Tis-Issat is a small village 30 kilometers south of Bahir Dar. The dirt road there can be quite muddy in the rainy season but it’s flat and straight all the way to the village. At the end of the road are the water works gates and to the left is the ticket office for the Tis-Abay, or Blue Nile Falls.
The entrance fee is 50 Birr. The staff at the ticket office were very friendly. A guide is not compulsary but we paid 300 Birr for a guided walk (about 5,5 kilometers) and tipped Abu, our guide another 50 Birr. We decided to drive to a carpark just below the Portugese Bridge and leave the van there which would chop a kilometer off the distance. A guard was needed for the van at the carpark and costed 50 Birr.
The Portugese Bridge (named after Afonso Mendes) is the oldest bridge in Ethiopia, built in 1624. Prior to the reglementation of the river the water flowed through all of the arches during the rains. The falls are about 40 meters high and 400 wide. The path from the bridge passes over the hill and turns right, running along the hillside opposite the falls. The view is splendid from up hear. It becomes even more impressive, louder and wetter as the path descends to the bottom of the falls. Only 10% of the original waters flow nowadays, unimaginable what it once must have looked like. The path then goes to a suspension bridge to cross the gorge, past a campsite which can't be driven to and is apparently the only accomodation available, on to the river which has to be crossed by boat and back to the village.
Fortunatly one of the water works trucks was there and took us to the van. We then drove back to the village where we were kindly given permission at the ticket office to stay there the night, in the van, free of charge. We spent the rest of that afternoon, the evening and the next morning exploring the shops and drinking coffee with the locals.
- Thankyou Abu