Bahir Dar, Gondar,Axum, Lalibela 13 Days
Bahir Dar,Gorgora,Gondar and Lalibela 13 Days
This is the most popular tourist route in Ethiopia. This route offers the obelisks of Axum, the incredible rock-hewn churches of Lalibela (Considered as one of the 8th wonders of the world), the 14th Century monasteries on Lake Tana, the magnificent waterfalls of River Blue Nile, the 17th century castles of Gondar, the majestic Semien Mountains and the 4rth sacred Islamic city of Harar (eastern Ethiopia).
Tour Code: North 01
Duration: 12 Nights (13 Days)
Transportation: Air & Land
Tour starts: Addis Ababa
Tour Ends: Addis Ababa
Day 1: Arrival/ Addis Ababa
Arrive in the evening transfer to your Hotel. Overnight – hotel – Addis
Day 2: City Tour
Addis Ababa is centered at the heart of the country. Addis Ababa in Amharic language means “New Flower”. It was founded by Emperor Menelik in 1886. An estimated population of 4 million people is dwelling in the city. Addis is graced as Africa’s diplomatic capital with the presence of the head quarter for the African Unity, a seat for numerous embassies and is the port of entry for most travelers.
After Breakfast, we drive to the Entoto Mountain (3300m) for a panoramic view of Addis, Entoto Museum with historical and royal exhibit, The Church of St. Mary, built in 1885 and the old palace of emperor MenelikII. Take some images at Mount Entoto and we drive back to Addis for Ethnological Museum that exhibits the culture and handicrafts of various Ethiopian ethnic groups, the National Museum in which you are visiting different archaeological findings (including Lucy’s replica Skeleton). After lunch, visit the Trinity Cathedral, Mausoleum of emperor MenelikII at Bààta Church and finally Merkato – the largest open market in Africa. Overnight – hotel – Addis
Day 3: Bahir Dar, Blue Nile River Waterfalls & Hill of Bezawit
After breakfast; fly from Addis to Bahir Dar and drive to the small town of Tiss Abay (32km rough road) to visit the impressive Blue Nile River Waterfalls, locally known as Tis Isat means in Amharic: ‘Smoke of Fire’. Much of the water is diverted for Hydro electric Generation plant but it is still worth visiting for remaining waterfalls, trekking around and to see a Portuguese Bridge (17 Century) and the country side. The area around the waterfall is amazingly fertile and the Amhara people who live here farm wheat, sorghum and Teff (from which Injera, the national bread, is made). After the fall, return to Bahir Dar & make city tour of Bahir Dar which includes: market where you can find the pottery, traditional hand-made woven clothes, and Woito Basket market.
Afternoon; visit the hill of Bezawit (roughly 5km after Gojjam – Gondar regional border Bridge). At this point, you will visit the Palace of Emperor Haile SelassieI( entering is prohibited), the source of the Blue Nile- leaving Lake Tana and panoramic view of Bahir Dar and the full sunset. Overnight – at Tana Hotel or similar – Bahir Dar
Day 4: Lake Tana & Gorgora
Monasteries on Lake Tana: Lake Tana set at 1830m above sea level & is the largest lake in Ethiopia. Years before; the islands on the lake were the home lands of Felasha/ Jewish people. It is believed almost by all Ethiopian Orthodox Christians and some scholars that the Tana Cherkos monastery had been used for the Ark of the Covenant for about 600 years. In the fourth century AD; the Ark of the Covenant was moved to Axum by the command of Kind Ezana with a tremendous ceremony.At Tana Cherkos; old spiritual service tools in connection to the Ark of the Covenant are still to be seen. Some monasteries are cherished with treasures such as murals on the walls of monasteries, crowns and royal ropes. There are some Monasteries not allowed for women.
