HISTORIC NORTH OF ETHIOPIA
Ethiopia is today, one of the most economically successful and fastest growing countries in Africa. But its history is the real reason to visit this country, whose topography ranges from fertile farm lands, mountains to arid lands. Some of the earliest skeletons of humans have been found in Ethiopia and the country’s Christianity is a source of pride, due to its early role among Ethiopia’s religions. During your tour, you will be visiting many ancient architectural and archaeological sites.
Tourism is still a work in progress in Ethiopia, particularly outside of the capital. So, joining this Iconic Journeys Worldwide tour to Ethiopia requires a sense of adventure and the understanding that not everything works and that luxury is not part of the agenda.
DAY 1- ARRIVAL
Arrive at Bole International Airport. Our Ethiopian ground colleagues will meet you and take you to your hotel. Overnight at the Radisson Blu.
DAY 2- ADDIS ABABA
Today’s touring will concentrate on sites within Ethiopia‘s capital, locally known as “Addis”. Tour the Ethnographic Museum, located on the campus of Addis Ababa University, and a great introduction to Ethiopian culture and history. Visit Trinity Cathedral, resting place of Emperor Haile Selassie. Buffet Lunch at the Taitu Hotel, Addis Ababa’s oldest hotel. Following lunch enjoy some of Ethiopia’s ﬁnest coffee at the famous Tomoco Coffee House. Later in the afternoon, drive to Mount Entoto for a ﬁne view of the city. Return to the hotel to relax and get ready for your welcome dinner. Overnight at the Radisson Blu. (B, D)
DAY 3– FLY TO BAHAR DAR
Fly to Bahar Dar on Ethiopian Airlines. The region, known as Amhara, is the region where the people’s mother tongue is Amharic…a language unrelated to any language found in any other country. Take a boat tour on Lake Tana, the source of the Blue Nile and landlocked Ethiopia’s largest source of water. In addition to touring by boat, the special attraction if the various ancient island monasteries. (B, L, D)
Visit the marketplace in Bahar Dar. In the evening enjoy a lakeside Ethiopian barbecue dinner. Overnight at the Abay Minch hotel. (B, L, D)
DAY 4- DRIVE TO GONDAR
Early departure to Gondar, driving through the countryside with an optional stop at the village of Awra Amba. Following lunch, tour the Royal Enclosure, a UNESCO World Heritage site featuring ﬁve castles built by a succession of Ethiopian Kings beginning in the early 17th century. Having survived several wars, including air raids during World War II, the castles are a testament to the resilience of this once mighty African Empire.
Visit the church of Debre Birhan Selassie, famous for its religious art and especially its iconic ceiling depicting angels. In the evening, visit an Azmari Bet, where Ethiopian troubadours play music and ad lib lyrics often including audience members in their performance. Overnight at Goha hotel. (B, L, D)
DAY 5- DRIVE TO SANKABAR
Drive to Sankabar the gateway to the Simien Mountains National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Take in the spectacular scenery and view wildlife such as the Gelada baboon. Light hiking in the afternoon in the park. Overnight at the Simien Lodge. (B, L, D)
DAY 6- DRIVE TO AXUM
Take a scenic drive to Axum, capital of the ancient Axumite Empire and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Frequent stops at viewpoints along the way. Arrive in Axum late afternoon. Overnight at the Sabean hotel. (B, L, D)
DAY 7- AXUM
Tour the ancient stelae ﬁelds, standing for 2000 years. Visit the new and impressive Archaeological Museum. See St. Mary Tsion Church, which houses the Ark of the Covenant according to the Ethiopian Orthodox Church (no one is allowed to see the Ark.) Visit other tombs and archaeological sites as time permits.
Overnight at the Sabean hotel. (B, L, D)
DAY 8- FLY TO LALIBELA
Fly to Lalibela on Ethiopian Airlines 700 kilometers north of Addis Ababa. Tour the magniﬁcent rock-hewn churches of Lalibela, a UNESCO World Heritage site. This group of eleven monolithic and semi-monolithic structures were carved directly into the stone of the mountainside at least 800 years ago. This complex boasts the largest monolithic church in the world, a maze of passageways and tunnels, intricately carved reliefs, and fabulous examples of icon paintings. Overnight at Tukul Village. (B, L, D)
DAY 9- LALIBELA
Drive to Yemrehanna Kristos, a beautiful church situated in a shallow cave that predates the churches of Lalibela. One must hike to the church up a steep hill approximately 20-30 minutes… along a path shared by many pilgrims hiking to the church. The drive to Yemrehanna will also give you the opportunity to view the rural countryside and villages of the Ethiopian highlands.
En route, visit a village school and talk with students and their teacher. In the afternoon, return to Lalibela and visit a local farmer to learn about traditional farming methods. In the evening, visit a local bar or “Tej Bet”, and sample home-made “tej” (honey wine).
Overnight at Tukul village. (B, L, D)
DAY 10- FLY TO DIRE DAWA VIA ADDIS ABABA
Fly to Dire Dawa via Addis Ababa on Ethiopian Airlines. Today, visit the large and colorful Dire Dawa Market.
Overnight in Dire Dawa. (B, L, D)
DAY 11- HARAR
Stroll through the 16th century walled city of Harar, the fourth most important city in the Islamic World. See the home of Arthur Rimbaud, renowned French poet who worked and lived in Harar as a “gun-runner” during the 19th century. Visit the National and Harari museums; the house of Ras Mekonnen (father of Haile Selassie); and a traditional Harari home. In the evening see the “Hyena Man” feeding the hyenas that gather nightly outside the town. Overnight at the Wonderland hotel. (B, L, D)
DAY 12- FLY TO ADDIS ABABA
Fly to Addis Ababa. Visit the National Museum, home of the 3 million year old skeleton “Lucy.” Optional souvenir shopping. Continue with the tour with a trip to Mercato, one of Africa’s largest outdoor markets. Enjoy a farewell dinner at a traditional Ethiopian restaurant featuring dancers and musicians representing some of the country’s many ethnic groups. Following dinner, back to your hotel to be transferred to airport for your departure flight. (B, L, D)
Addis Ababa: Radisson Blu ★★★★★
Bahar Dar: Abay Minch Lodge ★★★★
Gondar: Goha Hotel ★★★
Sankabar: Simien Lodge ★★★★
Axum: Yared Zema International Hotel ★★★★★
Lalibela: Tukul Village ★★★★
Dire Dawa: Samrat Hotel ★★★★
Harar: Wonderland Hotel ★★★★
Cost of $5,795 per person. No Single Supplement!
WHAT IS INCLUDED
Entrance fees for all sites and parks mentioned in the itinerary
All excursions listed in the itineraries
Experienced, multilingual tour guide and guide’s expenses
Ground transportation via tour vehicle (includes driver and fuel)
All domestic flights noted on the itinerary
All meals for the duration of the tour
Lodging as noted on itinerary for 11 nights
All hotel/airport transfers listed on the itinerary
WHAT IS NOT INCLUDED
Photography or Video Fees