NORTHERN ETHIOPIA TOUR (10 DAYS)
Day 1: Mekele, Highlands drive After arriving at the Mekele Airport, we’ll begin our drive through the Highlands of Ethiopia. We’ll stop at Abraha and Atsbaha and Marium Korkor, two rock churches along the way. Many people enjoy spending the night at the Gheralta Lodge, a lovely bed and breakfast.
Day 2: Gheralta Rock Churches Today we’ll explore many of the rock churches around Gheralta. There are churches for every level of skill and adventure. Whether you want to do hand-over-hand climbing to get to some of the churches or enjoy an easy hike, there are many beautiful churches, each with a story and a history of its own.
Day 3: Drive to Axum On the drive to Axum, you’ll continue to see the beauty of the Ethiopian countryside. We’ll stop at the Debra Damo monastery. Here a rope climb will take you into one of the oldest churches in Ethiopia. We’ll also see the Yeha Temple, the oldest standing structure in Ethiopia.
Day 4: Exploring Axum Begin your day with a visit to the Church of St. Mary of Zion, including a stop at the chapel where the Ark of the Covenant is supposedly kept. Then travel to the famous Stelaes. These stones are larger than any individual part of the pyramids! After this we’ll journey to the Archeology Museum where you can learn some more of the ancient history of the area and see many of the findings from Axum and other empires. We’ll also see the Ezana Stone, a trilingual monument that researchers have used to learn much about the Axumite Kingdom. Then we’ll finish the day with a visit to King Caleb’s tomb and the ruins of the palace of the Queen of Sheba.
Day 5: Lalibella After a quick plane ride over to Lalibella, you’ll see the famous St. George church and other rock-hewn churches in the area.
Day 6: Excursion to Yemrehanna Kristos After seeing the surrounding town, we’ll hike up to the cave that Yemrehanna Kristos lies within. Due to its remote location, few people venture to Yemerhanna Kristos. However, this church offers a different view of architecture here since this church was constructed from olive wood instead of carved from stone. You’ll also see the tomb of Yemrehanna Kristos within the cave.
Day 7: Gonder Today we’ll fly to Gonder where you can explore yet another one of Ethiopia’s ancient kingdoms. Here you’ll see the Royal Palace of the Gonderian Kingdom from the 16th century. Then we’ll stop at the Church of Debra Berhan Selassie, which is well-known for its mural paintings that are characteristic of Ethiopian artwork.
Day 8: Simien Mountains We’ll drive on to the Simien Mountains. In addition to some of the rock churches there, the Simien Mountains are best known for their incredible wildlife. With tour guides who are knowledgeable about the flora and fauna of the region, they can ensure that you spot the ibex and the baboons and smell the sweetest flowers in the Simiens. Tonight, you can enjoy pitching a tent in the Simiens or getting a taste of village life by staying in the quaint town of Debark.
Day 9: Bahir Dar or Return to Gondar Those wishing to end their travels with the visit to the Simien Mountains will return to Gondar today in preparation for flying back to Addis Ababa. Others many continue onto Bahir Dar by car, where you’ll see the famous Blue Nile. Additionally we’ll go to the stunning Lake Tana where you can tour some of the island churches found there.
Day 10: Bahir Dar, Return to Addis After exploring more of what Bahir Dar, you’ll return to Addis Ababa, having seen the best of what Northern Ethiopia has to offer.
This exciting itinerary includes spectacular scenery, visits to spectacular ancient ruins, and the opportunity to mingle with the many different people from across the country.