Combined Tour

Combine Tour

Summary:

Visit the highlights of the northern historical route and the tribes of the Omo Valley in this 15-day itinerary.

Day 1

Early in the morning, depart on early flight for Bahir Dar (07:00). After arrival, take a boat trip on Lake Tana to visit a selection of the monasteries hidden on the islands and shores of this sacred lake. Visit the Zege Penninsula and the monasteries of Azuwa Maryam and Ura Kidane Mehret and the island monastery of Debre Maryam near the outlet of the Blue Nile River. In the afternoon, drive out to the Blue Nile Falls for a short hike in the area. Finish the day with the sunset over the lake. Overnight: Hotel

Day 2

After breakfast, continue north 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 Timket celebrations today, Ras Gimb Palace Museum and the Debre Birhan Selassie church, with the most famous ceiling in Ethiopia. Overnight: Hotel

Day 3

Early morning flight to Axum (07:45). Upon arrival to Axum, you will be met by your guide and transferred to your hotel. Today will be a full day visiting the sites of Axum, including the famous obelisks (one that was recently erected after being returned from Italy) and the archeological museum, the Queen of Sheba’s Bath (which supplies water to Axum year-round), Ezana’s enscription, King Kaleb’s tomb, 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. Men only are allowed to enter the old church. Unfortunately, no one (except one specially chosen guardian monk) is allowed to enter the chapel where the Ark is kept. Overnight: Hotel

Day 4

Depart on an early morning flight to Lalibela (08:00), the most famous of all of the Ethiopian historical sites. After lunch, 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 & Bet Golgotha (entry not permitted for women). Overnight: Hotel

Day 5

In the morning, take a trip to visit the church of Yimrehanne Kristos. 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. After the visit, return to Lalibela for lunch and, in the afternoon, visit 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 – Saint George. Overnight: Hotel

Day 6

In the morning, proceed to the airport for the return flight back to Addis Ababa (09:00). After arrival, depart south from Addis Ababa to Awassa. On the way, you will stop at Lake Ziway to visit the vibrant birdlife. Overnight: Hotel

Day 7

In the morning after breakfast, visit the fish market on the shores of Lake Awassa and then proceed driving to Dorze, set in the highlands above Arba Minch. The Dorze people are known for their tall beehive-like houses and their fine cotton weaving. You will visit the village and learn about the daily lives of these industrious people. If today is market day (in Dorze village on Monday and Thursday and in nearby Chencha on Tuesday and Saturday), that will be visited. Overnight in Dorze in traditional Dorze hut (shared toilet facilities) or continue to Arba Minch for overnight. Overnight: Hotel

Day 8

In the morning, visit the local market in Dorze (Monday and Thursday) or Chencha (Tuesday and Saturday). Afterwards, continue driving to Arba Minch. In the afternoon, take a boat trip on Lake Chamo to visit the “crocodile market” and the local hippos. Overnight: Hotel

Day 9

After breakfast, depart from Arba Minch to Turmi. On the way you will pass through the village of Weyto (market day Saturday), which is home to the Tsemai tribe. Continue through the Weyto Valley to Erbore, where you will have a brief visit to a local Erbore village (market day is Saturday). Finally, proceed to Turmi, home of the Hamer tribe. At night, you can see the traditional night dancing of the Hamer tribe, known as evangadi. Overnight: Hotel

Day 10

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 Dassenech village. Afterwards, return to Turmi (Monday is market day) for a visit to a local Hamer village. If there is Jumping of the Bulls traditional Hamer coming-of-age ceremony, that will be visited. Overnight: Hotel

Day 11

Depart for Jinka, via Dimeka and Key Afar. Tuesdays and Saturdays are market days in Dimeka, which is one of the most colorful markets in the area and is visited by many tribes, including Hamer, Benna and Karo. Afterwards, continue to Jinka. Overnight: Hotel

Day 12

In the morning, drive through the Mago National Park to a local village of the Mursi tribe. The Mursi 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. Alternatively, take a hike in the surrounding hills to visit a local Ari village. Overnight: Hotel

Day 13

After breakfast, depart from Jinka to Konso, via Key Afar. Thursday is market day in Key Afar, where you will see the Benna and Tsemai tribes trading goods. This is another very popular market in the region. After the visit, proceed to Konso (market days are Mondays and Thursdays). The Konso people are known for their wooden statues, known as wakas, which are erected in honor of dead heroes as well as their innovative agricultural terracing. Today you will have the opportunity to visit a local village and the cultural museum displaying many waka statues. Time permitting, you can also visit the “natural New York Village”, named after the tall sand formations resembling skyscrapers. Overnight: Hotel

Day 14

After breakfast, depart from Konso to Lake Langano. On the way you will visit the Senkele Wildlife Sanctuary, which was established to protect the endemic Swayne’s Hartebeest. Continue to Lake Langano for overnight.Overnight: Hotel

Day 15

After a morning swim in the lake, depart north to Addis Ababa. On the way, you may visit the Abiatta-Shala National Park. Lake Shala, with its deep blue waters is the deepest lake in Ethiopia at 236m. Lake Abiatta is a soda lake at which thousands of flamingos can be seen at various times of the year.

