Ethiopia - The cradle of humankind

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Ethiopia is cradle of mankind and the oldest independent country in Africa. The earliest evidence of Ethiopian history was in around 1000BC when the Queen of Sheba visited King Solomon. Unique among other African countries, Ethiopia is one of the world’s most fascinating countries that offer all in one. It has rich history, amazing people with deep culture, towering mountains and breathtaking scenery, endemic mammals and birds, and unique natural sites like the Danakil depression.

Did you know?

Ethiopia is the tenth largest country in Africa with a surface area of 1,194,000 square kilometers (461,003 sq. miles). It lies in eastern Africa, between the Equator and the Tropic of Cancer, in a region known as the Horn of Africa. Bordered by five countries, it is landlocked.

Price

From CAD $5,975 per person
including domestic flights.
(Based on 2 passengers)​

Note: the above prices are not valid during the major festivals in Ethiopia. A supplement will be advised if dates match with Ethiopian Christmas, Timket (Epiphany) or Meskel (finding of the true cross). 

Inclusions

  • Accommodation on a twin/double room sharing basis
  • Meal- as described in the program
  • All ground and air transportation and transfers
  • Professional English speaking guide 
  • All local guides
  • All entrance and portage fees
  • Scout fees
  • Bottled mineral water service in the vehicle
  • Boat hire on Lake Tana
  • Government tax

Program

On arrival meet your guide and transfer to the hotel. Hotel will allow us early checkin based on availability.

Founded in 1886 by Emp. Menelik II, Addis Ababa is the capital of Ethiopia and the seat of the African Union (AU). Addis Ababa is the third highest capital in the world and one of the largest cities in Africa with a population well over 5 million. It is located at 2500 m above sea level at the foot step of the highest peak of Entoto Mountain chain (3200m above sea level), and enjoys an excellent climate all year round; with an average temperature of 160C. Addis Ababa is a pleasant city with wide avenues of Jacarandas, interesting museums and one of the largest open-air markets in Africa, known as Merkato.

If time allows, we make sightseeing tour of Addis Ababa that includes:-

National Museum:-It comprises of many archaeological and historical findings including the famous complete hominid fossil remain of ‘Lucy’ locally known as ‘Dinknesh’ meaning wonderful. Visiting this museum is having a good summary for your visit to the historic Ethiopia.

Trinity Cathedral:-a beautiful church with a baroque style of European architecture which is unique to both Ethiopia and Africa and is dedicated to the Holy Trinity. Here you will find scripts of the imperial families, statues done by a Greek sculpture, Stained glass window paintings from the Old and New Testament in the Bible and coffins of Emperor Haile Silassie-I; the founder of the church, and his wife.

Overnight Golden Tulip Hotel

No Meal plan

The Golden Tulip Addis is a new facility in Addis Ababa with 70 full sized rooms of about 40 square meters each, 15 Executive rooms, and 5 diplomatic suites of about 60 square meters. All rooms and suites offer all the comfort you would expect of an international hotel on the East African Nature. All rooms are air conditioned and are equipped with satellite television, a large writing desk, in-room safe, direct dial international telephone and tea/coffee making facilities. The bathrooms are all equipped with hairdryers. The hotel offers 24-hour room service and laundry services

After breakfast, transfer to the airport and fly to the lake side city of Bahir Dar. On arrival, transfer to your hotel for checkin.

In the afternoon, make excursion to the Blue Nile Falls. The Blue Nile Falls is considered by many as one of the most spectacular falls in Africa. When in full flood the falls are quite impressive at 400 m wide and 45 m high. The falls are still an interesting site with some nice bird watching on the easy 30-min walk to the viewpoint. Hippos and crocodiles are occasionally spotted on the banks of the river, especially in the early morning and late afternoon hours. The road to and from the falls is packed gravel and can be rough and dusty.

Overnight Avanti Resort or Similar

Meal (B, L, D)

Avanti Blue Nile hotel is well experienced in hotel business serving its customers with its quality and satisfactory services in Bahir dar Ethiopia. Located at one of the best tourist destination, Bahir-Dar, Avanti Blue-Nile hotel is serving its customer with well-equipped hotel facilities and well trained staff members. Its location is within a walking distance from the largest lake in Ethiopia (Lake Tana) at the heart of Bahir-Dar town.

After breakfast, we head out on Lake Tana to the Zege Peninsula and its famous monasteries. While on board our private boat, keep an eye out for a variety of bird species and the traditional tankwa crossing the lake. After a short hike through local villages and coffee farms, we reach the monastery of Ura Kidane Meret, is home to an important collections of crosses and crowns dating back to the 16th century. The painted maqdas, colourful and well-preserved, tell stories of the Ethiopian saints. The second monastery we visit, Azwa Maryam, is a small and pleasant site with gardens and a humorous young priest.

