Day 01: Fly to Bahir Dar 07:15 and check in to the hotel, you will visit Lake Tana and take a boat trip to visit a selection of the monasteries hidden on the islands and shores of this sacred lake. Visit the Zege Penninsula and the monasteries of Azwa Mariam and Ura Kidane Mihret and the island monasteries of Debre Mariam near the outlet of Blue Nile River. In the afternoon, drive to Blue Nile Falls to visits the 17th century Portuguese bridge and the falls. Afterwards, drive back to Bahir Dar for overnight at Abyminich Lodge.
Day 02: Drive to Gondar around 3-4 through rural villages, offering wonderful insight into the Amhara culture. Gondar is best known for its 17th century castles and palaces. So, you will visit the royal Enclosure, with six castles and several other buildings. Furthermore, visit the Fasiledes’s Pool, still used the Timiket celebration, Ras Gimb Palace museum and most notably the fantastically decorated church of Debrebirhan Selasse. Overnight: Taye Hotel.
Day 03: Early in the morning depart to Sankober in the Simien Mountain national parks. From here you will go for an easy hike to the Geech Abyss, where you will see a large waterfall where the Jinbar River plunges into the abyss. This area is also a great place for viewing the endemic gelada baboon, also known as the ‘bleeding heart baboon’ due to the red patch of skin on its chest. Overnight: Simien Lodge.
Day 04: In the morning, start trekking to Chenek, through the Simien Mountain scenery and appreciate the different afro alpine plant species, where you will have opportunities to admire the local wildlife, such as the gelada baboons, lammergeyers, and the rare endemic Walia ibex. Then return to Gondar. On the way back to town you will visit the Falasha Village, home of the last remaining Ethiopian Jews and the Ploughshare Women’s Training Center. Overnight: Taye Hotel.
Day 05: Early in the morning fly to Axum at 07:45. After check in to your hotel, you will have a full day visit sites including the famous obelisks (one that was recently erected after being returned from Italy) and the archeological museum, the Queen of Sheba’s Bath (which supplies water to Axum year-round), Ezana’s enscription, King Kaleb’s tomb, King Bazen’s tomb, and the Queen of Sheba’s Palace. You can also visit the St. Mary of Zion church, where the Ark of the Covenant is kept. Men only are allowed to enter the old church. Unfortunately, no one (except one specially chosen guardian monk) is allowed to enter the chapel where the Ark is kept. Overnight: Brana Hotel.
Day 06: In the morning fly to Lalibela at 08:00 the most famous of all of the Ethiopian historical sites. After lunch, you visit the first group rock-hewn churches of Lalibela, Northwestern Cluster of churches - Bet Medhane Alem, Bet Maryam, Bet Meskel, Bet Danaghel, Bet Mikael & Bet Golgotha (entry not permitted for women). Overnight: Mountain View Hotel.
Day 07: After breakfast, you will visit the church of Yimrehane Kristos. The most popular of the churches outside of Lalibela, this church is built with layers of wood and granite, set in the entrance to a large cavern. Then, return to Lalibela for lunch and, in the afternoon, visit the second group Southeastern Cluster of churches – Bet Gabriel-Rufael, Bet Merkorios, Bet Amanual, and Bet Abba Libanos. Finally, you will visit the most famous of all the churches – Bet Giyorgis, constructed in honor of the patron saint (Saint George). Overnight: Mountain View Hotel
Day 08: In the morning proceed to the airport for the return flight back to Addis Ababa at 11:50. Continue on a flight to Dire Dawa at 16:00. In Dire Dawa, you will meet at the airport and will transfer to Harar. Overnight: Harar Heritage Plaza Hotel.
Day 09: After breakfast, will be a day tour out of Harar to Babile and the Valley of Marvels. The Valley of Marvels has wonderful landscapes, famous for its balancing rock formations. Additionally, the town of Babile has a very large market on Saturdays and a camel market on Mondays and Thursdays. Afterwards, continue to the village of Koremi, an old village set on a plateau consisting of stone houses and home to the Argoba people. Overnight: Harar Heritage Plaza Hotel.
