North and Great Rift Valley Lakes

Day 1

Arrivals at Addis Ababa airport, Met by our staff and Drive to Bahir Dar(559 km)

Early in the morning drive to Bahir Dar, en-route visit Blue-Nile Gorge and Debre Libanos monastery.

If you think Grand Canyon is impressive, compare it to its African cousin – the Blue Nile Gorge. Situated 210km north of Addis Ababa and being about one mile wide and deep, the Blue Nile Gorge is one of the most spectacular gorges in the world.

After 100 km drive on the way lays the renowned monastery of Debre Libanos, founded in the 13th century in a magnificent 700m-deep canyon.

Day 2

Bahir Dar boat trip and drive to Blue Nile Falls (60km)

Have a boat trip on Lake Tana. On Lake Tana are 37 islands and 32 of them have churches and monasteries of considerable historical and cultural interest.

We visit the monastery church of Ura Kidane Mihret, which is the best known of the monasteries and has an important collection of religious icons from the 16th to 18th centuries A.D.

In the afternoon drive to the Blue Nile Falls, this is known locally as Tissisat (smoking waterfall: 100 m (328 ft) wide, the water plunges for 45m, giving rise to steam clouds and rainbows. Early in the afternoon drive back to Bahir Dar and finish the day with a lovely sunset over Lake Tana.

Day 3

After breakfast drive to Gondar (175 km)

After lunch we will visit Gondar, the first capital city with the reign of Fasilides. In Gonder, there are a dozen castles built by various emperors over the course of 236 years.

The city seems more of European than African origin. In the afternoon, we visit Fasiladas’ Palace, probably the most impressive of all the castles found in the area and the oldest one! We continue going to the Church of Debre Berham Selassie (Light of the Trinity). The interior is decorated with beautiful frescos, cherubs and paintings.

Debre Berham Selassie is rumored to once having been the proposed final resting-place of the Ark of the Covenant of the Ethiopian Empire, which began in 1632 .

Day 4

In the morning drive to Simien Mountains (210 km round)

After breakfast drive to Simien Mountain National Park. Debark is a small market town at an altitude of 2700 meters close to the boundary of the Simien Mountains National Park. Corrugated–iron–roofed buildings surround the colourful and busy market area. Before entering the park, you have to register at the park headquarters just outside town.

Here, armed scout – one of the park regulations, joins you. Then drive to Sankaber for the best view. En route, pass through pretty country, the foothills of the Semen Mountains, with carefully tended field, open pasture with grazing horses, stands of trees and distant rocky peaks.

At the high point of the road, there are superb views across the weirdly eroded foothills of the range and you may also be lucky enough to spot you first Lammergeiers and Gelada Baboons of the trip.

Day 5

Community visit to Amba Ras Village (340 km round)

Beyond the natural treasures, you will also have the chance to see the real local people life inside the park. Today, you will visit Amba Ras village where local people will show you how do they live indigenously.

Day 6

Drive to Lalibela (355 km)

This drive will also has a stop at Awramba Community where its members work together, are diligent, disciplined and self-confident makes the Awra Amba community distinct from other Amhara communities.

Women have equal rights as men and there is no distinction in divisions of labor between men and women. All people in the community have no religion as distinct from most communities in Ethiopia. They believe in hard work and being good to people.

Day 7

Exploring Lalibela

The Rock-Hewn Ethiopian orthodox Christian churches of Lalibela, are one of the eighth wonder of the world. It’s a collection of churches, some connected by fascinating internal channels, with hermit holes where people lived and died. The connecting walls are full of religious symbols.

The city contains 11 monolithic churches that were built in the 12th century. Some are beautifully painted inside. Visit the first and the third group of churches, they include seven rock churches. After lunch visit the second group of four rock churches.

After diner you will visit cultural houses and be entertained with Ethiopian traditional music and you can taste Ethiopian honey vine.

Day 8

Drive to Dessie ( 287 km)

After a relaxed breakfast, you will drive to Dessie. On the way, you might have a stop at Lake Hyke.

Day 9

Drive to Addis Ababa (387 km)

Return drive to the capital city departs in the morning after breakfast. On the way, you will visit towns known for fruit production.

You will be arriving late afternoon in Addis Ababa. Stay at the hotel, and prepare for the departure early next morning.

Day 10

Trip Langano via Adadi Mariam and Tiya UNESCO World Heritage Site (200km)

After a relaxed breakfast, depart Addis and drive to Adadi Mariam is a subterranean rock-hewn church similar to those of Lalibela. This church is unique as it is the southernmost church of its type, and stands alone – no other rock-hewn churches are in the area. The site dates to the 13th century, but is still an active site of worship. The final site lies close to the Adadi Mariam church where the stelae of Tiya are found.

The monuments – 36 in all – 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 both males and females, aging from ages 18 to 30.

Dating to between the 10th and 15th centuries, the stelae 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.

Tiya has been named as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1980. Proceed to Langano.

Day 11

Excursion to Abijatta Shalla Lakes and drive to Awassa (87 km)

After a relaxed breakfast, you will drive west of Lake Langano to see  Abijata Shalla National Park. Abijatta and Shalla, which form part of the 887-sq-km national park.

Identical twins these lakes are not: Shala’s 410-sq-km surface sits within a collapsed volcanic caldera and depths exceed 260m in some areas, making it the deepest lake in Ethiopia, while Abijatta’s highly alkaline waters rest in a shallow pan no more than 14m in depth. And Abiata is shrinking dramatically as water is diverted to irrigation projects and a soda-ash factory. Late afternoon, drive to Awassa for overnight.

Day 12

Drive back to Addis. Evening dinner at cultural restaurant, then departure (274 km)

In the morning, visit the fish market in Lake Awassa. Depending on your interest and time availability visit the local gift and traditional cloth shops. Evening (based on your departure. End of the tour!

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Please note

Baregota Tour and Travel’s tours cover the whole of the country. Being a small company, customized tours can be arranged to suit the interests and time available to each client. Also this tour can be varied or combined to fit your requirements.

Addis Ababa options

For this and our other tours, we offer a 1 – 2 day stopover in Addis Ababa, where there are many amazing sights to see.  

If you come in on a long haul overnight flight, this will give you time to recover from your jetlag before heading off on your selected tour.

Please refer to our optional tour of Addis Ababa for details. You can choose whether to spend one or two days in Addis, and also which places you would like to visit. This tour could also be added onto the end of another tour.