In the arid region of Tigray in northern Ethiopia, two hours drive from Mekelle, there is a place called Gheralta. In the midst of this open, airy space there is a beautiful lodge situated on top of a cliff, overlooking the vast plains with the enormous mountains rising majestically in the horizon.
Silvio Rizzotti has returned from Italy to his birth country to spend his retirement here, and he has built up the tranquil Gheralta Lodge together with his wife Enrica. The buildings are constructed in the characteristic Tigrayan style – sand-coloured stones puzzled together forming perfectly assembled houses. The simple, yet delicate décor, the warm atmosphere and the food prepared from vegetables from their own garden bestows the place with a genuine and strong character, and the spacious, dry surroundings adds a certain serenity to the scene.
A large number of Ethiopias oldest churches, dating back to the 4th century, are also located in the area, some of them in walking distance from the lodge. The region also hosts the area where Mohammed’s followers sought refuge and were granted a safe haven, which has given Ethiopia a unique neutral status in Islam and excluded the country from all jihadist warfare.
The rich cultural history, the spectacular landscape and the calm atmosphere creates the ideal place for sitting back and relax, and it is most certainly contributing to the image of Ethiopia as an African pearl. It is worth a visit!