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Ethiopian Timket Festival Tour with the Historic Route & Simien Mountains 09.-21.Jan 2019

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  • Trip Type Cultural and Festival Tour
  • Tour Code GHET-F03
  • Private Journey
  • 13 Days - Jan 09 - Jan 21 2019
  • On this tour you are privileged to witness one of the most colorful and ancient festivals celebrated in Ethiopia, Timket Festival. Commemorating the baptism of Jesus Christ, this is an extremely colorful three-day festival celebrated on the Ethiopian Calendar and you will attend this festival around the rock-hewn churches of St. Lalibela where it is celebrated in a unique way.

On this trip of discovery you will visit the matchless sites of Ethiopia’s Historic Route among which four of the sites are listed under UNESCO’s world Heritage list including: Axum, Lalibela, Gondar, island monasteries of Lake Tana, the palace of queen of Sheba and the last resting place of the Ark of the Covenant the least is endless. Cruise along Lake Tana, the source of the Great Blue Nile River, trek along the spectacular Simien Mountains “the chase pieces of gods” with the Bleeding Heart Baboon and more.

Trip highlights

  • Celebration of Timket “Ethiopian Epiphany”
  • Experience Ethiopian Orthodox Christian doctrines and Traditions
  • Visit 4 UNESCO World Heritage Sites
  • Be amazed by a visit to the rock-hewn churches of Lalibela, “the living wonders of the world”
  • Enjoy the magnificent nature and endemic wild life of Simien Mountains
  • Mountains
  • Travel back in time to explore the ancient city of Axum the last resting place of the Ark of the Covenant.
  • Discover the fairytale castles of Gondar
  • Take cruise on Lake Tana to visit the ancient Island monasteries
  • Site the source of the mighty river, the Blue Nile  &  Blue Nile falls
  • Discover  old walled city and the fourth holiest city of Islam
  • Visit the vibrant city of Addis Ababa, Africa’s Capital
  • Meet your ancestor LUCY at the National Museum in Addis Ababa
  • Test varied Ethiopian food and attend Ethiopian Coffee Ceremony


Day 01: January 09, 2014: Arrive Addis Ababa

Arrive in Addis Ababa (ADD), Ethiopia. Welcome to Ethiopia! Upon arrival at Addis Ababa Bole International Airport, you will be welcomed and assisted by your tour guide and driver for the transfer to Hotel. There will be a short drive to your hotel. If you arrive in the morning we can arrange an optional city tour in Addis.
Overnight: Hotel-Addis Ababa.

Day 02: January 10: Addis Ababa- Bahirdar

In the morning, drive to Bahirdar through the Great Blue Nile Gorge with a stop over at different small towns like Dejen, Chancho and Goha Tsion.
Overnight: Hotel-Bahirdar.

Day 03: January 11: Lake Tana-Blue Nile Falls-Bahir Dar

After breakfast, we will make boat cruise over Lake Tana to visit the ancient 14th century island monasteries of Lake Tana.
After having lunch at the hotel, we will drive 35 KM to visit the majestic Blue Nile Falls.
Overnight: Hotel-Bahirdar.

Day 04: January 12: Bahir Dar-Gondar

After breakfast, drive to Gondar through the beautiful countryside scenery to arrive at Gondar around lunchtime.
After check in to Goha Hotel and having lunch there, we will start tour of Gondar which include: the Royal Enclosure, the pool of King Fasilidas, and we will also visit the famous Deberberhan Sillassie adorned with brilliant frescos from inside.
Ovwenight: Hotel-Gondar.

Day 05: January 13: Gondar-Simien Mountains National Park

After an early breakfast, we will drive to Simien Mountains National park. En-route we will be visiting the “Felasha” or the Black Jewish village.
Driving from Gondar up to Simien Mountains National Park, nothing prepares you for the spectacular scenery that awaits at the top of the massif. The rest of the day, trek around the park to explore the stunnining view and wildlife of the park including Sankaber.
Overnight: Simien Lodge-Sankaber.

Day 06:January 14: Simien Mountains National Park-Axum

After breakfast start driving to Axum through the beautiful sceneries of Simien Mountains, Limalimo, Tekeze River Gorge.
Overnight: Hotel-Axum.

Day 07: January 15: Axum

After breakfast, we will start to visit the ancient city of Axum. Your visit in Axum include: the Stele Square, Kaleba Tombs, the 4th century Christian inscription of King Ezana, Queen of Sheba’s Palace, Archeological Museum, and Tsion Mariam Church where the original Ark of the Covenant is housed.
Overnight: Hotel-Axum.

Day 08: January 16: Axum-Hauzien

In the morning, drive to Hauzien, the center of some of the most ancient rock-hewn churches, through the stunning and historical mountains of Adwa.
Overnight: Lodge-Hauzien.

Day 09: January 17: Hauzien-Mekele

In the morning, drive to Mekele en-route visit some of the most ancient Tigray rock-hewn churches including: Wikro Cherkos, Abrha We-atsbeha, Dugum Selassie and so on.
Overnight: Axum Hotel-Mekele.

Day 10: January 18: Mekele-Lalibela-Timket Eve at Lalibela

After breakfast, start driving north to Lalibela through Sekota en-route you will visit Yimrhane Kirstos and different villages of the Agwe tribal people.
In the afternoon, we will attend the Timket eve ceremony called, Ketera. During Ketera, the priests take out the Tabots- replicas of the original Ark of the Covenant, from each church and bless the water of the pool where the next day' celebration will take place.
In the evening, we will return to the ‘Taboat Maderia’ to attend the night celebrations.
Overnight: Hotel-Lalibela.

Day 11: January 19: Rock-hewn churches of Lalibela-Timket Festival at Lalibela

Early in the morning, we will again walk to the ‘Taboat Maderia’ to witness the early morning baptism ceremony. The water which symbolizes the Jordan River is blessed by the priest and the patriarch then dip a golden cross and extinguish a burning consecrated candle in the alter. Then he sprinkles water on the assembled congregation in commemoration of Christ's baptism.
Following the baptism, the Tabots start their way back to their respective rock-churches, while feasting, singing and dancing continue all the way to the churches.
Overnight: Hotel-Lalibela.

Day 12: January 20: Lalibela-Asheten Mariam-2nd day of Timket

In the morning, attend the second day of Timket around the first group of rock-hewn churches.
After having lunch and rest at the hotel, we will continue our journey into Ethiopia’s long and marvelous history with a visit to other St. Lalibela’s remarkable churches
The rock-hewn churches that we will visit this afternoon include: Bete Gebriel, Bete Merkorios Bete Amanuel, Bethlehem and Bete Aba Libanos. At the end of the tour, there will be a special Ethiopian traditional coffee ceremony for the group prepared at a local house.
Overnight: Hotel-Lalibela.

Day 13: January 21: Lalibela-Addis Ababa-Departure

After breakfast, transfer to Lalibela airport for the flight to Addis Ababa. Depending on your departure time optional city tour.
In the evening, there will be Grand Holidays’ complimentary farewell dinner party with traditional special buffet and local drinks(flight schedule permitting) At the end of the Farwell dinner, transfer to Addis Ababa airport for the flight back. End of tour!


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