Tour Highlight- Ethiopia has old, fascinating history, and is home to many diverse colorful cultures. In the northern part of this tour you will experience ancient monasteries, Castles, rock-hewn churches, Steles and Ethiopia’s magnificent natural beauty.
Day 1 – Arrive in Addis Ababa
We spend this day exploring Addis Ababa; in the morning visiting the National Museum, one of the most important sub-Saharan museums in all of Africa. The museum is home to the fossilized humanoid Lucy as well as an amazing collection of artifacts, royal items and art. Then we drive to the Holy Trinity Cathedral. Holy Trinity Cathedral is the largest Orthodox Church in Ethiopia and has survived through many historical periods, as its interesting architecture can attest to. The Cathedral contains the thrones and the tombs of the emperor and some of the royal family. Overnight in Addis Ababa
Day 2- Fly to Bahir Dar
This morning we drive to the Blue Nile Falls, which is known locally as Tissisat (smoking water) 100 m wide, the water plunges for 45 m and depending on the fluctuations at the nearby dam, may give rise to steam clouds and rainbows. We cross the Blue Nile by boat to return to the point of departure.
After lunch at Lake Tana shore, we take a boat to a nearby peninsula to visit beautiful orthodox monasteries such as UraKidaneMihiret. This monastery is the best for an important collection of religious icons from the 16th to 18th centuries A.D. There are 37 islands on Lake Tana and 30 of them have churches and monasteries considerable historical and cultural interest. Overnight in Bahirdar.
Day 3- Drive to Gondar and Gondar sightseeing
This morning we drive to Gondar. This city was the first capital city of the Ethiopian Empire, which began in 1632 with the reign of Fasilidas. In Gondar, there are a dozen castles built by various emperors over the course of 236 years. We will begin exploring medieval Gondar After lunch. We visit Fasilidasi Palace, probably the most impressive of all the castles found in the area and the oldest and the famous trinity church of Gondar which is the only remaining church from the 17th c Gondar churches! Overnight in Gondar.
Day 4-Drive to the magnificent Simien Mountains National Park
This day we will drive to Simien Mountains (Simien National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site). The road passes over mountainous areas of wild beauty. In the park, many of the mountain peaks exceed 4,000m the highest is RasDejen, at 4,543 m above sea level. These mountains consist of volcanic masses that have been eroded away by centuries of rain. Today they have amethyst-colored peaks and deep gullies which have been further deepened by rivers. The crevices play host to the Walya ibex.
The escarpment offers scenic views and the chance to see the endemic Gelada baboons, sometimes in herds of over a hundred, along with the endemic Walia ibex whose population is now on the rise after poaching drove them to near extinction. Cliff-nesting birds are also common, including Lammergeyer.
Overnight in Debark.
Day 5-drive to Axum through the Semien Mountains and Tekeze valley
Drive to Axum the earliest Capital of Ethiopia, crossing the Tekezze Gorge. We will have a full day driving to Axum. Overnight Axum.
Day 6- Axum City Tour
Axum, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Axum was the city of Queen Sheba resided. It is recounted that the son of the Queen of Sheba and King Solomon brought the Ark of the Covenant to Axum and it remains there to this day, preserved in a sanctuary.
Axum is one of the oldest African empires, and represented a crucial connecting-point between Africa and Asia for almost a thousand years.
We visit the stelae: granite monoliths dating from pre-Christian times and decorated with symbolic engravings. The second largest of the stelae was looted by Mussolini’s troops in 1937, and stood for years in the Piazza di PortaCapenamin in Rome. After much discussion, over the years, the stelae were finally returned from Italy to Axum in 2005.
There is also a visit to the church of Saint Mary of Zion. A chapel in the church is believed by many to contain The Ark of the Covenant. This chapel is protected by “The Guardian,” who is the only person allowed into the chapel and the only person who may set eyes on it. We may also visit a small museum here, which contains the crowns of Ethiopian kings and other treasures Overnight Axum
Day 7- Fly to Lalibela then explore the rockhewen churches of lalibela
Today we spend time exploring the best churches in the northern, as well as eastern areas of Lalibela. This day city contains 11 monolithic churches that were built in the 12th century and are carved out of single rock; they have been classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Each church has a unique architectural style; all are superbly carved and most of them are decorated with well-preserved paintings. The entire city may be described as a sculpture dedicated to the glory of God. Overnight in Lalibela
Day 8- Fly back to Addis Ababa
After breakfast you will check in to the Airport for your flight to Addis Ababa. Evening we will have a fare well dinner in one of the Ethiopian restaurants for cultural dinner and dances from the different ethnic groups. Then after transfer to the airport for flight back home.