Grand Holidays Ethiopia Tours - Grand Holidays Ethiopia Tours - More tour http://holiday-to-ethiopia.com Tue, 14 Aug 2018 11:24:33 +0000 Joomla! - Open Source Content Management en-gb Cultural Tour "Historic Route" with Harar and Awash — 18 days http://holiday-to-ethiopia.com/cultural-tour-to-ethiopia/historic-route-of-ethiopia/tour-to-the-historic-north-with-harar-awash http://holiday-to-ethiopia.com/cultural-tour-to-ethiopia/historic-route-of-ethiopia/tour-to-the-historic-north-with-harar-awash Cultural Tour

Witness one of “the living wonders of the world” with a visit to the 12th-century rock-hewn churches of St. Lalibela. On this journey, you will discover an ancient African civilization with a centuries-old culture.
This cultural tour takes you on Ethiopia’s Historic Route North with the Simien Mountains, splendid Gheralta clusters, the ancient city of Harar, and Awash National Park. You will visit five UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Marvel at the spectacular 2,000-year-old stele at Axum, the rock-hewn churches of Lalibela built more than 800 years ago, the castles of Gondar, the island monasteries of  Lake Tana, the walled city of Harar, Awash national park, and the Great Blue Nile Falls as well as the friendly and charming people.

Trip Highlights

  • Visit six UNESCO World Heritage Sites, two of which are national parks 
  • Be amazed by a visit to the rock-hewn churches of Lalibela, one of “the living wonders of the world”
  • Enjoy the magnificent nature and endemic wildlife of the Simien Mountains
  • Experience breathtaking highland scenery
  • Travel back in time to explore the ancient city of Axum, the last resting place of the Ark of the Covenant
  • Discover the fairytale castles of Gondar
  • Take a cruise on Lake Tana to visit the ancient island monasteries
  • Visit the mighty Blue Nile River and Blue Nile falls
  • Discover an old walled city and the fourth holiest city of Islam
  • Discover the wildlife of Awash National Park
  • Visit the vibrant city of Addis Ababa, Africa’s capital
  • Meet your ancestor Lucy at the National Museum in Addis Ababa 
  • Try the varied Ethiopian food
  • Attend an Ethiopian coffee ceremony

Itinerary

Day 01: Arrive Addis Ababa

Arrive in Addis Ababa and afternoon city tour of Addis Ababa.
O/N: hotel.

Day 02: Addis Ababa-Bahirdar

In the morning, drive to Bahirdar through the Great Blue Nile Gorge.
O/N: hotel.

Day 03: Lake Tana-Blue Nile Falls-Bahir Dar

In the morning, visit the ancient island monasteries of Lake Tana. In the afternoon, visit the Blue Nile Falls.
O/N: hotel.

Day 04: Bahir Dar-Gondar

After breakfast, drive to Gondar through the beautiful countryside scenery. In the afternoon visit the castle compound from the 17th century and Debre Birhan Selassie church.
O/N: Hotel

Day 05: Gondar-Simien Mountains National Park

After an early breakfast, we will drive to the Simien mountains National park. The rest of the day, trek around the park
O/N: lodge.

Day 06: Simien Mountains National Park-Axum

After breakfast start driving to Axum through the beautiful sceneries of Simien Mountains, Limalimo, Tekeze River Gorge.
O/N: hotel.

Day 07: Axum-Yeha

After breakfast, we will start to visit the ancient city of Axum. In the afternoon, an excursion to the pre-Christian temple of Yeha.
O/N: hotel.

Day 08: Axum-Hauzien

In the morning, drive to Hauzien, the center of some of the most ancient rock-hewn churches, through the stunning and historical mountainous of Adwa.
O/N: hotel.

Day 09: Hauzien

Today, you will explore the Tigray rock-hewn churches and the beautiful surrounding mountains of the area.
O/N: hotel.

Day 10: Hauzien-Mekele

In the morning, drives to Mekele en-route visit some of the most ancient Tigray rock-hewn churches including: Wikro Cherkos, Abrha We-atsbeha, Dugum Selassie and so on.
O/N: hotel.

Day 11: Mekele-Lalibela

After breakfast, start driving north to Lalibela through Sekota en-route you will visit Yimrhane Kirstos and different villages of the Agwe tribal people.
O/N: Hotel

Day 12: Rock-hewn churches of Lalibela

In the morning, visit the first group of rock-hewn churches from the 1200 AD. In the afternoon, continue visiting the rock-hewn churches in the second group.
O/N: hotel.

Day 13: Lalibela-Asheten Mariam

In the morning, mule ride, and trek to the top of Asheten Mariam Monastery.
O/N: Hotel

Day 14: Lalibela-Addis Ababa

After breakfast, transfer to Lalibela airport for the flight to Addis Ababa. The rest of the day city tour of Addis Ababa which include: the National Museum, Ethnographic Museum and Merkato the largest open air market in Africa.
O/N: Hotel

Day 15: Addis Ababa-Diredawa-Harar

In the morning fly to Diredawa and continue driving to Harar. The rest of the day visit the ancient city.
O/N: Hotel/p>

Day 16: Full day in Harar

In the morning visit the colorful open air African markets, and walk around the ancient city. After lunch, visit the Hadere Villages.
O/N: Hotel

Day 17: Harar-Awash National Park-Nazreth

In the morning drive to Nazreth through Awash National Park.
O/N: Hotel

Day 18: Nazreth-Debrezeit-Addis Ababa

In the morning drive to Addis Ababa through the creator lakes of Debrezeit. The rest of the day is left for shopping and preparation for the flight back.

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info@grandholidaysethiopia.com (Super User) Historic Route of Ethiopia Tue, 16 Aug 2016 00:00:00 +0000
Bahir Dar, Blue Nile Falls, the Rock-Hewn Churches of St. Lalibela Tour — 3 Days http://holiday-to-ethiopia.com/ethiopia-weekend-trips/item/137-bahir-dar-lalibela-tour http://holiday-to-ethiopia.com/ethiopia-weekend-trips/item/137-bahir-dar-lalibela-tour Bahir Dar, Blue Nile Falls, the Rock-Hewn Churches of St. Lalibela Tour — 3 Days

On this tour you will enjoy a boat trip on the source of the Blue Nile, Lake Tana, and visit some of the famous island monasteries. The magnificent Nile Falls is another highlight.

The rock-hewn churches of Lalibela are one of the world's most incredible manmade creations, commonly referred to by many as one of the “living wonders of the world”. These remarkable edifices were carved out of solid rock, in a region where the rugged landscape still protects the churches from mass tourism. The 11 manmade churches are found in the town of Lalibela, and they are a lasting monument to man's faith in God.

    
Trip Highlights

  • Take a boat cruise to visit the island monasteries of Lake Tana
  • Visit the source of the second-longest river, Blue Nile and the Blue Nile Falls
  • Discover the ancient rock-hewn churches of St. Lalibela
  • Enjoy a city tour in Addis Ababa

Itinerary

Day 1: Addis Ababa, Bahirdar, Lake Tana, Blue Nile Falls

In the morning, fly to Bahirdar. After checking into the hotel, we will take a boat cruise on Lake Tana to visit the ancient 14th-century island monasteries of Lake Tana. The 37 islands of Lake Tana shelter 20 monasteries — surviving remnants of an old, contemplative tradition. Because of their isolation, they were used to store treasures and religious relics from all parts of the country. The lake’s monasteries are famous for their typical Ethiopian religious paintings, illuminated manuscripts, and other ancient church treasures.