End of Tour.

*** This itinerary is flexible, and will likely change in order to coordinate visits with market days in the south, which is a great opportunity to mingle with the people, many of whom travel long distances on foot to attend.

Day 1: Arrival at Addis Ababa Bole International Air port

Meet by Safeway Tours representative at exit of luggage claim and transfer you to the hotel. Overnight: Hotel

Day 2 :City tour in Addis Ababa

Addis Ababa is the third highest capital of the world on an altitude of 2300-2500 m. with a pleasant climate and a background of green with eucalyptus trees covered mountains. The city is founded in 1886 by Emperor Menelik II and Queen Taitu. Visit Entoto Mountains, with very nice view over the capital, the National/Ethnographic museum, St George church and the Merkato, biggest open air market in Africa. Overnight: Hotel

Day 3: Drive to Debre Markos 325km asphalt road

On this day you start your tour to North Ethiopia. En route you can visit one of Ethiopia’s most holy sites: the Debre Libanos monastery founded in the 13th century by priest Tekla Haimanot, today one of Ethiopia’s most renowned saints. Continuing on from Debre Libanos to the main route, the road dropping more than 1000m, gradually winds down to the bottom of the Blue Nile Gorge, which is comparable in scale to American’s Grand Canyon cited to be the largest canyon in Africa. Overnight: Hotel

Day 4: Drive to Bahir dar; to the Shores of Lake Tana 260km asphalt road

You drive through the plain landscape of Gojjam land, well-known for its Teff productivity. Upon arrival having a lunch drive to Tis Isat (smoking of Fire); Since a dam has been built upstream, the waterfall is reduced a little. Also the walk to the waterfall is nice and you can enjoy nature and watch birds. Overnight: Hotel Day 5: Visit the Island monasteries of Lake Tana Make a boat trip on Lake Tana to visit the medieval period island monasteries such as; Kibran Gabriel (only for men), Entos and on the Zegien peninsula visit Ura Kidan Mehiret, Azuwa Mariam, Mahal Giorgis. In afternoon make free time. Overnight: Hotel

6: City tour in Gondar

After having breakfast drive to Gondar, 180km asphalt road via a scenic route and marvelous landscape and Visit the Royal Enclosure that is surrounded by high stone walls containing the 17th century palaces of King Fassiladas, King Iyasu and Queen Mentewab and different other buildings. Visit also Fasiladas’ Bath, (that is filled with water for the important Timkat (epiphany) ceremony once a year) Having a lunch in afternoon visit the rectangular Debre Brehan Selassie (Trinity at the Mount of Light) has a ceilings decorated with beautiful winged Angels. Depending on the time you can visit also Kweskwam Complex which is a royal compound built by the Empress Mentewab. Overnight: Hotel

Day 7: Drive to Debarq, 100km gravel road to visit the Simien Mountains National Park.

Finish formalities at the Head Quarter of the park at Debarq and continue to drive another 20km then make a short walk/trek. Overnight stay camping at Sankaber.

Day 8: Trek Geech Camp

Leaving the Sankaber camp you descend into the Michotis Valley and climb the other side where on your left you will see the Jin Bahir River plummeting into the Geech Abyss. Overnight stay in Geech Campsite

Day 9: Trek Chenek Camp

Depart from Chenek whilst you will head with day packs to the escarpment edge at Saha and Imetgogo (3,926m) for staggering views over the lowlands characterized by its rocky spires. Overnight stay in Chenek campsite

Day 10: Trek Amibikwa camp

Trek to the descent to the Mesheha River valley (2850m) and up the other side to Ambikwa camp at 3,200m. (Approx. 8-9 hour trek including breaks). Overnight stay in Amibikwa campsite.

Day 11: Trek to the Summit of Ras Dashen

This is the most challenging day of the trek up to the summit of Ras Dashen. Late in afternoon trek back to Amibikwa camp for overnight stay. Overnight stay in Amibikwa campsite.

Day 12: Trek back to Chenek

Where the car wait to you to drive back for the next day. Ovenight camping at Chenek.

