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Program A Cultural Tour to Historic Route of Ethiopia Duration 7 Days

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Tour ID : GHET-017
Transport : Air and surface
Activities : Ancient colorful festivals, ancient history, age-old culture, breathtaking highland scenery, waterfalls, castles, rock churches, unique tribal couture, game animals and so much more

Day 1: April 8, 2017: Arrive Addis Ababa

Arrive in Addis Ababa (ADD), Ethiopia at 20:55. Welcome to Ethiopia! Upon arrival at Addis Ababa Bole International Airport, you will be welcomed and assisted by your tour guide and driver for to Jupiter Hotel (4*). There will be a short drive to your hotel.

Addis Ababa, founded in 1886 by Menelik II, is situated at 2,500 meters (8000 ft) above sea level. It is the highest capital city in the world, after La Paz and Quito in South America. The city enjoys an excellent climate all year round, with an average temperature of 25C (77F). With 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".

Take a little rest in the morning, and the rest of the day city tour of Addis Ababa. Today, you will have city tour and sight seeing tour of Addis Ababa which includes the National Museum, Ethnographic Museum, Merkato, Piassa and other parts of the city.

This morning, you will visit the National Museum and the Ethnographic Museum. The National Museum of Ethiopia: This is one of the best museums in quality and diversity of the exhibits. Archeological exhibits include the 3.5 million-year-old fossil of Lucy (or Dinkinesh – ‘thou art wonderful’- in the native language), a hominoid woman of the specious of Australopithecus Afarensis. The discovery of Lucy’s fossil in 1974 forced a complete rethink of human genealogy, providing 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.

The Ethnographic Museum is very different to the National Museum, but equally absorbing, this museum exhibit, a varied array of artifacts and daily objects related to most ethnic groups in Ethiopia.

In the afternoon, city tour of Addis will continue with Merkato, the largest open-air market in the continent and the other part of the city including Piassa and Churchill Avenue.

Accommodation: Jupiter Hotel -Addis Ababa

Day 2: April 9: Addis Ababa- Gonder-Simien Mountains

In the morning, fly to Gonder. At Gonder airport we will meet our driver for the drive to spectacular Simien Mountains National Park and to spend a night at Simien Lodge Gold Winner, Skal Sustainable Tourism Awards 2016, Rural accommodation. www.simiens.com

Driving from Gonder all the way to Simien Mountains National Park, nothing prepares you for 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 1,000m (3280 ft) to the plains below. The massif itself has been sculpted by 30 million years of up thrust 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.

The rest of the day, walk/trek to explore the surrounding of Sankaber, part of the Simien Mountains National Park. Here you have a good chance of spotting groups of Gelada baboons, one of Ethiopia’s endemic animals.

Accommodation: Simien Lodge-Buit Ras. (Meal: B/L/D)

Day 3: April 10: Simien Mountains-Gonder

Early in the morning, enjoy the magnificent view with the beautiful sunrise accompanied by troops of Gelada Baboons.

After breakfast, drive to the ancient city of Gonder. 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 represents a masterpiece of 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 6 different castles built from 17th century by different kings who ruled in different times, the pool of King Fasilidas which still serves as a baptismal pool during Ethiopian Epiphany and you will also visit the famous Deberberhan Sillassie which is adorned with brilliant frescos from inside.

Accommodation: Goha Hotel-Gondar. (Meals: B/L/D)

Day 4: April 11: Gonder-Bahirdar

After breakfast, we will drive to Bahirdar, through the beautiful countryside scenery of Gonder and Fogera palins.

After check in to hotel, we will have boat cruise over Lake Tana to visit the ancient 14th century island monasteries of Lake Tana. The 37 islands of Lake Tana shelter twenty 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.

Accommodation: Avanti Blue Nile Resort-Bahirdar.

Day 5: April 12: BahirdarLalibela 

After breakfast, transfer to Gonder Airport for the flight to Lalibela. After check in to Harbe Hotel, 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 “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 2,600-sq 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 six 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: Harbe Hotel-Lalibela. (Meal: B/L/D)

Day 6: April 13: Asheten Mariam-Lalibela

In the morning, walk or ride on a mule back to the top of Asheten Mariam Monastery, this is very 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 and which eventually ends in a beautiful serene agricultural hamlet.

After having lunch and rest at the hotel, you will continue your journey into Ethiopia’s long and marvelous history with a visit to other St. Lalibela’s remarkable churches-their architecture and artistry must be seen to be believed. Ones we finished 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.

Today, you will be able to witness the special ceremony of Holy Thursday around the rock-hewn churches where the priests perform different ancient Christian practices with the faithful. The rock-hewn churches that we will visit this afternoon include: Bete Gebriel, Bete Mercorios Bete Amanuel, Bethlehem and Bete Aba Libanos.

In the evening, there will be a special Ethiopian traditional coffee ceremony for the group prepared at a local house. Those who can’t face their day with out a cup of coffee may be surprised to know that in it’s birthplace in 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, coffee has been made 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 celebrated Ethiopian traditions, and a lifestyle - in which most Ethiopians can identify themselves with.

Accommodation: Harbe Hotel-Lalibela. (Meal: B/L/D)

Day 7: April 14: Lalibela-Addis Ababa

After breakfast, transfer to Lalibela airport for the flight to Addis Ababa. The rest of the day meet with fellow skal league from Addis Ababa and around the world.

Overnight: Jupiter Hotel-Addis Ababa. (Meal: B)

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