Historic Route ~ Northern Ethiopia
13 Nights, 14 Days
Day 01: Arrival
Be met upon arrival and transferred to the Ghion Hotel for the overnight.
Day 02: Sightseeing Addis
Overnight at the Ghion Hotel.
Day 03: Addis - Debre Markos
After an early breakfast, drive to Debre Marqos, visiting en route the monastery of Debre Libanos. This monastery was founded in the 13th century by an Ethiopian Saint, Tekle Haimanot. Here you will have a chance to see the monastic life of nuns in Ethiopia. Visit and proceed to Debre Marqos passing through the imposing Blue Nile Gorge where there is a drop of nearly 1000 m to the valley below. Overnight at the Shebel Hotel.
Day 04: Debre Markos - Bahir Dar
Proceed to Bahir Dar. En route, you will drive to the village of Tis Isat to see the Blue Nile falls (please be informed that due to the newly constructed electric dam in the vicinity the water level of the falls could be very minimal). Overnight at the Tana/Summerland/Blue Nile Hotel.
Day 05: Bahir Dar – Awra Amba - Gondar
Having your breakfast at your hotel you will take a boat trip on Lake Tana. It is the largest lake in Ethiopia with an area of 3600 square kilometers. The lake hosts 37 islands and 29 monasteries, founded between the 11th and 16th c. One of these monasteries, Ura Kidanemihret, was established on a peninsula called Zegie, about an hour by boat from Bahir Dar. Visit the 14th century Monastery with its very beautiful paintings and a priceless collection of crosses and crowns. Visit and proceed to the monastery of Entos Yesus, where women lead their monastic life by cultivating crops and producing handcrafts.
In the afternoon, you will drive to the village of Awra Amba, an Ethiopian community of about 400 people founded by Zumra Nuru. Visit this unique settlement that is considered to be a prime model for self-help and above all gender equality. Women have equal rights as men and there is no distinction in divisions of labor. Men cook, women plow, and religion plays no leading role in their daily activities. They believe in hard work and being good to people. They
keep their house and their surrounding unbelievably clean. Theft is seen as very obscene. The main means of livelihood for the community is weaving. There is home for the elderly with 24 hour care and a committee that helps out new mothers, who also get three months of maternity leave. Proceed to Gondar. Overnight at the Goha/ Lammargayer/ Amba Ras Hotel.
Day 06: Sightseeing Gondar
This morning you will visit the city of Gonder. Gondar is the town founded in 1636 by the great Emperor Fassiladas. Set in a landscape of the incomparable beauty, it was the Royal Capital of Ethiopia. Visit the castles and churches built by Emperor Fassiladas and his descendant. Then proceed to the fascinating Debre Birhan Selassie church (termed by UNESCO as one of the World’s heritages) its walls and sailings decorated with scenes of Biblical lore and medieval history. In the afternoon drive to the Falasha village who are the Christian
inhabitants of Wolleka have started to make pottery in the Falasha tradition but the product is of limited aesthetic merit and the standard of workmanship is low. Beside this village you will see the local women’s’ project, set up in 1994 by a British man to help solo mothers who have no skills or means of income. Here, you also have an opportunity to support them by buying some of the pottery, scarves and the like. Visit and drive back to Gondar for the overnight
stay at the Goha/ Lammaragyer/ Amba Ras Hotel.
Day 07: Gondar - Axum
After an early breakfast drive to Axum visiting en route the magnificent segment of the Semien Mountains, which is the site that is termed as the most wild and spectacular of all Ethiopian landscapes- ‘The roof of Africa' and observe the magnificent scenery, bird life and probably some game like the Gellada Babbon. Arrive in Axum at dusk and stay the overnight at the Yeha/Remhai Hotel.
