11 Days Northern Ethiopia

DAY 01: USA – ETHIOPIA.  Tour members will gather at the ticket counter at the airport two hours prior to their departure to Ethiopia.

DAY 02:  ADDIS ABABA. Arrival at Bole International Airport. Overnight in Addis Ababa.

DAY 03: ADDIS ABABA – BAHIR DAR.  This morning, wedepart north to Bahir Dar via Debre Markos. On the way visit the Portuguese Bridge, this was the first bridge to be constructed in Ethiopia. You will also pass through the scenic Blue Nile Gorge before arriving in Bahir Dar.   Dinner and overnight in Bahir Dar.

DAY 04: LAKE TANA – BAHIR DAR.  In the morning, embark on a boat trip on Lake Tana to explore some of the monasteries hidden on the shores and islands of Lake Tana. In the afternoon, depart out of town to the Blue Nile Falls for an easy hike in the area. End the day with a sunset over Lake Tana from the top of Bezawit Hill, next to the former palace of Haile Selassie.   Dinner and overnight in Bahir Dar. 

DAY 05: GONDAR.  After breakfast, proceed driving north to Gondar. The drive will take you through rural villages, offering wonderful insight into the Amhara culture and the traditional agricultural methods still in use today. After arrival in Gondar and brief check-in to hotel, the afternoon will be spent exploring the sites of Gondar, including a visit to the Royal Enclosure, with six castles and several other buildings. Additionally, visit Fasilidas’s Pool, still used for Timket celebrations today and the Debre Birhan Selassie church, with the most famous ceiling in Ethiopia. Dinner and overnight in Gondar.

DAY 06: GONDAR – LALIBELA. After breakfast, drive from Gondar to Lalibela. You will enjoy the beautiful countryside scenery of Amhara region. The drive will take you through Gashena before arriving in Lalibela.  Dinner andovernight in Lalibela.

DAY 07 : LALIBELA. Full day visiting the 11 rock-hewn churches of the remarkable king Lalibela. In the morning, visit the Northwestern Cluster of churches – Bet Medhane Alem, Bet Maryam, Bet Meskel, Bet Danaghel, Bet Mikael & Bet Golgotha (entry not permitted for women). After lunch, continue with the Southeastern Cluster of churches – Bet Gabriel-Rufael, Bet Merkorios, Bet Amanual, and Bet Abba Libanos. Finally, visit the most famous of all the churches – Bet Giyorgis, a huge monolith in the shape of a cross, and constructed in honor of St. George, the patron saint of Ethiopia. Dinner and an overnight stay in Lalibela. 

DAY 08: LALIBELAAfter breakfast, drive to Yimrehane Kirstos. The most popular of the churches outside of Lalibela, this church is built in the late-Axumite style, with layers of wood and granite, set in the entrance to a large cavern. After lunch, drive to the charming semi-cave church of Nakutoleab, a church of the early 13th century and bearing the name of its builder, King Nakutoleab.   Dinner and overnight.

DAY09: LALIBELA – KOMBELCHA.  Depart from Lalibela to Kombelcha via Woldia, stopping for a visit in the town of Hayk, to visit the lake and the local monastery. Dinner and overnight in Kombelcha.

DAY 10: KOMBELCHA – ADDIS ABABA – AIRPORT. Return driving to Addis via Debre Birhan. On the way you pass the Mezezo Escarpment, with a good chance to see the endemic gelada baboons. Also, if this day is a Monday, there will be a short detour in the morning to stop in Bati for one of the largest markets in the country, including the interesting camel market.  Arrive at the airport for our late flight home.

DAY 11: USA.  Arrive back in the US and continue home – the end of a memorable pilgrimage.