13 Days Itinerary Historical Circuit of Northern Ethiopia

Day 1 - Arrival at Bole International Airport.

Day 2 - Addis to Debre-Markos.

Day 3 - Debre-Markos to Bahardar

Day 4 - Bahardar to Gondar.

Day 5 - City tour in Gondar.

Day 6 - Gondar to the Simien Mountains.

Day 7 - Trekking to Chenek.

Day 8 - Simien to Axum.

Day 9 - City tour in Axum.

Day 10 – Fly Axum to Lalibela.

Day 11 - Continue visiting the attractions in and around Lalibela.

Day 12 - Lalibela to Dessie/Kombolcha

Day 13 - Dessie/Kombolcha to Addis.

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Day 1- Arrival at Bole International Airport. Meet with Anini Tours representative at exit then transfer to Hotel for check in. Visit 3000m Entoto mountain with panoramic views over the capital the National and Ethnographic museum, St George, Trinity cathedral and Merkato which is the biggest open air market in Africa. Overnight stay in Hotel.

Day 2- Addis to Debre-Markos. Depart Addis for Northern Ethiopia. On the way visit one of Orthodox’s most holy sites: the Debre Libanos monastery founded in the 13th century by Abune Tekle-Haimanot who is one of Ethiopia's most celebrated saints. From Debre-Libanos the main route continues north to the Canyon of the Blue Nile or Abay river. The road descends 1500 metres winding spectacularly downwards into the canyoon to the river far below. It is one of the most dramatic roads in the country. After climbing out of the canyon the road 2500m high Gojam plateau to Debre-Markos. Overnight stay in Hotel.

Day 3- Debre-Markos to Bahardar. Bahardar is the shore of Lake Tana. The route crosses the high Gojam plains, well-known for its Teff production. Teff is the staple grain of the Ethiopian diet. Halfway to Bahardar, visit the beautiful Zengena crater lake. This region is occupied by the Agew nation where the name of our company. Anini means bamboo in the Agew Language. Upon arrival in Bahar Dar, Hotel check in, lunch followed by a drive 45 minutes on unpaved road to the tiny village of Tis- Abay (Tis-Isat). The round trip takes 1.5 hour walking with a short boat crossing of the Blue Nile River in order to have a great close up view of the falls and a free shower from the water smoke at the base of the falls. Return to Bahardar to overnight stay and enjoy local fish for dinner.

Day 4- Bahardar to Gondar. In the morning, visit the Island monasteries on Lake Tana. These include medieval island monasteries such as Kibran-Gabriel, Entos-Eyesus. On the Zege peninsula visit Ura Kidan Mehiret, Azuwa Mariam, Mahal Giorgis and finally the outlet of the Blue Nile where it exits the lake. Return to Bahardar for lunch then continue to Gondar which is 3 hours drive. Overnight stay in Hotel.

Day 5- City tour in Gondar. Visit the Royal Enclosure that is surrounded by high stone walls containing the 17th century palaces of King Fasil, King Iyasu, Queen Mentewab and different other buildings. Also visit Fasiladas’ Bath, (that is filled with water for the important Timkat (epiphany) ceremony once a year). In the afternoon visit the church of Debre Berhan Selassie which has a ceilings decorated with beautiful winged Angels. If there is time visit Kuskuwam Complex which is a royal compound built by the Empress Mentewab. Inside the palace look out the figures of crosses and Ethiopian characters and animals, such as St. Samuel riding his lion. Enjoy the evening view over the city from the hilltop Goha hotel. Overnight stay in the Hotel.

Day 6- Gondar to the Simien Mountains. On route to Simien a stopover is made at the last remaining Felasha village” (African Jews). The Simien National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The highest mountain is Ras Dashen, 4,543 m and the park has some of the best mountain scenery in Africa. Here you will see amethyst-colored peaks and deep gorges. The cliffs and ledges are host to the endemic Walia Ibex, Semien fox (Ethiopian Wolf) and Gelada Baboons. It is a superb trekking destination. Accomodation options are either staying in the Simien Lodge or camping in Sankaber.

Day 7- Trekking to Chenek. This is an opportunity to explore the park. Depending on how much walking guests prefer visit selected locations along the edge of the huge Simien escarpment which drops 3000m to the canyon lands of the Tekeze River. 2/3 hours walking in the Buwahit Ras – Chenek 2-3 area is recommended with the chance of seeing Have some picnic on the spot of Walia Ibex, Geladas and the giant bird of prey the Lammergeyer. Overnight stay in Hotel or Lodge.

Day 8- Simien to Axum. Today is an early morning departure, after having breakfast. The road passes through wonderful view point of Limalimo. After stopping for lunch in Adi Arkay, proceed driving through the dramatic Tekeze valley, offering some of the best landscapes in the country. Proceed to Axum, home of the ancient Axumite Empire, the Queen of Sheba, and the Ark of the Covenant. Overnight in Axum (Hotel).

Day 9- City tour in Axum. Axum is a town with impressive monuments that testify to the glorious past of the mighty Kingdom of Axum (1-700 A.D). The monuments are world heritage listed. During the day you will visit the famous Axum Obelisks (steles) St. Mary of Zion church (which is believed to house the Ark of Covenant) and archaeological museum, the ruins palace and swimming pool of Queen Sheba. Outside Axum it is possible to see the tombs of Kings Kaleb and Gebre Meskel dating back to 6th century. They are a great example of the sheer sophistication of Axumite architecture and building techniques. Overnight stay in Hotel.

Day 10- Fly Axum to Lalibela. After a morning flight to Lalibela and hotel check in commence exploring the Lalibela rock hewn churches in the town and surrounding areas. The first day is spent visiting the rock-hewn churches which are clustered in three different places separated by River Jordan. This first day will be spent visiting the first and the third groups of churches. Overnight stay in Hotel.

Day 11- Continue visiting the attractions in and around Lalibela. On the second day in Lalibela in the morning an excursion to is made to Ashetan Mariam monastery by mule or driving. An hour north of Lalibela by road & few minute climb walking brings you to the cave church of Yemrehane Christos. After lunch in Lalibela, spend the afternoon visiting the second groups of rock churches. Overnight stay in Hotel.

Day 12- Lalibela to Dessie/Kombolcha. Leaving Lalibela the route to Dessie passes through more magnificent mountain scenery. It also provides an opportunity to see the villages and lifestyle of the Amhara people who live on the high plateau.

Thirty km before reaching Dessie, there is the option of visiting the large Haik Crater Lake and its 13th Century Istephanos Monastery. Here it is possible to see local fisherman using small reed boats. Overnight stay in hotel in Dessie or nearby Kombolcha.

Day 13- Dessie/Kombolcha to Addis. It is 400 km and a full day drive back to Addis Ababa passing through a varied and always beautiful landscape. The route traverses lowlands with Oromo camel culture, climbs the great escarpment at Debre Sina and passes across the high plateau through interesting Oromo and Amhara villages.

Back in Addis, spend your last evening enjoying a traditional farewell dinner with Ethiopian cultural music and dancing. Either spend the night in Addis or the evening transfer to the airport for return flight.

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