ETHIOPIA BLUE NILE FALLS BEST TIME TO VISIT: While regulated for the Blue Nile Power plant, find out when they still offer a marvelous spectacle

Ten amazing Blue Nile Falls facts:

  1. The Blue Nile Falls are among the great falls in Africa;

  2. They are 37 - 45m high and about 400m wide;

  3. In Amharic they are called "Tis Abay", meaning "smoking water";

  4. The Blue Nile drains Lake Tana and its tributaries;

  5. Nearby the Blue Nile is crossed by the oldest stone bridge of Africa;

  6. Since 2003 a hydro-electric plant has reduced the flow of the falls;

  7. The Blue Nile is not blue, but brown with sediments;

  8. The Blue Nile forms part of the headwaters of the Nile, the world's longest river;

  9. The falls formed a barrier for fish, which allowed the upstream fish to develop into separate endemic species;

  10. The Blue Nile has carved out a the Blue Nile Canyon, almost as long as the Grand Canyon.



Blue Nile Falls, Ethiopia, Facts & Best time to visit

Blue Nile Falls, Ethiopia, Facts & Location: are 37 - 45m high; the largest waterfalls of Ethiopia at a distance of ? 35km from Bahir Dar and Lake Tana. They can be conveniently combined with a visit to Lake Tana, the origin of the Blue Nile. In Amharic they are called "Tis Abay", meaning "smoking water". During the full dry season, there only runs a trickle of water trough the falls, or none at all. As the upper Blue Nile is fed by Lake Tana, there is a certain delay effect, as the level of Lake Tana determines the amount of water running through the fall; not the most recent rainfall. That means that at the beginning of the rainy season there still is not much water in the upper Blue Nile, while at the beginning of the dry season, there still is a lot of water accumulated in Lake Tana and consequently, there still is water running through the falls. In fact, the late wet season may be the best. During the peak of the wet season, each rain shower washes a lot of sediments into the river, and the color of the falls may be brown. At the end of the rainy season, with few rain showers washing sediments into the river, the water becomes clear and the falls turn beautifully white. As a rule of thumb, water may start accumulating in May and run through as late as October and November.  But always check with us, because most tour operators will lie about the amount of water running through the falls. WE DON'T and tell you how much water there is!


A picture is worth a thousand words. Most of our hundreds of pictures are favored in Google! Why? Because no other website has so many beautiful high resolution pictures, all taken by ourselves. Our pictures not only show you the beauty of Ethiopia, but they also show that we have been everywhere when we researched all parks for the Ethiopian Wildlife Autharity, photographing wildlife, plants, people and culture. Read our PDF report to the Government on Parks an Culture! So why consider booking our our Ethiopia Culture & National Parks modules? Because only we combine the culture of Ethiopia with its nature. We don't mislead you like many tour operators do. When the Blue Nile falls are dry.... we tell you. When fog clouds the lava lake of Erte Ale Volcano? We let you know. Just drop us a mail  and we will check it out for you.

Our tours take you to ALL famous cultural places of Ethiopia, and on top of that, you get to see up to 20 large parks accompanied by a conservation professional, not a mere guide. There is nothing similar on the market. Check out our tours in modules like: Historical Circuit; Danakil Depression; Eastern Route; Simien Mountains; Bale Mountains; Southern Parks Safari; Gambella; Addis Ababa. BUT WAIT: if you buy your international ticket with Ethiopia Airlines, they will sell the internal flights at a price that you can't even ride the bus for. But you MUST plan it all in one package and making changes may be very costly. So let us help you plan your entire trip and book your local flights for an incredibly low price after you booked your international flight with Ethiopian Airlines! Also: Ethiopia can be combined with other East African countries, we organize.


