Ethiopia travel Tour to the Great Historic Route to visit the major historical sites in Bahir Dar, Blue Nile Waterfalls, Monasteries on Lake Tana, the Castles of Gondar, and the Rock Churches in Lalibela and historical and archaeological sites in Axum. A visit of the magnificent scenery of Gheralta Mountains and Tigrai Rock churches is included on this trip.
TOUR CODE: AAT 1111
DURATION: 9 DAYS/ 8 NIGHTS
SITE: BAHIR DAR, GONDAR, LALIBELA, AXUM, GHERALTA & MEKLE
TRANSPORT: BY AIR & SURFACE
- Explore the dramatic nature of the Blue Nile & Tiss Isat Falls
- Boat trip on Lake Tana to visit the ancient monasteries Ura Kidane Mehret and Azwa Maryam
- Visit the Castles of Gondar, also known as Africa’s Camelot
- Visit the splendid vestiges of the fabled Queen Sheba in Axum
- Visitto the amazing rock-hewn churches of Lalibela, a UNESCO World Heritage Site
- Visit Gheralta Mountains and Trgrai Rock Churches
- Shop the stalls of Merkato, the largest open-air market in Africa
- Traditional Ethiopian farewell dinner with “coffee ceremony”
Departure Day: Daily Guaranteed Departure with 2 participants minimum
Day 1: Arrival in Addis Ababa
WELCOME TO ETHIOPIA. On arrival in Addis Ababa our representative will meet you at Bole
International Airport. After transfer to your hotel an overview of the program will be given. The rest of the day visit historical sites in Addis Ababa including the National Archaeological Museum, where the 3,6 million year old skeletal remains of “Lucy” rest, which were discovered in 1974. Proceed to the Unity Park at the National Palace, the Holy Trinity Cathedral and Mount Entoto, which rises up to an altitude of 3200 meters and offers a panoramic view of the metropolis. Overnight in 4-star hotel.
Day 2: Fly Bahir Dar, Blue Nile Falls
After breakfast fly to Bahir Dar, a small town on the southern shore of Lake Tana. The lake is the source of the Blue Nile and the largest lake in Ethiopia. Thirty of its thirty-seven islands host churches and monasteries of considerable historical and cultural interest. After refreshment, take a boat trip on Lake Tana to visit two of the most accessible and representative monasteries, Ura Kidane Mehret and Azwa Maryam, which still serve their original function. In the afternoon, take the short walk to the best viewing point of the impressive Blue Nile Falls, locally known as Tiss Isat or 'Smoke of Fire’.
Day 3: Drive to Gondar
On the 180 km long drive to Gondar you experience a typical Ethiopian-African landscape - wide grazing land, hilly mountains and numerous farmlands. Visit the castles and churches built by emperor Fassiledes and his descendants, also known as Africa’s Camelot. Later precede to the fascinating Debre Birhan Selassie Church - one of the World’s heritage sights. Its walls and ceilings are decorated with scenes of biblical lore and medieval history.