After having lunch at the hotel, we will drive 35 km to visit the majestic Blue Nile Falls. Thirty km after exiting Lake Tana, the Blue Nile plunges over a 45-meter-high face to form one of the most spectacular waterfalls in Africa. Walking to the falls through the beautiful river gorge on the ancient 17th-century bridge and meeting the local people at the small villages on the way to the falls is also a great experience.

Overnight: Blue Nile Resort, Bahirdar

Day 2:  Bahirdar, Lalibela

After breakfast, transfer from your hotel to Bahirdar airport for the flight to Lalibela. After checking into your hotel, we will drive to the site where we find a concentration of some of Ethiopia’s most famous rock-hewn churches, referred to by many as one of “the living wonders of the world”. These churches are, and they have been for at least 800 years, an active Christian shrine — the spiritual center of the country’s religious life. The monolithic churches were carved out of a 2,600-square-meter natural rock terrace in the 12 century AD by King Lalibela.

Bete Medhani Alem, the largest monolithic rock-hewn church in the world, measures 37.7 ft. in height, covers an area of almost 2625 square ft., and has walls that are up to 6 feet thick. A plain building supported by 36 pillars on the inside and another 36 pillars around the outside, Bete Medhani Alem was modeled on the original St. Mary Zion Church built by King Ezana in the 4th century at Axum.
 
The rock-hewn churches that we will visit today include Bete Medhani Alem, Bete Mariam, Bete Meskel, Bete Denagil, Bete Golgotha Michael, and Bete Giorgis.

After having lunch and resting at the hotel, we will continue our journey into Ethiopia’s long and marvelous history with a visit to more of St. Lalibela’s remarkable churches. Their architecture and artistry must be seen to be believed. After visiting the second group of churches, we will walk to the village through the complex, bewildering labyrinth of underground tunnels to the monastery were the monks and nuns live.
 
The rock-hewn churches that we will visit this afternoon include Bete Gebriel, Bete Mercorios, Bete Emanuel, Bethlehem, and Bete Aba Libanos.

Overnight: Harbe Hotel, Lalibela

Day 3:  Lalibela, Addis Ababa

After breakfast at the hotel, transfer to Lalibela Airport for your flight back to Addis. End of tour.

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info@grandholidaysethiopia.com (Super User) Weekend Trips Thu, 11 Aug 2016 00:00:00 +0000
Wildlife Holiday to the Bale Mountains National Park — 3 Days http://holiday-to-ethiopia.com/ethiopia-weekend-trips/item/136-wildlife-holiday-to-the-bale-mountains-national-park http://holiday-to-ethiopia.com/ethiopia-weekend-trips/item/136-wildlife-holiday-to-the-bale-mountains-national-park Wildlife Holiday to the Bale Mountains National Park — 3 Days

Enjoy a unique wildlife holiday in the largest Afro-Alpine habitant in the whole of Africa. Bale Mountains is a high-altitude plateau that is fragmented by numerous remarkable volcanic plugs and peaks, beautiful alpine lakes, and mountain streams that run down into the deep rocky gorges on their way to the lowlands. It is haven for various endemic mammals including the African Wolf, Mountain Nyala, and Menelik's Bushbuck, as well as many endemic birds.

The highlights of this wildlife holiday will be the endangered Ethiopian Wolf, a rare creature unique to the highlands of Ethiopia. On this tour, we will also have the chance to see the gorgeous Mountain Nyala, the delightful Bale Monkey, and many endemic birds, as we will be touring around one of the continent's top five birding hot spots.

Trip Highlights

  • Enjoy endemic wildlife holiday in the beautiful Bale Mountains
  • See the African Wolf and Ethiopian Red Wolf
  • Watch the Mountain Nyala and Menelik's Bushbuck, which are endemic to the Bale Mountains
  • Spot endemic birds and other mammals
  • Go on a city tour of Addis Ababa

Itinerary

Day 1: Addis Ababa, Bale Mountains National Park

In the morning, drive southeast of Addis Ababa on the new express road to Dinsho, in the heart of Bale Mountains National Park. This is one of the biggest Afro-Alpine habitats on the entire African continent. 

In the afternoon, we will do a game drive to visit some of the endemic mammals in the park including the Bale Mountain Nyala, Minilik Bushbuck, and Warthogs.

Overnight: Wabi Shebele Hotel, Goba (Meals: L, D)

Day 2:  Goba, Senettie Plateau

In the morning, drive through the high plateau of one of the most beautiful parts of the park. This is the territory of the endemic Ethiopian Red Wolf. This endangered canine is the only wolf family found in Africa. It can be spotted commonly here in the vast Afro-Alpine vegetation hunting Giant Mallrats, on which it commonly feeds.

On this well conserved Afro-Alpine ecosystem, you will definitely see some endemic birds like the Blue-Winged Goose, as well as the Giant Mallrats. Later in the afternoon, we will take a relaxing trek around Gesse Valley where we can see much more wildlife and enjoy the scenic view walking around the valley.

Overnight: Wabi Shebele Hotel, Goba (Meals: B, L, D)

Day 3: Goba, Lake Ziway, Addis Ababa

In the morning, drive northwest to the Ethiopian Great Rift Valley Lakes Region. In this region, you will find chains of beautiful Rift Valley lakes, which are home to many birds and other wildlife. Enroute, we will stop at Lake Ziway, one of the biggest Rift Valley lakes. Lake Ziway is very famous for its abundant birdlife. We will have lunch at Haile Resort on the shore of Lake Ziway. 

After our visit to the lakes, we drive back to Addis Ababa through the new expressway, which starts at Mojo, arriving in Addis Ababa late in afternoon. End of tour. (Meals: B, L)

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info@grandholidaysethiopia.com (Super User) Weekend Trips Thu, 11 Aug 2016 00:00:00 +0000
Dallol, Danakil Expedition, and Erta Ale Lava Lake — 3 Days http://holiday-to-ethiopia.com/ethiopia-weekend-trips/item/135-dallol-danakil-expedition-erta-ale-lava-lake http://holiday-to-ethiopia.com/ethiopia-weekend-trips/item/135-dallol-danakil-expedition-erta-ale-lava-lake Dallol, Danakil Expedition, and Erta Ale Lava Lake — 3 Days

An adventure to the Dallol, Danakil Desert, and Erta Ale Lava Lake is like an adventure like no other. This adventure takes you to one of the hottest, lowest, and geologically active areas on the planet. And this is a trip to some of the most breathtaking landscapes on earth.

It is almost impossible to put the feeling of this extraterrestrial place into words. You just have to come and experience it. Indeed, this adventure tour is truly a trip of a lifetime!