In the afternoon, make city tour of Bahir Dar for its interesting market and nice view from Bezawit Palace.

Overnight Avanti Resort or Similar

Meal (B, L, D)

After breakfast, leave Bahir Dar and drive to head to Sankaber- the headquarters of Simien Mountains National Park- passing rural villages and crossing mountain passes with stunning vistas.

The Simien Mountains National park occupies a surface area of 180 km sq. The park, situated between 4,430 and 1,900 meters (6,200 – 4,500 feet), boasts varied flora with three marked botanical areas. The highest parts have meadows with little vegetation, characteristic of afro alpine zones. Here we can find the endemic Lobelia rhynchopetalum, small groups of perpetual flowers, Helichrysum, and the striking Kniphofia foliosa.

Spend the afternoon, walking near your lodge to spot the endemic Gelada baboon and appreciate the breath-taking scenery.

Overnight Simien lodge or Limalimo lodge

Meal (B, L, D)

After breakfast, head out on a day hike with picnic lunch. Depart the lodge for Chenek where it’s possible to spot the endemic, Walia Ibex. The landscape in the area is remarkably picturesque with panoramic vistas overlooking the deep gorges of the Escarpment.

The excursion today will allow us to explore the pinnacles, valleys and wildlife of this stunning region. The beauty of the ranges can be discovered by following century old footpaths, and don’t forget to look out for the Gelada Baboons who reside here amidst the local pasture lands.

Overnight Simien lodge or Limalimo lodge

After breakfast, drive back to Gondar visit the former village of the Felasha (African Jews) who have now migrated to Israel.

Spend the afternoon exploring the Royal Enclosure and its buildings. The fortress, which is surrounded by a 300-foot-long wall, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The oldest and most impressive structure in the compound is the two-story palace of Emperor Fasilidas, built of solid basalt stones. Other royal buildings of interest include the library of Emperor Yohannes I, the House of Song where royal ceremonies took place, the elegant reception and banquet hall of Emperor Bakaffa, and the palace of the king’s wife. Also visit the nearby bath of King Fasiledes, where modern-day Timkat ceremonies are performed. Finally, view the Church of DebreBirhan Selassie, an imposing structure with brightly colored ceilings.

Overnight Mayleko lodge or Similar

Mayleko lodge is one of the best properties in Gondar located a short distance from the airport and ancient royal enclosures. It is a place where Ethiopian tradition runs true. Situated in pristine landscape, the lodge offers 21 bungalows, a gourmet restaurant, a swimming pool and a golf driving range.

After breakfast we transfer back through the rugged landscape around Lalibela to the airport for our flight to Axum. This simple frontier town is in fact a city of great importance as the ancient capital of Ethiopia. According to local legend, Axum was home to Queen Sheba and the current resting place of the Ark of the Covenant. As we explore Axum, and its ancient relics, our sense of adventure and imagination guides us through this mysterious and historic place.

On arrival, we get our first glimpse of the history of this area with a city tour that includes the Archaeological museum of Axum and the Cathedral of St. Mary of Zion. The original church was built by Emperor Fasiladas, founder of Gonder, in 1665. It’s thought that this church is built on the original foundations of a temple build by King Ezana or King Kaleb in the 4th or 6th centuries, making this the oldest Christian site in Africa. Keep your eye out for the guarded chapel, which is said to be the home of the Ark of the Covenant. The modern St. Mary’s of Zion cathedral dates from the 1960s when Emperor Haile Selassie had it build. The architectural style is painfully out of place in the ancient city, but the contrast between the buildings on the site is fascinating. We also spend time exploring the on-site museum under the church, which houses many of Ethiopia’s priceless relics (the museum was recently opened to both women and men, photography is not allowed).

In the afternoon, visit the famous ‘Stele field’ (4th Century AD and UNESCO World Heritage Site, the ruin palace and tomb of King Kaleb and King Gebre Meskel (5th and 6th Century AD) and the residence of the legendary Queen of Sheba (9th century BC). The North Stelae Park contains over 120 stelae, some are upright, some are buried and others have been removed. The Rome Stelae, the tallest at 25m high, was shipped to Italy in 1937 under orders from Mussolini, but has since been returned and re-erected.

Overnight Sabean Hotel or Similar

Meal (B, L, D)

Sabean hotel is a new 5 story building hotel in Axum. It is the best hotel in Axum in terms of accommodation and meal service. Rooms are spacious with in suite bath room. All floors are accessible either by stairs or suing a dedicated elevator. The restaurant serves both traditional and international dishes.

Drive to Gheralta visiting the Yeha Temple on the way. You can visit Medihanialem Adi Kesho Church on the way to Gheralta Lodge.

