Welcome to Gondar Medieval Capital of Africa
Gonder was founded by King Fasiledes in 1636, it was the capital of Ethiopia for nearly 200 years, reflected by its castle compound, that include number of palace. The most famous buildings in Gonder, lie in the seventeenth century Royal Enclosure including: Fasilides Castle, Mentewabs Castle, Iyasus Palace and Dawits Hall Palace.
The architecture is reflecting a number of influences, mainly Axumite, Portuguese and East Indian. The Castle upper storey offers panoramic views and Lake Tana, Simien Mountains Park are easily accessible from Gondar town.
Gondar is located just 50km north of Lake Tana and 700km north of Addis Ababa is nestle in the foothills of the Semien Mountains on altitude of 2200m above the sea.
Axum, the holy city of Ethiopia and resting place of the Arc of the Covenant, reached its height between the 1st and 10th century. It was a kingdom of great wealth and sophistication, controlling the caravan routes from the hinterland of Africa trading with ivory and slaves. Its kings minted gold coinage when almost no one else in the world was rich enough to afford it or sophisticated enough to require it. The Axumite kingdom's conversion to Christianity in 333 AD, during the rain of King Ezana, made Ethiopia since then a land of innumerable churches and monasteries.According to the Orthodox Church the original Ark of the Covenant, containing the tablets of stone with the 10 commandments, lies in Axum. Menelik I, the son of King Solomon and Queen Sheba, brought it with him when he returned from a visit to Jerusalem to see his father. The Ark is now rests in the St. Mary of Zion church, the oldest church in Ethiopia, under close guard of a priest. Nobody is allowed to see it. Not even the high priest of Axum.
Over 125 rock-hewn churches are recorded in Tigray alone. These churches date from the 4th-15th century. Most of them lie scattered around the Gera-Alta mountain chain. Next to some pre Christian templates Abreha We Atsbeha and Wukro Cherckos, hewn in the 4th century, are the two most famous and most accessible churches, which can be visited within two or three days in addition to the historical route itineraries.African Adventure Tours can organize special itineraries to visit the rock churches of Tigray. By car, combined with trekking and camping (there are also a few new lodges appearing in the area) you could visit quite a few churches in about 4 or 5 days.
The Churches of Lalibela
According to legend Lalibela was born as the brother of the ruling Zagwe king in the 12th century. As a child he was covered by a swarm of bees, which his mother saw as a sign of his later reign. His brother, not happy with the prophecy, tried to poison him, but did not succeed. Still, Lalibela spend three days in a deep sleep, time during which he was carried away to heaven and instructed to build the rock town he has seen there. At the same time his brother had a vision in which Jesus ordered him to resign in favor for his younger brother.
As soon as Lalibela became king, he began to gather craftsmen and workers for the construction of the rock-hewn churches. According to legend angels worked beside his men as they cut each one from the rock, so the construction was developing fast. The town, formerly known as Roha, became known as Lalibela and began to draw thousands of pilgrims. Although his dynasty was overthrown, Lalibela is still referred to as a saint.
Day 1: Arrival in Addis Ababa at Bole International Air port
Meet and greet with Our Tours representative at Bole International Airport, Addis Abeba, and transferred to the hotel. Overnight stay in Hotel.
Day 2: City tour in Addis Ababa
After having breakfast you exploring Addis Ababa beginning with a visit to the most important he national museum, one of the most important sub-sahran museums in all Africa. Then continue to visit Ethnological museum, which was the former palace of Emperor Haile Selassie l. After lunch, you will take time in Holy Trinity Cathedral. And then you will visit Mercato, the largest open air market in Africa. Overnight stay in Hotel.
Day 3: Drive to Bahir Dar
Early in the morning after breakfast depart north to Bahir Dar via Debremarkos. On the way visit the Debre Libanos Monastery and the Portuguese bridge, which was the first bridge in Ethiopia. After wards, you will pass through spectacular Blue Nile Gorge before stopping in Debre Markos for lunch. Overnight in Hotel.
