(Addis Ababa, Bahir Dar, Gondar, Lalibela, Axum)
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 Signature tour is an in-depth exploration of the unique archaeological treasures of the country. Start in Addis Ababa the capital city, known for the bustling Mercado marketplace where thousands of stalls sell a profusion of goods from the entire country. Fly to Bahir Dar where you tour the island monasteries of Lake Tana, and drive to Gondor to see the royal castles of ancient dynasties. Climb the Simen Mountains and spend some time roaming with the gelada monkey endemic to the area. 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. Fly to Axum with its gigantic carved stellar and the holy church that legend claims holds the Ark of the Covenant and Explore the ancient Temple of the Moon at Yeha. Your tour will end in Addis were you can enjoy your traditionnal evening out before catching your international flight home.
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 from Addis Ababa to Bahir Dar, Ethiopia. The flight duration is approximately 1 hour.
Depart the hotel this morning to enjoy a boat trip on Lake Tana. This boat ride visits the 14th century Monastery of Ura Kidane Mehret, one of the most famous monasteries of the area, boasting some very beautiful painted maqdas and a priceless collection of crosses and crowns. After the boat ride, drive to the village of Isat to view the nearby Blue Nile Falls.
Bahar Dar is a small town set on the south-eastern shore of Lake Tana. It is just 30 km from the spectacular Tisisat Falls. Here the Blue Nile creates an awe-inspiring sight as it plunges into the gorge below. From Bahar Dar you can explore some of the ancient monasteries that have been built around Lake Tana, or on its many Islands. These include Dek Stephanos with its priceless collections of icons, the remains of several medieval emperors, Kebran Gabriel and Ura Kidane Mehret with its famous frescoes. The colourful local market at Bahar Dar is renowned for its weavers and wood workers. The Tana Hotel, a modern 64-bedroom hotel has rooms with private bath & shower, restaurant with seating capacity of 137 (dining style), well-equipped kitchen, coffee bar and pool side terrace, spacious veranda, telephone, fax, televisions with Satellite reception capabilities, well-equipped laundry, stand-by power generator.
The distance from Bahir Dar to Gondar is 170 kilometers and it is a flat road. Instead of waiting for 2 hours for check-in and 25 minutes for the flight, it is recommendable to drive. Experience the Ethiopian countryside and see the country by private car.
This tour explores the many historical sites and monuments of the Ethiopian city of Gondar. Founded by Emperor Fasilidas around 1635, this city has gained fame due to its many medieval castles and elegantly designed and decorated churches. In particular, Debra Berhan Selassie, a representative masterpiece of the Gondarene school of art. Upon completion of the tour a return transfer is provided.
The Goha Hotel stands at the crest of a hill with a commanding view of the city of Gondar, the city with its enchanting and mysterious castles. The Hotel has 4 suites, 60 twin bed rooms, restaurant, 2 cosy bars, well-equipped laundry, stand-by power generator, garden, telephone, fax & satellite TV.
Depart in a privately driven vehicle, with an English speaking guide, on this excursion to Buhit Ras, a segment of the Simien Mountain region. Buhit Ras is considered the most wild and spectacular of all the diverse Ethiopian landscapes. Enjoy a hike amongst the natural habitat of the gelada monkey, endemic to this area. These friendly creatures allow for a very close experience, fantastic for a memorable photo opportunity. Enjoy a traditional picnic lunch in the mountains, before returning back to the point of departure.
A private vehicle with an English speaking driver will provide a transfer to the airport.
This short flight travels between Gondar and Lalibela, Ethiopia. The flight time is approximately 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.
Relax during this short flight travelling from Lalibela and arriving in Axum, Ethiopia. The flight duration is approximately 30 minutes.
This tour explore the once centre of a great empire, and the highest seat of learning for the ancient Ge’ez language and literature, Axum, a prime historical site located in the north of Ethiopia. Enjoy a city tour that include a visit to the Stelae park, St. Mary’s Church, the sanctuary Chapel which is the repository of the ‘Ark of the covenant’, the coronation yard, the Tomb of Kaleb and his son Gebre Meskel, Ezana’s inscriptions, the Queen of Sheba’s bath, Queen of Sheba’s palace ruins and the Axum Museum.
The Yeha Hotel has 3 suites with private baths, 60 twin bed rooms with private baths, 157 seat restaurant (dining style), 153 seat bar, telephone, fax, satellite TV, well equipped laundry, stand-by generator, garden.
Enjoy this exploration tour of the 5th century Temple of Yeha, dating back to about seven or eight hundred years before the birth of Christ. This temple is believed to be the oldest standing building in the country. Beside the remarkable temple, visit the church of Abba Aftse, dedicated to one of the famous nine saints who came to Ethiopia in the 6th century from the eastern Roman Empire to spread the word of the Gospel. This church shares the same compound with the temple of Yeha. Upon completion of the tour a return transfer is provided.
This flight departs from Axum and arrives in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The flight duration is approximately 1 hour.
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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