Historic Routes and Simien Mountains
Drive and Visit North Ethiopia
Program: Historic Routes and Simien Mountains
Tour Code: North 18
Duration: 19Nights (20 Days)
Tour starts: Addis Ababa
Tour ends: Addis Ababa
Day 1: Arrival/ Addis Ababa
Arrive in the evening transfer to your Hotel. Overnight –hotel – Addis
Day2: Addis Ababa City Tour
Addis Ababa is centered at the heart of the country. Addis Ababa in Amharic language means “New Flower”. It was founded by Emperor Menelik in 1886. An estimated population of 4 million people is dwelling in the city. Addis is graced as Africa’s diplomatic capital with the presence of the head quarter for the African Unity, a seat for numerous embassies and is the port of entry for most travelers.
After Breakfast, we drive to the Entoto Mountain (3300m) for a panoramic view of Addis, Entoto Museum with historical and royal exhibit, The Church of St. Mary, built in 1885 and the old palace of emperor MenelikII. Take some images at Mount Entoto and we drive back to Addis for Ethnological Museum that exhibits the culture and handicrafts of various Ethiopian ethnic groups, the National Museum in which you are visiting different archaeological findings (including Lucy’s replica Skeleton). After lunch, visit the Trinity Cathedral, Mausoleum of emperor MenelikII at Bààta Church and finally Merkato – the largest open market in Africa. Overnight – hotel – Addis
Day 3: Old palace of Emperor MenelikII at Ankober
After breakfast; drive from Addis to Debre Birhan (130km) and proceed to Ankober (about 40km from Debre Birhan). Visit the old palace of Emperor MenelikII, and then drive to the town of Kombolcha/Dessie. On the way, overlook the old tunnels made by Italians during the Occupation period (1936-1941). Overnight – at current best hotel – Kombolcha/Dessie
Day 4: The 11 Rock Hewn Churches
After Breakfast; drive from Dessie to Lalibela (300km rough). This route is scenic. Visit the monasteries of Lake Haike which is just nearby the town of Dessie. Take stopovers for landscape views on the way. Overnight – at best current hotel – Lalibela
Day 5: Asheten Mariam, Nakuto Leàb, first & second groups
Early morning. Trek to Asheten Mariam (optional) for a panoramic view of the region and a mountain Church. After Asheten Mariam; descend down for the first group of Churches. After lunch, visit the Second groups. Overnight – at former hotel – Lalibela
Day 6: Lalibela – Yimrahine Kirstos -Mekelle
Drive to the cave church called Yimrahine Kirstos (42 km from Lalibela). This Church has been constructed by King Yimrahane Kirstos during the13th Century. In the church, there are more than 5000 (five thousand) dead human skeletons (Bones) lying without any coverage for the past 700 years. They are supposed to be pilgrimages from Syria, Egypt and Ethiopia. The murals on the dark walls of the church, the year round spring water descending from the top of the church and the forest around are very impressive and worthy to be visited. Visit the church and proceed to Mekelle via Korem. Take Lunch at the Town of Korem. It is at Korem where the Asphalt road begins to Mekelle. Overnight – at best current hotel – Mekelle
Day 7: Geralta Rock Hewn Churches
Drive from Mekelle to Wukro Cherkos/Hawzein/. This area is scenically spectacular and is a site for many architectural old rock hewn churches that are not found in the other areas of the country. Some of them are Abreha-We-Atsbeha, Degum Sellasie, and Debre Tsion. Visit some of them today. Overnight at Geralta Lodge or Tourist Hotel – Hawzein or at current best hotel/lodge- Hawzein/Wukro
Day 8: Full day for Geralta Churches
Explore the Geralta Rock Churches for full day. Overnight at former place – Hawzein/Wukro
Day 9: Yeha Temple
Day 10: the birth Place of Ethiopian History
Explore the city of Axum. Axum treasures the ancient Ethiopian history. The attractions of Axum include: the archaeological museum, monolithic steles, the tombs of King Kaleb, and the legendary Bath and the ruins of ancient palace of the Queen of Sheba, St Mary of Zion and the sanctuary that houses the original Ark of the Covenant. Almost all Ethiopian Orthodox Christians and some scholars believe firmly about the presence of the original Ark of God for centuries here in Axum, at the chapel in the middle of St Mary of Zion and Emperor Fassiladas’ Castle of Axum. Overnight – at current best hotel – Axum
Day 11: Simien Mountains National Park- Chennek
After breakfast; drive from Axum to Simien Mountains (Chennek Camping Site). On this day, after crossing the River Tekeze, you will appreciate the extremely fabulous Simien Mountains’ escarpments. Arrive to Debark and collect entrance tickets at the Simien Mountains head office then drive to Chennek (57km from Debark). Overnight- tented camp – Chennek.
