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Timket and Gena

Trip Overview

Title: Timket and Gena
Duration: 19 days
Code: SLET – 010
Transport: Flight

Ethiopia is a country of numerous interesting and wonderful tourist attractions. There are eight world heritage sites representing nature, architecture, archaeology, prehistory, art, culture and many more. The best time to make a holiday to Ethiopia is on the date of its festivals.

There are two main Highlights for this trip. The first is to visit the celebration of Ethiopia Christmas on 7 January in Lalibela. Falling on 7 January, Ethiopia Christmas is celebrated seriously by a church service that goes on throughout the night, with people moving from one church to another. The celebration is spectacular in Lalibela. The other one is to visit the celebration of Ethiopian Epiphany – Timket Festival on 19 January in Addis Ababa. The tour also includes a visit of Ethiopia Historic Route Tigray Rock Churches and Simien Mountain National park. The tour called the Ethiopia Historic Route is one of the great treasures of Ethiopia. It encompasses the history of Ethiopia from its early beginnings to modern day. A history that stretches back to the time of prehistoric man; to the 3,000 year old history of Axum; the 12th century churches of Lalibela, and the medieval castles of Gondar and the churches and monasteries on the islands of Lake Tana. From our boat cruise over Lake Tana, from Bahir Dar to Gorgora is arranged to visit old monasteries on Lake Tana. With some distance drive from Bahir Dar, Blue Nile Falls will be visited. We have also included a visit to the Simien Mountains National Park. The park offer breathtaking scenery of the Ethiopian Highland and Geleda baboon and many other birds will be seen.

Trip Dates 5 – 19 January 2017, the trip begins and ends in Addis Ababa.

 

Trip Details

Day 1: 5 January 2017: Arrive in Addis Ababa, city tour of Addis.

On arrival in Addis Ababa our representatives will meet you at Bole International Airport and transfers to Ambassador Hotel. An overview of the program and itineraries will be given. The rest of the day visit historical sites in Addis Ababa including the National Archaeological Museum, where we will view the 3.6 million year old remains of “Lucy”, whose skeletal remains when discovered in 1974. You will also visit the Ethnological Museum at Addis Ababa University, Holy Trinity Cathedrals and Mount Entoto which rises up to an altitude of 3200 meters and offers the panoramic view of the metropolis. Overnight Ambassador Hotel

Day 2: 6 January: Fly Lalibela

After breakfast transfer to the airport and fly to Lalibela. Transfer to the Hotel Mount View Lalibela. Lalibela is the second Jerusalem created by King Lalibela in the 12th century.Full day visit of this famous rock hewn churches dating back 800 years.

First we visit the first group of six churches lie in rock cradles one behind the other: Bet Golgotha, Bet Mika\’el, Bet Maryam, Bet Meskel, Bet Danaghel and Bet Medhane Alem. Bet Medhane Alem, the largest one, is built like a Greek Temple and its stone floor is so polished by the countless numbers of visitors that it reflects shafts of light from apertures in the walls high above. In a corner are three empty graves symbolically dug for biblical patriarchs Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Afternoon: visit of the other groups of Rock churches of Lalibela Bet Bet Giyorgis, possibly the most elegant of all the Lalibela churches, lies somewhat isolated in the south-west part of the village on a sloping rock terrace. It can only be reached through a tunnel. The group of four, south of the Jordan River, comprise of Bet Emanuel, Bet Mercurios, Bet Abba Libanos and Bet Gabriel-Rufa\’el. Bet Emanuel\’s elaborate exterior is much praised by art historians. Overnight Mount View Hotel.

Day 3: 7 January: Whole day attend Ethiopian Christmas Festival in Lalibela

Attend Ethiopian Christmas Festival and visit of rock churches in Lalibela. The procession starts early morning around dawn. In the afternoon, visit of a church out side the town. Drive to Nakuto Le’Abe Monastery. King Nakuto Le’Abe abdicated his throne in 1270 AD and went to a cave to lead a hermit’s life. This cave has ever since become a monastery and has a dramatic setting. It houses one of the most interesting collections of ancient crosses, illuminated manuscripts and other icons some of which are attributed to its founder Nakuto Le’Abe. Overnight Mount View Hotel.

Day 4: 8 January: Drive to Mekele

On this day, you drive long to Mekele through the rough nature of road but nice to experience along with the magnificent scenery (gigantic, ups and downs and magnificent landscape). Overnight Axum hotel

Day 5: 9 January: Drive to Geralta

After breakfast drive to Wekro, Visit Wekro Chirkos, one of the oldest rock churches in the Tigray area. Then drive to Hawzen. En route visit the rock churches of Abreha Atsbeha Mariam, and Dugum Selassie. Overnight stay at Geralta Lodge

Day 6: 10 January: Drive to Axum

Drive to Axum through the Adwa Mountains en route you visit the monastery of Debre Damo. Continue to Axum and a short visit of temple for it is over 2500 years old Temple of the Moon and the church of Aba Aftse. Overnight Remehay Hotel

Day 7: 11 January: Visit of historical and archaeological sites in Axum.

