This trip focusses
on the incredible historic and cultural
sites of the north & the suth part of Ethiopia, from the amazing
island monasteriesof Lake Tana. where you will Meet monks straight out of the medieval ages, explore the castles of Gondar and hike in the Simien Mountains,
some of the best scenery in Africa and home to unique wildlife
found nowhere else. visiting the tall cliff-churches of Tigray and the
world-renowned sites of Axum.as well as the Erta'Ale volcano and also the Danakil Desert. Not only
is this desert region the lowest, it is also the hottest, inhabited
location on earth.
Spectacular scenery awaits you at Erta'Ale volcano, Erta'Ale
meaning smoking mountain.and you will also visit The World Heritage Site of Lalibela, which is
set in the Lasta mountains and was the second capital of
ancient Ethiopia. Dating back to at least the 12th Century, it is
renowned for its extraordinary rock-hewn churches, carved from
the mountains, but still embedded in the granite from which
they were shaped. and then you proceed and visit the Omo valley,
which is a little visited area of Ethiopia containing some of the
most colorful tribes and ethnic groups of the continent. The
fascinating costumes, colorful ceremonies and celebrations, arts,
crafts, music and dance of the Benna, Hamer, Mursi, Karo,
Dessanetch, Arbore and Borena people are very special. In the Omo
Valley region many of the tribal groups have changed only very
little over the last hundreds of years and they offer the visitor
extraordinary insights into their traditional cultures.
Day-By -Day itinerary
Day 1: Addis Abeba :
Upon arrival in Addis Ababa, meet our representatives and transfer
to the given Hotel. During the day, visit historical sites in Addis
Ababa including the National Archaeological Museum, where we
will view the 3.2 million year old remains of "Lucy", whose skeletal
remains when discovered in 1974. You will also visit the Holy
Trinity Cathedrals and Mount Entoto which rises up to an altitude
of 3,200 meters and offers the panoramic view of the metropolis.
Overnight Addis (hotel)
Day 02- early in the morning drive to Bahir Dar via the 13th Century monastery of Debre-Libanos, an
important teaching centre for the Ethiopian Orthodox church and the old cave prayer place. The monastery overlooks the Jema River Gorge, a tributary of the Blue Nile. A chance to spot some wildlife and travel
on past the Blue Nile Gorge. Overnight Bahir Dar (hotel).
Day 03- after an erealy breakfast (7:00 at least), take on a boat trip on Lake Tana, Ethiopia's largest lake, which is dotted with some 30 islands of which 20 are home to monasteries and churches . Visit the Zega penninsula & the Monastery of Azuwa Maryam ,Ura Kidane Mhiret which it is believed to date back to the 16th Century, & the island monastery of Debre Maram near the outlet of the Blue Nile River. afternoon drive & visit the small town of Tiss Issat meaning 'smoking fire'. Cross the Blue Nile on a small boat which offers stunning photo opportunities. This evening, visit Bezawit Hill to watch the wonderful sunset. Overnight Bahir Dar (hotel).
Day 04- Bahir Dar - Gondar.
This morning we will drive to north Gondar throuh the Guzara Castle site the ruined castle which was built before the establishment of Gondar arriving in Gondar in time for lunch in your hotel, explore Fasiladas' Castle compound, which covers an area of over 70,000sq m (229,659 sq ft), surrounded by high stone walls. Emperor Fasiladas' Palace is the oldest and perhaps most impressive of the castles. It is two stories high, has an imposing parapet and four small domed towers. continue to Debre Berhan Salassie Church, probably the country's most famous church and a highlight of Gondar. Its ceiling is covered with famous paintings of Ethiopian cherubs and the walls portray Ethiopian saints, martyrs, and lore. Overnight
Gondar ( hotel).
Day 05- Gondar to Sankaber: You will depart early morning from Gondar to Debark. In debark you will arrange your visit with the park office and receive a scout and guide then drive into the park to arrive at Sankaber. You can either drive all the way in to Sankaber or have the car drop you off near Buyit Ras for a short hike. If you choose to hike in you will take in beautiful views of the landscape and the endless mountain ridges, and you likely see some gelada baboons. When you arrive in Sankaber you will be met with your supplies. Sankaber will be the first campsite on your trip.
Day 06 - Sankaber to Geech Camp: From Sankaber you will begin hiking following the ridge and look out over the foothills 800m down. From the ridge you will descend down into the valley and be able to view the Jinbar River plunging into the Geech Abyss. After some time at the waterfall you will continue on to Geech village where you will find your second campsite.