Originally, the water content of the falls varied greatly, but since the regulation of Lake Tana and the construction of a hydro-electrical power plant, the water has become much more consistent, although water is still much more abundant during the wet season. There are many voices whining that the falls are no longer what they used to be, which is an obvious fact, but claims that they are no longer worth visiting are total bogus. Our pictures below were taken during the dry season and they show that the falls are still beautiful and every bit worth of visiting.


Ecologically, the falls have been important as they formed a barrier for downstream fish, which allowed the fish populations in Lake Tana and its tributaries to develop into separate endemic fish species, some of which are quite large and served in restaurants in Bahir Dar.


Not far from the falls you can visit first stone bridge of Ethiopia, built under Emperor Susenyos in 1626 by Afonso Mendes, a Catholic priest in Ethiopia.


BLUE NILE FALLS, ETHIOPIA, FACTS & BEST TIME TO VISIT: At Blue Nile Falls, the river falls rushes down a 40m basalt cliff BLUE NILE FALLS, ETHIOPIA: FACTS & LOCATION From the top one has a beautiful view of the Blue Nile Falls

The Blue Nile Falls as they thunder down a 45m basalt cliff, creating an eternal noise and white fog.

BLUE NILE FALLS, ETHIOPIA: FACTS & LOCATION Blue Nile Falls departure point. BLUE NILE FALLS, ETHIOPIA: FACTS & LOCATION Blue Nile Falls "visitor center.

One gets to the falls from Bahir Dar over a rural dirt road until a crossing with a tourist ferry.

One pays the entry fee at the local "visitor center".

BLUE NILE FALLS, ETHIOPIA: FACTS & LOCATION The tourist ferry at the Blue Nile Falls is simple but solid. BLUE NILE FALLS, ETHIOPIA: FACTS & LOCATION the Oldest stone bridge of Africa south of the Sahara built under Emperor Susenyos in 1626.

The tourist ferry at the falls is simple but solid.

Upon visiting the falls, it is worth the effort the see the oldest stone bridge of Africa south of the Sahara built under Emperor Susenyos in 1626.

BLUE NILE FALLS, ETHIOPIA: FACTS & LOCATION Watching the Blue Nile Falls from the top. BLUE NILE FALLS, ETHIOPIA: FACTS & LOCATION Blue Nile Falls seen from under a tree.

Blue Nile Falls from the top.


Upon arrival, visitors first get to see the falls from the top. It is a wonderful sight to see how the slow flowing river suddenly turns wild and thunders down over a 40m high vertical basalt cliff.

BLUE NILE FALLS, ETHIOPIA: FACTS & LOCATION A scenic view of the Blue Nile Falls from the surrounding gallery forest. BLUE NILE FALLS, ETHIOPIA: FACTS & LOCATION A refreshing mist rising from the Blue Nile falls at sunrise.


Blue Nile Falls from  a distances as they fall down with a thunderous noise into an erosion hole, created by  thousands of years of crashing down over the basalt cliffs that create the falls. 

BLUE NILE FALLS, ETHIOPIA: FACTS & LOCATION A refreshing spray cools the visitors at the bottom of the Blue Nile Falls. BLUE NILE FALLS, ETHIOPIA: FACTS & LOCATION Enjoying the Blue Nile Falls from the bottom in the cascade bowl.


The fact is, Blue Nile Falls are still not overrun by tourists, and one can have a wonderful moment to oneself while listening to the roar of the falling water and enjoying the cool spray that spreads across the area on an otherwise hot day.


The Blue Nile Falls are part of this fabulous travel itinerary:




Ethiopia Historical Monuments by car

9 days. Price: $890 per person, minimum 4. Hotels, meals, transportation, fees, non-alcoholic beverages, tee/coffee at meals included. Minimum 2 passengers.

Ask for group discount.

Ethiopia Historical Monuments by plane

5 days. Price: $890 per person approximately, pending flight costs. Transportation, entry fees, meals, etc. Prices may vary depending on fluctuating air fairs. The itinerary will be adjusted according to flights Minimum 2 passengers.  Longer itineraries at additional hotel costs allow for a more relaxed program.

