Ethiopia travel and Tour takes you the top tourist attractions in the northern and southern Omo Valley of Ethiopia and it is also arrange in a way to visit the colourful Timket Festival .
TOUR CODE: AAT-FT-42
DURATION: 17 DAYS/ 16 NIGHTS
SITE: BAHIR DAR, GONDAR, LALIBELA, AXUM
- 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 the Colourful Festival of Timket in Lalibela
- 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”
Timket Departure is 10 – 26 January
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”.
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: Fly to Lalibela.
After breakfast transfer to the Aiport and fly to Lalibela. According to Ethiopian tradition the Zagwe Dynasty emerged by the twelfth and thirteenth centuries following the decline of the Aksumite Empire (1137-1270). Power was shifted to Roha in Lasta District. This was renamed for King Lalibela of the Zagwe Dynasty which ruled in Lalibela for more than a century (1181-1221). The construction of eleven rock-hewn churches is attributed to King Lalibela. Some of the churches are monolithic, carved from a sloping mass of red volcanic scoria under laid 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. The Lalibela churches are included in the World Heritage List since 1978. Overnight Mount View Hotel
Day 9:In lalibela.
After breakfast visit of the other groups of Rock churches of Lalibela Bet Giyorgis, possibly the most elegant of all the Lalibela churches, 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. Bet Emanuel's elaborate exterior is much praised by art historians. Afternoon attend Eve of Timket, Epiphany at Lalibela. Overnight Mount View Hotel
Day 10: Whole day attend the Timket Festival in Lalibela
Timket, or Timkat, is Ethiopian language for Epiphany. Although the holiday commemorating Christ's baptism in the River Jordan is observed by Christians all over the world, Timket is of special significance in Ethiopia. It is the most important and colourful event of the year.
The festival starts at Timket Eve, January 18, eleven days after the orthodox Christmas. Although the festival is largely religious, it has no lack of secular elements such as partying and match-making.
According to the Ethiopian epic Kebra Negast, the Ark of the Covenant was abducted from Jerusalem to Ethiopia during the first millennium BC. Since then, it has become the most sacred element of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church.
Early afternoon in the Timket Eve, the replicas of the Ark, covered by silks, are carried solemnly by priests from each church to the nearby body of water. Accompanying the procession are tens of thousands of church members and believers, chanting, dancing, drum-beating, horn-blowing, prayer-stick-waving and sistra(a simple musical instrument)-rattling. All in all, it resembles the scene described in the Old Testament.
As evening falls, the priests and the pious believers participate in overnight vigil around the Arks until dawn. Then huge crowds gather around the water. After the chief priest blesses the water, the celebration reaches its climax. Many jump into the water, the rest are eager to get a splash. After the religious vows are renewed, some of the Arks are paraded back with the same celebrating fashion.
Day 11: Fly to Addis Ababa and drive to Langano, 200 Kilometer, about 3-4 hours drive
After breakfast you will check in to the airport for your flight to Addis Ababa. Up on arrival meet 4WD Vehicles and leave Addis Ababa heading south for the main Ethiopian Rift, to Langano. En route stop at Zeway town and visit The Lake Zeway and then continue driving to Lake Langano for an overnight stay in Sabana Resort.
Day 12: Boat Trip on Lake Chamo then drive to Konso
After breakfast take a boat trip on Lake Chamo, where you can spot many hippos and spectacular concentrations of giant crocodiles. The water birds are great the scenery is unforgettable. Locals fish here in traditional fishing boats. Then after drive to Konso where you visit the Konso people, known for colorful dresses and unusually engraved wooden statues. Overnight at Kanta Lode.
Day 13: Drive to Turmi, 234 Kms 5 - 6 hours drive
After breakfast take Continue along impressive land terracing to the village of the Woito people, near the Woito River. Then to drive to Turmi for an overnight stay in Buska Lodge.
Day 14: Krro Village then back to Turmi, 130km, 5 Hours drive
After breakfast we will make an excursion trip to the Karo Tribe (approx 65km drive one way ). The Karo people live in the bank of the Omo River and they are very famous for their body painting. The Karo people use clays and locally available vegetable pigments to trace fantastic patterns on each other’s faces, chests, arms, and legs. Karo men, as with neighbouring tribes, are also famous for their unique hairstyle. Then after we drive back to Turmi for lunch. In the afternoon we visit a Hamer village. Overnight Buska Lodge Or Turmi Lodge
Day 15: Excursion to Omorate then back to Turmi
After breakfast, drive to Omorate to visit the Gelab (Dassanech) tribe inhabiting the riverbanks of Omo River. Cross Omo River by a small boat and walk fifteen minutes to visit their village. The Gelabs are also known for their body painting. . Return to Turmi in the afternoon, where depending on the day you might be able shop at a vibrant local market, savoring the smells and tastes while bumping shoulders with the Karo, Homer and Benna people. Overnight Buska Lodge Or Turmi Lodge or Paradise Lodge
Day 16: Drive to Jinka, 120 killometers, about 3 hours drive
On the way to Jinka stop at Demeka Market ( Saturday is market day), a tribal market, where different ethnic groups gather to sell and buy their agricultural products. Overnight Eco Omo Lodge
Day 17: Jinka – Mursi - Jinka – Addis 140 killometers, about 3 - 4 hours drive
After breakfast leave Jinka and drive to the Mursi village to visit and appreciate the very attractive culture of the Mursi tribe. They are renowned for the strange custom followed by their women who, on reaching maturity, have their lower lips slit and circular clay discs inserted. Then drive back to Jinka for lunch then transfer to Jinka Airport and fly to Addis Ababa .
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