IMPERIAL ETHIOPIA ROUTE

Welcome to IMPERIAL ETHIOPIA ROUTE

IMPERIAL ETHIOPIA TOUR HIGHLIGHT

This adventure begins in the Northern Tier of the country, starting in the ancient city of Gondar, often described as the Camelot of African, and on to Axum and its archeological treasures. Finally we arrive in Lalibela, and its famous rock churches – an UNESCO World Heritage Site. We explore the interplay of religion and civilization, the role of architecture and how kings used it to legitimize their reigns, and the cultural influences of those eras and how they continue to today.

DAY 1: DEPART FROM YOUR HOME COUNTRY

DAY 2: ARRIVAL ADDIS ABAB

DAY 3: FLY GONDAR (UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITE)

 This morning a short flight takes you to Gondar, once the old imperial capital founded in the 17th century by Emperor Fasilides who built a palace and seven churches. The subsequent five Emperors built their own respective palaces and Gondar became known as the Camelot of Africa. Visit the royal enclosure containing six castles, a complex network of connecting tunnels and raised walkways. Proceed to the fascinating Debre Birhan Selassie Church with its walls and ceiling decorated with scenes of Biblical lore and medieval history.

Overnight Goha Hotel or similar

DAY 4: DRIVE SIMIEN NATIONAL PARK

Rising to over 15,000 feet, the Simien Mountain Range is a striking contrast to other regions in Ethiopia. This UNESCO World Heritage Site offers some of Africa’s most dramatic scenery: alpine peaks flanked by glaciers such as Mount Ras Dashen; steep escarpments rising above remote valley settlements; and an abundance of wildlife including the ibex, the endemic bleeding heart baboons, the Simien Wolf, and innumerable species of birds. Picking up the scout and guides in Debarik, drive to Bwahit and trek from Bwahit Ras to Jimbar( 5-6 hours) stopping on their way on the view points of Chenek and Gich. Here you will observe the majestic scenery of the Semein and see some of the wild life. At late afternoon, drive back to the Lodge for overnight.

Overnight Semien Lodge or similar.

DAY 5: DRIVE AXUM

Today, we travel through the remarkable Limalimo Mountains and Tekezze Gorge where you get a lot of indigenous Baobab tress and incense tress too. The route goes through the Simien Mountain range and on to the ancient capital, Axum. Our drive takes us through extraordinary scenery, pass small villages glimpsed between mountain massifs where people eke out an existence in this unforgiving countryside. We will stop for photo at view points across our drive.

Overnight Yeha Hotel or similar

DAY 6: AXUM

After an early breakfast you begin a city is the heart of ancient Ethiopia, when the Kingdom of Axum was the most powerful state between the Eastern Roman Empire and Persia. The archaeological and historical attractions in Axum include: monolithic steles or obelisks, the tombs of King Kaleb and King Gebre Meskal, and the legendary Bath of the Queen of Sheba, and the ruins of her ancient palace. We visit the new and the old Cathedral of St Mary of Tsion and the sanctuary that houses the original Arc of the Covenant. The older of the two cathedrals, built in the 16th century, is believed to be built on an earlier 4th century church, and is the holiest church in Ethiopia.

Overnight Yeha Hotel or similar

DAY 7:  LALIBELA (UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITE)

Lalibela is a striking town set at over 2500 meters in wild, craggy mountains with two-story stone houses that are quite different to those in the rest of Ethiopia. We are here to visit the huge 12th and 13th century rock churches carved below ground level and connected by a maze of subterranean passages. Each of the churches is unique and intricately carved. These rock-hewn Christian churches have been designated an UNESCO World Heritage site. Visit some of these unique churches cradled among the rocks – Bet Medhane Alem, Bet Maryam, Bet Mokael, Bet Danaghel, and Bet Golgotha. Continue visiting the second group of churches; Bete Gabriel, Bete Amanuel and Bete Libanos.

Afternoon explore the most elegant of Lalibela’s churches, Bet Giyorgis, located in an isolated part of the village on a sloping rock terrace. This is said to be one of the most finely executed and best preserved churches. Also visit the vernacular architecture of the old city Lalibela. The Tukul houses in Lalibela shows the diversification of architecture and, the change and continuity reveals for more than 800 hundred years.  

Mountain View Hotel or similar

DAY 8: LALIBELA (UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITE)

Early start for our drive to Yemrehane Kristos. Lying 42 kms northwest of Lalibela, Yemrehane Kristos is undoubtedly the finest church outside of town. Unusually, the church is built rather than excavated within a cave. The whole church rests on a foundation of carefully laid olivewood panels, which float it perfectly above the marshy ground below. Behind the church are the bones of countless pilgrims who chose to be buried there. There is also a tomb that includes the remains of Yemrehane Kristos.

Mountain View Hotel or similar

DAY 9:  FLY ADDIS

Return flight to the capital city of Addis Ababa. After lunch visit the National Museum, whose most important exhibit is a replica of the skull of Lucy, a woman who had lived in Eastern Ethiopia about 3.5 million years ago. Continue to Mt. Entoto for a breathtaking view of the city and continue to the Merkato Outdoor Market. This evening enjoy a farewell dinner at a traditional Ethiopian restaurant. Proceed to the airport for your overnight flight back to the United State.

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