Tour code: IETT-013
Program: Cultural and Historical Tour
Transport: Air and Land
Day 01: Sightseeing of Addis Ababa
Arrival at Bole International Airport. Reception by IET 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. In the evening, traditional Ethiopian dinner with cultural music and dance show. Overnight in Addis Ababa.
Day 02: Addis Ababa Debre Libanos
after breakfast, departure north to Bahir Dar via Debre Markos. On the way visit the Debre Libanos Monastery and the Portuguese Bridge, which was the first bridge in Ethiopia. After lunch in Debre Markos, you will pass through the scenic Blue Nile Gorge. Overnight in Bahir Dar.
Day 03: Lake Tana monasteries and Blue Nile Fall
In the morning, embark on a boat trip on Lake Tana to explore some of the monasteries hidden on the shores and islands of Lake Tana. In the afternoon, depart out of town to the Blue Nile Falls for an easy hike in the area. End the day with a sunset over Lake Tana from the top of Bezawit Hill, next to the former palace of Haile Selassie. Overnight in Bahir Dar.
Day 04: Sightseeing of the former capital, Gondar
After breakfast, proceed driving north to Gondar. The drive will take you through rural villages, offering wonderful insight into the Amhara culture and the traditional agricultural methods still in use today. After arrival in Gondar and brief check-in to hotel, the afternoon will be spent exploring 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 and the Debre Birhan Selassie church, with the most famous ceiling in Ethiopia. Overnight hotel in Gondar
Day 05: Gondar-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 hikes in the area surrounding the lodge. Overnight at the Simien
Day 06: Simien mountains-Axum
After breakfast, continue to Axum, enjoying the final views of the Simien Mountains. After stopping for lunch in Adarky, proceed driving through the Tekeze Valley to Axum, home of the ancient Axumite Empire, the Queen of Sheba, and the Ark of the Covenant. Overnight in Axum
Day 07: Axum
Today is a 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 08: 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 09: 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 hotel in Lalibela
Day 10: 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
Day 11: Lalibela-Addis Ababa-Dire Dawa
Fly Lalibela to Addis Ababa. After lunch fly Addis to Dire Dawa. Upon arrival drive to Harar and at night visit the Hyena Men who feed the hyenas every night just outside the walls of the city. You can even give a try at feeding the hyenas – with your mouth! Overnight in Harar.
Day 12: Harar
Today is a full day dedicated to explore the walled city of Harar. With its colorful markets, countless mosques and shrines, and unique Harari people and houses, you’ll have a full day wandering around the city of Harar.
Day 13: Harar-Addis Ababa-Departure
In the morning, visit the last places of interest in Harar including the Arthur Rimbaud Cultural Center, named after the famous poet and traveler who resided in Harar for a portion of his life. Transfer to Dire Dawa airport and fly back to Addis Ababa.
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