Northern Ethiopia

- this exceptional circuit highlights the best of northern Ethiopia

Day 1 - Addis Ababa

Arrive Addis Ababa. You will be met by an Endless Ethiopia Tours representative and transferred to your hotel.

In the early afternoon you will be met by your guide at the hotel and taken to Trinity Cathedral and the National Archelogical Museum. Trinity Cathedral: The Burial place Imperial families and noted patriot of the war against the Italian invaders. The Cathedral was built in 1941 and it’s the largest and the most magnificent of all the churches in the Country ornamented with carvings, Mosaics and local artists’ works.National Archelogical Museum: It contains a wide range of Ethiopian Historical artefacts focusing on the pre-Axumite, Axumite (Solomonic) and Gonderine Periods. It also has a wide range of Ethiopian art from the 14th to the 20th Century. The Museum Houses an anthropological and Archaeological displays including Lucy, the fossilized Hominid discovered in 1974.

This tour will take approx. 2 hours and you will be back at the hotel in good time for a sundowner. There are a range of good restaurants nearby for you to choose from for a dinner out on the town such as Dashen and Castelli.

Day 2 - Addis Ababa to Mekele

You will be met by your guide and driver and taken to see some churches on the way to Gheralta which are ancient and constructed on the cliffs of some rocky mountains. Visits will include the fascinating Tigray churches - Abreha We Atsbeha and Degum Selassie, Wukro Cherkos. Approximate journey time 3 hours. In the heart of the Historic Route, between Mekele and Axum, the recently opened Gheralta Lodge is a lovely property off the well-trodden tourist route. Run by an Italian couple and overlooking the stunning Gheralta Mountains near the town of Hawzen, the low-lying bungalows offer comfortable and clean accommodation for a maximum of 30 guests at any one time. The rooms have been tastefully decorated in the local Tigray style and there is a lovely restaurant serving simple and delicious Italian food, much of which uses ingredients freshly grown from the Lodge's vegetable garden.

Day 3 to 4 Mekele to Axum

This morning you will be driven to the Gheralta Cluster which includes the Famous Ancient Rock churches of Daniel Korkur and Mariam Korkur. These churches are said to be the earliest Christian Churches on the African continent, dating back to the beginning of the 4th century. The churches are entirely constructed on the cliffs of the Rocky Mountains. A reasonable level of fitness is required to do the climb. In the afternoon, you will be driven to Axum. Distance 160kms. Approx. journey time 4 hours.Explore nature and the natural earth formations, driving through the slope of the Tigray Mountain slowly descending along the Adwa Battle fields through the mountains. Your hotel for the next two nights is the Sabean Hotel. The Sabean International Hotel is located perfectly for a visit to Ethiopia's oldest and holiest city. A great base with a modern feel, ideal from which to spend a couple of days exploring the archaeology and history of the Axum area. The hotel's restaurant serves Ethiopian and International cuisine should you not wish to explore the town’s culinary delights.

Day 5 and 6 - Axum to Lalibela

You will be picked up at your hotel and transferred to the airport for an hour flight to Lalibela.You will be met and transferred to the Sora Lodge for a light lunch. In a mountainous region in the heart of Ethiopia, some 645 km from Addis Ababa, eleven medieval monolithic churches were carved out of rock. Their building is attributed to King Lalibela who set out to construct in the 12th century a ‘New Jerusalem’, after Muslim conquests halted Christian pilgrimages to the holy Land. Lalibela flourished after the decline of the Aksum Empire.Rock churches known as the “eighth wonder of the world”, the Lalibela ‘rock-hewn’ churches, physically chipped from the rock in which they stand, these towering edifices seem to be a result of almost superhuman workmanship and design. Some are sculptured out of a solid volcanic rock, others are connected by long underground tunnels and mazes. Some are quarried enlargements of caves.

Optional activity. After some down-time at the hotel in the afternoon, you will be driven to Yemrehane Christos (Let Christ Lead Us) Monastic Church lying 42 kilometres to the North, the Monastery of Yemrehane Christos was built by king Lalibela’s predecessor Yemrehane Christos. It’s an attractive big church built under a cave. This evening, attend a special coffee ceremony at Local house. Buna (coffee) is the favourite drink of many Ethiopians. It is drunk in a unique and traditional way called the coffee ceremony.The next day you have a full day to explore Lalibela.

