The Best of Ethiopian Orthodox Christmas in Lalibela--9 days 8 nights

 

Day 1 (December 31st): Arrive in Addis Ababa(ADD) where you will be welcomed and assisted by your tour guide and driver to check into your 4-star hotel. Enjoy an optional city tour.


Day 2(January 1st): Drive from Addis Ababa to Bahir Dar   Making short stops in Dejen, Chancho and Goha Tsion.


Day 3(January 2nd): Cruise on Lake Tana then drive to Blue Nile Falls and back to Bahir Dar 

After breakfast we take a boat across Lake Tana to visit the ancient 14th century island monasteries.  After lunch, we drive 35 km to visit the majestic Blue Nile Falls.


Day 4(January 3rd): Drive Bahir Dar to Gondar  After breakfast, we drive to Gondar and visit the Royal Enclosure, the pool of King Fasiledas, and Debre Berhan Selassie Church.


Day 5(January 4th): Excursion to Simien Mountains National Park  After an early breakfast, we drive to the Simien Mountains National Park making a stop in the “Felasha” or Ethiopian Jewish village.  The rest of the day will be spent trekking in the park and taking photos of wildlife endemic to Ethiopia only. 


Day 6(January 5th): Drive from Gondar to Lalibela with stops in Awramba


Day 7(January 6th): Visit the site of some of the 11 rock-hewn churches of Lalibela.  As this is Christmas Eve we attend a special ceremony till after midnight along with Orthodox pilgrims to be held at Bete Mariam church. 


Day 8(January 7th): Ethiopian Christmas also called Genna

This special day will be spent at Bete Mariam where the biggest celebration of Christmas will be held outside the church on the cliff . We will also visit the following rock-hewn churches: Bete Gebriel, Bete Merkorios, Bete Amanuel, Bethlehem and Bete Aba Libanos. At the end of the tour, there will be a special traditional coffee ceremony for the group prepared at a local house.


Day 9(January 8th): Fly Lalibela to Addis Ababa

After breakfast, transfer to Lalibela airport for your flight to Addis Ababa. Depending on your departure time there will be an optional city tour of Addis Ababa or leisure time. In the evening, Travel Africa Tours invites all remaining guests to a farewell dinner party with a traditional Ethiopian spread and local drinks. Transfer to Addis Ababa airport for your flight home.

The Best of Ethiopia: North & South-- 13 days 12 nights

Day 1: Arrive in Addis Ababa 

Arrive in Addis Ababa (ADD), where we will be waiting to take you to your hotel. After check-in there will be an optional city tour of Addis Ababa taking you to the best sights Addis has to offer.


Day 2: Fly from Addis Ababa to Bahir Dar

After checking into your hotel, enjoy a cruise on Lake Tana to visit the best of the 20 island monasteries of Lake Tana. We finish the day with a drive to the Blue Nile Falls (Tis Issat).

 

Day 3: Drive from Bahir Dar to Gondar 

Spend the afternoon at the Royal Enclosure exploring this UNESCO World Heritage site of medieval castles commissioned by Emperor Fasilidas in the 17th century. Later in the day we proceed to Debre Birhan Selassie church to explore the excellent examples of Ethiopian religious frescos. 

   

Day 4: Fly Gondar to Axum 

After checking into the hotel we commence a tour of the ancient city of Axum considered the birthplace of Ethiopian civilization. This is also the supposed resting place of the Holy Ark of the Covenant. 


Day 5: Fly from Axum to Lalibela 

Here we start our day visiting half of the famous rock-hewn churches in one of the most holy cities of Ethiopia. We finish with a traditional coffee ceremony.

 

Day 6: Hike to Asheten Mariam from Lalibela   

We begin the morning with a mule ride or hike to the top of Asheton Maryam Monastery a renowned 12th century church. After lunch we continue our tour of the rest of the amazing monolithic churches of Lalibela including St.Giorgis.


Day 7: Fly from Lalibela to Addis Ababa then drive to Lake Langano 

Take the short one hour flight to Addis where upon arrival we’ll begin the drive to the Great Ethiopian Rift Valley lake of Langano. We will make one stop at Lake Ziway on the way to Lake Langano. 


Day 8: Drive from Langano to Dorze continuing onto Arba Minch 

In the morning we begin the first of many cultural visits in the Great Rift Valley by visiting two small villages, Welyita in Sodo and Alaba in Tembaro on the way to Dorze. We finish the day in Arba Minch.


Day 9: Drive from Arbaminch to Jinka 

Today we drive to Jinka visiting the Konso, Benna, Tsemay and Ari peoples’ villages on the way. 


Day 10: Drive from Jinka to Turmi via Mago 

We start the day with a visit to a Mursi peoples' traditional village, followed by lunch. We end the day with a drive to Turmi where we overnight in a lodge. 


Day 11:  Drive from Turmi to Omorate 

Our morning will be spent driving to Omorate to visit the Dassanech peoples tribal village for a cultural visit, while our afternoon will be spent with a visit to a traditional Hamer village.


Day 12: Drive from Turmi back to Arba Minch

The morning begins with a drive back to Arba Minch. We will stop briefly to visit the villages of Erbore and Tsemay. We also take a cruise on Lake Chamo this afternoon to spots some Hippos, crocodiles and many African birds. 


Day 13: Drive from Arba Minch to Addis Ababa with a stop at the Tiya Stelae 

For our last day we start the drive back to Addis Ababa with a stop at the Tiya stelae site a UNESCO World Heritage. We celebrate a rewarding escorted adventure with a farewell dinner party including local adult beverages and cultural entertainment. We end the night with your airport transfer for your flight back home.