Trip Highlights

  • Explore the Dallol Depression, one of the lowest and hottest places on earth
  • Be carried away by a landscape which makes you feel like you are on a another planet
  • Ride on a camel to Erta Ale Lava Lake in the moonlight
  • Lava trek around Erta Ale Lava Lake
  • Witness the centuries-old tradition of salt extraction and transporting it with hundreds of camel caravans

Itinerary

Day 1: Addis Ababa, Mekele, Hamedella

Early in the morning, transfer to Addis Ababa airport for the flight to Mekele. Upon arrival at Mekele airport, you will be picked up by your drivers and the Grand Holidays Ethiopia Tours team for the drive to Berhale. Then we will continue driving northeast to Hamedella, where you will stay two nights.

The Danakil Depression is the northern part of the Afar Triangle or Afar Depression, a geological depression that has resulted from the junction of three tectonic plates in the Horn of Africa. This photographic adventure is to one of the lowest, hottest, and least hospitable places on earth. Nonetheless, this is a place of otherworldly, colorful mineral fields and amazingly eye-catching landscapes.

Late in the afternoon, we will drive to the Depression where you can see and photograph with the late afternoon light the swirling sulphur and mineral salt formations in the Danakil Depression, one of the hottest and harshest environments on earth.

Here you will also witness and be able to photograph the centuries-old tradition of salt extraction in the big salt flats. You will see the salt bars loaded onto hundreds of camel caravans that will travel from the depression all the way to the highlands on a journey of more than 2 days.

Overnight: Camping at Hamedella (Meals: L, D)

Day 2: Explore Dallol, Erta Ale

Early in the morning, we will drive to Dallol Depression crossing the Danakil Desert from south to north. Lying at 130 meters below sea level, on Lake Assale, the Dallol Depression is one of the hottest and lowest points on earth. This morning, we will also discover one of the most exciting places in Dallol, the water springs in the desert with multicolored minerals gushing to the surface from the inner part of the Earth. 

After our visit to Dallol, we will continue our drive to Dodom, the base of the crater. Once at Dodom, we will rest in the shade of our tents and prepare for the Erta Ale lava trek. We will load our equipment on camels and start the trek when it cools down. We will trek on the lava for 13 km to the top of the Erta Ale Crater.

At the top of the crater, we will rest in our camp and have dinner. Afterwards, we will walk downhill to the active lava lake for some night photography and then return to camp.

Overnight: Camping at Erta Ale (Meals: B, L, D) 

Day 3: Erta Ale, Eribiti, Mekele

Early in the morning, we will walk back to the lava lake for some morning photography and trek back to base camp at Dodom where we will meet our vehicles. We proceed straight to Mekelle to catch our evening flight for Addis Ababa. End of Tour (Meals: B, L)

 

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info@grandholidaysethiopia.com (Super User) Weekend Trips Thu, 11 Aug 2016 00:00:00 +0000
Northern Splendor: Lalibela and Gondar Tour — 3 Days http://holiday-to-ethiopia.com/ethiopia-weekend-trips/item/134-northern-splendor-lalibela-gondar http://holiday-to-ethiopia.com/ethiopia-weekend-trips/item/134-northern-splendor-lalibela-gondar Northern Splendor: Lalibela and Gondar Tour — 3 Days

This is a journey to Ethiopia’s past. This cultural tour takes you to the two ancient cities in Ethiopia’s Historic North. Both are listed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The rock-hewn churches of Lalibela are one of the world's most incredible manmade creations, commonly referred to by many as one of the “living wonders of the world”. These remarkable edifices were carved out of solid rock, in a region where the rugged landscape still protects the churches from mass tourism.

The 11 manmade churches are found in the town of Lalibela, and they are a lasting monument to man's faith in God. The medieval castles and the Debre Birhan Selassie Church, one of the finest examples of Ethiopian Art, are must-sees in Gondar. 

Trip Highlights

  • Visit two UNESCO World Heritage Sites
  • Be amazed by a visit to the rock-hewn churches of Lalibela, one of “the living wonders of the world”
  • Discover the fairytale castles of Gondar
  • Visit various less-visited sites and meet with the local people
  • Try the varied Ethiopian food
  • Attend an Ethiopian coffee ceremony

Itinerary

Day 1: Addis Ababa, Lalibela

After breakfast, transfer to Addis Ababa airport for the flight to Lalibela. After checking in to your hotel, we drive to the site where you will find a concentration of some of Ethiopia’s most famous rock-hewn churches, mostly referred by many as one of “the living wonders of the world”. These churches are, and they have been for at least 800 years, an active Christian shrine, the spiritual center of the country’s religious life. The monolithic churches were carved out of a 2,600-square-meter natural rock terrace in the 12th century AD by King Lalibela.

Bete Medhani Alem, the largest monolithic rock-hewn church in the world, measures 37.7 ft. in height, covers an area of almost 2625 square ft., and has walls that are up to 6 feet thick. A plain building supported by 36 pillars on the inside and another 36 pillars around the outside, Bete Medhani Alem was modeled on the original St. Mary Zion Church built by King Ezana in the 4th century at Axum.
 
The rock-hewn churches that you will visit today include Bete Medhani Alem, Bete Mariam, Bete Meskel, Bete Denagil, Bete Golgotha Michael, and Bete Giorgis.

After having lunch and a rest at the hotel, you will continue your journey into Ethiopia’s long and marvelous history with a visit to more of St. Lalibela’s remarkable churches — their architecture and artistry must be seen to be believed. After we finish visiting the second group of churches, we will walk to the village through the complex, bewildering labyrinth of underground tunnels to the monastery where the monks and nuns live.
 
The rock-hewn churches that we will visit this afternoon include Bete Gebriel, Bete Mercorios Bete Emanuel, Bethlehem, and Bete Aba Libanos.

In the evening, there will be a special traditional Ethiopian coffee ceremony for the group prepared at a local house. In the birthplace of coffee, Ethiopia’s Kaffa region, from which it gets its name, the berries were originally only eaten, never roasted and ground for a drink. Only since the 13th century has coffee been made into a hot drink. Holding a coffee ceremony is a traditional Ethiopian way of welcoming a guest and giving the guest the best hospitality. It is probably one of the most widespread and celebrated Ethiopian traditions.

Overnight: Harbe Hotel, Lalibela

Day 2: Lalibela, Gondar

After breakfast, transfer to Lalibela airport for the 30-minute flight to Gondar. After checking in to Goha Hotel, located on a hill overlooking the city, and having lunch there, you will start your tour of Gondar.

Gondar, founded by Emperor Fasiledas around 1635, is famous for its many medieval castles and the design and decoration of its churches — in particular, Debre Birhan Selassie, which represents a masterpiece of the unique Ethiopian School of traditional art.

This afternoon, you will explore the ancient city and its famous sites including the Royal Enclosure, a walled compound having six different castles built starting in the 17th century by different kings who ruled in different times. You will also see the pool of King Fasiledas, which still serves as a baptismal pool during Ethiopian Epiphany, and the famous Debre Birhan Selassie, which is adorned with brilliant frescos from inside.

