Fixed Departure–History, Nature and Colorful Market at Senbete & Bati

Program: Fixed Departure–History, Nature and Colorful Market at Senbete & Bati                 
Duration: 15 Nights and 16 Days 
Tour Code: AET 10
Transport: Surface


Day 01: Friday, Arrive Addis Ababa

Arrive Addis Ababa Bole international airport and meet with our staff and transfer to your hotel. Overnight hotel.

Day 02: Saturday, Addis Ababa

We explore Addis Ababa by beginning with a visit to the National Museum, one of the most important sub- Saharan museums in all of Africa. The museum is home to the fossilized hominid Lucy, as well as an amazing collection of artifacts, royal items and art. We visit the Ethnological Museum, which was the former palace of Haile Selassie. And after having lunch, continue visiting the Holy Trinity Cathedral, which is the largest Orthodox Church in Ethiopia, as its interesting modern architecture can attest too. The Cathedral contains the thrones and the tombs of the Emperor and his wife Empress Mennen.Visit Merkato, the largest open air market in Africa. Overnight hotel.

Day 03: Sunday, Addis Ababa–Kombolcha 375 Km.

After having breakfast, early in the morning drive about 275 km to Senbete via Tarma Ber Tunnel.  We should aim to get to the market before it gets hot. Markets in Ethiopia are not only about buying and selling, but are major social occasions, where people meet and exchange information.

Senbete market is a place where the highlands and lowlands meet, and brings together different ethnic groups. The Afar,with their camels and distinctive knives, Oromo,  Amhara, and Argoba, the latter claim descent from the Muslims who fled persecution in Saudi Arabia before the triumph of Islam. Visitors can buy different kinds of crafts, jewelry, baskets and woven materials. This market offers visitor opportunity to meet different people with their way of life, dressing style, belief and above all this market is one of the best colorful markets. After having lunch continue driving to Kombolcha. Overnight hotel.

Day 04: Monday, Kombolcha – Bati–Weldeya 245 Km.

Morning after breakfast drive 50km to Bati small town, Here again we find the congregation of different ethnic group with local products and  livestock, the market is interesting  for photographer and also for those appreciating the natural beauty and colorful dressing of the Afar, Oromo and Wollo of Amhara region  women. Retrace to Kombolcha have your lunch and then drive to Weldeya, We will stop at the Hike Estifanos Monastery. Overnight hotel.

Day 05: Tuesday, Weldeya–Lalibela 180 Km.

Drive to Lalibela leaving Weldeya, the town on the foot base of Abune Yosef Mountain along the scenic road, en route visit NakutoLe’ab, Cave church 7kms before the Town of Lalibela. Overnight hotel.

Day 06: Wednesday, Lalibela

The city contains 11 monolithic churches that were built in the 12th century and are carved out of the pink tuff rock; they have been classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Each church (Bet) has a unique architectural style, all are superbly carved and most of them are decorated with well – preserved paintings. The entire city may be described as a sculpture dedicated to the glory of God.

AM is dedicated for visiting the first group of churches, known as the Northern Group of Churches. Bet Medihan Alem is the largest, supported by 72 pillars and houses the 7kg (15 lbs) gold Lalibela Cross. We go through a tunnel from Bet Medihan Alem to Bet Mariam, in which there is a pillar, it is said that Jesus Christ leaned against this pillar when he appeared in a vision to King Lalibela. Bet Mariam also contains fabulous carvings of various birds and animals. We also visit Bet Denagel, a chapel built in honor of martyred nuns. Bet Golgotha and Bet Michael are twin churches. The twin churches also contain many important religious items and some of the best examples of early religious art in the country. The last church we visit today is Bet Georges, one of the more recent churches and best preserved.

PM we will visit the Eastern Rock Churches. Bet Amanuel, is one of the most beautifully carved churches in Ethiopia in the Axumite style. Bet Merkorios has a wonderful painting of The Three Wise Men, which dates back to the 15th century A.D. We also stop to see Bet Abba Libanos and Bet Gebrieal – Rafael, which might have once been the home of the royal family before becoming a church. Overnight hotel.

Day 07: Thursday, Lalibela – Mekelle 350 Km.

Drive to Mekelle through beautiful mountain scenery via Korem on the way, we drive to the cave church called YemerhaneKirstos (42 km from Lalibela). This Church has been constructed by King YemerhaneKirstos during the13th Century. In the church, there are more than 5000 dead human skeletons lying without any coverage for the past 700 years. They are supposed to be pilgrimages from Syria, Egypt and Ethiopia. Continue driving to Mekelle. Overnight hotel.

Day 08: Friday, Mekelle – Gheralta 65 Km.

Drive and explore full day the hidden treasure of Tigray, the Tenbien cluster which includes Wukro Cherqos, Negash (the first Muslim settlement AD 615 in Ethiopia), Mariam Corker, Abreha WaAtsbeha, and Degum Selassie rock hewn churches. Overnight hotel.

Day 09: Saturday, Gheralta – Axum 170 Km.

Drive to the old city of Axum via Adigrat on the way visit the monastery of Debre Damo (closed to women), which is said the Monastery, built in the sixth century. The monastery of Debre Damo can only reached by rope. Trace back on the main road drive to Yeha Temple. The ruins of this large, pre-Christian temple, erected around the fifth century B.C, consist of a single roofless oblong chamber 20 meters along by 15 meters wide. The windowless 10 meters high walls are built of smoothly polished stones, some of them more than 3 meters long, carefully placed one atop the other without the use of mortar. Continue to the historical town of Adwa where Ethiopian defeated the Italian colony, the first European colony defeated on the soil of Africa. Enjoy the beautiful scenery and continue to Axum.Overnight hotel.

