Une vie en Afrique

Une vie en Afrique

Un tourisme moins formel


Un tourisme moins formel


Créé le 18/08/2010

Mis à jour le : 15/05/11 



Bien que ne les ayant pas testées, voici quelques organismes internationaux réputés qui pourront éventuellement correspondre à vos critères de voyages.





- TESFA Community : 00 251 (0) // www.community-tourism-ethiopia.com


http://www.theaustralian.com.au/travel/climbing-in-the-northern-ethiopian-highlands-puts-food-on-the-table/story-e6frg8rf-1226054669414 - Climbing in the northern Ethiopian highlands puts food on the table



"Walking adventures in Ethiopia"

Gill Charlton

Oct 23, 2010

The Mequat Mariam lodge looks out over a vast gorge of layered sandstone.

Courtesy Julie Spence

As the road climbs away from Lalibela, even the steepest slopes have been sculpted into sickle-shaped fields. Not a stone is out of place in the retaining walls: testament to the hard work of generations of farmers who battle erosion and drought every day of their lives.

On top of the escarpment, 3,000 metres above sea level, we load our bags onto donkeys and set off on foot across this remarkable landscape. Our guide is Fantau, a whip-thin 20-something with a big smile and good English. Like so many Ethiopians, he has triumphed over adversity. After losing his parents at the age of 10, his sisters packed him off to Lalibela with a few birr in his pocket. He slept rough on the streets, worked as a shoeshine boy, and managed to graduate from high school. He dreamt of making good in Addis Ababa but could find no work. Destitute, he took a job on a sesame farm near the Sudanese border, but his hands were too soft to labour in the fields. The Zimbabwean manager, impressed by his quick mind, taught him bookkeeping and English.

"I owe everything to that man. He did not need to help me, yet he did so much," says Fantau, who returned to Lalibela two years ago and trained as a guide with Tesfa (Tourism in Ethiopia for Sustainable Future Alternatives).

Set up six years ago under the auspices of the charity Save the Children, Tesfa gives remote villages in northern Wollo the chance to earn much-needed cash by hosting tourists in their highland communities. We set off along the flat trail in the thin, cool air, passing clusters of tukuls, traditional round stone thatched cottages. From every door a couple of tiny tots peer out at us. Older siblings scamper over the rock-strewn fields to shake our hands. They wear dusty, ragged hand-me-downs, much-patched and mended.

In the river bed, women are filling big pottery jars with muddy brown water. Their menfolk are threshing barley, driving a string of yoked bullocks, donkeys and mules around in a large circle.

I take photographs of a farmer tossing grain high in the air with a wooden pitchfork to separate the chaff. He stops work and offers me some barley beer in a rusty tin can. I manage a few mouthfuls without my lips touching the metal. Nobody else is brave enough to try it.

We reach our first night's accommodation in the late afternoon: three specially built tukuls set on the edge of a precipice. Each has two beds with thick mattresses and duvets to keep out the night-time cold. Separate mini-tukuls house the thunderbox toilet and a place to wash.

A trio of shy cooks welcomes us with slices of pizza and a dish of perfectly fried potato straws. The view is stupendous: rare stands of ancient juniper trees cling to the escarpment as it sweeps down to the valley floor. The sound of children's laughter drifts up on the thermals. In the distance, a craggy sandstone massif stretches away to the horizon, burnished a brilliant orange by the setting sun.

We dine on spicy vegetable soup, spaghetti with tomatoes and spinach, and popcorn served with proper coffee. Coffee-making has almost as much ceremonial status in Ethiopia as tea does in Japan. The beans are roasted over a brazier and then presented to each guest to comment on the always excellent aroma. After grinding with a pestle, the coffee is boiled up in a black clay jug and poured from high into tiny cups. A plug of grass holds back the grounds. There are always three rounds, each a little weaker.

I rise with the sun and walk around the village of Wajela. Children on their way to school rush up and compose themselves for photographs. Their heads are shaved except for a curly mop on top. They are bright-eyed and inquisitive - but there are so many of them. It must be a real stuggle to feed such large families out of this stony ground.

We breakfast on scrambled egg, thick toast and honey. "The cooks go to Lalibela to learn how to cook western dishes," says Fantau. "We realise that not everyone likes injera [the fermented pancake that is Ethiopia's national dish] and so we bake bread and get pasta from the market."

