Explore a land of ancient monasteries, castles and churches, the marvelous rock hewn churches of the Lalibela & Tigray Region, Spectacular scenery in the Simien Mountains, Isolated island monasteries of Lake Tana and Blue Nile falls.
TOUR CODE: BKT 81/20
DURATION- 15 DAYS & 14 NIGHTS
TRANSPORTATION- SURFACE DRIVE
TOUR TYPE- HISTORY, CULTURE, RELIGION AND NATURE.
DAY1: Arrival at Addis Ababa
On your arrival at Addis Ababa bole international airport you will be welcomed by your tour guide from Damat Ethiopia Tours. Then you will be transferred to your hotel. After a rest and refresh at the hotel, in the afternoon your guide will take you around the highlights of Addis. Founded in 1887 by Emperor Menelik II and Queen Taitu, Addis Ababa is the third highest capital of the world at an altitude of 2300-2500 m. with a pleasant climate. The tour starts with a visit to the National Museum to view a replica of the famous, 3.2 million-year-old fossilized hominid remains known to the rest of the world as “Lucy”. The visit also includes Ethnological Museum at Addis Ababa University, the Holy trinity cathedral and you will enjoy a panoramic view of the capital with fresh air on top of Mount Entoto and end the tour with the bustling Merkato, Africa’s largest open-air market. Overnight- Hotel in Addis Ababa.
DAY 2: Addis Ababa → Debre Markos
Today After breakfast you will start your tour to North Ethiopia and drive to the town of Debre Markos, 325 kms asphalt road. En route you visit one of Ethiopia’s most holy sites: the Debre Libanos monastery founded in the 13th century by priest Tekla Haimanot (plant of a religion), today one of Ethiopia’s most renowned saints, the 16th century stone bridge believed to be built by the Portuguese soldiers and Continuing on from Debre Libanos to the main route, the road dropping more than 1000m, gradually winds down to the bottom of the Blue Nile Gorge, which is comparable in scale to American’s Grand Canyon cited to be the largest canyon in Africa. Overnight- Hotel in Debre Markos.
DAY 3: Debre Markos → Bahir Dar
Drive about 250kms to Bahar Dar, a picturesque town on the shores of Lake Tana, through the beautiful landscape of Gojjam land, well-known for its Teff productivity and visit the Amhara people and their villages and stop at the beautiful lake Zengena. Transfer to your hotel and Have a lunch at Bahar Dar, the capital city of the Amhara Regional State. Afternoon, we make city tour of Bahir Dar that includes: Colorful market where someone could find the pottery, traditional hand-made woven clothes, etc. Visit Woito Basket market and Mount Bezawit where the palace of Emperor Haile Selassie is gracefully situated. This hilltop is the best viewing point for the town, Lake Tana and the Blue Nile River.
Overnight- Hotel in Bahir Dar.
DAY 4: Bahir Dar
Today you will have a full day excursion in Bahir Dar. Morning after breakfast take a boat trip on Lake Tana, the largest in the country, to explore a selection of ancient monasteries hidden on the islands and shores of this sacred lake. Visit the Zege Peninsula and the monasteries of Azuwa Maryam and Ura Kidane Mehret and the island monastery of Debre Maryam near the outlet of the Blue Nile River. These monasteries boast an incredible collection of murals that offer unrivalled insights into medieval Ethiopia. In the afternoon drive out to visit the Blue Nile Falls (40 minutes from Bahir Dar). Although the power of the falls has been subdued by the hydro electric plant, they are still an incredible sight. A lovely circular walk takes you over an ancient bridge built by the Portuguese in the 15th century, passing fantastic viewpoints of the falls, over a rope bridge and then up to top of the falls where you will cross by boat to meet your vehicle.
Overnight- Hotel in Bahir Dar.
DAY 5: Bahirdar → Gondar
This morning after breakfast you will drive 180 km asphalt road via a
scenic route and marvelous landscape, to the royal city of Gondar.
After check in to your hotel and have lunch you will start city tour.
Gondar, Ethiopia’s capital during medieval times, Often referred to as
the “Camelot of Africa” .This city was founded by Emperor Fasiladas in
the early 17th-century. Your visit explores many of the castles he and
his Descendant’s built within the Royal Enclosure, as well as his
ceremonial bath (that is filled with water directly comes from the Keha
river for the important Timikat (Epiphany), Ethiopian Orthodox’s most
sacred annual celebration, once a year on January 19). The visit also
takes you to the rectangular and fascinating Debre Berhan Selassie
(Trinity at the Mount of Light) Church, which has ceilings decorated
with beautiful winged Angels and renowned for its vivid and striking
interior art and arguably one of the finest churches in the country.
Overnight – Hotel in Gondar.
DAY 6: Gondar → Simien Mountains → Debark / Simen Lodge
After breakfast, drive 100kms to Simien Mountains National Park which is the most marvelous of all Ethiopian landscapes and registered by UNESCO as a world heritage site. The Simien Mountain National Park constitutes many summits above 4000 m and culminates at Ras Dashen, the highest peak in Ethiopia (4,620) and it is the home of the endemics gelada baboon, Ethiopian wolf and Walya ibex. Finish formalities at the Head Quarter of the park at Debarq and continue to drive another 20km inside the park then make a 2-3 hours walk/trek.
