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Northern Ethiopia: The Historic Route
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Northern Ethiopia: The Historic Route

8 days & 7 nights, Private Journey

Addis Ababa, Bahir Dar, Gondar, Lalibela & Axum

Explore northern Ethiopia on this extraordinary journey. The Ethiopian Orthodox Church played a huge role in shaping the country, and your explorations are a mix of the sacred and the historical as you discover the wonders of the ancient cities of Bahir Dar, Gondar, Lalibela and Axum. From the shores of Lake Tana and the hills of Gondar to the Simien Mountains, you'll experience the best of Ethiopia, including ruined castles, island monasteries and rock-hewn churches.

  • Day 1
    Arrive Addis Ababa

    Upon arrival, you will be escorted to your hotel. This afternoon, embark on a tour of the city.

    Sheraton Addis - 1 Night
  • Day 2
    To Bahir Dar

    This morning, fly to Bahir Dar, and enjoy a cruise on Lake Tana, the largest lake in Ethiopia. Of the vast lake's 33 islands, 23 of them have churches and monasteries of historical and cultural interest. Then see the stunning frescoes, ancient biblical manuscripts and old crosses of the monastery church of Ura Kidane Mihret. Return to Bahir Dar for lunch before taking an excursion to Blue Nile Falls (seasonal). The falls are known locally as "Tis Issat," which means "smoke of fire," after the smoky bubbles of the falling waters.

    Kuriftu Lodge - 1 Night (B, L, D)
  • Day 3
    To Gondar

    Embark upon a scenic drive to Gondar, the first capital of the Ethiopian empire, founded in 1635 by the Emperor Fasilidas. This afternoon, visit 17th-century palaces, the library of Fasilidas' son and the church of Debre Berhan Selassie, which is located at the summit of a hill and surrounded by fortified walls. Finally, explore the ruins of Kuskuam Church and a nearby palace.

    Mayleko Lodge - 2 Nights (B, L, D)
  • Day 4
    Gondar

    Discover the wild beauty of Simien Mountains National Park. The road to the park passes through mountainous areas boasting amethyst-colored peaks and deep gullies. These river valleys are home to the Walia ibex and troops of mischievous Gelada baboon, which are endemic to Ethiopia. After a picnic lunch in the park, visit the former village of the Felasha (African Jews) who have now migrated to Israel.

    Mayleko Lodge (B, L, D)
  • Day 5 - 6
    To Lalibela

    Fly to Lalibela, home to stone churches painstakingly hewn from the rock more than 800 years ago. Some of the highlights include Bet Medhane Alem (House of the Savior of the World), which resembles a Greek or Roman temple and is said to be the largest stone church in the world; Bet Maryam (House of Mary), which boasts beautiful frescoes and interior decoration; and Bet Gyorgyis (House of St. George), the last-built and most famous of these spectacular churches. Spend the following day further exploring this monumental site.

    Maribela Hotel - 2 Nights (B, L, D)
  • Day 7
    To Axum

    Fly to Axum, the site of the Cathedral of Tsion Maryam, which was founded in the fourth century and is still considered the home of Ethiopian Orthodox Christianity. Visit this cathedral, where the Ark of the Covenant is reputed to be stored; the palace of the Queen of Sheba; and a field of carved monoliths from pre-Christian times. The most controversial of the stelae, the Obelisk of Axum, was stolen by Italian forces in 1937 during Italy's conquest of Ethiopia, and has only recently been returned and restored.

    Sabean Hotel - 1 Night (B, L, D)
  • Day 8
    Depart Addis Ababa

    Return to Addis today. This afternoon, you can visit the biggest open-air market in Africa. Or perhaps take an excursion to Holy Trinity Cathedral, which is the last resting place of Emperor Haile Selassie. Later today, head to the airport for your onward flight.

    (B)
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Northern Ethiopia: The Historic Route