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11 Day Cultural Tour to Ethiopia, Addis Ababa and Lake Tana

offered by supplier M21682 (read about supplier)

Key Information:
Tour Duration: 11 - 20 day(s)
Group Size: 1 - 50 people
Destination(s): Ethiopia  
Specialty Categories: Cultural Journey  
Season: January - December
Airfare Included: Yes
Tour Customizable: Yes
Minimum Per Person Price: 2890 US Dollar (USD)
Maximum Per Person Price: 3580 US Dollar (USD)

Ethiopia is an African enigma, combining a rich history, mosaic of cultures and incredible geographic diversity. The highlands strong Orthodox Christian heritage has been formidably maintained over the millennia, alone amongst Islam and tribal cultures in surrounding Africa. From the colorful chaotic sprawl of the capital Addis Ababa and medieval castles of Gondar to the tranquil island monasteries of Lake Tana, it is indeed a land of contrasts. This itinerary includes walking in the Simien Mountains for a look at highland life as well as time to take in the greatest of the ancient churches and monasteries home to art and religious icons, including the amazing 12th-century rock-hewn churches of Lalibela and ancient obelisks of Axum. The tremendous ethnic diversity and resplendent cultures of Ethiopia are evident as we explore the only country in Africa to have escaped colonialism.

Itinerary:
Day 1: Join Addis Ababa.
On arrival in Addis Ababa you will be met at the airport and transferred to the group hotel for overnight. Remainder of day at leisure. Addis Ababa is the third highest capital city in the world. Located at 2,400 meters above sea level in one of the highest parts of the Entoto mountain chain, the altitude may fatigue you, so take it easy today.

Day 2: In Addis Ababa, city tour.
After breakfast, we have a full-day city tour, which departs at 9:00 am from the hotel. We take time to explore the city and lunch out is included. We will visit the National Museum (home of the remains of the famous hominid fossil, “Lucy”) and the Ethnological Museum at the Addis Ababa University (housed in the former palace of Emperor Haile Selassie). We will also witness the bustle of one of the colorful local markets, which has an array of fascinating goods and curious, providing a great place for exploration and people watching. Overnight hotel.

Day 3: Fly to Lalibela.
Very early this morning we take a flight of about 1 hr from Addis Ababa over the Ethiopian plateau to Lalibela, located at an altitude of 2,600 meters above sea level. The city contains 11 monolithic churches that were built in the 12th century and are carved out of the local pink granite rock; they have been classified as a UNESCO World Heritage site. Each church has a unique architectural style and all are superbly carved. Most of them are decorated with fascinating and well-preserved paintings. On arrival in Lalibela, we will have some time to relax. During the afternoon opening session, we will spend time admiring and exploring the rock-hewn churches. Overnight hotel. (Please note: flight schedule is subject to change and availability).

Day 4: In Lalibela.
Today is dedicated to visiting a hill-top monastery and the city itself. Lalibela is situated amongst a series of flat-topped mountains; there is a difference in altitude of 1500m between the lower lying airport and the city. This morning there is an excursion to the Church of Asheton Maryam, about 7km outside the city. After driving a short distance, the monastery itself (3150m) is reached on foot by means of a 3-hour return walk (some steep sections) or by riding on a mule (done at own risk and own expense). In the afternoon we will visit the marketplace, where a colorful mix of people from the surrounding region gathers. In the evening, an optional visit to a traditional music house can be arranged (own expense). Overnight hotel

Day 5: Fly to Axum, visit churches.
This morning we fly to Axum (approx 45 mins), also spell 'Aksum'. Believed to be Ethiopia's oldest city, Axum is also known for its massive, towering sculptures and huge granite pillars that are more than two thousand years old. This ancient city is revered by all Ethiopian's as the place where the Ark of the Covenant is kept and also has a history of merchants, wealth and intrigue from the reign of the Queen of Sheba (10th century BC). This afternoon we absorb some of this history and visit churches hewn out of the rock as well as other monuments. The Churches of St Mary of Zion form the holiest Christian sanctuary in the country. There is an old and a new church in the compound as well as a museum but the most significant building is a tiny chapel constantly guarded by monks. Only one specially chosen guardian is allowed access to this chapel as this is where the Ark of the Covenant, containing the tablets on which Moses wrote the Ten Commandments and carried from Mt Sinai in Egypt, is believed to be stored. Overnight hotel. (Please note: flight schedule is subject to change and availability)

