Visit Bahir Dar, Kibran Gabriel Monastery,Gondar, Omo Valley Tribes 23 Days

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Visit Bahir Dar, Kibran Gabriel Monastery,Gondar, Omo Valley Tribes 23 Days

Bahir-Dar, Kibran-Gabriel Monastery, Ura Kidanemehret on Lake Tana, Blue Nile Waterfalls, Gondar, Castles of Fassiladas, Simien Mountains, Axum-Obelisks, Yeha temple, Lalibela & Addis Ababa, Omo Valley Tribes

Itinerary

Program: History, Nature and Culture Tour

Tour Code: Grand Tours 05

Duration: 22 Nights (23 Days)

Transportation: Air & Land (4WD)

Tour starts: Addis Ababa

Tour ends: Addis Ababa

Day1: Arrival/ Addis Ababa & City Tour of Addis Ababa

Arrive in the morning and transfer to your Hotel and after Breakfast, we drive to the Entoto Mountain (3300m) for a panoramic view of Addis, Entoto Museum with historical and royal exhibit, The Church of St. Mary, built in 1885 and the old palace of emperor MenelikII. Take some images at Mount Entoto and we drive back to Addis for Ethnological Museum that exhibits the culture and handicrafts of various Ethiopian ethnic groups, the National Museum in which you are visiting different archaeological findings (including Lucy’s replica Skeleton). After lunch, visit the Trinity Cathedral, Mausoleum of emperor MenelikII at Bààta Church and finally Merkato – the largest open market in Africa.  Overnight – at chosen hotel – Addis

Day2: The Tis Issat of the Blue Nile and Monasteries on Lake Tana

 After breakfast; fly from Addis to Bahir Dar and drive to the small town of Tiss Abay (32km rough road) to visit the impressive Blue Nile Falls, locally known as Tis Isat means in Amharic: ‘Smoke of Fire’. Much of the water is diverted for Hydro electric Generation plant but it is still worth visiting for remaining waterfalls, trekking around and to see a Portuguese Bridge (17Century) and the country side. The area around the waterfall is amazingly fertile and the Amhara people who live here farm wheat, sorghum and Teff (from which Injera, the national bread, is made). After the fall, return to Bahir Dar & make city tour of Bahir Dar which includes: market where you can find the pottery, traditional hand-made woven clothes, and Woito Basket market.

Afternoon; take a chartered boat trip on Lake Tana to visit monasteries (constructed during 14 up to 18 century). You will visit only the most accessible and representative of the monasteries on the lake, still serving their original function: Ura Kidane Mehret, and Azwa Maryam (in Zeghie Peninsula), Kibran Church (prohibited for women) & Entos Eyesus. Overnight – at chosen hotel – Bahir Dar

Day3: Gondar Castles, Churches & Simien National Park

After breakfast; we fly from Bahir Dar to Gondar and visit the 17century church of Debre Birhan Silassie (Light of Trinity) unique in its murals, the Castles of emperor Fassiladas and his swimming pool, and palace of Empress Mentewab.  

After lunch; drive to the Simien Mountains National Park – Chennek (158km rough but good road). On the way near the town of Gondar; short visit of Wolleka – a place of the Felasha or the black Jewish people for their synagogue and black pottery shop. Jews have amazing histories in Ethiopia even before the time of Gonderine Civilization (17-19century).The history of the Original Ark of the Covenant, supposed to be in Axum now is one to mention. Then continue driving to Debark (101km from Gondar). At Debark; we collect entrance tickets and a scout for the park. Leaving the town of Debark, we will proceed to Chennek (about 57km from Debark).  On the way; appreciate the majestic and chained mountains of the Simien Park and Gelada baboons feeding on the ground at many places. At Chennek, walk around for Walia Ibexes, more Gelada Baboons and the fabulous landscapes of the mountain (please note that the camping site of Chennek is the most rewarding place in the Mountain). Overnight- tented camp – Chennek

Day4: Simien National Park & back to Gondar Castles

After breakfast; rediscover the mountain, even walking until the peak mountain of Buayt (4430m) and drive back to Gondar to catch our next day flight to Axum. Overnight – at chosen hotel – Gondar

Day5: the birth Place of Ethiopian History

 After breakfast; fly from Gondar to Axum and explore the city of Axum. Axum treasures the ancient Ethiopian history. The attractions of Axum include: the archaeological museum, monolithic steles, the tombs of King Kaleb, and the legendary Bath and the ruins of ancient palace of the Queen of Sheba, St Mary of Zion and the sanctuary that houses the original Ark of the Covenant. Almost all  Ethiopian Orthodox Christians and some scholars believe firmly about the presence of the original Ark of God for centuries here in Axum,  at the chapel in the middle of St Mary of Zion and Emperor Fassiladas’ Castle of Axum. Visit also the monastery of Abba Pantelion at the hill side of Axum (optional).  Overnight – at chosen hotel –Axum

Religious Festivals: Visiting on every 30November 2010(Hidar/ Maryam Tsion Celebration). You can attend on 30November if the itinerary is rearranged.

