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North Ethiopia And Semien Mountain Trekking 16 Days Tour

Country: Ethiopia
City: Addis Ababa
Duration: 16 Day(s) - 15 Night(s)
Tour Category: Historic Tour
Departure Date: Thu 01 Jan '99

Package Itinerary

Day 01: Arrival in Addis Ababa and Visit

Fly to Addis Ababa, where you will be met at the airport. After a transfer to your hotel, enjoy a little downtime by the pool, before taking your first steps into the city. The Italian-built Piazza sits next to famous markets and bustling streets. Nearby are the Grand Anwar Mosque and the Ragual Church.

The Mosque and church are within a stone’s throw of each other, highlighting the peace between different religions in Ethiopia. Get lost in Mercato, the largest open-air market in Africa. Its labyrinthine alleys are perfect for people watching or enjoying a coffee. Coffee ceremonies here are famous and a source of pride, be sure to try to experience this at least once on your trip!

Venture to the National Museum to see how it all started: meet Lucy, the 3.2-million-year-old fossilized skeleton here. Her discovery re-wrote the story of human evolution, as she was found to have walked on two legs. See the Holy Trinity Cathedral, famed for its copper dome and neo-baroque architecture. It houses the tombs of the former Ethiopian emperor Haile Selassi, and the British suffragette Sylvia Pankhurst.

A short drive up Mount Entoto will take you to the Palace of Emperor Menelik II. From this vantage point, you have an excellent view of the city. On the way back to Addis, perhaps stop by Shiro Meda, the biggest garment market in the country, where hundreds of vendors line the busy Entoto Road and sell hand-woven traditional clothes.

In the evening, enjoy a traditional dinner at one of the capital's fantastic cultural restaurants.

Breakfast, lunch, and Dinner

Transportation: 4WD

Upper Class - Golden Tulip Hotel or Similar

Moderate – Monarch Addis Hotel or similar

Budgeted – Wabi Shebele Hotel or Similar

CONSULTANT NOTE

You will get picked up from the airport

Golden Tulip Hotel is one of our favorite Hotel

Day 02: Fly to Bahirdar and Visit

From Addis, you’ll take a one-hour flight north to Bahir Dar. Here, your guide will accompany you on a boat trip to Lake Tana, Ethiopia’s largest lake. Visit some of the peaceful monasteries nestled on the islands and peninsulas around the lake and wander through coffee plantations, enjoy some of the local brews and meet local farmers.

As the monasteries were used for religious retreats, the lake and its islands serve as an unofficial nature reserve. Look out for white pelicans and ‘air breathing’ catfish. Your boat tour will end at Zege peninsula. There is a short path walk towards Ura Kidrane Mehret, arguably the most beautiful of all the churches at Lake Tana, with hundred-year-old characterful frescoes.

Later venture towards the only outflow of the lake: Blue Nile Falls. These 42 meter falls create such large amounts of spray that they are known in Amharic (Ethiopia’s official language) as ‘Tis Abay’ meaning ‘Smoking Water’. A short distance down the Blue Nile lies a stone bridge built-in 1626: potentially one of the famed seven stone bridges built by the emperor Fasilides. This river and another, the White Nile, are the two main tributaries to the Nile, the world’s longest river.

Breakfast, lunch, and Dinner

Transportation: Domestic flight and 4WD

Upper Class – Avanti Hotel or Similar

Moderate – Jacaranda International Hotel or similar

Budgeted – Solyana Hotel or Similar

CONSULTANT NOTE

You will get dropped off and picked up from the airport

You cover approximately 80km

Day 03: Drive to Gondar and Visit

Spend the morning drive to the old capital of the country Gondar. Your first stop will be Debre Berhan Selassie Church, whose heavy and unassuming stone facade hides the colorful frescoes inside.

