|23 November – 15 December/21
December 2015 (ex Addis Ababa)
This tour is scheduled to combine the Ethiopian
Orthodox religious festival in Axum and a music festival in Arba
Minch. Deeply steeped into their orthodox religion, it seems as if
time has stood still for almost 2000 years in Ethiopia; priests and
pilgrims clad in regalia from the Old Testament gather in Axum where
they hold processions, dance, chant and celebrate the festival of
‘Hidar Zion’. The colourful celebration is a rare and impressive
The tour offers
a lot more: The breathtaking landscape of the Rift-Valley, the 12
rock-hewn churches at Lalibela and the medieval castles of Gondar.
In addition, Lake Tanawith with its centuries old painted monasteries and chapels, Harar– the Islamic walled city in the East of Ethiopia, and the
wildlife in the South of the country.
To top it off we partake on the three day music festival in Arba
Minch where you can witness assorted traditional dances, instruments
and music of the various tribes of Ethiopia.
The delightful simplicity and folkloric traditions of the numerous
proud tribes of Ethiopia make for unlimited photographic
An option is offered to make a 5 day visit to the tribes of the
South Omo Valley at the end of the main tour. Don’t miss out, it is a true adventure – the tour is not
designed for 5 star travellers, but what it may lack in luxury it
provides in wealth of magnificent experience.
This extensive tour of the oldest country on the African Continent
offers a variety of experiences. The dates for the trip have been
chosen to coincide with a spectacular Ethiopian Orthodox religious
festival 'Hidar Zion " in Axum with processions, church services,
traditional chanting and drumming and a Music festival in Arba
The trip starts
in Addis Ababa and continues via BAHAR DAR and Lake TANA to visit
ancient monasteries, to the Royal Enclosure of GONDAR, to the
breathtaking landscape of the SIMIEN MOUNTAINS, where we stay one
night in the highest hotel on the African Continent. In AXUM we
visit the religious festival, we marvel about AXUM’s mysterious
stelae, visit isolated monasteries in TIGRAY province and make our
way to MEKELLE and south-west along the Rift Valley into the
highlands to the most famous site, LALIBELA’ s rock hewn churches.
We visit markets, meet the locals, sample local food and the
traditional food ‘ injera’ and return from LALIBELA to ADDIS ABABA
by plane and continue by plane on the same day to DIRE DAWA, our
launching point to travel to the walled Muslim city of HARAR in
From HARAR we continue our
drive across the Hararghe Mountains to AWASH National Park. We visit
game parks, see Zebras, Gelada baboons, crocodiles and hippos in the
southern lakes and a variety of endemic birds and flora along the
lakes of the RIFT VALLEY on our way to ARBA MINCH. In Arba Minch we
have the chance to visit a Music festival ‘Festival of the 1000
stars”, where the many different tribes of the southern part of
Ethiopia treat us to an exquisite display of their traditional music
Includes domestic flights,
travel in A/C midi bus, shared accommodation in 3* (or best
available) hotels with en-suite, all breakfasts and 1 meal per day,
mostly dinner. Single accommodation available with a surcharge.
Option to South Omo Valley: :
From Arba Minch you have the option to drive to the South Omo Valley
(for 5 – 6 days) to visit the tribes of the Hamer, Mursi, Konso,
Ebore people and other ethnic communities who live a very different
but fascinating lifestyle and all have their own customs and
traditions (e.g. lip plates, jumping of the bulls, etc.)
Departure from home city on
22 November 2015
Day 1: Monday 23 November 2015
Arrival in Addis Ababa , welcome by our agent and guide, transfer to
hotel. After settling into our hotel and a small rest, we spend 1/2
day exploring Addis Ababa beginning with a visit to the National
Museum, one of the most important sub-Saharan museums in all of
Africa. The museum is home to the fossilized humanoid Lucy, as well
as an amazing collection of artefacts and royal items.
Day 2: Tuesday 24 November 2015
We continue our sightseeing in Addis, visit St. George Cathedral,
the Holy Trinity Church, the Ethnological Museum and Mount Entoto.
Day 3: Wednesday 25 November 2015
We take an early flight across the highland plateau to the lakeside
town of Bahir Dar/ Lake Tana. Check in to our hotel and then drive
(after lunch) 32km south to visit the Blue Nile Falls. While walking
to the Blue Nile Falls we cross the historic 'Portuguese Bridge'.
Day4: Thursday 26 November 2015
Today we are planning a boat trip on Lake Tana to visit the
monastery churches of UraKidane Mihiret and Azoa Miriam. Ura Kidane
Mihiret is the best known of the monasteries and has an important
collection of religious icons from the 16th to 18th century. We
return by boat to Bahir Dar and after lunch drive around Lake Tana
to the 17th century former capital of Ethiopia, Gondar.
Day 5: Friday 27 November 2015
Gondar was the first capital city of the Ethiopian Empire, which
began in 1632 with the reign of King Fasilidas. In Gondar are a
dozen castles built by various emperors over the course of 236
years. The city seems more European than African and also has
Islamic influence. In the afternoon, we visit Fasilidas' Palace,
probably the most impressive of all the castles found in the area
and the oldest one. We continue on to Quskuam Church and the Church
of DebreBerham Selassie (Light of the Trinity). The interior of
Debre Berham Selassie is decorated with beautiful paintings. Debre
Berham Selassie is alleged to once have been the proposed final
resting-place of the Ark of the Covenant.
Day 6: Saturday 28 November 2015
We leave Gondar to travel to the Simien Mountains ( Simien National
Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site ). We visit the village of
Felashas (Jewish minority), known for their ceramics on way to the
Simien Massif. In the park, many of the mountain peaks exceed 4000m;
the highest is Ras Dejen, at 4.543m above sea level. These mountains
consist of volcanic masses that have been eroded over centuries.
