THE NORTHERN ROUTE - 14 Days : By Vehicle

Addis Ababa -> Bahir Dar -> Gondar -> Semien Mountains -> Axum -> Mekele -> Lalibela -> Kombolcha -> Addis Ababa

1 Addis Ababa

Arrive in Addis at the Bole International Airport to be met by tour staff for transport to your hotel. Sightseeing in Addis Ababa (e.g., the National Museum, the Ethnological Museum of Ethiopian Studies, and the Holy Trinity Cathedral) is possible, depending on your arrival time.

Overnight in Addis.

2 Addis to Bahir Dar

The 343-mile (553 km) to drive Bahir Dar takes approximately ten and one-half hours through the rolling hills of the Ethiopian Highlands. Stops along the way include Debre Libanos, a medieval monastery at the base of a high gorge and the Blue Nile Gorge, a spectacular canyon. We arrive in Bahir Dar at sunset.

Overnight in Bahir Dar.

3 Bahir Dar

In the early morning, you will travel by boat on Lake Tana to a few islands to visit several churches and monasteries and their museums. Lunch will be followed by a short drive (30 to 45 minutes) to the Blue Nile Falls, known locally as Tsisat (“smoking water”).

The afternoon is reserved for sightseeing in Bahir Dar. Depending on available time, two options are possible: Bezawit Palace (Haile Selassie’s former palace) and/or Weyto Village to see the production of the papyrus boats known as tankua. The day ends with an early dinner at sunset and an Ethiopian cultural show in the evening.

Overnight in Bahir Dar.

4 Bahir Dar to Gondar

In the early morning, the drive to Gondar takes about three-and-a-half hours (108 miles/175 km). The tour of the city will begin at the Fasilada’s Palace, which is probably the most impressive and oldest of all the castles built in the same compound by various emperors over the course of 236 years. We stop at Fasilada’s Bathing Pool, surrounded by a high stone wall with turrets. This structure figures in present-day Epiphany Festivals, which are not to be missed if you are in Gondar in mid-January.

The next destination is a short drive away-- the Church of Debre Berhan Selassie (Light of the Trinity). The ceiling of this church is decorated with 112 beautiful frescos in which no two angels are painted alike.

Overnight in Gondar.

5 Gondar to Semien Mountains National Park

From Gondar, you embark on an early drive to Debark (3 hrs), stopping to browse at a Felasha village on the way. The Felasha remaining in Ethiopia (most relocated to Israel) are African Jews who separated from the mainstream religion 650 years before Christ was born. Debark is the site of the Simien Mountains National Park office where we register, pick up permits, and hire the guide and guard who must accompany park visitors. Depending on the weather, we will hike, walk, or drive through the park. The mountain scenery is breathtaking and the mountain trails expose you to the unique flora and fauna of this elevated region.

Overnight in Semien Mountains.

6 Semien Mountains

Early in the morning, you drive to Chenek (16.6 miles/27kms/30mins); once there you hike for up to three hours trying to spot the very rare Wallia ibex, a goat with large horns found only in the Simien Mountains. The dramatic scenery is a fitting backdrop for large herds of friendly Gelada baboons, Ethiopia’s most common endemic species. Rare birds, such as the Lammergeyer vulture and the Ankober serin can also cross your path. Lunch at the Simien Lodge.

Overnight in Simien Mountains.

7 Semien Mountains to Axum

A long, scenic, ten-hour drive (some of it on gravel roads) takes you to Axum, the oldest city in Ethiopia (180 miles/290km). Just after leaving Debark, there is a precipitous, adrenaline-charged descent down the Lima Limo Road, built by the Italians in the 1930s. On the other hand, the constant switchbacks give you dramatic views of the Simien Mountains that cannot be seen on foot.

Overnight in Axum.

8 Axum

On this busy walking day you visit the impressive stelae fields with over seventy-five obelisks, usually dedicated to a specific king; the grounds of the sixteenth-century cathedral of St. Mary of Zion, the home of the Ark of the Covenant; the Queen of Sheba’s palace; the tomb of sixth-century ruler, Kaleb; and the Axum Museum. Any leftover time may be spent souvenir shopping.

Overnight in Axum.

9 Axum to Mekele

This morning’s leg of your adventure is a thirty-minute drive through granite hills to Adwa (15 miles/25 kms), a city important to Ethiopians because of the 1896 defeat of the Italian army by Emperor Menelik II. The next site is Yeha with its ruins of buildings dating back over 2,500 years ago. The oldest building is a temple used by the Sabaeans (a pre-Axumite civilization) for religious purposes, which has ancient wall engravings of ibex. Its excellent condition is attributed to a sixth-century occupation by Christian monks who also protected a stellar collection of illuminated manuscripts and crowns.

The next stop is the Debre Damo Monastery, a sixth-century church built on the top of a high (7,000 feet /3,000 meters), flat mountain (amba). The details of its construction remain a mystery, although many local legends describe mythical flying serpents carrying the fitted stones and wood to the extreme elevation. Certainly the difficulty of access contributes to its attraction for the visitor, as does a magnificent collection of ancient manuscripts. Visitors must be physically fit and agile, as entry to the monastery is achieved by climbing up a sheer cliff face using a leather rope and intermittent foot and hand holds carved into the stone.

Lunch is in Adigrat, followed by the drive to Mekele ending a ten-hour day.

[At this point, the rock-hewn churches of Gheralta may be added to this tour package.]

Overnight in Mekele.

10 Mekele to Lalibela

Scenic, ten-hour, 272-mile (438 km) trip to Lalibela with rest stops.

Overnight in Lalibela.

11 Lalibela

The UNESCO World Heritage Site of Lalibela is called the “Jerusalem of Ethiopia.”

On the first morning, we explore a group of monolithic carved-rock churches, most of which are roofed by modern structures to prevent further weather erosion. As you try to imagine how anyone could have the vision to create such masterpieces with simple tools and faith, a guide will lead you through the underground network of tunnels linking the churches. Built during the late-twelfth to early thirteenth centuries, these churches are still in use today.

Lunch will precede exploration of the second group of churches, ending with the separate, monolithic church of St. George.

Dinner will be at the Mountain View Hotel for an amazing view of the surrounding mountains and a spectacular sunset.

Overnight in Lalibela.

12 Lalibela to Kombolcha

The next morning’s destination is the Nakuto La’ab Monastery, a 30-minute drive. King Nakuto La’ab, nephew and successor to King Lalibela, abdicated his throne in 1270 AD. He moved into cave and became a hermit; the cave has since become a monastery. There are several holy pools of water fed by natural springs. The monastery has an interesting collection of ancient crosses, an illuminated leather Bible, and some superb paintings.

On the way to Kombolcha we have a will stop at beautiful Lake Ashenge nestled among spectacular mountains and farmlands. On to fresh water Lake Hyqe where several aquatic birds make their homes.

Overnight in Kombolcha.

13 Kombolcha to Addis Ababa

An eight-hour drive will culminate with a traditional Ethiopian feast and an evening of Ethiopian dance performances by various ethnic groups.

Overnight in Addis.

14 Addis Ababa

Depending on your departure time, you can spend the say visiting the St. George Gallery or go shopping at the Merkato (the largest open-air market in Africa) and the various souvenir shops on Churchill Road.

Ethiopia Holidays and Events Calendar

March 2024
25 26 27 28 29 1 2
3 4 5 6 7 8 9
10 11 12 13 14 15 16
17 18 19 20 21 22 23
24 25 26 27 28 29 30
31 1 2 3 4 5 6
Download Full Premium themes - Chech Here
Free bookamkers reviw.