North & Tigray Churches - 12 days
This program covers Addis Ababa, Axum, Lalibela, Gondar, Lake Tana, Tigray, Simen Mountains and Blue Nile Falls.
Arrive in Addis Ababa (the capital city of Ethiopia) and embark on sightseeing including the Trinity Cathedral, the National and Ethnographic museums and the Merkato (the largest open-air market in Africa). Stop for lunch at Dashen Ethiopian Restaurant for your introduction to enjera (the Ethiopian staple food). Overnight hotel.
The National Museum in Addis Ababa houses the famous 3.2 million old fossil of Lucy
In the morning fly to Mekele and visit the former palace of Emperor Yohannes IV of Ethiopia (r.1872-89). Continue to Wokro and visit the rock-cut church of Wokro Cherkos. After lunch visit another rock-hewn church from the 4th century, Abrha Asbha. Overnight hotel.
The 4th century rock-cut church of Abrha we Asbha is famous for its murals
In the morning climb to the rocky hill of Maryam Korkor (1:30 one way) to visit the 13th century church dedicated to Mary. In the afternoon climb (with the help of rope) to the rock church of Abune Yimata noted for its 15th century frescos. (This day is physically demanding. If the two sites are found to be tough, there will be easier options). Overnight hotel.
In the morning drive to Negashi where early Muslim refugees lived in the 7th century. Drive to Yeha to visit the 7th century B.C. Moon Temple, which is the oldest standing structure in Ethiopia. Overnight hotel.
Visit Axum including its archaeological sites and the church of Maryam Tsion, which houses the Ark of the Covenant. Axum was the capital city of Ethiopia from the 1st to 10th century A.D. At present it is regarded as the holiest city in Ethiopia as it was here Christianity was introduced in the 4th century. Overnight hotel.
The granite obelisks of Axum are evidence of the greatness of the Ancient Ethiopian civilization. The fallen obelisk is the single largest piece of rock ever carved by a human being.
Fly to Lalibela and visit the famous 12th century rock-cut churches of Lalibela, regarded as one of the wonders of the ancient world. Overnight hotel.
In the morning drive to the 12th century cave church of Yimrhane Kirstos considered to be the masterpiece of built up churches from the medieval period of Ethiopian history. Drive back to Lalibela to visit the remaining rock churches of Lalibela. Late afternoon you will attend coffee ceremony in a private home. Overnight hotel.
Carved out of a single sold rock, the 12th century rock-hewn church of Bete Gyorgis at Lalibela is likely to be the most photographed church in Ethiopia
In the morning on the way to the airport visit a school. Fly to Gondar and visit the 17th and 18th century castles of Gondar and the church of Debre Birhan Sillasse, famous for its murals. Overnight hotel.
Excursion to the Simen Mountains National Park which is called by many as the “Grand Canyon of Ethiopia” to appreciate its landscape and rare wildlife particularly the Gelada Monkeys, endemic to Ethiopia. Overnight hotel.
The “Roof of Africa” is the other name of the Simen Mountains.
The endemic Gelada Monkeys are one of flagship species of the Simen Mountains NP.
In the morning visit the ruins of Kuskuam and meet church students. After lunch drive to Bahir Dar with stops on the way to see local life. Overnight hotel.
The 17th century castle of Fasiledes at Gondar.
The church of Debre Birhan Sillasse is known as the Sistine Chapel of Ethiopia.
In the morning drive to the Blue Nile Falls. In the afternoon you will have boat excursion on Lake Tana to visit one of the churches famed for its murals. Overnight hotel.
In the morning fly to Addis Ababa. You will have a chance to do some shopping for coffee and other things. Fly out of Addis this evening or the following day.
The magnificent Blue Nile Falls