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Ethiopia - Stepping back in time

  • The Blue Nile & Lake Tana
  • Gondar
  • Semien Mountains National Park
  • The Steles of Axum
  • Rock-hewn churches of Lalibela

Overview

Ethiopia is by far one of the most interesting destinations on earth!

This destination will satisfy any tourist's travel appetite. Nature-lovers will find pleasure in the beautiful scenery: green valleys with a patchwork of cultivated fields; boundless mountains that take your breath away; winding mountain passes with views only seen in a National Geographic documentary; the thunder of the Blue Nile Waterfall; the expanse of Lake Tana and the Gelada baboons with their wild hair and red heart on the chest.

Ethiopia is a melting pot of ancient history, architecture, culture and food, that will far surpass any traveller’s expectations. The Ethiopian Orthodox Church was established over many centuries and are just as solid as the rock-hewn churches of Lalibela. These stone churches are architectural masterpieces of the 12th century. It is difficult to find words to describe these massive stone carvings. The ceiling of the Debre Birhan Sellasie church is magical ... hundreds of angel faces starring at you with wide-open eyes. During a coffee ceremony while wonderful aromas fill the air, all these wonderful experiences will infuse your soul.

Broaden your horizons and do something that will enrich your being … visit Ethiopia.

Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive Addis Ababa

Arrive in Addis, clear customs and collect your luggage. Proceed to outside the arrivals hall where you will be met and transferred to your hotel.

Overnight Ambassador Hotel 4* (room only)

Day 2: Addis – Bahir Dar

Enjoy breakfast at your hotel. Check-out and settle all extras. Transfer to Bole Airport.
10h30 Check-in for your flight to Bahir Dar.
11:30 Depart Addis on flight ET 144 for Bahir Dar
12:30 Arrive in Bahir Dar where you will be met. Spend the morning exploring the town.
Bahir Dar is an attractive town with palm-lined avenues and pretty lakeside vistas located on the south-eastern shore of Lake Tana, Ethiopia’s largest lake. Nearby Lake Tana, 1 800 meters above sea level, is the hidden source of the Nile River.
Check-in at your accommodation and enjoy lunch.
The afternoon will be at leisure.

Overnight Avanti Blue Hotel (breakfast, lunch, dinner)

Day 3: Blue Nile and Lake Tana

Breakfast at your hotel. Today will be spent visiting a monastery on Lake Tana and the Blue Nile Falls. Make sure you wear comfortable walking shoes.
Depart to the Blue Nile Falls. From the parking area it is an uneven walk to reach the falls. The Tissiat falls (meaning water that smokes) are 30 kms from where the Blue Nile leaves the lake heading towards Khartoum. The falls drop over sheer chasm more than 150 feet to the valley below. Enjoy an afternoon boat cruise on Lake Tana and visit an island monastery. Some of these monasteries date back to the 14th century. The lake has a surface of 3600sq. kms and is dotted with 36 islands.
Dinner at the hotel.

Overnight Avanti Blue Hotel (breakfast, lunch, dinner)

Day 4: Bahir Dar - Gondar

Breakfast at the hotel. Depart for Gondar. Gondar was Ethiopia’s third capital in the 17th and 18th century and is located at the foot of the Semien Mountains.
The city’s unique imperial compound contains a number of castles built from 1632 to 1885 by the various Emperors who reigned during these periods. These castles, unlike any other in Africa display richness in architecture that reveals the Axumite traditions as well as the influence of Arabia.
Also visit the Bath of Fasilades and the church of Debre Birham Sillassie (Light of the Trinity), which is famous for its wall and ceiling paintings.

Overnight Taye Belay (breakfast, lunch, dinner)

Day 5: Gondar – Semien Mountain Park

Enjoy breakfast at your hotel. Check-out and settle all extras.
Enjoy a drive in the Semien Park in search of the gelada baboon. The Semien Mountains National Park is a World Heritage Site as far as Sankaber. The park offers superb scenery, endemic fauna like the gelada baboon, birds like the Lammergeyer and flora such as the Abyssinian wild rose.
Arrive at your accommodation and check-in.
Dinner at the lodge.