Day 07- Geech to Chennek: After breakfast you will start off on a 7-8 hour hike of the best views you will see in the Simien Mountains. In route you will pass through Imet Gogo. Here you will have reached an altitude of 3,926m and be able to look out at the amazing landscape from 360 degrees. At this height and view point you can see the canyon below, distant ridges, and view the seemingly never ending valleys. After Imet Gogo you will hike to the view point at Innateye valley at an altitude of 4,070m. Lunch will be here and then you will descend to Chennek (3,600m) for your third campsite.
Day 08- Chennek to Gondar: Breakfast at the campsite then a 2 hour hike up to the Buwahit peak. Here you will be standing on the second highest peak in the Simien Mountains (4,430m). Here is where many visitors are able to see the endemic animals like the Walia Ibex and Ethiopian Red Fox. After spending time at the peak you will hike back down to Chennek for lunch and transportation back to Debark for overnight (hotel )
Day 9 - Today, we drive to Axum past the dramatic Simien
Mountains. Reaching the Limalimo terrain, you will
plunge down a 2500 metre escarpment. This beautiful
looping Italian built road provides memorable views,
including a glimpse of the peak of Awaza near Adi
Arkay. We will stop for a picnic lunch near Shire.
Crossing the Tekezze River, we will arrive in Axum
before dark. We shall check in to your hotel in time
for an evening meal.
Day 10 - Axum:
Full-day tour of Axum. Discover history and myth at
the Queen of Sheba's Palace and Bath before visiting the St Mary
of Zion churches, reputedly home to the Ark of the Covenant.
Continue to King Ezana's Stone, written in three ancient languages,
en route to the tombs of King Kelab and Gebre Meskel, two of
Axum�s most important rulers who succeeded in bringing southern
Arabia under their rule. After lunch, visit the Axum stelae field and
museum. A short walk offers excellent views of the surrounding
countryside, before a private visit to a local artist who specialises
in religious paintings.
Day 11- Drive to Hawsein. Journey to a little visited but
peaceful and astonishing spot 'Yeha' which is
Ethiopia's first known capital and considered the birth
place of the country's earliest civilization. Its ruins are
impressive for their sheer age, dating from around the
5th century BC. Also the monastery of Debre Damo
which is the first monastery in Ethiopia dates back to
Aksumite times. It boasts the oldest standing church
in the country. Overnight Hawssen.
Day 12- Hawsein - Mekele
In the morning, visit either Abuna Yemata Guh or Maryam Korkor.
Both churches involve an approximate one-hour hike but offer
commanding views of the surrounding area. After lunch, continue
your visit with the more easily-accessible churches of Abreha we
Atsbeha and Chirkos. Afterwards, proceed driving to Mekele for
Day 13 - Mekele to Hmed Ela : in the morningyou will drive to Ahmed Ella and stop at the entrance of the Afar region to pick up your entrance permit and police to guide you through the gate of the Afar refion. You will overnight in a local hotel.
Day 14- Afar entrance to Ert Ale:
In the morning you will go to Ert Ale and again pick up another police officer to ensure security. Together you will drive to Waydoom and after having a meal you will trek for about 3 hours to arrive in the large volcanic crater of the Ert Ale volcanic mountain, a still very active volcano. You will have time to adventure around the area and enjoy visiting the volcano before nightfall. You will camp here for the night.
Day 15 - Ert Ale to Ahmed Ella: Early morning trek from your campsite descending to Waydoom for breakfast at which point you will be met by your vehicle to drive you Ahmed Ella. When you arrive you will stay in a local hotel.
Day 16- Ahmed Ella to Dallol to Lake Asale to Mekele: Early morning you will head out to visit the Dallol Depression and witness the amazing bubbling sulfuric acid. Then you will visit Lake Asale which is known for being full of salt and a salt extracting area. This day also provides opportunities to take a camel caravan before returning back to Mekele via your vehicle. Overnight Mekele ( hotel ).
Day 17- Mekele -Lalibela
Drive to Lalibela through the rough nature of road but nice to experience along with the magnificent scenery ( gigantic , ups & downs landscape)
Overnight in Lalibela (hotel).
Day 18 - in the morning ,visit the first group rock-hewn churche of Lalibela, Bet Medhane Alem , Bet Maryam , Bet Meskel, Bet Danaghel , Bet Mikael & Bet Golgotha (not allowed for women). After lunch, head to the second group of rock-hewn churches which represent scenes of the heavenly Jerusalem. Finally visit the cross-shaped church of St.