After this, you will head to the well-preserved Fasil Gebbi in Gondar, described by some as the ‘Camelot of Africa’ for a guided tour. Now known as the Royal Enclosure, this was initially founded in 1636 and built by Emperor Fasilides as his home, but successive emperors and rulers added to his blueprint. Now, the buildings span over 70,000 square meters of land and include palaces, libraries, two lion houses, royal baths, and a women’s vocational school built by Mentewab, the Empress of Ethiopia.

Within the enclosure, there are multiple architectural styles and influences jostling for position. The influences include Indian, Portuguese, Moorish, and Aksumite.

Breakfast, lunch, and Dinner

Transportation: 4WD

Upper Class – Gondar Hills Resort or Similar

Moderate – Florida International Hotel or similar

Budgeted – Kino Hotel or Similar

CONSULTANT NOTE

You will approximately cover 210 km

Drive time will vary based on the stopes we have

Day 04: Drive Gondar – Debark to Sankaber

A car will pick you up from your hotel in Gondar take you to Debark, the headquarters of the Simien Mountains National Park. Here you’ll meet with your trek leader and scout. You’ll take a 4×4 some of the ways to your first camp at Sankaber, but you will walk the final stretch (approximately 3 hours) in order to acclimatize to the altitude.

Ascending to over 3,000m above sea level and with a jagged landscape, you’ll be stunned by the views from the offset. You’ll be met with drinks, a tasty and hearty dinner, and a campsite in Sankaber where you can sit around the fire and swap stories with guides and other trekkers.

Breakfast, lunch, and Dinner

Transportation: 4WD

Upper Class – Semein Lidge

Moderate – Comping SanqaBer Budgeted

CONSULTANT NOTE

You will cover approximately 140 km

Driving time will vary based on the stops we have.

Day 05: Trek– Sankaber – Geech

The first full day of hiking starts with breakfast, and then a trail along the ridge. This gives you a vantage point and incredible views over the foothills some 800m below. The mountains are known worldwide for their biodiversity: Ethiopia’s placement on the equator makes this mountain range a particularly temperate one. Your guides will point out flora and fauna of note, but regular sightings on this trail are of Gelada Baboons, Kilpspringer, and Ibex. From these heights, you’ll be able to watch birds of prey soar on the thermals below.

A highlight of today’s path is Genbar Falls, a waterfall over a sobering 500m sheer drop which you’ll see from the opposite side of the ridge. After a break for lunch, you’ll carry on towards Geech, a remote traditional village with thatched roofs. This is the perfect opportunity for a booster: some coffee and injera. Then onwards to the camp which is a great spot for watching the sunset.

Breakfast, lunch, and Dinner

Transportation: Trekking

Upper Class –Moderate – Comping Geech Budgeted

CONSULTANT NOTE

You will cover approximately 15 km

Trekking time will vary based on the stops we have.

Day 6: Trek – Geech - Chennek

Most of today’s path hugs the edge of the ridge. You’ll drop down through a forest of Giant Hazel before rising back to open grassland and continuing on your ascent up to Inyate. The views from the top are monumental. After recovering from the climb and the view, you’ll descend towards Chennek camp. This camp is well known for its visitors: Wallia Ibex and Gelada Baboons.

Breakfast, lunch, and Dinner

Transportation: Trekking

Upper Class – Moderate – Comping Chennek Budgeted

CONSULTANT NOTE

You will cover approximately 15 km

Trekking time will vary based on the stops we have.

Day 7: Simien Mountains National Park – Mount Buahit

Today you’ll reach the highest point of the trek so far. The day will start with a gentle trek up the Buhait pass before the trail steepens. The climb will test but reward you, with the jagged and steep terrain giving way to striking views once you reach the summit. As with the other areas, wildlife is plentiful here and people have spotted the elusive Ethiopian Wolf as well as Ibex, monkeys, and an array of birdlife.

Brilliantly says: it's possible to replace camping in the Simiens with lodge stays or extend/reduce the amount of camping in the Simiens depending on your interests and fitness levels.