Day 4: City tour in Bahir Dar
In the morning after breakfast, set out for a bought trip on lake Tana to see beautiful island monasteries and their Valuable treasures which includes biblical wall paintings, ancient illuminated parchment books, superb crosses etc. In the afternoon drive to magnificent Blue Nile falls; its about 400 meters wide with full flood (in June, July and August and half September). Overnight stay in Hotel.
Day 5: Drive to Gondar and make a city tour
After breakfast drive about 3-4 hours to north Gondar. Then visit the Royal enclosure with its magnificent castles dated from the 17th century (listed as a world heritage sites), the remarkable church of Debrebirihan Selassie with it beautiful wall and ceiling paintings, the bath of king Fasiladas (which still go on today. Once a year it’s filled with water for the Timket celebration.)
Day 6: Drive to Simien Mountain National Park
Depart early in the morning from Gondar, driving to you Debark where you will get permission for the National Park fees, local guides, scouts & etc, you will begin a short 3-4 hour hike from buyit Ras to Sankober, which will allow you to acclimatize to the altitude. Nearing sankober, you will have beautiful views on both sides of the escarpment ridge and where you will likely see the endemic Gelada baboons. In sankober, you will meet with your supplies. Overnight stay in Lodge.
Day 7: Drive to Axum
In the morning after having breakfast, depart north to Axum, enjoying spectacular 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 theCovenant. Overnight stay in Hotel.
Day 8: City tour in Axum
Today you explore Axum. Axum is undoubtedly one of the most important and spectacular ancient site in sub Saharan Africa. Register to world Heritage Site. visit the famous stele park with its ancient huge monolithic obelisks, ruind palaces of different Axumite kings including that of the ruined palace the queen of sheba, ancient stone inscriptions, tombs, the small but rich archeological site museum of Axum and the church of st.mary of zion where the home of original Arc of covenant. Overnight stay in Hotel.
Day 9: Drive to Mekelle
Visit the rock hewn churches of Tigray, such as Abraha Atsbeha, the stunning Abuna Yemata Guh (perched on the side of a cliff) and Chirkos. Afterwards,proceed driving to mekele for overnight. Overnight stay in Hotel.
Day 10: Drive to Lalibela
After having breakfast today you will drive to Lalibela. Lalibela contain 11 monolitic churches that where built in the 12th century and carved out of the pink granite rock; they have been classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Overnight stay in Hotel.
Day 11: Visit the rock-hewn churches of Lalibela
An early morning after breakfast,t takes you to the first compounds of Lalibela rock-hewn churches, and afternoon you will visit the second compounds of Lalibela rock-hewn churches. Overnight stay in Hotel.
Day 12: Drive to Kombolcha
Early in the morning, drive to Kombolcha via woldia, on the way visiting the lake in the town of Hayk, where you can visit the local monastery and enjoy the bird life. Overnight stay in Hotel.
Day 13: Drive back to Addis Ababa and departure
After breakfast you drive back to Addis Ababa this morning. The afternoon is free for last minute shopping or resting before meeting with the group again for our farewell dinner in one of the traditional restaurant with traditional dance.
Day 01: Drive to Wendo Genet
Dive the long Rift Valley to Zeway for aquatic birds. Then, Lake Zeway provides lesser Jacana, African pygmy Goose, Black Heron, Great white pelicans. In addition to this, the woodland provides birds like Masked Shrike, Carmine Bee eaters, Wattled and superb stralings, Black headed bats, African thrush, beautiful and Marques sunbirds, Nubian and bearded wood peckers, African Harrier hawk, and black billed wood Hoopoe etc. then drive to Wondo Genet for overnight at resort
Day 02: Excursion around Wendo Genet
You will spend a full day birding while making a stroll around the lush forest of Wondo Genet and the surrounding green hills with their natural thermal natural springs. Target birds include endemic birds of yellow fronted parrot, while checked Turaco, Red shouldered and Emerald Cuckoo, lesser striped Swallow and Lesser Honey Guides, Mountain Wagtail, blue spotted Wood Dove, Abyssinian Hill Babbler, Grey Cuckoo Shrikes etc. overnight resort hotel.