Day 4: Fly Lalibela
After breakfast transfer to the airport and flight to Lalibela. The town of Lalibela, lies among the Lasta Mountains at 2630 m above sea level and remains until today a place of pilgrim and devotion for Ethiopian Christians. The construction of the eleven rock-hewn churches is attributed to king Lalibela of the Zagwe Dynasty. Some of the 12th century churches are monolithic, carved from a sloping mass of red volcanic scoria underpaid by dark grey basalt and interconnected by a maze of tunnels and
passages with openings to hermit caves and catacombs. Some are of the basilica type, having archaic features and imitating architectural elements from earlier periods, yet they differ in design and style. The Lalibela churches are included in the World Heritage List since 1978. Afternoon visit of the first group of six churches which lie in rock cradles one behind the other: Bet Golgotha, Bet Mika'el, Bet Maryam, Bet Meskel, Bet Danaghel and Bet Medhane Alem. Bet Medhane Alem, the largest one, is built like a Greek temple and its stone floor is so polished by the countless numbers of visitors that it reflects shafts of light from apertures in the walls high above. In a corner are three empty graves symbolically dug for biblical patriarchs Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Overnight Mezena Lodge
Day 5: In Lalibela
After breakfast take a mule ride to the 13th century rock hewn monastery of Asheten Mariam. The church is situated on the top of a mountain at an altitude of 3150 metres. The roundtrip takes about 4 hours. We return to Lalibela for lunch. In the afternoon, visit the other groups of rock churches. Bet Giyorgis, the most elegant church, lies somewhat isolated in the southwest part of the village on a sloping rock terrace. It can only be reached through a tunnel. The group of four, south of the Jordan River, comprise of Bet Emanuel, Bet Mercurios, Bet Abba Libanos and Bet Gabriel-Rufa'el. Overnight Mezena Lodge
Day 6: Fly Axum
After breakfast fly to Axum. Visit the historical and archaeological sites of Axum. The ancient city marks the location of the heart of ancient Ethiopia, when the kingdom of Axum was the most
powerful state between the eastern Roman Empire and Persia. The archaeological and historical attractions in Axum include: the archaeological museum, the monolithic steles and obelisks, the tombs of king Kaleb and King Gebre Meskal, the legendary bath of Queen Sheba and the ruins of her palace. The 16th century cathedral St. Mary of Zion, the holiest church in Ethiopia, is said to host the original Ark of the Covenant. The churches and monasteries of Axum are richly endowed with icons and historical crowns of ancient emperors.
Day 7: Drive to Gheralta Mountains
After breakfast we drive through the historical town of Adwa, a major African battlefield, where Emperior Minilic II defeated the Italian army on 1st March 1896 thereby ensuring that his Empire would be the only African state to enter the 20th centuryas a fully independent entity Visit the 5th century B.C. ruins of Yeha temple - a large pre-Christian temple consisting of a single oblong chamber. The temple is believed to be the oldest standing building in Ethiopia. You will also visit the 6th century AD church of Aba Afse close by. Overnight Gheralta Lodge
Day 8: Drive to Mekle Visiting the Tigray Rock Churches.
This day is a time to visit the wonderful rock churches of Tigray. The landscape is extraordinary: some of the nearby churches in the area. There are a lot of Table Mountains (Ambas) and other fantastic rocky formations. You will visit the churches of Mariam Dugum Selassie and Abreha We Atsebha, then after drive to Mekle for an overnight stay at Axum Hotel
Day 9: Fly to Addis Ababa, departure
After breakfast fly to Addis Ababa. Souvenir shopping and in the evening fare well dinner party, with dances from different ethnic groups, in a traditional Ethiopian restaurant. Afterwards transfer to the airport for flight home.
For this trip we have included very good tourist standard hotels. In Addis Ababa 4* Hotel is considered and out side Addis Ababa in other towns the best available 3* are considered.
We respect your personal preference on what is to be included and not included on the tour cost.
But as a standard included in our given prices are meet and greet at airport, All accommodation, Meals in Addis, on bed and breakfast basis, Meals out of Addis, on full board basis, All entrance fees at sites, churches, parks and villages, All ground transportation according to the itinerary and Guide service.
International flights, Lunch and Dinner in Addis Ababa , Any drinks including local non-alcoholic beverage and alcoholic drinks, Video filming and photography fees, Incidental meals, snacks and drinks and Tips and items of personal nature like laundry, souvenirs, etc
Visa and Immigration Requirements
Most nationals require a visa for entry into Ethiopia. The easiest way to get Ethiopian Visa is to get it on line thttps://www.evisa.gov.et/ . Again visa can be obtained at Ethiopia’s diplomatic missions overseas.. The last option is to get visa on arrival at Bole International Airport; nationals of 33 countries are now allowed to receive their tourist visas on arrival in Ethiopia at the regular charge. The list includes Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greek, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Republic of Korea, Kuwait, Luxembourg, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Thailand, citizens of United Kingdom and United States.
