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Incredible Ethiopia: Timket Festival
Explore Ethiopia, a beautiful country, barely touched by modern society, with an incredible combination of history, tradition, culture and nature. Journey through the north of the country, taking in the views of the Blue Nile and trekking to the peaks of the Simien Mountains. Be mesmerised by the fascinating and colourful Timket festival in Addis Ababa to the amazing rock-hewn churches, hidden crypts and grottoes in Lalibela, You’ll be sure to taste the country’s famous coffee and delectable cuisine, and meet the genuine and friendly people along the way. Experience an adventure like no other.
- Style: Guided Small Group Adventure Tour
- Duration: 14 days/13 nights
- Starts in: Addis Ababa
Guide Price £2155
per person (based on 2 adults sharing)
- Join the locals to Jan Meda in preparations for Timket Festival
- Trek the majestic peaks of the Simien Mountains
- Discover the churches and castles of the regal city of Gondar
- Explore Lalibela's unique churches
- Meet locals for a cooking class and traditional coffee ceremony
Day 1 Addis Ababa
Arrive in Addis Ababa and transfer to your hotel. Meet your tour leader and fellow travellers at a welcome meeting at 1pm this afternoon. Join the procession of the Timket festival which starts today, stay close to your tour leader as you'll be in the thick of the crowd as you join the march to Jan Meda. In the evening have dinner at a local restaurant.
Day 2 Addis Ababa
An early start today to enjoy the main celebration day of Timket. There will be mass and sermons happening all over Ethiopia in preparation for the blessing of the water. Head back to Jan Meda to be a part of the celebrations with the churches singing hymns and providing musical performances to the crowd. The afternoon is free to enjoy the festive atmosphere at a local restaurant and taste injera (a traditional flat sourdough flatbread), coffee and locally brewed beer.
Day 3 Addis Ababa to Bahir Dar
Take a spectacular flight to Bahir Dar and gaze across the extraordinary nature of the Ethiopian Plateau. Bahir Dar is a small but fast growing town on the southern shore of Lake Tana, the source of the Blue Nile. In the afternoon take a sightseeing cruise around the lake. Ethiopia’s largest lake and home to 37 islands, 20 of which houses some of Ethiopia’s most venerated monasteries. Your boat trip will take you to the monastery of Ura-Kidane Mehret renowned for its collection of crosses and crowns. The boat returns to your hotel via the source of the ‘Blue’ section of the Nile.
Day 4 Bahir Dar
Head out to the Blue Nile Falls today, these falls are known locally as Tis Isat (Smoking Water) and are a spectacular and memorable sight when the water is high. You can choose to either take a scenic walk past the main viewpoint or a shorter walk to reach the foot of the falls. After a leisurely lunch back in Bahir Dar, perhaps visit the open air market to take a tuk-tuk up to the town viewpoint.
Day 5 Bahir Dar to Gondar
Travel north around the edge of Lake Tana as you continue onto the regal city of Gondar. The 17th and 18th Century capital of Ethiopia and famed for its medieval castles and churches. Later, there is the option to visit Gondar’s most significant churches and castles, either as part of a tour or own your own. Spend the afternoon visiting these medieval castles and stop by the famous church of Debre Berhan Selassie.
Day 6 Gondar
Spend some free time to explore the quiet streets of Gondar. Take a stroll to the markets, or stay by the hotel pool. In the afternoon enjoy a cooking class in a private house in Gondar where you will learn how to make traditional Ethiopian cuisine including injera, the staple bread of Ethiopians.
Day 7 Gondar to Simien Mountains NP
In the morning, leave Gondar behind and head towards Debark and the Simien Mountain National Park. The rest of the day is free to explore the spectacular mountain scenery including Ethiopia's highest point – Ras Dashen at 4550 metres. The area is home to much of Ethiopia's wildlife, including the Gelada baboon.
Day 8 Simien Mountains NP to Axum
It’s a long day of travels today as you journey up the winding road to Axum, crossing the lowlands of Simien Mountains and the Tekeze River gorge, the views will be spectacular. Along the way stop by at a farming village where you will learn about the traditional farming techniques. Axum was once the capital of the Kingdom of Axum, Africa's oldest empire, which existed from around AD100 to AD900. It was at the centre of a trading route that stretched from Egypt all the way to India and grew to be one of the most powerful kingdoms in the ancient world.
Day 9 Axum
Today is a free day to spend as you wish, there is the option to visit the stele fields, several tombs, the ruins of the Queen of Sheba’s palace and an archaeological museum. You may want to see some of the handcraft shops or take a walk out of Axum to see the Lioness of Gobodra, a stone carving of a lion. End the day with a traditional coffee ceremony in a family home. The Ethiopian coffee ceremony is an important part of Ethiopian culture and considered to be the most important social occasion among Ethiopians. It is a sign of respect and friendship to be invited.
Day 10 Axum to Mekele
After breakfast, continue onto Mekele to see the spectacular Adwa Mountains and the battlefield of Adwa, where the Ethiopians defeated the Italians in 1896. After lunch, drive to Enda Teka Tesfay and walk to the rock church of Medhane Alem Adi Kesho, There are numerous magnificent rock-hewn churches in the Tigray region, however the Medhane Alem Adi Kesho is one of the best in terms of architectural quality. Spend the night in nearby Mekele.
Day 11 Mekele to Lalibela
Set off on a long journey to Lalibela in the morning, passing the spectacular mountain range of Amba Alaje. Continue through green valleys and flat plains before turning west towards Lalibela at Woldia. The road after Woldia offers one of the most scenic routes in the country. Arrive in Lalibela late afternoon, home to one of the world's greatest historical and religious sites.
Day 12 Lalibela
Spend the day visiting Lalibela’s amazing churches, constructed between 1137 and 1270 built from huge single blocks of stone unearthed by the digging of enormous pits. Visit the Bet Giyorgis (St George's), carved in the form of a Greek cross. This church is exceptionally well-preserved and the most famous of churches in Lalibela.
Day 13 Lalibela
Trek to the rock church of Asheten Mariam, situated on Abune Josef Mountain that overlooks Lalibela. Climb for 2.5 hours to the summit, where the church is carved out of a cleft into the cliff face. The monastery houses ancient parchments and crosses, but the real treasure is the setting and the view. Return to the hotel for lunch, the rest of the afternoon is free to relax or further explore this charming town. In the evening, enjoy a special dinner at Ben Ababa open air restaurant.
Day 14 Lalibela
Your tour comes to an end after breakfast.
Departs:18 Jan 2021.
per person (based on 2 adults sharing)
- 12 night hotel and 1 night basic hotel
- Journey by private vehicle, boat and plane
- 13 breakfasts, 1 lunch & 4 dinners
- International flights
Please Note:The tour starts early in the afternoon on Day 1 with an important tour meeting at 1pm. Please ask your Trailfinders travel consultant for more details regarding any pre tour accommodation that may be required.
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