Breakfast, lunch, and Dinner

Transportation: Trekking

Upper Class – Moderate – Comping Chennek Budgeted

CONSULTANT NOTE

You will cover approximately 10 km

Trekking time will vary based on the stops we have.

Day 9 - Limalimo Lodge

In the morning, drive (~2.5 hours) to the incredible Limalimo Lodge. Spend the day relaxing around the idyllic lodge - the perfect way to bring your adventure in the Simien Mountains to an end.

Brilliantly says: you might want to consider spending at least 2 nights at Limalimo Lodge - it's a real treat!

Breakfast, lunch, and Dinner

Transportation: 4WD

Upper Class – Limalimo Lodge or Similar- Moderate – Ras Dashen Hotel or similar- Budgeted – Giant Lobilia Hotel or Similar

CONSULTANT NOTE

You will get picked up from airport

Golden Tulip Hotel is one of our favorite Hotel

Day 10: Axum

After breakfast today, we continue to the ancient city of Axum, admiring the stunning Simien Mountains en route. Along the way, we break in Adarky for tea, before traveling into the wide Tekeze Valley. Although the roads are rough and dusty, the views in this remote part of Ethiopia are simply spectacular.

The drive today affords some excellent photo opportunities of the jagged Simien Mountains and the Tekeze Valley. The route is dotted with intermittent mountain hamlets and huge baobab trees that add to the splendor of the scenery. There will be scheduled stops to break up the journey, walk around, and get a cool drink.

The drive brings us to the sacred city of Axum in the Tigray region, which was the capital of the Ethiopian empire between the 1st and 10th centuries AD. As the birthplace of Christianity within the country, it was also a bustling commercial center. We continue our journey to the ancient city Axum after lunch. We spend the next two nights in historic Axum city, the heart of Ethiopian culture and religion.

Breakfast, lunch, and Dinner

Transportation: 4WD

Upper Class – Atranos Hotel or Similar- Moderate – Sabean Hotel or similar- Budgeted – Oblisk Hotel or Similar

CONSULTANT NOTE

You will approximately drive 280 km

Driving time will vary depending on the stops we have

Day 11: Visit the ancient town of Axum

On this day you will have a city tour that includes Stele Park. These famed granite obelisks are relics of this time and have gained UNESCO World Heritage Site status.

The tallest, the Great Stele, has fallen and broken into six massive pieces, but when standing was 33 meters (108 feet) tall and weighed about five hundred tons. The tallest obelisk still standing at Axum today is about 23 meters (75 feet) tall, still an impressive sight!

You will continue the city tour, visiting St. Mary's Church and the Sanctuary Chapel which is the repository of the Ark of the Covenant; the Coronation Yard; King Ezana's Park; and the "Queen of Sheba" ruins, once a massive palace with finely mortared stonewalls deep foundations, and its own impressive drainage system, believed to be the oldest building in Axum.

Breakfast, lunch, and Dinner

Transportation: 4WD

Upper Class - Atranos Hotel or Similar-Moderate – Sabean Hotel or similar- Budgeted – Oblisk Hotel or Similar

CONSULTANT NOTE

You will cover 64 km

All the hotels are based on your interest can be customized

NB: On day eight we have breakfast and explore the oldest urban settlement existing in Ethiopia today - Axum. Also known as Aksum, this is one of the oldest continuously populated places in Africa, famous for its archaeological attractions, designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Cradle of the great Ethiopian civilization known as the Kingdom of Axum, today the city is the spiritual and religious center of the country. Axum was a major center of trade between Egypt, Rome, Nubia, Greece, Syria, and India as early as the first century AD.

Day 12: Drive Axum – Gheralta

The morning after breakfast drive Axum- Gerehalta on the way to visit the 8-5 BC Temple of Yeha. The temple is believed to be the oldest standing worship building in the country dedicated to the god of Moon called Almuqa. Yeha is famous for its huge and remarkable temple. According to the 19th-century German scholar Heinrich Miiller, the temple is thought to date back to about seven or eight hundred years before the birth of Christ. The temple is believed to be the oldest standing building in the country.