As I puff up a hill in the thin air, I see that the locals overtaking me have placed their long walking sticks across their shoulders, a forearm wrapped over each end. I try the pose with my walking pole and it makes such a difference. By opening up my chest like this I can get a lot more air into my lungs.

The landscape changes subtly. It could almost be Switzerland. Horses and cows graze in lush green meadows and the air is perfumed by thyme and oregano. We follow a river as it tumbles down through a black basalt rock garden before crashing over the side of a rock amphitheatre to the valley floor hundreds of metres below.

Our lunch tukul is nearby and has a bird's-eye view over a vast, crumpled landscape. Injera is on the menu today. It's made from a very fine cereal grain called tef that grows only in Ethiopia and is far more nutritious than wheat. The spongy grey rubber pancake scores zero for looks. The cooks dollop on chickpea goulash and spicy lentil stew and we use our hands to tear off a strip to pick up some sauce. Maybe we are just ravenously hungry but this injera tastes delicious, not as sour as the fermented version we have eaten in the towns.

For Bruk, our national guide from Addis, this is his first trek in the Wollo region and he's full of praise for Tesfa. "I just can't believe how well these simple people are looking after us, and how friendly they are," he says. "I now realise it's the people that make a great walk, not the gradient. In the Simien Mountains [Ethiopia's main trekking area] all you see is mist, baboons and giant lobelia."

As we walk on, a large group of children follow us screaming "ciao". The donkey handler shouts at them. They instantly transform themselves from mischievous mob into angelic choir and launch into folk song. A cheeky small boy acts out the song's fight scene with a stick. He is hilarious and we fall about laughing.

Our next lodge, Mequat Mariam, looks across a vast gorge of layered sandstone that makes America's Grand Canyon look puny in comparison. A troop of Gelada baboons is playing in the sun. They are beautiful creatures with dark expressive faces, almond-shaped eyes and long aristrocratic noses. As the adults grub around in the stubble, the youngsters knock each other about for our cameras.

Sitting on a sunny rock platform, the lodge manager is doing paperwork. "There is so much of it," he says. "Nearly 700 visitors have come through this year." Each community elects a lodge manager, Fantau explains, and if he's not honest or up to the job he's fired.

So many community tourism projects fall by the wayside after a promising start. Tesfa is different; each tourist pays US$50 (Dh184) a night - many also make a small donation - and villagers immediately see the benefits: a water pump here, a grain storage facility there. And when someone needs to go to hospital there's money to hire a vehicle to take them and to pay for the medicine.

Tesfa is the brainchild of Mark Chapman, a Briton who lives in Addis Ababa. "I originally thrashed the idea out with a friend in a cafe in Lalibela in 1999," says Mark, who remains the driving force behind the project. With donations from Irish Aid and the Ambassadors' Wives Club, among others, he raised enough to build the first tourist tukuls, train the villagers and rent an office.

"What makes Tesfa so special," Mark says, "is that it's run almost entirely by the villagers. They decide who gets paid what, how the money is spent, and how much is saved for disaster relief."

On our final evening, we persuade the cooks, the manager and the accountant to join us around the fire inside the dining tukul. Someone finds a plastic pail and drums a beat. The women sing harvest ballads in strong, pure voices and the men show off their shoulder shimmies, Ethiopia's national dance. Now it is we who are the shy ones. Nobody can remember the words to any decent song until we hit on the idea of singing Christmas carols. So here we are - a banker, a journalist, an actor and a yoga teacher - laughing and singing with our Ethiopian hosts. This is what travelling should be about.

Askal, the chef, tells me he's surprised that people from the land of cars are happy to stay in his simple village - and to walk for seven hours a day. "Not only that, but you pay us well," he says.

Brad Pitt has stayed at Mequat Mariam and his signature in the visitors' book is proudly shown to us. "Many thanks, much love," it reads.

On our final day we reach "the Road". It rears above us, a major highway being built by the Chinese. Clambering up on to it as lorries thunder past, I realise that this is the future. It will bring the modern world to north Wollo, but I am not sure it will make these farming communities any happier or more prosperous than they are with a little help from Tesfa.

Fact box

The flight Return fares from Dubai to Addis Ababa on Emirates (www.emirates.com) cost from Dh2,065 including taxes. Return flights from Addis Ababa to Lalibela on Ethiopian Airlines (www.ethiopianairlines.com) cost from 5,667 birr (Dh1,268)

The stay Tesfa has nine community-run lodges around Lalibela in northern Wollo province. Four lodges started operating in the adjoining province of Tigray in August and more will be opened in future to create a walking trail between some of the most famous rock churches. You can book guided treks and lodge stays ranging from one to seven nights through Tesfa (www.community-tourism-ethiopia.com; 00 251 111 225 024) for $50 per person per day, including accommodation, all meals, guide and donkey transport. Village Ways (www.villageways.com; 00 44 1223 7500049), a UK-based tour operator, will tailor packages to Wollo and Tigray".








