Ethiopia, culturally one of the richest countries in Africa, has a lot to offer to lovers of indigenous and Judeo / Christian history. The Historic Route is the journey for one who wants to capture a picture of life then and now.
|Price (From)||:||US$ 4295|
|Includes international air|
Day 01: Arrive Addis Ababa
Arrival to Addis Ababa, once clearing through Customs & Immigration, you will be met at the exit gate by our local representative for a transfer to the hotel. Check in time starts from 1500 hrs. Addis Ababa - the name of the city, in Amharic, means "new flower". Founded in 1886 by Menelik II, it is located at 2,500 m (8202 ft) above sea level in one of the highest parts of the Entoto Mountain chain (3,000 m/9842 ft above sea level). Addis Ababa is a pleasant city with wide avenues of jacaranda trees, interesting museums and one of the largest open-air markets in Africa, known as the "Mercato".
Overnight: Dreamliner Hotel or Ambassador Hotel, Addis Ababa (2 nights)
Day 02: Addis Ababa
We spend the day exploring Addis Ababa beginning with a visit to the National Museum, one of the most important sub- Saharan museums in all of Africa. The museum is home to the fossilized humanoid Lucy, as well as an amazing collection of artifacts, royal items and art. We then visit the Ethnological Museum, which was the former palace of Haile Selassie. After lunch, we take time in St. George Cathedral, built in 1896 by Emperor Menelik and then continue on to Holy Trinity Cathedral. Holy Trinity Cathedral is the largest Orthodox Church in Ethiopia and has survived through many historical periods, as its interesting architecture can attest to. The Cathedral contains the thrones and the tombs of the emperor and some of the royal family. Visit Mercato, the largest open air market in Africa. (B, L, D)
Day 03: Addis Ababa/Bahir Dar (Flight)
We take a short flight north, to Bahir Dar, this morning. Bahir Dar is a pleasant city located on the shores of Lake Tana, the largest lake in Ethiopia. After checking into our hotel, we drive to the Blue Nile Falls, which is known locally as Tissisat (smoking water) falls: 100 m (328 ft) wide, the water plunges for 45 m (148 ft), giving rise to steam clouds and rainbows. We climb down to the base of the falls for an up-close look and then ascend to the other side. This round trip will take about 1hour walking. Then we cross the Blue Nile by boat to return to the point of departure. After lunch weexplore the city of Bahir Dar, including the market and the Bezawit Palace (formerly the Palace of Haile Selassie). A short drive from our hotel, we visit a Woyito Village, where we will see the production of the papyrus boats known as Tankwas.
Overnight: Soliana Hotel or Avanti Blu Hotel, Bahir Dar (1 night) (B, L, D)
Day 04: Bahir Dar/Gondar (Boat crossing & drive)
There are 37 islands on Lake Tana and 30 of them have churches and monasteries of considerable historical and cultural interest. We visit the monastery churches of Ura Kidane Mihiret, Azoa Mariam, Narga Silasie and Dago Stifanos. Ura Kidanemihiret is the best known of the monasteries and has an important collection of religious icons from the 16th to 18th centuries A.D. Azoa Mariam is known for its paintings and we also have time to visit the small museum. Next stop is a visit to Debere Sina Church before continuing by road to Gondar.
Overnight: Taye Hotel or Landmark Hotel, Gondar (2 nights) (B, L, D)
Day 05: Gondar
Gondar was the first capital city 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. The city seems more European than African and also has Islamic influences. In the morning, we will visit Fasilidas' Palace which is probably the most impressive of all the castles found in the area and the oldest one, too! We continue on to the bath of Fasiledes and Quskuam Church. In the afternoon we visit the Church Of Debre Berham Selassie (Light of the Trinity). The interior of this is decorated with beautiful frescos, cherubs and paintings. Debre Berham Selassie is rumored to once have been the proposed final resting place of the Ark of the Covenant. Later on, we will visit the colorful market of Gondar. (B, L, D)
Day 06: Gondar/Simien Mountains (Drive)
A stop will be made to visit the old village of Ethiopian felasha (black Jewish), which is currently inhabited as all have left for Israel, before continue onto Simien Mountains (Simien National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site). The road passes over mountainous areas of wild beauty, drawing close to the Simien Massif (in Amharic, Simien means north). In the park, many of the mountain peaks exceed 4,000 m (13123 ft); the highest is Ras Dejen, at 4,543 m (1905 ft) above sea level. These mountains consist of volcanic masses that have been eroded away by centuries of rain. Today they have amethyst-colored peaks and deep gullies, which have been further deepened by rivers. The crevices play host to the Walya, the ibex. We reach to the Simien Mountain before lunch. In the afternoon, for those who wish to do some trekking there will be 2-3 hours trekking, where we can see the Gelada Baboons and if we are lucky, the Walya ibex, too.
Overnight: Simien Park Eco Lodge or Lima Limo Lodge, Simien Mountains (1 night) (B, L, D)
Day 07: Simien Mountains/Axum (Drive)
This morning we depart for Axum with the road passes over mountain regions of wild beauty, running alongside of the National Park of the Simien massif. Passing through the Limalimo Mountain, we traverse the Tekeze valley before reaching Axum.
