Historic north route by land and by air
Come anytime throughout the year. Pick your dates, we adapt your trip.
Historic monuments, captivating landscape, wild nature, hospitable people, colorful markets… The north of Ethiopia preserves the oldest cultural legacy in the country and represents the tangible testimony of the once great civilization of the Abyssinian Empire.
We begin our trip in Ethiopia by visiting its busy and vibrant capital Addis Ababa and the largest open air market in Africa, Merkato.
We then fly to Gonder, the historical city that served as the capital of Ethiopia between the XVII and XIX centuries. We visit on foot the Royal Enclosure and its majestic castles and palaces, the bathing palace of king Fasilades famous for hosting the Timket Festival, and the impressive Debre Birhan Selassie Church, of great interest for its ceiling decorated with paintings of 80 cherubic faces, the most famous single example of ecclesiastical art in Ethiopia.
Next we take a cultural break to breathe fresh air in the roof of Ethiopia, the Simien Mountains, where an easy excursion will unfold the most dramatic and marvellous of all ethiopian landscapes and will easily allow us to meet some of its endemic wildlife such as the gelada monkey, the lammergeyer, the klipspringer or the buskbuck.
After a scenic route by road we head towards Bahir Dar, where the great Blue Nile River and its impressive Blue Nile Falls demonstrate that Ethiopia is not a dry country at all. A boat ride on Lake Tana to some monastic churches on its islands and peninsulas will discover us ancient traditional ways of life and fishing.
The most emblematic place in Ethiopia will be discovered at the end of this northern route. Lalibela, a humble and spiritual city, is famed for its rock-hewn churches and, no matter how many carved churches you've seen before, you will quickly understand why they are considered one of The Eighth Wonders of the World, specifically the monolithic Church of Saint George.
A short domestic flight will drop us back in Addis Abeba to finalise this great adventure in Ethiopia, the Land of Origins.
DAY 1 - Addis Ababa
Arrival in Addis Ababa and welcome – City tour of the diplomatic capital of Africa: Great Merkato, National Museum, Piazza...– Hotel.
DAY 2 - Gonder
Fly to Gonder (1h) - Gonder city tour: the Royal Enclosure, the local market, the Debre Birhan Selassie church and the bathing palace of King Fasílades – Hotel.
DAY 3 – Gonder - Simien Mountains National Park - Gonder
Excursion to the Simien Mountains National Park – Easy hiking and/or trek in search of wildlife and dramatic landscapes - Back to Gonder - Hotel.
DAY 4 – Bahir Dar
Drive to Bahir Dar – Bezait Palace viewpoint of the Nile River and Lake Tana and visit the local market – Hotel.
DAY 5 - Bahir Dar
Boat ride on Lake Tana to monastic churches - Experience the traditional coffee ceremony - Excursion to the Blue Nile Falls, by car and on foot, crossing the Blue Nile River by local barge - Back to bahir Dar - Hotel.
DAY 6 - Lalibela
Escenic route towards Lalibela stopping on the way at beautiful sites – In the afternoon visit the First group of rock-hewn churches of Lalibela - Hotel
DAY 7 - Lalibela
Excursion on foot (6kms) to the Nakutolab Monastery to admire the rural life of the Amhara – Visit the Second group of rock-hewn churches of Lalibela - Hotel.
DAY 8 - Addis Ababa – End of the trip
Fly to Addis Ababa (1h) - Free time for visits and shopping - Hotel available - International flight.
NOTE: You can modify the itinerary by adding or deleting days, changing hotels, proposing other sites, etc. During the rainy season (June-September) the Simien Mountains National Park cannot be visited due to difficult wheather conditions. This excursion will be substituted by the more excessible Kossoye area, as impressive and full of wildlife as the higher ridge of the Park.
The transportation on this trip is designed to get the most out of your stay in the north of Ethiopia. The vehicles used on this tour are 4x4 for groups of four people or less, minibus for small groups and Coaster bus for larger groups. All vehicles are comfortable, safe and powerful. However, the farthest destinations will be done by air with Ethiopian Airlines. The entire fleet of aircraft was renewed in 2015 by the new Bombardier Q400 manufactured in Canada. They are short, comfortable and safe flights.
In addition, following our SLOW TRAVEL philosophy, you can enjoy hiking and trekking routes, walks in the citiy, get around in local tuktuk transport, boat rides or rent a bicycle.
Choose the type of accommodation that best suits you or combine between local hotels, 4* hotels, or even pitching a tent in the wild.
Local hotels are affordable and clean, although they might suffer from light or water cuts. Consider also that they deliver a service to the maximum of their possibilities and conception of time.
4* hotels are equipped with all services: double rooms with bathroom, hot water, restaurant, bar, internet connection, etc.. They are usually located at beautiful sites with nice views and have a charming atmosphere.
Travelers should keep in mind that there may be power cuts in some cities with the inconveniences that this entails. Fortunately, these cuts are becoming less frequent due to the construction of hydroelectric dams and power plants.
Campsites in Ethiopia are very basic and without infrastructure but are located in amazing sites surrounded by wild landscapes. Travellers can experience the real adventure choosing one or two nights of camping in the wild.
Our trips DO NOT INCLUDE full board. We believe in offering freedom of choice to our travelers. Sometimes you don't feel like having dinner, or you prefer to have just a juice. Ethiopian restaurants are always open and are found everywhere, offering local and international food, tasty, affordable and in abundance.