Day 03: Drive to Hawassa
Drive to Hawassa town en-route birding in acacia woodland of Langano resort and Abijata-Shalla National Park where you can spot dark chanting Goshawks, Rattling Cistcola, Little Rock Thrush, Greater and Lesser honey Guide, Shallow’s Wheather, Fawn colored lark, spotted eagle owl, Marico sunbird, bearded Woodpecker, Slate collared Bobou, White bellied Go away bird etc. overnight: hotel
Day 04: Drive to Dinsho
After you visit Hawassa fish market; you drive across the south-eastern Aris-Bale Massifs to Dinsho( the head quarter of bale mountains National Park) to visit mammals such as the magnificent mountain Nyala, Menelik’s bushbuck, Bohor reedbuck and Warthogs. Overnight: Dinsho Guest house
Day 05: Excursion around Dinsho
On this day, you will visit endemic birds and wild animals. You encounter African Black Duck, Black Headed Siskin, the beautiful spot breasted plover, African snipe, Abyssinian Long Claw, Chest nut napped Francolin, Slender billed and red winged Starling etc. as we entered the park, we shall see the chestnut napped Francolin, Rouget’s rail, Abyssinian Long Claw, stone chat and Baglafetch weavers along the road side and mountain buzzard in the air. Overnight: Dinsho guest house
Day 06: Drive to sanetti Plateau and back to Goba
Drive to senetti plateau and visit highland birds including white backed Black Tit, Abyssinian Ground Thrush, Yellow crowned Canary,Rouget’s rail, lanner Falcon, Wattled crane, Cinnamon Bracken warbler, Ruddy shelduck, Verreaux’s Eagle, Yellow bellied and common Waxbills, tropical boubou, Ruffousbreasted sparrow hawk, Abyssinian slaty Flycatcher, Black winged Love bird, Brown parisoma, Slender billed Starling etc. Then, proceed to Goba for overnight in Wabeshebelle hotel.
Day 07: Drive back to Addis Ababa
Drive from Goba back to Addis Ababa on the same route south-eastern Arisi-Bale Massifs. Depart home. End of service.
Day 01: Addis Ababa
Arrive Bole Addis Ababa international Airpor,t, meet with the company representative then transfer to the hotel for overnight.
Day 02: Fly to Gondar
Morning, flight to Gondar. Then, settling in your hotel, explore the sites of Gondar, including a visit to the Royal Enclosure with six castles and several other bulidings. Additionally, visit Fasilidas’s pool, still used for Timket celebrations today, Kuskuam Mariam and DebreBirhan Selassie church, with the most famous ceiling painting in Ethiopia. Overnight: Hotel
Day 03: Drive to Sankaber
Drive to Debark where you will get permit for the National Park and arrange Mule and scout for the trekking. Then drive to Sankaber, overnight camping at Sankaber.
Day 04: Trek to Geech (15km, Four to Five hours)
From Sankaber you will go for an easy hike to the Geech Abyss, where you will see a large waterfall where the Jinbar River plunges in to the Abyss. This area is also a great place for viewing the endemic Gelada Baboon, also known as the bleeding heart baboon due to the red patch of skin on its chest. Overnight; camping at Geech.
Day 05: Trek to Chenek via Imet Gogo (20km Seven to Nine Hours).
Start trekking to chenek through the Siemen Mountain Scenery and appreciate the different afro alpine plant species, where you will have opportunities to admire the local wildlife such as gelada Baboons, lammergeyers and the rare endemic Walia Ibex. Overnight: camping Chenek.
Day 06: Trek to Ambikwa (22km, Eight to Nine Hours)
We make our way from Chenek to Ambiko. It is much a long day trek. If we are lucky you have chance to see the endemic Walia Ibex, overnight camping at Ambiko
Day 07: Trek to Ras Dashen and return (17km, Eight to Nine Hours)
A full day Trek to the peak of RasDashen(4546mASL). This is most difficult day of the trip; RasDashen is the highest mountain peak in Ethiopia. Then back to Ambiko, overnight camping at Ambiko.
