Our fourteen day historic tour includes all the major historical sites of the north, including the rock-hewn churches of Tigray. All transport is surface except for a flight from Lalibela to Addis Ababa at the end of the tour.
You’ll be picked up from your hotel in Gonder around 7.30am for the 1:30 hr drive to Debark. At Debark you will sign in at the park headquarters, pick up the mountains crew.The road continues all the way to the first camp at Sankaber, but you’ll be dropped off on the way for a leisurely three hour acclimatization hike.
For morning Arrivals at Bole International Airport you may begin your tour after checking into your hotel. For clients arriving in the afternoon or evening, you may begin your tour the following day. Our Tours representative will meet all clients arriving at the airport regardless of arrival time. Visit the Ethnographic Museum, a great introduction to Ethiopian culture and history. Visit the Mercato, one of Africa's largest outdoor markets, and Trinity Cathedral, resting place of Emperor Haile Selassie. Overnight Hotel - Addis Ababa
Drive to Bahar Dar via the Blue Nile Gorge, the "Grand Canyon" of East Africa. Stop at the historically important Monastery of Debre Libanos, rebuilt since it was razed by the Italians during the 1930’s. Overnight Hotel - Bahar Dar.
Visit the Marketplace in Bahar Dar. Continue with a boat tour of Lake Tana, the source of the Blue Nile, and visit ancient island monasteries.
Overnight Hotel - Bahar Dar
Morning drive to see the Blue Nile Falls. Return to Bahar Dar for lunch. In the afternoon, drive to Gondar, north of Lake Tana, stopping at the village of Awra Amba. Overnight Hotel - Gondar
Visit the remote ruins of Kuskuam, built for Empress Mentewab in the 1700’s. After lunch, tour the Royal Enclosure, a UNESCO World Heritage site featuring five castles built by a succession of Ethiopian Kings beginning in the early 17th century. Having survived several wars, including air raids during World War 2, the castles are a testament to the resilience of this once mighty African Empire. Visit the church of Debre Birhan Selassie, famous for its religious art and especially its iconic ceiling depicting angels. Overnight Hotel - Gondar
Drive to Sankabar the gateway to the Simien Mountains National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Take in the spectacular scenery and spot wildlife. Overnight Hotel - Lodge
Take a scenic drive to Axum, capital of the ancient Axumite Empire and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Frequent stops at viewpoints along the way. Arrive in Axum late afternoon. Overnight Hotel - Axum
Tour the ancient stelae fields, standing for 2000 years. Visit the new and impressive Archeological Museum. Visit other tombs and archeological sites as time permits. Overnight Hotel - Axum
Drive to the Ghiralta Lodge passing the Adwa battlefield, site of Emperor Menelik II's 1895 victory over the invading Italians. Visit the 2,500 year old ruins of Yeha, an ancient moon temple. Continue past Adigrat and visit Aba Gerima and Petros Paulos, two of the Tigray region's oldest and finest rock churches.
On this day, we will pass the 6th century monastery of Debre Damos which is perched atop a remote plateau. The monastery is only accessible using a rope and the monks will help pull visitors up the 20 - 25 meter cliff. However, we only recommend this for physically fit individuals. Women are not allowed on the grounds of the monastery, and therefore, it is not part of our regular tour itinerary. However, we can stop here for those on a custom or private tour. Overnight Hotel - Ghiralta Lodge
Visit more of Tigray's remote and ancient rock-hewn churches: Abraha Atsbeha, dating from the 10th century; the beautiful Wukro Chirkos; and Medhane Alem Kesho. Drive to Mekele. Overnight Hotel - Mekele
Drive on a scenic road to Lalibela. Arrive at your hotel in the late afternoon and enjoy the sunset from the terrace. Overnight Hotel - Lalibela
Tour the magnificent rock-hewn churches of Lalibela, a UNESCO World Heritage site. This group of eleven monolithic and semi-monolithic structures were carved directly into the stone of the mountainside at least 800 years ago. This complex boasts the largest monolithic church in the world, a maze of passageways and tunnels, intricately carved reliefs, and fabulous examples of icon paintings. Overnight Hotel - Lalibela
For the morning we have two choices: Take a morning hike with mules to Mount Asheton, with its 13th century rock-hewn monastery and great views of the town; - OR - Drive to Yemrehanna Kristos, a beautiful church situated in a shallow cave that predates the churches of Lalibela. The drive to Yemrehanna will also give you the opportunity to view the rural countryside and villages of the Ethiopian highlands. Following either option above continue with tour of Lalibela’s churches in the afternoon. Overnight Hotel - Lalibela
Fly to Addis Ababa. Visit the National Museum, home of the 3 million year old skeleton “Lucy.” Optional souvenir shopping. Enjoy a farewell dinner at a traditional Ethiopian restaurant featuring dancers and musicians representing some of the country's many ethnic groups. Transfer to airport for late night departure if needed.
You’ll be picked up from your hotel in Gonder around 7.30am for the 1:30 hr drive to Debark.At Debark you will sign in at the park headquarters, pick up the mountains crew.The road continues all the way to the first camp at Sankaber, but you’ll be dropped off on the way for a leisurely three hour acclimatization hike. The stunning views hit you as soon as you get out of the vehicle as you walk along the ridge. There will be time to stop for a picnic lunch and after a short but demanding climb (at this altitude) to Sankaber you’ll be met as every day on this trek with a tray of fresh coffee, tea and snacks.
Walking 7-8hrs / 14km - After a hearty breakfast, you’ll set off trekking along the ridge with stunning views over the foothills 800m below. For the first two hours the trail passes through low bush of Giant Heather, soda apple, Abyssinian rose, St John’s Wort and Globe thistle. The highlight of the trek from Sankaber to Geech is Genbar Falls, an incredible 500m sheer drop. From the viewpoint opposite, you can watch the falcons, augur buzzard and lammergeier bearded vulture soar on the thermals below. From the Genbar falls, the trail passes drier dustier land, broken by lunch at a somewhat less intimidating and more peaceful waterffall. Klipspringer and bush buck may be seen in the steep rocky and wooded slopes, Geech Camp itself is set on a grassy plateau with stunning sunset views.
Walking 5-6 hrs / 13km After breakfast you’ll trek for 2 hours along the grass plateau past countless bizarre outsized Giant Lobelia plants. The destination is Imet Gogo, an incredible rocky promontory that grants 360 degree views over the Simien Range. At an altitude of 3,926m and drops into a forest of Giant heather before following the ridge on open grassland. The climb to Inatye (4,070m) rewards with stunning views. After a picnic lunch the path follows mostly downhill through open grassland and gian lobelia towards Chenek with a number of stunning viewpoints along the way. Chenek camp is superb for wildlife with both Gelada Baboons and Wallia Ibex common here.
Walking 5 hours / 810m elevation gain and descent / 12km distance covered After an early breakfast, you will head SE out of Chennek to climb Buahit Peak at 4430m. The path follows a small stream for an hour or two up to Buahit Pass. At the pass the views open up to the North East towards Lori and Sona Villages. This is a fantastic place to spot the Wallia Ibex. From here it is another hour or two’s scramble up a rocky slope to Buahit Peak. It is hard work at the altitude but the views from the top and the wildlife on the way are more than worth it. After a quick lunch in Chenek, you’ll be driven back to Gonder .