Lake T’ana to the northwest of the Rift Valley can take a few days to completely explore, at up to 3,500km2 in area. Even though Lake T’ana has abundant wildlife, most visitors come for its historical sites. It leads as the most interesting lake, by far, when it comes to such sites. Lake T’ana is one of the best lakes to see pelicans and other birdlife and a good place to see hippos.
The pelicans are almost guaranteed to be seen on any boat trip, but the hippos are mainly only seen around the lake’s outlet, where the Abay or Blue Nile begins. With a fast boat, it is possible to cross the entire lake in a day, but this would not leave much time for visiting the lake’s islands, which are dotted with fairytale-like medieval churches and monasteries.
In addition to the typical tourist boats, Kuriftu Bahir Dar Resort has a more elegant modern boat. Another option is to take the state-operated ferry boat. In this case, the adventure of boating comes more from traveling with the local people and getting a glimpse of what life is like for them.
It takes at least two days to cross the lake from the south to the north or vice versa. This is partly because the ferry makes up to six stops throughout the journey. From Bahir Dar in the south, the first stop is the Zege Peninsula, which boasts a few, if not less authentic, churches. The next stop is in the middle of the lake on Dek Island with its famous Narga Silassie Church. An overnight stop in the village of Konzula on the western shore of the lake follows. There are two more unremarkable village stops along that shore after that, Ereydbir and Delgi, before reaching the historical town of Gorgora in the north, either in the evening of the second day or the morning of the third day, which is the final stop.