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In collaboration with Franck Planete and Nativa Institute, Cursed Mountains Experience (Prokletije / Bjeshkët e Nemuna) is presented to French speaking visitors.
Nature enthusiasts and adventurers can experience a wide variety of activities in the mountains, rivers and lakes while culture lovers can enjoy rich and diverse cultural heritage and culinary offer in this beautiful off-the-beaten path European destination.
Inoa and our partners Precise Consult International from Ethiopia and SME Movement from South Africa have jointly presented their views on sustainable entrepreneurship in Ethiopia and other Sub-Saharan countries at the 8th Africa Day International Conference in Ljubljana, Slovenia, hosted by the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Slovenia. At the panel, our experience with Greening Ethiopian Manufacturing (GEM) project has been discussed.
The event is being attended by high level political delegations and entrepreneurs from numerous African countries and by the representatives of the European Commission.
Photo by Henok Assefa
Photo by Barbara Vtič Vraničar
We are pleased to announce that Inoa team will be co-creating Balkan Alps Experience in the cross-border area between Montenegro and Kosovo. Amazing Prokletije mountains, the highest mountain range in the Dinaric Alps, are located there, attracting mountaineers from all over the world.
Together with our clients, we will be working with local communities and tourism providers, jointly building on authentic, sustainable tourist experiences.
One year after its beginning, Greening Ethiopian Manufacturing (GEM) project is well on track, addressing topics of market access, sustainable product design and SCP certification. Altogether, 99 entrepreneurs are involved in GEM clusters.
During our last field visit, Inoa expert Tatjana Suhadolc provided advisory on sustainable product design to several enterprises from GEM clusters. Entrepreneurs were supported by new product design ideas, recommendations for quality improvement, creative usage of waste (zero-waste design) etc.
Ljubljana, 7 November 2018
Our team attended an annual meeting of “Africa Business Group” at the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Slovenia today. We presented the Slovenia Business Portal which is supporting Slovenian entrepreneurs to find and build opportunities to grow their businesses by connecting with each other and other businesses in over 83 countries.
The presentation was accompanied by individual meetings with entrepreneurs who are seeking new business opportunities in Africa.
Written by Tadeja L. Colnar
- Rock-hewn Churches
Lalibela is one of Ethiopia’s most iconic destinations. The UNESCO enlisted rock-cut monolithic churches of king Lalibela have been built over 800 years ago. There are 11 churches located within this amazing cultural heritage complex.
Back in the early 4th Century, several Ethiopian ethnic groups were among the first ones that adopted Christianity. The four kings of Zagwe dynasty left some remarkable traces in ancient Ethiopia. The most famous of them was king Lalibela.
Festivals in Lalibela are immersive, wholeheartedly embraced by locals, rich in tradition, picturesque and vividly distinctive. In short, they are a must experience.
- Lalibela Artisans
The legend says that all Lalibela churches were built by king Lalibela himself with the help of angels. An alternative interpretation by historians and scientists would be that it took anywhere between 10 to 40 thousand people to build 11 churches in 23 years.
These hand-crafting skills are still in the genes of Lalibelian people. Pottery makers, weavers, leather goods producers are spotted all around the place.
Leather products by Tadesse Crafts by St. Lalibela Association
Handicrafts by Desta Association
- Lalibela Painters
King Lalibela is also recognized for paintings which adorn some of the churches. Nowadays, Lalibela has an emerging art scene, waiting to be explored. We met numerous local painters who inspire with love and passion for their art.
Art by Hailemariam Tadesse
Art by Smachew Mesfin
Art by Tizazu
A place with over 800 years of continuous spiritual ceremonies is almost impossible to find anywhere else in the world. Somehow, it seems that Lalibela is impregnated with peace, also reflected in local people.
Our trusted guide Endayene Ayalew
Though, this might change with further tourism development, we were particularly charmed by people of Lalibelia. Drivers, guides, hotel owners, receptionists, waitresses, artisans, people on the streets, young and old, most of them radiating unique calmness, kindness and warmth.
- Great Hikes
Outdoor enthusiasts will enjoy hikes to surrounding mountains, reaching over 3,000 m.a.s.l.. One of our favourites was the hike to Asheten Mariam church high in the mountains above Lalibela where king Lalibela’s prayers to locate the rock-hewn churches from his vision had been heard.
- Amazing Vistas
Nature paints each season in its own colours. After a rainy period, in September and October, the landscape turns green, while in the beginning of the year earthy brown colors dominate. Mainly uninhabited valleys look magnificent from nearby hills, witnessing spectacular performances of the sun and clouds.
Ethiopia is known to be the biggest producer of honey in Africa and Lalibela is its honey capital. The land of “honey-eaters” which is the meaning of the word Lalibela, offers delicious varieties of honey in all tastes and colours, from near-white through yellow, gold, amber, dark brown, either liquid or creamed. Delicious!
- Coffee Ceremonies and Great Organic Food
We tried several simple street coffee shops, decorated with grass on the floor and incensed with a pleasant odour of burning wood. Their coffee was without any exception always tasty.
We were also lucky to enjoy local cuisine at Honey Land Hotel, made from fresh ingredients, served with care.
Lalibela is one of those rare places in the world where tourism is still truly authentic, where moments are savoured and where inner peace is a value!
