1) You arrive in Addis Ababa: Dejetlag. Check into the Ghion Hotel. Or if morning arrival, rest and then in the afternoon do some casual site seeing over Addis Ababa. Sample the Ethiopian coffee ceremony and then in the afternoon drive around the outskirts of Addis to understand how the city is planned. In the evening we have dinner and then see Addis Ababa by night.
2) City Tour of Addis Ababa and museums. Visit the National museum and Ethnographic museums. Explore on foot or by car the Mercarto – one of the largest markets in Eastern Africa and then in the afternoon drive to Entoto Mariam to see Emperor Menelik’s old imperial palace, the museum about the Ethiopian Royal family as well as the Holy Church of Mount Entoto Mariam. In the evening we can sample Ethiopian food, music and dancing.
3) Drive from Addis Ababa to Debre Markos. This is a transit day. We can stop off at the Ethiopian German Park to see the steep views down to the Nile tributary of the Jamma River. We will see the waterfalls sometimes low and at times in full flow depending on the rainy seasons, perhaps observe the gelada baboons, possibly some bird life. If you are interested we can visit one of the most holy churches in Ethiopian orthodox Christendom, the monastery of Debre Libanos. On the way to Bahir Dar we pass through the Blue Nile Gorge. We stay overnight at the Tillik Hotel.
4) We move after breakfast to Bahir Dar – the main city and regional administrative district of the central Ethiopia. Bahir Dar is situated on Lake Tana. Once settled we can do a boat tour or Lake Tana or quietly drive around the town to get our bearings. We will visit some of the monasteries on Lake Tana on the Zege Peninsula. In the afternoon we can drive to see what remains of the Blue Nile Falls. It is best seen after the rains in October. Otherwise we can extend the visit to some of the churches on Lake Tana if this of interest. Some people say it has been spoilt by the hydroelectric power station. In the evening we watch the sunset over Lake Tana from the Tana Hotel. We stay overnight at the Summer Lands Hotel or Blue Nile Hotel.
5) Today we drive early morning from Bahir Dar to Simien Mountains. We can stay overnight at the Simien Lodge. We can do some walking and then check the views from Lima Limu. Otherwise if feeling tired we can do some of the views by car.
6) We drive from the Simien Mountains to Gonder. In the afternoon we do a tour of the main castle compound and Royal Baths of King Faisil. We can also look at the Chuch of Angels at Debre Brehan Selassie.
7) We leave early morning after breakfast directly for Gonder Airport. At around midday we transfer to the airport to depart for Axum. We arrive in Axum afternoon in time hopefully to see the obelisks and remains of the Axumite civilization. We visit the museum and church of Saint Mary Zion within whose compound the so-called Ark of the Covenant is supposed to be housed. We can stay at the Yeha Hotel or Consular Hotel. Zawdu your driver will meet you in the evening with the car. Your local guide David will meet, greet and show you around.
8) Today we drive from Axum to the Gheralta Lodge. On the way we can see the remains of the Temple at Yeha as well as some other monasteries. Some may not be accessible easily so we may have to pass in transit. We also stop off at in Adigrat in transit. Here are the Orthodox Church and Catholic Holy See in Ethiopia strongholds. We arrive in Gheralta after around 5 hours with our stops.
9) You have at least 30 churches to choose and there are at least two hundred known religious sites, according to Gheralta Lodge staff. We can start with an easy 30 minutes walk to the Teklé Haimanot Church and then we negotiate with you the other churches you may like to see with your guide. We can take a packed lunch and then return to the lodge in the evening. Or rest and then do shorter walks. We will avoid the steep places. Since you will be affected by altitude it is better to start slowly.
10) Today we drive from Gheralta to Mekel é. to see the chief town of the Tigray region. We tour the city and visit the Castle Museum once the residence and place of rule for Emperor Yohannes IV, killed in battle mid-nineteenth century by the Sudanese Mahidist forces. We stay overnight at the Milano Hotel. This is a relaxing and more restful day.
11) Today we drive from Mekele to Lalibela. We will be on the road for about 8 hours. This is a transit drive day. We have chosen the longer but better quality asphalted road. We arrive late afternoon into Lalibela in time to check into the LAL Pension, Tukul or Mountain View Hotel. If you are in the mood for it the Lalibela Guide will show you how the local people live and you can try some of the honey mead if interested.
12) We do a tour of the 11 main Lalibela Churches. We can do some churches in the morning and after lunch look at the second set of churches.
