Excursion Tour – Debre Zeit

Duration: Full Day

Transportation: Drive

Itinerary Code: WETT0008

Type of Tour: Excursion Tour

Debre Zeit Creater lake and Mount Zuquala with the monastery

In the morning after breakfast, drive south from Addis to Mount Zuqualla. It is rich in forest birds, including the endemic black- winged lovebird, Abyssinian catbird, Abyssinian woodpecker and a variety of forest starlings. The beautiful lake in the middle of the 2Km - wide crater is sacred to Orthodox Ethiopians, who claim that it glows at night. It also often hosts a variety of unusual migrant ducks during the European winter.

Situated on the crater rim, the church and monastery of Zikwala Maryam was, according to the local legend, founded by a pair of Egyptian monks as early as the 4th century AD. A more plausible tradition links the monastery's foundation to Gebre Menfus Kidus, also known as Abo, an Egyptian priest who arrived in Ethiopia in arround 1175. The original church was one of several looted and destroyed by Ahmed Gragn in 1529. The older of the two extant churches was constructed by Emperor Menelik II in the 1880s. Drive back to Debre Zeit - lunch in Debre Ziet/Bishoftu/.

After lunch visit Hora creater lake. It is a saline body of water that reaches a depth of almost 40m. The thickly wooded slopes of the enclosing craters are teeming with woodland birds, and the reed - lined shores are home to various herons, waterfowl and other aquatic species. A colorful and important annual Oromo thanksgiving festival called the Irrecha is held on the shore of Lake Hora on the first day of October. This festival is registered by UNESCO as a world heritage.

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