Good to know:
There are several morning flights to Lalibela from Addis Ababa, operated by Ethiopian Airlines. Lalibela and Gondar are also well connected. Special discount can be obtained, if your international flight is operated by Ethiopian Airlines.
End of September is a good time for visiting Lalibela. After the rainy season, the landscape turns green. October is one of the peak seasons. Lalibela is also very popular among Ethiopians for Christmas celebrations in January.
Foreign visitors’ entrance fee of 50$ to Lalibela churches is valid for 5 days. To comprehend the amazing story behind the churches, it is highly recommendable to explore them with local guides.
We are celebrating the World Bee Day for the first time today. In the northern hemisphere, May is the month of blooming meadows, loved by bees.
It was Slovenia who proposed the proclamation of World Bee Day to the UN in December last year. Slovenia’s Carniolan honey bee is also the first protected native bee species in the world. It is cherished for its non-aggressiveness, immunity to diseases, good orientation and productivity.
About three-quarters of our world crops depend on bees and other pollinators. We need to raise awareness and protect these vital pollinators. In an urban setting, a great way of doing so is to show the beauty of cities from the perspective of bees. Slovenia’s capital Ljubljana introduced a ‘Bee Trail’.
Urban beekeeping officially begun in Paris some 25 years ago. Nowadays, it is a vibrant activity happening in many cities around the world. In Slovenia, beehives were first put on its major cultural and congress centre, named after the nation’s most renowned writer Cankar. About 70 liters of honey are collected there annually. Today, beehives are also placed on the governmental place, parliament, schools, hotels and many other buildings.
Ljubljana Botanical Gardens sparked the imagination and skills of students of architecture in collaboration with the Urban Beekeeper’s Association to design a modern architecture beehive which is now placed in the gardens along colorful beds of local bee attracting plants.
Bee Trail also led us to the Slovene Ethnographic Museum which is displaying beautiful artifacts of rich beekeeping tradition in Slovenia. Beekeeping was raised to entirely new level by Anton Jansa, a pioneer of modern beekeeping whose birthday became the World Bee Day.
Visit to the Ethnographic Museum was an all-sensory experience, accompanied by tasty honey brandy and buckwheat bread with varieties of honey from nearby Park Hotel beehives.
Our next stop was the Ljubljana Castle. In 2016, Ljubljana was the Green Capital of Europe. Numerous activities took place before, during and and after this, celebrating nature in all its forms. One of them was planting the Castle Vineyard with 1050 vines. Without bees, there would be no wine.
A beautiful walk to the Ljubljana Botanical Gardens and than back to the old city revealed Ljubljana ‘s green soul again.
A final stop at Kolovrat restaurant for honey dessert tasting was a perfect way of ending this bee-utiful trail.
Cliffs of Moher are Ireland’s number one natural tourist sight, attracting more than 1.5 million visitors annually. Reaching the maximum height of 214 meters below the O’Brien’s Tower, they are truly a beautiful natural spectacle.
We were recommended to reserve half a day for exploring several walking trails on the cliffs which was fun.
On our way back we popped into a visitor centre where we were positively surprised by a dynamic and interactive exhibition, offering plenty of information for adults and children alike.
Nature conservation is a big topic there. Local conservators brought it to a very high level. Together with tourism service providers they are committed to making the area a premier worldwide destination for responsible tourism. They are effectively managing and communicating information about waste recycling, energy and water usage per visitor, promoting and educating about “leave no trace” ethics. Even the toilets are showcasing eco facts!
However, traveling to western Ireland only for a couple of hours of cliffs’ experience sounded a bit limiting to us. We were looking for a more authentic experience which would allow us to get beneath the surface of the destination.
And here comes the Burren! Together with the Burren, Cliffs of Moher were awarded UNESCO recognized Global Geopark status seven years ago. As they say, it’s about people, place, learning and livelihood.
Lively taverns are offering great locally sourced food. We especially enjoyed the Roadside Tavern in Lisdoonvarna where tasty Irish cuisine is accompanied by their own boutique beer and musical performances.
Local nature lovers are guiding walks, revealing the rock story of ‘geosites’. From May until October you can explore ‘the Burren Food Trail’ and ‘Food Trail Monday Events’.
The Burren Smokehouse was the place where we tasted delicious cold smoked organic Irish salmon with seaweed and a honey-glazed variation with whiskey and fennel. Mouth-watering!
The Burren Perfumery makes perfumes inspired by the local landscape. And there are many more inspirational stories in the Burren, such as: the Moher stone, the Doolin Chocolate Shop, Linnalla Ice-Cream, several exhibitions and thematic events etc.
Our beautiful planet is full of amazing natural sites. Memorable authentic travel is only possible when people and places go hand in hand together, treating each other with respect. This proves to be the critical link between authentic and responsible tourism.
Greening Ethiopian Manufacturing (GEM) project has been launched in Addis Ababa!
Inoa is partnering with Ethiopian Chamber of Commerce and Sectoral Associations (ECCSA) and Precise Consult International on this EU funded Switch Africa Green project. Over 100 Ethiopian micro, small and medium enterprises will be supported throughout the next 3+ years in seizing ‘green growth’ opportunities.
Ethiopia is one of the fastest growing economies in Africa.
Photos by ECCSA