25 DAYS / 24 NIGHTS FOR ADVENCHER + HISTORICAL SITES – CULTURE TOUR CODE:ETG/COMBINATION/002 1 Addis - Bahir Dar After breakfast drive from Addis to Bahir Dar. On the way Visit; Debre Libanos: One of the Ethiopia’s most holy sites. It was founded in the 13th century by priest credited not only with the spread of Christianity throughout the highlands, but also with the restoration of the Solomonic line of dynasty. Blue Nile Gorge; A spectacular view not found anywhere in the country. Lunch in Deber Marcos. Overnight in Bahirdar. 2 Bahir Dar After Breakfast drive 32kms South East of Bahirdar, walk up some distance and then proceed to visit the thundering “Tiss-Issat” Fall which means Smoking Water in Amharic. Drive back to your hotel for lunch. Afternoon, four hour boat excursion on Lake Tana to visit: Ura Kidane Mihret on Zega Peninsual: the most beautiful church in the Tana region, set within bleak stone walls. The monastery was founded in the 14th century by a saint called Betre Maryam. Kibran Gabriel: it is founded in the 13th century by a hermit called Abuna Yohannis. Dinner at your hotel. After dinner go to Cultural Night Club (Maskinko Bet) and overnight in Bahirdar. 3 Bahir Dar – Gonder After breakfast, drive to Gondar. The four-hour drive will take you through rural villages, offering wonderful insight into the Amhara culture. After briefly settling in your hotel, explore the sites of Gondar, including a visit to the Royal Enclosure, with six castles and several other buildings. Additionally, visit Fasilidas’s Pool, still used for Timketcelebrations and the Debre Birhan Selassie church, with its most famous ceiling painting in Ethiopia. Overnight in Gonder. 4 Gonder - Simen Mountains(sky of Africa) – Gonder Depart early in the morning from Gondar for a drive to Debark. We will stop along the way to handle park fees, etc. Nearing Sankober, you will have beautiful views on both sides of the escarpment ridge and where you will likely see the endemic Gelada baboons. After 2hrs trekking back to Gonder. Overnight in Gonder. 5 Gonder – Lalibela In the morning we driving to Lalibela via Woreta, passing through Amhara country side. The drive on this winding and scenic route is breath taking. Lunch en route. Dinner and overnight in Lalibela. 6 Lalibela In the morning, 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 and Bet Golgotha. After lunch, continue with the Southeastern Cluster of churches – Bet Gabriel-Rufael, Bet Merkorios, Bet Amanual 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 – St.George. Overnight in Lalibela. 7 Lalibela - Axum ( via Sekota) 8 hours Full day driving to Axum. On the way visit the exiting and dramatic land scape all the way. Lunch en route. Dinner and overnight in Axum. 8 Axum Today will be a full day visit of the sites of Axum, include the famous obelisks (one was recently erected after being returned from Italy), the Queen of Sheba’s Bath (which supplies water to Axum year-round), King Bazen’s tomb, and the Queen of Sheba’s Palace. You can also visit the St. Mary of Zion church, where the Ark of the Covenant is kept. Unfortunately, no one (except one a specially chosen guardian monk) is allowed to enter the chapel where the Ark is kept. Lunch,dinner and overnight in Axum. 9 Axum - Mekele The drive up to Mekele passes through the Mountains of Adwa dotted with rock-hewn Tigraian churches perched on inaccessible tips. Lunch in re route. Dinner and overnight in Mekele. 10 Mekele - Hamed Ila Drive from Mekele to Hamed Ila via Berehale, where you will pick up police scouts, road guides and permits for the Afar region. From Berehale, proceed driving to Hamed Ila. We will see the camel caravans along the way, carrying salt from the salt lake to Mekele for sale. Overnight camping in Hamed Ila. 11 Hamed Ila After breakfast, take a day trip to Dallol, which at 116m below sea level is the lowest point on earth. Here the landscape is beautiful, the ground many shades of red and yellow from the hot water, acids and minerals spurting up from the ground. You will also visit Lake Asale, which is the salt lake from which the Afar nomads extract salt. You will witness (and even try) their laborious task of removing salt from the ground as hundreds of camels relax before the long trek back to Mekele. At the end of the day we return to Hamed Ila for overnight camping. 12 Hamed Ila - Erta Ale From Hamed Ila, continue to Erta Ale via Kusawad. The Erta Ale volcano has been in a constant state of eruption for over 40 years. You will camp in the village of El Dom, where it will be an early-to-bed night. 