Besides the remarkable temple, a church dedicated to Abba Aftse stands. Abba Aftse was one of the famous nine saints who came to Ethiopia in the 6th century from the eastern Roman Empire to teach the Gospel. The church, sharing the same compound with the temple is rectangular in shape.

Then Proceed in the 6th century AD famous Monastery of Debre Damo was established by Abune Aregawi one of the Nine Saints who came to Ethiopia in the 6th century in the reign of King Kaleb to spread Christianity and introduce monastery life in different parts of the country, particularly to the northern region. The monastery is only for men and is accessed by climbing rope to the top of the plateau. If you are not interested in the monastery since it is only for men and needs physical capability. It is possible to visit one rock church of TIGRAY (TEKA TESFA CLUSTER) arrival in Adigrat.

Breakfast, lunch, and Dinner

Transportation: 4WD

Upper Class – Kukur Lodge-Moderate – Gerhalta Lodge or SImilar-Budgeted – Vision Hotel or Similar

CONSULTANT NOTE

You will cover approximately 165 km

Trekking time will vary based on the stops we have.

Day 13: Drive Gheralta - Axum

After breakfast, head to the Geralta cluster to visit the rock churches of Tigray dated back from the 6-9th century established by the nine saints who came from Syria during the time of Kaleb and Gebremeskel kings of the Axum dynasty.

The rock churches are carved on the top of the mountain façade today you will visit the rock churches namely Mariam Korkur. Although an unsightly green from the outside, this impressive, cross-shaped church is known for its architectural features (cruciform pillars, arches, and cupolas), fine 17th-century frescos, and church treasures. It’s also one of the largest churches in the area.

The path begins around 1km from the road just southeast of Megab and involves a fairly steep one-hour ascent. Maryam Korkor is easily combined with nearby Abuna Yemata Guh into an all-day trek from Megab. If time permits, we will Abreha-we-Atsbha and finally to Wekro Cherkos. If time permits, we will visit Medhane Alem Adi Kesho. The size and complex architecture make the church impressive. The exterior is cut free from the rock behind with four columns in front and two large doors and it is covered in paint.

We will continue to Mikael Milhazengi a church dedicated to Saint Mikael. The isolated round hill out of which the church is carved lies 2760m above sea level. There are a number of graves and old indigenous trees and bushes inside the churchyard. The most remarkable feature of the church is its beautifully decorated dome.

Breakfast, lunch, and Dinner

Transportation: 4WD

Upper Class – Atranos Hotel or Similar-Moderate – Sabean Hotel or Similar-Budgeted – Ethiopis Hotel or similar

CONSULTANT NOTE

You will cover approximately 185 km

Trekking time will vary based on the stops we have.

Day 14: Fly to Lalibela and Visit

From Axum, a short flight takes you to Lalibela, home of the rock-hewn churches and a World Heritage Site. These eleven structures are world-famous, having been built in the 12-13th century and carved out of single pieces of rock. Haile Selassi reportedly risked his life to make a solo pilgrimage here during the war with Italy, seeking clarity and guidance.

After checking in to your hotel we directly head to Yimirahanne-Kirstos. The most popular of the churches outside of Lalibela, this church is built with layers of wood and granite, set in the entrance to a large cavern. Yimrhanne-Kirstos predates the Lalibela churches and was built using a completely different style of construction involving marble and wood. The church is built inside a cave. Pass through different villages and learn about local crops on different plateaus, specular views till your reach the church. Return to Lalibela let in the afternoon for a nice dinner at Ben Abeba Restaurant.

