Bahir Dar

Bahir Dar

Blue Nile falls (Tis Issat)

Abay is the local term for the Blue Nile River, and the Blue Nile falls are also known as Tis Abay (the Smoke of the Nile). Located around 30 km from Bahir Dar, these falls are also known as Tis Issat (the Water that Smokes). Lake Tana is the source of these spectacular falls and the water falls between 37 to 45 meters into the Blue Nile Gorge and begins its 900-mile journey to the Mediterranean Sea. While the waterfalls are quite ordinary in the dry season, it can swell to an impressive width of 400 metres during the rainy season (June to September), with a roaring sound and rich silt-laden flow.

Lake Tana

Lake Tana is the largest lake in Ethiopia and the source of the amazing Blue Nile, which flows into Khartoum to meet the White Nile and flows as the Main Nile into Egypt. The lake has several islands with more than 20 monastic churches, which were founded during the 14th century.

These include the monasteries of Debre Maryam, Bete Maryam or Entos Eyesu. They are home to monks even today and contain ancient and incredible paintings. According to local legend, the Ark of the Covenant brought from Jerusalem to Ethiopia by Menelik, the son of the Queen of Sheba, was kept safe in one of the many monasteries on Lake Tana. Friendly local boatmen are willing to take you on their motor boats to visit these islands and monasteries.