Overnight: Goha Hotel, Gondar

Day 3: Gondar, Addis Ababa, Departure

In the morning, transfer to Addis Ababa airport for the flight back to Addis Ababa. End of tour.

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info@grandholidaysethiopia.com (Super User) Weekend Trips Wed, 10 Aug 2016 00:00:00 +0000
Wildlife Safari to Awash National Park — 3 Days http://holiday-to-ethiopia.com/ethiopia-weekend-trips/item/133-wildlife-safari-to-awash-national-park http://holiday-to-ethiopia.com/ethiopia-weekend-trips/item/133-wildlife-safari-to-awash-national-park Wildlife Safari to Awash National Park — 3 Days

This short wildlife safari takes you northeast of Addis Ababa to Awash National Park, which is found 253 km into the Ethiopian Great Rift Valley. This beautiful park was established as a recreational park for the royal family in 1966. The Awash National Park is home to over 460 species of birds and several mammals such as the Beisa Oryx, Desert Warthog, Summering’s Gazelle, Lesser Kudu, Hamadryads Baboon, Olive Baboon, Grivet's Monkey, Abyssinian Hare, Harar Dik Dik, Spotted Hyena, Ard Wolf, Bat-eared Fox, Golden Jackal, African Wildcat, and some other rarely seen mammals. 

Trip Highlights

  • View amazing landscapes including young volcanic mountains and lakes
  • See unique wildlife
  • Relax in hot springs
  • Engage in bird watching

Itinerary

Day 1: Addis Ababa, Awash National Park

In the morning, drive to Awash National Park, 230 km away, part of the Ethiopian Great Rift Valley. Visit Debre Zeit Crater lakes while enroute.

After having lunch at Nazret, drive to Awash National Park through the volcanic mountains and valleys, and witness the lava on both sides of the road as freshly turned earth. We will visit beautiful Beseka Lake rich in bird life. Here you can see the Wattled Ibis, Pink-winged Pelican, African Fish Eagle, Saddled Stork, and many more birds. This is also the place where you can see the nomadic Kereyu tribe, bringing in large herds of camels for water.

After visiting the alkaline Lake Beseka, we will continue our visit to the base of the Fentale Volcanic Mountain, one of the youngest volcanic mountains. At the base of this mountain is a very big and recent rift formed by the volcanic activity in the region. This rift continues all the way to the lake, which enables numerous hot springs to flow all the way to Lake Beseka. As a result, the volume of the lake continues to increase. Under this rift, there are many Spotted Hyena, and around late afternoon they all come out of their caves. This creates a great opportunity to see and photograph this wild beast. Sometimes, the Warthogs share the same cave with the Spotted Hyenas and you can see them as they come out.  

As the sun starts to go down, we will drive to Awash National Park for a possible evening game drive and visit the beautiful Awash Falls. Your lodge today is located in a very beautiful part of the park overlooking the Awash River waterfall.

Overnight: Awash Fall Lodge, Awash National Park (Meals: L, D)

Day 2: Awash National Park, Ali Dege National Park

In the morning, we will have an early morning game drive around Awash National Park, near the falls and over the Ilala grassland. Here we can expect to see many Olive Baboons, Byssen Oryx, Waterbucks, and Bushbucks, as well as many native birds and more.

After our morning game drive, we will drive to Doho Hot Springs where Doho Lodge is located overlooking the Doho Lake, which formed as the result of the many hot springs around the area. For the rest of the morning, relax around the hot springs or rest. Here we can also visit nomadic Afar Villages.

Late in the afternoon, we will drive to Ali Dege, 70 km away. Here we can expect to spot among many other wildlife species such as the Summering Gazelle, Gerenuk, Graving Zebra, and perhaps the Kori Bustard and Arabian Bustard.

On our way to the lodge, we may spot the Hamadryads Baboon, the sacred baboon depicted on the ancient pyramids of Egypt.

Overnight: Doho Lodge (Meals: B, L, D)

Day 3: Awash, Addis Ababa

In the morning, drive back to Addis Ababa through Debre Zeit and the express road. At Debre Zeit, you can relax at the beautiful resorts before heading to Addis Ababa. We expect to arrive in Addis Ababa late in the afternoon. (Meals: B, L)

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info@grandholidaysethiopia.com (Super User) Weekend Trips Wed, 10 Aug 2016 00:00:00 +0000
Lalibela and the Rock Hewn Churches Tour — 3 Days http://holiday-to-ethiopia.com/ethiopia-weekend-trips/item/132-lalibela-tour http://holiday-to-ethiopia.com/ethiopia-weekend-trips/item/132-lalibela-tour Lalibela and the Rock Hewn Churches Tour — 3 Days

This cultural tour takes you to one of the world's most incredible manmade creations, commonly referred by many as one of the “living wonders of the world”. These 11 remarkable edifices were carved out of solid rock, in a region where the rugged landscape still protects the churches from mass tourism. 

If you just have only a couple of days and you have to choose one tour, this UNESCO's World Heritage Site excursion is truly a must-see.

Trip Highlights

  • Explore the rock-hewn churches of Lalibela, one of “the living wonders of the world" and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  • Be carried away by the magnificent carved architecture.
  • See the amazing fresco paintings
  • Visit the vibrant city of Addis Ababa.
  • Try various Ethiopian foods.
  • Attend an Ethiopian coffee ceremony.

Itinerary

Day 1: Addis Ababa, Lalibela

Early in the morning, transfer to Addis Ababa Airport for the flight to Lalibela. After checking into Mount View Hotel, drive to the site where you will  find a concentration of some of Ethiopia’s most famous rock-hewn churches, often referred to as one of “the living wonders of the world”. These churches are, and they have been for at least 800 years, an active Christian shrine, the spiritual center of the country’s  religious life. The monolithic churches were carved out of a 2,600-square-meter natural rock terrace in the 12th century AD by King Lalibela.

Bete Medhani Alem, the largest monolithic rock-hewn church in the world, measures 37.7 ft. in height, covers an area of almost 2625 square ft., and has walls that are up to 6 feet thick. A plain building supported by 36 pillars on the inside and another 36 pillars around the  outside, Bete Medhani Alem was modeled on the original St. Mary Zion Church built by King Ezana in the 4th century at Axum.
 
The rock-hewn churches that you will visit today include Bete Medhani Alem, Bete Mariam, Bete Meskel, Bete Denagil, Bete Golgotha Michael, and Bete Giorgis.

Accommodation: Mount View Hotel, Lalibela (Meals: L, D)

Day 2: Asheten Mariam, Lalibela

In the morning, trek to the top  of Asheten Mariam Monastery, famous for its 12-century monastery church and beautiful view at 10,298 ft above sea level. We will walk/mule ride through dramatic highland scenery that eventually ends in a beautiful, serene agricultural hamlet.

After lunch and rest at the hotel, you will continue your journey into Ethiopia’s long and marvelous history with a visit to other of Lalibela’s remarkable churches. Their architecture and artistry must be seen to be believed! After visiting the second group of churches, we will walk to the village through the complex, bewildering labyrinth of underground tunnels of the monastery where the monks and nuns live.
 
