Ethiopia Two major Festivals: Christmas and Timket
The best time to make a holiday to Ethiopia is on the date of its festivals. Book our special tour to attend the celebration of the two major festivals- Christmas in Lalibela and Timket in Addis Ababa.
Trip Dates 3 - 19 January 2013, the trip begins and ends in Addis Ababa.
This trip begins with a rendezvous at the airport in Addis Ababa on Day 1. Please arrange your flight schedule so you will arrive on the correct day. But on your special request we can arrange other transfer for those arriving earlier.
Ethiopia is a country of numerous interesting and wonderful tourist attractions. There are eight world heritage sites representing nature, architecture, archaeology, prehistory, art, culture and many more. The best time to make a holiday to Ethiopia is on the date of its festivals.
There are two main Highlights for this trip. The first is to visit the celebration of Ethiopia Christmas on 7 January in Lalibela. Falling on 7 January, Ethiopia Christmas is celebrated seriously by a church service that goes on throughout the night, with people moving from one church to another. The celebration is spectacular in Lalibela. The other one is to visit the celebration of Ethiopian Epiphany - Timket Festival on 18 and19 January in Addis Ababa.
The tour also includes a visit of Ethiopia Historic Route in the north and the Omo valley of Ethiopia in the south.The tour called the Ethiopia Historic Route is one of the great treasures of Ethiopia. It encompasses the history of Ethiopia from its early beginnings to modern day. A history that stretches back to the time of prehistoric man; to the 3,000 year old history of Axum; the 12th century churches of Lalibela, and the medieval castles of Gondar and the churches and monasteries on the islands of Lake Tana.
The trip to southern Omo valley of Ethiopia is to explore the colorful tribes of the south who still adhere to ancient animistic rituals. Beaded leather skirts and complementing body painting, feathered headdresses and dramatic scarification and the more unusual are the isolated Mursi tribe whose women wear large clay lip plates symbolizing their worth and beauty.
Day 1: 3 Jan: Arrive in Addis Ababa, city tour of Addis. On arrival in Addis Ababa our representatives will meet you at Bole International Airport and transfers to Jupiter International Hotel. An overview of the program and itineraries will be given. The rest of the day visit historical sites in Addis Ababa including the National Archaeological Museum, where we will view the 3.6 million year old remains of “Lucy”, whose skeletal remains when discovered in 1974. You will also visit the Ethnological Museum at Addis Ababa University, Holy Trinity Cathedrals and Mount Entoto which rises up to an altitude of 3200 meters and offers the panoramic view of the metropolis. Overnight Jupiter International Hotel
Day 2: 4 Jan: Fly Bahir Dar. Morning, Blue Nile Fall afternoon Boat trip: After breakfast fly to Bahar Dar. After check into the Hotel and refreshment, we take a boat trip on Lake Tana to visit ancient monasteries. We will visit two of the most accessible and representative of the monasteries, still serving their original function, Ura Kidane Mehret, and Azwa Maryam. In the afternoon we pay a visit to the impressive Blue Nile Falls, locally known as Tis Isat or \'Smoke of Fire’. Overnight Tana/Papyrus Hotel
Day 3: 5 Jan: Drive Gondar Tour of Gondar: We experience typically in an Ethiopian African landscape as we drive from Bahir Dar to Gondar- 180 kms over wide grazing land, hilly mountains with numerous farmlands. The rest of the day visit attractions in Gondar. The attractions that we visit in Gondar includes: Castles of Gondar- are included in the World Heritage List, the royal Fasiledes Bath and the Church of Debre Berhan Selassie with its unique murals. Overnight Goha Hotel
Day 4: 6 Jan : Fly from Gondar to Lalibela Morning: Be transferred to the airport for flight to Lalibela. Transfer to the Hotel Mountain View in Lalibela. Lalibela is the second Jerusalem created by King Lalibela in the 12th century. Afternoon: we visit the first group of six churches lie in rock cradles one behind the other: Bet Golgotha, Bet Mika\'el, Bet Maryam, Bet Meskel, Bet Danaghel and Bet Medhane Alem. Bet Medhane Alem, the largest one, is built like a Greek Temple and its stone floor is so polished by the countless numbers of visitors that it reflects shafts of light from apertures in the walls high above. In a corner are three empty graves symbolically dug for biblical patriarchs Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Overnight Mountain View Hotel, BLD
Day 5: 7 Jan: In Lalibela attend Ethiopian Christmas celebration In Lalibela Whole day attend Ethiopian Christmas Festival in Lalibela. The procession starts early morning around dawn. Overnight Mountain View Hotel, BLD
Day 6: 8 Jan: In Lalibela Morning Mule ride to the 13thc rock hewn monastery of Asheten Mariam. The church is situated on a top a mountain at an altitude of 3150 metres. The 13th century monastery is built on a ridge, excellent views over the surrounding countryside. Inside the monastery you will find the 13thc hand and processional crosses of king Na’akutola’ab who ruled Ethiopia for 40 years just after king Lalibela. This will take about 4 hours for the round trip: We return back to the town for lunch. Afternoon visit of the other groups of Rock churches of Lalibela Bet Bet Giyorgis, possibly the most elegant of all the Lalibela churches, lies somewhat isolated in the south-west part of the village on a sloping rock terrace. It can only be reached through a tunnel. The group of four, south of the Jordan River, comprise of Bet Emanuel, Bet Mercurios, Bet Abba Libanos and Bet Gabriel-Rufa\'el. Bet Emanuel\'s elaborate exterior is much praised by art historians. Overnight Mountain View Hotel, BLD
