16-Days Tour Historical Circuits of Northern Ethiopia by surface
Day 1: Arrival at Addis Ababa Bole International Air port
Meet and greet Wisdom representative at exit of luggage claim and transfer you to the hotel. Overnight stay in the hotel .
Day 2: City tour in Addis Ababa
Addis Ababa is the third highest capital of the world on an altitude of 2300-2500 m. with a pleasant climate and a background of green with eucalyptus trees covered mountains. The city is founded in 1886 by Emperor Menelik II and Queen Taitu.
Visit Entoto Mountains, with very nice view over the capital, the National/Ethnographic museum, St George church and the Merkato, biggest open air market in Africa. Overnight stay in the Jupitor hotel.
Day 3: Drive to Debre Markos 325km asphalt road
On this day you start your tour to North Ethiopia. En route you can visit one of Ethiopia’s most holy sites: the Debre Libanos monastery founded in the 13th century by priest Tekla Haimanot, today one of Ethiopia’s most renowned saints.
Continuing on from Debre Libanos to the main route, the road dropping more than 1000m, gradually winds down to the bottom of the Blue Nile Gorge, which is comparable in scale to American’s Grand Canyon cited to be the largest canyon in Africa. Overnight stay in Tilq Hotel.
Day 4: Drive to Bahir dar; to the Shores of Lake Tana 260km asphalt road
You drive through the plain landscape of Gojjam land, well-known for its Teff productivity. Upon arrival having a lunch drive to Tis Isat (smoking of Fire); Since a dam has been built upstream, the waterfall is reduced a little. Also the walk to the waterfall is nice and you can enjoy nature and watch birds. Overnight stay in Homeland Hotel.
Day 5: Visit the Island monasteries of Lake Tana
Make a boat trip on Lake Tana to visit the medieval period island monasteries such as; Kibran Gabriel (only for men), Entos and on the Zegien peninsula visit Ura Kidan Mehiret, Azuwa Mariam, Mahal Giorgis. In afternoon make free time. Overnight stay in Homeland Hotel.
Day 6: City tour in Gondar
After having breakfast drive to Gondar, 180km asphalt road via a scenic route and marvelous landscape and Visit the Royal Enclosure that is surrounded by high stone walls containing the 17th century palaces of King Fassiladas, King Iyasu and Queen Mentewab and different other buildings. Visit also Fasiladas’ Bath, (that is filled with water for the important Timkat (epiphany) ceremony once a year)
Having a lunch in afternoon visit the rectangular Debre Brehan Selassie (Trinity at the Mount of Light) has a ceilings decorated with beautiful winged Angels. Depending on the time you can visit also Kweskwam Complex which is a royal compound built by the Empress Mentewab. Inside the palace look out the figures of crosses and Ethiopian characters and animals, such as St Samuel riding his lion. Overnight stay in the Florida Hotel
Day 7: Drive to Debarq, 100km gravel road to visit the Simien Mountains National Park.
Finish formalities at the Head Quarter of the park at Debarq and continue to drive another 20km then make a short walk/trek. O/n stay inside the park at Simen Lodge or drive back to Debarq.
Day 8: Drive to Axum
Today you drive in a very scenic route, first take the zig-zag road of Lima Limu with many hairpins and crossing a rough mountain landscape. Later you descend in to the impressive Takezze River gorge. Overnight stay in Sabean Hotel.
Day 9: City tour in Axum
Axum is a town with impressive monuments that testify of the rich and glorious past of the mighty Kingdom of Axum (1-700 A.D.). And the town also recorded in UNESCO lists as a World Heritage Site.
Upon arrival check in hotel then start to make a visit to the famous Axumi’s stelae, St. Mary of Zion church (which supposed to house the Ark of Covenant) and archeological museum, the ruins palace of Queen Sheba so called Dungur & palace.
Outside Axum you can visit also the tombs of Kings Kaleb & Gebre Meskel dating to 6th century. They are a great example of the sheer sophistication of Axumite architecture and building techniques. Overnight stay in Sabean Hotel.
Day 10: Drive to Hawzen via Adigrat
On the way you can visit Ethiopia’s earliest known capital city of Yeha which is considered as the birthplace of the country’s earliest civilization. Its single most remarkable antiquity is the well-preserved walls of the 12m-high stone temple of the moon that is thought to be over 2500 years old.
Another possible excursion is to Debre Damo monastery (only accessible for men). The Debre Damo Monastery is built on the flat- topped mountain of Debre Damo. The monastery is only accessible by climbing a rope which hangs down from a perpendicular rock, an adventure in itself! Overnight stay in Gheralta Lodge
Day 11: Visit the Rock-hewn Churches of Tigray and drive to Mekelle
You can visit 1 or 2 Churches some of the most beautiful medieval Churches on impressive viewpoints are Abuna Yemata Guh, Debre Maryam Korkor or Abreha we Atsheba church, which are all situated near to the road between Mekele and Hawzen. You have to climb rather steep to reach this Churches so take good walking shoes.
In Mekelle visit the 17th century palace-museum of Emperor Yohannes IV. Overnight stay in Axum Hotel, Mekelle.
Day 12: Drive to Lalibela
Lalibela and its rock-hewn church are thought, to date the 12th and 13th century during King Lalibela reign. The churches are remarkable since they are entirely freed from the rock, refined and concentrated in small land. Overnight stay in Mountain View hotel.
Day 13: Visit the Rock-Hewn Churches of Lalibela, so called eighty wonder of the world
Start to visit the rock-hewn churches of Lalibela which are clustered in to three different places separated by River Jordan. Today visit the first and the third groups of churches. O/n stay in Lalibela. Overnight stay in Mountain View Hotel.
Day 14: Continue sightseeing around and in Lalibela
Make excursion to visit Asheton Mariam by mule or drive to 45km gravel road North of Lalibela to visit Yemrehan Christos church. In afternoon continue to visit the second groups of churches. Overngight stay in Mountain View Hotel.
Day 15: Drive to Kombolcha
On this day also will you enjoy the mountainous landscape and splendid views on your way to Kombolcha. En route near to Dessie you can visit lovely Lake Hayk and its 13th Century Istafanos monastery, which is only accessible for men. Overnight stay in Sunnyside Hotel.
Day 16: Drive to Addis Ababa and flight back home
Today you will last minute shopping in Merkato or in the numerous souvenir shops near Churchill road, to visit art galleries. Late in afternoon have a fare-well dinner then check in for flight back home.