Probus members go on an Ethiopian journey - in Gainsborough

The Lalibela Churches in Ethiopia are a World Heritage Site
The Lalibela Churches in Ethiopia are a World Heritage Site

Members of Gainsborough Probus have travelled to Ethiopia – without leaving the town – as Giles Braithwaite came to speak to them about a trip he had made to the African country back in 2007.

For the first part his presentation, he began by giving his audience general background, such as what the Ethiopian flag looks like, the ancient story of the country, sometimes named the cradle of humanity, Ethiopia’s confusing calendar and clock times,the Christian majority with Moslem areas in the south east and the extremes of wealth and poverty.

Gelada baboon in Ethiopia

Gelada baboon in Ethiopia

Giles’ tour started in Addis Ababa, from where he was taken north to the Lalibela churches.

This is a World Heritage Site, with churches literally cut down into the rock, as well as other churches cut out of the rock.

He then wen on to the Rift Valley, its pools and lakes, the mixture of old and new, before finishing in the Bale mountains, 4.500 metres high, with extremes of temperature and stunning views.

Audience members learned about cultural matters, wildlife which Giles was able to photograph, but above all the birdlife in all its vast variety.

Similarities to British birds can be made, but the fascination is in the different habitats and habits we learnt about.

In part two of his presentation, he re-capped some points of part one, checking whether audience members had remembered anything.

He then described his journey back to Addis Ababa via Awash Park.

Along the way he discovered even more about the vast variety of wildlife, in all its beauty, but with occasional health warnings.

A Gainsborough Probus spokesman said: “This was a tour that Giles said he had enjoyed enormously.

“It was undertaken in a group of 12 travellers, as well as guides and some necessary armed protection.

“From the pictures it was obvious that this was no luxury holiday, neither in the means of transport nor accommodation.

“The photographs and Giles’ description brought home the beauty of the country, as well as the realities of life.”