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Ethiopia Tour, Timkat Festival and Cultural Highlights

offered by supplier M21681 (read about supplier)

Key Information:
Tour Duration: 15 day(s)
Group Size: 2 - 10 people
Destination(s): Ethiopia  
Specialty Categories: Cultural Journey   Festival Tours  
Season: January
Airfare Included: No
Tour Customizable: No
Minimum Per Person Price: 1420 US Dollar (USD)
Maximum Per Person Price: 1970 US Dollar (USD)

Timkat Festival (which means "baptism" in Amharic) is the most important festival in the Ethiopian Orthodox Church calendar, celebrated on January 19 or 20, celebrated to commemorate the Baptism of Jesus in the Jordan River. The tour starts with Addis Ababa City tour, Bahir Dar, Gondar for Epiphany festival, Semien Mt., Axum, Hawezen/Gerarta, Lalibela. Focus: Festival, History and Religion, Culture, Nature and Scenic Beauty.

Itinerary:
Day 1: January 14: City Tour to Addis: Museums - YekaTerara - Entoto Mountain - Merkato.
Arrival in Addis. Welcome to the airport. Transfer to the hotel. Visit the National Museum and the Ethnographic Museum at the Addis Ababa University. Drive to YekaTerara for Addis Ababa City view and short trekking (1/2 hour). Lunch break. Coffee tasting at Tomocca. Drive to Entoto Mountain to visit Emperor Menelik II palace and Museum. Visit the largest open-air market, Merkato. Beer tasting at St. George Brewery. Overnight in hotel in Addis Ababa.

Day 2: January 15: Drive to Bahir Dar - DebreLibanos Monastery.
Breakfast at the hotel. Drive to Bahir Dar (540 Km from Addis) by 2016 4WD Mini Bus and professional driver/guide. Visit the 13th-century DebreLibanos monastery and the 17th-century Portuguese Bridge. Photo stop on the way. On arrival, transfer to a hotel for check-in. Time at leisure. Overnight in hotel in Bahir Dar.

Day 3: January 16: Lake Tana - Boat Ride-Island Monasteries-Blue Nile Fall.
Breakfast at the hotel. A boat ride on Lake Tana to visit the medieval period island monasteries (Azua Mariam and Ura Kidane Mihret: beautiful mural paintings, religious books and sacred) on Lake Tana. Drive (some 30 Km) and visit the Blue Nile Falls. Time at leisure. Overnight in hotel in Bahir Dar.

Day 4: January 17: Drive to Gondar - Debre Birhan Selassie Church and Kuskuam Mariam Church.
Breakfast at the hotel. Drive to Gondar (180 Km from Bahir Dar). Upon arrival, check into (if/when rooms are ready). Afternoon, visit the Historic Debre Birhan Selassie Church, the Castle of Empress Mintewab, and if time allows - Kuskwam Mariam Church (the bones of the Empress and princes rests in a glass coffin). Time at leisure. Overnight stay in the hotel in Gondar.

Day 5: January 18: Gondar - Royal Castles- Ketera (eve of Timkat).
Breakfast in hotel. Visit the Royal Castles (built in the 17th Century A.D.), the Bath of Emperor Fasiledes. In the afternoon, attend Ketera, the eve of Timkat, where the priests take out the Tabots, replicas Ark of the Covenant, to King Fasil Pool accompanied by thousands of faithful. Overnight stay in the hotel in Gondar.

Day 6: January 19: Timkat Festival at Gondar.
Early in the morning attend the pre-sun rise rituals: the Kidan (Morning Prayer), the Kidasie (the mass) at King Fasil Pool, the blessing of the water of the puddle towards dawn and sprinkled on the participants by priests, colorfully attended by thousands of people, wearing colorful chanting dresses and traditional costumes. In the afternoon, join one of the family home in Gondar for an authentic celebration of the holiday with cultural cuisines, drinks, traditional coffee ceremony Overnight stay in the hotel in Gondar.

Day 7: January 20: Drive to Debark - Simien Mountains National Park.
Breakfast at the hotel. Drive to Debark (100 Km from Gonder, a nearby town to the Simien Mountains). Spend the day visiting the Simien Mountains National Park (registered by UNESCO as a world heritage site, with endemic and mammals, birds, natural vegetation, and wonderful landscape). Check into a lodge. Time at leisure. Overnight in a hotel in Debark.