Day 7 - Lalibela to gondar

You will be transferred to the airport for a 30 minute flight to Gondar. Gondar nestles in the foot hills of the Simien Mountain at 2,200 metres above sea level. After lunch visit the royal enclosure or Fassil Ghibe within the compound and see the castles of the Gonderian emperors. After a short drive from the town centre visit the bath of King Fassiledes. The pool is now centre stage on which Timket or epiphany is celebrated in Gondar. Finally drive to Debre Berhan Sillassie church that was saved from the Mahadist invasion in 1880’s. The wall and the ceiling are completely covered with Murals – the angels’ faces on the ceiling have become a common motif in Ethiopian art and design. This afternoon return to your hotel.

Day 8 to 10 - Lalibela - Gondar - Simien Mountains

You will be transferred to the airport this morning for your flight to Gondar. Gondar nestles in the foot hills of the Simien Mountain at 2,200 metres above sea level. After lunch visit the royal enclosure or Fassil Ghibe within the compound and see the castles of the Gonderian emperors. After a short drive from the town centre visit the bath of King Fassiledes. The pool is now centre stage on which Timket or epiphany is celebrated in Gondar. Finally drive to Debre Berhan Sillassie church that was saved from the Mahadist invasion in 1880’s. The wall and the ceiling are completely covered with Murals – the angels’ faces on the ceiling have become a common motif in Ethiopian art and design. One night in Gondar Hotel.

After an early breakfast the next day, you will be driven to Simien National Park (the only world heritage park in Ethiopia registered by UNESCO) stopping briefly at the park headquarters in Debark where you will pay the entrance fee, pick up your guide and proceed driving to SankaBar to admire the amazing scenery with the deep cliff ledges, beautiful escarpments and panoramic views. On the way to your first campsite at Geech, you will start your trek to Jinber mountain (3220m) where you will see the deepest waterfall in Ethiopia also named Jinber (‘the gate of hell’). The walk from Sankabar will take about 2 hours. Picnic lunch will be provided. The following morning continue to Geech which is about a 6 hour walk. Located at 3600 meters above sea level it has exceptional natural beauty and endemic Fauna and Flora.You will also see the Gelada Baboon (the bleeding-heart Baboon) and the Giant Lobelia. Expect to arrive at Geech camping site in the late afternoon at around 17h30

After a hearty breakfast the next day, hike to Mount Imetgogo (3990m), the most panoramic view in the Simien mountains. This will take approximately 4 hours to cover just 5 kilometres. After some sightseeing and a lunch break proceed to Chenek at 3600m through the pillars of mountains like Enatiye (4000m) which has a viewing point from where you can see some spectacular cliffs and rock faces. In the late afternoon reach the Chenek camp site.

Day 10 and 11 - Simien Mountains - Bahir Dar - Lake Tana - Addis Ababa

After breakfast, you will be driven back to Gondar through the escarpment of the Simien Mountain National Park and then continue on to Bahir Dar. The landscape between Gondar and Bahir Dar is mostly through the farmlands of the Amhara People. Afternoon at leisure.

Abay Minch Lodge is a mid-range retreat close to Lake Tana in northern Ethiopia. Set among tranquil bird-filled gardens, the Lodge offers easy access to the Blue Nile Falls and the monasteries and churches of Lake Tana. After breakfast, take a boat on Lake Tana to the nearby monastery of the Zeghie known for its 14th century round, grass-roof and its magnificent wall murals. You will also see the Azoa Mariam and Ura Kidane Mihret churches, the monastery of Ura Kidane Mihret. Azoa Maryam is to be found hidden within the mangrove forest of the Zeghie peninsula. Ura is known especially for its fine frescoes, manuscripts, ecclesial objects like crown of various emperors dated from the 14th century, processional crosses of gold and silver, silver drums, and royal vestments.There will be time to visit the magnificent Blue Nile falls. It is locally known as Tisissat (‘Smoking water’) 100 metres wide, the water plunges for 45 metres.

Transfer to Bahir Dar airport for your flight to Addis Ababa. You will be met and transferred to your hotel.