Day 1: ADDIS ABABA - BAHIR DAR, road distance ? 580km;

  1. Stop at the bridge across the Blue Nile Gorge, comparable in size to the Grand Canyon in the USA and supposedly the largest canyon of Africa;

  2. In the evening visit the Blue Nile falls if arrival before dark;

  3. Hotel in Bahir Dar.


  1. Morning Flight to Bahir Dar

  2. Visit Blue Nile Falls and Portuguese Bridge;

  3. Hotel in Bahir Dar.

Day 2: LAKE TANA - BLUE NILE FALLS, road distance ? 35km

  1. Day excursion by boat on Lake Tana to visit several of the famous Lake Tana churches and monasteries;

  2. Visit of the Blue Nile Falls;

  3. Sleep at Hotel.

Day 2: BAHIR DAR - GONDAR - by car

  1. Early morning half day excursion by boat on Lake Tana to visit several of the famous Lake Tana churches and the origin of the Blue Nile to watch Hippos;

  2. Afternoon drive to Gondar;

  3. Visit Royal Enclosure with the palaces of 6 kings, including Fasilides Castle;

  4. Visit Fasimile's Bath;

  5. Hotel in Gondar.

Day 3: BAHIR DAR - GONDAR, road distance ? 175km

  1. The Devil's Nose Rock, is a basaltic monolith or hoodoo, located near the village of Addis Zemen, 75km north Bahir Dar on the road to Gondar. On its top is an important roost and possibly nesting place for Ruepell's and other vultures.

  2. Check in in the hotel at Gondar after which a visit to Mentewab's Dining Room (Kusquam) and/or Fasimile's Bathroom depending on available time;

  3. Hotel in Gondar.


  1. Time permitting Visit Mentewab's Castle very early in the morning;

  2. Morning flight to Lalibela;

  3. Church treasures museum Lalibela;

  4. Visit the Northern and Southern rock hewn church complexes;

  5. Hotel in Lalibela.


Day 4: GONDAR - AXUM, road distance ? 350km

  1. Early in the morning visit the City fortress with the palaces of 6 kings;

  2. Road trip to Axum;

  3. Coffee ceremony;

  4. Hotel in Axum.


  1. Early morning excursion to the Southern Complex;

  2. Flight to Axum;

  3. Visit the Stelae compound;

  4. Visit the Tsion Mariam  Church where the Arc of the Covenant is held and the 16th century church on the same complex, which is much more interesting;

  5. Visit Emperor Kaleb's Palace;

  6. Coffee ceremony at a ceremony in a friend's home

  7. Hotel.


Day 5: AXUM - MEKELLE, road distance  ? 250km

  1. Visit the famous beautiful Stellae at Axum;

  2. Visit Queen Sheba's Palace (officially Dongar Palace);

  3. Gudit Stelae Field opposite the palace;

  4. Debre Liqanos Monastery;

  5. Queen Sheba's Pool (May Shum);

  6. Enzana Enscription, a 3-lingual stone describing a battle of King Enzana

  7. King Basen's Tomb;

  8. Ride to Mekelle;

  9. On the way, visit Yeha Temple;

  10. Hotel in Mekelle.


  1. Visit Queen Sheba's Palace (officially Dongar Palace);

  2. Gudit Stelae Field opposite the palace;

  3. Debre Liqanos Monastery;

  4. Queen Sheba's Pool (May Shum);

  5. Enzana Enscription, a 3-lingual stone describing a battle of King Enzana

  6. King Basen's Tomb;

  7. Flight to Addis Ababa.


Day 6: MEKELE - WUKRO - MEKELLE, road distance  ? 45km

  1. Visit Rock Hewn Churches in Wukro;

  2. Visit Palace Emperor Yohannes IV;

  3. Hotel in Mekelle.


Day 7: MEKELE - LALIBELA, road distance ? 430km

  1. Leave early in the morning for Lalibela;

  2. Church treasures museum Lalibela

  3. Hotel in Lalibela.


Day 8: LALIBELA - DESSIE, road distance ? 300km

  1. Visit the churches of Lalibela;

  2. Drive to Dessie;

  3. Hotel in Dessie.


Day 9: DESSIE - ADDIS ABABA road distance ? 340km

  1. last day of the Ethiopia Historical Monuments and return trip to Addis Ababa;

