Oral tradition traces the birth of Ethiopia to Ethiopic, the great grandson of Noah. That’s some biblical lineage! History and the bible are the common threads you will hear repeated again and again throughout your journey in northern Ethiopia. Religion plays such a strong role in modern Ethiopia, but it also molded its past and the antiquities of Lalibela and Axum are settings for this tour. The Ark of the Covenant is not made up by the ingenious mind of Steven Spielberg, the filmmaker of Raiders of the Lost Ark – it resides in Axum! Learn how it got there.
This unique flying expedition of northern Ethiopia offers 3 unique UNESCO World Heritage Sites, highlighting its 17 centuries of Christianity. View the baths of the Queen of Sheba and experience Ethiopia’s own Jerusalem, Lalibela and its rock-hewn churches. Lalibela was the center of the Zagwe dynasty, as Axum was the center of the earlier and more powerful Axumite Kingdom. The third UNESCO site on this trip, Gondar, was Ethiopia’s capital beginning in the 16th century, marking the beginning of the country’s modern era. The tour starts in Bahir Dar, where it is believed Syrian monks built the island monasteries on Lake Tana, the source of the Nile. This program offers the convenience of flying on short flights to visit the sites and villages, while experiencing the culture and hospitality of the Ethiopian people.
Tour 1: February 2 to February 8
Tour 2: March 8 to March 14
Tour 3: April 12 to April 18
Tour 4: June 7 to June 13
Tour 5: September 6 to September 12
Tour 6: October 4 to October 10
Tour 7: November 15 to November 21
Tour 8: December 13 to December 19
InclusionsEntrance fees, guides, transport, meals, and hotels
Meeting PlaceWe will pick you up upon your arrival at the Addis Ababa Bole International Airport
TransportationVan, coaster bus and domestic flights. (Domestic flight cost not included in the price)
MealsEthiopian cuisine and western foods
AccomodationHotels range from comfort to premier class
Group SizeMinimum 2 people
Price$1,545 Per person, double occupancy. Domestic and international flights not included.
Add $215 for single room supplement, if you wish single room.
OptionsThree-night tour of Harar, the ancient walled city. $636 Per person double occupancy. Excluding domestic flight.
Add $68 for single room supplement, if you wish single room.
Upon arrival in Addis Ababa, our representatives will meet you at Bole International Airport and transfer you to the Hotel. Enjoy the morning of leisure and enjoy lunch at the hotel. This afternoon visit historical sites including the National Archaeological Museum, to view the 3.6 million year old remains of “Lucy”, whose skeleton was discovered in 1974. Continue to the Ethnological Museum at Addis Ababa University; a great insight into the many different peoples of Ethiopia and their respective cultures. After visiting Holy Trinity Cathedral, we will end the day with a drive to the top of Mount Entoto, which rises to an altitude of 10,500 feet and offers a panoramic view of the metropolis.
Capital Hotel & Spa (L,D)
Board your early morning flight to Bahir Dar and drive to the small town of Tiss Abay to visit the Blue Nile Falls, locally known as Tis Isat or 'Smoke of Fire'.Even though much of the water has been diverted to power local hydroelectric generators, the Falls is still an intriguing sight. The surrounding area is extremely fertile and the Amhara people who live here farm wheat, sorghum and teff, the prime ingredient for making injera, the national bread and increasingly popular, gluten-free super-food you may have heard of back in the United States. After lunch board a cruise vessel on Lake Tana to visit the ancient monasteries. We will visit two of the most accessible monasteries; Ura Kidane Mehret and Azwa Maryam. Your hotel is located on the shores of Lake Tana.
Kuriftu Resort (B, L, D)
Gondar UNESCO site
Enjoy a scenic drive( 110 miles) to the ancient Imperial city, traveling through a fertile landscape of wide open fields; a perfect African tableau punctuated by undulating hillsides and valleys. Gondar, is the former imperial capital, founded in the 17th century by Emperor Fassiledes. Fassiledes and the five emperors after him each built their own respective palaces and churches, giving rise to Gondar’s nickname; “Camelot of Africa”. Visit the royal enclosure containing six castles, a complex network of connecting tunnels and raised walkways. Proceed to the fascinating Debre Birhan Selassie Church, whose walls and ceiling are decorated with scenes of Biblical lore and medieval history.
Lalibela UNESCO site
This morning fly to the most unique Christian sites of Ethiopia.
Lalibela’s churches are collectively referred to as ‘The Eighth Wonder of the World’. Legend has it that Emperor Lalibela had been instructed, in a vision from God, to build the new Jerusalem after returning from Jerusalem which was sacked by the Muslims. Visit the 11 majestic, rock churches that are still used as places of worship by Lalibelans. Since its relatively remote location, Lalibela has yet gained the worldwide exposure and has been compared as the “Petra of Africa”.
Maribela Hotel (B, L, D)
Visit the exquisite church of Yimrhane Kristos. This is a masterpiece of Axumit wood and stone construction which is renowned for its interior decoration and beautiful wooden coffer ceiling. Notice the inlaid of the hexagons and medallions with both figurative geometric motifs. Return back to Lalibela and revisit the rock churches that were not visited on the day of arrival. Return to the hotel.
(B, L, D)
Axum UNESCO site
Fly to the heart of ancient Ethiopia, the capital of the Kingdom of Axum which was the most powerful state between the Eastern Roman Empire and Persia. The archaeological and historical attractions in Axum include monolithic steles or obelisks, the tombs of King Kaleb and King Gebre Meskal, the legendary Bath of the Queen of Sheba, and the ruins of her ancient palace. Also visit the new and the old Cathedral of St Mary of Tsion (Zion) and the sanctuary that houses the original Arc of the Covenant. The older of the two cathedrals, built in the 16th century, is believed to be built on the ruins of an earlier 4th century church, and is the holiest site in Ethiopia.
Sabean Hotel (B,L,D)
Return to Addis Ababa and departure
Board your morning flight to Ethiopia's capital city. Visit the ‘Merkato’, the largest open-air market in East Africa. Late this afternoon enjoy a “farewell dinner” and coffee ceremony at a famous traditional Ethiopian restaurant. After sampling the various national dishes and enjoy an Ethiopian Folkloric show before your transfer to the airport for your late night flight home.
(B, L, D)
Three Night Harar Tour
Overnight Addis Ababa
The tour continues with an overnight stay in Addis Ababa.
Harmony Hotel (B,L, D)
Harar UNESCO site
Morning flight to Dire Dawa and drive (30 miles) to the old-walled city of Harar. After hotel check-in, visit museums, the different old-walled gates of the city, colorful market and a most colorful evening activity viewing a “character” who feeds hyenas from his mouth.
Heritage Plaza Hotel (B,L,D)
Not far from Harar, visit the village of Koremi, located in the mountains which offers delightful landscapes and a collection of stone houses. Since the 12th century the Argoba people have enjoyed their unique life style. Continue to the Valley of Marvels offering interesting rock formations. Upon returning to Harar, visit the Market of Spices.
Heritage Plaza Hotel (B,L,D)
Return to Addis Ababa and departure
Drive back to Dire Dawa and visit the old train station and check in for your flight to Addis Ababa. You will be picked up in the air port and have time to visit the souvenir shops. Enjoy light dinner before your transfer to the airport for your flight back home.
Fathia O.: Everything was perfect...amazing, very professional, highly knowledgeable..
Denise V.: I have had an unforgettable adventure and brought home very fond memories of Ethiopia and its people.
Ed B.: (The tour guide was) one of the best I have had in my 40 different tours.