George which is regarded to be the third group and is the last work of church excavation by King Lalibela. Overnight in Lalibela (hotel).
Day 19 - after breakfast, you will set off on mule or on foot to the church of
Ashetun Mariam, about a 4 hours' round trip. An alternative to the
Ashetun Mariam trip, or if visitors are not afraid of a full day it can be done in the afternoon in addition to Ashetun Mariam, visit the the church of yimrehanne Kristos, the most popular of the church outside of Lalibela, this church is built in the late -Axumite style, with layers of wood and granite, set in the entrance to a large cavern. Overnight in Lalibela ( hotel).
Day 20- Lalibela - Addis Ababa - Awassa:
after Breakfast fly to Addis up on arrival ; you will depart south to Awassa via the Butajira route and visit ancient cities along the way. First you will stop in Tiya at a UNESCO World Heritage Site, then spend some time at Adadi Maryam (a rock hewn church similar to the famous church in northern Ethiopia, Lalibela), then visit an pre-historic took making site in Melka Kunture, and finally arrive in Awassa where you will be set up in a local hotel for the night.
Day 21- Awassa to Arba Minch:
In the morning you will have time to visit the fish markets of Awassa and spend some leisure time on the shores of Lake Awassa before departing to Arba Minch and Dorze. The Dorze villagers are know for their construction of tall houses resembling beehives and for the amazing cotton weaving. If you happen to be visiting on the village's market day you will be taken to see that (Monday and Thursday) but if not you can be taken to a nearby village to see their market (Chencha-Tuesday and Saturday). You will spend the night in a traditional Dorze hut with communal toilet facilities or if you prefer you can continue on to Arba Minch where you will find a hotel, lodge, or campsite to spend the night.
Day 22- Arba Minch to Turmi:
From Arba minch (or Dorze if you stayed there the night before) you will take a boat out on Lake Chamo to visit the crocodile market and be able to have some hippo sightings. After spending time on the lake you will depart to Turmi and pass through a village called Weyto where you will be able to see the local market (market day is Saturday) and visit the Tsemai tribe. Next you will pass throught the Erbore village where you can again stop at the local market (Saturday). Your final destination is Turmi and home of the Hamer tribe. The villagers will welcome you to a night of traditional dancing known as evangadi. Here you can choose to overnight in a hotel, lodge, or campsite.
Day 23 - Turmi to Omorate to Turmi:
In the morning you will head to Omorate so you can see the Dassenech tribe, but first you will cross the Omo River by boat and arrive in the Dessenech village. You will return to Turmi to visit the Hamer village and be able to experience the traditional Jumping of the Bulls Ceremony, done to represent a man's coming of age. You will sleep in Turmi for the night.
Day 24- Turmi to Jinka:
In the morning you will depart to Jink by passing through Dimeka and Key Afar where you can visit some of the most colorful and diverse markets (Dimeka's market days are Tuesday and Saturday). Afterwards you will continue on to Jinka and stay there for the evening in a lodge, hotel, or campsite.
Day 25- Jinka to Mursi and Mango National Park to Jinka:
In the morning you will drive to the Mango National Park and have the opportunity to visit the Mursi tribe, who are known for their lower lip rings and earlobe plates. After you will return to Jinka, and on the way you will be able to visit the South Omo Museum and Research Center to learn and understand more about the traditional practices of the many different local tribes. If you would rather use this time to take a shart hike into the surrounding hills and visit the Ari village this can be arranged instead of the museum visit. Then you will return to Jinka where you will stay the night.
Day 26 - Jinka to Arba Minch to Konso:
In the morning you will depart from Jinka to Arba Minch via the Key Afar routs. After stopping to see local tribes, trading goods, and markets you will head to Konso (market days here are Monday and Thurday). The Konso tribe is known for its amazing woodwork which are erected in honor of those who have died as heroes. They are also known for their innovative agriculture terracing. Here you will briefly be able to visit a museum to view some of the woodwork. From Konso you will continue on to Arba Minch and stay in either a lodge, hotel, or campsite for the night.
Day 27 - Arba Minch to Addis Ababa:
You will have an early morning departure from Arba Minch to Addis Ababa. This will be a full day of car travel, but on the way you may have time to visit a few of the previously visited sites. Reaching Addis Ababa will mark the end of the tour.