The rock-hewn churches that we will visit this afternoon include Bete Gebriel, Bete Mercorios Bete Amanuel, Bethlehem, and Bete Aba Libanos.
 
Accommodation: Mount View Hotel, Lalibela (Meals: B, L, D)


Day 3:  Lalibela, Addis Ababa

After breakfast, transfer to Lalibela airport for the flight to Addis Ababa. (Meals: B)

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info@grandholidaysethiopia.com (Super User) Weekend Trips Wed, 10 Aug 2016 00:00:00 +0000
Wildlife Tour on the Roof of Africa: Simien Mountains National Park — 6 Days http://holiday-to-ethiopia.com/ethiopia-nature-wildlife/wildlife/item/131-wildlife-holiday-on-the-roof-of-africa-simien-mountains http://holiday-to-ethiopia.com/ethiopia-nature-wildlife/wildlife/item/131-wildlife-holiday-on-the-roof-of-africa-simien-mountains Wildlife Tour on the Roof of Africa: Simien Mountains National Park — 6 Days

The Simien Mountains present the most dramatic mountain scenery in Africa: Great volcanic plugs, formed some 40 million years ago and eroded over the ages into fantastic crags, pinnacles, and flat-topped mountains. The "chess pieces of the gods", as one writer described them, tower over precipitous gorges, river valleys, and plains stretching all the way to Eritrea. There are many peaks over 4000 meters. 

This tour goes through landscapes of deep gorges and striking rock towers. In addition to having breathtaking scenery and ample hiking opportunities, this park is also a haven to many endemic species of wildlife and flora, including the Gelada Baboon; the Walia Ibex, the sacred animal of the ancient Ethiopians; the rare Ethiopian Wolf; and many endemic bird species. The park was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1979.

Trip Highlights

  • Go on a unique wildlife tour amidst the spectacular Simien Mountains, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  • Watch the Gelada Baboon, the last surviving species of ancient grazing primates.
  • Spot the magnificent Walia Ibex, which is only found in the Simien Mountains.
  • Enjoy unmatched endemic bird watching.
  • Spot the last surviving African wolf, the Ethiopian Red Wolf.
  • Visit the ancient city of Gondar, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  • Enjoy a city tour of Addis Ababa.

Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive Addis Ababa  

Arrive in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Welcome to Ethiopia! Upon arrival at Addis Ababa Bole International Airport (ADD), you will be welcomed by your tour guide and driven to the Jupiter Hotel (4-star). 

Addis Ababa, founded in 1886 by Menelik II, is situated at 2,500 meters (8000 ft.) above sea level. It is the 5th highest capital city in the world. The city enjoys an excellent climate year-round, with an average temperature of 25C (77F). With a multiethnic population of over 5 million, Addis Ababa is a pleasant city with wide avenues of jacarandas, interesting museums, and one of the largest open-air markets in Africa, known as the "Mercato".

Overnight: Jupiter Hotel, Addis Ababa

Day 2: Addis Ababa, Gondar, Sankaber

Early in the morning, transfer to Addis Ababa airport for the 50-minute flight to Gondar. 

Upon arrival at Gondar airport, we will meet our driver for the drive to the Simien Mountains National Park.

Driving from Gondar up to Simien Mountains National Park, you will be amazed by the spectacular scenery that awaits you at the top of the massif. The rolling grassy plateau comes to an abrupt stop, and sheer cliffs plunge almost vertically for 1,000m (3280 ft.) to the plains below. The massif itself has been sculpted by 30 million years of upthrust and erosion into a wonderland of jagged ridges, pinnacles, and strangely cropped conical mountains, so that looking out over the heart-stopping precipice you feel you might just be at the edge of the world.

After checking into the Simien Lodge and having lunch there, we will relax a bit and get ready for the afternoon photo shoot of the Gelada "bleeding heart" Baboon’ around Sankaber.

Overnight: Simien Lodge, Buyit Ras (3200 m)

Day 3: Sankaber, Gelada Baboon Territory

In the morning, we will drive/walk around Sankaber. This is the territory of Gelada Baboon, where we find them in great numbers as they come out to graze on the plains of Sankaber. The endemic Gelada Baboon is the last surviving species of ancient grazing primates that were once numerous. Geladas spend most of their day sitting and plucking and munching on grasses. They have fatty rear ends, much like human buttocks, which seem well adapted to this activity.

Theropithecus Gelada live in small family units of one male and three to six females. Though males are larger and more colorful, females dominate Gelada societies. When an aging male begins to decline, the females in his family decide when he will be replaced by a younger rival — though the male will do all he can do to drive off such competition. Gelada family units often combine to form large foraging bands of 30 to 350 animals.

We will spend the morning photographing the Gelada Baboon around the plains and further down the hills. In the afternoon, we will walk around the lodge in different locations for more opportunities to photograph the Gelada Baboon in the late afternoon light.

Overnight: Simien Lodge, Buyit Ras (3200 m)

Day 4: Cheneck, Walia Ibex territory

Today, we will rise early in the morning with the sun and drive to Cheneck through Sankaber and other beautiful parts of the park. This will give you a unique opportunity to photograph the Gelada Baboon and other endemic wildlife as they graze and hunt around the plains in the beautiful morning sun.

Around Cheneck, you will also have a chance to photograph the endemic Mountain Nyala in some of the most spectacular parts of the park. After spending the morning exploring around Checnk, we will drive back to the lodge. Late in the afternoon, we will go out around Cheneck and surrounding area to spend more time among the Geladas with the golden light of late afternoon.

Overnight: Simien Lodge, Buyit Ras (3200 m)

Day 5: Buit Ras, Gondar

Drive from Buit Ras to Gondar with stops in some picturesque places. After checking into Goha Hotel and having lunch there, we will have a city tour of Gondar. Founded by Emperor Fasiledas around 1635, Gondar is famous for its many medieval castles and the design and decoration of its churches — in particular, Debre Birhan Selassie, which represents a masterpiece of unique the Ethiopian school of traditional art.

Today you will visit the Royal Enclosure, a walled compound having six different castles built starting from 17th century by different kings who ruled in different times; the pool of King Fasiledas, which still serves as a baptismal pool during Ethiopian Epiphany; and the famous Debre Birhan Selassie adorned with brilliant frescos inside.

Overnight: Goha Hotel, Gondar

Day 6: Gondar, Addis Ababa, End of tour

In the morning, transfer to Gondar airport for the flight to Addis Ababa. For the rest of the day you will have a city tour of Addis Ababa which includes the National Museum, the Mercato, the Piassa, and other parts of the city.

After checking into the hotel, we will drive to the National Museum to meet your ancestor Lucy. The National Museum  is one of the best museums in Ethiopia. Archeological exhibits include the 3.2-million-year-old fossil of Lucy (or Dinkinesh — ‘thou art wonderful’ — in the native language), a hominoid woman of the species Australopithecus Afarensis. The discovery of Lucy’s fossil in 1974 forced a complete rethink of human genealogy, proving that our ancestors were walking 2.5 million years earlier than had been supposed. The National Museum also contains many wonderful artifacts dating back to the pre-Axumite civilization.

