Ethiopia's Historic Route: 12 Days / 11 Nights

Itinerary, Tour HN-11

Our twelve day historic tour includes all the major historical sites of the north including the rock churches of Tigray.   This tour includes two domestic flights on Ethiopian Airlines.

Day 01 Addis Ababa
For morning Arrivals at Bole International Airport you may begin your tour after checking into your hotel.  For clients arriving in the afternoon or evening, you may begin your tour the following day.  An Awaze Tours representative will meet all clients arriving at the airport regardless of arrival time.

Visit the Ethnographic Museum, a great introduction to Ethiopian culture and history. Visit the Mercato, one of Africa's largest outdoor markets, and Trinity Cathedral, resting place of Emperor Haile Selassie. 
Overnight Hotel - Addis Ababa

Day 02  Addis Ababa - Bahar Dar
Fly to Bahar Dar on Ethiopian Airlines. Visit the marketplace in Bahar Dar. Take a boat tour on Lake Tana, the source of the Blue Nile, and tour ancient island monasteries. 
Overnight Hotel - Bahar Dar

Day 03  Bahar Dar - Gondar
Drive through the countryside to Gondar. Tour the Royal Enclosure, a UNESCO World Heritage site featuring five castles built by a succession of Ethiopian Kings beginning in the early 17th century.  Having survived several wars, including air raids during World War 2, the castles are a testament to the resilience of this once mighty African Empire. Visit the church of Debre Birhan Selassie, famous for its religious art and especially its iconic ceiling depicting angels.
Overnight Hotel - Gondar

Day 04  Gondar - Simien Mountains National Park
Drive to Sankabar the gateway to the Simien Mountains National Simien Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Enjoy some light hiking in the afternoon in the park.
Overnight Lodge

Day 05  Simien Mountains National Park - Axum  

Take a scenic drive to Axum, capital of the ancient Axumite Empire and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Frequent stops at viewpoints along the way. Arrive in Axum late afternoon.
Overnight Hotel - Axum

Day 06  Axum
Tour the ancient stelae fields, standing for 2000 years. Visit the new and impressive Archeological Museum. Visit other tombs and archeological sites as time permits. 
Overnight Hotel - Axum

Day 07  Axum -  Ghiralta Lodge
Drive to the Ghiralta Lodge passing the Adwa battlefield, site of Emperor Menelik II's 1895 victory over the invading Italians. Visit the 2,500 year old ruins of Yeha, an ancient moon temple.  Continue past Adigrat and visit Aba Gerima and Petros Paulos, two of the Tigray region's oldest and finest rock churches.  

* On this day, we will pass the 6th century monastery of Debre Damos which is perched atop a remote plateau.   The monastery is only accessible using a rope and the monks will help pull visitors up the 20 - 25 meter cliff.  However, we only recommend this for physically fit individuals.  Women are not allowed on the grounds of the monastery, and therefore, it is not part of our regular tour itinerary.  However, we can stop here for those on a custom or private tour.  
Overnight Ghiralta Lodge

Day 08  Gheralta Lodge - Mekele
Visit more of Tigray's remote and ancient rock-hewn churches:  Abraha Atsbeha, dating from the 10th century; the beautiful Wukro Chirkos; and  Medhane Alem Kesho.  Drive to Mekele.
Overnight Hotel - Mekele

Day 09  Mekele - Lalibela 
Drive on a scenic road to Lalibela. Arrive at your hotel in the late afternoon and enjoy the sunset from the terrace.  
Overnight Hotel - Lalibela

Day 10  Lalibela 
Tour the magnificent rock-hewn churches of Lalibela, a UNESCO World Heritage site. This group of eleven monolithic and semi- monolithic structures were carved directly into the stone of the mountainside at least 800 years ago. 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. 
Overnight Hotel - Lalibela

Day 11  Lalibela
For the morning we have two choices: Take a morning hike with mules to Mount Asheton, with its 13th century rock-hewn monastery and 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. Following either option above continue with tour of Lalibela’s churches in the afternoon.
Overnight Hotel - Lalibela

Day 12  Fly to Addis Ababa 
Fly to Addis Ababa. Visit the National Museum, home of the 3 million year old skeleton “Lucy.” Optional souvenir shopping. 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 late night departure if needed.

  • For arrivals before the tour begins or for later departures, additional hotel bookings can be made upon request.
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