Visit Lake Tana, Simien Mountains, Lalibela, Langano, Bale Mountains
Program: Lake Tana, Simien Mountains, Lalibela, Langano, Bale Mountains + trip
Tour Code: Grand 13
Duration: 14 Nights (15 Days)
Transportation: By Plane and Car
Tour starts: Addis Ababa
Tour ends: Addis Ababa
Day 1: Arrive to Addis Ababa
In the Morning, arrive to Addis Ababa Bole International Airport & meet with us and transfer and check-in hotel. Then City tour of Addis Ababa:
- Driving 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
- Visit Entoto Park – New (2019)
- Ethnological Museum that exhibits the culture and handicrafts of various Ethiopian ethnic groups,
- National Museum in which you are visiting different archaeological findings (including Lucy’s replica Skeleton).
- visit the Trinity Cathedral
- Mausoleum of emperor MenelikII at Bààta Church
- Unity Park at Emperor Menelek’s Palace – open in 1919
- Sheger Park / Menafesshaa – New (2019)
- Merkato – the largest market in Africa.
Day2: Tis Issat / Tis Abay - Blue Nile and Monasteries on Lake Tana
Morning, fly from Addis Ababa to Bahir Dar. Take a chartered boat trip on Lake Tana to visit monasteries (constructed during 14 up to 19 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 Gabriel (prohibited for women) & Entos Eyesus.
Afternoon; drive to the small town of Tiss Abay (32km rough road) to visit the impressive Blue Nile Falls, locally known as Tis Issat means in Amharic: 'Smoke of Fire'. Walking around 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, our national bread, is made). On the way after the Blue Nile, visit the market of Bahir Dar where you can find the pottery, traditional hand-made woven clothes, and Woito Basket market. Overnight – hotel - Bahir Dar (1830m of altitude). Overnight – Hotel – Bahir Dar
Day3: Lalibela Churches
Morning, fly from Bahir Dar to Lalibela and visit the first group of six churches: 1.Bet Golgotha, 2.Bet Mikael, 3.Bet Mariam, 4.Bet Meskel, 5.Bet Danaghel and 6.Bet Medhane Alem. Bet Medhane Alem is the largest monolithic rock hewn church in the world, built like a Greek temple! In a corner there are three empty graves symbolically dug for biblical patriarchs Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Overnight – Lalibela
Day4: Lalibela Rock Hewn Churches
Early morning, Climb Asheten Mariam (optional) for a panoramic view of the region and a mountain Church named Asheten. After breathing on the top (more than3000m), descend down to Lalibela (at 2630m above sea level), one of the most fascinating historical sites of Ethiopia. After lunch and a short siesta, continue exploring the fascinating churches (Second group): 7.Bete Amanuel, 8.Bete Marqorewos, 9.Bete Abba Libanos, 10.Bete Gabriel -Rufael and11. Bet Giyorgis is the most elegant of all Lalibela churches, which lies somewhat isolated in the southwest part of the town on a sloping rock terrace. Also visit Nakuto Làabe Cave Church (5km from Lalibela). Overnight – Lalibela
Day5, 6: The Castles of Gondar & Jews Village and Simien Mountains national park
Fly from Lalibela to Gondar. Short sightseeing of historical part of Gondar: Fasil Ghebbi, Debre Birhan Selassie Church, Mentewab Empress Castle and drive to the Simien Mountains National Park. (138km rough but good road). 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 histories in Ethiopia even before the time of Gonderine Civilization (17-19century).The history of the Original Ark of the Covenant, supposed to be in Axum now is one to mention. Then continue driving to Debark (101km from Gondar). At Debark; we collect entrance tickets and a scout for the park. After Debark; drive to Simien Mountains National Park. On the way; appreciate the alluring chained mountains of the Simien Park and Gelada baboons feeding on the ground at many places. Overnight – Semen Lodge - in the Park
Day7: Gondar - Addis Ababa – Langano
Morning, fly from Gondar to Addis Ababa and drive to Langano (223km). Stop at Lake Zeway for Pelicans. Check in at Sabanna Lodge (best lodge, accessible to Langano Lake, sand beach area). Birds within the lodge and around. Visit Shalla and Abijata Lakes National Park for the Ostrich Farm, Grant’s gazelle (being seen around protected Ostrich farm area), and aquatic birds like the Pink Flamingos (Lake Abijata), Dukes, Gosse, Hot springs (Lake Shalla) and Lake Langano for overnight.
