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Festival Oriented 15 day

  About This Tour

Ethiopia has a fascinating history stretching back more than 3,000 years to the fabled reign of the Queen of Sheba and King Solomon, and even further into the past. It is from this region that many scientists believe earliest mankind, Homo Erectus, migrated out of Africa via the Levantine corridor and the Horn of Africa to Eurasia around 1.9 million years ago. Essentially, Ethiopia is the ancestral home to all of mankind.In the northern part of the country you will experience ancient monasteries, Castles, rock-hewn churches, steles and Ethiopia’s magnificent natural beauty.  Wondering the most colorful festival of Ethiopian Christmas in Lalibela and Ethiopian Epiphany in Gonder, the dramatic landscape of Semien mountain National Park, the lowest place of Danakil depression and the ancient rock churches of Tigray!

          Tour Highlights

  • Visit Three UNESCO World Heritage Sites. 
  • Be amazed by a visit to the rock-hewn churches of Lalibela, one of “the living wonders of the world”. 
  • Discover the fairytale castles of Gondar.
  • Take a cruise on Lake Tana to visit the ancient island monasteries.
  • See the source of the mighty Blue Nile River and Blue Nile Falls.
  • Visit the vibrant city of Addis Ababa.
  • Try the varied Ethiopian food.
  • Denakil Depression
  • Attend an Ethiopian coffee ceremony and culinary

ITINERARY

Day 1-05 Jan: Arrival in Addis Ababa and City Tour

Our staff will welcome you from Bole International Airport. After breakfast, you will head to Holy Trinity Cathedral, National Museum, and Ethnography Museum.

You will have a lunch at a well-known restaurant, Lucy Gazebo, nearby the National Museum of Ethiopia where Lucy is seen. Then, we will drive up to Entoto Mountains for a panoramic view towards Addis Ababa, and finally, you will experience the shopping at Merkato open air market.

Overnight stay at Golden Tulip Hotel, Addis Ababa


Day 2-06 JAN: Flight Lalibela-Eve Celebration

The Addis Ababa team will drop you off at Bole International Aiport domestic terminal for your flight to Lalibela early in the morning. Our team in Lalibela will then welcome you at Lalibela aIrport. The town is the most famous of all of the Ethiopian historical sites.

After a lunch in Lalibela, you leave for the eve celebration in the rock hewn churches. The main ceremonial activities of the holiday center around local Ethiopian Orthodox churches (though Protestants and Catholics also celebrate), which hold late-night services on Christmas Eve lasting well past midnight. Traditional liturgical singing marks these services, as does chanting performed by priests and deacons wearing colorful robes with gold and silver accents. Many people travel by foot from church to church, taking in various services until the light of dawn announces the arrival of Christmas morning. 

Overnight stay at Sora Lodge, Lalibela


Day 3-07 JAN: Ethiopian Christmas Celebration

This is one of the greatest and most colorful festivals on the Ethiopian calendar. At St. Lalibela churches, it is celebrated with greater devotion, chanting, dancing, and singing around the rock-hewn churches of Lalibela.  All around pilgrims chant. Just before 7am, in the day’s first light, a procession of many priests, including the patriarch of the Ethiopian Orthodox church, progressed to the cliff-top. They stand in their white turbans, holding colored shawls, shaking sistrums (a sort of musical rattle), swaying in unison and chanting to the sounds of slow drums and horns. And the congregation burst out ululating and clapping for joy.

Afternoon, you leave Lalibela for a 42km drive to Yimrhane Kirstos for another ancient rock hewn church known as Yimrhane Kirstos. Afternoon, drive back to Lalibela for lunch and you will proceed visiting the remaining groups of church.

Overnight stay at Sora Lodge, Lalibela


Day 4-08 JAN: Rock Hewn Churches of Lalibela

After breakfast, start your tour of the rock-hewn churches of Lalibela, visiting the Northwestern Cluster of churches – Bet Medhane Alem, Bet Maryam, Bet Meskel, Bet Danaghel, Bet Mikael & Bet Golgotha (entry not permitted for women, and in the afternoon, visit the Southeastern Cluster of churches – Bet Gabriel-Rufael, Bet Merkorios, Bet Amanuel, and Bet Abba Libanos.  

Finally, you will visit the most famous of all the churches – Bet Giyorgis, constructed in honor of the patron saint of Ethiopia – Saint George.   

Overnight stay at Sora Lodge, Lalibela


Day 5-09 Jan: Drive to Mekele via Sekotas

Your drive to Mekele departs Lalibela after a hearty breakfast at your lodge. The journey takes you through the majestic landscapes of Sekota, the caital of Wag Himra Zone of Amhara Region.

Overnight stay at Planet Hotel, Mekele

 


Day 6-10 Jan: Walk to the rim of Erta’Ale

Placed 100m and more below sea level, the Danakil Depression is about the hottest and most inhospitable place on earth. Afternoon, you will drive to Erta Ale. After dinner at Erta Ale, you will walk out for a breathtaking volcano lavas and captures.

Overnight stay at camp, Erta Ale


Day 7-11 Jan: Drive to Dallol-Sunset at Lake Assale

The drive to the desert departs in the morning after a breakfast at your lodge. The lake is a former bay of the Red Sea, which from time to time got connected and disconnected and as it became disconnected the salts accumulated to layers of several hundreds of meters deep.

Overnight stay at camp, Hamed Ela

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