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Ethiopia National Park Tour, Axum to Arba Minch

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Key Information:
Tour Duration: 10 - 21 day(s)
Group Size: 2 - 20 people
Destination(s): Ethiopia  
Specialty Categories: National Parks  
Season: September - July
Airfare Included: No
Tour Customizable: Yes
Minimum Per Person Price: 2000 US Dollar (USD)
Maximum Per Person Price: 4000 US Dollar (USD)

The country is dotted with the remains of ancient civilizations. The historic sites of northern Ethiopia are especially worthy of note. Legends of the Queen of Sheba and the Ark of the Covenant intrigue the visitor. The obelisks at Axum, the castle ruins of Gonder and the rock churches of Lalibela all have a unique history to tell.

Itinerary:
Day 1: Arrival Time. In the afternoon, we have a tour of the city. In the evening, we brief you about your itinerary. We have an Ethiopian dinner at the ancient Fin Finé Ethiopian Restaurant. We finish the evening with a bird’s eye view of the city at the Wabe Shebele Roof restaurant with a nightcap or hot chocolate, or as you like!

Day 2: In the morning we drive 570 km from Addis Ababa to the lakeside city of Bahir Dar overlooking Lake Tana, passing via the Blue Nile Gorge. We stop off to visit the ancient Portuguese Bridge. We stay overnight in Debre Markos for transit.

Day 3: After breakfast, we depart for Bahir Dar and the Blue Nile Falls.

Day 4: Full day in Bahir Dar for visiting Blue Nile Falls and island monasteries of Lake Tana.

Day 5: In the morning we drive from Bahir Dar to Gonder. We view the castles in their compound. We take a look at the Royal Baths where the Ethiopian kings once bathed. We stay overnight at the old Fogera Hotel in the city centre.

Day 6: We have a fairly early morning departure to Axum, passing via Lima-Limu to view the Simien Chain of Mountains and the Queen of Sheba Temple. In the evening we arrive in Axum to see the obelisks. We stay overnight in Axum at the cheap Africa Hotel.

Day 7: Early morning visit of Saint Mary Zion Church site where the ancient Ark of the Covenant is reputed to be stored. Then we drive direct to Lalibela. We sleep at the Jerusalem Guest House.

Day 8: In the morning we visit the rock-hewn churches at Lalibela. We return for an early lunch. Then we continue the day visiting the churches of Lalibela with a local tourist guide.

Day 9: In the early morning we start our return journey to Addis Ababa reaching the half way point city of Desai. We sleep overnight in Desai. This is a quiet market city. There is not much here, but it is a small city spread over a large valley. It has been of strategic importance during recent the recent civil war.

Day 10: We drive from Desai to Addis Abeba through the Tarmaber Tunnel, constructed during the Italian Occupation. We spend the evening in Addis Ababa with a garden barbecue at the Sunrise Restaurant.

Day 11: After a leisurely breakfast we make our way to the Menegesha Forest with the first example of early tree conservation in Africa. We take a walk and picnic in the forest with tall trees some of which are four hundred years old. We return to Addis Ababa for an Ethiopian cuisine evening in one of the Ethiopian restaurants.

Day 12: Departure from Addis Ababa to Bale Mountains National Park, 425 kms from Addis Ababa. See dramatic Alpine style flora. Experience sharp contrasts of scenery from juniper forests to moors and alpine meadows. Expect high altitudes, cold nights. Bring warm clothes and a waterproof overcoat. Sun protection is highly advised. We stay overnight at the Dinsho Lodge. Sauna is available and perhaps it is better than the bathrooms.

Day 13: Full day Bale. We can walk through the park or take the land cruiser according to your wishes. The cook will prepare on site meals. We will try to observe wildlife in the park. It is possible to see Menelik’s bushbuck, duiker, mountain nyala, warthog, monkeys and baboons and Abyssinian red jackal. Parts of the park are thickly forested making wildlife views erratic. We spend overnight at Wabe Shebele Goba Hotel. This is more decent accommodation and a nice contrast to the previous night.

Day 14: Drive from Goba to Lake Awasa. It abounds in bird life. Good sunsets across the Rift Valley. Lakeside walks. Awasa town has a provincial, but interesting nightlife for the first time visitor and the atmosphere is quite relaxed for walking around. Tabor Hill gives a good panorama of the town. Bring mosquito spray and repellents. Restaurants are good for outside Addis Ababa. We watch the world pass by at Pina Restaurant. We camp overnight on the shores of Lake Awasa.

Day 15: In the early morning be prepared for a long drive to the city of Arba Minch sitting in the foothills of the Rift Valley towards Lakes Chamo and Abaya. The town has rather a provincial atmosphere about it. On the way to Arba Minch, we will visit the Dorzé village people and their fine thatched houses. These people are weavers and spin fine cloth. We camp overnight from Arba Minch in the Netchsar National Park.

Day 16: We visit the Savannah lands of the Netchsar National Park. You may see Swayne’s hartebeest, zebra, duikers, antelope, warthogs, crocodiles and bushbuck and various birds including marabou stalks, pelicans, buzzards and vultures. John Graham, travel writer, reports hearing lions. Wildlife in the park is erratic for observations.

Day 17: Return to Addis Ababa. We do a site seeing trip of the reputed largest market in Africa – the Mercarto. Or visit to Menegesha Suba Forest.

Day 18: International departure. End of the tour.

Notes:
Airfare is not included in the tour price.

Note: Prices due to inflation in Ethiopia may be out of date. Please check for updated tours and updated prices directly with supplier.