1. Arrive Addis upon evening arrival in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, members on the group flight are greeted with the traditional Ethiopian hospitality at the airport and transferred to the hotel.
2. Early morning breakfast with the CEO of Fest Ethiopia and a detailed tour program and orientation. After that transfer to the Bole International Airport and fly 50 minutes to Bahir Dar. Bahir Dar is the capital of the Amhara National Regional State. Upon arrival transfer to Tana Hotel, a lakeside hotel near the market place of Bahir Dar. Its is recommended that you take some rest before our afternoon visit to the market place of Bahir Dar. In the afternoon we will visit the city of Bahir Dar.
Visitors should expect to see
• Colorful market with easy access to buy traditional baskets, pottery, hand made woven clothes, capes, scarves and etc
• The Woito village where the local people make the papyrus boat
• The Mount Bezawit where Emperor Haile Selassie’s palace of is gracefully situated. It also provides a magnificent scenery
Dinner and overnight in Tana hotel with a pleasant garden and a Lakeside view of Tana. A special welcoming dinner and coffee ceremony hosted to you by Fest Ethiopia.
3. After an early breakfast drive to the spectacular water falls of the Blue Nile which is 30kms from Bahir Dar. On arrival at the site we will walk the uphill for about 20-30 minutes to reach the best view point of the falls which has 45 meters deep and up to 400 meters wide during the rainy season of June, July, August and September. Depending on your interest we can descend to the base of the falls and climb back up the other side and cross the Nile in a papyrus boat which will take us about an hour. Afternoon, a boat trip will be arranged to Ethiopia's largest Lake called Tana known for its middle age island monasteries. Lake Tana is the source of the longest river in Africa, the Blue Nile and home for 37 islands. We will have the opportunity to visit the Zege peninsula for its famous 14th century monasteries of Ura Kidanemihret, Azewa Mariam and the island monastery of Kibran Gebriel (where only men are allowed) for their wonderful 16th century mural paintings, crowns, crosses and many old church treasures. A traditional dinner will be hosted to you accompanied by traditional dancers and singers. Overnight stay is in the same hotel as the previous evening.
4. Early morning start driving to Gondar which is 175Km/ 120 Miles from Bahir Dar. They say “you have only to stroll through the banqueting halls and gaze down from the balconies of the many castles and palaces here to imagine the intrigue and pageantry that took place back in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, when Gondar, then the Ethiopian capital, was home to a number of emperors and warlords, courtiers and kings. After settling in Ghoa Ghion Hotel we will start our visit to these palaces, residences and baths of Fasilidas. Gondar is also the site of numerous fine churches, a number of which have survived to this day. Late in the afternoon, we will have the opportunity to visit the church of Debre Berham Selassie, translated to mean “Light of the Trinity”, which is located at the summit of a hill and surrounded by fortified walls. Dinner and overnight stay in Goha Ghion Hotel.
5. Early morning transfer to Gondar airport and fly to Axum which will take 40 min. Ethiopian legends first recorded in the fourteenth-century Kebre Nagast (Book of Kings) make Axum the capital of the Queen of Sheba in the tenth century BC. Rising to importance around the time of the of Christ, Axum was the capital far-reaching Axumite kingdom, dominated the vital crossroads of Africa and Asia for almost a thousand years. After settling ourselves in one of the comfortable hotels in Axum, Yeha Hotel, we will start our visit to the famous historical sites of Axum such as the Archeological museum, the Zion Cathedral where the original Arc of the covenant is said to be found, the stele park where the magnificent single block of stones standing since the 3rd century. Later the day we will have an opportunity to visit the ruin palace and Bath of Queen Sheba. Dinner and overnight stay at Yeha hotel.
6. Early morning we will fly to Lalibela located at an altitude of 2,600 metres above sea level. Lalibela is the 8th wonder of the world. 13 rock-hewn churches cut out of a solid red volcanic rock, some completely hidden in deep trenches, while others stand in open quarried caves and a complex series of tunnels and narrow passageways connecting the churches, Lalibela indeed offers a great opportunity for any traveler. Upon arrival and transfer to the Ghion Roha Hotel we will start our visit with the first group of churches and the city itself. Dinner and overnight stay at Goha hotel; in the evening you may also attend a show featuring traditional dance.
7. After an early breakfast trek (half way mule or horse ride) to the 13thc rock hewn monastery of Asheten Mariam. Ashetan Maryam is located in the mountain high above the town, with an impressive view of the surrounding countryside. Inside the monastery you find the 13thc hand and processional crosses of king Na’akutola’ab who ruled Ethiopia for over 40 years. UNESCO registers this breathtaking site as one of the Eighth Wonders of the World and world heritage. In the afternoon, we will visit the second group of churches, dinner and overnight stay at the same hotel as the previous night. With arrangement made with local households we will provide you the opportunity to see how a typical Ethiopian family in this town live. A traditional coffee ceremony will be hosted for you.
8. Early morning transfer to the Lalibela airport and fly back to Addis Ababa which takes around 55min. In the afternoon we will have the chance to visit a museum and if time permits the largest open market in Africa “Mercato". A traditional coffee ceremony hosted to you by the Fest Ethiopia group. In the evening we will dine in one of the traditional restaurants.
9. Addis Ababa is located at 2,500 meters above sea level at the footstep of the highest parts of series of Mountain chain. Addis is also the seat of African Union (AU) and many International offices and over 100 Embassies. It enjoys an excellent climate all year round; with an average temperature of 16°C. Addis Ababa is a pleasant city with wide avenues of jacarandas, interesting museums and one of the largest open-air markets in Africa, known as the Merkato. After early breakfast we will visit the National Museum (a multi-collections representing Ethiopia's past and present image).