Today they have amethyst-coloured peaks, deep gullies, endemic
flora, and the endemic gelada baboon. A picnic lunch will help us
through the day til dinner in the Simien lodge, the highest
accommodation in Africa.
Day 7: Sunday 29 November 2015
We leave our mountain lodge to travel north to Axum, enjoying
wonderful views of the Simien Mountains, crossing the Tekeze River
and heading for the ancient Axumite capital, stopping at interesting
points en route for photographs of the scenery. It is a long drive,
the road is not fantastic, but the views are spectacular!
Day 8: Monday 30 November 2015
Today we have all day to visit the huge single stone Stelae,
testimony of the ancient and powerful Axumite Kingdom, the museum
and the well guarded sanctuary chapel containing the Ark of the
Day 9: Tuesday 1 December
We witness today the religious festival of Hidar Zion where pilgrims
come from afar to pray, chant andto partake in the various
processions. In the afternoon we proceed to Geralta via the historic
Adwa, the location of a famous 1896 battle in Ethiopia's history of
freedom and visit Ethiopia's most ancient temple at Yeha. Proceed to
our overnight stop at Geralta Lodge, a restful oasis in the Tigray
Day 10: Wednesday 2 December
Well deserved rest day in Geralta Lodge! Possibility to visit the
local market, enjoy the peaceful surroundings of this restful place
with very nice Italian food, local wine and excellent service. O/N
Geralta Lodge B/D
Day 11: Thursday 3 December
It will be hard to leave Geralta Lodge. We proceed to Mekelle, en
route visiting the ancient rock churches of Tigray including the
oldest Muslim shrine of Negash which is related to the first Muslim
migrant to Ethiopia from the family of Mohammed around 7thC. AD.
Day 12: Friday 4 December
Early morning start to drive south to Lalibela, the 10th century
capital of Ethiopia, full of awesome architecture and en route view
the Maychew Mountains, the highland lake Ashenge and stop at
EshetAmba School, (SchoolsaGift) an Australian based project to
improve and enlarge the school and its conditions so more children
have access to education.
Day 13: Saturday 5 December
Lalibela is the site of twelve rock hewn churches (the Eighth Wonder
of the World) which were built in the 12th century and are carved
out of the pink granite rock. Lalibela has been classified as a
UNESCO World Heritage Site. Each church (Bet) has a unique
architectural style; all are superbly carved and most of them are
decorated with well-preserved paintings. The entire city may be
described as a sculpture dedicated to the glory of God. The day is
dedicated to visiting the first group of churches and the stunning
Day 14: Sunday 6 December
After breakfast we drive to one of the most remarkable churches
called Yemirihane Kristos which was built in 11th C. into a natural
cave. After lunch we visit the remaining cluster of 5 churches
including the majestic Bet Giorgis church.
O/N Tukul Village B/D
Day 15: Monday 7 December
We depart Lalibela and fly to Addis Ababa, change plane to continue
to Dire Dawa.
Day 16: Tuesday 8 December
After visiting the Kefira market in Dire Dawa, we continue to Harar,
a 16th century walled city and World Heritage Site, the spiritual
heart of Ethiopia's largest Islamic community with its 87 mosques.
We explore the ancient and atmospheric city starting by driving
around the walls by car to see the five gates, then on foot into the
narrow lanes and visit the Rimbaud House, Harai, where Oromo and
Amhara people trade in the markets; buy chat and at night we feed
the wild hyenas !
Day 17: Wednesday 9 December
We leave Harar and drive through the Hararghe Mountains to Awash
National Park. The journey is very scenic. We overnight in Awash
National Park and plan to see some of the animals (Oryx, Great Kudu,
Grant's gazelle and different birds) at dusk.
Day 18: Thursday 10 December
Our drive along the lakes of the Rift Valley, stop at Lake Ziway and
continue to Lake Langano, our overnight lodge.
O/N Sabana Lodge B
Day 19: Friday 11 December
We enjoy a peaceful morning at Lake Langano before we head to the
twin lakes Abiata and Shala on our way to Yergalem. O/N Aregash
Day 20: Saturday 12 December
After breakfast we drive to Arba Minch and stop on the way at Awassa
Fish market on the shores of Awassa Lake and visit the traditional
house of Halalba people. O/N Arba Minch, Paradise Lodge B/D
Day 21: Sunday 13 December
This morning we plan a boat trip on Lake Chamo to view crocodiles
and hippos. In the afternoon we enjoy the Music festival "Festival
of the 1000 stars'. The music festival is a presentation of songs
and traditional dances of the many and quite distinct tribes in this
part of Ethiopia.
Day 22: Monday 14 December
After early morning breakfast you have 2 choices
- a trip to the Konso people known for their traditional villages,
terraces and their last tribal king in Ethiopia or
- visit the village of Dorze high up in the hills, known for their
varied use of the 'false' banana plant. The afternoon will again be
dedicated to the Music festival. All good times need to come to an
Day 23: Tuesday 15 December
Today we return to Addis by plane, spend the afternoon in Addis for
last minute shopping and enjoy farewell dinner.
Day 24: Wednesday 16 December
AU$7600 per person based on twin
share. Land price only.
AU$600 single room supplement
flights within Ethiopia
mini/midibus. For the South Omo extension the vehicles are
3* (or best available) hotels with en-suite
tours on Lake Tana and Lake Chamo
entrance fees at churches, monasteries, castle, museums as shown
plus one meal per day usually dinner.
Services of a
European tour leader
local guides - English speaking
applicable local government taxes
tips and other expenses of personal nature