Tour code: IETT-012
Program: Cultural and Historical Tour
Transport: Air and Land
Day 1: Sightseeing of Addis Ababa
Arrival at Bole International Airport. Warm reception by IETT guide and driver and Transfer to hotel for check-in. City tour of Addis Ababa including the panoramic view point Entoto Mountain, Merkato, said to be Africa’s largest market of its kind, and the National Museum (home of Lucy, hominid skeleton dating back 3.2 million years) and the ethnographic museums. Overnight in Addis Ababa.
Day 2: Addis Ababa-Axum
In the morning, fly Addis to Axum and full day visiting the sites in Axum. Sites to visit include the famous obelisks, the Queen of Sheba’s Bath (which supplies water to Axum year-round), King Bazen’s tomb, and the Queen of Sheba’s Palace. You will also visit the St. Mary of Zion church, where the Ark of the Covenant is kept, according to local Ethiopian tradition. Men only are allowed to enter the old church. Unfortunately, no one (except one specially chosen guardian monk) is allowed to enter the chapel where the Ark is kept. Overnight in Axum
Day 3: Axum-Yeha-Debre Damo-Axum
After breakfast, drive to visit the ruins of Yeha, dating from the 8th to 5th centuries BC, and thought to be the capital of Ethiopian civilization before Axum. Afterwards, visit the Debre Damo monastery, where the men climb up a 15-m rope to enter the uphill situated monastery. Return to Axum for overnight.
Day 4: Axum-Lalibela
Fly Axum to Lalibela, the most famous of all of the Ethiopian historical sites. After lunch, begin to explore the 11 rock-hewn churches of the remarkable king Lalibela, visiting the Northwestern Cluster of churches - Bet Medhane Alem, Bet Maryam, Bet Meskel, Bet Danaghel, Bet Mikael & Bet Golgotha. Overnight in Lalibela
Day 5: Lalibela
In the morning, visit the Southeastern Cluster of churches – Bet Gabriel-Rufael, Bet Merkorios, Bet Amanual, and Bet Abba Libanos. Finally, visit the most famous of all the churches – Bet Giyorgis, a huge monolith in the shape of a cross, and constructed in honor of St. George, the patron saint of Ethiopia. After lunch, take an afternoon trip to visit the church of Yimrehanne Kristos. The most popular of the churches 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
Day 6: Lalibela-Gondar
Fly to Gondar and explore the sites of Gondar, including a visit to the Royal Enclosure, with six castles and several other buildings. Additionally, visit Fasilidas’s Pool, still used for Timket celebrations today, Debre Birhan Selassie church, with the most famous ceiling in Ethiopia and Kuskuam, a former palace in a partial state of ruin overlooking the city of Gondar. Overnight in Gondar
Day 7: Excursion to Simien mountains national park
Early in the morning, depart for the stunning Simien Mountains National Park. The jagged mountains and deep valleys lend spectacular views to these mountains, home to many of the endemic animal species of Ethiopia including the gelada baboon (guaranteed to be seen) as well as the rare Walia ibex and Ethiopian wolf. The afternoon will be available for relaxing trek in the most dramatic sceneries of the park including Gingar Rver falls and Wolkafit mountain chain. Overnight in Gondar.
Day 8: Gondar to Bahir Dar-Lake Tana
After breakfast, drive to Bahirdar through the beautiful countryside scenery of Fogera and Gojam to arrive at Bahirdar around lunchtime. In the afternoon, you will have a boat cruise over Lake Tana to visit the ancient island monasteries of Lake Tana. The monasteries are famous for their typical Ethiopian religious paintings, illuminated manuscripts, and other ancient church treasures. The monasteries that you are going to visit this afternoon include Kibran Gebriel, Ura Kidanemihret and Azua Mariam.
Day 9: Lake Tana monasteries and Blue Nile Fall
After breakfast, drive 35 Km. to visit the majestic Blue Nile Falls. After having lunch and taking a little rest, drive to Bezawit Hill where you can see the summer residence of Emperor Hailesillasie I, from outside. This is also the best wiewpoint to wander the suset on Lake Tana and to see the outlet of Blue Nile River.
Day 10: Bahir Dar-Blue Nile Gorge-Debre Libanos
Drive to Debre Libanos. There will be stops at Goha, Tsion, Chancho and Dejen. In the afternoon you will pass through the Great Blue Nile Gorge. The Blue Nile Gorge is a majestic and enormous river gorge and it is one of the most captivating gorges in Africa. It has a magnificent, alluring physical feature and natural beauty. After an hour driving you will reach Debre Libanos and stay here overnight in the Ethio-German Park Hotel, which is situated on the edge of a cliff, near the famous Portuguese bridge.
Day 11: Debre Libanos-Addis Ababa-Departure
In the morning you can have a walk around the lodge and visit the Portuguese bridge and the small waterfall behind the lodge, ending up in the Jemma River Gorge, one of the biggest tributaries of the Blue Nile River. Depending on the season you will find more or less water in the fall. Then you will start driving back to Addis. As you pass through the Sululta plain, you can see Black winged plovers, Wattled Ibis, Blue winged geese, common cranes and wheat ears.
In the evening/afternoon, farewell party with cultural dinner and traditional special buffet and local drinks to experience Ethiopia’s cultural meals and drinks. After farewell party, transfer to Bole international airport for international departure. End of Tour