Ethiopia
Timkat Festival Tour

Timkat Festival Ethiopia Tour – a 13 day Small Group Tour from £2545 per person.


Join us on this small group tour to Ethiopia for the Timkat Festival which is the Ethiopian Orthodox Church’s celebration of Epiphany. Pilgrims travel for days to the church’s at which the celebrations are held and we will join them this year in Lalibela.

 

 

In addition, discover Ethiopia’s natural beauty as revealed in the Simien Mountains, where we walk amidst some of Africa’s most captivating scenery looking for endemic gelada baboons and other wildlife.

In Lalibela, we spend time exploring both the main churches and lesser known ones before driving to the region of Tigray. It is similar to Petra with churches hewn out of the surrounding landscape, but quite spectacular, with many built halfway up almost inaccessible cliff faces.

We spend time learning about the history of the ancient Axumite Empire at Axum and travel to ‘Africa’s Camelot’; the wonderful castles and palaces of Gondar. A truly unforgettable tour.

Tour ratings.

  • Fitness
  • Off the beaten track 
  • Culture 
  • History 
  • Wildlife 

Tour pace

Busy

Tour style

Traveller

Relaxed Pace

Relaxed tours are easy paced with plenty of leisure time built in. The tour will in all probability still be off the beaten track, with the occasional early start and there may still be occasional long drives. In general on a relaxed pace tour you can enjoy easy-going activities and experiences with opportunities to absorb the sights and immerse yourself in the local surroundings.

Moderate Pace

Moderate pace tours are ideal if you want a tour experience that combines activities and experiences with some time to relax. Typically you will be active and busy for part of the day but then also have time to rest and recharge your batteries. In general on a moderate paced tour there may be some long journeys involved but the tour is not an expedition or a road trip. On a moderate paced tour it will be necessary to have some early starts.

Busy Pace

A busy paced tour means that you can expect to be doing, seeing or experiencing something new almost every day, and moving on from place to place to pack in as much as possible. There may be early starts, long journeys and tiring days along the way, but you’ll return home feeling you’ve really experienced as much as you possibly could.

Pioneer Class Tours

On our Pioneer tours, you will be amongst an elite group of intrepid travellers and some of the first to explore a country that few have been privileged enough to discover. Of course, exploring such areas of the world will come with its challenges; it may mean several nights camping, long journeys by 4WD and the need to maintain a degree of flexibility for when carefully laid plans change. These are challenging tours in countries and areas that may have poor infrastructure, high levels of poverty and illiteracy. This can translate in to low standards in hotels, bad roads and poor driving standards among other issues. We try and smooth out as much of these issues as we can but you should be prepared to experience the bad with the good.

Traveller Class Tours

Our Traveller itineraries are at the core of our programme. These journeys are designed for travellers who still want to discover a land away from the tourist crowds but expect minimum standards. Accommodation will be primarily hotel based, although you could still find yourself camping, or the guest of a local family. Depending on the destination and itinerary, you’ll likely be travelling in a private vehicle, with occasional use of public transport. This is adventure travel with some of the rough edges smoothed out.

Itinerary

Arrive in Addis Ababa and transfer to hotel accommodation. The rest of the day is free to relax. Overnight at Nexus Hotel or similar. No meals are included today.

(260 km, Approximate driving time: seven hours)

A morning flight takes us to Mekele and on by road to Adigrat. We explore the sites of Tigray, visiting some of the region’s 130 rock churches including Medhane Alem Adikusho, Wukro Cherkos and Abraha Atsbeha. The architecture is notably different here. Churches are in part or wholly excavated within the living rock, rather than carved from it. Overnight at Agoro Lodge or similar. (BD)

(130 km, Approximate driving time: three hours)

The road to Axum passes through spectacular landscapes. Axum is Ethiopia’s holiest town and since 1980 a World Heritage Site. Highlights include a remarkable collection of ancient stelae, the bath and palace of the Queen of Sheba, and St Mary of Tsion Church, claimed by some to hold the Ark of the Covenant containing the original stone tablets handed down to Moses. Overnight at Yared Zema Hotel or similar. (BD)

(290km, Approximate driving time: five- six hours)

The journey to the Simien Mountains is long, but as we ascend towards the mountains the scenery is rewarding. Along the way it’s worth keeping an eye out for endemic Ethiopian wildlife, including Gelada Baboons and many species of birds. Depending on our arrival time there may be an opportunity for a short walk in the park to glimpse the breath-taking beauty of Simien mountainscapes. Overnight at Ras Dejen Hotel or similar. (BD)

Please Note: it can be very cold in the mountains at night so you should bring warm clothing to wear.

Today we walk in the mountains, taking in awe-inspiring viewpoints and spotting some of the endemic wildlife. The effects of altitude, though mild, will be apparent. We’ll make frequent stops, stay well hydrated and travel at the pace of the slowest. Shorter hikes are possible for those preferring not to walk for the whole day. Overnight at Ras Dejen Hotel or similar. (BL)

(145km, Approximate driving time: three hours)

Drive to Gondar, once Ethiopia’s imperial capital, and famous for its beautiful castles and palaces. This afternoon, you can witness the Eve of the Timkat Festival celebration. Overnight at Goha Hotel or similar. (BD)

Early in the morning we will go to the church to see the Timkat celebration and the crowd waiting to be baptized by the holy water. The water which symbolizes the Jordan River is blessed by the priest, and the patriarch then dips a golden cross into it, and extinguishes a burning consecrated candle on the altar. He then sprinkles water on the assembled congregation in commemoration of Christ’s baptism in the Jordan River. The ceremony will be over around 8am and afterwards we visit some of the town’s main sites, which include the Bath of King Fasiladas and the ornately decorated Debre Birhan Selassie Church (Light of Trinity) known for its colourful murals. Overnight at Goha Hotel or similar. (BD)