Grottes avec stalagtites et stalagmites, je ne sais pas si on peux les visiter mais on peut toujours essayer : http://etio.webs.com/akundudoparkcoming.htm


Pour en savoir plus et voir des photos : www.emilytaylorphoto.com ou emily@emilytaylorphoto.com





Try it, interesting !!!





Informations about ETHIOPIA






"AFRICAN DELIGHTS" - The Telegraph - Calcutta - 30/10/10


Ethiopia is a beautiful melting pot of religious traditions, lingering italian influence and the raw energy of Africa, says Neelam MATHEWS.

My flight on Ethiopian Airways from Delhi to Addis Ababa was uneventful and free of worries (after all I had my yellow fever shots, valid for a decade), though it gave me an inkling of what to expect in Addis — a land of warm, majestic, good-looking and genial people.

As soon as we landed at Addis Ababa Bole International Airport, I was whisked away by a slim lanky man from Ethiopian Airlines. He led me to the immigration desk, mumbling magic words in Amhara, the second-most spoken Semitic language in the world, and hey presto, my passport was stamped in a jiffy!

The signage in the city uses Ge’ez alphabets, which to my uninitiated eyes looked like Hebrew. Of course, there are ancient links between Israel and Ethiopia. The existence of Black Jews in Ethiopia has been known for some time. The community is called Falasha — a term which means ‘exile’ in Ge’ez and also derives from the Amharic word for ‘strangers’.

Though Ethiopia was never colonised, it was under Italian occupation from 1936-1941, during Mussolini’s regime. And that brief spell was enough to have left an indelible imprint on the city, most particularly in its food. Astonishingly, you can find some truly great lasagna and pizza in this corner of the world.

My foray into the city left me amazed. On one hand there were the incredibly wide streets and on the other, the Merkato (market), the largest open air market in Africa. With loud music blaring in the background and what looked like all the 2 million people of the capital congregated there to buy everything from clothes, hairdryers, used cars, electronic equipment, handicrafts, it was a sight to be seen. And yes, coffee is a big part of the trade here.

It was much later, when I heard Girma Wake, the CEO of Ethiopian Airlines speak, that I began to understand the historical significance and antecedents of this land. Wake reminded everybody that the over 3.5 million year-old skeleton of Lucy, the oldest hominid, was found in Ethiopia. The discovery has completed the missing link between apes and men — paving the way for the search to human origins. “Welcome back home,” he said, half in jest.

My next stop was Bahir Dar, a short plane ride away from Addis Ababa. The city is located on the shore of Lake Tana, the largest lake in Ethiopia and the source of the Blue Nile which weaves its way up to Khartoum, and on to the Mediterranean. It is one of the tourist hotspots in Ethiopia. But unlike most tourist hubs, the place speaks only of serenity. Almost touching its shore, in semi-darkness, I watched one of the spectacular flaming sunsets Africa is so loved for and for that moment, all seemed well with the world.

My real brush with spirituality however came at Lalibela, one of the most revered pilgrimage centres for Ethiopian Orthodox Christians. Ancient Ethiopian Christians seem to have had an eye for dramatic settings for their prayer houses!

The churches in Lalibela, thought to be about a thousand years old now, are really unique. They are a fantastic testament to rock-cut architecture, each church being sculpted out of natural rock. But even more awe-inspiring than the extraordinary architecture was the life that goes on inside these churches. It was a glimpse into an unknown world as priests got ready to perform ceremonies and I walked past a man reading the holy book impervious to strangers like me passing by, invading his space. These are living churches.

An anthropologist I had met the night before had told me that of the 12 rock underground churches, I must check out the Beit (House) of St George and I was not disappointed. It is a nearly perfect cube, hewn in the shape of a cross and set in a deep pit with perpendicular walls. It can only be entered via a hidden tunnel carved in the stone. The vivid paintings show scenes of miracles and worship.

I took the flight back to Addis and was struck with the new reality of having to go thro-ugh extreme security at least thrice within barely 10 steps. “We have aggressive neighbours,” said the security woman to me softly, referring to the neighbouring unsettled Somalia.

