Warm and friendly, Ethiopia is a country with a unique cultural heritage and some truly awe-inspiring scenery.It was one of the greatest kingdoms in the world and the cradle of mankind. Deeply traditional and breathtakingly beautiful, Ethiopia is unlike any other country in Africa.This tour will introduce you to 3,000 years of Ethiopian history – the bustling and colourful capital of Addis Ababa, the monuments, the steles of Axum, the temple of Yeha, the Palace of the Queen of Sheba, the rock-hewn churches of Lalibela, the last resting place of the Ark of the Covenant and the castles of Gondar,the island monasteries of Lake Tana (source of the Blue Nile), the Great Blue Nile Falls and the Simien Mountains and, most of all, the charming Ethiopians who will welcome you with a cup of their famous coffee!
Monday 11 February – Dublin to Addis Ababa
Depart Dublin at 16.45 hrs. for Addis Ababa.
Tuesday 12 February - Afternoon City Tour
On arrival at 07.00 hrs meet and greet and transfer to hotel.Breakfast and sleep until noon. Addis Ababa, founded in 1886 is situated over 8,000 ft above sea level and is the third highest capital in the world.It has an excellent climate all year round and is a pleasant city with wide avenues of jacarandas and interesting museums. In the afternoon drive to Entoto for a panoramic view of Addis Ababa. Tour the city visiting Selassie Cathedral, Ba’ta Mariam church, Holy Trinity Cathedral housing the remains of Emperor Haile Selassie and the National Museum - home to the famous three million year old skeleton known as “Lucy”. Overnight: Jupiter Hotel, Addis Ababa.
Wednesday 13 February - Excursion Debre Libanos and Blue Nile Gorge
Morning drive to the spectacular scenery of the Blue Nile Gorge, Ethiopia’s own Grand Canyon, 213 km north of Addis. On the way back visit the Debre Libanos Monastery, an important centre of Ethiopian Orthodox Christianity, and the Jemma River Gorge from where we can see a wide variety of native birds and the Gelada, a native Ethiopian species of baboon. Late afternoon return to Addis.Overnight: Jupiter Hotel, Addis Ababa.
Thursday 14 February - Addis Ababa to Bahirdar
Morning flight to Bahir Dar (1 hour). Meet and greet on arrival and transfer to hotel before commencing our cruise to the ancient 14th century island monasteries of Lake Tana.The 37 islands are home to 20 monasteries famous for their typical Ethiopian religious paintings, illuminated manuscripts and ancient church treasures.After lunch visit the majestic Blue Nile Falls, one of the most spectacular waterfalls in Africa meeting local people in the small villages en route. Return to hotel for dinner and overnight in Avanti Blue Nile Resort, Bahirdar.
Friday 15 February:Bahirdar to Gondar
Drive through the beautiful countryside to Gondar and check in to hotel.After lunch depart for tour of Gondar. This ancient city is famous for its many medieval castles. Visit the Royal Enclosure with its 6 different castles and the famous Deberberhan Sillassie church with its beautiful frescoes. Return to hotel for dinner and overnight in Goha Hotel, Gondar.
Saturday 16 February: Gondar to Simien Mountains
Today drive to the “Falasha” – the black Jewish village. The Falashas settled here during the reign of King Menelik 1, a son of the Queen of Sheba and King Solomon. After lunch continue on to the Simien Mountains National Park to view the spectacular scenery and landscapes. The park is home to the extremely rare Gelada baboon and the Walia ibex – a goat found nowhere else in the world! Dinner and overnight Goha Hotel, Gondar.
Sunday 17 February: Simien Mountains National Park to Axum
Depart by coach to Axum through the Simien Mountains, Limalimo and the Tekeze River Gorge. Picnic lunch en route. Dinner and overnight Sabean Hotel, Axum.