Day 12: Gondar
Morning, explore the park around Chennek for the walia Ibex and some antelopes, afternoon; drive to Gondar. On the way near the town of Gondar; short visit of Woleka – a place of the Felasha or the black Jewish people for their synagogue and black pottery shop. Jews have amazing history with Ethiopians from Biblical (before Christ) up to the Gonderine Civilization (17-19century).The history of the Original Ark of the Covenant, supposed to be in Axum now often relates with Ethiopian Jews. Overnight – at current best hotel – Gondar
After breakfast; visit the Castles of emperor Fassiladas and his swimming pool, the 17century church of Debre Birhan Sillassie (Light of Trinity) & drive to Bahir Dar. (187kms). on the way, visit Wanzaye, a place for natural hot spring water (9kms from the main route to Bahir Dar). It is very important for the local people (a curing spa against some diseases).People will immerse into the hot spring bath (a big room that accommodates from 40 to 80 people together) for about 6 hours (3 hours morning and 3hours afternoon) per day. In doing so, the patient will be cured or will have seen changes from his disease within a weak. Lunch, at Wanzaye Hotel and drive to Bahir Dar. Evening, visit the hill of Bezawit (roughly 5km after Gojjam – Gondar border Bridge). At this point, you are visit the Palace of Emperor Haile SelassieI( entering is prohibited), the source of the Blue Nile- leaving Lake Tana and panoramic view of Bahir Dar and the full sunset. Overnight – at current best hotel – Bahir Dar
Day 14: The Tis Issat of the Blue Nile and Monasteries on Lake Tana
After breakfast; drive to the small town of Tiss Abay (32km rough road) to visit the impressive Blue Nile Falls, locally known as Tis Isat means in Amharic: ‘Smoke of Fire’. Much of the water is diverted for Hydro electric Generation plant but it is still worth visiting for remaining waterfalls, trekking around and to see a Portuguese Bridge (17Century) and the country side. The area around the waterfall is amazingly fertile and the Amhara people who live here farm wheat, sorghum and Teff (from which Injera, the national bread, is made). After the fall, return to Bahir Dar & make city tour of Bahir Dar which includes: market where you can find the pottery, traditional hand-made woven clothes, and Woito Basket market.
Afternoon; take a chartered boat trip on Lake Tana to visit monasteries (constructed during 14 up to 18 century). You will visit only the most accessible and representative of the monasteries on the lake, still serving their original function: Ura Kidane Mehret, and Azwa Maryam (in Zeghie Peninsula), Kibran Church (prohibited for women) & Entos Eyesus. Overnight – at current best hotel – Bahir Dar
Day 15: Blue Nile Gorge.
After an early breakfast; drive to Addis (563km best Asphalt Road). This route (Gojjam province) is famous in Teff production. Teff is stable food of Ethiopians. On the way; enjoy with the fabulous Blue Nile Gorge, 17th Century Portuguese Bridge and the 13th Century monastery of Debre Libanos. Overnight –Hotel – Addis Ababa.
Day 16: Awash National Park
After Breakfast; drive to Awash National Park (225km modern asphalt road). Lunch at Dreamland Hotel – Debrezeith, 47km from Addis. After lunch; proceed to Awash Park and stopover at Lake Beseka (Nearby the park) for several birdlife. Game view after having entrance tickets at the head office of the Awash National Park. Overnight – at current best lodge /hotel – Awash Park/ town of Awash Sebat.
Day 17: the Hyena Man show
Early morning; game view in the Awash National Park. After breakfast; drive from Awash Sebat to Harar (300km from Awash Sebat) and after lunch; visit the walled city of Harar. In the evening, attend the most astonishing and bizarre Hyena Man show. That Man feeds as many as 30 hyenas with his bare hands and with a wooden steak- holding by his mouth. If you feel courageous and no fear at all, you can try it with no any harm. Hyenas in Harar are considered as domestic dogs so that anybody has no hesitation to fear them. Overnight – at current best hotel -Harar
Day 18: Babile and the Valley of Marvels
Morning; drive from Harar to Babile on the Jijga Road. There is a General Market on every Saturday, Camel Market on every Monday & Thursday at Babile. Visit the market if your schedule coincides with the market day otherwise proceed to the Valley of Marvels. The most visited one is the rock formation of Dakata Rock, sited at 7km from the town of Babile. Drive back to Harar for lunch and drive about 51km for Dire Dawa. The main attraction of Dire Dawa known also as Queen City of the Rift Valley is: Taiwan Market, the stimulant leaves know as “Chat” Market and the big market place which is frequented by Oromo, Somali Issa and Afar people. Overnight – at current best local hotel –Dire Dawa
Day 19: Dire Dawa – Addis
After Breakfast; drive back to Addis Ababa (515km best asphalt road).stopover at Lake Besseka, after Awash national Park for birds and continue to Addis appreciating the Rift Valley Landscapes. Lunch on the way and arrive to Addis in late afternoon. Overnight –hotel – Addis
Day 20: Addis – departure
You may have free time in the morning and departure in the evening. (End of the trip)
Notice: This itinerary can be amended up on request