Simien Mountains Trekking and Historical highlights 12 Days
11 Days 10 Nights
One of Africa’s most beautiful countries, Ethiopia truly is one of the continent’s undiscovered gems. Taking you from the bustling streets of its capital to the source of the Blue Nile, this comprehensive journey through its northern highlands reveals the country’s staggeringly rich cultural pedigree, from the Queen of Sheba to Haile Salassie.
Begin your journey with the spectacular rock-hewn churches of the Tigray region, before travelling on to Axum, a city steeped in the legends of the Queen of Sheba, the Ark of the Covenant and the Aksumite Kingdom, once one of the most powerful in the ancient world.
After journeying through the breathtaking vistas of the Simien Mountains, you then head for the old imperial city of Gonder, the 17th century capital of the emperor Fasiladas, before the last leg of the journey sees you standing before the expansive waters of Lake Tana. The source of the Blue Nile, the lake is also home to the smoking waters of Tis Isat Falls and a number of fascinating island monasteries.
From here you travel north to the extraordinary rock-hewn churches of Lalibela, one of Africa’s most remarkable historical settings. Finish this staggering adventure back in Addis where you will have a chance to visit one of the most important sub-Saharan museums in Africa and the largest open-air market in the world, before listening to some of the best jazz in the world.
0 out of 5 stars (based on 0 reviews)
ARRIVE ADDIS ABABA
On arrival at Addis Ababa airport you will be met by a Wild Frontiers representative and transferred to your hotel.
ADDIS ABABA - TIGRAY REGION
A morning flight takes us to Mekele from where you’ll drive north to your lodge. En route explore some of this fascinating region of Ethiopia, which is home to the stunning rock-hewn churches of Tigray, including Wukro Chirkos church and the church of Abreha Atsbeha, considered among the country’s earliest churches and architecturally one of its finest. Enjoying the dramatic scenery of the Northern Tigray region you then complete your journey to our lodge.
This morning you will get to visit two of Ethiopia’s most striking churches, known for their unique location and stunning views. Miriam and Daniel Korkor are rock hewn churches located in the heart of the Gheralta Mountains. These unique churches are found in splendid isolation on remote rocky outcrops and involve a strenuous (but highly rewarding!) walk up to reach them. At the top you are not only rewarded with the epic vistas but also a wealth of 17th century paintings and church treasures.
TIGRAY REGION - YEHA - AXUM
You’ll turn west to Axum today, stopping en route at the Yemeni influenced Yeha temple. On arrival in Axum, a town steeped in more than 2,500 years of history, you’ll visit some of the key sites such as the palace and tomb of King Kaleb, the extraordinary stelae field (UNESCO World Heritage Site), the tomb of King Remhay, and the church of St Mary of Tsion, in which the Ark of the Covenant is allegedly hiding! Depending on time you will also visit the Queen of Sheba’s Palace.
AXUM – SIMIEN MOUNTAINS
After breakfast head towards the Simien Mountains. With recent improvements the average time on the road is approximately 5-6 hours, much of which is on a winding, often dusty road ascending into the mountains. Expect a long and bumpy, though staggeringly beautiful drive today. Once you’ve settled into your park lodge, in the late afternoon enjoy an orientation walk around the nearby area.
Spend the day exploring with your local guide in the spectacular Simien Mountains National Park. The length of the trek is flexible dependent on your fitness and your guide will discuss this with you upon arrival. You may decide on a 2-3 hour walk around the Sankaber region of the National Park, or take a longer full day walk with a picnic lunch – the choice is yours! Tracing the edge of the escarpment the views are simply breathtaking and with any luck you will get to see the Gelada monkeys or Walia Ibex which are endemic to the region.
SIMIEN MOUNTAINS - WOMEN'S PLOUGHSHARE SCHEME - GONDER
After a relaxed morning free, continue to Gonder. En route you’ll have the opportunity to visit the Women’s Ploughshare Scheme, a good place to pick up traditional black pottery, weavings and other small handicrafts. The scheme supports disadvantaged women by providing them with lodgings and a new skill which they can pass on to their villages. For over twenty years the scheme has helped 1200 women with disabilities and who are affected by HIV. Arrive in Gonder, freshen up at your hotel and then enjoy a delicious dinner at Four Sisters Restaurant.
GONDER - BAHIR DAR
This morning will be spent exploring the historic sights of Gonder, famous for the excellent preservation of its 17th century castles. If there is time you can travel 2km out of town to Fasilida’s Pool, a 2,800 sqm pond, reputedly used by the Emperor for bathing, and also visit the Debre Birhan Selassie Church with its wonderful interior paintings. The angels’ faces on the ceiling have become a common motif in Ethiopian design. Mid-afternoon, from Gonder you will be driven south around the east edge of Lake Tana to the town of Bahir Dar, en route stopping to look around the lesser-known Guzara Castle, located just south of the small town of Emfraz.
LAKE TANA AND BLUE NILE FALLS
This morning you can enjoy a private boat trip on Lake Tana, the largest lake in Ethiopia. The islands and peninsulas of Lake Tana host more than 20 monastic churches which you can explore. This afternoon enjoy a visit to the Blue Nile Falls, known locally as Tis Abay (Smoke of the Nile) or Tis Isat (Water that Smokes), located not far from Lake Tana.
BAHIR DAR - LALIBELA
Travel the scenic journey from Bahir Dar to Lalibela today, to experience one of the highlights of your trip. The isolated town of Lalibela, situated high up in the Lasta Mountains, is famous throughout the world for its incredible rock-hewn churches. At 2,630 m and perched among wild mountains, the setting is fantastic, and this afternoon you have your first taste of these unusual and striking churches, including Bieta Medhane Alem, the largest rock-hewn church in the world.
Return today and explore the second cluster of rock-hewn churches, amongst these is the much photographed St George Church, or Bete Giyorgis. Carved out of the ground, and shaped from the inside out, it is one, unbroken piece of stone, and is connected to the other sunken stone churches through a series of elaborate tunnels. Late afternoon you will discover the traditional methods of producing Ethiopia’s unique culinary delights. Your host will welcome you into their home and show you how to cook typical Ethiopian food, usually a spicy vegetable and lentil stews and slow-simmered meats. They will also show you an Ethiopian coffee ceremony before you sit down with your host family to feast on the meal you have helped prepare. End the evening with a visit to the lively Tej (honey wine) bar.
LALIBELA - ADDIS ABABA - DEPART
This morning fly to Addis, where you can enjoy some sightseeing this afternoon. The third highest capital in the world, Addis Ababa is a fascinating city to explore. Spend some time in the National Museum – one of the most important Sub-Saharan museums in Africa, the Ethnological Museum – located in the former Emperor Haile Selassie’s palace grounds, and the Merkato – the largest open-air market in Africa. What better way to then end your trip than by listening to some of Addis’s famous modern jazz in a lively local jazz bar. From here you will be taken to the airport for your late evening flight
There are no reviews yet. Be the first one to write one.