Ethiopia Tour to the Historic Route , Gheralta Mountains, Dallol in Danakil Depression, visit the rock churches of Lalibela and the old city of Harer.
TOUR CODE: AAT 1114
DURATION: 18 DAYS/ 17 NIGHTS
SITE: BAHIR DAR, GONDAR, LALIBELA AND AXUM
TRANSPORT: BY 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
- Enjoy the amazing landscape of the Simien Mountains Range
- Visit the splendid vestiges of the fabled Queen Sheba in Axum
- Walk to the amazing rock churches of Lalibela, a UNESCO World Heritage Site
- Visit Gheralta Mountains and Trgrai Rock Churches
- Visit the Magnificient lateral beauity of the Danakil Depression
- Visit the old historical city of Harer
- Shop the stalls of Merkato, the largest open-air market in Africa
- Traditional Ethiopian farewell dinner with “coffee ceremony”
The name Ethiopia come from a Greek word meaning "sunburned faces." The Greeks called all peoples south of Egypt Ethiopians because of their darker skin. Ethiopia's former name is Abyssinia, a word of uncertain origin: some people believe it comes from an Arabic word meaning "mixed" - a reference to the country's many ethnic groups; others contend that the name belonged to an early Ethiopian tribe.The famous skeleton of 'Lucy', dating back to 3.4 million years ago, was found in Hadar, Ethiopia. . It is also the source of the Blue Nile, the great river whose power and fertility nurtured the origin of civilization itself. And it is the origin of one of life’s great pleasures – coffee, our gift to the world. We simply call Ethiopia as “land of origins”.
Departure : 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: Drive Bahir Dar, ca. 8 h
After breakfast drive to Bahir Dar via Debre Markos and Dejen, the teff growing region of the country. Teff is the staple food of Ethiopians. En route visit the 13th century monastery of Debre Libanos. Further down, you will enjoy the fabulous Blue Nile Gorge, similar to the Grand Canyon of the USA.
Day 3: In Bahir Dar
After breakfast drive to the small town of Tiss Abay to visit the impressive Blue Nile Falls, locally known as Tiss Isat or 'Smoke of Fire'. Return to Bahir Dar for lunch and in the afternoon 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. Lake Tana 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 cultural interest.
Day 4: 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 5: Drive to Simien Mountains
After early breakfast we drive to Debark, the head quarter of the Simien Mountain National Park. We proceed to Sankaber, where we walk around through breath-taking scenery enjoying endemic Gelada Baboons and the bone breaker giant bird Lammergeyer.
Day 6: Drive Axum, ca. 7 h
This drive is probably the most spectacular in Ethiopia. The road descends from 3100 meters through hairpin bends down the Simien Mountains to 1400 meters in just 40kms! The drive down to Adi Arkay showcases not only the immensely beautiful Simien Mountain massifs but also the people who eke out an existence in this unforgiving countryside. The drive continues through the Tekeze valley, crossing the Tekeze River and onto Axum.
Day 7: In Axum
Visit historical and archaeological sites in 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 magnificent 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 8: Drive to Geralta
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 Geralta Lodge
Day 9: 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 10: Drive to Hamedella
After breakfast drive to Hamed Elle and have lunch at the campsite. Afternoon drive to Dallol and enjoy the spectacular view of the small hills, fumaroles and colorful hot springs. Ground water bubbles up leaving colorful minerals behind which form amazing structures on the rim of the hot springs. You will also observe salt cutting, shaping and loading on the camel caravans. Then drive back to Hamedella for an Overnight Camping
Day 11 : Visit Hamedella and drive to Mekle
In the very early morning, drive to see the salt workers at Lake Karoum : tens of people start working here at 5 or 6 in the morning, digging salt and making slabs to be transported by donkeys and camels to Makele. The caravans arrive here in the morning, the animals are loaded and go back in the afternoon. A few kms further, a bubbling lake and the site of the old Dallol volcano are superb : pools of green, yellow and orange acid, little geysers and white crystals are a delight for the eyes.
Next, high salt towers build a ghost like city where strolling is fabulous. Then after drive to Mekle
Day 12: Drive to Lalibela, ca. 10 h
On this day, you will have the longest drive but the magnificent scenery with gigantic up and downs is nice to experience. Visit Lake Ashenge on the way which is good for birding. We arrive in Lalibela in the late afternoon. Overnight Sora Lodge
Day 13: In Lalibela
Full day sightseeing tour of Lalibela, famous for its rock hewn churches dating back 800 years. There are no less than 1000 churches in the Lasta Region of Lalibela, some hidden in enormous caves, but it's exceptional to find 11 churches of such master craftsmanship in one location. These brilliant feats of engineering and architecture are often referred to as the "Eighth wonder of the world". Explore the atmospheric subterranean complex of passages and the 11 remarkable rock-hewn churches which until today remain a place of pilgrim and devotion for Ethiopian Christians. The construction of the 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 underlaid 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. Two are decorated with interesting wall paintings and carved figures. Overnight Sora Lodge
Day 14: Drive to Kombolcha ca. 6 h
After breakfast drive through the highland area of Delb. Stop over at Hike town to visit the 13th century monastery of Hike Istifanos on the island of Lake Hike. Proceed to Kombolcha for dinnerand overnight stay. Overnight Lal Sunny side Hotel
Day 15: Drive to Awash
After Breakfast leave Semera and drive to Awash. The Remaining of the day visit Awash water Falls, Overnight Genet Hotel.
Day 16: Drive – Harar, 300 kilometers, about 8 hours drive
After breakfast drive from Addis to the walled city of Harar. You will be driving through the Hararghe Mountains and we will see plenty of coffee and ‘chat’ fields. The region is well known in growing one of the best qualities of coffee and ‘Chat’. Overnight Ras Hotel
Day 17: Full day tour in Harer
After breakfast you will visit the colorful Muslim and Christian markets (known for basketry). After lunch visit the Hareri Museum, Rimbaud House, a fine traditional house dating from the period when the French poet Rimbaud lived in Harar. Finally visit the traditional Hareri house within the famous walled city. Overnight Ras Hotel
Day 18: Harer – Addis Departure
Drive from Harer to Addis Ababa. Evening a fare well dinner party in one of the traditional Ethiopian restaurants to experience the Ethiopian food and dances from different tribes. Then after transfer to the airport for departure.
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 including local non-alcoholic beverage
- 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.
- Professional English speaking Tour Guide accompanying through out the trip.
- Local Guide and scout fees in parks and villages
- Boat trip on Lake Tana to visit two monasteries and churches on the islands of Lake Tana
- Farewell dinner in Addis to enjoy traditional Ethiopian food & Music; transfer & guide
- 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
- 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