(Addis Ababa, Lalibela)
Ethiopia is arguably Africa's best kept secret. The landscape is splendid, the people are welcoming, the sense of history is tangible and you won't have to worry about crowds of tourists. Ethiopia is just about the only country in Africa never to have been colonised, and its people claim the longest continuous monarchy in history, 3000 years of kings. The country is also unusual for its rich Orthodox Christian heritage, which the Ethiopians maintained even when all its neighbours embraced Islam in the 7th century. The Ethiopia Culture tour is the perfect way to get a small taste of this fascinating and historic country known as the "Switzerland of Africa" for its high altitude. Sample the bustling Mercado marketplace where thousands of stalls sell a profusion of goods from the entire region. Enjoy Ethiopian food and coffee from the country where they originated. Then fly to Lalibela, a UNESCO world heritage site, to see the famous underground carved churches. These amazing cathedrals were carved from soft lava rock, resulting in a complete building composed of a single contiguous rock. An astonishing architectural feat. The churches have been kept alive by generations of priests who guard their treasures of ornamented crosses, illuminated bibles and illustrated manuscripts.
A private vehicle with an English speaking driver will provide a transfer to the airport.
The Hilton is located in the centre of Addis Ababa’s downtown core, yet encircled by 15 acres of lush gardens. The Addis Ababa Hilton is a comfortable and convenient hotel for getting to know Ethiopia’s capital city. With 356 suites, rooms, and self-contained apartments, the hotel is designed to facilitate long term stays, while also welcoming those who are on the go. The décor and amenities offer all the necessities of home with a healthy dose of African influence in the impeccable service and Ethiopian architecture. Dining offers a variety of choices to made from any of the 5 bars, restaurants, and lounges, which include all extremes, from pizza to traditional Ethiopian kitfo. Besides discovering the city of Addis Ababa, challenge guests or travel buddies to a game of squash or tennis.
This full day city tour explores the many highlights and monuments of this special Ethiopian city. Begin with a tour of the Ethnological Museum, boasting many archaeological and historical findings including the famous complete hominid fossil remain of 'Lucy', locally known as 'Dinknesh', which translates to wonderful. Visit the Trinity Cathedral, a beautiful church built in the baroque style, similar to much of the European inspired architecture unique to Ethiopia. Next proceed to Merkato, the largest open-air market in Africa, a fascinating glimpse of the vast range of goods and artifacts available from all parts of the country. Travel to Mount Entoto to admire the stupendous views of the city and its surrounding plains.
This flight travels between Addis Ababa and Lalibela, Ethiopia. The flight duration is approximately 2 hours and 30 minutes.
Lalibela is the jewel in the crown of Ethiopia, the most famous churches and the scene of so many major religious ceremonies. Also known as ‘Africa Petra’, Lalibela and its rock hewn churches are arguably Ethiopian’s most famous and remarkable attraction. These churches include Bete Medhane Alem, Bete Mariam, Bete Meskal, Bete Denaghel, Bete Golgotha, Bete Mikael, and Bete Giorgis. You will start your tour this morning and continue in the afternoon.
The Roha Hotel in Lalibela, Ethiopia, is the most comfortable and desirable lodging in town. Snuggled into the bosom of this mountain village, the 64 room hotel and its staff guarantee impeccable service. Try the local food, which is typically made with spicy meats and vegetables along with flat bread and salads. Situated a mile outside of town, you will find yourself taking pictures of the intricate artifacts adorning this attractive, simple space. More humble than the crystal chandeliers and gold-plated walls of more arrogant hotels, the Roha boasts something above high ranked holiday hot spots. With a lush countryside and some of history’s most incredible monolithic churches from centuries of yore, there is little need for spas and tennis courts in this region.
This tour begins with a drive to the Nakuto Le’abe Monastery. Nakuto Le’abe was the son of King Gebre Meskel, who abdicated his throne in 1270 AD, and then began a hermit’s life in a nearby cave. This dramatic cave has ever since became a monastery, housing one of the most interesting collections of ancient crosses, illustrated manuscripts, garments, and other icons, some of which are attributed to its founder Nakuto Le’abe.
Airport transfer with private vehicle and guide.
This flight departs Lalibela and travels to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The flight duration is approximately 2 hours and 30 minutes.
In the evening, attend a folkloric dinner, where several national dishes are provided for sampling. Enjoy the sights and sounds during the dances of the various ethnic groups of Ethiopia. A traditional coffee ceremony will also be presented.
Depart from Bole international airport - end of itinerary.
VISA/PASSPORTA passport valid for three months beyond the date of entry, visa and evidence of yellow fever vaccination are required for both US and Canadian citizens. However, we strongly recommend traveling with 6 months validity on your passport at all times. To avoid possible confusion or delays, travelers are advised to obtain a valid Ethiopian visa at the nearest Ethiopian Embassy prior to arrival, and must do so if entering across any land port-of-entry. Ethiopian visas are available for purchase upon arrival at Bole International Airport in Addis Ababa (but not at any other ports of entry in Ethiopia). Visas can also be prearranged. Processing generally takes 4 working days along with a visa processing fee of approximately $29 for a Single Entry Visa and $44 for a Multiple Entry Visa.
Please note obtaining a visa is your responsibility. These requirements change often and therefore it is best that you check with the embassy of Ethiopia for the most up to date visa information.
NOTE: Only newly printed USD currency and local currency will be accepted in East Africa, any USD currency printed without the new security measures will not be accepted. HEALTHHealth insurance is essential. Guests of Kensington Tours are covered by East African Flying Doctor Services included in the tour price. This coverage guarantees that any member injured or ill while on safari will be airlifted back to Nairobi to the international hospital. We recommend that you see a health-care provider who specializes in Travel Medicine. The doctor or health-care provider will determine what vaccinations and medication you will need, depending on factors such as your health and immunization history, areas of the country you will be visiting, and planned activities. For more information on travel requirements, visit the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) website: http://wwwn.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/ethiopia.aspx COUNTRY INFOCapital: Addis Ababa. Government: Federal Republic. Language: Amharic is the official language, although about 80 other native tongues are spoken including Oromo, Somali and Tigrinya. English and Arabic are widely used and some Italian and French is spoken. Religion: Ethiopian Orthodox (Tewahido) and Coptic Church, mainly in the north, Islam mainly in the east and south. Time: GMT + 3. Electricity: 220 volts AC, 50Hz. Telephone: Country code +251. Mobile Telephone: Roaming agreements exist with many international mobile phone companies. Coverage is patchy and largely confined to major urban areas. Internet: There are Internet cafes in Addis Ababa. Some top-end hotels may also offer services.
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