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An update from Evaneos
Kombolcha

Kombolcha (Ethiopia)

Practical information about Kombolcha

  • Place or Religious Monument
  • Off the beaten track
2 / 5 - One review
How to get there
1 day car journey from Addis Ababa, 45 minutes from Dessie
When to go
On a Sunday to make Bati market on the Monday
Minimum stay
One day

Reviews of Kombolcha

Camille Griffoulieres Travel writer
116 travel articles

A large town of more than 100,000 inhabitants, Kombolcha is a stopover for a traditional night (or nearby Dessie), on the north road, going toLalibela or Mekele.

My suggestion:
If you wish to get there by car, try going through Bati, situated in the surrounding area, on a Monday which is market day. 
Summary:

Kombolcha presents little interest for tourists, it is a large charmless textile industrial city where you stop purely for logistical reasons Many travellers prefer to fly directly to Lalibela or Mekele so as not to lose two days travelling, spending the the night in Kombolcha or Dessie, the other large city in the Amhara region with 250,000 inhabitants. 

The good news is that many new comfortable cheap hotels have opened here, making this quite a pleasant stopover. You are rewarded with the most beautiful road going north from the city.

Those who have time and go through Kombolcha can visit the monastery of Gishen, one of the most venerated in Ethiopia (you need one day for this excursion) and also the monastery of Debre Damo. It was founded in the 5th century by King Kaleb, according to local legend, and it shelters sacred relics which came to Ethiopia in the 14th century during the reign of King Dawit. Only men are allowed to visit Estifanos monastery, situated on the Gishen peninsula. 

Amhara villagers in the Kombolcha region.