Ethiopia Group Tour Holiday - Historic Ethiopia

Ethiopia - Historic Ethiopia including Timkat

Style: TravellerCultural discovery away from the crowds
Duration: 14 days
Type: GroupTravel with a small group of other travellers


Day 1 – Addis Ababa

Arrive in Addis Ababa and transfer to your hotel. The rest of the day is free to relax. Overnight at Jupiter International Hotel or similar.

Day 2 – Lalibela

Fly to Lalibela with its wonderful rock hewn churches, known in some circles as the 8th wonder of the world. In the afternoon we visit some of these intriguing monuments to discover more about Ethiopia’s enigmatic past. Overnight at Mountain View Hotel or Panoramic View Hotel or similar. (BD)

Day 3 – Lalibela

Take a morning excursion by mules to the Asheten Mariam Church, known for its wonderful views, or alternatively a visit will be arranged by car to the cave church of Naktuleab. In the afternoon visit the remaining rock hewn churches in Lalibela. Overnight at Mountain View Hotel or similiar. (BD)

Day 4 - Mekelle(425 kms, approx 9 hours)

After an early breakfast we start the journey to the town of Mekelle. Along the way there will be plenty of opportunities for photo stops as we pass through small Amhara villages. Overnight at Axum Hotel or similar. (BD)

Please note that today involves between 9 and 10 hours driving. 

Day 5 – Tigray churches

Today we continue our exploration of the remote Tigray region,visiting the marvellous churches of Medhane Alem Adikusho, Wukro Cherkos and Abraha Atsbeha. Overrnight at Agoro Lodge or similar. (BD)

Day 6 – Axum (187 kms, approx 4.5 hours)

Today we drive to Axum through spectacular scenery, visiting the 5th century temple of Yeha en route, which displays incredible skills in stonework and is the oldest building still standing in Ethiopia. Overnight at Yared Zema  Hotel or similar. (BD)

Day 7 - Axum

Visit the amazing sites of Axum, including its collection of ancient stelae, the bath and palace of the Queen of Sheba and St Mary of Tsion Church, which legend says is home to the Ark of the Covenant. Overnight at Yared Zema Hotel or similar. (BD)

Day 8 – Simien Mountains (290 kms, approx 7-8 hours)

A long drive today to the Simien Mountains, a spectacularly scenic area with interesting endemic mammals, including Gelada Baboons and many species of birds. Depending on our arrival time we may have time to take a short walk in the park before our main walk tomorrow to experience the breathtaking beauty of these mountains. Overnight at Simien Lodge or similar - sleeping at 3300m. (BD)

Please note that due to intermittent road construction activity the driving time on this day can be up to 10 hours.  

Day 9 – Simien Mountains

We spend today walking through the mountains to visit awe-inspiring viewpoints and spot some of the wildlife. For those that do not want a  full day trek a shorter alternative can be taken. Overnight at Simien Lodge or similar. (BL) 

Day 10 – Gondar (145 kms, approx 3 hours)

Drive to Gondar, a city famous for its amazing collection of old castles and palaces. We visit the main sites of the town, including the Bath of King Fasiladas and the beautifully decorated Debre Birhan Selassie Church (Light of Trinity) with its wonderful murals. Overnight at Goha Hotel or similar. (BD)

Day 11 –Bahir Dar (175 kms, approx 3 hours)

We head to Bahir Dar, stopping en route at any points of interest. On arrival we will drive to the Blue Nile Falls where we will take a short walk to view the falls themselves. Later we return to Bahir Dar, where our hotel tonight overlooks Lake Tana, source of the Blue Nile. Overnight at Avanti Blue Nile Hotel or similar. (BD)

Day 12 – Lake Tana

This morning we take boats out onto Lake Tana to explore its fantastic collection of ancient monasteries, dramatically situated on the lake’s islands and peninsulas. The afternoon is free to explore Bahir Dar, with the option of visiting Bezawit Palace, built for Emperor Haile Selassie. Overnight at Avanti Blue Nile Hotel or similar. (BD)

Day 13 – Addis Ababa

Take a flight back to Addis Ababa and  an afternoon tour of the capital. Visit the Entoto Mountains, with a fantastic view over the city, the National Museum, St George’s Cathedral and the Merkato, reputedly the biggest open air market in Africa. Overnight at Jupiter International Hotel or similar. (BD)

Day 14 – Addis Ababa

The tour ends with a transfer to the airport. (B)

Harar Extension- 5 days/4 nights

Day 1- Awash (218 kms, approx. 5.5 hours)

A morning drive takes us from Addis Ababa to Awash National Park, one of the most beautiful in Ethiopia. The River Awash runs through a spectacular gorge; the park itself is home to 392 species of birds, and many mammals live there including onyx, gazelles and antelopes. On arrival we will take a game drive in the park. Overnight stay at Genet Hotel or similar. (LD)

Day 2- Harar (330 kms, approx. 7.5 hours)

Early in the morning we will return to the park, to enjoy wonderful birdlife, hot springs, and the Awash Waterfalls. Afterwards continue to Harar, which is unique within Ethiopia. With its 368 alleyways squeezed in to just 1sq km, it is more reminiscent of Fez in Morocco than it is of any other Ethiopian city. Its countless mosques and shrines, coffee –scented streets, busy market place - probably the most colourful in Ethiopia- crumbling walls and charming people are reminiscent of a bygone era. Overnight stay at Heritage Plaza Hotel or similar. (BLD)

Day 3- Harar

Explore the old city on foot with its many sites including the house where Rimbaud lived; Harar was the poet's favourite city and he based himself there in order to trade in arms, eventually destined for the emperor Menelik. In the evening, see the renowned ‘hyena men’. Overnight stay at Heritage Plaza Hotel or similar. (BLD)

Day 4- Dire Dawa (55 kms, approx. 1.25 hours)

The road climbs into the Cercer Mountains (3,000 metres above sea level), offering magnificent panoramas of the surrounding countryside. Alongside the road we begin to see crops of 'chat', a bush whose leaves are chewed by the local people to provide light stimulation. The women of this region dress in very brightly coloured clothes. We will have lunch on arrival in Dire Dawa and in the afternoon we will explore the city. Overnight stay at Samrate Hotel or similar. (BLD)

Day 5- Addis Ababa (452 kms,7.5 hours)

Drive back to Addis Ababa to connect with your departure flight. (B)

Why not combine this tour with the Omo Valley tour, which runs directly after the Historic Ethiopia tour?

Did you know that from April 2019 you can join our Eritrea Discovery tour before this tour to combine both countries!

Other tours in Ethiopia

Ethiopia - Omo Valley Explorer »