Day 08: Axum
Axum, the legends narrated in the Kebre Nagast (‘Book of Kings’) recount how the city of Axum as early as the 10th century B.C was already the city in which the Queen of Sheba resided. It is recounted that the son of the Queen of Sheba and King Solomon brought the Ark of the Covenant to Axum and it remains there to this day, preserved in a sanctuary. Famous long before the time of Christ, Axum was the capital of the long Axumite reign, one of the oldest African empires, and represented a crucial connecting-point between Africa and Asia for almost a thousand years. A visit is organized to the steles: granite monoliths dating from pre-Christian times and decorated with symbolic engravings. There is also a visit to the church of Santa Maria of Zion, which contains the crowns of Ethiopian kings and other treasures. (B , L, D)
Day 09: Axum/Lalibela (Flight)
A short flight this morning takes us to Lalibela. The city contains 11 monolithic churches that were built in the 12th century and are carved out of the pink granite rock; they have been classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Each church (Bet) has a unique architectural style; all are superbly carved and most of them are decorated with well-preserved paintings. The entire city may be described as a sculpture dedicated to the glory of God. The afternoon is dedicated to visiting the first group of churches, known as the Northern Group of Churches. Bet Medihanialem is the largest, supported by 72 pillars and houses the 7kg (15 lbs) gold Lalibela Cross. We go through a tunnel from Bet Medihanialem to Bet Mariam, in which there is a pillar; it is said that Jesus Christ leaned against this pillar when he appeared in a vision to King Lalibela. Bet Mariam also contains fabulous carvings of various birds and animals. We also visit Bet Danaghel; a chapel built in honor of martyred nuns. Bet Golgotha and Bet Mikael are twin churches and many believe that a visit to Bet Golgotha alone can guarantee your place in heaven! The twin churches also contain many important religious items and some of the best examples of early religious art in the country. The last church we visit today is Bet Giyorgis, one of the more recent churches and best preserved. We walk back to our hotel and on the way back if time allows, we will have stops at the souvenir shops and around the city center.
Day 10: Lalibela
This morning we visit the Eastern Rock Churches. Bet Amanuel is one of the most beautifully carved churches in Ethiopia in the Aksumite style. Bet Merkorios has a wonderful painting of The Three Wise Men, which dates back to the 15th century A.D. We also stop to see Bet Abba Libanos and Bet Gebrieal-Reafael, which might have once been the home of the royal family before becoming a church. This afternoon, we visit the Nakutelab Rock Hewn Church, built under a natural cave. Tonight, we have a special treat, participating in The Coffee Ceremony, a ceremony of hospitality in Ethiopia. (B, L, D)
Day 11: Lalibela/Addis Ababa (Flight)
We take a flight back to Addis Ababa this morning. We enjoy a free afternoon; you may want to visit one of the many museums or the interesting Mercato or have a free time for shopping.
Overnight: Dreamliner Hotel or Ambassador Hotel, Addis Ababa (1 night) (B)
Day 12: Addis Ababa/Dire Dawa (Flight)/Harar (Drive)
Today we fly from Addis Ababa to Dire Dawa, then drive to Harar (50Km) in Dire Dawa. We will visit the railway that links Addis Ababa to Djibouti, which was built at the beginning of the 20th century with the co-operation of the French government. Then we drive to Harar where the road and the surrounding fertile lands rise up the Dengego Mountains (3,000 meters above sea level), offering magnificent panoramas. The women of this region wear very bright colored clothes. Soon we begin to see crops of ‘chat’, a bush whose leaves are chewed because they provide light stimulation. En route we will visit the Awoday chat market. Afterwards we arrive in Harar.
Overnight: Grand Gato Hotel or Ras Hotel, Harar (2 nights) (B, L, D)
Day 13: Harar
Located at an altitude of 1,800 meters, Harar is a labyrinth of small streets surrounded by old city walls. Its architecture reflects a strong Islamic influence. We take a walk through the old city and visit the house where Rimbaud lived. Harar was the poet’s favourite city and he established quarters there in order to trade in arms destined for the emperor Menelik. It is largely 16th century and later, but some of the mosques were founded as early as the 13th century. Until relatively recently it was venerated by Muslims as a center of pilgrimage, the most holy city in the Horn of Africa, with large numbers of mosques and Koran schools. Our visit will include some of these as well as some of the traditional old houses of Harar. The main sights are: the city walls and gateways, the Friday Mosque, the Museum, the Ras Makonnen House and the supposed house of Rimbaud. This evening after dinner there is a visit to the hyena men (the men who feed the hyenas). (B, L, D)
Day 14: Harar/Dire Dawa (Drive)/Ababa (Flight)
We fly back to Addis Ababa, today. Afternoon is free for relaxation or last minute shopping. This evening we will enjoy a farewell dinner and a traditional show.
Overnight: Dreamliner Hotel or Ambassador Hotel, Addis Ababa (1 night) (B, D)
Day 15: Depart Addis Ababa
After breakfast you will be transferred to the airport for your departure flight back home. Check out time is by 1100 hrs. (B)
B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner
Departure Dates & Prices
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This tour operates on a minimum of 02 and a maximum of 08 participants
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