Package Name: City Tour + Northern Historic Route [4 World Heritage Sites included]
Duration: 11 Days
Tour Code: MCE-NT-014
Highlights: Exploring Addis Ababa, the political capital of Africa; Bahirdar and Lake Tana and its island monasteries, the source of the Blue Nile, the Nile Falls (Tis Abay); The castles of Fasiledes, Gondar (A world heritage site); the roof of Africa at Ras Dashen, Ethiopia’s peack point and Africa’s fifth highest at 4620 asl with many endemic animals and plants; Axum, the birthplace of Ethiopia’s earliest civilization and one of only four powerful kingdoms of the world in its time (World heritage site); the highest population of rock-hewn churches in the world, with more than 120 of them in Eastern Tigrai alone, trekking to the chain of mountains at Gheralta; Mekelle; the chain of 11 rock-hewn churches at Lalibela with their roof at ground level (another world heritage site); many monasteries, wildlife reserves etc.
Day 01: Addis Ababa City Tour
Home to many international, continental and national organizations, institutions and embassies, Addis Ababa is the political capital of Africa, only third busiest city in the world. Touring Addis Ababa will include The National Museum, Ethnological Museum, St George Cathedral and Museum. Explore the massive Merccato, Holy Trinity Cathedral and head out of Addis for fresh-air walking in the Entoto Mountains and visit the Entoto Mariam Church. Finish the day dining and then back to hotel.
This day’s activities will be determined based on the arrival of the tourists. If they arrive late afternoon, they will simply go to their bedroom and start by the activities at Day 2 and tour the city at the end of the whole trip.
Overnight in Addis Ababa (Hotel)
Day 02: Addis Ababa – Debrelibanos – Bahirdar
On the way to Bahirdar are beautiful historical, religious and natural sights. Take a break in Debre Libanos, 100KM north of Addis is one of Ethiopia’s important monasteries. A stop over the Portuguese bridge, the first bridge in Ethiopia and the valley and river gorge below. Around 200 KM one of Ethiopia’s most dramatic stretches of road begins its serpentine descent to the bottom of the Blue Nile George 1,500 meters below. A dramatic George that extends 400 KM and reaches depths up to 1500M. Overnight Bahirdar.
Day 03: Bahir Dar and Lake Tana
After breakfast, take a boat cruise on Lake Tana to visit a selection of ancient 14th century island monasteries. Visit the Zege Penninsula (forested peninsula full of birds) and the monasteries of Azuwa Maryam, Ura-Kidane-Mehret and Debre-Maryam. These monasteries are famous for their distinctive Ethiopian religious paintings, illuminated manuscripts, and ancient church treasures. After lunch drive to one of Africa’s magnificent Blue Nile Falls afterwards excursion around the Blue Nile gorge. Overnight in Bahir Dar.
Day 04: Bahirdar – The Castles of Gondar
After breakfast heading to the legendary city of Gondar. The 3 and ½ hour drive will immerse you to a day to day life of Ethiopian countryside people. After check-in explore the Royal Enclosure, including, Fasiladas’ Palace, Iyasu Palace,Fasiladas’ bath and other impressive numerous castles. Continue to the church of Debre Birhan Selassie, with the stone walls, arched doors and well preserved paintings, is one of the most beautiful churches in Ethiopia. Overnight Gondar.
Day 05: Simien Mountains
Exploring the Simien Mountains. An early morning drive to Sankober or Chenek in the Simien Mountains, here you will encounter the endemic Gelada Baboon and lounging at various places. A stop at Jinba Waterfall estimated to drop 500 meters and a short trek to Geech Abyss. The few hours round of the day trip walk, near Ambaras to the amazing Imet Gogo view point be the highlight a day trip to the magnificent Simien Mountains. This will be an overview visit the Semien as it is very wide immense and needs a dedicated package. Overnight in the Simien Mountains.
