Highlights of North Ethiopia

Description

For most visitors to Ethiopia, it’s all about the north. Unlike anywhere else on Earth, the northern part 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 Bahir Dar

Today you are taken to the airport for your flight to Bahir Dar (which means by the side of the sea). On arrival you will be met and driven to the Blue Nile Falls which are 328 feet wide and the water plunges some 150 feet, giving rise to picturesque stream clouds and rainbows. After lunch visit the market, where you can find the typical hand-woven capes and scarves made of local cotton and then visit the former palace of Emperor Haile Selassie at Bizeit, with great views of the town and the place where the Blue Nile flows out of the lake.

Day 3
Bahir Dar

After breakfast at your hotel this morning you are taken on a boat trip over Lake Tana to visit two of the renowned Island Monasteries of the Lake, namely Ura Kidane Mihret and Azua Mariam. Both have wonderful paintings which depict scenes from the Old and New Testaments all over their walls. Return to Bahir Dah and the rest of the day is free for you to relax before a memorable evening with special dinner around a campfire on the banks of Lake Tana.

Day 4
Bahir Dar to Simien Mountains

Today you are driven the five and a half hours to Simien Mountain National Park, which has some of the world's most spectacular scenery. The park was added to the world heritage site list in 1978 and is home to 57 tree species, and lots of exotic plants. There are also 180 bird species and animals include the Ethiopian wolf, Menelik's Bushbuck and the Gelada baboon. Stop at Bauit-Ras, for a good view of the Chain Mountains before arriving at the Simien Lodge where you spend the night.

Day 5
Simien Mountains to Gondar

After breakfast drive the two hours 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, which reflect the glory of Gondarine kings. Then enjoy a restaurant meal trying the local cuisine.

Day 6
Gondar to 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 7
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 8
Lalibela to Addis Ababa

A mid-morning transfer to the airport today for your flight back to Addis Ababa, where you are met on arrival and taken to your hotel. After a rest and a shower a driver picks you up for sightseeing and shopping. Visit Merkato in the west of the city, which is the largest open-air market in Africa, offering an array of colours, aromas, costumes, produce and jewellery. Tonight, flight times permitting, there is a cultural dinner before continuing your African adventure or catching a plane home.

Tour details 8 days

Standard fr £2540pp
Valid between: 01/01/2017 - 31/12/2017

Tour Highlights

  • Bahir Dar
  • Simien Mountains
  • Gondar
  • Lalibela

Included:

  • 7 nights hotel accommodation
  • Full Board
  • English speaking guide throughout itinerary
  • All entrance fees
  • AC vehicles 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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