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Bahir Dar, Gondar, Axum and Lalibela + Simien Mountains National Park

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Day 1

Flight to Bahir Dar, boat trip on Lake Tana, visit to Blue Nile Falls (322 km journey)

Commencing our tour, we take a morning flight to Bahir Dar. Here, we embark on a boat trip on Lake Tana, the second-largest lake in Africa, boasting 37 islands, 30 of which house churches and monasteries with significant historical and cultural value.

Our visit includes Ura Kidane Mehret, a circular church from the 16th century featuring mural paintings, crowns, and crosses. Its expansive conical thatched roof is adorned with scenes from Biblical lore.

In the afternoon, we explore the Blue Nile Falls, locally known as Tissisat or the “smoking waterfall.” Stretching 100 meters wide and dropping 45 meters, the falls create steam clouds and rainbows. We return to Bahir Dar in the late afternoon, concluding the day with a picturesque sunset over Lake Tana.

Day 2

Drive to Gondar (175 km journey)

After breakfast, we drive to Gondar, often referred to as the Camelot of Africa. The city’s European architectural influence is notable. In the afternoon, we visit Fasiladas’ Palace, the most impressive among the local castles and the oldest.

Further exploration includes the Church of Debre Berham Selassie (Light of the Trinity), adorned with beautiful frescos, cherubs, and paintings. Rumored to have been the proposed final resting place of the Ark of the Covenant, this ancient church holds historical significance.

Day 3

Day trip to Simien Mountains National Park (120 km journey)

Following breakfast, we drive to Simien Mountains National Park. At the Park Headquarters near Debark, we register and are joined by an armed scout, a park requirement.

En route to Sankaber, we traverse picturesque landscapes along the Simien Mountains foothills, offering views of grazing horses, stands of trees, and distant rocky peaks.

The high point of the road provides superb views of the eroded foothills. Jinbar waterfall, dropping 500 meters, is easily viewed from a lookout. We stay overnight in Debark.

Day 4

Drive to Axum (250 km journey)

In the morning, we continue our journey to Axum, relishing wonderful scenery. After a relaxed lunch and rest at our hotel, we embark on a city tour of the UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Legends in the Kebre Nagast (Book of Kings) speak of Axum’s renown as early as the 10th century B.C. for being the residence of the Queen of Sheba. Menelik, son of the Queen and King Solomon, is said to have brought the Ark of the Covenant from Jerusalem to Axum.

Day 5

Day trip to Yeha Temple and City Tour in Axum (50 km journey)

After breakfast, we visit the Yeha Temple, constructed 500 years before Christ, making it Ethiopia’s oldest building. Returning to Axum for lunch, we explore the granite stone Stele of Axum, King Kaleb and King Gebre Meskel’s tombs, the Ezana stone inscriptions, the Queen of Sheba’s palace and swimming pool, and the Church of Zion, reputedly the final resting place of the True Ark of the Covenant.

Day 6

Fly to Lalibela to visit the rock hewn churches. (240 km journey)

Lalibela, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is renowned for its 12th-century Rock-Hewn churches, considered the eighth wonder of the world.

Carved from single rock pieces, the eleven structures include Biete Medhane Alem, believed to be the world’s largest monolithic church, and Biete Giyorgis, the most famous and isolated.

Churches are connected by fascinating internal tunnels, and hermit holes abound. We visit the first group of seven churches and journey 45 km to see the 11th-century church of Yemrehanna Kristos, built in a cave.

The day concludes with dinner at the unique Ben Abeba restaurant, offering panoramic views.

Day 7

Lalibela (10 km journey)

This morning, we travel, either by car or on foot, to a mountain monastery above Lalibela, housing extraordinary ancient relics and offering amazing views.

After lunch, we explore the remaining four rock churches in Lalibela, followed by a meal at a traditional Ethiopian restaurant, where locally produced honey mead can be sampled, and traditional dancing enjoyed.

Day 8 and 9

Visit to Baregota Village (8 km journey)

In June 2009, a young Amlaku Teshome expressed his dream of attending university to a visitor. His journey led him to graduate from Dessie University in 2013 with a degree in Plant Science, initiating agricultural projects that transformed his village. The ongoing project, resourced from New Zealand, reflects Amlaku’s vision.

We walk or optionally ride mules 8 km to Baregota Village, exploring improvements in agriculture, water distribution, cash crop production, sturdy housing, local school growth, and more.

Overnight accommodations are in a guest house or tents, providing a basic yet amazing experience amidst stunning scenery. The next morning continues village exploration, possibly visiting the 1000-year-old church and nearby primary school before the 8 km trek back to Lalibela.

Day 9

Arrival and City tour of Addis Ababa

Upon arrival, our staff welcomes you, facilitating your transfer to the hotel. The name of Ethiopia’s capital in Amharic, the national language, means “New Flower.”

Day 10

Return flight to Addis Ababa

Our one-hour return flight to Addis Ababa departs after lunch.

You can customize this tour

The program refers to our standard tour but it can be varied to fit your needs. Chat with us, book a video call or use the form below for more information.