After our visit to the museum, we will continue our city tour of Addis Ababa with the Mercato, the largest open-air market in Africa, other part of the city including the Piassa, and Churchill Avenue for souvenir shopping.

In the evening, there will be a special Ethiopian farewell dinner party with a traditional buffet and local drinks. There will also be a live cultural dance show of the different ethnic groups living in the country. The perfect way to end the trip! After the farewell dinner, transfer to Addis Ababa Airport for the flight back home. End of the tour.

 

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info@grandholidaysethiopia.com (Super User) Wildlife Holiday in Ethiopia Wed, 10 Aug 2016 00:00:00 +0000
Wildlife Tour in the Bale Mountains — 6 Days http://holiday-to-ethiopia.com/ethiopia-nature-wildlife/wildlife/item/130-wildlife-holiday-in-the-bale-mountains-endemic-hotspot http://holiday-to-ethiopia.com/ethiopia-nature-wildlife/wildlife/item/130-wildlife-holiday-in-the-bale-mountains-endemic-hotspot Wildlife Tour in the Bale Mountains — 6 Days

This wildlife tour takes you into the largest Afro-Alpine habitant in the whole of Africa. It is a high-altitude plateau fragmented by numerous remarkable volcanic plugs and peaks, beautiful alpine lakes, and mountain streams that run down into the deep rocky gorges on their way to the lowlands. It is haven for various endemic mammals including the endangered Ethiopian Red Wolf, the Mountain Nyala, the Minilik Bushbuck, and many endemic birds and other mammals. The highlight of this wildlife tour will be the endangered Ethiopian Red Wolf, a rare creature unique to the highlands of Ethiopia.

On this tour, we will also have the chance to see the gorgeous Mountain Nyala and delightful Bale Monkey. And we will have plenty of chances to spot many endemic birds, as we will be touring around one of the continent's top five birding hot spots. 

Trip Highlights

  • Enjoy endemic wildlife in the beautiful Bale Mountains.
  • See the last surviving African wolf, the Ethiopian Red Wolf.
  • Watch the Mountain Nyala and the Menelik Bushbuck, endemic to the Bale Mountains.
  • Experience unmatched endemic bird watching and different mammals
  • Visit the Great Rift Valley lakes.
  • Take a city tour of Addis Ababa.

Itinerary

Day 1: Addis Ababa, Arrival

Arrive in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Welcome to Ethiopia! Upon arrival at Addis Ababa Bole International Airport (ADD), you will be welcomed and assisted by your tour guide and driven to Jupiter Hotel. 

Addis Ababa, founded in 1886 by Menelik II, is situated at 2,500 meters (8000 ft.) above sea level. It is the 5th highest capital city in the world. The city enjoys an excellent climate year-round, with an average temperature of 25C (77F). With a multiethnic population of over 5 million, Addis Ababa is a pleasant city with wide avenues of jacarandas, interesting museums, and one of the largest open-air markets in Africa, known as the "Mercato".

Overnight: Jupiter Hotel, Addis Ababa

Day 2: Addis Ababa, Ethiopian Great Valley Lakes, Langano

In the morning, we drive to the Great Ethiopian Rift Valley and Lake Langano. While driving from Addis Ababa to Langano, we will pass by different small towns and stop for a visit at one of the most beautiful Rift Valley lakes, Lake Ziway.

The rest of the day, relax at the beautiful Sabana Lodge perched on the top of a hill overlooking the beautiful lake.

Accommodation: Sabana Lodge, Langano

Day 3: Langano, Bale Mountains National Park

In the morning, we drive to Dinsho in Bale Mountains National Park. This is one of the biggest Afro-Alpine habitats on the entire African continent. In the afternoon, we will take a game drive around Dinsho to see some of the endemic mammals in the park including the Bale Mountain Nyala (endemic to Bale Mountains National Park), Minilik Bushbuck, warthogs, and many more.

Overnight: Wabi Shebele Hotel, Goba

Day 4: Bale Mountains National Park

We will rise early in the morning to drive up on the Senettie Plateau on one of the highest roads on the continent, 4000 meters above sea level. This is also the biggest Afro-Alpine habitat in the whole of Africa and is crucial for the survival of Africa’s last wolf, the Abyssinian Wolf. This red wolf is one of the most endangered canid in the world.

The wolves depend on the abundant rodents available here including the endemic Giant Mole Rat. Crossing the plateau to the escarpment, we descend towards Harenna Forest, one of the best-conserved Alpine forests in the country. This dense, indigenous forest shelters the endemic Bale Mountains Monkey, Baboons, Giant Hog, Bush Pig, Leopard, Black Manned Lion, Caracal, and many forest birds.

Overnight: Bale Mountains Lodge, Harenna Forest  

Day 5: Bale Mountains, Lake Awassa

In the morning, we drive southwest to the Ethiopian Great Rift Valley Lakes Region. In this region, you will find chains of beautiful Rift Valley lakes that are home to many birds and other wildlife.

After checking into the beautiful Haile Resort, owned and run by the great Ethiopian Olympic gold medalist athlete, we will then walk around Lake Awassa to see different aquatic birds. We can also take a boat trip for more bird watching and hippo spotting. The rest of the day, you can relax in the swimming pool or in the spa.

Overnight: Haile Resort, Awassa

Day 6: Awassa, Langano, Ziway, Addis Ababa

Early in the morning, we will visit the Awassa fish market, where local fishermen sell freshly caught fish for the locals. The interaction of the fishermen with the people, the birds, and the surrounding environment always fascinates.

After breakfast at the hotel, we will drive back to Addis Ababa enroute visiting two Rift Valley lakes: Lake Ziway, the biggest Rift Valley lake and Lake Langano. Both are very famous for their abundant bird life. After we finish our visit to the lakes, we return to Addis Ababa in the late afternoon on the new expressway, which starts at Mojo. End of tour.

 

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info@grandholidaysethiopia.com (Super User) Wildlife Holiday in Ethiopia Wed, 10 Aug 2016 00:00:00 +0000
Mammals of Ethiopia Tour — 14 Days http://holiday-to-ethiopia.com/ethiopia-nature-wildlife/wildlife/item/129-mammals-of-ethiopia-an-exciting-wildlife-holiday http://holiday-to-ethiopia.com/ethiopia-nature-wildlife/wildlife/item/129-mammals-of-ethiopia-an-exciting-wildlife-holiday Mammals of Ethiopia Tour — 14 Days

Looking for an experience a little different from the typical African wildlife safari? Then Ethiopia is your destination in Africa! 

Ethiopia has an amazingly varied landscape and ecosystem — from hot deserts to high, rugged mountains. This makes it home to an astonishingly varied amount of flora and fauna, among which are many species of mammals, birds, and plants endemic to Ethiopia.

What wildlife is there to see? There are over 270 species of mammals (7 endemic to Ethiopia) and over 830 bird species (29 endemic to Ethiopia). Prepare to be surprised! 

Wildlife and Nature Tours

Grand Holidays Ethiopia Tours is the local travel specialist for wildlife tours in Ethiopia. We offer a variety of nature and wildlife tours throughout Ethiopia. Our tours focus on Ethiopia’s amazing and diverse nature, dramatic landscape, unique mammals, and rich bird life. We also have birding tours for the bird enthusiasts.

