Discover Ethiopia

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Ethiopia, a landlocked country located in the Horn of Africa, has a history dating back to prehistoric times and it is this country’s ancient history which makes Ethiopia one of the most fascinating travel destinations today. See “Lucy”, the 3.5 million year old hominid that has ever been found. Visit the church which is said to house the Ark of the Covenant, the amazing ruins of the Queen of Sheba and explore the Lalibela hills with its rock hewn churches. See the Blue Nile Falls, visit crater lakes and the Blue Gorge, bigger than our Grand Canyon! Discover Ethiopia takes you on an adventure of one of the oldest human settlement areas in the world.

Day 1 – Addis Ababa
Arrive in Addis Ababa where you will be met and driven to your hotel. In the afternoon, tour Meskal Square and the Ethnological Museum. Meskel Square is a square in the center of addis which is used fro public gaterings or festivals. Most notably, the Meskel Festival, has been celebrated for 1600 years. The festival commemorates the crucifix (meskel means cross) being revealed to the mother of Constantine the Great. The festival also welcomes spring due to the blooming if the yellow meskel daisies. Within Haile Selassie’s former palace and surrounded by Addis Ababa University’s beautiful gardens and fountains is the Ethnological Museum. The exhibition gives great insights into Ethiopia’s unique, rich culture.

Day 2 – Addis Ababa
After breakfast, explore the city visiting the National Museum and Trinity Cathedral. Afternoon, drive: through eucalyptus forest to volcanic peaks of Mt Entoto for panoramic views of Addis. The Addis Ababa National Museum is most famous for its exhibit of Lucy, the 3.5 million year-old skeleton of the oldest hominid that has ever been found. Archaeologists named her for the Beatles song, “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds,” which played often in the celebrations that followed her discovery. Trinity Cathedral was built to commemorate Ethiopia’s liberation from Italian occupation. It is the second most important place of worship in Ethiopia, after the Our Lady Mary of Zion (Axum).

Day 3 – Addis Ababa/Axum
Transfer to the airport for your morning flight to Axum. You will be met and driven to your hotel. After lunch, tour St. Mary of Zion Church (said to contain the Ark of the Covenant), the ruins of the Palace and Bath of the Queen of Sheba and the tomb of Emperor Kaleb.

Day 4 – Axum/Lalibela
Transfer to the airport for your flight to Lalibela. You will be met and driven to your hotel.

Day 5 – Lalibela
Explore the beautiful cave churches of Yemrehanna Krestos and the Church of Na’akuto Le’ab. Yemrehanna Krestos was built in a large northeast-facing cave on the west side of Mount Abuna Yosef. The entrance of the cave is closed by a modern wall, built in the 1980s to replace an older one. Until the construction of a road in 2000, this church was reachable only on foot or mule. See the remote rock hewn place of worship, Na’akuto Le’ab.

Day 6 – Lalibela
Today visit he exquisite Church of St George, named after Ethiopia’s patron saint. The Church of St. George is the most well-known and last built of the eleven churches in the Lalibela area. It has been referred to as the “Eighth Wonder of the World”. Lalibela is a pilgrimage destination and the church itself is part of the Unesco World Heritage Site.

Day 7 – Lalibela/Bahar Dar
Transfer to the airport for your flight to Bahar Dar. You will be met and driven to your hotel.
(Bahar Dar is on the southern tip of Lake Tana.)

Day 8 – Bahar Dar/Tissisat Falls /Bahar Dar
Morning visit to the majestic Tissisat or “Blue Nile” Falls. Take a boat trip to the monastery of Oura-Kidanemeret ornate with its colorful frescoes. Return to Bahar Dar and enjoy a city tour seeing Haile Selassie’s Palace and the market.

Day 9 – Bahar Dar/Gondar
Take a boat across Lake Tana to Gondar, seeing the Azwa Church on the Zegi Peninsula and Nargar Selassie en route. Gondar was the former capital of Ethiopia.

Day 10 – Gondar
After breakfast explore Gondar. Tour castles, the impressive Bathing Palace of Emperor Fasiladas, Debre Birhan Selassie Church, famous for its beautifully decorated ceilings and walls depicting various biblical scenes, and Kusquam Abbey.

Day 11 – Gondar
Morning visit to Kossoye Hill for spectacular views of Simien Mountains. The Tower of Kossoye has views of Ethiopia in all directions. Your afternoon is free to explore as you wish.

Day 12 – Gondar/Addis Ababa
Transfer to the airport for your flight to Addis Ababa. You will be met and driven to your hotel.

Day 13 – Addis Ababa/Lake Awasa
Drive from Addis Ababa southwards via Lake Ziway and Lake Langano to the Rift Valley Lakes (thronging with water birds) continuing on to Lake Awasa (colobus monkeys, hornbills, endemic birds).

Day 14 – Lake Awasa/Wondo Guenet/Lake Awasa
Explore Wondo Guenet, located southeast of Shashemene, the former home of Emperor Haile Selassie who was known for his support of Rastafarians in Ethiopia. Wondo Guenet is known for its hot springs and superb primeval forest.

Day 15 – Lake Awasa/Addis Ababa
Drive to Addis Ababa.. Evening dinner with Ethiopian music.

Day 16 – Addis Ababa/Debre Libanos/Blue Nile Gorge/Addis Ababa
Full day excursion to Debre Libanos, 17th century Portuguese bridge and the Blue Nile gorge. Drive through green-land plateau to Debre Libanos Monastery which dates back to 13th century. The Gelada Baboon and Lammergeyer as well as Rupples Vultures are all habitats of the area. See the Portuguese Bridge built in the 17th century. Continue the drive through villages and farm lands till you reach the gorge, which is about one mile wide and one mile deep. The Blue Nile Gorge is one of the most spectacular gorges in the world; bigger than the Grand Canyon in the USA.

Day 17 – Addis Ababa/Debre Zeit/Addis Ababa
After breakfast, drive to the resort town of Debre Zeit known for its five crater lakes:
Lake Bishoftu, Lake Hora (a wide variety of water birds), Lake Bishoftu Guda, Lake Koriftu and the seasonal Lake Cheleklaka.

Day 18 – Depart Addis Ababa
Transfer to the airport for your departure flight.

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