Day 08: Trek back to Chenek (22km Eight to Nine Hours)
Walking back to Chenek, where we meet your vehicle then drive to Gondar, overnight hotel
Day 9: Fly back to Addis Ababa
After breakfast flight back to Addis Ababa, after arrival you will start a city tour of Addis Ababa and departure.
Day 01: Arrive Addis Ababa and make a city tour over night stay in Hotel.
Day 02: Transfer to the airport and fly to Lalibela, After check in to the hotel visit the first and second group of King Lalibela’s Rock hewn churchs of Lalibela that described by UNESCO world heritage sites each of them displays unique architectural features from the other ovenight stay in Hotel.
Day 03: In the morning, after breakfast, mule ride to visit Asheton Mariam monastery at 3000metres altitude the 360 degree view from the surrounding land and villages is fantastic. In the afternoon, visit yimrehane kiristos built up church. Overnight stay in Hotel.
Day 04: In this morning take an Excursion to the beautiful church of Neakutla’ab church, Then, transfer to airport of Lalibela and fly back to Addis Ababa.
Day 1: on Arrival and drive to DebrLibanose for day trip and visit the 13th century monastery of DebreLibanos, overnight Hotel
Day 2: flight to Gondor and from 11:00am to 1:00pm Visit the 17th century royal enclosure, the bath of King Fasiledes and DebreBirhane Selassie church then transfer to Semien Mountain National Park trekking you will stay in Semien mountain park Lodge.
Day 3: Semien Mountain National Park Semien mountain Park, to wonder the spectacular scenery, see endemic mammals and Hiking on the escarpment .Semien mountain park Lodge
Day 4: Semien Mountain- again and have a day trekking till Chenek and surrounding and Geech overnight in Semien mountain park Lodge
Day 5: early morning trekking for 4 hours and back to Gonder overnight hotel in QUARA HOTELGondor.
Day 6: Gonder to Lalibela:
transfer to airport and fly to Lalibela the flight will take you only 55 minute and in the afternoon visit the remarkable rock hewn churches of Lalibela, regarded as the eighth wonder of the world by many scholars and the traditional two story Tikul house overnight LAL HOTEL.
Day 7: Lalibela early morning visit the monastery church Ashettenmariam or YemrhanKirstose this is optional and in the afternoon visit the remaining parts of Lalibela the second group overnight LAL HOTEL.
Day 8: Lalibela- Mekele Eight hours drive to Mekele through the beautiful mountain scenery and meet the Amhara people, see their house and village. AXUM HOTEL
Day 9: Mekele – Hamede Ela and you will join the other group it depends the number of the people but you are only to be 4 people in one car and go with the group this group will be with you till the end of the 4 day tour as you come back from Danakil Depression and Erta Ale you will depart the group and back to Addis.
Drive to Hamedela via Berhale. The Danakil Depression can be said to ‘begin’ here. It is one of the most inhospitable regions of the world, but is nonetheless spectacular, full of eye-catching colors, as in the sulphur springs. The desert has several points lying more than 100 meters (328 ft) below sea level. You pass through a small town of Berhale where the camel caravans stop before they proceed to the northern highlands. En route you see many long caravans going to the salt mines and others coming out of the Danakil with their salt loaded camels. (3-4 hrs drive) Camp at Hamedela.
Day 10 Hamd Ela – Dodom We start early, shortly after a 06:30 breakfast, and drive to Dodom at the base of Erta Ale. This may be one of the worst road in the world. The 80 km distance may take about 6 hrs passing through changing landscape of solidified lava, rock, sand and the occasional palm lined oasis. You pass several small hamlets scattered here and there in this desert land, before reaching Dodom. You will trek from Dodom to Erta Ale which takes about 3 hrs. Early dinner around 17:00 and trek up to Ert Ale at 20:00. Camels transport all the camping materials and some food, sleeping materials, mattresses and water, to the rim of the volcano, where we spend the night watching the dramatic action of the boiling lava. Erta Ale ranks one of the most alluring and physically challenging natural attractions anywhere in Ethiopia. It is a shield volcano with a base diameter of 30 km and 1km square caldera at its summit. Erta Ale contains the world’s only permanent lava lake and you will spend an unforgettable night on the top of the mountain.