After breakfast; full day chartered boat trip on Lake Tana to visit all accessible monasteries in a full day (Bahir Dar – Gorgora boat trip). Picnic lunch at one of monasteries and Overnight – at Gorgora Hotel (situated on the shore of Lake Tana) – Gorgora
Day 5: Gondar and Semien Mountains
After breakfast; visit the murals of Debre Sina Maryam Monastery and palace of Emperor Susnyos and then drive 60km for Gondar. Visit all sites in the town of Gondar. After lunch; drive to the Semien Mountains National Park– Overnight – at Semien Lodge/tented camp – Semien National Park
The Park in Brief: It has been recognized as a World Heritage Site in 1978 by UNESCO. In the mountains; three animals, unique to Ethiopia are found: the Walia Ibex, the Semien Jackal, and the Gelada baboon. These baboons will be easily seen in groups in many areas of the Semiens. They are also known as the ‘the bleeding heart baboon’ for they are red on their chest. At Chennek Camping site, Walia Ibexes are being seen in groups. To sum up; the landscape of the area is immensely beautiful and absolutely worthy to be visited by any visitor accessed to Gondar.
Day 6: Semien Mountains & Gondar
Day 7: The birth Place of Ethiopian History
Morning; fly from Gondar to Axum and explore the city of Axum. Axum is core point of the ancient Ethiopian history. The attractions of Axum include: the archaeological museum, monolithic steles, the tombs of King Kaleb, and the legendary Bath and the ruins of ancient palace of the Queen of Sheba, St Mary of Zion and the sanctuary that houses the original Ark of the Covenant. Almost all Ethiopian Orthodox Christians and some scholars believe firmly that the Ark of the covenant, the original Ark – made by God & given to prophet Moses then to Israelites is to be rested for centuries here in Axum, at the chapel in the middle of St Mary of Zion and Emperor Fassiladas’ Castle of Axum. There is a special festival on every 21 November (Ethiopian Calendar) or on about 30 November in European Calendar to glorify its present. The festival is known as Hidar Tsion/ Zion. Overnight – hotel Axum
Day 8: The Temple of Yeha
Full day Yeha Temple excursion. After breakfast; drive to the Temple of Yeha. On the way, enjoy with the escarpments of Adwa Mountains & Scenic landscapes. At Yeha you will visit the 5th century B.C Pre-Christian Temple of Yeha. Drive back to Axum. Lunch at the hotel and free time for private walk or to visit a local community at your own interest. Overnight – at hotel – Axum
Day 9: Rock Hewn churches of Lalibela
Day 10: full day in Lalibela
Early morning; Hike to Asheten Mariam Mountain Church (optional) .After lunch and a short siesta, visit Second groups, and Nakuto Làabe. Overnight – Hotel – Lalibela
Day 11: Yimrahine Kirstos Excursion
After breakfast; we drive to the cave church called Yimrahine Kirstos (42 km from Lalibela). This Church has been constructed by King Yimrahane Kirstos during the13th Century. In the church, there are more than 5000 thousand dead human skeletons lying without any coverage for the past 700 years. They are supposed to be pilgrimages from Syria, Egypt and Ethiopia. The murals on the dark walls of the church, the year round spring water – descending from the top of the church and the forest around are very impressive and worthy to be visited. Drive back to Lalibela. Overnight – a Hotel – Lalibela
Day 12: Addis- Harar
Morning; fly back to Addis & then fly to Dire Dar. We will drive from Dire Dawa to Harar (50km) for there is no air way to Harar. Harar is known for the “Hyena Man” who feeds his wild friends. At 7pm local time, visit the hyena man show. Surely; you will see 10 up to 30 hyenas feeding on the hands of that man, even by hands of many tourists! Overnight – at Plaza Heritage Hotel – Harar
Day 13: Islamic city of Harar
Harar:- The ancient city of Harar, which was established between 7th and 9th centuries, has remained a center of Islamic religion from the early days of the Islamic expansion in eastern Africa until 1887, when the authority of the central government was restored by Emperor Menelik II. It is located at 526 km east of Addis Ababa or 50 km east of Dire Dawa. Harar with its 99 mosques and shrines, is considered the forth most sacred center next to Mecca, Medina and Jerusalem of the Islamic world. The town of Harar is surrounded by a great defensive wall made of strong stones and mud. Harar has five large gates. Part of the city, which is encircled by the wall, is known as ‘Jegol’.
After breakfast; visit the five gates, the “Rimbaud House” which is named after the famous French poet who chose Harar as his city of exile from French, marketing places, the house of Ras Mekonnen, and the Harari houses with unique architectural features then drive to Dire Dawa. Visit the Taiwan Market and fly back to Addis & departure (end of the trip)