Day 08: Sightseeing Axum
Once the center of a great empire, and the seat of learning for the ancient Ge’ez language and literature, Axum is the prime historical site in the north of Ethiopia. Visit the stelae park, St. Mary’s church (built by Emperor Haile Selassie for the women to attend the service) the sanctuary Chapel which is the repository of the ‘Ark of Covenant’, the coronation yard, Queen of Sheba’s palace ruins, Ezana Park, Axum Museum. Overnight at the Yeha/Remhai Hotel.
Day 09: Axum - Yeha - Mekele
Today you will drive to Mekele visiting the Moon Temple at Yeha, which dates back to about seven to eight hundred years before the birth of Christ. The temple is believed to be the oldest standing building in the country. Adjacent to this remarkable temple, stands a church edicated to Abba Aftse, one of the famous nine saints who came to Ethiopia in the 6th century from the east Roman Empire to teach the Gospel. The church shares the same compound with the temple of Yeha. Overnight at the Axum Hotel.
Day 10: Mekele - Lalibela
After an early breakfast start your journey to Lalibela through the towns of Korem and Sekota, observing the beautiful landscape. Overnight at the Roha/Lal Hotel/Tikul village.
Day 11: Sightseeing Lalibela
Lalibela is the jewel in the crown of Ethiopia, here reside the most famous churches and is the scene of so many major religious ceremonies. Also known, as ‘Africa’s Petra,’ Lalibela and its rock hewn churches are arguably Ethiopia’s top most attraction. Visit the rock hewn churches which include: Bete Medhane Alem, Bete Mariam, Bete Meskal, Bete Denaghel, Bete Golgotha- Bete Mikael, and Bete Giorgis. In the afternoon, resume your visit with the second group of the rock-hewn churches: Bete Gebriel-Rufael, Bete Markorios, Bete Amanuel and Bete Aba Libanos. From these eleven rock hewn churches, Bete Aba Libanos is said to have been excavated by the personal order of Meskel Kibra, the wife of King Lalibela. Overnight at the Roha/Lal Hotel/Tikul village.
Day 12: Lalibela - Kombolcha
After early breakfast you will drive to Kombolcha visiting en route the Nakuto Le’abe Monastery. Nakuto Le’abe, son of King Gebre Meskel, is said to have abdicated his throne in 1270 AD in favor of the Solomonic Dynasty and to have gone to a cave to lead a hermit’s life. This cave has ever since become a monastery and has dramatic settings. It houses one of the most interesting collections of ancient crosses, illustrated manuscripts and other icons some of
which are attributed to its founder Nakuto Le’abe. Overnight at the Tekele Hotel.
Day 13: Kombolacha - Addis
Today you will drive back to Addis via Debre Sina and a chain of tunnels named Tarmaber. Few kilometers after the pass, you may encounter the endemic Gelada baboons and from view point observe the mighty Awash River and its basin in the Great Rift Valley. Proceed further through the town of Debre Birhan to Addis. Overnight at the Ghion Hotel.
Day 14: Sightseeing Addis - Departure
This day you will begin your city tour of Addis with a drive up to mount Entoto. Descending down to Shiro meda, visit the Women's Handcrafts Promotion Center. This center was established in 1999 with the aim of upgrading existing skills of poor women engaged in various income-generating activities, particularly home based traditional handicrafts. Then drive to visit textile factories mainly run/owned by women entrepreneurs, the visit includes Sara Garments, Trio Craft.
In the afternoon drive to the Buttered and Smoked – Ethiopian Beauty Treatment, this traditional “Butter massage” takes place for 45 minutes by beautiful Ethiopian attendants, albeit with butter (smelt and felt a bit odd) from head to toe, a huge blob for your hair and your body. You will be wrapped with a blanket to stop the smoke escaping and to ensure that you get a good sweat up. They use some local woods for smoking and home made butter. The Butter massage is only used by women.
In the evening you will attend a folkloric dinner where you will have a
chance to taste several national dishes and watch dances of the various ethnic
groups of Ethiopia. The traditional coffee ceremony will also be served.
Later you will be transferred to Bole International Airport for your