Day 8: January 21: Drive to Axum - Limalimo Gorge, Tekeze Valley.
Breakfast in the hotel. Drive to Axum (270 Km from Debark) through the Simien Mountains and magnificent topography and scenery, the Limalimo Gorge, Tekeze Valley. Arrival in Axum. Check into a hotel. Time at leisure. Overnight in a hotel in Axum.

Day 9: January 22: Visit Axum- Steale of Axum - Queen Sheba’s Palace - St. Mary of Zion Church.
Breakfast at the hotel. Full day visit to the Steale of Axum, the Inscription of Ezana, Queen Sheba’s Palace, the famous St. Mary of Zion Church, ruins of ancient palaces (built until 4th century A.D.). Time at leisure. Overnight in a hotel in Axum.

Day 10: January 23: Drive to Hawizen-Yeha - DebreDamo Monastery.
Breakfast at the hotel. Drive to Hawizen. On the way, visit Ethiopia’s earliest known capital city of Yeha (considered as the birthplace of the country’s earliest civilization, a single most remarkable antiquity, well-preserved walls of the 12m-high stone temple of the moon, thought to be over 2500 years old). Another possible excursion is to DebreDamo monastery (only allowed for men, built on the flat-topped mountain of DebreDamo, only accessible by climbing a rope which hangs down from a perpendicular rock, recommended for younger travelers.) Upon arrival, check in to the lodge. Time at leisure. Overnight in Gelalta Lodge or similar.

Day 11: January 24: Drive to Mekele-Debre Maryam Korkor - AbrehaWeAtsheba church.
Breakfast at the lodge. Visit some of the most beautiful medieval churches on impressive viewpoints such as Debre Maryam Korkor or AbrehaWeAtsheba church, all situated near to the road between Mekele and Hawzien (It requires climbing a steep mountain to reach these churches so good walking/mountain shoes are recommendable.) Arrival in Mekele early evening. Check into a hotel. Time at leisure. Overnight in hotel in Mekele.

Day 12: January 25: Drive to Lalibela - Ambalage Chain of Mountains.
Breakfast at the hotel. Drive to Lalibela (470 Km from Mekele) through the Ambalage Chain of Mountains. Arrival in Lalibela. Check into a hotel. Time at leisure. Overnight in hotel in Lalibela.

Day 13: January 26: Rock-hewn Monolithic Churches of Lalibela.
Breakfast at the hotel. Visit the eleven rock-hewn monolithic (carved from a single rock) churches of Lalibela (UNESCO World Heritage site, with magnificent architecture and paintings inside the churches). Time at leisure. Overnight in hotel in Lalibela.

Day 14: January 27: Drive to Kombolcha - Hayk Estifanos Monastery.
Breakfast in hotel. Drive to Kombolcha (335 Km from Lalibela). On the way, visit Hayk Estifanos Monastery, famous for its variety of bird life near the town of Hayk). Overnight in a hotel in Kombolcha.

Day 15: January 28: Drive back to Addis Ababa.
Breakfast in hotel. Drive back to Addis Ababa. Arrival Addis Ababa. Time for leisure and shopping. In the evening, a farewell cultural night at the renowned cultural restaurant for authentic Ethiopian cultural food buffet along with live music and dances of the diverse nations and nationalities of Ethiopia.

Tour Guide Credentials:
A licensed, professional and experienced English speaking guide accompanies the group from Bole International Airport on arrival to the last day.

Notes:
Airfare is not included in the tour price.

Single room supplement 415.00 USD

Price Includes:
-accommodation 4-star in Addis Ababa & best 3-star in the regions
-daily breakfast and dinners
-tour service as specified in the itinerary
-land Transport 2016 model Mini Bus with a professional driver and fuel, driver’s allowance
-English speaking professional guide/tour leader
-boat fees at Lake Tana
-all entrance fees as (including 50 USD per person for Lalibela Churches)
-all local guide fees
-one liter bottled natural water every day
-cultural Night with cultural dinner on the last day
-government tax (VAT 15%)

Price Excludes:
-lunches
-visa and travel insurance
-tips to guide and driver
-night outs, personal expenses (phone calls, table drinks, etc.)
-any other services/expenses not mentioned above

About This Supplier
Location: Ethiopia
Joined InfoHub: Oct 2017

As the founder of the company, Delnesahu Alemu brings over 20 years’ experience developing, promoting and executing strategic leadership ideas in the tourism, IT and other related industry. Widely called ‘Dil’, Delnesahu, an entrepreneur at heart, has created and started brands that later become strong brand...

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