the odd shaped peaks from Adwa and the Pillars of Nebulat can be seen in the evening sun. This guesthouse is more remote, as there are no farm houses on this part of the massif. From Erar its a short walk to the trail head for guests who want to head for the Axum/Adwa/Adigrat road, but its worth making a detour to seethe lovely rock
church under the escarpment at Mariam Kiat , where water gushes out of the cliffs and there are green fields and gardens around the houses.
Enaf is on top of massif, nearest to Adigrat and with stunning views across the massif, and a trail down to Agoro Lodge. On the trail around there is some lovely Juniper woodland, and at one point a church with huge old Olive trees. The trail up to Enaf from Gohgot goes near to a lovely built up church half way up a cliff called Debre Giyorgis. To get to this church you need to climb up stout eucalyptus ladders on the cliff. Definitely not for the faint hearted. Its also possible to walk to Erar, but it is a long walk compared to the other walks.
Gohgot is the only site not right on top of the mountains, but nestled under the cliff, still with great views. There is a lovely rock church called Gohgot Eyesus in the valley behind, maybe a 1 hour walk from the guest house. Gohgot is the south east of the four, with trails connecting it to the town of Idega Hamus on the main road south of Adigrat.
Three newer guest houses are being finalised further to the North. Mugulat – just north of Erar and Kiat, then further north is Chehat, and the furthest north is at Amba Fekada on the top of the mountain with spectacular views all around. Amba Fekada sits just beside the site of some ancient pre-Axumite ruins. We hope these can be operational soon
The Agame massif has a peak of 3,333 meters, a few kilometers west of Adigrat, and from their ridges of sandstone run out into the Tigrayan plains to the south and west of the high point. Hidden in these mountains are a number of very old rock-hewn churches and several equally old built up churches. There is also one tunnel carved through the escarpment between Shimbrety and Erar that allows worshipers to come from the west side of the mountains to the pretty little rock church of Mariam Buzuhan.
A Tesfa trek gives you the chance to stay with the local communities, see their way of life and visit some of these remarkable churches. You can link your stay here to either of the two lodges in the area. Gheralta Lodge is situated just to the south of the trek near the small town of Hawzen, and Agoro Lodge is a few hours walk down from Enaf Guest House on the outskirts of Adigrat. The area is also served by Ethiopian Airlines local flights at Axum and Mekele, each several hours drive from the nearest trail heads.
The trekking in Tigray takes you up and down the escarpments, and although the walks can be short at least once a day you will go up and down a 200 meter escarpment. However take the walk up slowly, enjoy the views and let your guide assist you, and you will manage. There are steep edges at some points, but for the most part your guide can keep you away from the edge, but do let us know if you suffer from bad vertigo.
All treks are made with one of our trained guides, who are based in Adigrat. They will come out to meet you and take you on the trek.
Each community guesthouse consists of three bedrooms, each with two beds in it, so they can comfortably sleep six people. There is a dining room, a roof top terrace, and simple eco-toilet and wash facilities, all contained in a traditional stone built compound that resembles the local Hedemo farmsteads.
A well trained and enthusiastic guide will take you on your trip. They are based in Adigrat and will come to meet you at the trail head, or at a pre arranged point. They will be your link to the local farmers that will host you on your stay. On the trek a donkey will carry your luggage (on steep sections near guest houses porters may be used), so please keep your luggage to maximum 20kgs, and in soft bags please. One donkey can carry a max of 40kgs – and there will be one donkey per two guests. Local guides and donkey handlers will come on the trek and hand over to those coming from the destination community at the halfway mark. Lunch will often be served at the destination community, or if the trek is longer along the trail. Guest houses will serve snack food, dinner, and breakfast, and will have a selection of bottled drinks available for a small extra charge.