I couldn’t bear to leave without experiencing a traditional Ethiopian meal, which is as much a feast for the eyes as a gastronomic extravaganza. A stunning woman dressed in a shama, carried a long-spouted copper pitcher and a copper basin in her left hand. She poured warm water over my hands, a sign that I was to eat with them. She returned with a domed cover unveiling a tray covered with what looked like a gray cloth overlapping the edge on which the food was placed. This was injera, the sour dough pancake-like bread of Ethiopia.

The feast began. Four of us sat around the tray, tearing off pieces of the ‘tablecloth’ to roll the food in, like we do with chapatis. Long-necked bottles held Tej, an amber-coloured honey wine. I lost track of all I was given — spicy chicken wat and lamb wat (stews), iab (cottage cheese) and even dal! I gave kitfo — ground raw beef — a miss though. Ethiopian coffee — the trees of which I saw in Bahir Dar — is served in tiny cups.

There was no dessert and I was grateful for that. It was time for me to take a flight back home, on a heavy stomach but with a very light heart.


» Ready reckoner

Getting there: Ethiopian Airlines flies four times a week to Addis Ababa.

Staying there: Major hotel chains include Hilton and Sheraton.

Fast facts: Bole International Airport is 5km from the city centre. Ethiopian Airlines runs a free shuttle bus into the city. Very few streets have names in Addis Ababa, with the exception of Churchill Avenue.

Pix courtesy: James Styan and Michael Fadey







Oct. 20, 2010

Unique Ethiopia: Wildlife, History, 13-month Year


(AP)  ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (AP) - For many people around the world, mentioning Ethiopia brings to mind its devastating 1984 famine. The specter of the disaster haunts the country's international image and still hurts the growth of its fledgling tourism industry.

But here's the reality that awaits those few adventurous visitors who do make the trip: A high plateau of lush, green hills that's more like Scotland than the desert; decadent nightlife in Addis Ababa; and historic sites like the island monasteries of Lake Tana and Lalibela, a remarkable complex of 12th-century churches.

In addition, Ethiopia's wildlife parks are teeming with game, but unlike Kenya, where packs of tourists compete for a glimpse of lions, here you might have the animals all to yourself.

Traveling in Ethiopia, however, can be uniquely disorienting. Ethiopians insist on doing things their own way. They have their own calendar - with 13 months; their own year - it's currently 2003; and their own time - 6 a.m. is their midnight. The national language, Amharic, has Semitic roots, like Arabic and Hebrew, and a unique alphabet. (Rest assured, English is widely spoken.) Roughly two-thirds of the people are Ethiopian Orthodox - a creed with its own rites, different from those of the Russian or Serbian Orthodox churches - while a third is Muslim.

A trip to Ethiopia, then, is less like a sojourn in Africa than a visit to some far-flung island, where everything is strange and compelling.

You'll need a couple of weeks to even begin to do justice to this sprawling country - bordered on the north by Sudan, on the south by Kenya and Somalia and on the east by Djibouti and Eritrea, which gained independence from Ethiopia in 1993 after a 30-year guerrilla war.

Roads are generally poor, and it can take long hours or even days to travel several hundred miles overland - particularly in the April-September rainy season. Luckily, Ethiopian Airlines - widely considered Africa's premier carrier - operates flights from the capital, Addis, to the main must-see sites, including Lalibela.

Addis is a sprawling city of congested thoroughfares and hidden residential neighborhoods with narrow streets that dissolve into thick mud every time it rains, and it can seem a dismal place to start an Ethiopian sojourn. But resist the temptation to flee and the city will open to you, revealing scores of cute cafes, hot nightspots, chill lounges and gourmet restaurants.

Top suggestions include Eyoha or Fasika national restaurants, where remarkably athletic dancers showcase the country's unique shoulder-shaking traditional dance styles as diners tuck into heaping plates full of local delicacies.

Ethiopian cuisine, which is heavy on sauces and served on spongy crepe-like bread called injera, leaves no one indifferent. You either love it or you hate it. Love it, and you can eat like a king, splurging on multi-dish meals of wot, a sauce of goat or lamb, and kifto, marinated raw meat. Made from an Ethiopian grain called tef, injera is eaten at every meal and also serves as cutlery, used to scoop up the juicy sauces.