Day8, 9, 10: Langano - Swayne’s hartebeest – Bale Mountains
Drive to Bale Mountains. At 60km from Shashemene on the way; visit the Swayne’s hartebeest at Senkele Swayne’s Hartebeest wildlife sanctuary (seeing them in group is most probable). Swayne’s hartebeest is a large antelope with humped shoulders, a long narrow face, and lyre-shaped horns. Native to: eastern and southern Africa. Visit Dinsho Forest for Mountain Nyala (always visible at near distance), Menelek’s Bushbuck, Bohor, warthog and others., at Senette plateau, Ethiopian Wolf ( often visible here), Tulu Dimtu Mountain (4377m), Giant Mole Rat in its tunnels, Blue Winged Goose etc, Bale Monkey at Harenna Forest. In the Bale Mountains, you may be surprise of seeing Lions, Caracal, Forest Pig extra. Overnight in the Park or Hotel Bale Goba
Day11: Bale Mountains. Dorze Village – Arba Minch
Dive to Arba Minch (457km asphalt road). On the way stop for a visit at the mountain top village of Chencha offering spectacular views along the way. This is home to the Dorze people who weave the finest cotton cloth and live in distinctive, tall beehive shaped dwellings (Tukuls). Overnight –Arba Minch
Day12: Lake Chamo – Konso - Key Afer (on Thursday – tribal Market) and Jinka
Boat Trip on Lake Chamo for Crocodiles, Hippo, While Pelicans and drive to Jinka. On the way at Konso (80 km from Arba Minch) visit villages with Konso King where they utilize a unique style of ingenious terracing, create unusual engraved wooden statues or totems (Wagas), and produce finely woven fabrics. It is a Unesco World Heritage Site and a real sleeper. Also visit the magnificent rock formations at Gesergiyo (New York Rocks).
At Key Afer, Tribal market with multicultural (Tsemay, Ari, and Bena tribes) Thursday market (this market sets on every Thursday), one of the most important in South Omo and where one still can find glass beads. We’ll be visiting. Alduba Tribal market if on Tuesday.Dimeka Market if Saturday. These markets can be visited also on the way back. Overnight in Jinka
Day13: Mursi Tribes and Mago National park – Turmi, Market on Monday
Early morning departure for Mago National Park, bisected by the Omo River, where close to 100 animal species reside and where many can be seen (most likely buffalo, Grant’s gazelle, and Burch ell’s zebra). It is dominated by dense acacia woodland interspersed with open savanna and riverside forest. More importantly, it is home to members of the fascinating and distinctive Mursi tribe who reside in villages along the Mago River. Their unique body decoration consists of large ear and lip discs. They are pastoralists who practice animism. Tribe market opportunity on the way to Turmi (139km).
Visit great Hamar tribes market in Turmi (this market sets on every Monday). Also visit Hamar villages for Evangadi dance (if dance performance is available). Overnight – in Turmi
Day14: Arbore Tribes – Wolayta Sodo or Arba Minch
Drive from Turmi to Arbamich via Arbore tribes (if road Condition is good). Visit Arbore Tribe, Overnight – at Abebe Zeleke Hotel (https://www.abebezelekeinternationalhotel.com/ ) Wolayta Sodo or Arba Minch
Day15: Addis Ababa – Departure
Drive to Addis Ababa. On the way Via Butajjira, visit Tiya stele, acknowledged by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. Here we can see the northernmost example of a peculiar type of engraved, standing stelae which stretch across parts of southern Ethiopia. These stelae are believed to have been erected between the 12th and 14th centuries and are almost certainly grave markers - recent excavations at Tiya have revealed the remains of young people of both sexes, aged between 18 – 30 years. Possible dinner at Yod Abyssinia or Habesha Cultural Restaurant with live tribal dances. Transfer to Bole Airport for departure (end of the trip)
Notice: This itinerary can be amended upon request