Day6: Rock Hewn churches of Lalibela

After breakfast; fly from Axum to Lalibela. After breakfast; Visit the first group of six churches: 1.Bet Golgotha, 2.Bet Mikael, 3.Bet Mariam, 4.Bet Meskel, 5.Bet Danaghel and 6.Bet Medhane Alem. Bet Medhane Alem is the largest monolithic rock hewn church in the world, built like a Greek temple! In a corner there are three empty graves symbolically dug for biblical patriarchs Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.  After lunch and a short siesta, continue exploring the fascinating churches (Second group): 7.Bete Amanuel, 8.Bete Marqorewos, 9.Bete Abba Libanos, 10.Bete Gabriel -Rufael and11. Bet Giyorgis is the most elegant of all Lalibela churches, which lies somewhat isolated in the southwest part of the town on a sloping rock terrace. Overnight – at chosen hotel – Lalibela

Day7:  full day in Lalibela

Early morning; Hike to Asheten Mariam Mountain Church (optional) .After lunch and a short siesta, visit Second groups: After lunch and a short siesta, continue exploring the fascinating churches (Second group): 7.Bete Amanuel, 8.Bete Marqorewos, 9.Bete Abba Libanos, 10.Bete Gabriel -Rufael and11 Bet Giyorgis and drive for the cave church of Nakuto Làabe (5kms away from Lalibela). Bet Giyorgis is the most elegant of all Lalibela churches, which lies somewhat isolated in the southwest part of the town on a sloping rock terrace. Overnight – at chosen hotel – Lalibela

Day8: Lalibela – Addis – Awash National Park

Morning; fly from Lalibela to Addis and then drive to Awash National Park (225km modern asphalt road). Lunch at Dreamland Hotel – Debre Zeith, 47km from Addis. After lunch; proceed to Awash Park and stopover at Lake Beseka (Nearby the park) for several birdlife. Game view after having entrance tickets at the head office of the Awash National Park. Overnight – at chosen hotel /lodge –Awash Park

Day9: Awash National Park and Filwuha – hot springs

Early morning; we will drive to the Filwuha (the hot springs) via the Kudu Valley. On the way, we will have chances to discover greater and lesser Kudu, Cheetahs (rare), lions (rare), and some other wildlife like monkey. After the camping site to Filwuha, we will walk about 15minutes for the hot springs. This natural pool is absolutely clean, and free from any attacking wild beasts so, swimming is possible. Based on the condition of the road and interest,   we will drive and walk to Mountain Fentale. After having lunch at Awash Falls Lodge (just nearby Awash River Falls), discover Beisa Oryx (you have a 100% opportunity to see herds of Beisa Oryx in this park), Sommerings’ Gazelle, Dik – Dik and many varied birds like secretary bird and bustard. Overnight – at chosen hotel/lodge –Awash Park

Day10: Awash – Dinsho

After Breakfast; we leave Awash for Dinsho/Bale Goba (406km from Awash Park). Overnight –lodge – Dinsho

Day11: Dinsho – Goba

Explore the juniper forest at Dinsho (around the head quarter of the park) for abundant Bale Mountain Nyala and drive towards Bale Goba (50km). On the way, explore the Gaysay Mountain Nyala reserve area and after check – in and lunch at Goba Wabe Shebelle Hotel, drive to Senatti Plateau for Abyssinian Wolf and mountain landscape. Overnight – at chosen hotel Bale Goba

Day12: Goba –Arba Minch

After breakfast, drive from Goba to Shashemene and then to Arba Minch (456km).

 Overnight – at chosen hotel – Arba Minch

Day13: Nechsar National Park & Lake Chamo. Drive to Nechsar National Park for bird watching and game viewing. Nechsar is the home of some mammals like the endemic Swayne’s Hartebeest (the park was primarily established to protect the endemic Swayne’s Hartebeest), Thomson’s gazelle, Berchule’s Zebra, Greater Kudu, Dik-Dik, and Baboons. Afternoon; boat trip on Lake Chamo. This Lake is known for its enormous population of Crocodiles and Hippopotamus. Overnight – at chosen hotel -Arba Minch

Day14: Konso – Key Afer (ethnic market) – Jinka

Thursday, Drive from Arba Minch to Jinka- roughly 240km. At key Afer; there is a colorful every Thursday market where you can see the Tsemay, Ari and Bena etc people. Drive further to Jinka. Overnight – at chosen hotel/lodge – Jinka