Overnight Gheralta Lodge or Similar

Meal (B, L, D)

An oasis of comfort and originality in the heart of the un-spoilt Tigray region, Gheralta lodge adds something unique and special to any visit to Ethiopia. This Italian owner-managed lodge blends seamlessly into this beautiful semi-arid landscape and comprises of 17 guestrooms. Built of sandstone, using traditional century-old techniques, each of the rooms has been simply yet stylishly decorated with local touches and excellent attention to detail. The restaurant serves excellent food using homegrown local produce and the rooms in the lodge offer modern facilities with breathtaking views of the Gheralta Mountains. The lodge is ideally situated near many of the ancient rock churches famous in this region.

Today’s visit of the churches can be fixed with the guide depending on client’s fitness and capability. The region’s finest churches are situated in high isolation on the outcrops of the Gheralta Ridge. So this means a strenuous ascent is involved in getting to see any given church, and that only the fittest of travelers will be in a position to see the churches.

Overnight Gheralta Lodge or Similar

Drive from Hawzein to Mekelle through the Tigray Mountains. En route visit the rock hewn churches of Abreha Atsebeha (10th Century AD) and Wukro Cherqos (10th Century AD).

Overnight Planet Hotel or Similar

Meal (B, L, D)

Planet five star hotel is offering world class and customized services at a very competitive price for tour & travel companies with its more than 80 comfortable rooms in Mekelle city. Services are designed for tourists, business conference and residential customers. Planet will quickly become one of the most leader in the hospitality industry in Mekelle town considering its international standards, passionate, knowledgeable and dedicated management team.

After breakfast, drive to Lalibela. On the way you will visit Amhara villages.

Lalibela is arguably one of the most important religious and historical sites in all of Africa and the entire Christian

world. Ethiopia was the first country to adopt Christianity as a state religion, and the Ethiopian Orthodox religious practices root lies in Judaism and areas of the country practiced. There are no less than 200 churches in the Lasta Region of Lalibela, some hidden in enormous caves, but it’s exceptional to find 11 churches of such master craftsmanship in one locale. These brilliant feats of engineering and architecture are often referred to as the “Eighth wonder of the world”. The churches are said to have been constructed during King Lalibela’s reign during the 12th and 13th centuries when Lalibela (then known as Roha) was the capital of the Zagwe dynasty. Many different theories exist on how they were built and by whom, including angels and the Knights Templars. Legend has it that King Lalibela was exiled in Jerusalem and returned to Ethiopia to build a new Jerusalem.

Overnight Maribela Hotel or Mountain view Hotel

Meal (B, L, D)

Maribela hotel is one of the best hotels in Lalibela. The hotel offers great view to the owe- inspiring Lalibela mountains. Rooms are spacious and well furnished. The tasteful interior decoration gives every guest the very best in Lalibela. Lovely flowers adorn the space in the private balcony. A cozy daybed is made available so you can enjoy the gorgeous views. The restaurant serves tasty Ethiopian and Continental dishes prepared by a team of culinary experts led by experienced chef.

In the morning, visit the first group of the churches which represent the earthly Jerusalem. This group includes Bete Medhanialem (Saviour church), Bete Miriam, Bete Denagel, Bete Meskal, Debra Sina, and Bete Golgotha. . Standing 38 feet tall with seventy-two pillars, Medhane Alem is not only the largest in Lalibela, but it is the largest monolithic rock-hewn church in the world. The oldest of the churches, dedicated to the Virgin Mary, Bet Maryam is the only Lalibela monolith with a porch. The remains of exquisite early frescoes can be seen on the ceiling and upper walls, and there are many elaborately carved details on the piers, capitals, and arches. Bet Golgotha houses remarkable reliefs of figures, early Christian art rarely seen in other parts of Ethiopia.

In the afternoon, visit the Second group of the churches representing the heavenly Jerusalem. In this group are the Bete Gabriel & Raphael, Bete Merquorios, Bete Emmanuel, and Bete Abba Libanos Finally, visit the most interesting cross-shaped church of Bete Giorgis (St. George), which is said to be the symbolization of Noah’s ark. The cruciform-shaped Bete Giorgis is the most perfect and beautiful church here; its interior is dominated by depictions of Saint George killing the dragon.

Overnight Maribela Hotel or Mountain View hotel

Meal (B, L, D)

After breakfast, transfer to Lalibela airport and fly back to Addis Ababa.

In Addis Ababa, visit Merkato- the largest open-air market in Africa. Here you will be presented with confusing, but fascinating, glimpse of the vast range of goods and artifacts available from all parts of the country and you

will enjoy the Ethiopian trade exchange tradition in the open air, you can purchase anything you desire here.

In the evening, you will have a fare well dinner party in one of the traditional restaurants in Addis Ababa to taste the varieties of the Ethiopian dish and enjoy the traditional dances of different ethnic groups.

Overnight Golden Tulip Hotel or Similar

Meal (B, D)

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