HISTORY AND CULTURE

ETHIOPIA

A land of history and legend with a civilization dating back thousands of years, Ethiopia is renowned for its archaeological wonders including subterranean churches of Lalibela and medieval castles of Gondar, fascinating pastoralist tribes of the Omo Valley and unique wildlife such as the Simien wolf and Gelada (or bleeding heart) baboon.

HIGHLIGHTS INCLUDE:

National Museum of Addis Ababa historic and archaeological treasures including the famous “Lucy” a 3.2 million year old hominid fossil.

Lalibela a holy 12th century city famous for its rock-hewn churches, including the largest monolithic church in the world.

Hike with mules to Mt Asheton to visit a 13th Century rock-hewn monastery or drive to Yemrehanna Kristos to visit a church that predates churches of Lalibela.

Omo Valley home to many tribes each with their own rich cultures, customs, religious beliefs and body decoration.  Tribes include Mursi (clay plates inserted into lower lip), Hamer (bull jumping ceremonies), Bena (stunning body jewellery) and Konso (snake worship and totems).

Thursday Market opportunity to experience the colourful and famous Thursday market at Key Afer in the Omo Valley.

Please contact us for further information regarding this destination.

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ANCIENT ETHIOPIA 10 DAYS

On arrival a representative will meet you and transfer you to Friendship International Hotel.  As time allows, you can choose optional visits to the National museum with its many historic and archeological treasures including the 3 million year old skeleton “Lucy”, the Ethnographic Museum, a great introduction to Ethiopian culture and history, the Trinity Cathedral resting place of Emperor Haile Selassie, Sheromeda traditional clothes market or Mercato, one of Africa’s largest outdoor markets.  Lunch at Ethiopia’s oldest hotel “Taitu”. Overnight Friendship International Hotel (lunch and dinner)

Fly to Lalibela built in the 12th Century as the “New Jerusalem”.  This holy city is still a place of pilgrimage and the churches remain in use today.  Spend the next two days touring the magnificent churches of Lalibela carved “with the help of angels” directly into the stone of the mountain.  A UNESCO World Heritage site this complex boasts the largest monolithic church in the world, a maze of passageways and tunnels, intricately carved reliefs, and fabulous examples of icon paintings. Lunch at the famous Ben Abeba restaurant . Dinner at Hotel. Afternoon, observe Ethiopian cooking and coffee ceremony. Overnight Turkul Village Hotel (breakfast, lunch and dinner)

Today you have a choice to take a morning hike with mules to Mount Asheton and its 13th century rock-hewn monastery with great views of the town or drive to Yemrehanna Kristos, a beautiful church situated in a shallow cave that predates the churches of Lalibela. The drive to Yemrehanna will also give you the opportunity to view the rural countryside and villages of the Ethiopian highlands. Lunch at the Seven Olives hotel. After lunch continue touring of Lalibela’s churches.  Overnight Turkul Village Hotel (breakfast, lunch and dinner)

Afternoon flight to Arba Minch via Addis Ababa.  Arba Minch is set on a cliff overlooking Lake Chamo and Lake Abaya. Explore Dorze Village in the Guge Mountains. The Dorze are famous for their tall, beehive-shaped bamboo houses. If the base becomes infested with termites, the entire house can be lifted and moved to another location.  Overnight  Paradise Lodge (breakfast, lunch & dinner)

After breakfast take a boat trip on Lake Chamo to visit the “crocodile market” and the local hippos. Continue to drive to Jinka through areas inhabited by various peoples such as the Gamo, Derashe, Konso, Tseme, Benna and Ari.  With time permitting, visit the Omo Valley Museum in Jinka. Overnight Eco Lodge (breakfast, lunch and dinner)

Drive to Mango National Park and Mursi (150km) to visit one of the most famous tribes in the Omo Valley – the Mursi, whose women are well-known for their practice of extending their lower lip with clay plates, while the men are known for decorating their bodies with white clay and fighting with long poles in “stick battles”.   Continue to drive on to Turmi, home of the Hamer people legendary for their ceremonial bull jumping, stopping to see various tribes including the Bena and Ari.  Bena are known for their stunning body jewelry, the women wear their hair in mud-covered ringlets. Overnight Buska Lodge (breakfast, lunch and dinner)

After breakfast take an excursion to Omorate visiting the Dasanch who live on the banks of the Omo River. The area is famous for beautiful birds. Cross the river to visit the Dessenech. Return to Turmi. Overnight Buska Lodge (breakfast, lunch and dinner)

Drive to Konso, recently designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site. The Konso are a highland people that utilize stone wall terraces in their agriculture, they also erect wooden totems replete with phallic symbols over the graves of their dead and have numerous cults based around the breeding and worship of snakes. Overnight Kanta Lodge (breakfast, lunch and dinner)

Make a short drive to Arba Minch airport and fly to Addis Ababa by the afternoon flight. Take lunch at the Romina Mickey restaurant . If time permits, visit sites you might have missed on the first day. Optional souvenir shopping and coffee shop stop. In the evening, enjoy a farewell dinner at a traditional Ethiopian restaurant featuring dancers and musicians representing some of the country’s many ethnic groups.

Transfer to airport for your onward journey home.

Includes accommodation, breakfast, lunch and dinner, experienced English speaking guide and vehicle, airport transfers, domestic flights as per itinerary and entrance fees.

Excludes international flights, lunches, drinks, gratuities, items of a personal nature and travel and medical insurance.

This tour can be extended to include visiting the giant stelae and tombs at Axum-thought to be Queen of Sheba’s residence and the once imperial city of Gondar known for its medieval castles and churches.  You can also extend your African adventure from Ethiopia by combining it with a wildlife safari in Tanzania or a Gorilla trek in Rwanda.

The destinations and itineraries on our website can all be tailored to suit your needs. We’d be happy to help you with any questions, please simply click on the contact us button below.

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