Flights to Mek’ele The northern Ethiopian city of Mek’ele dates to the 13th century, and was under Italian control in the early 1900s. Though most of the local sights are nature parks, none of them are very close to the city so you should expect a few hours in a 4×4 vehicle to visit any of the parks in this region.
Flights to Mek’ele arrive at the nearby Alula Aba Nega Airport (airport code: MQX), which is just 7km outside of the city. The only one-stop flight to Mek’ele from South Africa is with Ethiopian Airlines and they connect in Addis Ababa. A route through Cairo and Addis Ababa can be booked with either Egyptair or South African Airways. Some flights to Mek’ele are just over 17 hours long, and some are almost 40, depending on connections.
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The Tourist Attractions of Mek’ele:
Simien Mountains National Park
Simien Mountains National Park is a high rugged mountain park, that includes Ras Dashan which is the highest peak in Ethiopia. There is an unpaved road that crosses the park, and there is a manned tourist office where you can hire a guide or rent equipment (or even a mule if you wish to ride). Many trails will be quite steep as the park is very mountainous. The higher you can go, the better your reward will be! Besides the countryside, you will see troops of baboons and many endangered species of ibex. You can get to the Simien Mountains National Park by heading west from Mek’ele, though there are no main roads and the route can be rough.
Hashengu Forest Reserve
Hashengu Forest Reserve is a very small park south of Mek’ele along the main road and next to Hashenge Lake. The area is heavily forested and offers a nice place of peaceful green to walk or even just take a rest when travelling south from the city.
Mile Serdo Wildlife Reserve
Mile Serdo is the largest park in the area and will take several hours to get to from Mek’ele. It is continuous with the Yangudi Rassa National Park which is the southern portion of the park. The area is grassland, forest and some stretches of semi-desert. For wildlife, you can see gazelles, zebras and the rare African Wild Ass.
Yohannes IV Palace
The formidable Yohannes IV Palace was once the palace of Emperor Yohannes IV during the late 1880s when Mek’ele was the capital of his empire. It looks almost medieval with stone ramparts and stout towers on the corners. The fortress is now home to a museum.
Chele Anka Waterfall
There is a bit of a hike to get out to the Chele Anka Waterfall (about 8km away from town) but the views are amazing!
When Should You Visit?:
Most months are very warm in Mek’ele, but it does not reach the extremes that other cities in the region experience. Winters are the best for travel as they are cooler and very dry. November until January will be around 24C (75F) in the daytime with virtually no rain. May and June are the hottest months and it will reach 29C (84F) during those months. It is a little wetter and cooler again in August but the rains are still quite minimal even then.