Day 10: Sunday, Full day visiting Axum

Axum, legends narrated in the Kebre Negest (Book of Kings) recount how the city of Axum as early as the 10th century B.C, was already the city in which the Queen of Sheba resided. It is recounted that the son of the Queen of Sheba and King Solomon brought the Ark of the Covenant to Axum and it remains there to this days, preserved in a sanctuary. Famous long before the time of Christ, Axum was the capital of the long Axumite reign, one of the oldest African empires, and represented a crucial connecting-point between Africa and Asia for almost a thousand years. A visit is organized to the steles, granite monoliths dating from pre-Christian times and decorated with symbolic engravings. In ancient times, there were seven steles, the one in Rome – Mussolini brought it there during the Italian occupation of Ethiopia, was return to Axum and re-erected in its original place in 2004. There is also a visit to the church of Saint Marry of Zion (Tsion), which contains the crowns of Ethiopian kings and other treasures.Overnight hotel.

Day 11: Monday, Axum–Via Debark – Semien Mountains 280 Km.

This morning we drive on the Tigray Plateau after we pass the Shire Enda Silassie town then we start descending the most dramatic beautiful scenery in the country, driving through mountain ranges and zigzag roads to Adi Arkay village leading into the Tekeze Valley with its Baobab trees.

Debark, the head quarter of the Semien Mountains National Park from here we collect entrance fee, local guide and scout to go with us for the day we stay in the park. Proceed to the Semien for those wish to trek we will take short hiking or it depend on our arrival time. Overnight Lodge or local hotel.

Day 12: Tuesday, Full day Trek and drive in the Semien Mountain

Start early morning we will Trek and drive to the Extent of Chenek on jagged panorama of the Semien Mountains National Park, famed for its exclusive landscape, afro-alpine vegetation and unique wildlife, where we may spot the endemic Walia Ibex, Gelada Baboon troops, Bush Buck, Klipspringer and if we are lucky we spot Abyssinian Red Fox. However, we will enjoy the dramatic scenery and a troop of friendly Gelada Baboon at very close distance and  Birds such as Chestnut-napped and Moor -land Francolin, Mountain Thrush, Thick-billed Raven, Lammergeyer, White-collared Pigeon and Ankober Serin just to name a few. Drive back to the lodge or picnic lunch. For those who interest in hike/Trek we will trek for about 1-2hrs on the edge and beautiful escarpment to view the beautiful and green valley, wondering the long day eating and grooming of Gelada Baboon families and then trace back to the Lodge or hotel.

Day 13: Wednesday, Drive to Gondar 120 Km.

AM, Morning after breakfast drive back to Debark and continue to Gondar it takes 2 hours, meet the people at their field and photo stop for beautiful scenery.

PM, our visit will begin from Fasiladas Gibi, there are a dozen castles built by various emperors over the course of 236 years. The city seems more European than African and also has Islamic influences. We will visit Fasiladas’s Palace which is probably the most impressive of all the castles found in the area and the oldest one, too! We continue on to the bath of Fasiladas. Then we continue to visit the Church Of Debre Berhan Selassie (Light of the Trinity). The interior of this is decorated with beautiful frescos, cherubs and paintings. Debre Berhan Selassie is rumored to once have been the proposed final resting place of the Ark of the Covenant. Overnight hotel.

Day 14: Thursday, Drive to Bahir Dar 170 Km.

AM drive to Bahir Dar through the beautiful and fertile countryside on Lake Tana side, it takes 3 hours on the way visit village or market along the road, meet people at their field and photo stop for beautiful scenery then proceed to Bahir Dar. Bahir Dar is a pleasant city located on the shores of Lake Tana which is the largest lake in Ethiopia. Check into hotel and have lunch.

PM we will take a boat excursion to the famous peninsula  Ura Kidanemihiret monastery which is reach in lavishly painted Biblical history on the wall of the Monastery. On your way back enjoy the beautiful Sun set on the Lake. Overnight hotel.

Day 15: Friday, Drive Bahir Dar – Debre Markos 330 Km.

Morning after early breakfast check out hotel and drive to the Blue Nile Falls, which is known locally as Tis Isat  (smoking water) falls 400 meter wide, the water plunges for 45 m, giving rise to steam clouds and rainbows. We climb down to the base of the falls for an up-close look and then ascend to the other side. This round trip will take about 1hour walking. Then we cross the Blue Nile River by boat to return to the point of departure. Drives to Debre Markos, on a paved road, en route enjoy the beautiful and fertile highland. Overnight hotel.

Day 16: Saturday, Drive Back to Addis Ababa 300 Km.

Drive back to Addis Ababa via Blue Nile Gorge. Morning we start driving on the central highland (plateau) till where it bisect Showa plateau by the Awesome Blue Nile gorge enjoy the beautiful landscape and visit Debre Libanos Monastery on the cliff of Jemma River and then continue driving to Addis Ababa,  have lunch in local restaurant late afternoon arrive Addis. Evening dinner in the traditional restaurant. End of the tour.  Fly back home.


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