Travel and transport
Travel to the Biosphere Reserve
The future Lake Tana Biosphere Reserve is located just under 600 km north-west of Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa. Bahir Dar is the capital of the Amhara National Regional State and the largest town in the biosphere reserve. It is a good starting point for your visit to the biosphere reserve, being well connected to other Ethiopian cities.
Overland travel to the biosphere reserve is a very rewarding experience, and one that offers lots of opportunities to stop off to see the many of the sights along the way. It can be easily reached from Addis Ababa by road via Debre Markos and Kosober. This road is mostly well-surfaced and the journey takes a good day to drive by car. Great stop-offs to break up the journey include the Muger River Gorge, the monastery at Debre Libanos and the breath-taking Blue Nile Gorge. There is a reliable bus service between Addis Ababa and Bahir Dar, which takes one day. There is also one bus a day from the city of Gondar to the north of the biosphere reserve.
Bahir Dar is also connected to Addis Ababa by regular Ethiopian Airlines flights from Bahar Dar Ginbot Haya International Airport. Flights are reasonably priced and fly at least twice a day. It is possible to get connecting flights to other cities such as Gonder, Axum and Lalibela, to complete your trip. The airport is located just 3km outside of Bahir Dar and many hotels offer transfer services.
Transport within the Biosphere Reserve
There are lots of options for getting around the biosphere reserve, both with or without a private car.
Bahir Dar has a main bus station, situated in the centre of town. There are several buses a day that link Bahir Dar with the Blue Nile Falls. These are very reasonably priced and leave from the main station. Minibuses can be taken to the Zege Peninsular.
There are many options for getting around the city of Bahir Dar. Bajajs, three-wheeled rickshaws are the most popular form of transport in the city, and you can get to almost anywhere you want around town. Renting bicycles is another good option as the city is very flat and well suited for cycling. Bikes can be rented at various locations around the city including the Ghion Hotel. It is even possible to cycle to the Zege Peninsula. Taxis are another option for getting round town.
Ferries are an excellent opportunity to combine travelling with a trip on the lake. There are daily ferries from Bahir Dar to the Zege Peninsular and a weekly ferry from Bahir Dar to Gorgora. Tickets can be purchased from the Tana Transport Enterprise at the Bahir Dar port the day before. The ferry to Gorgora leaves Bahir Dar from the Ferry Jetty every Sunday morning, and returns every Wednesday morning with an overnight stop in Konzola in both directions. Boats can be easily rented from many places in Bahir Dar, e.g. most hotels. Or you contact Bahir Dar Transport directly (probably Amharic only: +251 (0) 2582207874/ +251(0) 582200006).