Day 13: Half-day trekking and back to Debarq

Today after having a breakfast we make a short trekking around Chenek then you will drive back to Debarq for hot shower.

Overnight: Hotel

Day 14: Drive to Axum

Today you drive in a very scenic route, first take the zig-zag road of Lima Limu with many hairpins and crossing a rough mountain landscape. Later you descend in to the impressive Takezze River gorge. Overnight: Hotel

Day 15: City tour in Axum

Axum is a town with impressive monuments that testify of the rich and glorious past of the mighty Kingdom of Axum (1-700 A.D.). And the town also recorded in UNESCO lists as a World Heritage Site. Upon arrival check in hotel then start to make a visit to the famous Axumi’s stelae, St. Mary of Zion church (which supposed to house the Ark of Covenant) and archeological museum, the ruins palace of Queen Sheba so called Dungur & palace. Outside Axum you can visit also the tombs of Kings Kaleb & Gebre Meskel dating to 6th century. They are a great example of the sheer sophistication of Axumite architecture and building techniques. Overnight: Hotel<

Day 16: Flight to Lalibela

Lalibela and its rock-hewn church are thought, to date the 12th and 13th century during King Lalibela reign. The churches are remarkable since they are entirely freed from the rock, refined and concentrated in small land. Start to visit the rock-hewn churches of Lalibela which are clustered in to three different places separated by River Jordan. Today visit the first and the third groups of churches. Overnight: Hotel

Day 17: Continue sightseeing around and in Lalibela

Make excursion to visit Asheton Mariam by mule or drive to 45km gravel road North of Lalibela to visit Yemrehan Christos church. In afternoon continue to visit the second groups of churches. Overnight: Hotel<

Day 18: Flight back to Addis Ababa and departure back home

Today you have enough time left for shopping in Merkato or in the numerous souvenir shops near Churchill road, to visit art galleries. Late in afternoon have a fare-well dinner then check in for flight back home.

Day 1: Arrival at Addis Ababa Bole International Air port

Meet by Safeway Tours representative at exit of luggage claim and transfer you to the hotel. Overnight: Hotel

Day 2: City tour in Addis Ababa

Addis Ababa is the third highest capital of the world on an altitude of 2300-2500 m. with a pleasant climate and a background of green with eucalyptus trees covered mountains. The city is founded in 1886 by Emperor Menelik II and Queen Taitu. Visit Entoto Mountains, with very nice view over the capital, the National/Ethnographic museum, St George church and the Merkato, biggest open air market in Africa.Overnight: Hotel

Day 3: Drive to Awash

In the Awash National Park you will see the elegant Beisa Oryx grazing on the savanna plains. Also Soemmering’s gazelle, Dikdiks, greater and lesser Kudu and Waterbuck can be observed. The park is well known for its 460 bird species from which 6 are endemic. Overnight: Hotel Day 4: To Semera (325 km. asphalt) Today we have to make an early start to reach Semera in time to get the necessary permission for a visit to Erta Ale and Dallol. Overnight: Hotel

Day 5: To Afedera salt Lake via Serdo (appr. 250 km. tracks)

Early in the morning we drive on a track through the desolate landscape with only some coned shaped volcano’s here and there to Afedera saltlake. Late in the afternoon we visit the salt extractors at the lakeside. Overnight: Camping.

Day 6: Drive to Dodom

We drive to Dodom to set up our camp for Overnight: Hotel Camping

Day 7:

Early morning, trek to Erta Ale an active volcano where you enjoy the terrific view of the eruptions inside the lava lake (which is the sole crater lake in the world) causing a firework of burning hot lava. Overnight: Camping

Day 8:

Drive to Hamed Ela, a small village near the salt extraction area.

Overnight:

camping.

Day 9: Drive to Dallol (or Danakil) Depression

You visit one of the lowest points in the world – the Dalol Depression – 116 meters below sea level. Overnight: Camping

Day 10:

Visit the Dalol Depression and drive to Mekelle (220 km track/asphalt) In Mekelle visit the 17th century palace-museum of Emperor Yohannes IV. Overnight: Hotel

Day 11: Drive to Lalibela

Lalibela and its rock-hewn church are thought, to date the 12th and 13th century during King Lalibela reign. The churches are remarkable since they are entirely freed from the rock, refined and concentrated in small land. Overnight: Hotel

Day 12:

Visit the Rock-Hewn Churches of Lalibela, so called eighth wonder of the world Start to visit the rock-hewn churches of Lalibela which are clustered in to three different places separated by River Jordan. Today visit the first and the third groups of churches. Overnight: Hotel