Our Mammals of Ethiopia wildlife tour focuses on the varied mammals found in the four national parks and Great Rift Valley lakes region of Ethiopia. You will have a chance to spot many bird and wildlife species amongst the breathtaking landscapes of Ethiopia. As our tour goes to the spectacular Simien Mountains and Bale Mountains National Parks, you have a excellent opportunity to discover the endemic mammals of Ethiopia that you cannot find anywhere else.

Highlights of the Tour

  • See the breathtaking landscapes of Simien Mountains National Park and Bale Mountains National Park, UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
  • Experience the Great Rift Valley lakes and abundant bird life of Ethiopia.
  • Explore the beautiful Nech Sar National Park and Awash National Park.
  • See the Senekele game reserve.
  • Witness tribal culture in the southern Ethiopia.
  • Visit the fairytale castles of Gondar, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  • Enjoy a city tour of Addis Ababa.

Wildlife You May See on the Tour

  • The last wolf of Africa — the endangered Ethiopian Wolf
  • The Bleeding Heart Gelada Baboon, the last and only grazing primate
  • The magnificent Walia IBEX, the handsome Mountain Nyala, and the Minilik Bushbuck 
  • The endemic Bale Monkey and Giant Mallrat
  • Grevy's Zebra, the Gerenuk, the Beisa Oryx, the giant Nile Crocodiles, and more

Itinerary

Day 1: Addis Ababa Arrival

Arrive in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Welcome to Ethiopia! Upon arrival at Addis Ababa Bole International Airport (ADD), you will be welcomed and assisted by your tour guide and driven to Jupiter Hotel. 

Addis Ababa, founded in 1886 by Menelik II, is situated at 2,500 meters (8000 ft.) above sea level. It is the 5th highest capital city in the world. The city enjoys an excellent climate year-round, with an average temperature of 25C (77F). With a multiethnic population of over 5 million, Addis Ababa is a pleasant city with wide avenues of jacarandas, interesting museums, and one of the largest open-air markets in Africa, known as the "Mercato".

Overnight: Jupiter Hotel, Addis Ababa

Day 2: Addis Ababa, Awash National Park

This morning we will be setting off towards the great East African Rift Valley where the Awash National Park is found. While driving from Addis Ababa to Awash National Park, we will go through the towns of Debre Zeit and Nazret.
The Awash National Park was established in 1966 as the royal family’s recreational park. The Awash area is part of the Great Rift Valley, and here, in different parts of the park, you will witness volcanic activity. Some of the recent and youngest craters and volcanic mountains are also found here.

The Awash park is home to over 460 species of birds and several mammals, including the Beisa Oryx, Desert Warthog, Summering’s Gazelle, Lesser Kudu, Hamadryads Baboon, Olive Baboon, Grivet's Monkey, Abyssinian Hare, Harar Dik Dik, Spotted Hyena, Ard Wolf, Bat-Eared Fox, Golden Jackal, and African Wild Cat.

Once at Lake Beseka, we will walk around the lake for bird viewing and then near the foot of Mount Fenta'ale, following the deep cracks coming from the mountains towards the lake. Here around dusk we will look for group of spotted Hyenas teaming out of this caves.

Overnight: Awash Falls Lodge, Awash National Park

Day 3: Awash National Park

After an early breakfast at the lodge, we drive to Alideghe Game Reserve northeast of Awash National Park. Here we will do a game drive and scan the vast plain for Grevy's Zebra, Gerenuk, Beisa Oryx, Simmering Gazelle, Grant's Gazelle, Somali Ostrich, and rare birds. We then drive to Doha Lodge for lunch and enjoy the natural hot springs under the vast palm trees.

After relaxing at Doho, when the sun starts to cool down, we will take a short drive to Awash National Park. For the rest of the afternoon, we will have a game drive around Ilala Plains. Here we should see herds of Beisa Oryx, Sommering's Gazelle, and Leopard Tortoise. If we are lucky, we will spot some of the rare animals like the Bat-Eared Fox, African Wild Cat, and different endemic birds. After we finish our game drive, we will take a relaxing walk to our lodge and wonder around the waterfalls spotting crocks and monkeys.

Overnight: Awash Falls Lodge, Awash National Park

Day 4: Awash National Park, Bale Mountains National Park

Today we will be heading to the famous Bale Mountains National Park known for its endemic wildlife and birds.

Driving from Awash National Park to the Bale Mountains, we will pass through different landscapes and vast farm land. We will reach Dinsho and walk the buffer zone Gessay Valley for our first encounter with the Mountain Nyala, Bohor Reed Back, Common Warthog, and some endemic birds. We then walk inside the reserve for more encounters of the Mountain Nyala and other endemic wildlife in the park including Menelik's Bushbuck and some other commonly seen mammals and birds. After our walking safari, we will have an hour drive to Goba for overnight.

Overnight: Wabishebele Hotel, Goba

Day 5: Bale Mountains National Park

We will rise early in the morning to drive up on the Senettie Plateau on one of the highest roads on the continent, 4000 meters above sea level. This is also the biggest Afro-Alpine habitat in the whole of Africa and is crucial for the survival of Africa’s last wolf, the Abyssinian Wolf. This red wolf is one of the most endangered canid in the world.

The wolves depend on the abundant rodents available here including the endemic Giant Mole Rat. Crossing the plateau to the escarpment, we descend towards Harenna Forest, one of the best-conserved Alpine forests in the country. This dense, indigenous forest shelters the endemic Bale Mountains Monkey, Baboons, Giant Hog, Bush Pig, Leopard, Black Manned Lion, Caracal and many forest birds.

After exploring this forest, we drive back to the plateau for some more chances to encounter the Abyssinian Wolf — our star focus on this trip.

Overnight: Wabishebele Hotel, Goba

Day 6: Bale Mountains, Awassa

After again crossing Gessay Valley, we drive southwest to one of the Great Rift Valley lakes, Lake Awassa. While driving from Goba to Awassa, we will ecounter beautiful landscapes before reaching Awassa in the afternoon. After checking into our hotel, we will go on a boat cruise to spot hippos and also scan for different aquatic birds around the lake.

For the rest of the day, you can choose between relaxing in the swimming pool, enjoying the spa at the beautiful lakeside Haile Resort, or taking a relaxing walk along the shore of the beautiful lake.

Overnight: Haile Resort, Awassa

Day 7: Awassa, Senkele, Arbaminch

In the morning, we drive to Arbaminch enroute visiting Senkele Game Reserve. Covering 58 square kilometers, the reserve is located some 10 kilometers south of the Shashemene-Arbaminch Road near the town of Aje. This small open terrain reserve is the only place in Ethiopia where Swayne's Hartebeest sightings are practically guaranteed. At this reserve, we will have the opportunity to spot the Golden Back Jackal, the Black-Backed Jackal, and some common mammals and many birds.