Day15: Mursi tribes and Mago National Park

Friday, Drive to Mago National Park. Visit the Mursi village, the insertion of wooden and terracotta discs into the ear lobes is a widespread custom and Mursi women also progressively split and stretch their lower lips to make room for similar discs(Muris tribes have the same culture with Surma tribes settled at upper Omo). In Mago Park; there are no many animals visible during the day, but during night time, thousands of sounds, among which is the trumpeting of elephants may be heard.  Afternoon; visit the ethnological museum of Jinka. Overnight – at chosen hotel/lodge – Jinka

Day16: Jinka – Dimeka market and Turmi (139 Km)

Saturday, after breakfast; drive to Turmi (roughly 139km from Jinka).On the way; visit the colorful Dimeka Market (Every Saturday). Note that information will be gathered in advance if there is bull jumping ritual, or a Hamer wedding party in the neighborhood during your stay in Turmi. Overnight – at chosen lodge – Turmi

Day17: Turmi – Dus, Karo & Nyangatom/ Nyangatom tribes

Sunday, after breakfast; drive from Turmi to Karo others ethnics (60 km rough road). You will have packed lunch with you for you will be there for full day. Visit some of Karo villages of Dus and Kolcho. The Karo tribes are mainly known for their special hairstyle and body paintings. Take your time here, discover & experience their lifestyle. Drive from Karo some kms and cross the Omo Rive for the Nyangatom/ Nyangaten tribes. Late afternoon; drive back to Turmi. Overnight – at chosen lodge – Turmi

Day18: Omorate – Dassenech/Galeb –Turmi market

Monday, the area around Turmi is where the Hamer & Bena people live, famous for their bull-jumping ceremonies and great body decoration. There is a popular Hamer and Bena market held in Turmi on every Monay, this is what you have to  schedule your  visit for, but the market  will not be full until mid-afternoon, so this morning, after early breakfast, first drive to Omorate (75km),nearby the Omo River and cross the river by local boat. This area is inhabited by the Dassenech (Galeb) people, known for their very interesting house design and body painting. You will stay with them for a couple of hours, then cross the river again and drive back to Turmi, for lunch and a short break from the heat &  visit the Turmi Market. The Hamers dominate this market. The Hamers are a fine looking people, both men and women take great pride in their appearance, shaving and coloring their hair, oiling their bodies and decorating themselves with beads and bracelets worn around arms and legs. Late afternoon; approach to some Hamer villages to discover their lifestyle at home and attend the Evangadi Dance. Overnight – at chosen Lodge – Turmi

Day19: Turmi – Konso. Drive from Turmi to Yabello via Arbore

Visit the Arbore people at their town named Arbore and proceed to Konso. Visit town of Konso (UNESCO World Heritage Site) – The people of Konso are well known for their intricately terraced hillsides, fine woven materials, carved totems made of wood, decorated graves (mainly the king & his wife), impressive village and etc. Explore The Konso King, totems, Konso villages, and Gesergiyo (New York)-magnificent rock formation.  Overnight – at chosen hotel /lodge– Konso

Day20: Konso – Yirgalem

After breakfast; drive from Konso to Yirgalem via Yabello (366km from Konso). On the way; overlook landscapes and the town of Yabello. Lunch at Yabello Motel. And continue to Yirgalem. On the way at Wenago, visit the Tutu Fella stelae field – a unique collection of carved stones. Arrive to Yirgalem after crossing the fertile land, mainly cultivating with bananas, and coffee plantation by the Sidamo people. Visit the forest nearby the Aregash Lodge. At Aregash Lodge, the hyenas appear to the lodge, feeding by people so you can see them at near distance.  Overnight – at chosen hotel /Lodge – Yirgalem

Day21: Yirgalem – Langano

Drive from Yirgalem to Langano (about100km). Check- in at your /lodge and enjoy with swimming or other activities. Afternoon; Discover  the rift valley lakes of Abijata  & Shalla,  the Ostrich Farm, different species of Aquatic birds like the Pink Flamingos(abundant), Dukes, Gosse, and many others. Overnight – at chosen hotel/ Lodge – Langano

Lake Langano – is a fresh breath taking atmosphere.  The lake with its beautiful white sand beach is bilharzias and crocodile free. Swimming, trekking and bird watching in the forest are possible activities.

Day22: Langano – Addis

Drive to Addis Ababa (200km best asphalt road) via Butajira Road for  Lake Ziway, Tiya Stele, Addadi Miriam and Melka Kunturé stone age archeological Site. Overnight – chosen hotel – Addis Ababa

Day23: Departure

Depart at any time today (end of the trip)

Notice: This itinerary can be amended up on request

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