Day 13:

Continue sightseeing around and in Lalibela Make excursion to visit Asheton Mariam by mule or drive to 45km gravel road North of Lalibela to visit Yemrehan Christos church. In afternoon continue to visit the second groups of churches. Overnight: Hotel

Day 14: Drive to Kombolcha

On this day also will you enjoy the mountainous landscape and splendid views on your way to Kombolcha. En route near to Dessie you can visit lovely Lake Hayk and its 13th Century Istafanos monastery, which is only accessible for men. Overnight: Hotel

Day 15: Drive to Addis Ababa and flight back home

Today you have enough time left for shopping in Merkato or in the numerous souvenir shops near Churchill road, to visit art galleries. Late in afternoon have a fare-well dinner then check in for flight back home.

Day 01:

Arrival in Addis Ababa. Transfer to the chosen hotel. Have a free morning. Afternoon (1400 hrs from the hotel) tour of the capital: visit Entoto mountain with views over the capital, the National museum and St.George church. Meals free. Overnight: Hotel

Day 02:

Drive to Bahirdar crossing very nice views. Visit on the way the Jemma river gorge, with the chance to spot endemic Gelada baboons, and visit the Debre Libanos monastery and the Portuguese bridge. Proceed then to Bahirdar crossing the Blue Nile river gorge, to reach late afternoon. Lunch on the way; Overnight: Hotel

Day 03:

Morning drive to visit the Blue Nile falls (it takes about 1 hour drive and then 15 minutes walk). Admire these spectacular falls. Late morning drive back to Bahirdar. Afternoon make a boat excursion on Lake Tana to visit the monasteries over its islands, as Ura Kidane Mehret and Asua Mariam.

Overnight: Hotel

Day 04:

Morning drive to Gondar. It takes about 2 hrs driving, visit on the way very nice landscapes, lake Tana and Amhara people villages. Afternoon visit the castles, the Debre Birhan Sellasie church (light of Trinity) with wonderful murals, King Fasiladas bath and Empress Mentewab palace. Then drive to Befikie Kosoye for dinner and Overnight: Overnight: Hotel Day 05: Depart to Debark. In debark you will arrange your visit with the park office and receive a scout and guide then drive into the park to arrive at Sankaber. You can either drive all the way in to Sankaber or have the car drop you off near Buyit Ras for a short hike. If you choose to hike in you will take in beautiful views of the landscape and the endless mountain ridges, and you likely see some gelada baboons. Overnight: Hotel

Day 06:

Today's hike will average about 6-7 hours. Many hikers agree that the route from Geech to Ambaras is the most magnificent hike the simiens have to offer. In route you will pass through Imet Gogo. Here you will have reached an altitude of 3,926m and be able to look out at the amazing landscape from 360 degrees. At this height and view point you can see the canyone below, distant ridges, and view the seemingly never ending valleys. Here you will break for lunch and hike the rest of the way to Ambaras where you will be met by a car to bring you back for overnight. Overnight: Hotel

Day 07:

After an early breakfast drive to the town of Lalibela via Sekota(300 kms) and experience the rough nature of road but nice view with the beautiful scenery (gigantic, ups and downs landscape). Lunch will be on the way. Overnight: Hotel Day 08:

Full day visit of the rock-hewn churches in Lalibela, defined as the 8th wonder in the world. Churches built in the 12th century; the African Jerusalem. In late afternoon take part of the coffee ceremony in a traditional house or the hotel. Overnight: Hotel

Day 09:

Visit the exquisite church of Yimrhane Kristos. This is a masterpiece of Axumit wood and stone construction which is renowned for its interior decoration and beautiful wooden coffer ceiling. Notice the inlaid of the hexagons and medallions with both figurative geometric motifs. Return back to Lalibela and revisit the rock churches that were not visited on the day of arrival. Return to your Hotel offering expanding views of the region. Overnight: Hotel

Day 10:

Fly to Axum and make a full day tour in Axum. Visit the steles, St Mary of Tsion church where legend says the Ark of Covenant is deposited), the bath & palace of Queen of Sheba & more. Overnight: Hotel

Day 11:

After breakfast drive to Adigrate by the Adwa Mountains. On the way visit Yeha Temple, which is more than 2500 years old and it is a small museum in the Church compound. And then drive to Debre Damo,(only for male) which is the first monastery in Ethiopia and found in 6th C by Abune Aregawi, who was one of the Nine Saints. Overnight: Hotel

Day 12:

