Tour Code: VET027
Transport: surface & Air
Duration: 14 days &13 nights
Day 1: Arrival in Addis Ababa. Be welcomed at the airport by your tour guide. Transfer to hotel and check-in. There is a big choice of good hotels available in Addis Ababa. Enjoy your first Ethiopian dinner in Addis.
Day 2: Addis Ababa City tour and Sightseeing. In the morning visit the National Museum, the Trinity Cathedral and the Ethnological Museum. Have lunch in a beautiful restaurant. In the afternoon drive to Entoto mountains view point. Visit St. George Cathedral and the Merkato. In the evening, experience Addis’ cultural programs.
Day 3: Bahir Dar and the Blue Nile. 1hour flight to Bahir Dar. Drive the 35 km to Tiss Isat to see the Blue Nile falls. The round trip will take about one hour walking. Cross the Blue Nile by boat. Lunch in Bahir Dar. Explore the city of Bahir Dar: the colorful market and the Bezawit Palace. In a village see the production of the papyrus boats called “Tankwas”. Return to hotel for dinner.
Day 4: Boat crossing on Lake Tana. Visit the monasteries and churches of Ura Kidane Mihiret, Azoa Mariam, Narga Selassie and Dago Stifanos (only accessible for men). Ura Kidane Mihiret hosts important religious icons from the 16th century. Azoa Mariam is known for its paintings and has an interesting museum. Daga Stifanos is the most sacred of the monasteries. It holds the tombs of some emperors, as well as 16th century paintings. Upon arrival at Gorgora on the northern shore, visit Debre Sina Church before continuing on the road to Gondar. In Gondar, overnight and dinner in hotel.
Day 5: Gondar City Sightseeing Tour. Explore the royal enclosure which contains several stone-built castles of different emperors. The most impressive building is Fasilidas castle. He was the emperor who established Gondar as a powerful cultural and religious center. After that see the bath of Fasil, filled with water once a year for the Timket celebration.
In the afternoon, visit the Church Of Debre Berhan Selassie (Light of the Trinity), decorated with beautiful frescos and
paintings. See also Gondar’s modern life visiting the colorful market.
Day 6: Drive from Gonder to the Simien Mountains with stopover at the village of the last “Felasha” (African Jews). The Simien National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In the park, the highest mountain is Ras Dashen, with 4,543 m also the fourth-highest mountain of Africa. You will see amethyst-colored peaks and deep gorges. The crevices host wild mountainous and endemic animal species like the Walya Ibex. This is an ideal place to do some trekking to the most beautiful places with panoramic views. If you prefer to relax, the afternoon will be at leisure.
Day 7: Drive from the Simien Mountains to Axum. The road passes through mountainous regions of wild beauty, running alongside the Simien massif. Then traverse the scenic Tekeze valley. You will reach Axum in the late afternoon. Have dinner and a nice rest in your hotel.
Day 8: Sightseeing in Axum. It was once the capital of the long Axumite reign, one of the oldest African empires, and represented a connecting-point between Africa and Asia for almost a thousand years. Some of the archeological sites can give you an idea of the former high standard of civilization. There are certainly lots of hidden treasures beneath Axum, yet to be uncovered. Visit the famous steles: granite monoliths dating from pre-Christian times, decorated with symbolic engravings. See the churches of Saint Mary of Zion, which contain the crowns of Ethiopian kings and other treasures, the tomb of King Kaleb and the Axum Museum, revealing many of the archeological findings and providing information about the glorious past of the city.
Day 9: Flight from Axum to Lalibela. You will start your visit to the famous rock churches of the “Ethiopian Jerusalem”. Each church (“Bet”) has a unique architectural style. All are superbly carved and most of them are decorated with well-preserved paintings. Visit the northern group of churches. Bet Medhane Alem is the largest monolithic rock-hewn building in the world, supported by 72 pillars. Through a short tunnel you pass on to Bet Mariam. Bet Golgotha and Bet Mikael contain many important religious items. Bet Giyorgis is the last one of the churches, built after St. George appeared in the dream of King Lalibela. It displays the finest architecture in
a good state of preservation.
Day 10: Visit the eastern group of rock churches ofLalibela. Bet Amanuel is one of the most ingeniously carved churches in Ethiopia in the Axumite style. Bet Merkorios has wonderful paintings dating back to the 15th century. Also see Bet Abba Libanos and Bet Gebriel- Rafael. They hosted the royal family before becoming churches. In the afternoon, visit the Naakuto Laab rock church, built inside a natural cave. Tonight, you are invited to the Coffee Ceremony, an important Ethiopian ritual which symbolizes hospitality and respect.
Day 11: Flight back from Lalibela to Addis Ababa.Directly continues driving to Awash and the Awash National Park. On the way you pass the beautiful town Debre Zeit, built around seven beautiful small lakes, and Nazareth, a quite big and modern city. In the late afternoon you will reach Awash, situated in the hot area of the great African Rift Valley. Dinner and Overnight in hotel
Day 12: Safari into the Awash National Park. Oryx, gazelles and baboons can be seen very probably. After lunch go on driving to Harar. The road offers magnificent panoramas. The women of the region wear very brightly colored clothes. En route see the Awaday chat market. In the late afternoon you arrive in Harar. Enjoy dinner in your hotel.
Day 13: Sightseeing in Harar. Take a walk through the old walled city Jegol. Visit the “Rimbaud-House” – Harar was the French poet’s home for some years. Inside the city walls there are 99 mosques. Most of them were built in the 16th century and later, some date back to the 13th century. Harar has been a center of pilgrimage for centuries and the holiest Islamic city in the Horn of Africa. Visit some of the traditional houses, the gates and the Friday- Mosque. In the evening visit the Hyena Man on the outskirts of town, He feeds Harar’s hyenas every evening with meat.
Day 14: In the morning drive 50 km to Dire Dawa. You can see the train station of the railway line that connects Addis Ababa with the port of Djibouti. Fly back from Dire Dawa to Addis Ababa. Enjoy a farewell dinner with music and dancing presentations. Then you are brought to the airport for your flight back.