This itinerary includes the historical circuit of Tigray region and Lalibela, Lake Tana and the sources of the Blue Nile falls. It is a 15 days historic tour that includes all the major historical sites of the north, including the Rock-hewn churches of Tigray and the wonderful experience of trekking at the country side of Waddela escarpment.
An introduction day to Addis Ababa
You arrive at Bole international Airport in the morning and Linnea Wettermark will meet you at the airport and we go with our driver to your hotel. There you will have breakfast and time to refresh yourself. When you are ready we check out the closest surroundings and retrieve money in the Ethiopian currency BIRR. We enjoy a freshly squeezed fruit juice or a nice macchiato. Linnea Wettermark will travel with you during your whole tour in Ethiopia. Read more about Addis Ababa.
History and culture of Ethiopia
You have your breakfast at the hotel and after that we spend the whole day getting to know the history and culture of Ethiopia. We will visit:
- The Trinity Church Here we well get a thorough introduction of the Ethiopian orthodox church which will be a great help for us further along our journey.
- The National Museum Exposition of Ethiopia’s history and archaeology. Among many interesting things we will see Lucy.
- The Ethnographical Museum A very intresting museum that shows all Ethiopia’s 85 tribes and how they live.
- Mount Entoto We end the day by going up to Mount Entoto. From there we will have a fantastic panorama of Addis Abeba and visit the Palace of Menelik II.
Explore the history of Axum
We will rise early and go to the airport in our minibus. Breakfast is eaten at the airport. For all domestic flights in Ethiopia, the maximum check in luggage is 20 kg and 9-10 kg hand luggage. At arrival of Axum airport, the driver and the English speaking local guide will meet us at the airport. We drive half an hour to the hotel and you will have time to relax and to take a shower. We eat lunch at the hotel and after that you will start to get know the historical sites of Axum, as the Stelae filed, the Cathedral Tsion Mariam church, the new and impressive Archeological museum and the King Ezana gardens and the ancient inscription written by Geze, Sabae and Greek language.
We stay overnight at a nice hotel in Axum. Read more about Axum.
History of Axum – part 2
After breakfast we start the second tour of Axum, by trekking outside of the town and visiting the following places:
- the Tombs of King Kalbe and Gebermeskel (a torch is required)
- Queen of Shebas Palace
- Ad Hankara and the Gobedra Liones
- the place where the Steale comes from
We stay overnight at the same hotel.
Yeha temple and Debre Damo Monastery church
We will wake up early in the morning and our driver pick us up from the hotel. We will drive 370 km in total and the landscape is really fantastic. On the way we will visit Yeha, the Pre-Axumite Sabaean temple. Its culture as well as the most remarkable antiquity is a well preserved stone temple. It stands 12 m high and consists of up to 52 layers of masonry. It was built at least 2 500 years ago. On the way we visit Deberdamo Monastery church by climbing 20 meters. It is the oldest monastery church in Ethiopia, built by Abune Argawie on the 6th century. Women is not allowed to climb but they can watch from the ground.
We arrive in the late evening to the small town Hawzen and we stay overnight here. Read more about Debre Damo.
Monastery church of Abuneyemata and Rock-Hewn churches of Mariam Korkor and Danile Korkor
We wake up early and after breakfast we prepare for the days visit of the rock-hewn churches of Tigray and the home of Gerhalta Mountain. This we can do by walking about 11 km or by using our own minibus (depends on the group’s fitness and interests). Visit the remarkable monastery church of Abuneyemata and see the wonderful paintings. Climbing 15 meters. Visit the Rock-Hewn churches of Mariam Korkor and Danile Korkor (two hours climb). We get back to the same hotel.
Travel to Lalibela
We will wake up early morning and after breakfast we will drive 460 km to get our next destination of Lalibela (also called as Africa’s Jerusalem). On the way we will see one of the most wonderful rock-hewn churches of Abraha Wo Atsbha. Read more about Lalibela.
Visit the Churches of Lalibela
During one day we will visit the eleven churches with our own guide. The churches in Lalibela are from the 12th century. They are cut in a mountain and built from there and are on UNESCO’s list of World Heritages. After breakfast we visit the first half of the churches together with our guide. We have lunch at Seven Olives. Here you can stay during the siesta. You will have access to a wonderful garden where you can relax, or study amazing birds. In the afternoon we visit the rest of the churches. We stay at the same hotel.
