13 Days Historical and Cultural Tours
This trip focuses on the incredible historic and cultural sites of the north, from the amazing island monasteries of Lake Tana. Where you will Meet monks straight out of the medieval ages, explore the castles of Gondar and hike in the Simien Mountains, some of the best scenery in Africa and home to unique wildlife found nowhere else. visiting the tall cliff-churches of Tigray and the world-renowned sites of Axum.as well as The World Heritage Site of Lalibela, which is set in the Lasta mountains and was the second capital of ancient Ethiopia. Dating back to at least the 12th Century, it is renowned for its extraordinary rock-hewn churches, carved from the mountains, but still embedded in the granite from which they were shaped.
Day-By- Day itinerary
Day 1: Addis Abeba :
Upon arrival in Addis Ababa, meet our representatives and transfer to the given Hotel. During the day, visit historical sites in Addis Ababa including the National Archaeological Museum, where we will view the 3.2 million year old remains of “Lucy”, whose skeletal remains when discovered in 1974. You will also visit the Holy Trinity Cathedrals and Mount Entoto which rises up to an altitude of 3,200 meters and offers the panoramic view of the metropolis. Overnight at a hotel
Day 02- Early in the morning drive to Bahir Dar via the 13th Century monastery of Debre-Libanos, an important teaching centre for the Ethiopian Orthodox church and the old cave prayer place. The monastery overlooks the Jema River Gorge, a tributary of the Blue Nile. A chance to spot some wildlife and travel on past the Blue Nile Gorge. Overnight Bahir Dar (hotel).
After an early breakfast (7:00), take on a boat trip on Lake Tana, Ethiopia’s largest lake, which is dotted with some 30 islands of which 20 are home to monasteries and churches . Visit the Zega penninsula & the Monastery of Azuwa Maryam , Ura Kidane Mhiret which it is believed to date back to the 16th Century, & the island monastery of Debre Maram near the outlet of the Blue Nile River. afternoon drive & visit the small town of Tiss Issat meaning ‘smoking fire’. Cross the Blue Nile on a small boat which offers stunning photo opportunities. This evening, visit Bezawit Hill to watch the wonderful sunset. Overnight Bahir Dar (hotel).
Day 04- Bahir Dar – Gondar.
This morning we will drive to north Gondar throuh the Guzara Castle site the ruined castle which was built before the establishment of Gondar arriving in Gondar in time for lunch in your hotel, explore Fasiladas’ Castle compound, which covers an area of over 70,000sq m (229,659 sq ft), surrounded by high stone walls. Emperor Fasiladas’ Palace is the oldest and perhaps most impressive of the castles. It is two stories high, has an imposing parapet and four small domed towers. continue to Debre Berhan Salassie Church, probably the country’s most famous church and a highlight of Gondar. Its ceiling is covered with famous paintings of Ethiopian cherubs and the walls portray Ethiopian saints, martyrs, and lore. Overnight Gondar ( hotel).
After breakfast drive to Debark, the starting point for our trekking in the national park. In Debark we pay the park entrance fees and pick up the game scout. In the Simiens you can see the endemic Gelada or bleeding heart baboon, the Walia Ibex, the Simien wolf (the rarest canid in the world) and rock hyrax, and endemic birds such as the thick billed raven, black headed siskin, white collared pigeon, wattled ibis, white billed starling, spot breasted plover and white backed black tit. Overnight Debark ( hotel)
Day 06 –
Today, we drive to Axum past the dramatic Simien Mountains. Reaching the Limalimo terrain, you will plunge down a 2500 metre escarpment. This beautiful looping Italian built road provides memorable views, including a glimpse of the peak of Awaza near Adi Arkay. We will stop for a picnic lunch near Shire.Crossing the Tekezze River, we will arrive in Axum before dark. We shall check in to your hotel in time for an evening meal. Overnight Axum (hotel).
Day 07- Axum:
Full-day tour of Axum. Discover history and myth at the Queen of Sheba’s Palace and Bath before visiting the St Mary of Zion churches, reputedly home to the Ark of the Covenant. Continue to King Ezana’s Stone, written in three ancient languages, en route to the tombs of King Kelab and Gebre Meskel, two of Axum’s most important rulers who succeeded in bringing southern Arabia under their rule. After lunch, visit the Axum stelae field and museum. A short walk offers excellent views of the surrounding countryside, before a private visit to a local artist who specializes in religious paintings. Overnight Axum ( hotel ).
Drive to Hawsein. Journey to a little visited but peaceful and astonishing spot ‘Yeha’ which is Ethiopia’s first known capital and considered the birth place of the country’s earliest civilization. Its ruins are impressive for their sheer age, dating from around the 5th century BC. Also the monastery of Debre Damo which is the first monastery in Ethiopia dates back to Aksumite times. It boasts the oldest standing church in the country. Overnight Hawssen (hotel)
Day 09- Hawsein – Mekele
In the morning, visit either Abuna Yemata Guh or Maryam Korkor. Both churches involve an approximate one-hour hike but offer commanding views of the surrounding area. After lunch, continue your visit with the more easily-accessible churches of Abreha we Atsbeha and Chirkos. Afterwards, proceed driving to Mekele for overnight (hotel).
Day 10- Mekele -Lalibela
Drive to Lalibela through the rough nature of road but nice to experience along with the magnificent scenery (gigantic , ups & downs landscape) Overnight in Lalibela (hotel).
in the morning , visit the first group of rock-hewn churche of Lalibela, Bet Medhane Alem , Bet Maryam , Bet Meskel, Bet Danaghel , Bet Mikael & Bet Golgotha (not allowed for women). After lunch, head to the second group of rock-hewn churches which represent scenes of the heavenly Jerusalem. Finally visit the cross-shaped church of St. George which is regarded to be the third group and is the last work of church excavation by King Lalibela. Overnight in Lalibela (hotel).
after breakfast, you will set off on mule or on foot to the church of Ashetun Mariam, about a 4 hours’ round trip. An alternative to the Ashetun Mariam trip, or if visitors are not afraid of a full day it can be done in the afternoon in addition to Ashetun Mariam, visit the the church of yimrehanne Kristos, the most popular of the church outside of Lalibela, this church is built in the late -Axumite style, with layers of wood and granite, set in the entrance to a large cavern. Overnight in Lalibela ( hotel).
In the morning, transfer to the airport for the flight to Addis & In the evening, there will be Grand Holidays’ complimentary farewell dinner party. There will not be better way of ending a trip. (flight schedule permitting) At the end of the farewell dinner, transfer to Addis Ababa airport for the flight back . End of tour!