Historical Route with Simiens
7 Days North – Historical Route with Simiens
Bahir Dar – Gondar – Simiens – Axum – Lalibela
Early in the morning, depart on a flight for Bahir Dar. After arrival, take a boat trip on Lake Tana to visit a selection of the monasteries hidden on the islands and shores of this sacred lake. Visit the Zege Penninsula and the monasteries of Azuwa Maryam and Ura Kidane Mehret and the island monastery of Debre Maryam near the outlet of the Blue Nile River. In the afternoon, drive out to the Blue Nile Falls for a short hike in the area. Finish the day with the sunset over the lake. Overnight in Bahir Dar.
After breakfast, continue north to Gondar. The four-hour drive will take you through rural villages, offering wonderful insight into the Amhara culture. After briefly settling in your hotel, 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, Ras Gimb Palace Museum and the Debre Birhan Selassie church, with the most famous ceiling in Ethiopia. Overnight in Gondar.
Today you will take a day tour to the Simien Mountains. With an early morning departure, head to Sankober. From here you will go for an easy hike to the Geech Abyss, where you will see a large waterfall where the Jinbar River plunges into the abyss. This area is also a great place for viewing the endemic gelada baboon, also known as the ‘bleeding heart baboon’ due to the red patch of skin on its chest. After admiring these animals and the spectacular setting in which they live, return to Gondar for overnight at Taye Hotel/Fasil Lodge/Queen Taitu Pension.
Early morning flight to Axum. Upon arrival to Axum, you will be met by your guide and transferred to your hotel. Today will be a full day visiting the sites of Axum, including the famous obelisks (one that was recently erected after being returned from Italy) and the archeological museum, the Queen of Sheba’s Bath (which supplies water to Axum year-round), Ezana’s enscription, King Kaleb’s tomb, King Bazen’s tomb, and the Queen of Sheba’s Palace. You can also visit the St. Mary of Zion church, where the Ark of the Covenant is kept. 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.
Depart on a morning flight to Lalibela, the most famous of all of the Ethiopian historical sites. After lunch, start your tour of the rock-hewn churches of Lalibela, visiting the Northwestern Cluster of churches - Bet Medhane Alem, Bet Maryam, Bet Meskel, Bet Danaghel, Bet Mikael & Bet Golgotha (entry not permitted for women). Overnight in Lalibela.
In the morning, take a trip to visit the church of Yimrehanne Kristos. The most popular of the churches outside of Lalibela, this church is built with layers of wood and granite, set in the entrance to a large cavern. After the visit, return to Lalibela for lunch and, in the afternoon, visit the Southeastern Cluster of churches – Bet Gabriel-Rufael, Bet Merkorios, Bet Amanual, and Bet Abba Libanos. Finally, you will visit the most famous of all the churches – Bet Giyorgis, constructed in honor of the patron saint of Ethiopia – Saint George. Overnight in Lalibela.
In the morning, visit the nearby monastery of Na’akuto La’ab, set on the side of a cliff. After the visit, proceed to the airport for the return flight back to Addis Ababa.
End of Tour.