Day 6: Drive to the small town of Debark.
Today we drive to the small town of Debark, in the foothills of the Simien Mountains. The road is dirt, rough and winding and is under construction (one day it will be sealed). The views are spectacular, but be prepared for a long, rough, adventurous day! The small town of Debark has extremely limited accommodation options. Our hotel here will be basic and not of the same standard as hotels in other locations.

Day 7: Day walk in Simien Mountains, drive to Gondar in the late afternoon.
In Amharic, ‘Simien’ means ‘north’. Six hundred million years ago, the mountains were an enormous volcanic mass. Rain and ice have carved deep fissures into them and rivers have continued the erosion, creating one of the greatest sculptures on the planet. The landscape is stunning with peaks, canyons, gorges, clefts and pointed, amethyst-colored pinnacles like obelisks making dramatic panoramic vistas. We have the opportunity to walk in the area and take in the immense beauty of these mountains. We can try to spot some of the region's endemic wildlife, which includes various species of monkey. We will drive (about 2 hrs on the sealed road) to our hotel in Gondar in the late afternoon.

Day 8: Gondar sightseeing.
Gondar was once the capital city of the Ethiopian empire, which began in 1632 with the reign of Fasiladas. Gondar has now become one of Ethiopia’s largest and most impressive cities, with its walled Royal Enclosure. In Gondar, there are a dozen castles built by various emperors over the course of 236 years. The city seems more European than African and also has Islamic influences. We will visit the palaces, residences, and baths of Fasilidas and also the church of Debre Berham Selassie (Light of the Trinity) which is located at the summit of a hill and surrounded by fortified walls. The interior is decorated with beautiful frescoes. Overnight hotel in Gondar.

Day 9: Drive to Bahir Dar, afternoon city tour.
This morning we will drive from Gondar to Bahir Dar (about 3.5 hours). Bahir Dar is one of the most well-planned cities in Ethiopia. Located at 1,800 meters above sea level it is situated on the shores of Lake Tana, the largest lake in the country. This afternoon we will undertake a city tour. Overnight hotel in Bahir Dar.

Day 10: Lake Tana boat trip and Blue Nile Falls.
This morning we take a boat trip on Lake Tana to fully appreciate the sheer size of this waterway. There is a myriad of ministries and churches on the islands; some are private and not accessible to the public. We will visit Ura Kidane Mihret church on Zeghie peninsula with its rich history and ornate frescoes. In the afternoon we visit Tissisat to marvel at the Blue Nile Falls - or “Smoke of Fire”. The falls are located about 2hrs drive (on a rough, dusty road) from Bahir Dar but the result is worth it. The Falls are 400 meters wide when in flood and fall over a sheer chasm more than 45 meters in height. We return to Bahir Dar in the evening. Overnight hotel.

Day 11: Fly to Addis Ababa, trip concludes on arrival.
This morning we fly from Bahir Dar to Addis Ababa (about 50 mins) where trip arrangements conclude on arrival at the airport in Addis Ababa. Transfers to the city and additional nights can be arranged (extra cost applies). Please ask your consultant for details.

Supplemental Tour Information:
Please note: flight schedule is subject to change and availability. We recommend not booking onward flights before 4 pm.

Notes:
Airfare is included in the tour price.

2890$ per person for couples
2745$ per person for five people
2686$ per person for ten people
2468$ per person for fifty people
294$ SRS

About This Supplier
Location: Ethiopia
Joined InfoHub: Oct 2017

We were born and grew up in the heart of Addis Ababa and we studied Tour Operation, Guiding and Tourism Management at one of the prestigious and the first higher institution in the country with degree program. We started working as a tour guide in Addis Ababa and its surrounding attraction and we have great foreign...

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