Day 1 Addis Ababa
Upon arrival in Addis Ababa, you will be met and transferred to your a Hotel (Ras Hotel) on which is an ideal base for exploring the city. The meaning of Addis Ababa is “new flower” in Amharic, and it is Ethiopia’s capital city. Sitting at an elevation of about 8,200 feet (2,500 meters) above sea level, it enjoys an excellent climate all year round, with an average temperature of 23˚C.
Day 2 Addis Ababa
This morning, you will take a tour of Haile Selassie’s former palace, which is now the home of the Ethnological Museum. The Exihibit here represent the best arts and crafts of the country, and give an in-depth view of the various peoples of Ethiopia. Then, visit Ba’ata Church (Menelik’s Mausoleum) one of the oldest churches in Addis. Observe its beautiful paintings and the royal tombs of past emperors. Finally, visit the National Museum, known to be the best museum in Africa. Here, cultural and archaeological relics, including a plaster cast of “Lucy,” the 3.2 million-year-old hominid, are displayed. At the end of the day, you will see the Mercato, which is said to be Africa’s largest open-air market. Meals: Breakfast
Day 3: Bahirdar
Fly to Bahirdar and transfer to the hotel for check-in. Bahirdar is a pleasant city located 1,800 meters above sea level on the shores of Lake Tana, the largest lake in Ethiopia. Out of the 37 islands on Lake Tana, 30 of them have churches and monasteries of considerable historical and cultural interest. Afternoon boat trip on Lake Tana to admire the beautiful monasteries over the lake’s islands, such as Ura Kidane Mehret and Mahal Zeghie Gyorgis. Dinner and overnight at the (Chosen Hotel) Hotel, where you can relax in the pleasant lakeside garden (or similar).
Day 4: Bahirdar.
A morning bus journey to Tis Abay (Blue Nile Falls)- Tis Abay means ‘Smoke of the Nile’ . Nevertheless you get a sense of what it used to be like. We will then walk over the Portuguese bridge, seeing the scenery and hearing the Shepherds playing flutes. Lunch inBahirdar. After lunch there will be an afternoon drive to the ancient city of Gondar, once the capital of Ethiopia in the 17th and 18th centuries and we will check in to the (Choosen Hotel).
Day 5 Gondar:
An early morning start; the day will be spent touring the fascinating sights for which Gondar is famous. You will explore the Royal Enclosure, which lies in the heart of the city and it is surrounded by high stone walls and Fasilides’ Palace. You will also visit the Debre Birhan Selassie Church, famous for its ‘‘winged angel” faces that decorate the entire ceiling. Called the “Trinity at the Mount of Light,” it is one of Ethiopia’s most renowned places to visit. The ceiling and wall paintings depict the life, wit and humanity of Ethiopia.
Day 6: Gondar
We will depart Gondar and travel by coach, passing through mountainous areas with spectacular panoramic views, approaching Quara, the national park of the Simien Mountains. We will take a gentle walk through the national park and have a picnic lunch on route. The area is full of impressive scenery and wildlife. Perhaps the most wonderful sightings would be the Gelada Baboon and the Lammergeier falcon. Later in the afternoon we will return back to Gondar.
Day 7: Lalibela
Fly to Lalibela, and transfer to the hotel for check-in. Afternoon, visit the first group of the rock-hewn churches. Lalibela is a world heritage site and the 8th wonder of the world. It is most famous for the 13 rock-hewn churches cut out of a solid rock, some completely hidden in deep trenches, while others stand in open quarried caves with a complex series of tunnels and narrow passageways connecting the churches.
Day 8: Lalibela
Continue visiting the remaining churches. Lalibela indeed offers a great opportunity for any traveller. We will take more time to enjoy and explore these unique churches.
Day 9: Addis Ababa
We will fly back to Addis mid-morning and then check into our hotel. There will be the opportunity for some final souvenir shopping after lunch. In the evening we will visit the cultural club in Addis, called ‘Yod Abyssinia’ where you will have the option to sample ‘Tej’ (a beer made from natural honey) and see the traditional dance and music from each region of Ethiopia. What a way to complete a fantastic journey!