Breakfast, lunch, and Dinner

Transportation: Domestic flight and 4WD

Upper Class – Mezena Lodge or Similar-Moderate – Panoramic View Hotel or similar- Budgeted – Seven Olives Hotel or Similar

CONSULTANT NOTE

You will get picked up from airport

You will approximately drive 100 km

Day 15: Visit Lalibela

The morning after breakfast you will start to visit the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Lalibela - the New Jerusalem of Ethiopia, in a fitting final to your Ethiopian adventure, explore the first group of the monolithic Red-Tuff churches incredibly carved into the rock. Although churches carved in rock are not found in other parts of the world, those found in Ethiopia are particularly interesting.

Generally, they were excavated on all sides of a rectangle, leaving a large block of stone isolated in the center. This rock was then shaped and formed both inside and out and the carvings show extremely skillful workmanship. Lalibela, the 'New Jerusalem', is thought to have been constructed some 800 years ago by King Lalibela. Once his capital city, this former bustling city is today a small village, virtually cut off from the outside world.

You will start visiting of the rock-hewn churches of Lalibela, the Northwestern Cluster of churches. The Rock-hewn churches that we will visit today before lunch will be the first group of churches included: Bete Medhanialem, Bete Mariam, Bete Meskel, Bete Denagl, and Bete Gologota or Michal. The monolithic churches were carved out of 2600-sq natural rock terraces in the twelve century AD by King Lalibela.

Bete Medhanialem, the largest monolithic Rock hewn church of the world, Magers 37.7 ft in Height, covers an area of almost 2625 Square ft, and has walls that are up to 6 feet thick. The Church building have supported by 36 pillars inside and 38 pillars outside. Bête Medhanialem is modeled on the original St. merry zion church built by King Ezana in the 4th century at Axum.

After having lunch, we will continue our journey into Ethiopian long and marvelous past with a visit to other sent Lalibela Remarkable churches. Their architecture and artistry must be seen to be believed. The Rock-Hewn Churches that we will visit is the second group of churches and St, George it included: Bete Gebral-we-Rafael, Bete Merquros, Bete Emanule, Betelehiam, Bete Aba 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.

We'll be joined by a guide both this morning and this afternoon to learn about the area's fascinating history. The exploring will include a certain amount of scrambling between rocks and through tunnels.

The churches stand in two main groups on either side of a stream, known locally as 'The River Jordan', and between them are considered to be one of the great wonders of the world. Most of the churches now have a permanent roof built over them to preserve them and are listed as UNESCO World Heritage sites.

Once we finished visiting the second group of churches and we will walk to the village so the complex bewildering labyrinth of underground Tunnels to the monastery where the monks and nuns live.

Breakfast, lunch, and Dinner

Transportation: 4WD

Upper Class – Mezena Lodge or Similar Moderate – Panoramic View Hotel or similar Budgeted – Seven Olives Hotel or Similar

CONSULTANT NOTE

You will approximately drive 64 km

Finot says: it's often worth spending more than one night in Lalibela to really soak it up. An extra day also gives you the opportunity to explore some of the wonders in the highlands around Lalibela.

Day 16: Addis Ababa to Home.

After an early breakfast, leave Lalibela en route to visit the monastery of Nakutolab- a cave church. This is the easiest of all the outlying churches to reach in the monastery of Nakutolab which is named after its constructor, the nephew, and successor of king Lalibela.

The monastery accredited to Nakuotolab consists of a relatively simple church built around a shallow cave in which several holy pools are fed by natural springs.

After visiting you will get a domestic flight that takes us back to Addis Ababa. We are then transferred to the hotel for day use and get settled before enjoying final dinner at a well-known local Ethiopian restaurant with dances from the different ethnic group's songs. Transfer back to the airport in the late evening for your international flight back home.

Breakfast, lunch, and Dinner

Transportation: Domestic flight and 4WD

Upper Class – - Moderate – - Budgeted – -

CONSULTANT NOTE

You will get picked up from airport

You will approximately drive 64 km

Exploring says: it is easy to adjust the start/end of your adventure to line up with your international flights.

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