Religious Festivals on Ethiopia's Historic Route — 10 Days
- Tour Type: Cultural Tour
- Limited To: 8 Guests only
- Duration: 9 Days
- Price: From USD 1.990,-
This cultural tour focuses on ancient history and culture as well as the people and nature on the classic Historic Route of Ethiopia. Among other things, on this tour, you will visit four UNESCO World Heritage Sites as we follow the footsteps of the legendary Queen of Sheba.
As you travel by road on the classic Historic Route of Ethiopia, you will be able to explore more of the country's less-visited beautiful nature and culture as this unfolds in front of you each and every mile you drive. As you start driving from Addis Ababa, you will be passing through many villages and small towns. On this route, you will stop at Jemma River Gorge and you drive through the magnificent Blue Nile River Gorge, Ethiopia’s own Grand Canyon.
- Visit four UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
- Be amazed by a visit to the rock-hewn churches of Lalibela, one of “the living wonders of the world”.
- Explore the ancient city of Axum, the last resting place of the Ark of the Covenant.
- Visit the ruins of the Queen of Sheba.
- Discover the fairytale castles of Gondar.
- Visit the breathtaking Simien Mountains National Park, “the Roof of Africa”.
- Discover the ancient island monasteries of Lake Tana.
- Visit the source of the mighty river, the Blue Nile and Blue Nile Falls.
- Visit the vibrant city of Addis Ababa.
- Meet your ancestor Lucy at the National Museum.
- Visit various lesser-visited sites and meet with the local people.
- Try the varied Ethiopian cuisine.
- Attend an Ethiopian Coffee Ceremony.
Depending on the category of hotel you booked for this trip, you will be staying in either a 3- or 4-star hotel in Addis Ababa. For the rest of the trip to the Historic Route, you will be staying in high-quality hotels or in the best-available tourist-standard hotels, lodges, and resorts, which are selected and inspected by our team regularly.
In case these hotels are not available, we will provide accomodation of similar quality and standard.
- Addis Ababa: Jupiter Bole
- Bair Dar: Avanti Blue Nile
- Gondar: Goha
- Axum: Sabaen
- Lalibela: Tukul Village
- Addis Ababa: Venetian or Heyday
- Bahir Dar: Rahnile
- Gondar: AG-Hotel
- Axum: Consular
- Lalibela: Harbe
This tour will be led by our experienced A-rated friendly cultural tour guides who have led many tours to the Historic Route of Ethiopia and who know the history, culture, nature, and wildlife of Ethiopia well.
Our drivers are well trained and well travelled in the area. They know all the terrain and the valleys you will be traveling to. They always make sure you are comfortable and safe. They have been rated excellent by many travelers who have been on the road with them for long periods of time.
On this cultural tour to the Historic Route of Ethiopia, you will be primarily traveling by coaster bus. We have excellent condition, well-maintained buses suitable for the road condition you will be traveling on. All our vehicles have air conditioning and seat belts.
*Note: On this trip there will be a domestic flight from Axum to Lalibela and then to Addis Ababa. The domestic flight has to be arranged separately.
Day 1: Arrive Addis Ababa
Arrive in Addis Ababa (ADD), Ethiopia. Welcome to Ethiopia! Upon arrival at Addis Ababa Bole International Airport, you will be welcomed by your tour guide and driver and transported to Jupiter Hotel (4*). The rest of the day, you will have a city tour of Addis Ababa including the National Museum, one of the churches in Addis Ababa, the Piassa, and the Mercato, and you will enjoy the view from Mount Entoto. If you arrive later, the city tour will be on the last day.
Day 2: Addis Ababa, Bahirdar (B, D)
In the morning, drive to Bahirdar through the Great Blue Nile Gorge with a stopover at different small towns like Dejen, Chancho, and Goha Tsion. The Blue Nile Gorge is a majestic and enormous river gorge which has magnificent, alluring physical features and natural beauty. It is referred to by many as “the Grand Canyon of Ethiopia” It’s one of the most captivating gorges in Africa.
Day 3: Lake Tana, Blue Nile Falls, Bahir Dar (B, D)
In the morning, we will take boat cruise over Lake Tana to visit the ancient 14th-century island monasteries of Lake Tana. The 37 islands of Lake Tana shelter 20 monasteries — surviving remnants of an old, contemplative tradition. After having lunch at the hotel, we will drive 35 km to visit the majestic Blue Nile Falls.