Overnight- Inside the park at Simen Lodge or drive back to Debarq town.
DAY 7: Debark / Simen Mountains → Axum
Today you will take a scenic drive to Axum, capital of the ancient Axumite Empire. The road between the Simen Mountains and Tekeze river gorge is one of the most fascinating in the country. First you will take the zigzag road of Lima Limu with many hairpins and crossing a rough mountain landscape. Later you descend in to the impressive Takezze River gorge. Frequent stops to appreciate view points of Lima limo, Tekeze River Gorge. Overnight- Hotel in Axum.
DAY 8: Axum
Today you will have the full day to explore one of the ancient towns in Africa, Axum. According to Ethiopian belief, Aksum was once the home of the legendary Queen of Sheba and is the current resting place of the Ark of the Covenant also recorded in UNESCO lists as a World Heritage Site. Your exploration Commences at the area’s most recognizable icons, the great stelae. Attributed to Various Axumite kingdom rulers from the 3rd century AD, these immense granite Obelisks exceeding 100 feet in length and with an estimated weight of over 500 tones. The tour continue with the Visit to the St. Mary of Zion church (house the Ark of Covenant) and archeological museum, the ruined palace of queen of Sheba and the 6th century tombs of king Kaleb and Gebre Meskel. They are a great example of the sheer sophistication of Axumite architecture and building techniques.
Overnight- Hotel in Axum.
DAY 9: Axum → Hawzen
Today you will drive from Axum to Hawzen via Adwa and Adigrat. Adwa is important historical place in Ethiopian and African history because it is on the mountains surrounding this town that Emperor Menelik II defeated the conquering Italian army in March 1896. On the way you visit the temple at Ethiopia’s earliest known capital city of Yeha which is considered as the birthplace of the country’s earliest civilization. Another possible excursion is to Debre Damo monastery (only accessible for men). The Debre Damo Monastery is built on the flat- topped mountain of Debre Damo. The monastery is only accessible by climbing a rope which hangs down from a perpendicular rock and it is a big adventure. Overnight- Hotel or Lodge in Hawzen.
DAY 10: Hawzen → Mekele
Today you will visit the rock-hewn churches of the Tigray region one of Ethiopia’s most enchanting and fascinating sites. Visit some of the most beautiful rock churches with their breathtaking view points. Abuna Yemata Guh, Debre Maryam Korkor or Abraha Atsbeha church, which are all situated near to the road between Mekele and Hawzen. You need to climb up to reach to these churches so that you should bring good walking shoes. Overnight- Hotel in Mekele.
DAY 11: Mekele → Lalibela
After an early breakfast start the journey to Ethiopia’s most prized destination, Lalibela. Here you will pass through several small villages, with typical sandstone homes of the Tigray people and small Amhara villages along the way there will be plenty of opportunities for photo stops. Overnight- Hotel in Lalibela.
DAY 12: Lalibela
Situated high in the Lasta Mountains Lalibela is arguably one of the most important religious and historical sites in the entire Christian world. The town is famous for the 11 remarkable rock churches built by the saint king Lalibela around 11 century. These elaborate edifices are each carved by hand entirely out of a single block of living granite rock and considered as ’the 8th Wonders of the World’, ‘The Newly Jerusalem’ and ‘The Petra of Africa’. This is a deeply spiritual place and quite rightly a UNESCO World Heritage site. Today you will visit these intriguing monuments to discover more about Ethiopia’s enigmatic past and sophisticated architectural techniques. Overnight- Hotel in Lalibela.
DAY 13: Lalibela
Another full day in Lalibela. Today you will take an excursion to visit rock churches located outside of the town of Lalibela. In the morning make excursion to visit Asheton Mariam by mule or drive to 45km gravel road North of Lalibela to visit Yemrhane Christos church. In afternoon visit Nacutolab rock church. Overnight- Hotel in Lalibela.
DAY 14: Lalibela → Kombolcha
Today you leave Lalibela and drive through the Ethiopian dramatic landscape. En route visit lovely Lake Hayk and its 13th Century Istafanos monastery, which is only accessible for men. If it is a market day you will have a good experience for Bati Color full market where you are going to find the Oromo, Amhara and Afar people after that continue to Kombolcha. Overnight- Hotel in Kombolcha.
DAY 15: Kombolcha → Addis Ababa & Departure
Drive back to Addis Ababa via Debre Birhan, on the way you pass the Mezezo escarpment, with a good chance to see the endemic gelada baboons. If today is Sunday you visit the lively Senbete market including the interesting camel market. In Addis Ababa You can do last minute shopping in the souvenir shops. Then late in afternoon you will have fare well dinner in one of the Ethiopian cultural restaurant with tasty Ethiopian food and cultural dances from the different ethnic groups. Then transfer to the airport for flight back home. The tour ends here.