During the scenic boat ride across Lake Ziway, passengers will enjoy observing native birds and the local fishermen on their reed boats. Upon arrival at the island of Tulu Gudo, visitors are met by local guides and introduced to the unique culture of the Zay people. Though just 900 of them live on the island, their culture and language are completely different from the surrounding Oromo people. Visitors pass through the village and meet the community, experience the local way of life, and discover their traditional weaving.
The Maryam Tsion monastery is the highlight of the tour. Home to a fascinating collection of ancient relics dating back almost 1,100 years, the monastery features relics such as the beautiful Gedle-Kidusen manuscript, a parchment book written in Ge’ez, the ancient language of Ethiopia.
After the tour, visitors hike to an open-air restaurant and can relax with a traditional lunch of freshly caught and grilled fish served with local vegetables and enjera, Ethiopian sourdough flat bread.
From Tulu Gudo, visitors depart for a relaxed trip back to the mainland of Ziway. If visitors are lucky, they may be able to catch a glimpse of one of the shy hippos that occupy the lake's waters.
- Getting to know the Zay people – the ancient guardians of the Ark of the Covenant.
- Viewing thousand-year-old relics at the sacred Maryam Tsion monastery.
- Spotting native birds nesting on Bird Island.
Sample Itinerary - 5-6 Hours
- 9:00am: Depart from Ziway Jetty, stopping along the way for bird watching
- 11:00am: Reach Tulu Gudo and hike to Maryam Tsion Monastery
- 11:30am: Hear the story of the Ark while viewing ancient relics
- 12:30pm: Lunch
- 1:30pm: Depart from Tulu Gudo
- 2:00pm: Arrive to Ziway
What to Bring
- Long pants or skirt - Visitors must cover their legs to enter the monastery
- Hiking shoes or boots
- Sun screen, hat, and sunglasses
- Insect repellent
- Waterproof jacket
- Bottled water and snacks
- Camera (in a waterproof bag)
- Gratuities for guides and extra cash for refreshments and crafts
To Book Directly
Manager: Firafes Nebi
Call: +251 927 340 309
To Book through a Reservation Agent
Call: +251 550 8870 or +251 551 0168
For assistance arraning full tours including lodging and transportation book through one of the participating tour operators.