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The Ethiopian Christmas with the Historic Route of Ethiopia 9 days, 31. Dec 18– 08. Jan 19

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  • Trip Type Cultural
  • Tour Code GHET-FF5
  • Small Group fixed departure
  • 9 days, 31. Dec 18 – 08. Jan 19
  • This tour give you the chance to celebrate Christmas a second time. Witness an Orthodox Christmas celebration with ancient history & culture of the "Historic Route"

Ethiopian Christmas Festival Celebration at St. Lalibela, 

This 9 Days Ethiopian Christmas Festival tour with the Historic Route of Ethiopia takes you to Ethiopia’s Historic North with a visit to some of the major highlights including 3 UNESCO World Heritage Sites. On this tour you will celebrate Ethiopian Christmas around the rock hewn churches of St. Lalibela with pilgrims who came on their barefoot to share the blessing of this special ceremony. You will also visit some of the majour highlights on the Historic Route including the island Monasteries of Lake Tana, source of the Blue Nile, The Blue Nile Falls, the fairy-tale castles of Gonder , the Siimien Mountains National Park and so much more.

At St. Lalibela, it is celebrated with greater devotion, chanting, dancing, and singing around the rock-hewn churches of Lalibela which were built more than 800 years ago. The ancient city of St. Lalibela will be filled with tens of thousands of pilgrims who come from all directions of Ethiopia and from all walks of life to share the blessing of Christmas. Most of the pilgrims reach at St. Lalibela from far off hamlets and inaccessible valleys, walking on their bare foot for days, weeks, and even for months to share the blessing on Christmas day. Even if Ethiopian Christmas is on January 7, there will be different ceremonies to be held around the rock-hewn churches starting the night of 4th January. This is an ancient Christian tradition which has remained unchanged and witnessing this event, you feel like you are transported centuries and centuries back in time.

On the morning of January 7, the biggest celebration will be held around Bete Mariam. On this day, as it has been going on centuries over centuries; the priest will be standing in line with their drums and sistra on the cliff edge of Bete Mariam, called Mame Garia. On the bottom there will be some more priests dressed differently to those up on the top the cliff. The priest on the bottom symbolizes the shepherds and the priest on the top cliff symbolizes the angels announcing and celebrating the the birth of Jesus. You can’t help, but witness a scene the same to this one has been going on here on this day centuries over centuries in the same manner.

As you travel by road to the most part, you will visit the country’s Step back in time and explore thousands of years of history, legend, and lore as you take this trip to the Historic Route of Ethiopia to witness one of the most important and ancient festivals celebrated around the rock-hewn churches of St. Lalibela with more visits to the Historic Route .

Trip highlights:

  • Celebration of Ethiopian Christmas Festival
  • Experience Ethiopian Orthodox Christian doctrines and Traditions
  • Visit 3 UNESCO World Heritage Sites
  • Be amazed by a visit to the rock-hewn churches of Lalibela, “the living wonders of the world” 
  • Enjoy the magnificent nature and endemic wild life of Simien Mountains
  • Discover the fairytale castles of Gondar
  • Take cruise on Lake Tana to visit the ancient Island monasteries
  • Site the source of the mighty river, the Blue Nile  &  Blue Nile falls
  • Visit the vibrant city of Addis Ababa, Africa’s Capital
  • Meet your ancestor LUCY at the National Museum in Addis Ababa
  • Test varied Ethiopian food and attend Ethiopian Coffee Ceremony

Tour guide

This tour will be lead by our experienced A rated friendly cultural tour guides who have lead many tours to the Historic Route of Ethiopia and who know well about the history, culture, as well as with very good knowledge of nature & wildlife.

Our Drivers

Our drivers are well trained and well travelled to the area. They know all the terrains and the valleys you will be traveling to. They always make sure you are comfortable and safe. They have been rated excellent by many…many travelers who have been on the road with them for long.

Transportation

On this cultural tour to the Historic Route of Ethiopia you will be traveling by coaster bus for the most part. We have an excellent condition, well maintained busses suitable for the road condition you will be traveling to. All our vehicles have an A.C and seat belts.

*Note: On this trip there will be a domestic flight from Lalibela to Addis Ababa. The domestic flight has to be arranged separately.

 Accommodation

On this trip you will be staying in a 4 star hotel in Addis Ababa and on the rest of the trip to the Historic Route, you will be staying in the best available tourist standard hotels, lodges and resorts which are selected and inspected by our team.

 

Itinerary:

Day 01: December 31: Arrive Addis Ababa

Arrive in Addis Ababa (ADD), Ethiopia. Welcome to Ethiopia! Upon arrival at Addis Ababa Bole International Airport, you will be welcomed and assisted by your tour guide and driver for the transfer to Hotel. There will be a short drive to your hotel. If you arrive in the morning an optional city tour can be arranged.

Overnight: Jupiter Hotel-Addis Ababa.

Day 02: January 1: Addis Ababa- Bahirdar (B-D)

In the morning, drive to Bahirdar through the Great Blue Nile Gorge with a stopover at different small towns like Dejen, Chancho and Goha Tsion.

