Tucked in between the Middle East and Africa, Ethiopia sits in the middle of these distinctive regions and yet takes on a cultural mosaic and aesthetic that’s tangibly distinct. On this 10-day tour you’ll see just what we mean with Christian churches hewn from solid rock; national park’s vivid, green peaks; and fascinating cities where luxury sports cars and assorted livestock hang out together in perfect harmony.
Day 1: Addis Ababa
Arrive at any time, settle in and scan the scenery from the convenience of a private vehicle transfer to your hotel. Feel free to explore before your welcome meeting this evening.
Day 2: Addis Ababa/Axum
Fly to Axum, Ethiopia’s oldest and holiest city, and was once the home of the Queen of Sheba. Explore the Axum historical site, including visits to the main stelae field, the Queen of Sheba’s palace and bath, and the Church of Tsion Maryam (St. Mary of Zion), which is believed to be the first church in Sub-Saharan Africa and claimed to house the Ark of the Covenant. (B)
Day 3: Axum/Simien Mountains NP
Travel, via the Lima Limo Valley, to Debark, our base for visiting Simien Mountains National Park. Relax at the scenic lodge with views of the stunning mountain ranges. (B)
Day 4: Simien Mountains NP/Gondar
Spend the day in Simien Mountains National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site. In the morning, hike from Sankaber campsite to the Jinbar waterfalls. Later, depending on road conditions, drive as far as the Chenek campsite for a picnic lunch and short excursions in search of Walia Ibex and the Ethiopian wolf. (B)
Day 5: Gondar Area
Spend the morning on a guided exploration of a rural Amhara community. Learn about the different traditions and cultures of the Amhara region and Ethiopia, and try your hand at traditional Ethiopian Injera (bread) making. Return to Gondar for lunch and then visit Debre Berhan Salassie Church, probably the country’s most famous church and a highlight of Gondar. Its ceiling is covered with famous paintings of Ethiopian cherubs and the walls portray Ethiopian saints, martyrs, and lore. (B)
Day 6: Gondar/Bahir Dar
This morning visit the Fasiladas’ Castle compound, which covers an area of over 70,000sq m (229,659 sq ft), surrounded by high stone walls. Emperor Fasiladas’s Palace is the oldest and perhaps most impressive of the castles. It is two stories high, has an imposing parapet and four small domed towers. Thought to be designed by an Indian architect, it reflects Indian, Portuguese, Moorish, and Aksumite influences. Following the castle visit, we drive to Emperor Fasiladas’s bath and wander around the grounds shaded by huge fig trees. (B)
Day 7: Bahir Dar
Take a boat trip on Lake Tana to enjoy stunning views and visit monasteries including Ura Kidane Mehret and Azwa Maryam. In the afternoon, enjoy a guided hike to the Blue Nile Falls. (B)
Day 8: Bahir Dar/Lalibela
Drive to Lalibela, a good place to taste the local beverage, tej (honey wine) accompanied by local traditional song and dance. (B)
Day 9: Lalibela
Lalibela is considered by many as the greatest of the religio-historical sites. The churches, carved out of single rocks, date back to the 11th and 12th century AD and are still in use. Enjoy a full day exploring the rock-hewn churches, including St. George Church, and other historical sites. (B)
Day 10: Lalibela/Addis Ababa
Morning flight to Addis Ababa, where the tour ends on arrival at Bole International Airport. (B)
Not ready to leave? We can help with travel arrangements to extend your adventure.
Images courtesy of G-Adventures