ADDIS ABABAAfter arrival in Addis Ababa and a leisurely morning, visit the Institute of Ethiopian Studies Museum which encompasses an ethnographic museum, an art gallery of ancient icons and crosses and a collection of traditional Ethiopian instruments.
The next day, visit the National Museum where the remains of "Lucy" rest. Lucy was a female hominoid that lived in what is now called the Awash Valley in Hadar some 3.2 million years ago. When her skeleton was discovered in 1974, Ethiopia then claimed that it was the first dwelling of mankind. Lucy probably did not live more than 20 years, weighed around 60 pounds and stood three and a half feet. Lucy is kept fully preserved at the National Museum.
Spend your down time enjoying shops, eateries, and the sights.
|Day 5 - 6|
LANGANODrive down the beautiful Great Rift Valley, a dramatic representation of the last great movement of the earth. Funneled between two magnificent escarpments, a chain of sparkling lakes was produced that stretches from Ethiopia south into Kenya, Tanzania and beyond. Great bird viewing en route.
Visit the fig-forest of Bishangari Eco-Reserve to search for black-and-white Colobus Monkeys. Nearby is Abiata-Shala National Park, named for the two lakes within its boundaries. Both lakes attract a variety of water birds such as flamingo, pelican and migrant waders at Lake Abiata. The acacia-woodland at Lake Shala attracts species such as hornbill, buffalo-weaver, and mousebird.
|Day 7 - 8|
BAHIR DARReturn to Addis Ababa for an afternoon flight to Bahir Dar located on the shores of Lake Tana, Ethiopia's largest lake. Lake Tana is also the source of the Blue Nile. Some of the influences connecting the country to ancient Egypt can still be seen, as the papyrus tankwas (reed boats) that sail the lake share a strong resemblance to the Egyptian feluccas (traditional wooden sailing boats). The next day, a moderate trek brings you to Tis Abay, "Smoke of the Nile," where the Blue Nile flows over a sheer chasm in a rainbow-producing waterfall. Visit a local village and later explore the islands of Lake Tana by boat.
LALIBELAToday you fly to Lalibela, famed for its monolithic rock-hewn churches. For the next two days visit the "Eighth Wonder of the World," the churches of Ethiopia's King Lalibela (1181-1211CE). It is believed that these eleven churches required 25,000 people and 24 years to complete. Some Ethiopians still believe the city was built by angels. Visit the spectacular cross-shaped St. George Church, carved from the earth's surface two stories directly down into the stone ground in the shape of a cross. You are able to view many fantastic relics such as ancient icons and gold and silver crosses and manuscripts written in the ancient language of Ge'ez. Also visit a group of five churches that are in a cluster and connect to each other through an underground stone tunnel.
GONDARThis morning fly to Gondar, a city which became the capital of Ethiopia during the reign of Emperor Fasilides in the early 1600s. Tour the city's most significant churches and castles, beginning with Debre Berhan Selassie Church, famed for its stunning ceiling of beautifully painted angels. Continue on to the compound of castles that dominate Gondar including those of Emperor Fasilides and Empress Mentewab.
SIMIEN MOUNTAINS Early this morning drive to Axum via the Semien Mountains National Park, its territory covering the Semien Mountains and includes Ras Dashan, the highest point in Ethiopia and fourth-highest in Africa. The park offers unforgettable views of ancient volcanoes now eroded into hundreds of dramatic pinnacles and buttresses. Within the park live three of Ethiopia's endemic large mammals: the Gelada baboon, the Walia ibex, and the Simien fox. There is a good chance of viewing one of the troops of Geladas which number in the hundreds!
|Day 13 - 14|
AXUMAxum is the oldest city in Ethiopia and the holiest city of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church. Here is the Sanctuary Chapel of the Church of St. Mary of Zion. If you are an early riser, you can visit Mariamtsion Church to listen to morning prayers and chants. Experience a traditional coffee ceremony and watch the making of the local injera bread. Visit the Church of St. Mary, what some believe was the Queen of Sheba's Palace, the Axum Museum and the mysterious stellae field on the outskirts of town, featuring stellae (star-shaped figures) larger than any found in Egypt. Visit the local Tej House for a honey wine tasting.
ADDIS ABABATransfer to the airport for your flight to Addis Ababa and your international flight home.
NOTE:This is just one example of many custom itineraries we can do for you in this diverse country. For additional itinerary options, please contact us