Ethiopia has a history that spans over 3000 years. During these years, each generation placed its fingerprint in most of the major sites. Ethiopia’s historical attraction covers the ancient town of Axum, with its amazing carved obelisks created by ancient civilizations, and now shelters the original Ark of the Covenant; Lalibela known as a real wonder of the world with its remarkable rock-hewn churches; and Gondar the Camelot of Africa, with its magnificent castles and palaces.
The Simien Mountains National Park is among the sights that will be covered on this route. It is known for its dramatic landscapes and spectacular scenery. Mount Ras Dashen (15,157ft/4,620m) is the highest peak in the national park. We also visit Lake Tana, source of the Blue Nile, and largest lake in Ethiopia, with 37 islands. Ura Kidanemihiret and Azwa Mariyam are among the iconic monasteries to be visited on the Lake, dating back to 14th century. We will stop at Al Negash, one of the earliest holy Muslim centers from the Prophet Muhammad era. The Axum stelae, the Lalibela churches, the castles of Gondar and the Simien Mountains National Park are registered by UNESCO.
Arrival in Addis Ababa, you will be welcomed and transferred to your hotel by Pagumen tour and travel representative. Depending on your arrival time a city tour of Addis Ababa can be arranged.
Being the seat for the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) and African Union (AU), Addis Ababa is referred as the capital of Africa. Addis Ababa is also the center of the country’s economical, social and political activities.
City tour of Addis Ababa includes National Museum: home for the oldest and famous hominid fossil of ‘Lucy’: Ethnographic Museum: with a great introduction to cultural and historical artifacts from all over Ethiopia; Mount Entoto for the scenic view of Addis Ababa; Trinity Cathedral with its unique architecture and iconic window paintings by the famous late Ethiopian painter Maître Afework Tekle ;and Merkato, the biggest open air market in East Africa.
Drive north of Addis Ababa going over the Entoto Mountains and the Sululta plain. On the shore of Lake Tana, the source of the Blue Nile, lies Bahir Dar, is a beautiful city very convenient for relaxing and business conferences. Being the seat for the Amhara regional state Bahir Dar is also a center for the Amhara culture.
Morning drive, of approximately 35km, to the small town of Tis Abay where you will be welcomed by the sound of the waterfalsl. This is the location where the famous Blue Nile falls down into the rocks of the Nile Gorge which is about 45 km long. After lunch you will take a boat trip to visit the most amazing monasteries of Lake Tana including the sites of Betre Mariam and Ura Kidanemihret.
Drive about 180 km to the legendary town of Gondar which is renowned for its magnificent castles. This drive will give you a highlight on the landscape, culture and country side view of Ethiopia. After lunch we visit the castles of Gondar referred to as the Camelot of Africa, and the mesmerizing Debre Birhan Silassie church known for its Ethiopian Angels painting on its ceilings.
After an early breakfast, we drive north of Gondar through the Simien Mountains National Park, and after crossing the Tekeze River to the ancient town of Axum.
A city with more than 3000 years of history, Axum was once the center of a great empire and ancient civilization. The sites of this ancient city includes St. Mary’s Church, the sanctuary Chapel which is the repository for the ‘Ark of the covenant’, the coronation yard, the Stelae Park, the Tombs of Kaleb and his son Gebre Meskel, Ezana’s inscriptions and ruins of Queen of Sheba’s palace.
After breakfast drive to Mekele. En route, you will visit the 5th century BC Temple of Yeha with its Sabean inscription. We will stop at Debre Damo monastery and the Al Negash Mosque before reaching Mekele, the capital of Tigray, for the night .
After breakfast leave Mekele and drive via the Ambalage Mountains. On the way you will admire the landscape and the small towns of Amhara tribes. We will reach the, 12th century BC, legendary and holy town of Lalibela by evening.
The small town of Lalibela in Ethiopia is home to one of the world’s most astounding sacred sites: eleven rock-hewn churches, each carved entirely out of a single block of granite with its roof at ground level. This day you will visit these famous rock hewn churches including the legendary St. George Church, the river Jordan and the tomb of Adam.
Morning Drive to Kombolcha for an overnight stay.
Depart Kombolcha and drive back to Addis Ababa. On your way visit the Afar shepherds, a semi-nomadic people who live mainly in the deserts of the Danakil Depression; you will surely encounter them on the road with their camel caravans. On Sundays, Senbete village has an interesting market where the Afar, Oromo and Amhara people congregate for marketing.
This day is planned as free time for you and the possibility of accompanied shopping is offered. A farewell dinner at one of the traditional folkloric restaurant will be organized before your departure to the Airport.