How to get in to Ethiopia
Addis Ababa is a major hub for international airlines. Ethiopian Airlines, the national airline of Ethiopia, provides excellent links with East, West and South Africa, Europe and the Middle East, with connections to America and the Far East. The national airline also offers domestic services to the major towns in Ethiopia, as well as most regional centers. All international services arrive at Bole International Airport, Addis Ababa. Other airlines serving Ethiopia include: Kenya Airways, Emirates, Egyptian, Alitalia, British Airways, Lufthansa, Saudi, Aeroflot, Yemeni, and Turkish Airways.
Luggage on tour
your luggage should not exceed 20kgs (44lbs). One large suitcase/rucksack, and one small hand luggage rucksack is acceptable. Soft rolling bag (we usually use a 22 inch roll aboard) are recommended.
Weather and Climate
There are two seasons: the dry season prevails from October through May; the wet season runs from June to September.
Generally except for June, July and August, most part of Ethiopia will be sunny and pleasant temperature to travel around.
When you travel to the north you are staying in higher altitude towns (Example Addis Ababa, Gondar, and Lalibela) the daily average Temperature is from 20 – 25 degrees and the temperature drops quite rapidly towards sunset. Evenings are fairly cold and you are advised to bring something warm for the evenings, like a sweater or warm Jacket.
Those travelling to the Southern Omo Valley of Ethiopia, the weather of this region will be sunny, hot and dry; the average temperatures is about 30 degrees. During the day the sun is strong. Shorts, Hats, sun glasses, sun creams, light cotton summer clothes and layers of clothes are recommended. Although the daytime temperatures are not very high, the sun is strong and people coming pale and pasty from a European winter should be careful of sunburn -long sleeved shirts may be advisable.
Travelers are advised to travel with American Dollar or Euro. Australian dollar cannot be exchanged in Ethiopia. There is ATM machine In Most of the Regions and one can withdraw money Visa or Master Card. Banks are places to exchange money.
Hotel rooms are basic but generally clean with en suite toilet and bath facilities (usually shower only). In many places hotel accommodation is limited; we utilize the best tourist class properties available. Hotel in Addis is 3-star international standard.
We will be using 4WD Land Cruisers, 4WD mini buses or Coaster buses depending on the conditions of the roads and the size of the group. All our vehicles are Air- conditioned.
For internal flights, we use the national airline Ethiopian Air lines, which offer excellent domestic services to the major towns in Ethiopia.
Handshaking is the usual mode of greeting, although friends or families who have not seen each other for some time will kiss on each cheek. (Displays of sexual intimacy, kissing or hugging, will arouse embarrassment among most Ethiopians.) Usually a handshake greeting is accompanied by a pleasant discussion on personal matters before getting down to business. The offer of tea or coffee is normal, and time is not that important. Smoking is not popular amongst traditional people, or in front of priests. Shoes are often taken off on entering churches, and always on entering mosques.
Despite years of the civil wars in the previous regime, in terms of crime and robbers, Ethiopia is still a very safe country to visit, and Addis Ababa is still one of the safest capitals in Africa. Visitors should of course take the usual precautions, not carry large amounts of money with them and leave particularly valuable items with hotel reception. Both men and women visitors should be careful about hand and money bags, keeping them close at hand in crowded places. Like everywhere else, pick pockets and snatch thieves like to create some kind of diversion before making their move, so visitors should walk purposefully and be cautious about sudden introductions in the street.
- Meet and greet at airport
- All accommodation based on twin room occupancy
- Meals in Addis, on bed and breakfast basis
- Meals out of Addis, on full board basis
- All entrance fees at sites, churches, parks and villages.
- All transfers according to the itinerary.
- All Ground transportation including insurance, fuel and all costs of the driver.
- Guide service.
- Boat trip on Lake Tana to visit two monasteries
- Farewell dinner in Addis to enjoy traditional Ethiopian food and Music
- A traditional Ethiopian coffee ceremony at a convenient time in the program
- Government taxes
Price doesn’t include
- International flights
- Domestic Flights
- Lunch and Dinner in Addis Ababa
- Any drinks including local non-alcoholic beverage and alcoholic drinks.
- Video filming and photography fees
- Incidental meals, snacks and drinks
- Tips and items of personal nature like laundry, souvenirs, etc
- All what is not included in the list above