The Tekezé River, also known as the Takkaze River, is a major river of Ethiopia, and forms a section the westernmost border of Ethiopia and Eritrea for part of its course. The river is also known as the Setit in Eritrea, western Ethiopia, and eastern Sudan. According to materials published by the Ethiopian Central Statistical Agency, the Tekezé River is 608 kilometers (378 mi) long. The canyon which it has created is the deepest in Africa and one of the deepest in the World, at some points having a depth of over 2000 meters (6,562 feet).
The names of its main tributaries in Ethiopia from its source are: on the right bank Tahali, Meri, Tellare, Sullo, Arekwa, Gheoa, Wari, Firafira, Tocoro and Gumalo Rivers; on the left bank Nili, Balagas, Saha, Bembea, Ataba, Zarima, and Kwalema Rivers. The earliest known mention of the Tekezé is in an inscription from Axum of king Ezana of Axum, where he boasts of a victory in a battle on its lower banks, near "the ford of Kemalke". The Tekezé served as an early link between Ethiopia and Egypt; for example, the Kebra Nagast, which received its current form in the 13th century, states that king Menelik I returned to Ethiopia by following this river from Egypt (ch. 53). Augustus B. Wylde records a related tradition that near the source of the Tekezé, at the location of Eyela Kudus Michael church, is the true resting-place of the Ark of the Covenant.