After breakfast, depart for Hawsein. On the way you will stop for a visit to the rock-hewn church of Mikael Imba, part of the Atsbi cluster of churches. After the visit, continue to Wukro to visit the church of Wukro Chirkos. After lunch, continue north to the Tembien cluster of churches. Here you will visit the churches of Mehdane Alem Adi Kesho and Petros & Paulos. Proceed to Hawsein for overnight. Overnight: Hotel

Day 13:

Drive to Hamed Ila there will be a short stop in Berehale, to obtain afar region permissions, and pick up road guides and scouts. Have a picnic lunch in Berehale or on the way before continuing to Hamed Ila. Overnight: Hotel

Day 14:

After breakfast, go to Dallol, to visit the camel caravans. Here you will watch and learn how the Afar people extract salt from the salt lake (Lake Asale) for sale in Mekele. We will also visit the vast sulphurous springs, which give beautiful colors to the landscape. Overnight: Camping in Hamed Ila.

Day 15:

After breakfast, proceed driving to Erta Ale via Kursuwad. From Kursuwad, drive 25 km to park the car and have dinner. Around 6Pm start walk about 12Km to reach to Erta Ale (Active volcano). You will have spectacular views of the lava lake inside the volcano. The camels will bring the camping materials and water. Overnight: Ertale top hut

Day 16:

Very early in the morning, taking advantage of the 'cooler' hours of the day, we start our ascent to the rim of the caldera of Erta Ale. It takes about 3 hours to cover the distance of 10 km and 500 m in altitude. A camel caravan is accompanying us with our luggage and equipment. The rest of the day we explore the fascinating features of the volcano. Then Drive back to Afdera for overnight. Overnight: Camp

Day 17:

We continue our journey it will be a long drive of today through the Rift Valley leads us into the Afar region and we are going to meet the first of the brave Afar people in which homeland. If you are lucky you might see some game while traversing the Yangudi Rassa National Park which holds the last population of the African wild ass. Overnight: Hotel

Day 18:

In the morning we go out to explore Awash National Park. Game drive is available to encounter the wildlife and enjoy the scenery. You are likely to see beisa oryx, kudu, defassa waterbuck, Soemmering's gazelle, warthog and baboon. The park is also a great place for birdwatchers. In the afternoon drive to Dire Dawa via Assebe Teferi. Overnight: Hotel

Day 19:

Morning after Breakfast, drive to Harar and discover the treasures hidden in the narrow alleyways of the walled city of Harar, with its colorful markets, countless mosques and shrines and unique Harari people and homes. Sites to visit include: the House of Rimbaud, Ras Tafari’s House, Ras Mekonnen’s Palace, the Harari National Cultural Center, and the tomb of Emir Nur, who built the famous Jugol, as the wall is known locally. In the evening see the "Hyena Man” feeding the hyenas that gather nightly outside the town. vernight: Hotel

Day 20:

Discover the treasures hidden in the narrow alleyways of the walled city of Harar, with its colorful markets, countless mosques and shrines and unique Harari people and homes. Later in the afternoon drive from Harar to Dire Dawa with optional stop at Ethiopia’s largest “chat” market and other view points. Overnight: Hotel

Day 21:

Fly to Addis then proceed driving to Bishoftu. On your arrival, visit the crater lakes of Hora and Bishoftu where many species of birds can be seen. Overnight: Hotel

Day 22:

Drive to Addis and then proceed driving for 62 km to the Addiss-Buatjira direction to visit the paleontolgical site of Meleka-Kenture, which is nearly 2 million years old. We then visit from Adadi Mariam church, which is a subterranean rock-hewn church similar to those of Lalibela. This church is unique as it is the southern-most church of its type, and stands alone no other rock-hewn churches are in the area. It has been surmised that King Lalibela ordered the construction of Adida Mariam for his visit to southern Ethiopia. The site dates to the 13th century, but is still an active site of worship. While it dates to around the same time as the Tiya stelae, and is only 30km north of them, Adadi Mariam provides a strong contrast to the pagan like aura at Tiya.
After having lunch, drive to Tiya which is close to the Adadi Mariam church. The monuments are the remains of an ancient Ethiopian culture, standing between 1 and 2 meters in height. Excavations have revealed that the site is an ancient cemetery, housing the remains of males and females, aging from ages 18 to 30. Dating to between the 10th and 15th centuries, the steles are covered in symbols whose meaning remains unknown. The swords and other symbols carved into the rock are unique to themselves; no other symbols of their type have been discovered. Even though this site is only 100km south of Addis Ababa, is easily accessible from the main road, and has been named a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it is relatively untouched by tourism compared to other parts of Ethiopia. Return to Addis for overnight or after dinner, transfer to the airport for departure.

Day 23: Departure