15 Jan — 29 Jan 2020 | Tour Director: John Binns
• Journey to the roof of Africa to discover a country of ancient history and diverse landscapes
• Explore prehistoric archaeology, dramatic mountain vistas, lakeside monasteries and a wealth of birdlife
• Visit the rock-hewn churches of Lalibela – the ‘eighth wonder of the world’ – and experience Timkat Festival celebrations in Axum
is Visiting Professor at the Institute of Orthodox Christian Studies in Cambridge
Depart Heathrow 2055 on Ethiopian Airlines for overnight flight.
Arrive Addis Ababa 0735 and check in to Hotel Celeste for overnight. Free morning followed by afternoon visits to the cathedral and National Museum of Ethiopia (archaeological collections, Sabean artefacts, skeleton of 3.2 million year old ‘Lucy’).
Morning: depart Addis Ababa Airport on Ethiopian Airlines for Mekelle. Afternoon visits to rock churches of Adi Qosho Medhane Alem and Petros Paulos. Continue to Gheralta Lodge, Hawzen, for two nights. Evening lecture: Introduction to the Church and its Architecture.
Rock churches of the spectacular Gheralta region, including Wukro, Abreha we Atsbeha, Debre Tsion Abraham and Dugem Selassie.
Journey to Yeha for Temple of the Moon and archaeological excavations. Continue to Axum, passing by Adwa (scene of 1896 victory over Italian invasion) en route. Two nights at Yared Hotel, Axum. Our stay in Axum coincides with Timkat, Ethiopia’s annual celebration of Epiphany.
Morning visits in Axum: Stelae Park, Church of Mary of Zion and Chapel of the Ark of the Covenant. Afternoon: archaeological sites including tombs of Caleb and Gebre Meskal followed by Queen of Sheba’s Palace (ruins). Evening lecture: Axum and the Ethiopian Kingdom.
Depart for the Simien Mountains and check in to the Limalimo Lodge for two nights. Our journey today will take between seven and eight hours, including some stops, and offers views across Ethiopia’s stunning natural landscape.
Whole day exploration of the Simien Mountains National Park (spectacular region known as ‘the chess pieces of the gods’; Gelada baboons, found only in Ethiopia).
Transfer to Gondar for overnight at Goha Hotel. Afternoon visits to the castle complex (includes 17th century castle of Emperor Fasilides), Church of Debre Birhan Selassie (remarkable Ethiopian artwork) and Fasilides’s Bath (royal retreat used for ceremonial purposes).
Morning: depart Gondar on Ethiopian Airlines for Lalibela. Afternoon visits to north-west cluster of churches (Mariam, Medhane Alem, Danagel, Mesqal, Golgota, Mikael) followed by evening lecture: The History and Architecture of Lalibela. Two nights at Sora Lodge Hotel, Lalibela.
Morning visits to south-east cluster of churches (Gabriel, Emmanuel, Abba Libanos, Giyorgis) with opportunity to experience Sunday worship. Afternoon: Yemrehanna Christos.
Whole day journey by coach to Bahir Dar (scenic views) for overnight at Tana Hotel. Our journey will take between seven and eight hours, including stops, and will pass through Gashena, Nifas Mewcha and Debre Tabor.
Excursion by boat crossing Lake Tana to visit the monasteries of Naga Selassie and Zege URA Kidane Mehret (spectacular wall paintings). Evening: depart Bahir Dar on Ethiopian Airlines, arriving Addis Ababa. Transfer to Hotel Celeste for overnight.
Morning: summary lecture followed by visit to Entoto Mariam Complex and Menelik’s Palace. Free time followed by farewell dinner and transfer to Addis Ababa Airport.
Depart Addis Ababa 0120, arriving London Heathrow 0635.
15 Jan — 29 Jan 2020
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For customers who wish to make their own travel arrangements, please contact the office on 01223 841055.
Please note this tour includes several long journeys (two of up to eight hours), taking full advantage of this country’s stunning natural environment. Our route passes through highland areas at altitudes of up to 11000 ft – Addis Ababa itself is 7200 ft above sea level – and while the elevation makes for a generally very agreeable climate a good level of fitness is required throughout. Travellers should be prepared for a lower overall standard of accommodation than we would expect in Western Europe, however the welcome is warm and genuine, and we will be continually immersed in the cultural richness of this remarkable country. While we will endeavour to deliver the itinerary in full, local conditions can sometimes be unpredictable and so certain elements – including our accommodation – may be subject to change closer to departure.
Cost of £4995 includes: return airfare, accommodation based on sharing a twin or double bedded room, full board with water & non-alcoholic drinks, excursions & admissions, gratuities.
Not included: visa, travel insurance, single room supplement £765.