Highlights of Ethiopia

Comfort, Addis Ababa to Addis Ababa

Image by G Adventures

Tour description provided by G Adventures

Rich with natural contrast, captivating human history and countless surprises, Ethiopia has long been an intersection between the civilizations of North Africa, the Middle East and Sub-Saharan Africa. This 15-day adventure is perfect for the traveller looking to delve into the history and culture of this incredibly diverse land like few others do. In fact, we’ll help to take some of the infamous bumps out of African travel through a combination of flights and comfortable land transport. Prepare to have your preconceptions challenged.

What’s included

  • National Geographic Journeys Exclusives: Ploughshare Women's Association Visit, Gonder
  • Arrival transfer
  • Guided tour of the rock-hewn churches of Lalibela
  • Guided tour of Debre Berhan Selassie Church, Fasiladas' Bath, and historic castles in Gondar
  • Boat trip with guided monasteries tour on Lake Tana
  • Excursion to Blue Nile Falls
  • Simien Mountains trek with local guides
  • Asheton Maryam Hike
  • Mekele City tour
  • Entrance fees and guided visits to Wukro and Abreha We Atsbeha churches
  • Visit Yeha Temple, Axum Historical Site, Kuskuam Church and Palace
  • All transport between destinations and to/from included activities

Highlights

  • Explore with a local expert guide
  • Discover rock-hewn churches in lalibela and castles in gondar
  • Admire the monasteries of lake tana
  • Discover the simien mountains and historical axum

Itinerary

Day 1 Addis Ababa Addis Ababa, founded more than a century ago, means 'New Flower' in Amharic. At an elevation of 2,400m (7,874 ft), the third highest capital in the world, the climate is pleasantly cool. The city mixes past and present, statues from the imperial times coexist with placards from the former Marxist Regime. Huge billboards advertise current activities in the city and modern businesses, as well as development organizations' goodwill projects. The streets are a mesh of expensive cars, old Russian “Lada model” taxis, along with donkeys, sheep, and goats. Traditional mud houses stand not far from austere fascist buildings and private-sector banks. Included Activities: Arrival Day and Welcome Meeting Transport: Private Vehicle
Day 2 Addis Ababa/Bahir Dar (1B) Fly to Bahir Dar. Opt to wander through the Bahir Dar market. Enjoy an excursion to the Blue Nile Falls. Included Activities: Blue Nile Falls Hiking Excursion Transport: Plane (1.00-1.50 hours, 565km)
Day 3 Bahir Dar/Gonder (1B) Take a boat trip on Lake Tana. Visit Ura Kidane Mehret and Azwa Maryam monasteries. Included Activities: Lake Tana Boat Trip (Monastery Visit) Transport: Private Vehicle
Day 4 Gonder (1B) Explore Gondar town on your own or simply relax and try to strike up a conversation with the locals. Included Activities: Fasiladas Castle and Bath Visit Debre Berhan Selassie Church Tour
Day 5 Gonder/Debark’ (1B) After breakfast depart for Debark, the starting point for our trekking in the national park. Register with the park authorities and head to the Simien Lodge to relax before a full day in the Simien Mountains tomorrow. The scenic Simien Mountains are a good break from the busy cities. Known as the “Roof of Africa”, they rank as one of the continent’s most beautiful mountain ranges. A number of peaks reach well over 4,000m (13,123.4 ft), and Ras Dashen, the highest peak in Ethiopia, is one of Africa’s highest mountains. The Simien Mountains have been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Here, you can see some of Ethiopia's remarkable flora and fauna including Gelada baboon, Walia ibex, and, if you're lucky, the Ethiopian wolf. The huge lammergeyer is also found soaring over the valleys here. Additional Notes: It is cold in the mornings, evenings, and nights, and during the day when there is cloud cover or sleet. Ice often forms on water in the early mornings during the cold period of December through February, and afternoon spurts of hail frequent the beginning of the rains (April-May). Transport: Private Vehicle (4.00-5.00 hours, 170km)
Day 6 Debark’ (1B) Spend the day in Simien Mountains National Park, enjoying guided hiking excursions around Sankaber campsite, the Jinbar waterfalls, and Chenek campsite. Return to Simien Lodge for the evening. Additional Notes: Those not interested in hiking can spend the day at the lodge at leisure. Included Activities: Simien Mountains Trek
Day 7 Debark’/Gonder (1B) Travel back to Gondar with a stop at the Ploughshare Women Crafts Training Centre in a Falasha village. After, visit Kusquam, Queen Mentawab's historic residence just outside the City. Included Activities: Ploughshare Women's Association Visit Kusquam Castle Visit Transport: Private Vehicle (3.50 hour(s), 130km)
Day 8 Gonder/Lalībela (1B) Lalibela is a good place to taste the local beverage, Tej, or honey wine with local traditional song and dance. Transport: Private Vehicle (9.00-10.00 hours, 395km)
Day 9 Lalībela (1B) The churches inside Lalibela town are grouped as the first and second cluster. In the morning, we explore Lalibela’s first group of churches, then in the afternoon we drive to Yemrehana Kristos, outside the city, for a half hour hike to the church. Included Activities: Lalibela Churches Tour Transport: Private Vehicle
Day 10 Lalībela (1B) In the morning, enjoy a hike to Asheton Maryam. In the afternoon, we'll continue our included visit with the second group of churches. Included Activities: Asheton Maryam Hike Lalibela Churches Tour Transport: Private Vehicle
Day 11 Lalībela/Mek’elē (1B) The winding road through breathtaking mountain scenery takes us past spectacular views of the Sekota and Alamata Mountains. Transport: Private Vehicle (9.00-10.00 hours, 410km)
Day 12 Mek’elē/Hawzēn (1B) Take a short tour of Mekele then drive to Hawzien after lunch, visiting Abraha Atsbera on the way. In the afternoon, opt to walk to Debre Tsion Abraham or Abune Yemata guh, depending on the group preference. Included Activities: City Orientation Drive Abraha Atsbera Church Visit Transport: Private Vehicle (5.00 hour(s), 110km)
Day 13 Hawzēn/Āksum (1B) Visit Maryam Korkor Church before continuing onto Axum. Stop at the ruins of Yeha en route. Included Activities: Maryam Korkor Visit Yeha Temple Visit Transport: Private Vehicle (5.00 hour(s), 194km)
Day 14 Āksum (1B) Axum is Ethiopia's oldest city, dating back some 2,000 years when it was the hub of the Axumite Empire. The Queen of Sheba made it her capital 1,000 years before Christ. The Ethiopian Orthodox Church was founded here in the 4th century and it remains the holiest city of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church. Included Activities: Axum Historical Site Visit
Day 15 Āksum/Addis Ababa (1B) Morning flight to Addis Ababa. Tour ends upon arrival. Additional Notes: If you would like post-night accommodation in Addis Ababa, please ask your agent. Included Activities: Departure Day (Activities) Transport: Plane (1.00-2.00 hours, 1000km)
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