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Mekele – The Windy City

Landing in Mekele

Landing in Mekele

After the second attempt the plane managed to take off from Addis Abeba to Mekele, Ethiopia’s fifth largest city: the first attempt ended when the pilot abruptly interrupted the take off with engines already at full throttle. One engine failed, we learned later.

From this chilly and windy city at 2.400 meters, we started our tour to the Danakil Depression. Our new travel companions, Stefan and Christina, had already checked out the town and introduced us to the best Italian restaurant there, a welcomed change after one week of Injera.

The next morning, we climbed down more than 2.500 meters towards the lowest point on the African continent in two 4WDs. The number of people inside was significant considering that we were only four customers: Liza and Christos, the owners of Pangeans Safari and our drivers, their two Greek cousins and Gibril, our cook. Later on, we added scouts and armed guards.

The chilly highlands were very different to anything we knew from the south of Ethiopia. The houses are built of stones and barefoot shepherds wrap in thin torn shawls to fight off the cold.

During the five hour journey to Berahile, we made out the first camel caravan in the distance. They trotted down an old river bed, a shorter route than the road we were on. Excitedly, we snapped photo after photo, not realizing that in a few hours these animals would be passing our campsite day and night.


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