13 Erta Ale - Afdera Today is an early-to-rise start at 2:00AM. You hike to the crater rim of the Erta Ale volcano. At the top, you will peer down at the permanent lava lake (the only one in the world!) while the sun rises over the horizon. Definitely the highlight of the trip! After the hike back to camp and a bit of breakfast, you’ll continue driving to Lake Afrera for overnight camping. 14 Afdera - Awash After breakfast drive to Awash, through the Yangudi-Rassa National Park, (Sanctuary for the endangered African wild ass). Continue to Awash National Park for overnight lodging. 15 Awash - Harar After un early game drive thought Awash National Park, depart for Harar. The drive from Awash to Harar is unlike the drive in the North. Nevertheless, it is very scenic and beautiful in its own way. Lunch in en route. We then arrive in Harar the walled city- alleged to be the 4th holy place of Islam for dinner and overnight. 16 Harar A full day is dedicated to exploring the walled city of Harar. We visit its colorful markets, countless mosques and shrines, and unique Harari people and houses. At night fall you can visit the Hyena Men who feed the hyenas every night just outside the walls of the city. You can even give a try at feeding the hyenas. Overnight in Harar at your Hotel. 17 Harar - Mojo A relaxed drive we will take as thought Awash, Metehara and wolencheti towns. A late lunch in Nazreth (Adama) before coming to Mojo for the night. 18 Harar - Arbaminch Mojo is the starting point of the Great East African Rift valley with its numerous lakes. We pass through a fascinating land scape before coming to Arbaminch for dinner and overnight in Arbaminch. Lunch en route. 19 Arbaminch - Jinka In the morning, take a boat trip on Lake Chamo to visit the “crocodile market” and the hippos. Afterwards, drive to Jinka via Key Afer. Lunch in en route. Dinner and overnight in Jinka. 20 Jinka- Mursi - Turmi In the morning, drive to Mago national park to visit the Mursi tribe. The Mursis are known for their lower lip and earlobe plates. In the afternoon, after returning to Jinka, you can visit the South Omo Museum & Research Center to learn more about the local tribes. After lunch drive to Turmi via Dimeka and Key Afar. At night you can see the traditional night dancing of the Hamer tribe, known as evangadi. Overnight in Turmi. 21 Turmi In the morning, take a day trip to Omorate to visit the Dassenech tribe. Here you will cross the Omo River by local boat and enter a local Dassenech village. Afterwards, return to Turmi (Monday is a market day). If there is Bull Jumping - traditional Hamer coming-of-age ceremony - that will be visited. Overnight in Turmi. 22 Turmi - Konso After breakfast drive to Konso. Visit a local Konso village and the “Natural New York” village, named after the tall sand formations resembling skyscrapers. The Konso people are known for their totems erected in honor of the dead and their intricate agricultural terracing techniques. A visit to the King’s palace is worthwhile if could be arranged. Dinner and over night in Konso. 23 Konso - Yabelo The drive from Konso to Yabelo passes thought scenic desert and Acacia forest where the Borenna tribe roam with their cattle, goats and camels. Lunch, dinner and overnight in Yabelo. 24 Yabelo - Awassa Yabelo to Awassa is the true coffee land of the South. The whole area is coffee growing. You will see the magical beans at close range – from processing to the tasting. Lunch en route. Dinner and overnight in Awassa. 25 Awassa - Addis An early morning walk by Lake Awassa will be fascinating as one can set a number of birds – some endemic. A little drive after breakfast will take us to “Fish Market”. A colorful scene will await us fishermen sell their night’s catch for the towns people. Pelicans compete with Marabous for a bit a leftover. After 2 hours drive we reach Zeway town by Lake Zeway. We take a left turn towards Butajira to can to Addis via a different route than the one we took at the beginning of the journey. On the way you may have time to visit one of the following archeological sites of interest: Tiya ancient stellae field a UNESCO World Heritage site Adadi Maryam – rock-hewn church similar to those in Lalibela Melka Kunture – pre-historic tool-making site Dinner will be in a traditional restaurant with cultural live music. Overnight in hotel or depart to your country. End of Tour.