Highlights of Historic North Ethiopia

Description

For most visitors to Ethiopia, it’s all about the north. Unlike anywhere else on Earth, this region of this fascinating country has the ability to wow you day after day. Known as the Historical Circuit, there are more than two millennia’s worth of ancient treasures scattered about, from giant obelisks and hidden tombs to a collection of castles and unique churches. And not to be outdone by humans, Mother Nature really let her creative juices flow here and you can see a permanent lava lake and a bright-yellow sulphuric plain, while canyons and peaks wrinkle the land just about everywhere else.

Day 1
Arrive Addis Ababa

On arrival in the capital Addis Ababa you are met by one of our tour representatives and taken to your hotel. Ethiopia’s capital city lies in the central highlands and is the third highest capital in the world. It is rich in impressive monuments of colonial architecture that are scattered among stretches of sun-bleached shacks. After taking a rest, visit the Ethnographic Museum, Trinity Cathedral and the National museum, which has an impressive array of religious crosses, triptychs and murals, as well as Haile Selassie’s bedroom and bathroom.

Day 2
Addis Ababa to Mekelle-Hawzien

This morning you are taken to the airport for your flight to Mekelle, which owes its importance to Emperor Yohannes IV, who made it his capital in the late 19th century. On arrival, drive to Hawzien in the middle of the spectacular Gheralta Mountains, which is the best place to visit the Tigray rock hewn churches. First stop is at Wukro Cherkos near the town, which is the most accessible, then continue to Abraha Atsbeha church with its painstakingly decorated interior and Dugum Selassie. Then drive to Gheralta Lodge where you stay tonight.

Day 3
Hawzien-Axum

Today after breakfast you are driven to Axum. From around 200 BC to 700 AD, Axum was the seat of an empire which extended across the Red Sea to Arabia, traded with India and China, had its own alphabet and notational system, built great engineering works and which was reckoned in the 4th century to be one of the four great powers of the ancient world. So much to see here including temples, museums, castles and tombs as well as Stella - the largest single pieces of stone erected anywhere.

Day 4
Lalibela

Today you are taken to the airport for your flight to Lalibela, which is rightly acknowledged as being one of the wonders of the world. There are 11 churches in the town named after the king and after checking into Mountain View Hotel, begin your tour seeing all of them, including the isolated Bet Giyorgis, considered the most beautiful. In between have lunch at Ben Abeba restaurant which offers traditional Ethiopian as well as western food in comfortable surrounding with spectacular views.

Day 5
Lalibela

Today you start with a visit to a church just outside Lalibela, called Naktolaab. It is named after its builder, the nephew and successor of King Lalibela. This is a relatively simple church built around a shallow cave in which several holy pools are fed by natural springs. It has many treasures, some of which are claimed to have belonged to Naktolaab himself, including paintings, crosses and a leather bible. After lunch visit more churches and in the evening take part in a traditional coffee ceremony in a local house in Lalibela.

Day 6
Lalibela to Gondar

Leave Lalibela today for your morning flight to Gondar, the imperial city of Fasilidas. The kings of Ethiopia based their power in Gondar for two centuries and the city was the first capital of the Ethiopian empire, which began in 1632. In Gondar, there are a dozen castles built by various emperors over the course of 236 years. Many picturesque ruins lie in the royal enclosure like the fairytale castles dating back to the 17th century that reflect the glory of Gondarine kings. Have lunch in a restaurant and sample the local cuisine.

Day 7
Gondar to Bahir Dar

After breakfast drive for three hours to Bahir Dar on the way stopping at the Amhara’s village. Before arriving at Bahir Dah visit the Blue Nile Falls – known locally as Tissiat – which means Smoking Water. The falls are 328 feet wide and the water plunges some 150 feet, giving rise to picturesque stream clouds and rainbows. On arrival in Bahir Dar, check in at Abay Minch lodge then take a boat trip over Lake Tana to visit two of the renowned island monasteries. This evening enjoy a special dinner with campfire on the banks of Lake Tana.

Day 8
Addis Ababa

After a relaxing morning in Bahir Dah you are taken to the airport for your flight back to Addis Ababa and driven to your hotel. The rest of the day is free for sightseeing and shopping, possibly visiting the Kechene Women’s Potters Association where you can buy great souvenirs, or the Merkato, the largest open-air market in Africa, which offers an array of colours, aromas, costumes, produce and jewellery. Tonight, onward flight times permitting, you are taken out for a cultural dinner.

Tour details 8 days

Standard fr £2682pp
Valid between: 01/01/2017 - 31/12/2017

Tour Highlights

  • Mekelle-Hawzien
  • Axum
  • Lalibela
  • Gondar
  • Bahir Dar

Included:

  • 7 nights accommodation
  • Full Board
  • English speaking guide througout, entrance fees
  • AC vehicle throughout

Not included:

  • International flights & visas

TRUSTED REVIEWS
See what 20 customers thought of Addis Ababa

I would like to say a big thank you to Jake for organising everything to fit our needs. This was the best holiday I've had in ages. Well done for all the thoughts and efforts put into making things interesting and fun.

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