Historic Ethiopia

Ethiopia - Historic Ethiopia

Style: TravellerCultural discovery away from the crowds
Duration: 14 days
Type: GroupSmall group tours with a maximum of 12 travellers


Day 1 – Addis Ababa

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

Day 2 – Lalibela

Fly to Lalibela with its wonderful rock cut 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 in Mountain View Hotel or Panoramic View Hotel or similar. (BD)

Day 3 – Lalibela

Morning excursion by mules to the Asheten Mariam Church, known for its wonderful views. Alternatively a visit will be arranged by car to the cave church of Naktuleab. Afternoon visit to the remaining churches in Lalibela. Overnight in Mountain view Hotel or Panoramic View Hotel or similiar. (BD)

Day 4 - Mekelle

After an early breakfast 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 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 to the Tigray region to visit the marvellous churches that dot this remote and inspiring landscape. Today we visit the churches of Medhane Alem Adikusho, Wukro Cherkos and Abraha Atsbeha. Overnight Agoro Lodge or similar. (BD)

Day 6 – Axum

Today we drive to Axum through some spectacular views. En route we visit the 5th century temple of Yeha, displaying incredible skills in stonework and in fact the oldest building still standing in Ethiopia. Overnight Yared Zema or Sabean Hotel or similar. (BD)

Day 7 - Axum

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

Day 8 – Simien Mountains

A long drive today to the Simien Mountains, a spectacularly scenic area with interesting endemic mammals, including the gelada baboons and as well as various species of birds. Depending on our arrival time we may have time to do a short walk in the park before our main walk tomorrow to experience the breathtaking beauty of these mountains. Overnight Simien Lodge or similar. (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 to do a long full day trek a shorter alternative can be taken. Overnight Simien Lodge or similar. (BL) 

Day 10 – Gondar

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 palaces and castles of King Fasiladas and the beautifully decorated Debre Birhan Selassie Church (Light of Trinity) with its wonderful murals. Overnight Goha Hotel or similar. (BD)

Day 11 –Bahir Dar

We head to Bahir Dar, stopping en route for any sites of interest. On arrival we drive to the Blue Nile Falls where we 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 Avanti Blue Nile Hotel or Abay Minch lodge 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. This afternoon is free to explore Bahir Dar, with the option of visiting Bezawit Palace, built for Emperor Haile Selassie. Overnight Avanti Blue Nile Hotel or Abay Minch lodge or similar. (BD)

Day 13 – Addis Ababa

Fly back to Addis. Subject to time you will have 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 Jupiter International Hotel or similar. (BD)

Day 14 – Addis Ababa

Tour ends with a transfer to the airport. (B)

Harar Extension

Day 1 - Awash
A morning drive takes you from Addis Ababa to Awash National Park. This park is 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. Upon arrival take a game drive in the park. Overnight Genet Hotel or similar. (LD)

Day 2 - Harar
Early in the morning we will visit the park, with wonderful birdlife, hot springs, and the Awash waterfalls. Afterwards continue to Harar. Harar is unique within Ethiopia. With its 368 alleyways squeezed in to just 1sq km, it’s 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 remind one of a bygone era. Overnight Heritage Plaza Hotel or similar. (BLD)

Day 3 - Harar
Explore and walk through the old city seeing its many sites including the house where Rimbaud lived. Harar was the poet's favourite city and he established quarters there in order to trade in arms, eventually destined for the emperor Menelik. In the evening, see the renowned ‘hyena men’. Overnight Heritage Plaza Hotel or similar. (BLD)

Day 4 - Dire Dawa
The road and surrounding fertile lands rise up the Cercer Mountains (3,000 metres above sea level), offering magnificent panoramas. On the road we begin to see crops of 'chat', a bush whose leaves are chewed because they provide light stimulation. The women of this region wear very brightly coloured clothes. We arrive in Dire Dawa and explore the city in the afternoon. Overnight Samrate Hotel or similar. (BLD)

Day 5 – Addis Ababa
Drive back to Addis Ababa to connect with your departure flight. (B)

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