Day 4: Bahir Dar, Gondar (B, D)
After breakfast, drive to Gondar through the beautiful countryside scenery of Fogera to arrive at Gondar around lunchtime. This UNESCO World Heritage Site, founded by Emperor Fasiledas around 1635, is famous for its many medieval castles and the design and architecture of its churches. In particular, Debre Birhan Selassie represents a masterpiece of the unique Ethiopian school of traditional art. This afternoon, you will visit the ancient city.
Day 5: Gondar, Simien Mountains National Park (B, D)
After an early breakfast, we will drive to the Simien Mountains National Park. Driving from Gondar up to Simien Mountains National Park, nothing prepares you for the spectacular scenery that awaits you at the top of the massif. The rest of the day, we will take a short trek to explore the surroundings of Sankaber, part of the Simien Mountains National Park, and likely encounter endemic Gelada Baboons.
Accommodation: Simien Lodge, Buyit Ras (Meals: B, L, D)
Day 6: Simien Mountains National Park, Axum (B, D)
After breakfast, we will drive to Axum through the beautiful scenery of the Simien Mountains, Limalimo, and the Tekeze River Gorge. On the way from Simien Mountains to Axum, you will have a brief stop at different parts of the park for the best view. You will have a picnic lunch under the shade of the tree past the Tekeze River Gorge whilst enjoying the beautiful Simien Mountains scenery from a distance.
Past the Tekeze River Gorge whilst enjoying the beautiful Simien Mountains scenery from a distance, you will have a picnic lunch under the shade of a tree and continue driving to Axum.
Day 7: Axum, Yeha (B, D)
After breakfast, we will start to visit the ancient city of Axum. This is the birthplace of Ethiopian civilization and the last resting place of the Holy Ark of the Covenant. This morning we will visit the ancient city and explore the ancient steles, the ruins of the palace of Queen of Sheba, and its major attractions. In the afternoon, you will have an excursion to the pre-Christian temple of Yeha.
Day 8: Axum, Lalibela (B, D)
After having an early breakfast at the hotel, transfer to Axum airport for your flight to Lalibela. After checking into your hotel, we will drive to the site where we will find a concentration of some of Ethiopia’s most famous rock-hewn churches, referred to by many as one of “the living wonders of the world”. These churches are, and they have been for at least 800 years, an active Christian shrine, the spiritual center of the country’s religious life. The monolithic churches were carved out of a 2,600-square-meter natural rock terrace in the 12th century AD by King Lalibela.
Today, we will visit the first group of rock-hewn churches. In the evening, there will be a traditional Ethiopian coffee ceremony for the group prepared at a local house.
Day 9: Asheten Mariam, Lalibela (B, D)
In the morning, take a mule ride and/or walk to the top of Asheten Mariam Monastery, famous for its 12th century monastery church and beautiful views at 10,298 ft. above sea level. After having lunch and resting at the hotel, you will continue your journey into Ethiopia’s long and marvelous history with a visit to another St. Lalibela’s remarkable churches. Its architecture and artistry must be seen to be believed!
Day 10: Lalibela, Addis Ababa, Departure (B, D)
After breakfast, transfer to Lalibela airport for the flight to Addis Ababa. You will have a city tour now if you did not have one on first day. Flight schedule permitting, there will be a special Ethiopian farewell dinner party with traditional buffet and local drinks. There will also be a live cultural dance show of the different ethnic groups living in the country — the perfect ending to the trip! At the end of the farewell dinner party, transfer to Addis Ababa airport for the flight back. End of tour.
B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner
Rates are per person in USD.
Confirmed: This tour is guaranteed to operate.
Available: This date is available and open for bookings.
Rate per person: Budget 1,772.00, Comfort 1,990.00
Single supplement: Budget 236.00, Comfort 392.00
Group size: 2–12
Extra night in Addis Ababa:
Double: Budget 70.00, Comfort 110.00
Single: Budget 50.00, Comfort 90.00
- Roundtrip as per program
- Transport in minibus or coaster bus with AC
- All necessary transfers
- 9 nights accommodation in good hotels (4-star in Addis Ababa) in double rooms
- All meals as stated in the program
- All entrance fees
- Boat trip on Lake Tana
- English-speaking, qualified national tour guide
- Farewell dinner (flight schedule permitting)
- Visa fees
- Meals not stated in the program
- Any expenses of a personal nature (drinks, laundry, phone calls, etc.)
- Domestic flights