Day 11: Early morning you will rise with the sun with time to walk around pits and craters. The main pit-crater, 200 m deep and 350 m across, is sub-circular and three storied. The smaller southern pit is 65 m wide and about 100 m deep. You will leave around 7:00 to head back to Dodom for breakfast. You will reach latest at 10:30 am at the camp and after some time to relax you will drive on to Hamad Ela, a village with a total population about 500 people. Over night camping at Hamed Ela.
Day12 Morning driving tour to Ragad (Asebo), the place where the salts are mined. Observe the breaking of the salt from the ground, cutting into rectangular pieces and loading on camels. You drive ahead to Dallol and visit the difference landscape formed by volcanic activity, Dallol + Lake Assal + camel caravans. Excursion to Dallol (116 meter below sea level, one of the lowest places in the world) colorful salts mining, visit Lake Assal, follow up camel caravans and walk with the Afar people. Drive back to Hamedela and proceed to Mekele
OVERNIGHT AXUM HOTEL
Day 13: Mekele – Addis Ababa
Morning transfer to airport and fily back to Addis this is the coplment of the northern part and depending on the arrival of from Mekele we will arrange things what to do the afternoon.
or ahead to Butagra overnight BekeleMola hotel
Day 14: Addis Ababa- Aribaminch via Hosaena
Drive the whole day to AribaMinch.On the way visit TiyaStelae field one of UNESCO world heritage site, Melkakunture archeological site and Gurage and Oromo people with their village. SUAYNESE HOTEL
Day 15: Ariba Minch
Full day in Arbaminch, game drive in NechSar National Park and Boat Trip on Lake Chamo known for spotting hippos and crocodiles as well as for birding. SUAYNESE HOTEL
Day 16: Ariba Minch- Jinka via Key Afer
Drive to Jinka (Lower Omo Valley tribes) En route visit Tsemay, Bana and Ari people and their villages. Key Afer Market (Thursday). Overnight OMO ECO LODGE
Day 17: Jinka - Mago - Turmi
Excursion to Mago National park and visit the Mursi Tribe, known for their women lip plates and men for ritual stick fighting (donga). Drive back to Jinka and continue to Turmi via Demeka (Saturday and Tuesday Market at Dimeka). TURMI LODGE
Day 18: Turmi (70 km to Omorate one way)
Excursion trip to Omorate , boat crossing the Omo river and Visit the Dasenech tribe. Visit the village of Hamer tribe. (Turmi market on Monday and Thursday) and attend Tribal dance and bull jumping ceremony which is occasionally coincides and optional you are excpected to pay for this Bull jumping if there is .Overnight ). TURMI LODGE
Day 19: Drive Back to Aribaminch
En route visit the Erbore and Konso Tribe. Overnight SUAYNESE HOTEL
Day 20: Drive back to Addis Ababa End of the tour.
Day 01: Addis – Langano on the way visit Rift Valley lakes of Zeway. Abijata and Shalla park and you will enjoy bird watching.
Day 02: Langano – Arbaminch on the way you will visit “ Chencha” ,Dorze village you will watch famous hand craft men.
Day 03: Arbamich – Morning Nech Sar national park to visit Zebra, Swayness Gaze – Afternoon boat trip on Chamo lake to visit crocodiles.
Day 04: Arbaminch – Awasa – capital city of south region. Here you will enjoy lake Awasa fish market and bird watching.
Day 05: Hawassa again to visit and contact the charity project that found in Hawassa for one full day.
Day 06: Awasa – Wondo Genet Shashemene here you will enjoy hot spring swimming pool, bird watching Ras Teferi village
Day 07: Shashemene – Addis on the trip you will visit Tiya and Adade Mariyam church.