Overnight: Paradise Lodge, Arbaminch

Day 8:  Arbaminch, Nech Sar, Lake Chamo

Nech Sar National Park includes diverse and beautiful landscapes such as the vast woodlands, white grass savannah plains, hot springs, the twin lakes — Lake Chamo and Lake Abaya — and the natural mountain bridge, the “Bridge of God”, which connects the two lakes.

In the morning, we will take a boat cruise on Lake Chamo to see the gigantic Nile Crocodiles, as well as hippos and aquatic birds. Olive Baboons are also commonly seen in the forest near the lake.

After crossing the lake by boat, we will have a guided walking safari tour to the Nech Sar Plains to spot Burchell’s Zebra, Grant’s Gazelle, Swayne’s Hartebeest, the Greater Kudu, and other large mammals.

Overnight: Paradise Lodge, Arbaminch


Day 9: Arbaminch, Dorze, Bishangari

After breakfast, we will drive north to the mountain village of Chencha on the southwestern escarpment of the Great Rift Valley running north to south all the way to Mozambique. This is the home of the Dorze people. The Dorze people, once famous warriors in the region, are now renowned cotton weavers whose tall beehive-shaped and bamboo-woven dwellings are among the most distinctive structures to be seen any where in Africa. This is also the best place to see the view of the Nech Sar National Park and the two lakes underneath.

After visiting Dorze, we will drive to Lake Langano, one of the most beautiful Rift Valley lakes, and enroute we will visit different villages including the Rastafarian Community at Shashemene.

After lunch at Shashemene, we will continue driving to Bishangari. After checking into the lakeside Bishangari Lodge, we will go out on a walking safari to spot wildlife using a flashlight. Our main goal is to encounter the rare and elusive nocturnal animal of any successful African safari: the Aardvark, which feeds on termites and cuts tunnels like a caving machine. We also expect to spot the Ethiopian Genet, African Civet Cat, White-Tailed Mongoose, Jackal, and Bush Duiker. After our safari walk, we return to the lodge for the evening.

Overnight: Bishangari Lodge, Langano

Day 10: Langano, Addis Ababa

We rise early to explore the surrounding area of the ecolodge for more wildlife viewing opportunities then return to the restaurant for breakfast.

After breakfast, we will drive to Addis Ababa. Enroute, we will go to Abiata Shala National Park to look out for the Somali and Masai Ostrich, Grant's Gazelle, Desert Warthogs, and birds. As we near the alkaline Lake Abiata, we may spot flocks of Greater and Lesser Flamingos and other water birds. We then return to the main road to continue our drive to Addis Ababa visiting Lake Ziway, an excellent birding site, on the way. After lunch at Haile Resort Ziway, we will drive to Addis Ababa.

Overnight: Jupiter Hotel, Addis Ababa

Day 11: Addis Ababa, Gondar, Buit Ras

Early in the morning, transfer to Addis Ababa airport for the 50-minute flight to Gondar. 

Upon arrival at Gondar airport, we will meet our driver for the drive to the Simien Mountains National Park. Driving from Gondar up to Simien Mountains National Park, we will experience the spectacular scenery that awaits at the top of the massif. The rolling grassy plateau comes to an abrupt stop, and sheer cliffs plunge almost vertically for 1,000 m (3280 ft.) to the plains below. The massif itself has been sculpted by 30 million years of upthrust and erosion into a wonderland of jagged ridges, pinnacles, and strangely cropped conical mountains, so that looking out over the heart-stopping precipice you feel you might just be at the edge of the world.

After checking into the Simien Lodge, the highest lodge in Africa at 3260 m, and having lunch there, we will relax a bit and get ready for the afternoon for our first encounter with the endemic Gelada Baboon, the "bleeding heart baboon", in the breathtaking scenery. This is the last refuge of "Tropiticcus Gelada". This primate used to live all over Africa but then split from other baboon members over 400,000 years ago, and the Ethiopian highland plateau became its last refugee. The Gelada Baboon is the last surviving species of ancient grazing primates that were once found in numerous numbers. Geladas spend most of their day sitting down, plucking and munching on grasses. They have fatty rear ends, much like human buttocks, which seem well adapted to this activity. Theropithecus Gelada live in small family units of one male and three to six females.

Overnight: Simien Lodge, Buyit Ras (3200 m)

Day 12: Simien Mountains National Park

Today, we will rise early in the morning with the sun, and after breakfast we will drive for about 2 hours through breathtaking scenery to Cheneck. The main goal today is to spot the magnificent, endemic Walia Ibex and enjoy the spectacular scenery of the Simien Mountains. Around Cheneck, we will find a small population of the Walia Ibex, once considered to be a sacred animal by the ancient Ethiopians and that can be found carved into different artifacts from ancient times.

We will have our picnic lunch under the shade of trees enjoying the magnificent view and observing the endemic birds — especially the giant Lammergeyer and Thick-Billed Raven — that roam the mountains.

After lunch, we will slowly drive back to our lodge with several stops for viewing wildlife.

Overnight: Simien Lodge, Buyit Ras (3200 m)

Day 13: Buit Ras, Gondar

Today we drive from Buit Ras to Gondar with stops in some picturesque spots. After checking into Goha Hotel and having lunch there, we will take a city tour of Gondar. Gondar, founded by Emperor Fasiledas around 1635, is famous for its many medieval castles and the design and decoration of its churches — in particular, Debre Birhan Selassie, which represents a masterpiece of the unique Ethiopian school of traditional art.

Today you will visit the Royal Enclosure, a walled compound having six different castles built from the 17th century by different kings who ruled in different times; the pool of King Fasiledas, which still serves as a baptismal pool during Ethiopian Epiphany; and the famous Debre Birhan Selassie adorned with brilliant frescos inside.

Overnight: Goha Hotel, Gondar

Day 14: Gondar, Addis Ababa

In the morning, we transfer to Gondar airport for the flight to Addis Ababa. For the rest of the day, you will have a city tour of Addis Ababa that includes the National Museum, Mercato, Piassa, and other parts of the city. After checking into the hotel, we will drive to the National Museum to meet your ancestor Lucy.

The National Museum of Ethiopia is one of the best museums in in Ethiopia. Archeological exhibits include the 3.2 million-year-old fossil of Lucy (or Dinkinesh — "thou art wonderful" — in the native language), a hominoid woman of the species  Australopithecus Afarensis. The discovery of Lucy’s fossil in 1974 forced a complete rethinking of human genealogy, proving that our ancestors were walking 2.5 million years earlier than had been supposed. The National Museum also contains many wonderful artifacts dating back to pre-Axumite civilization.

After our visit to the museum, we will continue our city tour of Addis Ababa with the Merkato, the largest open-air market in Africa, and other parts of the city including the Piassa and Churchill Avenue for souvenir shopping.

In the evening, there will be a special Ethiopian farewell dinner party with traditional buffet and local drinks. There will also be a live cultural dance show of the different ethnic groups living in the country — the perfect ending for the trip! After the farewell dinner, transfer to Addis Ababa Airport for the flight back home. End of the tour.

 

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info@grandholidaysethiopia.com (Super User) Wildlife Holiday in Ethiopia Wed, 10 Aug 2016 00:00:00 +0000