Overnight: Avanti Blue Nile Hotel - Bahirdar

Day 03: January 2: Lake Tana-Blue Nile Falls-Bahir Dar (B-D)

After breakfast, we will make boat cruise over Lake Tana to visit the ancient 14th century island monasteries of Lake Tana. After having lunch at the hotel, we will drive 35 KM to visit the majestic Blue Nile Falls.

Overnight: Avanti Blue Nile Hotel - Bahirdar.

Day 04: January 3: Bahir Dar-Gondar (B-D)

After breakfast, drive to Gondar through the beautiful countryside scenery to arrive at Gondar around lunchtime.

After check in to Goha Hotel and having lunch there, we will start tour of Gondar which include: the Royal Enclosure, the pool of King Fasiledas, and we will also visit the famous Debreberhan Selassie adorned with brilliant frescos from inside.

Overnight: Goha Hotel-Gondar.

Day 05: January 4: Excursion to Simien Mountains National Park (B-D)

After an early breakfast, we will drive to Simien Mountains National park. En-route we will be visiting the “Felasha” or the Black Jewish village.

Driving from Gondar up to Simien Mountains National Park, nothing prepares you for the spectacular scenery that awaits at the top of the massif. The rest of the day, trek around the park to explore the stunning view and wildlife of the park including Sankaber.

Overnight: Goha Hotel - Gondar

Day 06: January 5: Gondar – Lalibela –Bete Emanuel night ceremony (B-D)

After breakfast start driving through the spectacular landscape to Lalibela. En-route we will stop at Awramba. This community has been founded by Zumra Nuru in 1972 with aims to live together peacefully, working collaboratively, sympathetically and cheerfully. They treat each other as brothers and sisters. Gender equality and care for the elderly is also a major subject.

In the evening, we will drive to Bete Emanuel to attend the special celebration of Emanuel with chanting and dancing by the priests and deacons. The ceremony will be accompanied by a capacity crowd of pilgrims who came to witness this event from far of hamlets and inaccessible valleys on their bare foot walking for weeks and even months.

Overnight: Tukul Village or Harbe Hotel - Lalibela

Day 07: 06: January,: Lalibela Celebrations at Bete Emanuel (B-D)

In the morning, we will drive to the sites where we will find the concentration of some of the remarkable rock-hewn churches of Lalibela from 1200 AD.

At night, we will attend the Christmas Eve ceremony to be held at Bete Mariam church. This evening, you will attend the Ethiopian Christmas Eve Ceremony with the pilgrims. The dancing by the deacons and the priests continue throughout the night while the pilgrims clap & ululate to the drum beat. At mid night, there will be a candle light ceremony to commemorate the birth of Jesus Christ.

Overnight: Tukul Village or Harbe Hotel-Lalibela.

Day 08: January 7: Ethiopian Christmas Eve-Lalibela (B-D)

In the morning, we will once more drive back to Bete Mariam where the biggest festival will be held outside the church on the cliff surround the church. This will mark the final church ceremony of Ethiopian Christmas. On this day, as it has been going on centuries over centuries; the priest will be standing in line with their drums and sistra on the cliff edge of Bete Mariam, called Mame Garia. On the bottom there will be some more priests dressed differently to those up on the top the cliff. The priest on the bottom symbolizes the shepherds and the priest on the top cliff symbolizes the angels announcing and celebrating the the birth of Jesus. You can’t help, but witness a scene the same to this one has been going on here on this day centuries over centuries in the same manner.

After having lunch and rest at the hotel, we will continue our journey into Ethiopia’s long and marvelous history with a visit to other St. Lalibela’s remarkable churches. The rock-hewn churches that we will visit this afternoon include: Bete Gebriel, Bete Merkorios Bete Amanuel, Bethlehem and Bete Aba Libanos. At the end of the tour, there will be a special Ethiopian traditional coffee ceremony for the group prepared at a local house.


Overnight: Tukul Village or Harbe Hotel-Lalibela.

Day 09, 08.Jan, Lalibela-Addis Ababa-Departure (B-D)

After breakfast, transfer to Lalibela airport for the flight to Addis Ababa. Depending on your departure time optional city tour of Addis Abeba.

In the evening, there will be Grand Holidays’ complimentary farewell dinner party with traditional special buffet and local drinks. (flight schedule permitting) At the end of the Farwell dinner, transfer to Addis Ababa airport for the flight back. End of tour!

Rate per person sharing double: 2.212,- USD
Single Suppl.: 602,- USD

 

Rate includes:

  • roundtrip as per program
  • all necessary transfers
  • 8 nights accommodation in good hotels (4-star in Addis Abeba) in double rooms
  • all meals as stated in the program
  • all entrance fees
  • English speaking, qualified national tour guide
  • farewell-dinner (flight schedule permitting)

Not included:

  • visa fees
  • tips
  • meals not stated in the program
  • all expenses of personal nature (drinks, laundry, phone calls etc.)

 

 

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