Monday 18 February: Axum
Today we explore Axum, the birthplace of Ethiopian civilisation and reputed to be the second Jerusalem.Visits include Tsion Mariam Church which, according to local tradition, houses the Ark of the Covenant, the Stele Square, Kaleba Tombs, the Queen of Sheba’s Palace and the Archaeological Museum.After lunch visit the pre-Christian temple of Yeha. Dinner and overnight Sabean Hotel, Axum.
Tuesday 19 February: Axum to Lalibela
Morning flight to Lalibela (40 minutes).On arrival transfer to hotel.After check-in drive to the site of Ethiopia’s most famous rock-hewn churches referred to by many as “the living wonders of the world”. Visits will include Bete Medhani Alem, Bete Mariam, Bete Meskel, Bete Denagil, Bete Golgotha Michael and Bete Giorgis. Return to hotel.In the evening visit a local house for a traditional Ethiopian coffee ceremony.Coffee originated in the Kaffa region of Ethiopia (hence its name) and a coffee ceremony is a traditional way of welcoming a guest. Dinner and overnight Tukul Village Hotel, Lalibela.
Wednesday 20 February: Asheten Mariam
Morning mule ride and walk to the top of Asheten Mariam Monastery, famous for its 12-century monastery church - 10,298 ft above sea level.After lunch visit the rock-hewn churches of Bete Gebriel, Bete Mercorios, Bete Amanuel, Bethlehem and Bete Aba Libanos. Walk through the underground tunnels to the monastery were the monks and nuns live. Dinner and overnight Tukul Village Hotel, Lalibela.
Thursday 21 February: Lalibela to Addis Ababa
Morning flight to Addis Ababa (1 hour). Transfer and check in to hotel. Afternoon at leisure.
Overnight: Jupiter Hotel, Addis Ababa.
Friday 22 February: Addis Ababa
Full day city tour to include St. George Church where the Emperors were crowned, Makush Gallery and the Ethnographic Museum. Return to hotel. Farewell Dinner and Cultural Dance Show. Overnight: Jupiter Hotel, Addis Ababa.
Saturday 23 February: Addis Ababa to Dublin
Day at leisure for last minute shopping and sightseeing. Transfer to the airport for return flight direct to Dublin, arriving following morning at 08.00 hrs.
Jupiter Hotel 4, Addis Ababa (4 nights)
The hotel is conveniently located close to the airport. It has its own restaurant, bar/lounge and coffee shop. All its 40 rooms are en suite with free WiFi, TV, minibar, tea and coffee making facilities, hair dryer and safety deposit box.
Avanti Resort, Bahir Dar (1 night)
Avanti Blue Nile Hotel is located close to Bahir Dar airport and overlooking Lake Tana. It has 3 restaurants, bar and massage treatment rooms. All its 135 en suite rooms have free WiFi, TV, minibar, air-conditioning and safe.
Goha Hotel, Gondar (2 nights)
Located on the hills overlooking Gondar, and a 10 minute drive from the Royal Enclosure. It has 2 restaurants, an outdoor pool, souvenir shop, bar with campfire and coffee shop. All its 82 ensuite rooms include free WiFi, 24-hour room service and TV.
Sabean Hotel, Axum (2 nights)
Centrally located in Axum. The hotel has its own restaurant. 44 en suite rooms include a flat-screen TV, mini-bar and safe. Free WiFi.
Tukul Village Hotel, Lalibela (2 nights)
Located in Lalibela, within walking distance of many of the ancient churches. It has its own restaurant and café bar. All rooms are en suite and are built in the style of traditional round thatched cottages or Tukuls. Free WiFi.
From / To
Monday 11 February
07.00 hrs.* (next day*)
Thursday 14 February
Tuesday 19 February
Thursday 21 February
Monday 11 February
Sunday 24 February
How to reserve a place(s): a completed booking form with deposit of €500.00 per person (payment by cash/cheque/debit or credit card) should be sent directly to MAP Travel. The balance will be due 10 weeks prior to departure – payment by cash/cheque or debit card only.