The ancient city of Axum is found close to Ethiopia\’s northern border. It marks the location of the heart of ancient Ethiopia, when the Kingdom of Axum was the most powerful state between the Eastern Roman Empire and Persia. The archaeological and historical attractions in Axum include: the archaeological museum, monolithic steles or obelisks, the tombs of King Kaleb and King Gebre Meskal, and the legendary Bath of the Queen of Sheba, and the ruins of ancient palace of Queen Sheba. You also visit the new and the old Cathedral of St Mary of Zion and the sanctuary that houses the original Arc of the covenant. The 16th Century Cathedral of St Mary of Zion was probably built on an earlier 4th century church, and is the holiest church in Ethiopia. In its sanctuary is said to rest the original Ark of the Covenant. Overnight Remhay Hote

Day 8: 12 January: Drive to Simien Mountains

On this day, you drive long (280kms) but enjoying very beautiful and spectacular landscape along Tekeze Gorge and Semien Mountains. The drive goes through the Tekeze valley, crossing the Tekeze River. Then After the road rises from1400 metres through hairpin bends down the mountain side to 3100 metres in just 40kms! The drive up to Debark town showcases not only the immensely beautiful Simien Mountain massifs but also the people who eke out an existence in this unforgiving countryside. Overnight in the comfortable Simien Lodge.

Day 9: 13 January: Visit Simien Mountains National Park then drive to Gondar

After breakfast we will have a visit of Simien Mountains National Park. We will walk around the park then we drive to Sankaber, the first campsite of the National Park. On this drive you will gain the beauty of this highland region, the extraordinary scenery, enjoying the endemic Gelada Baboons and the bone breaker giant bird Lammergeyer roaring around. Then after drive to Gondar for an oovernight stay in Goha Hotel

Day 10: 14 January: Tour of Gondar

After breakfast a full day tour in Gondar to visit attractions. During unsettled periods between the thirteenth and seventeenth centuries, Ethiopian rulers moved their royal camps frequently. King Fasiledes settled in Gondar and established it as a permanent capital in 1636. After King Fasiledes, successive kings continued building, improving the techniques and architectural style. Before its decline in the late eighteenth century, the royal court had developed from a camp into a fortified compound called Fasil Ghebbi, consisting of six major building complexes surrounded by a wall 900 metres long. Handicrafts, painting, literature and music flourished in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. The Castles of Gondar are included in the World Heritage List. Other attractions that we visit in Gondar includes: the royal Fasiledes Bath and the Church of Debre Berhan Selassie with its unique murals. Overnight Goha Hotel

Day 11: 15 January: whole day Boat trip to Bahir Dar

After breakfast this morning we take a scenic drive 60 kms to the little town of Gorgora by a good condition of coaster bus then we take a boat cruise on the beautiful highland lake – Lake Tana to Bahir Dar town. On our boat cross on Lake Tana, we visit of the most accessible and representative of these churches, still serving their original function. We visit the monastery church of Debre Sina Mariam at Gorgora Peninsula, Dek Estifanos on Dek island , Azwa Mariam at Zege Peninsula and Ura Kidanemheret at Zege Peninsula. Overnight Tana Hotel

Day 12: 16 January: Morning Visit Blue Nile waterfalls then Drive Debre Markos

After breakfast we pay a visit to the impressive Blue Nile Falls, locally known as Tis Isat or \’Smoke of Fire\’. Four hundred metres wide when in flood and 45 metres deep, the falls throws up a continuous spray of water droplets, which drench onlookers up to a kilometre away. The area around the river is extremely fertile and the Amhara people who live here farm wheat, sorghum and Teff from which injera, the national bread, is made. Drive back to Bahir Dar and visit the Colorful market where someone could find the baskets, pottery, traditional hand-made woven clothes, etc. After lunch in the hotel, in the afternoon drive to Debre Markos. We experience typically in an Ethiopian African landscape as we drive from Bahir Dar to Debre Markos over wide grazing land, hilly mountains with numerous farmlands. The drive is through Amhara people which is the famous Teff (a grain in which injera, the national bread, is made) growing area in the country. Overnight Shabel Hotel

Day 13: 17 January: Drive Addis Ababa

After breakfast drive to Addis Ababa en route you will visit the famous Blue Nile George and the Debre Libanos Monastery. Overnight Ambassador hotel

Day 14: 18 January: Attend the eve of Timket festival in Addis Ababa

After breakfast make a visit of attractions in Addis which you did not visit in the first day.The tour includes a visit of:

Ethnological Museum:-It is founded in the main campus of the Addis Ababa University by the Institute of Ethiopian Studies with the aim to preserve the country\’s historical and cultural heritages. It has complete collections that describe almost all the tribal groups in Ethiopia. Here you will have an overview about the history, culture and traditions of the people of Ethiopia. The collections include the nomadic tribal groups that are now living just as man\’s forefather lived thousands of years back. Merkato:- The largest open market in Africa is a place where every thing is on sale. Every thing you’d ever want or need is found here. Here you will be presented with a confusing, but fascinating; glimpse of the vast range of goods and artefacts available from all parts of the country and enjoy the Ethiopian trade exchange tradition in the open air. Walking on the crowded streets one can see and smell the spice market to browse through the cloth shops, with their embroidered Ethiopian dresses and shirts and woven shawls with intricately woven border and to bargain a large variety of old and new Ethiopian handicrafts. Come to the hotel for lunch, after lunch drive to Jan Meda to attend the eve of Timket Festival. Timket, or Timkat, is Ethiopian language for Epiphany. Although the holiday commemorating Christ\’s baptism in the River Jordan is observed by Christians all over the world, Timket is of special significance in Ethiopia. It is the most important and colorful event of the year. When the event finishes return to Hotel. Evening we will invite you a fare well dinner at in one of the cultural Ethiopian restaurants for Ethiopian dish and cultural dances from different ethnic groups. Overnight Ambassador hotel.

Day 15: 19 January 2017: Attend Timket festival in Addis Ababa; then departure

After breakfast drive to Jan Meda to attend Timket Festival–the colorful festival of the Orthodox Christens. The remainder of the day is free for shopping on your own. Evening transfer to the airport for departure on homeward-bound flight.

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