13) This morning you fly back from Lalibela to Addis Ababa. You transfer back to Addis Ababa to the Ghion Hotel. We have a late lunch at the Sunrise Restaurant in downtown Addis Ababa and in the afternoon look around some old parts of Addis Ababa or do some window shopping for possible souvenirs you may consider taking home later. In the evening we retire to the Hilton or Sheraton hotel for evening drinks. If you wish to relax and enjoy the natural thermal waters of the Hilton or have a massage we can also arrange this for you.
14) Option 1 Early morning we depart for the Rift Valley Lakes Region. We drive via the city of Debre Zeit with its volcanic lakes. We can stop off here for refreshments and to see a sample of the lakes around this area. We move straight on to the Rift Valley Lakes of Abiata, Shala and Ziway. Option 2 Please note the alternate route is via Butajira and the Tiya Stones going into the Gurage Tribal region with Mock banana plant farmlands and undulating farm landscapes. We can visit the Ostrich Park on our way if we go through Langano. In the evening we arrive in the Lake side resort of Hawasa or Awasa as both names are used. We can stay overnight at the Haile International Resort Hotel overlooking Lake Hawasa. We check out how Hawasa town looks and feels. It is an easy place to walk around during the daytime. We can see the fish market at Amore Gedel é and perhaps see the town from the vantage point of Tambar Hill.
15) Today we drive from Hawasa to Arba Minch. We arrive late afternoon in time for drinks on the veranda of the Bekele Molla Hotel. We do not need to stay here but the views are good. On the way we have one of our first tribal encounters, namely the Dorze weavers. We stay overnight at the Forty Springs Hotel or Paradise. This morning we go out in a boat on Lake Chamo to see the crocodiles and hippos. We can stop on one side of the Netch Sar Park and do some small walks if the weather permits. One extra day for the scenery is also possible in the Netch Sar Park.
16) Today we drive from Arba Minch to Konso to see the Wag Totem Statues and terraced agricultural system of the Konso people. We will visit the Konso Museum as well as the Konso Chief’s house. We stay overnight at the Kanta Lodge.
17) Today we drive from Konso to Jinka. We will stay at the best regarded available accommodation recommended on Trip Advisor as per your instructions or we can spend the night at the Netsu Pension.
18) Today in Jinka we visit the central market in Jinka and also drive to the Mago National Park to see the clay mouth extended Mursi tribes with their clay pallets and body painting. The Mago national park is wild red bushes and trees but not really a wildlife type of venue. Some wildlife is present such as some antelope species, but wildlife viewing should generally not be anticipated. Having visited the Mursi and markets, we spend the night once again in Jinka.
19) We move on to Turmi today where we stay at the Turmi lodge. We can visit the Ari and Benna Tribes. In the afternoon we return for overnight to the Turmi Lodge.
20) Today this is a transit day. We move from Turmi back to Konso to prepare for the Bale Mountains trip. We spend overnight in Konso at the Kanta Lodge.
21) Today we move from Konso to the Aregesh Lodge in crater forest and market garden tropical farmland. The hotel is very comfortable and the staff will show us round farmsteads and we can do some easy walks near the forest. We stay overnight at Aregesh.
22) Today we drive from Aregesh Lodge to Bale Mountains. We will be staying at the Goba Wabbe Shebele Hotel. We arrive late afternoon stopping off to look at the scenery into Bale on the way.
23) Today we visit the Sanetti Plateau and Harenna Forest. We may be lucky enough to see various bird species, antelopes or perhaps the famous Simien Jackal endemic to Ethiopia. In the evening we return to the Goba Hotel.
24) Today we move from the Goba Hotel to Nazareth-Adama and the Sodore Hot water springs. We reach Nazareth in the late afternoon, staying at the Safari Hotel.
25) Today we move early morning from Nazareth to Harrar, stopping off briefly in the Awash area. We arrive in Harrar late evening.
26) Full day’s viewing of Harrar Town and its environs. The gates and mosques of Harrar. Visit the so-called house of the French poet Arthur Rimbaud. At sunset witness the so-called Hyena Man of Harrar feeding the hyenas.
27) Drive back from Harrar reaching the Awash Park Falls for viewing and evening meal. We can sleep overnight at the Awash Meridian or the Lemlem Hotel. If dusk time does not fall we can also visit the Awash Park and do some small walks.
28) We return to Addis Ababa ready for departure.
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