A Traveler’s Treat

Glamorous camping at the Lalibela Hudad ecolodge

By Jenny Ouliaris, Selamta Magazine

Lalibela Hudad (Photo By Stefan Cruysberghs) -
Lalibela Hudad (Photo By Stefan Cruysberghs) –

The well-trodden path from the holy city of Lalibela to the mountain plateau of the Hudad is a traveler’s treat. Serving as both the course for children on their daily trek to school and a busy highway of donkeys, goats and people on their way to market, this route provides a beautiful beginning to a truly authentic experience of life in Ethiopia’s highlands.

I’m joined on this path by two other adults and six children between ages 10 and 15, including my two children who were adopted from Ethiopia eight years ago. Though my family and I live in Australia, we take a biannual pilgrimage to Ethiopia so that my son and daughter may reconnect with their culture and their extended family.

I made this same trek with my children on our last visit, after scouring the Internet for places to spend our Christmas. The Lalibela Hudad — a 10-hectare ecolodge built in 2011 — provided the perfect place to celebrate the special time of year for our family.

Making this journey again, I am keenly aware of the danger of trying to recreate an experience (especially one I have talked so much about). But as we begin the arduous two- to three-hour walk up the mountain path, my anxiety quickly gives way; the kids run ahead to chatter and play with the local children while we adults meander behind, admiring the flora and fauna, the freshly harvested fields, and the local farming practices and customs.

The Hudad is set on a tabletop plateau 3,300 meters above sea level, offering 360-degree views of the magnificent hills and lush valleys below. Legend has it that the Hudad (“The Big Farm”) was named by King Lalibela, who built the area’s famed rock-hewn churches in the 13th century. Though the king lived in the town named after him below, the locals say he used this land around the Hudad to farm.

Read more at: Selamta Magazine