Yimerhane Cristos – a cave monastery
After breakfast a minibus pick us up and we travel 42 km to Yimerhane Cristos, a cave monastery built in 1126. During the journey to the monastery we will pass villages and valleys and it is a very beautiful nature experience. We eat dinner at Lalibela’s most famous restaurant, Ben Abeb. The building is inspired of Salvador Dali and situated far out on a cliff. After dinner we will visit a traditional “tetj house” where we can taste honey spirits and enjoy music and the traditional “shoulder dance”.
Trek day 1
The morning will be free. You can sleep late, take a walk in Lalibela or just enjoy yourself at a café. We have lunch together at the hotel. After lunch we will be picked up by a minibus. We will go for 92 km to the place where the trekking starts. We start with a light trek for 7 km along the mountain plateau Waddela, 2800 m above sea level. We will have an amazing view over a big valley. We will sleep at the house Ayenew Yargal in the village Kura Anbessa. When we arrive in Kura Anbessa we will be offered a snack (Ethiopian pizza) and tea or coffee. There will be time for visiting the cliffs with a panorama view as well as the church that is surrounded of olive trees and junipers. We will dine together with the villagers and we get the chance to socialize and get to know them. We will live under simple conditions which means that we have to adapt to the villagers daily life. The food will be vegetarian. We will start with a soup and then dishes of vegetables will be served, accompanied by rice or pasta.
Trek day 2
After breakfast we will start our trekk at a total distance of 14 km. We will pass by the source Atse Wuha (The clever man’s water) and continue further along the plateau. We will have lunch in front of a grand panorama and there will be time to study the wildlife. We will sleep in the village Terf Amba St. Giberiale (St. Gabriel’s top flat plateau). When arriving in the village we will be offered a snack with tea or coffee. Afterwards there will be time to spend together with the villagers. Dinner will be served later in the evening.
Journey to Bahir Dar
We have breakfast together with the community. We walk 5 km to get the main road of Bahir Dar. Our driver will pick us up and we will drive 240 km on asphalt road to Bahir Dar. The road is smooth and the landscape we travel through is beautiful. On arriving in Bahir Dar we check in at the hotel and have lunch together. After lunch we discover Bahir Dar (300 000 inhabitants). Linnea will show where to find an ATM, the best walks along the lake and the nicest cafés and fruit juice bars. After the sightseeing there will be free time. You can go shopping, enjoy the beautiful view of the lake and just relax. We have dinner together at Desset Island, a restaurant by the lake that serves delicious fish dishes. Read more about Bahir Dar.
Boat trip on Lake Tana
After breakfast, our boat trip on Lake Tana starts. The lake is approximately the same size as the Swedish lake Vänern. It is the source of the Blue Nile that runs all the way to Egypt. In the lake there are 37 islands where monasteries for both monks and nuns are located. The oldest monasteries are from the 12th century. We will visit some of them. The islands have a rich fauna and we will be able to see how coffee, mango, avocado and papaya grow in the trees. You will also see endemic birds on the islands, meet flamingos and hippopotamuses and small boats made of papyrus that the local fishermen use in the same way as 1000 years ago. We will also visit a coffee farm on the Zega peninsula of Lake Tana. After the boat trip we eat lunch at Lakeshore restaurant, and then we will visit the Blue Nile falls (the source of Lake Tana, it is 45 km driving). We stay overnight at the same hotel of Bahir Dar. Read more about Lake Tana.
Back to Addis Abeba
In the early morning we fly back to Addis Abeba (a journey of 1,5 hours). We are picked up at the airport and transported to the same hotel where we stayed at during our last visit to Addis. We spend the day together with Shewangzaw Eyasu (Baye’s brother). He will show us Hayat Medical College, where he studies medicine and invite us for a coffee ceremony in his house.
The day is free to spend how we want. We will have access to a minibus and can make smaller trips after your wishes. We can go to areas with nice shopping, such as Piazza, where Ethiopia’s best jewellery stores are situated. We can visit Markato, Africa’s largest market for fabrics and crafts. We can go to Ethiopias biggest textil market.
The flight back to Sweden leaves at midnight.