The Blue Nile river flows out of Lake Tana with tremendous force and volume over the basalt shoulder of a giant cataract and onwards from there, ever downwards through dark and angry defiles, towards the deserts of the Sudan, on its way to enrich Egypts fertile delta.
The power of the Blue Nile may best be appreciated just thirty kilometres downstream from the point where the river first leaves Lake Tana. There, a rumble of sound fills the air and the green fields and low hills on either bank tremble to the Blue Nile Falls. It is one of the most dramatic spectacles on either the White or Blue Niles, a vision of natural strength and grandeur.
Four hundred meters wide in flood, the Blue Nile plunges forty-five meters down a sheer chasm to throw up a continuous mist that drenches the countryside up to a kilometer away. In turn, this gentle deluge produces rainbows that shimmer across the gorge under the changing arc of the sun – and a perennial rainforest. The pillar of cloud in the sky above, seen from afar, explains the local name for the falls – water that smokes, Tissisat.
The approach to the falls leads through Tissisat village where travellers find themselves surrounded by a retinue of youthful guides and musicians. For a small fee, they will point out many places of historic interes