Bike and Trek through Gheralta and Tembein

3 Days

Hidden away in the mountains like ancient treasures, the churches in Gheralata are described as ‘’ the greatest of the historical-cultural heritage of the Ethiopian people’’. The Gheralta Mountains chain is found deep within the northern high plateau of the Tigray region.

The geography of the Gheralta range is one of the most striking landscapes in all of Ethiopia. It’s picturesque setting, dazzling heights, age-old rock painting churches from the middle ages make it one of the premium destinations to be explored.

According to local tradition the churches in the Gheralta Mountains were constructed in the 4th Century by the first Christian kings of Ethiopia, Abraha, and Atsbeha, although it is more likely that many are 6th Century constructions, from the time when monasticism was spreading throughout the region. Many of the hermitage caves were expanded to become the enormous edifices that can now be admired flickering in candlelight amid the murmurs of the cream-shawled faithful. The churches have been hewn directly out of the mountainsides by hand, only their slim rock pillars left in place to prevent collapse.

From the churches of Gheralta, Abune Yemata Guh, Maryam korkor, and Daniel korkor are fascinating and frequently visited ones. Abune Yemata guh is a very beautiful painted church carved into a tall perpendicular sandstone pinnacle and accessed by a cliff face. Though regular visitors clamber up with ease, travelers often climb this rock face wrapped in ropes and harnesses.

What to See?

Gheralta is an amazing place to see and access age-old monasteries which nestled over a sheer cliff. The churches are embellished with spellbound frescoes and mural painting which dates back to the 12 and 13th-century ad.  The mountains here are an ideal place for trekking and mountain climbing. The people that inhabit in this part of Ethiopia have an amazing culture and way of life religious.


This adventure will begin with the combination of biking, walking, hiking and trekking through the churches and breathtaking landscapes Tembein and Gheralta.

The natural landscapes of the Gheralta Mountains are called by some travelers as the Ethiopian Arizona. We are engaging in a range of eco- tourism activities, the tour designed to offer you unique insight into Gheralta life. Visitors will have the opportunity to immerse themselves in the local culture by visiting farms that have been in operation for generation after generation, climb to the ancient rock-hewn churches, travel by horseback , camel and bike to the villages, witness the wide array of culture, taste the unique Ethiopian cuisine while having a coffee ceremony, and much, much more.

In choosing this special tour to visit and experience the landscapes, culture and famed rock-hewn churches in a unique and sustainable way. You will be hearing Gheralta’s story from the local people and experiencing the region’s remarkable beauty in a manner that no other tour operation can offer you; while at the same time giving back to our communities and supporting us to


After arrival, drive to Tembein and visit Abba Yohani Monastery. Tigrai northern Ethiopia is one of the over 200 rock hewn churches found throughout the state. The rock hewn churches and monasteries were built around 1800 to 1600 years ago. Abba Yohani monastery was built in the fourth century by Abune Aron Ze Gamche also some work has been done with the help of Emperor Gebremeskel of Axum. Emperor Gebremeskel is
the son of the famous Axumite King of Kings Emperor Kaleb.

Afternoon visit the lifestyles of the community in one of the household around Tembein area including irrigation activities

After a hearty breakfast, ride a bike to the direction of Gheralta Churches,en route stop to visit Mariam Hibito(Hidden Mary) Built in the 15th century, is really hidden in a foot hill and surrounded by old green trees. Unlike in many other rock-hewn churches of Tigrai, the carvers of this structure had much time to spend in beautifying its exterior. To say the least, they have cut out four free-standing columns reminiscent of those at Medhane Alem Addi Kesho. However,later on they have closed the veranda for the sake of protection or may be to widen the church. Inside the church there are four free standing and six non-free-standing columns. An unfinished dome-making effort is also evident on the ceiling.There is also water that comes out of the main church which is consider to the locals as holly water. The church itself is 13m deep and 9m wide. It can be reached after 34km from the town of Abbi-Addi and it onlt takes not morethan half an hour to wake up to the church. The church is also surrounded by mountains in attractive setting. Later, stop for a picnic lunch at one of a family house where you will be serviced with Ethiopian coffee ceremony.

In the afternoon after lunch, climb the rock hewn church of Abune Yemata (Guh) which requires physical fitness. Abune Yemata, one of the best known of the “Rock Churches“ in the Gheralta Range with colorful paintings of the new and old testament. Climbing up to the church takes 40 minutes and the view is breathtaking. The church is dated to the late Axumite period around 7th - 8th century AD and the ceiling is decorated with painted domes of saints. Ascending and descending is an adventure by itself.

After a morning breakfast, bike to the direction of Wukro and en route visit Abreha we Atsbeha church. he church is a large and cruciform in shape, with interesting architectural features such as cruciform pillars and step capitals. There is also well preserved 17th century paintings depicting Saints and Biblical scenes. The church contains many valuable.
Later, ride your bike through the road that goes to Mekelle and en route visit the newly excavated pre-Axumite site of Adi Akawih. The site is situated near the town of Wukro. This site has ancient objects such as a statute of seated women and at its base is an altar with Sabean inscription and a partially inscribed podium.
Finally, arrive Mekelle and check in to the airport for your flight to Addis

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Bike and Trek through Gheralta and Tembein
From $300 $0
/ Special Package