Hate it, and you stand a good chance of shedding some serious weight. Besides a dozen top-notch places in Addis, restaurants serving foreign cuisine are few and far between. Order the spaghetti marinara in some provincial town, like I did, and you might find yourself using scraps of injera to scoop up earthworm-sized bits of cold pasta drenched in what appeared to be ketchup.

But there is some decent Italian food to be had if you know where to go. Indeed, the best foreign cuisine in Ethiopia is a result of Italy's brief occupation of the country in the 1930s. Try Castelli, an Addis institution that has been serving up an antipasti buffet and fresh pasta for generations. Another option is the Ristorante da Bruno, which has won well-deserved acclaimed for its wood-fired pizzas.

Another legacy of the Italian presence are the coffee houses that serve up strong espressos and macchiatos. At Tomoca, you can get vacuum-packed bags of Ethiopian grown beans roasted to perfection in oversized colonial-era machines.

Vegetarians be warned: Ethiopian Orthodox adherents normally go vegetarian twice a week, on Wednesdays and Fridays, and fast for the 56 days preceding Ethiopian Orthodox Easter. But for the month after Easter, so-called "fasting foods," or meat- and dairy-free dishes, are scarce.

For all-night dancing, try Club Platinum or the Gaslight, at the Sheraton hotel, where the mix of Ethiopian and R&B beats is infectious. Just be aware that at both establishments, as in other clubs across Ethiopia, most of the women on the dance floor are prostitutes.

Addis has the best shopping in the country, with a wide range of regional specialty products and styles. Try the area around Piassa for the heavy silver disc earrings from the northern Tigray region and Persian Gulf-inspired necklaces in oversized beads of silver and resin - all sold by the gram.

After a few action-packed days in Addis, you'll be ready to hit the road.

Most visitors head north to visit Ethiopia's tourist triumvirate - Bahir Dar, Aksum and Lalibela, the crown jewel. Ethiopian Airlines sells multi-leg tickets from Addis with stops at each site.

A winding complex of 11 churches cut out of the rust-red granite tucked into a wind-swept moonscape, Lalibela is frankly astounding. Legend claims it's the work of angels but in reality the complex was commissioned by the powerful 12th-century King Lalibela and picked out of the rock with hammers and chisels over decades.

The roofs are at ground level, so to reach the churches - clustered in two separate sites - you have to climb down steep stairs cut into the rock and worn smooth by a millennia's-worth of bare feet. Priests swathed in cream-colored robes live inside the cool, dark interiors, lit by sunlight that filters in through cross-shaped windows sliced into the rock walls.

The most impressive church is Bet Giorgis, or Saint George, a towering structure with a floor plan in the shape of a Greek cross.

The churches are still used - during the Easter period, tens of thousands of pilgrims converge on the site - so you can't visit them without a guide.

Bahir Dar is perched on Lake Tana, the source of the Blue Nile. The once-mighty Blue Nile Falls has been largely choked to a trickle by a dam, but dozens of monasteries and churches dot the lake's islands, making Bahir Dar well worth a visit. Built mostly in the 16th and 17th centuries, some sites have fantastically painted interiors and ceilings. Boat tours will take you from island to island but some sites are off-limits to women.

Aksum, near the sometimes volatile northern border with Eritrea, was the capital of an empire that flourished for centuries beginning in the fifth century B.C. Ruins of what was a major hub on a trade route between the Roman Empire and India dot the outskirts. Towering obelisks and remains of royal tombs and ancient castles are now UNESCO World Heritage sites.

Elsewhere in the country, east of Addis, is Harar, a mostly Muslim city that was once a hub for trade between East Africa and the Persian Gulf region. It's also a UNESCO World Heritage site, with a bustling market and profusion of mosques, most of them small shrines built during the city's heyday in the homes of successful merchants.

Head south of Addis for the country's best safaris, at the Yabelo or Stephanie Wildlife Sanctuaries or the remote Omo National Park. The sprawling park, which covers some 15,400 square miles, and the surrounding Omo Valley region are also home to a patchwork of tribes: The Mursi are known for their elaborately scarified bodies and oversized clay lip plates, while the Hamar people are herders with distinctive clay-colored rag-doll braids, known for their bull-jumping ceremony. (An initiation for young men, it's exactly what it sounds like.)

With all these possibilities north, south and east of the capital, the hardest part may be deciding where to go.


If You Go...

ETHIOPIA TOURISM INFORMATION: http://tourismethiopia.org/

UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITES IN ETHIOPIA: http://whc.unesco.org/en/statesparties/et

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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