(175km, Approximate driving time: three hours)

After breakfast we continue to explore Gondar before the drive to Bahir Dar, close to Lake Tana, stopping at points of interest en route. On arrival check into our hotel which overlooks Lake Tana, source of the Blue Nile. Overnight at Avanti Blue Nile Hotel or similar. (BD)

From the town we drive to the Blue Nile Falls, taking a short walk to view the falls themselves, before returning. We take boats out onto Lake Tana to explore its collection of ancient monasteries, dramatically situated on the lake’s islands and peninsulas. Overnight at Avanti Blue Nile Hotel or similar. (BD)

(380km, Approximate driving time: seven hours)

After breakfast start the journey to the town of Lalibela, stopping at points of interest along the way. Overnight at Mountain View Hotel or similar. (BD)

This morning we will begin to explore the rock hewn churches known in some circles as the 8th wonder of the world. This afternoon we will continue visiting these intriguing monuments to discover more of Ethiopia’s enigmatic past. Overnight in Mountain View Hotel or similar. (BD)

Take a flight back to Addis Ababa where we will visit some of its best known sites including the Entoto Mountains with a fabulous view over the city, Trinity Cathedral and the Merkato, reputedly the largest open air market in Africa. Overnight at Nexus Hotel or similar. (BD)

At a suitable time, you will be transferred to the airport for your departure flight. Tour ends. (B)

For further information on our pre and post tour extensions to the Danakill Depression and the Harar region, please see the Tour Dossier download.

Dates & Price.

  • Tour Code
    Start
    End
    Trip Status
    Pricing
     
  • Tour Code 21-01 Timkat
    Start Wednesday January 13, 2021
    End Monday January 25, 2021
    Available
     
    Available Seats: 12

    Adult ( 1 - 12 Pax ) £2,545.00 /Person

    - +

    Trip Extras:

    Ethiopia Timkat Festival Tour (EHE) Single Supplement
    £ 585.00 / unit

    Single travellers - we understand that in our busy world many people travel alone. Although we do charge a single supplement, if you are willing to share with another traveller then please contact us and we will do our best to match you up. Otherwise please select the applicable single supplement below.

    Learn More
  • Tour Code 22-01 Timkat
    Start Thursday January 13, 2022
    End Tuesday January 25, 2022
    Guaranteed
     
    Available Seats: 12

    Adult ( 1 - 12 Pax ) £2,725.00 /Person

    - +

    Trip Extras:

    Ethiopia Timkat Festival Tour (EHE) Single Supplement
    £ 585.00 / unit

    Single travellers - we understand that in our busy world many people travel alone. Although we do charge a single supplement, if you are willing to share with another traveller then please contact us and we will do our best to match you up. Otherwise please select the applicable single supplement below.

    Learn More

Tour Notes

This group tour operates subject to a minimum group size of 2 travellers.

Return flights from London to Addis Ababa start at £590. Contact us for a quotation.

Single Supplement for the Ethiopia Timkat Festival is £585.

Extra night accommodation pre and/or post tour in Addis Ababa costs from £60 per person, per night sharing a twin/double room and £96 per person in a solo occupancy room.

Please note that the prices quoted above are for the category of accommodation and hotel used for this particular tour. Depending on the hotel eventually confirmed there may be some difference in the rate advertised by the hotel, and the prices available through Undiscovered Destinations. It should be noted we will not apply a surcharge should more expensive accommodation be used. At the same time in the event that a lower rate is available for the confirmed hotel we are unable to offer a refund.

Airport transfers are included if you are booking pre and/or post tour accommodation at the hotel mentioned in our tour dossier.

If you do not wish to be part of a group tour then you may be able to do the same tour on a private basis. Please contact us for prices.

Kindly note that we can also tailor a similar or totally different itinerary to meet your requirements. Please get in touch with us so that we can tailor your perfect tour of Ethiopia’s historic north.

Mapped itinerary.

Want to see details of your itinerary on a map?

Download PDF.

Download the full tour dossier for this trip here.

Historic Ethiopia Tour Map

For expert advice get in touch now with our passionate,
well-travelled team.

+44(0) 191 296 2674 from THE UK
1-800-614-2967 from THE US & CANADA
1-300-956-415 from AUSTRALIA

Tour inclusions.

  • Arrival and departure transfers
  • Domestic flights
  • All accommodation
  • Services of English speaking guide / tour leader (please note that groups of 1-3 people will have a driver and different guides in each place visited, rather than one guide accompanying the trip throughout)
  • Meals as listed (B – Breakfast, L – Lunch, D – Dinner)
  • Entrance fees for sites listed as part of the itinerary

Tour exclusions.

  • International flights
  • Any airport taxes
  • Travel Insurance
  • Visas
  • Drinks

I felt that the itinerary was extremely well planned. We were excellently looked after by both the Guide and the Driver. Both guys had a wealth of knowledge on the countryside, sites and flora and fauna. I particularly enjoyed the Timkat Festival and would recommend others to visit Ethiopia at this time. We saw many wonderful animals and birds throughout the whole of the stay.

I enjoyed staying at the lodges in the Simien mountains and Adegrat and the hotels at Lalibela and Bahir Dar which had superb views. I also enjoyed the restaurant on our last night which had a wide variety of Ethiopian food. There was also a fantastic dance troupe accompanied by a group playing unusual musical instruments.

 

Rosemary Rennie, UK