The core of the country’s tourist industry is formed by the well-defined ‘historical circuit’ through northern Ethiopia. It is probably no exaggeration to say that 90% of travelers to Ethiopia base the bulk of their itinerary around this circuit, and rightly so. There is nothing in sub-Saharan Africa that prepares the visitor for the wealth of historical and cultural treasures, both ancient and living, contained in northern Ethiopia. The circuit pivots around four cities, all very different from each other, Bahir Dar, Gondar, Axum, and Laibela.
Start with an early morning drive to Bahir Dar, that will enable you visit the Blue-Nile Gorge and Debre Libanos monastery. On Day 2, on lake Tana, you will visit the monasteries of Ura Kidane Mihiret, Kebran Gabriel and Daga Istifanos. In the afternoon, take an excursion to the Blue Nile Falls, also known locally as Tissisat waterfall, which are 328 feet (100 m) wide. Late in the afternoon, drive back to Bahir Dar and finish the day with a lovely sunset over Lake Tana. A morning drive on day 3 to Gondar, the Camelot of Africa. In the afternoon, visit Fasilidas' Palace, probably the most impressive of all the castles found in the area, and the oldest. Continue going to the Church of Debre Berham Selassie (Light of the Trinity). Arrive in Debark where you will visit Simien Mountains National Park. You can be dropped off for a 2-hour trek before returning to the lodge. Enjoy the panoramic views; you are likely to spot large groups of gelada monkeys. The road from Debark to Axum is spectacular. The Italian build 'Lima Limo Road' leads through dramatic scenery. On day 6, can a full day in Axum that will enable you to visit the UNESCO World Heritage Site Listed City. Visit the Tombs of King Kaleb and his son King Gabra Masqal, the Ezana’s stone inscriptions, Queen of Sheba’s palace and swimming pool, and the Church of Zion, the final resting place of what is believed to be the true arc of Covenant. After breakfast on day 7, 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. On the way, you will stop at Yeha Temple, Negash Mosque and Wukro Cherkos Church. Drive from Mekele to Lalibela, passing through the dramatic landscapes of the Ethiopian Highlands. On day 9, discover Lalibela, home of the largest monolithic church in the world. Before lunch, you will start visiting churches the first and the second group out of the three groups. Afternoon, proceed, visiting the third group. Early in the morning on day 10, drive to Dessie. On the way, you will be visiting Lake Hyke and its island monastery. Return driving to Addis via Debre Birhan. You will be arriving in Addis late afternoon on day 11. The tour ends at about 07:30pm.