Day 12 - Addis Ababa to Simien Mountains

Today you will be driven to Bale Mountain National Park across the south-eastern Arsi-Bale Massifs to Dinsho. You will go on foot, in search of mammals such as the Mountain Nyala, Menelik’s bushbuck, Bohor reedbucks and warthogs. Other species include Augur and Steppie buzzards, the white head vulture, Gambaga flycatcher, the Abyssinian ground hornbill, stone chat to name a few. Drive to Harena Forest where one of the best lodges in Ethiopia is to be found – Bale Mountain Lodge.



The Lodge itself is situated in the heart of the Park within the Harenna Forest at a more comfortable 2380m, within the beautiful Katcha clearing looking towards the ridgeline of the plateau. Several shorter walking trails lead from the Lodge which enable guests to see wildlife on foot. Bale Mountain National Park is known as‘One Park- Many’ worlds. From the Gaysay grasslands of the north to the high altitude Sanetti plateau, to the wild forests of the south, the amazing range of habitats support myriad rare and endemic species, many of which are only found in this Park. The main wildlife attraction, and almost an ‘icon’ for Ethiopian wildlife travel is the Ethiopian Wolf. The Sanetti Plateau is home to the largest numbers of the remaining Ethiopian wolves. They are the world’s rarest canid and Africa’s rarest carnivore. Other endemics include the Mountain Nyalla, Menelik’s Bushbuck, Bale Monkey, Bale and Harenna Chameleon and Stark’s Hare.

Day 13 - Harena Forest and Senatti Plateau

Today you embark on an excursion to the mystical Harena Forest and the Senatti Plateau. Travel along the highest all-weather road in Africa to the largest moorland tract in Africa called Senetti plateau. From here you can look out for the endemic Ethiopian Wolf and its special pray- Giant mole rats. Until recently, there was controversy between experts on the naming of this beautiful wild animal. Now, it is confirmed that this rare animal is neither a Simien fox nor a jackal but a wolf. In addition to Senetti Plateau you see the Harrena escarpment and forest. There is an incredible list of endemic birds to be seen in the region such as the Crowned eagle.

Day 13 and 14 - Simien Mountains - Hawassa - Addis Ababa - Home

In the afternoon drive to the Beautiful Rift Valley town of Hawassa, the capital town of the southern people.

If you are interested, do a morning visit the traditional fish market where fishermen sale out their netted catch and explore the traditional way of fish cooking and walk around the town a bit. You will be driven back to Addis Ababa, on the way witness scenic beauty and the lakes of Zeway and Debrezeit where the great rift valley starts. Late afternoon you will reach Addis Ababa with some free time or shopping.

This evening you will have a memorable farewell dinner in one of Addis Ababa’s traditional restaurants complete with folkloristic dance and traditional food and drinks. Then be transferred to Bole International airport to catch your international flight back home.

What's great about it?

  • Visit ancient Christian rock churches
  • Amazing cultural sites and sounds
  • See some unique animals like the 'Bleeding heart monkeys' in the Simien Mountains
  • Breathtaking scenery at the top of the world.

Where will I stay?

  • Addis Ababa - Getfam Hotel - 1 night B&B
  • Hawzen - Gheralta Lodge - 1 night Half board
  • Axum - Sabean Hotel - 2 nights B&B
  • Lalibela - Sora Lodge –2 nights B&B
  • Gondar - Taye Hotel - 1 night – B&B
  • Simien Mountains - Camp sites- 2 nights - Full board
  • 1 night Abay Minch Lodge in twin room – Half Board
  • Lake Tana - Abay Minch Lodge - 1 night – Half Board
  • Simien Mountains - Bale Mountain Lodge - 2 nights - Full board
  • Hawassa - Haile Resort - 1 night – Half Board

Destination Map

SimeAn Mountains

Tanzania

Locations

Chada Katavi Beach House
Chada Katavi Beach House
Chada Katavi Beach House
Chada Katavi Beach House
Chada Katavi Beach House
Chada Katavi Beach House
Chada Katavi Beach House
Chada Katavi Beach House

Tanzania

Locations


+44 (0) 20 7228 5777 Wedge and Wildlife Ltd, 94 Manchuria Rd, London, SW11 6AE,