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14 Days – North and South – The Historical route and Omo Valley

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Tour code: IETT-041
Program: historical and cultural tour
Transport: air and surface


Day 01: Arrival at Bole International Airport. Warm reception by IETT guide and driver and Transfer to hotel for check-in. City tour of Addis Ababa including the panoramic view point Entoto Mountain, Merkato, said to be Africa’s largest market of its kind, and the National Museum (home of Lucy, hominid skeleton dating back 3.2 million years) and the ethnographic museum. Overnight in Addis Ababa.

Day 02: fly to Bahir Dar. In the morning take a boat trip on Lake Tana to explore the monasteries hidden on the shores and islands of Lake Tana. In the afternoon, take a city tour of Bahir Dar, visiting Bezawit Hill and the former palace of Haile Selassie, as well as the bustling market. In the afternoon depart out of town to the Blue Nile Falls for an easy hike in the area. Finish the day with a lovely sunset over the lake. Overnight in Bahir Dar.

Day 03: in the morning, drive Bahir Dar north to Gondar. Explore 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, Debre Birhan Selassie church, with the most famous ceiling in Ethiopia and Kuskuam, a former palace in a partial state of ruin overlooking the ancient city of Gondar. Overnight in Gondar

Day 04: in the morning, fly Gondar to Axum. Today is a full day visiting the sites in Axum. Sites to visit include the famous obelisks, the Queen of Sheba’s Bath (which supplies water to Axum year-round), King Bazen’s tomb, and the Queen of Sheba’s Palace. You will also visit the St. Mary of Zion church, where the Ark of the Covenant is kept, according to local Ethiopian tradition. 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 in Axum

Day 05: In the morning take a flight to Lalibela, the most famous of all of the Ethiopian historical sites. After lunch, begin to explore the 11 rock-hewn churches of the remarkable king Lalibela, visiting the Northwestern Cluster of churches - Bet Medhane Alem, Bet Maryam, Bet Meskel, Bet Danaghel, Bet Mikael & Bet Golgotha. Overnight hotel in Lalibela

Day 06: In the morning, visit 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. After lunch, take an afternoon trip to visit the church of Yimrehanne Kristos. 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 the visit, return to Lalibela for overnight.

Day 07: after breakfast transfer to Lalibela airport and fly back to Addis. Up on arrival, Depart south from Addis via the Great Rift Valley, stopping on the way at Lake Ziway to visit the bountiful birdlife on the shores of the lake. Make a final stop at Wondo Genet, the favorite weekend getaway of former Emperor Haile Selassie for a swim in the pool and a shower in the therapeutic hot spring waters. Overnight in Awassa at Lewi resort.

Day 08: In the morning, visit the fish market on Lake Awassa, and then continue drive to Arba Minch. On the way, ascend into the Gughe Mountains to visit the Dorze people, who are known for their tall beehive-like houses and their fine cotton weaving. Market days in Dorze village are Mondays and Thursdays and in Chencha on Tuesdays and Saturdays. After the visit, continue to Arba Minch for overnight at Paradise Lodge

Day 09: in the morning, take a boat trip on Lake Chamo to visit the crocodile market and hippo pods after the boat trip, continue driving to Jinka via Weyto (market day Sunday) and Key Afar (market day Thursday). Overnight in Jinka.

Day 10: after breakfast drive to Mago National Park to visit the Mursi tribe, who are known for their lower lip and earlobe plates. Afterwards, return to Jinka to the Ari village and visit the South Omo Museum & Research Center for more information about the tribes. Additionally, Tuesdays and Saturdays are market days in Jinka, which will be visited. Overnight in Jinka.

Day 11: drive Jinka to Turmi, home of the Hamer people. On the way, stop in Dimeka for the local market, which is on Tuesdays and Saturday. This is one of the most colorful markets in the South Omo and is visited by neighborhood Hamer, Benna, Karo, Tsemai and Ari tribes. Overnight in Turmi. At night, see the traditional night dancing of the Hamer people, known as Evangadi.

Day 12: Today will be a day trip to visit the people of the Karo tribe. Depart from Turmi to the villages of Murulle, Kolcho and Dus on the shores of the Omo River. The Karo people are the smallest in number of all of the tribes of the Omo Valley, and they are known for their elaborate decorations, particularly during local ceremonies. Overnight in Turmi.

Day 13: Depart from Turmi to Arba Minch, via Erbore in the Weyto valley and Konso. Friday is market day in Erbore, so if passing on this day, the market will be visited. Stop in Konso for a visit with the Konso people, who are known for their totems erected in honor of the dead and their intricate agricultural terracing techniques. Afterwards, continue to Arba Minch for overnight in Arba Minch.

Day 14: Depart from Arba Minch to Addis Ababa.

In the evening/afternoon, farewell party with cultural dinner and traditional special buffet and local drinks to experience Ethiopia’s cultural meals and drinks. After farewell party transfer to Bole international airport for international departure. End of Tour

Upon request the above tour program can be modified, differently rearranged, combined with other itineraries and shorten or extended to suit your interest, time, and budget. Please contact us for further details.

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