hort Information of the Tour.
Tour Code: AETT-0010 Combination Tour Program of Historical Circuit of Northern Ethiopia
Attraction: History, Religion, Scenery, Culture, Traditions, Adventure, Trekking and Daily Routine
Duration: 10 Days
Transportation: Surface drive, Walking, Domestic flight and Boat Ride
Time: Throughout the Year
Level of Required Fitness: Hiking ability for about 5 Hours
This Ten Days Combination Tours itinerary of the Ethiopia’s Historical, Adventure and Cultural tour includes a visit to Addis Ababa, the National Museum, Bahar Dar, Gonder, the Semien Mountain National park, Lalibela, Yemrehanna Kristos church, Lake Tana Monastery churches, Mekele, Erta Ale and Dallol
Day 1: FLY ADDIS ABABA – BAHIR DAR – LAKE TANA MONASTERY CHURCHES
In the morning, we take a short flight to Bahir Dar (50 mins). After we check-in to our hotel/lodge, we go for a city tour. Bahir Dar is situated on the shore of Lake Tana, the largest lake in the country with 37 islands, most of which contain monasteries from the 14th – 19th century. Bahir Dar has a Mediterranean-type weather. Its palm-lined streets make Bahir Dar one of the most attractive cities in Africa. The city is the capital of the regional government for the Amhara people.
In the afternoon, we take a boat across Lake Tana to the Zeghie peninsula. On the peninsula, we do a short walk and visit two monasteries from the 14th century, Azwa Mariam and Ura Kidane Mehret. The architectural style of both monasteries is a typical example of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, with its round shape, mud walls, and conical straw roofs. In Zeghie, we also find diverse bird species and Columbus Baboons in the forest.
Overnight: Hotel in Bahir Dar.
Day 2: DRIVE BAHIR DAR – THE CASTLE OF GONDAR
After having breakfast, our trip will continues to Gondar (185 km) via a magnificent landscape of the Amhara region. The farmlands of the Amhara people are visible on the roadside. We will have a quick stop at Awra Amba community, an egalitarian society. Unlike other parts of the country, in Awra Amba community women have equal rights as men, and there is no distinction in divisions of labor between men and women.
We then continue driving to Gondar. Gondar used to be the seat of many Emperors who ruled Ethiopia in the 17th and 18th century. The town is the gateway to the Simien Mountains and lies at an altitude of 2,200 meters above sea level.
After Lunch, we will visit the famous castles of the town, where former rulers built numerous palaces for themselves and their families. Afterwards, we will go to the bath of King Fasilidas, where Timkat Fest is annually hosted. Timkat is one of the famous festivals in Ethiopia and held annually to celebrate the baptism of Jesus Christ. We finish the day with a visit to the church of Debre Berhan Selassie, which is famous for its beautiful ceiling paintings. The motif of the angelic face became a symbol of Ethiopian art.
Overnight: Hotel in Gondar.
Day 3: ECO TREKKING – SIMIEN MOUNTAIN NATIONAL PARK
Morning Drive to Simien Mountains National Park (135 km). The Simien Mountains has been designated as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO since 1969. UNESCO described the mountains as “one of the world’s most spectacular landscapes on the Ethiopian plateau.” The park is full of breathtaking landscapes and abundant flora and fauna. Over 10,000 of the rare & endemic Gelada baboons live in the park and can be observed at a close distance. The park is also the home to the Walia Ibex, which is also called Ethiopian Wolf.
A local hiking guide and scouts (park rangers) accompany us for the park visit. We will have an easy hike (approximately 4 – 5 h) from the head quarter until Sankaber (3,260 m). We pass picturesque scenery, as well as Ethiopia’s highest waterfall Jinbar, also called “gateway to hell.” We will camp in Geech (3,600 m).
Overnight: Hotel in Debark.
Day 4: FLY FROM GONDER – LALIBELA
After arrival at Lalibela Airport, transfer to your reserved Hotel and check-in will be done.
YEMREHANNA KRISTOS CHURCH.
After having rest and having Lunch, About a 90-minute drive from the town of Lalibela and driving through totally magnificent scenery one finds a church that is built inside a cave. Yemrehanna Kristos dates back to 1100 to 1200 AD period in Ethiopia’s history; the church predates about 80 years even the rock hewn churches of Lalibela itself.
The steep walk up to Yemrehanna Kristos and the cave is quite rough on the old lungs because of the altitude, but stopping to get your breath back every few minutes or so and one is rewarded with a rather interesting find.
Inside the cave, a beautiful church presents itself, built the traditional way (not like the churches of Lalibela) this church is laid out on a foundation of Africa Olive Wood. While the main structure is a combination of wooden and granite struts. Once inside the church, it is the wooden ceiling that is spellbinding – the attention to detail is extraordinary.
The strangest part of the cave is the area where there are 3000’s of mummified human bodies just lying behind a fence who come from Syria and Egypt to visit and rest in peace at the church.