  2. Transfer to hotel.




In fact, the Blue Nile Falls are even prettier in the dry season when the water is clear and the falls are white.

Ethiopia modernizes and changes more rapidly than any other country in Africa. Many features may not be there anymore in the near future. If you want to see it the way it was for thousands of years, see it now before it has changed forever! Compose your own once-in-a-lifetime Ethiopia-Africa-Adventure from our affordable modules:

Famous Ethiopia Historical Circuit

Simien Mountains trek or car visit

Danakil Depression and Erte Ale Volcano Expedition

Awash Babile Harar Safari Tour

Ethiopia Central and Southern Parks & Tribes Safari Tour

Bale Mountains National Park and Sof Omar Caves Tour

Gambella National Park Safari

Addis Ababa City Tour & Airport Transfer

All Ethiopia modules and prices together

We designed our itineraries in such a way that you can compose a 1 to 4 weeks journey from different modules that can show you the entire country or just the parts that interest you, all depending on your personal preferences, available time and budget. Email us on your interests and we can discuss a custom program with you by phone (we have phone lines from the USA and Europe) or skype. So, weather you have a great ethnic affinity, are a birdwatcher or want to go on safari, contact us and we work out a customized program that focuses on YOUR interests.

Blue Nile Falls, EthiopiaSt. George Church, LalibelaStellas, Axum, EthiopiaTukuls, Lalibela, EthiopiaElephant bull, Babile, EthiopiaEthiopian Wolf, Bale National Park

Gelada, Simien Mountains National ParkFacilides Bathroom, Gondar, EtiopiaWabia Ibex, Simien MountainsChurch, Lake Tana, EthiopiaErica trees, Bale Mountains National Park.Facilides Castle, Gondar, Ethiopia

Addis Ababa Bole International Airport is home of Ethiopian Airlines, featuring Africa's youngest fleet of the latest intercontinental jet airplanes - including 2 Dreamliners - as well as short-distance Bombardier turboprops for affordable and reliable in-country flights servicing all major cities of Ethiopia. The best airline of Africa, will fly you non-stop from the USA and Europe to Addis Ababa. Take our 1-week Ethiopia Cultural Monuments Tour and then continue for your Kenya or Tanzania safari - or any other East African capital - thus completing your journey. IF YOU BUY YOUR INTERNATIONAL TICKET FROM ETHIOPIAN AIRLINES, YOU WILL GET MOST INTERNAL FLIGHTS FOR $40 - $70 PER LEG! BUT CHANGING AFTERWARDS IS EXPENSIVE, SO WORK OUT A SCHEDULE WITH US TO GET A FABULOUS DEAL FOR FLYING THROUGH THE COUNTRY IN STEAD OF SPENDING ENDLESS TIME ON THE ROAD!!!



What makes us different from so many other tour operators?

Just look at the quality of our high resolution pictures. We took them all ourselves. We have thousands of high resolution pictures on this website, that you can see enlarged by clicking on them. These pictures show that we have been everywhere in the country of your interest and really know the details. We are professional explorers and biologists with MSc and PhD.


National Parks Tours Worldwide, a social responsibility and conservation company, is a brand name of the World Institute for Conservation & Environment, registered in the Netherlands with headquarters in the USA.


Phone USA:

(++)(1) 304 - 901 - 0718


Phone Addis Ababa, Ethiopia:

(++251) (0) 911 440 915




Skype: ecotravelworldwide