Tigray Region, Ethiopia
At a Glance
The perfect base for tours to the rock hewn churches of the Tigrai region
Fantastic views from bungalows
A well thought-out, well furnished and clean property. An Ethiopian idyll
Best time to Visit
Good time to visit
Average time to visit
The best time to visit Ethiopia is from mid to late October until May. During this time the highlands are ideal for hiking especially after the rainy season has just finished as the landscape bursts into life.
Due to the high altitude of the country in comparison to its location conditions get quite cool at night. Temperatures generally can reach above 30°C in lowland areas, whereas the highland temperature can dip below 20°C. Addis Ababa has a relatively even temperature year-round.
To start planning your vacation to Gheralta Lodge
Gheralta Lodge, located in the historic area of Gheralta, is a 15-bungalow lodge constructed in 2007 by the Rizzotti family, bringing a little bit of Italy to Tigrai and paving the way for good quality accommodation in northern Ethiopia.
Gheralta Lodge comes highly recommended is perfect for those of you wanting tranquillity, scenic trekking, fascinating history all facilitated through Enrica and Silvio's wonderful service.
The lodge and bungalows are designed so that externally they blend into their surroundings, resembling the traditional tukul style. However their interior is more European-feeling as is some of the menu (and wines) here. The communal areas at the Lodge are as comfortable and cosy as the bedrooms and welcome a sociable atmosphere amongst guests, perfect to enjoy a glass of wine and watch an African sunset.
The accessibility of the lodge is a great plus, just a 20-minute walk to the center of Hawzen but far enough away to keep the noises of the town at bay. It is a charming base from which to explore the rock-hewn churches of Tigrai in an idyllic off-the-beaten-track location.
The lodge is situated in a 10 acre area with a breathtaking view of the Gheralta mountains. There are 15 well-maintained and comfortable bungalows making up the lodge.
There are currently no child care facilities on offer at the lodge.
At the lodge there is a restaurant with a leisure area with a DVD player and a library. The dishes on offer are prepared using local ingredients.
The couple running the lodge are keen to help you plan your time in Gheralta territory and beyond so that you get the most out of it. They can advise on which of the 200 or so churches to visit and how to get to them. They can also advise on the best places to watch sunset and sunrise and catch a glimpse of some of the local birds.
Get high in Ethiopia
The rock-hewn churches of Gheralta intertwine history with legend. Ethiopia, tradition has it, was ?rst settled by a great-grandson of Noah. The imperial dynasty that ruled for 3,000 years and ended with the death of Haile Selassie in 1975 was, most Ethiopians believe, founded by the son of King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba. It is a matter of historical record that Christianity was the of?cial state religion by the middle of the fourth century, and the Ethiopian Orthodox Church has ploughed its own (often isolated) furrow ever since. The churches around Gheralta, and in the surrounding region of Tigrai, mark its path through the course of many centuries. It was time for a closer look.
We landed at Gheralta Lodge, an unobtrusive collection of traditional stone-walled bungalows looking out over the mountains, barely 30 minutes after leaving Mekele; the same journey by road would have taken well over two hours. After a lunch of pasta with fresh pesto that could have held its head high in Genoa (owner Silvio Rizzotti is a devotee of the Slow Food movement, and it shows), we piled into a minibus with thick acrylic fur on the dashboard and fringes on the sun visors, and bumped off along a rutted road, through rich farmland. Gebre, our guide, listed the crops as we passed: wheat, lentils, millet, sorghum. The cruel famines many people still associate with Ethiopia were exacerbated, in a normally fertile country, by the political ineptness and malice of governments now overthrown. Around us, people were busy with a good harvest.
Tropic Air - Ethiopia By Helicopter
Addis Ababa, Lalibela and Hawzen
from $43300 pp 8 nights
- This is the ultimate Ethiopian adventure and a photographers dream
- Fly over the Etra Ale volcano and see the lava bubbling below you
- Hover over the rock churches of Lalibela before landing and meeting your driver and guide to see them up close
Location & directions
Tigray Region, Ethiopia
The lodge is located in East Tigray and is remote enough for some peace and quiet but also just 20-minutes from the town of Hawzen. In the Gheralta area there is much to see with its unique chain of mountains and ancient architecture.
- 24/7 concierge service
- 24/7 emergency assistance
- Firsthand knowledge
- Renowned service
- Award-winning tour operator