The small village where we will park our vehicle is a great spot to have drink and coffee.
Overnight: Hotel in Lalibela.
Day 5: LALIBELA CHURCHES FULL DAY TOUR
After having having breakfast… You start visiting the churches of Lalibela…
UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE rock-hewn churches of Lalibela are the “new Jerusalem” and the holiest town in the whole of Ethiopia is highly recommended since there are 12 churches in town separated in Three different groups.
Your professional tour guide will meet you at the reception of your hotel. Once you introduced with your guide, you’ll walk through the city for about 3 minutes until the ticket office of Lalibela churches and you will start visiting the first group of churches.
Untill Lunch time, you will be able to discover churches of Bet Medhane Alem, Bet Maryam, Bet Meskel, Bet Danaghel, Bet Mikael and Bet Golgotha which are connected through an underground tunnels.
In the afternoon, after having your delicious Lunch at one of the best restaurant… At 2pm, you will start visiting the second and third groups of Lalibela churches including the most famous and symbol of Zagwe dynasty and city of Lalibela St. George.
The churches are Bet Gabriel-Rufael, Bet Merkorios, Bet Amanual, and Bet Abba Libanos.
Last and finally, you will visit the most famous and very picturesque of all the churches: Bet Giyorgis (St. George), constructed in honour of the patron Saint George. (please note all the churches close at 6pm).
Overnight: Hotel in Lalibela.
Day 6: DRIVE FROM LALIBELA TO MEKELE
After having an early breakfast, Today you will have quite a long drive from Lalibela to Mekele. During the journey, you encounter the scenic beauty of the Alamata mountain chain and observe the daily life of the Tigray and Amhara people in the villages that you pass along the way.
Overnight: Hotel in Mekele.
Day 7: DRIVE MEKELE – ERTA ALE
After having breakfast, you will be picked up from your Hotel and join the group to and We start our day by driving to Erta Ale (which means smoky mountain in Afar language).
Erta Ale ranks one of the most alluring and physically challenging natural attractions anywhere in Ethiopia. It is a shield volcano with a base diameter of 30 km and 1km square caldera at its summit.
Erta Ale contains the world’s only permanent lava lake. It is 613 meters, with a lava lake, one of only five in the world, at the summit. It is notable for being the longest existing lava lake, present since the early years of the twentieth century. (may not be as active as before and activity at flank eruption slows down.)
We start early 9 am, drive to Dodom (at the base of Erta Ale). This is may be one of the roughest roads in the world. The 80 km distance may take about 6 hrs passing through changing the landscape of solidified lava, rock, sand and occasional palm-lined oasis. After passing several small hamlets scattered here and there in this deserted land, you will arrive at Dodom camping site, located about 17km from Erta Ale.
Dinner will be served around 17:00 o’clock. After a short break, 30 minutes trek up to Ertale. Camels will be transporting all the camping materials and some food (sleeping materials like light mattresses and mat and water) to the rim of the volcano, where we spend the night watching the dramatic action of the boiling lava.
You will spend the night on top of the mountain, at the rim of the Volcano.
Day 8: DRIVE ERTA ALE – HAMED ELA
Early Morning sun rise at the northern one corresponds to the main pit crater and walk 5 minutes for the southern and central pits could either corresponds to an ancient pit, or to a simple collapse structure.
The main pit-crater, 200 m deep and 350 m across, is sub-circular and three-storied. The smaller southern pit is 65 m wide and about 100 m deep. Descend from Erta Ale around 9 am Dodom – Leave back to Dodom after an early breakfast, if possible at 07:00 o’clock.
You will reach the latest at 10:30 o’clock at the camp, where you will be relaxing. As soon as possible, drive to reach the mythical Lake Giulietti (or Lake Afrera)(optional may not be available during summertime), a saltwater lake located more than100 meters below sea level, in one of the deepest depressions of the planet. Because of the picturesque landscape, it is interesting to visit the salt flats where the Afar people obtain the salt by evaporating the water of the lake., continue to Erbiti and proceed Abaala/ Hamed Ela.
Day 9: DRIVE DENAKIL – MEKELE
Morning tour Drive to Ragad (Asebo), the place where the localities are mining salt. Look the activity of workers breaking salts from the ground, cutting in to rectangular pieces and loading on camels.
You drive ahead to Dallol and visit the difference landscape formed by volcanic activity, Dallol + Lake Assal + camel caravans. Excursion to Dallol (116 meters below sea level, one of the lowest places in the world) colorful salts mining, visit Lake Assal, follow up camel caravans (No camel caravan on July, August, and early September) and walk with the Afar people. Drive back to Hamedela and proceed to Mekele.
Day 10: FLY FROM MEKELE – ADDIS ABABA
After arrival, you could do a city tour in Addis Ababa until your flight time at midnight.
END OF TOUR.