North and South 20 days
this trip focusses on the incredible historic and cultural sites of the north & south 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 wildlifefound nowhere else. visiting the tall cliff-churches of Tigray and theworld-renowned sites of Axum.as well as The World Heritage Site of Lalibela, which isset in the Lasta mountains and was the second capital ofancient Ethiopia. Dating back to at least the 12th Century, it isrenowned for its extraordinary rock-hewn churches, carved fromthe mountains, but still embedded in the granite from whichthey were shaped. and then you proceed and visit Omo valley,which is a little visited area of Ethiopia containing some of themost colorful tribes and ethnic groups of the continent. Thefascinating 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 OmoValley region many of the tribal groups have changed only verylittle over the last hundreds of years and they offer the visitorextraordinary insights into their traditional cultures.
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 at a hotel
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).
after an erealy breakfast (7:00), 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).
After breakfast drive to Debark, the starting point for our trekking in the national park. In Debark we pay the park entrance fees and pick up the game scout. In the Simiens you can see the endemic Gelada or bleeding heart baboon, the Walia Ibex, the Simien wolf (the rarest canid in the world) and rock hyrax, and endemic birds such as the thick billed raven, black headed siskin, white collared pigeon, wattled ibis, white billed starling, spot breasted plover and white backed black tit. Overnight Debark ( hotel)
Day 06 -
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. Overnight Axum (hotel)
Day 07- 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. Overnight Axum ( hotel ).
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 (hotel)
Day 09- 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 overnight (hotel).
Day 10- 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).
in the morning , visit the first group of 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).
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 13- 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 14 - 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 15- 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 16- 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 17-- 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 18- 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 19 - 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 20 - 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.