Day 10: After breakfast, you will have a full day city tour of Harar, which is the 4th Islamic holiest city of the world and listed as world heritage site by UNESCO. You will see colorful markets, countless mosques and shrines and unique Harari people and homes. Sites to visit include: the House of Rimbaud, Ras Tafari’s House, Ras Mekonnen’s Palace, the Harari National Cultural Center, and the tomb of Emir Nur, who built the famous Jugol, as the wall is known locally. At night you will visit the hyena man, who feeds the hyenas every night just outside the walls of the city. This tradition was started long ago to prevent these wild hyenas from hunting for food in the town. Guests are welcome, and encouraged, to feed the hyenas themselves. Overnight: Harar Heritage Plaza Hotel.
Day 11: Early in the morning, depart from Harar to Awash National Park. After lunch, you will take a drive to visit the wonderful birdlife and wildlife, such as oryx, baboons, greater and lesser kudu, warthogs, gazelles, Columbus monkeys. You will have an opportunity to visit wild animals and birds like leopards, lions, and other cats. The landscapes in the park are beautiful, looking over the Awash Gorge. Overnight: Awash National Park Awash Falls Lodge.
Day 12: After Breakfast, you will visit the park as it wakes up and wildlife is at its most active. Afterwards, drive from Awash to Lake Langano. On the way you can stop in Sodere to take a shower in the therapeutic hot springs waters. Overnight: Lake Langano Savanna Beach Resort.
Day 13: Swim in the lake, proceed driving to Dorze, set in the highlands above ArbaMinch. The Dorze people are known for their tall beehive-like houses and their fine cotton weaving. You will visit the village and learn about the daily lives of these industrious people. If today is market day (in Dorze village on Monday and Thursday and in nearby Chencha on Tuesday and Saturday), that will be visited. Drive back to Arba Minch for overnight at Paradise Lodge.
Day 14: In the morning, take a boat trip on Lake Chamo to visit the Crocodiles, Hippos and water birds. Afterwards, depart from ArbaMinch to Turmi. On the way you will pass through the village of Weyto (market day Saturday), which is home to the Tsemai tribe. Continue through the Weyto Valley to Erbore, where you will have a brief visit to a local Erbore village (market day is Saturday). Finally, proceed to Turmi, home of the Hammar tribe. At night, you can see the traditional night dancing of the Hammar tribe, known as evangadi. Overnight: Turmi at Buska Lodge.
Day 15: In the morning, take a day trip to Omorate to visit the Dassenech tribe. Here you will cross the Omo River by local boat and enter a Dassenech village. Afterwards, return to Turmi (Monday is market day) for a visit to a local Hammar village. If there is jumping of the Bulls traditional Hammar coming-of-age ceremony that will be visited. Overnight: Turmi at Buska Lodge.
Day 16: Depart for Jinka, via Dimeka and Key Afar. Tuesdays and Saturdays are market days in Dimeka, which is one of the most colorful markets in the area and is visited by many tribes, including Hamer, Benna and Karo. Afterwards, continue to Jinka. Overnight: Jinka at Eco Omo Lodge.
Day 17: In the morning, drive through the Mago National Park to a local village of the Mursi. You can see their interesting culture, they are known for their lower lip and earlobe plates. In the afternoon, after returning to Jinka, you can visit the South Omo Museum & Research Center to learn more about the local tribes. Alternatively, take a hike in the surrounding hills to visit a local Ari village. Overnight: Jinka at Eco Omo Lodge.
Day 18: After breakfast, depart from Jinka to Konso, via Key Afar. Thursday is market day in Key Afar, where you will see the Benna and Tsemai tribes trading goods. This is another very popular market in the region. After the visit, proceed to Konso (market days are Mondays and Thursdays). The Konso people are known for their wooden statues, known as wakas, which are erected in honor of dead heroes as well as their innovative agricultural terracing which is classified by UNESCO as a World Hertage Site. Today you will have the opportunity to visit a local village and the cultural museum displaying many waka statues. Time permitting; you can also visit the “natural New York Village”, named after the tall sand formations resembling skyscrapers. Overnight: Konso at Kanta Lodge.
Day 19: After breakfast, depart from Konso to Awassa. On the way you will visit the Senkele Wildlife Sanctuary, which was established to protect the endemic Swayne’s Hartebeest. Overnight: Awassa at Haile Resort.
Day 20: In the morning, visit the fish market on the shores of Lake Awassa. Afterwards, depart north to Addis Ababa. On the way, you may visit the Abijata-Shalla National Park. Lake Shalla, with its deep blue waters is the deepest lake in Ethiopia at 236m. Lake Abijata is a soda lake at which thousands of flamingos can be seen at various times of the year.
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