Lake Hayk: Enlivening Excursion From Dessie Town


Dessie situated in the northeastern highlands some 400 km from Addis Ababa. Besides being a major transport hub of the northern circuit, Dessie is also known for being a base for many exciting excursions from its large and modern city founded by Emperor Yohans IV in 1882, in attractive setting at an attitude of 2,600 m near the base of Mount Tossa.

Bati–host of Ethiopia’s largest cattle and camel market, Meqdela Hills – Emperor Tewodros’s former capital, and the picturesque Lake Hayk are among the most interesting excursions which could be enjoyed from Dessie Town.


Fortunately I am being blessed to visit two places from the above list (Bati market and Lake Hayk), so for now I pick Lake Hayk to talk about in particular. In order to get an access to this splendid lake one has to pass through the almost 30 km far town from Dessie called Hayk itself. Lake Hayk situated only 2 km from Hayk town.


To make it sound less complicated, The Amharic word Hayk simply means Lake, which the town and the lake named after. I must say Lake Hayk, is one of the most beautiful hidden gems of Ethiopia. I was so mesmerized and amazed by the natural beauty of this place and decide to give it the homage that it deserves by presenting a virtual tour to the world and allowing to capture the aura of Lake Hayk – which is simply heaven on earth.


Starting with the lake itself, Lake Hayk laying at an attitude of 2030 m and it is a 23 km 2 lake. The lake is known for its remarkable bird life and for its historical monastery that stand on its western shore.


Here at lake Hayk, it is not only about enjoying the spectacular lake, rather it is also about enjoying Mother Nature in its many forms… so it is about time to stroll along the lakeside and witnessing the luxuriant hills and lush reed beds which lake Hayk encircled by it.


Walking through cornfields…seeing amazingly green Teff plantation, dedicated farmers working at their beautiful fields, villages surrounded by nature, traditional fishermen on their papyrus Tankwas (canoes), flora and so many soul revitalizing beauty to be admired here at the Lake Hayk.


Lake Hayk is indeed heaven for birders so I am honor to present few birds here from many that could be spotted at this breathtaking place of Ethiopia.

Pink-backed Pelicans


Ethiopian Cisticola


Cattle Egret


African Wattled Lapwing


As if the beauty of Lake Hayk and its surrounding field was not enough to blow visitors mind … here it comes a monastery dates from the mid-13th century and was founded by Abba Iyasus Moa and today known as Hayk Istifanos.  This historical men only monastery hosts the oldest known manuscript- the book of the four gospels produced for the monastery between 1280 and 1281.


It is time for lounging along Lake Hayk which is one of the soul enlivening experiences that visitors could enjoy till its very last drop.


For the time being there are only two lodges situated along the shore and provide accommodation in nice thatch huts surrounded by beautiful fig trees for visitors (like my good friend and I) who wanted to enjoy lake Hayk more than a day trip from Dessie town.


Since the lake shore cafeterias are the place where the locals hangout, it is a beautiful opportunity to blend in and experience Lake Hayk and part of Ethiopia as it is … which means eating and drinking as the locals do.

Talking about food, here at lake Hayk it is all about delicious fresh FISH, authentic Injera, local beer and of course Ethiopian Traditional Coffee along with its eloquent pieces.


Since the main dish is Fish at these two cafeterias, straight from the lake fish prepare in different alluring and delicious ways. The dishes which are sought after by the locals are Asa Dulet (minced fish sauté in Berebere spice blend), Asa Lebleb (mild fish stew with turmeric touch) and of course huge, fresh and delicious fried fish. Except the fried fish most the dishes serve with wide, thick, home backed delicious Injera, I mean you saw the Teff plantation so no wonder and loved it.


Lake Hayk is one of the places in my own country which I couldn’t get enough and fall in love with so passionately and I must say the breathtaking hidden beauty actuates me to showcase it on this particular post so that the rest of the world can see it.


Travelers are finders indeed… so welcome to Lake Hayk – the hidden gem of Ethiopia!

About Sara Genene

I am a traveler... on an endless journey of self-discovery!
This entry was posted in Addis Ababa, Adventure, Africa, Birds, Coffee, Dessie, Ethiopia, Food, Historical Travel, Landscape, Nature, Religious, Tourism, Travel, Travel and Tourism, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

18 Responses to Lake Hayk: Enlivening Excursion From Dessie Town

  1. So beautifully green 🙂

  2. Beautiful images. Thanks again for showing us your country. (Suzanne)

  3. Theresa says:

    Fascinating and beautiful, Sara. Thank you for bringing me to Lake Hayk.

  4. Joyful post,the food the amazing nature and the unique structures.Cheers.jalal

  5. tonyarmitage says:

    Definitely added to my list – thanks Sara!

  6. restlessjo says:

    I know nothing about Ethiopia so this was a joy to read. Many thanks! 🙂

  7. Tariku says:

    Woow, Sara! Breathtaking! Thanks!

  8. Thats a lovely write-up! I will be in Ethiopia in a week and CAN’T WAIT TO SEE THIS LAKE

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