Day 06 – Semien Mountains – Shire – Aksum
Today a drive to Aksum passing to the glimpse of the Simien Mountains, and stop over a remote countryside villages, with an opportunity to experience of Ethiopia’s life’s of countryside’s people. After lunch, driving through the amazing valley of Tekeze, with its magnificent landscape. approaching to Aksum, mountaintop monasteries to underground tombs, with amazing mix of history and adventure. Overnight Aksum.
As the drive is long (that’s why many people prefer to fly), based on the feelings of the tourists, we could sleep in Shire Indaselassie, a very interesting city with welcoming people and atmosphere.
Day 07: Ancient city of Aksum
After breakfast, explore the home of the Ark of Covenant that holds Moses’ 10 commandments in small Aksum chapel. After lunch a visit to ancient Aksum obelisks (stelae), the archeological museum (contains interesting variety of objects), the Queen of Sheba’s Bath, Ezana’s enscription, King Kaleb’s tomb, King Bazen’s tomb, and the Queen of Sheba’s Palace. Overnight Aksum.
Day 08: Axum – Gheralta – Mekelle
Drive to the Gheralta passing the Adwa battlefield, site of Emperor Menelik II’s 1895 victory over the invading Italians. Visit the 2,500 year old ruins of Yeha (the capital of Ethiopian civilization before Axum.) Afterwards, visit the Debre Damo monastery, where one must climb up a 15-m rope to enter. Proceed through the state of Tigray, stopping en-route for a visit to the rock-hewn church of Medhane Alem Adi Kesho.
Leaving the beautiful landscapes surrounding Gheralta, you’ll drive to Mekelle in the late afternoon. Overnight in Mekelle.
Day 09: Mekelle – Lalibela
After breakfast, visit to Atse Yohannes IV palace/museum, and the city of Mekelle and then a relaxed drive to Lalibela through the Tigray and Amhara plateaus. Here you will pass through many small villages and experience the real life of the Ethiopian countryside people. Proceed through this remote villages and area for the striking approach to mostly considered by many as “the living wonders of the world” – Lalibela. Overnight in Lalibela.
Day 10: Lalibela & Surounding
A history and mystery frozen in stone. If you are only to see one thing in Ethiopia this should be it! Considered by many people as their highlights of Ethiopia. After check in, start your tour to the magical rock-hewn churches of Lalibela, visiting the Northwestern Cluster of churches – Bet Medhane Alem, Bet Maryam, Bet Meskel, Bet Danaghel, Bet Mikael & Bet Golgotha. If going Overnight in Lalibela.
In the morning, take a drive to Monastery church of Yimrehanne Kristos. Being one of Ethiopia’s best-preserved late-aksumite buildings and most popular churches outside of Lalibela. Incredibly the whole church sits on a foundation of carefully laid olive-wood panel. After lunch lunch a visit to the Southeastern Cluster of churches – Bet Gabriel-Rufael, Bet Merkorios, Bet Amanual, and Bet Abba Libanos. Finally Bete Giorigis, Lalibela’s masterpiece and representing the apogee of the rock-hewn tradition. Overnight in Lalibela.
Day 11: Lalibela – Debrebirhan – Addis Ababa
Driving back to Addis via Debre Birhan. On the way you pass the Mezezo highland, with a good chance to see the endemic gelada baboons. If today is a Sunday, you can stop in the town of Senbete to visit the market including the camel market. Dinner at a traditional Ethiopian Restaurant featuring musicians and cultural dancers representing some of the country’ Ethnic groups.
Depending on your arrival and departure time, the itinerary could be amended accordingly, for you to attend as the many market days and cultural activities as possible.
2. Package Inclusions
- Appropriate size of reliable car with driver
- Hotel accommodation based on your preference (Luxury, Normal or Budget)
- Entrance fees to all locations including local guide service and boat trip, when necessary (on Lake Tana)
- All applicable taxes
3. Package Exclusions:
- Extra foods and drinks and all alcoholic beverages
- Camera and/or photo fees
- Items of a personal nature