Guests arrive at Addis Ababa Bole International Airport and are met by a representative and transferred to their hotel. After a short break, guests take a tour of Addis Ababa, the third highest capital in the world. Tour includes Entoto Hills with panoramic views of the city, historic churches, the old Menelik Palace, the National Museum of Ethiopia which houses important archaeological relics and the vibrant Mercato, the largest open market in East Africa.
Overnight at The Magnolia Hotel or similar – Breakfast.
After breakfast, transfer to the airport for a flight to Bahir Dar, situated on the southern shore of Lake Tana, the largest lake in Ethiopia. After hotel check-in, depart to the spectacular Tissisat Falls, source of the Blue Nile. Lunch at the hotel then an afternoon tour of the city and visit to Woito village, known for production of Tankwa reed boats. Afterwards, tour the old palace of Emperor Haile Selassie in Bezawit, and some local markets.
Overnight at Abay Minch Lodge or similar – Lunch, dinner, and breakfast.
GORGORA & GONDAR
After breakfast is a boat ride on Lake Tana to visit monasteries of the 13th and 14th centuries. These include Ura Kidane Mehret and Mariam Azewa churches at the Zeghe Peninsula, with unique wall murals, the church of Dek Stefanos with its valuable collection of icons and remains of medieval emperors, the church of Kibran Gabriel (closed to women) and the church of Narga Selassie. Picnic lunch on the boat, then to Debreseina Mariam church in Gorgora town. Transfer by road to Gondar city, 60km away.
After breakfast, a full-day tour of in Gondar, founded by Emperor Fasiladas and Ethiopia’s capital city until the 19th century. Visits to Fasil Gibbi (the Royal Enclosure), castles built by various emperors, the baths of King Fasilidas and the Debre Berhane Selassie Church. Lunch at the hotel, and then guests tour the ruined palace of Queen Mentowab, and the Qusquam Mariam Church on a hill just outside the village.
Overnight at the Hotel Taye Belay or similar – Lunch, dinner, and breakfast.
After breakfast, transfer to the airport for a flight to Axum. Between 200 BC and 700 AD Axum was the capital of the empire stretching to the Red Sea and Arabian Peninsula. Visits to church of Santa Maria de Sion, (believed to house the remains of the original Ark of the Covenant), the monoliths of Axum, the tombs of the Kaleb emperors, and the Mai Shum also known as the Queen of Sheba baths.
Overnight at the Consolar Hotel – Lunch, dinner, and breakfast.
After breakfast, transfer to the airport for flight to the historic town of Lalibela. Constructed between the 12th and 13th centuries, its famous churches carved into the rock are still in use. Guests visit the churches of Beth Golgotha, Bet Mikael, Beth Mariam, Bet Meskel, Bet Denagel and Bet Medhane Alem. In the afternoon, tour the Church of St George on a hillside and which can only be accessed by a tunnel. The rest of the day is spent at leisure.
After breakfast, an early morning drive to the 12th century church of Yemrehene Christos, built inside a cave with alternating levels of wood and stone. After lunch, the group will tour the Lalibela churches south of the Jordan River.
Overnight at the Roha Hotel – Lunch, dinner, and breakfast.
After breakfast, transfer to the airport to take the flight to Arba Minch via Addis Ababa. Guests are transferred to the hotel and spend the rest of the day at leisure. The next day, guests visit Chencha town, home of the Dorze ethnic group who live in distinctive traditional structures and are expert weavers of cotton “shama” fabric. Lunch at the hotel, followed by a boat excursion on Lake Chamo.
Overnight at the Swaynes Hotel – Lunch, dinner, and breakfast.
After breakfast drive to Jinka town, via the hillside Konso villages in mountains which can only be accessed through a few steep trails. The Konso are known for their fine fabrics and wooden burial tomb totems. Lunch at a local restaurant then continue towards Turmi, stopping in Dimeka town for market day. After breakfast, drive to the Omo River and take a canoe to the Dasenech villages of the Galeb tribe. After lunch at the hotel, drive to Muruelle town to visit the Duss and Korcho villages of the Karo tribe.
Overnight at the Emerald Lodge – Lunch, dinner, and breakfast.
After breakfast, departure for Jinka town, with a stopover at a Hamer tribe with their distinct body adornments and dyed hair. Lunch is at a local restaurant. Later the group stops at Key Afer where the weekly market attracts tribes such as the Tsemay, Ari and Benna.
Overnight at the Orit Hotel – Dinner, and breakfast.
Early morning breakfast then visit villages of the Ari and Bena tribes. Drive to Mago National Park which has bushbuck, dik dik, baboons and colobus monkeys. Tour the villages of the Mursi tribe, one of original peoples of Ethiopia. The cattle-keeping Mursi are known for body scarification and large lip plates among the women. Lunch at a local restaurant in Arba Minch.
Overnight at the Swaynes Hotel – Dinner, and breakfast.
Return to Addis Ababa by road, visiting Hosanna town and Melka Kunture, with fossils and Stone Age tools. Lunch at a local restaurant and a day-use hotel room in Addis Ababa. A farewell dinner in one of the best traditional restaurants in the city, before transfer to Addis Ababa Bole International Airport.