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Boat Trip on Lake Tana

For this morning we had booked a boat trip on Lake Tana leading us to four monasteries / churches on the lakes islands and peninsulas. To our understanding the following was included in the tour: a speedboat ride, a local guide showing us around, the entry fee to one of the monasteries and the visit of the source of the Blue Nile. What we actually received was: a ride in an extremely slow boat (15 HP for carrying 19 people), a guide who spoke two sentences and then disappeared, no entrance fee included and a brief drive by at the source of the Blue Nile without even announcing the site. We were not surprised by the situation since we experienced this kind of rip-off in many places in Ethiopia and our leader Tom is continuously managing our expectations that this might happen and we should take care to not be charged twice for the same service.

Due to the slow boat the drive to the first monastery took us 1.5 hours. When we arrived there and found out that the entry fee is not included in the tour we called our leader Tom and the hotel manager with whom Tom has booked the tour and complained about the situation. It turned out that the hotel manager kept our money for the entrance fee in his pocket (approx. 5.90 USD per person) probably hoping that it doesn’t turn out and we simply pay twice.

Due to our slow boat we also decided to skip two of the monasteries / churches and only visit one more church. Actually the churches at Lake Tana look different than the rock churches we seen before in the area of Mekele and Lalibela. They are round buildings and some of them have very colourful paintings inside.

After we returned at 2:30pm we went for a late lunch to a local pizza place in Bahir Dar which was recommended to us by the travellers of another overland truck from African Trails we ran into at the hotel ground. African Trails is running similar trips than Dragoman but a bit more on the rough side, e.g. camping only.

I spent the remaining day relaxing on the beautiful garden terrace of the hotel and following up on my emails.