Our biggest adventure this weekend was visiting Wenchi Crater. Wenchi is a volcanic caldera with a lake in it, much like Crater Lake in Oregon.
People live in the Wenchi crater. They raise animals and grow potatoes and “false banana” (cassava), a staple root crop. In the past few years, various NGOs have helped the locals to develop tourism in the crater. There is a little building where visitors pay an entrance fee of 10 birr (50 cents); there you can hire a guide and arrange for horses and boatmen to assist you with your trek. We sprung for the one-day grand tour: horses down to the lake, a boat to an island monastery, hike across the island, boat to the opposite shore, then new horses through the meadows and back up to the rim. We had a guide who traveled the distance with us. Children attached themselves to our party while we were on horseback, acting as porters in hopes of a reward. My little guy earned a tip by carrying my backpack.
The scenery was spectacular. This is a place with no signs, no engines, no cement, no plastic. It gives the impression of being a pristine paradise. While on her horse Alekka said that the meadow path felt like the road to Shangri-la. We felt like plastic people, faranji with dorky backpacks and water bottles and cameras and silly hats. But we sure had a good time.