Overnight Simien Mountain Lodge (breakfast, lunch, dinner)

Day 6: Semien Park - Axum

Early morning departure. Enjoy breakfast at your hotel, check-out and depart for Axum.
Enjoy the scenic drive as there will be ever-changing views and glimpses of the valleys below.
The colourful Meskel ceremony also take place on this day. You might come across this during the drive today. Be on the look-out for large bonfires.
Enjoy a picnic lunch en route.
Arrive late afternoon in Axum.

Overnight Consular Hotel (breakfast, picnic lunch, dinner)

Day 7: Axum

Enjoy breakfast at your hotel. You will spend the day visiting the Steles a World Heritage site.
The Obelisk of Axum is a 1,700-year-old, 24-metre-tall (79-foot) granite stele/obelisk, weighing 160 tons. It is ornamented with two false doors at the base and features decorations resembling windows on all sides. The obelisk ends in a semi-circular top part, which used to be enclosed by metal frames.
Also visit other archaeological sites, the bath and the palace of Queen Sheba, the tomb of the Kings and some churches among which the church of St Mary of Zion (where legend says the Ark of the Covenant, brought there from Israel by King Menelik I, is kept).
Enjoy some time at leisure.

Overnight Consular Hotel (breakfast, lunch, dinner)

Day 8: Axum - Lalibela

Enjoy breakfast at your hotel. Check-out and settle all extras. Transfer to the airport.
Check-in for your flight to Lalibela.
11h45 Depart on flight ET 123 from Axum to Lalibela
12h25 Arrive at Lalibela Airport. Drive to the town which is about 10 kms away.
Visit the first group of rock hewn churches built in the 12th century. There are no less than 1000 churches in the Lasta region of Lalibela. Some hidden in enormous caves, but it is exceptional to find 11 churches of such master craftsmanship in one location.
Check-in at your hotel.

Overnight Panoramic Hotel (breakfast, lunch, dinner)

Day 9: Lalibela

After breakfast visit one of the churches out of town. Visit the cave church of Naktule’ab with very nice views of the villages. Return to Lalibela for lunch. In the afternoon visit the 2nd group of rock hewn churches.
Dinner at the hotel.

Overnight Panoramic Hotel (breakfast, lunch, dinner)

Day 10: Lalibela – Addis Ababa

Enjoy breakfast at your hotel. Check-out and settle all extras.
Transfer to Lalibela airport to check-in for your flight to Addis.

09h40 Check in for your flight.
10h40 Depart Lalibela on flight ET120 for Addis Ababa
11h40 Arrive in Addis. Depart on a city tour. Light lunch included.

Visit the Entoto Mountains to enjoy the view of the capital. Return to the city to visit the National Museum to see the remains of Lucy … in her Ethiopian homeland, Lucy is called "Dinknesh," which means the wondrous one. Also, visit the St George’s Cathedral where Haile Selassie was crowned. End the tour with a visit to the Merkato, the biggest open-air market in Africa.
Enjoy dinner at a traditional restaurant while enjoying the performance of local dancers.

Overnight Ambassador Hotel (breakfast, lunch, dinner)

Day 11: Depart

Early check-out and settle all extras.
Early transfer to Bole Airport to check-in for your return flight to South Africa.
Check in for your International flight.
Depart Addis Ababa for OR Tambo International Airport. Arrive in Johannesburg.

END OF TOUR

Dates

On Request

Rates

On Request

Included

  • Coach transport
  • English-speaking guide throughout the tour
  • 4-star hotel in Addis Ababa on bed and breakfast basis 
  • 2 to 3-star hotels out of Addis Ababa on dinner, bed and breakfast basis
  • All lunches 
  • Non-alcoholic drinks during meals out of Addis Ababa
  • Half-day boat trip on Lake Tana
  • All entrance fees and park fees
  • 1 bottle of water per person per day

Excluded

  • International flights 
  • Ethiopian visa fees
  • Travel, baggage, cancellation and medical insurance
  • All meals and drinks in Addis Ababa, not specified
  • All alcoholic drinks 
  • All non-alcoholic drinks outside of meals while on tour 
  • Any other optional activities 
  • Gratuities and tips for guides and drivers
  • Porterage at airport and hotels
  • Expenses to attend or see dances or ceremonies that you come across during the tour
  • Items of a personal nature such as laundry services, room service, minibar, telephone calls etc.