Day 7: 9 Jan: Fly Lalibela to Axum visit archaeological sites in Axum After breakfast transfer to the airport for a short flight to Axum. On arrival in Axum you will be transferred to Remehay hotel. After refreshment visit the historical and archaeological sites in Axum. The ancient city of Aksum is found close to Ethiopia\'s northern border. It marks the location of the heart of ancient Ethiopia, when the Kingdom of Aksum was the most powerful state between the Eastern Roman Empire and Persia. The archaeological and historical attractions in Axum include: The archaeological museum, The magnificent monolithic steles or obelisks, the tombs of King Kaleb and King Gebre Meskal, and the legendary Bath of the Queen of Sheba, and the ruins of ancient palace of Queen Sheba. The 16th Century Cathedral of St Mary of Zion was probably built on an earlier 4th century church, and is the holiest church in Ethiopia. In its sanctuary is said to rest the original Ark of the Covenant. The churches and monasteries of Axum house are richly endowed with icons, and some of the historical crowns of ancient emperors. Overnight Remhay Hotel, BLD
Day 8: 10 Jan. 2012: Fly to Addis Ababa After breakfast you will check in to the Airport for your flight to Addis Ababa. Overnight Ambassador Hotel, BB
Day 9: 11 Jan: Drive Arba Minch Drive to Arba Minch via Hosahena, about 460km south of Addis Ababa. This drive will take you along the scenic farmlands of Gurage people with views of the lush green hills and valleys. You arrive late in the afternoon at Arba Minch - meaning \'Forty Springs\' in Amharic. Arba Minch takes its name from the bubbling streams that cover the groundwater forest occupying the flats of the town. Overnight Paradise Lodge, BLD
Day 10: 12 Jan: Visit Doze Village and Boat trip on Lake Chamo After breakfast visit the Dorze tribe and their village, famed for their bee hive shaped houses and their weaving skills. Weaving is a primary profession for many Dorze. They are also farmers, who prevent soil erosion by ingenious terracing of the mountainsides. Around their huts they have their own little garden with vegetables, spices, tobacco and enset (false-banana or musa ensete). Afternoon you will make a boat trip on Lake Chamo. Boat trip on Lake Chamo is along the best anywhere in Ethiopia. One can spot many Hippos and the world\'s most spectacular concentrations of Giant Crocodiles (It is locally called as \"Crocodile Market\"). The water birds are great the scenery is truly unforgettable. Fishing for Nile Perch and many other species by locals on their traditional boat is by far the best in the country. Overnight Paradise Lodge, BLD
Day 11: 13 Jan: Drive Arba Minch - Turmi After breakfast drive to Turmi, en route visit the Konso people and their village. A pagan society, the Konso erect eerie wooden totems replete with phallic symbols over the graves of the dead and have numerous cults based around the breeding and veneration of serpents. The cornerstone of Konso culture, however, is a highly specialized and successful agricultural economy that, through terracing buttressed with stone, enable these people to extract a productive living from the none-too-fertile hills and valleys that surround them. Further south, visit the Arbore people and their village. An excellent day to meet the people, take photographs with them and learn of a culture that has had very little outside influence. Later afternoon arrival at Turmi: a small town, which is the base to visit the Hamer village. Hamers have remarkable hairstyles made from ochre, water, and binding resin. They rub the mixture into their hair then twist the strands repeatedly to create coppery-colored locks. This is a sign of wealth and welfare. Hamers are considered to be masters of body decoration. Overnight at the newly opened Turmi Lodge, BLD
Day 12: 14 Jan: Drive from Turmi - Jinka After breakfast drive to Jinka via Demeka. We continue our experience with tribal life with a visit to the Benna people. At Key Afer, visit the Thursday tribal market. Later afternoon arrival in Jinka, set at the foot of Mago National Park Overnight in Jinka hotel, BLD
Day 13: 15 Jan: Jinka- Mursi - Jinka After breakfast leave Jinka and drive to Mursi village to visit and appreciate the very attractive culture of Mursi tribe. They are renowned for the strange custom followed by their women who, on reaching maturity, have their lower lips slit and circular clay discs inserted. Proceed to Mago National Park. After a picnic lunch in the late afternoon drive back to Jinka. Overnight Jinka Resort Hotel, BLD
Day 14: 16 Jan: Drive from Turmi – Yabello Drive to Yabello visiting the Tsemay people en route. After lunch stop at Konso, continue to the region of Oromo Borena and visit their village. The drive this day will let you to experience the life of the Oromo Borena People who is well known in cattle rearing. You also visit the Oromo Borena People villages and their \'singing well\' from which they cater water to their own thousands of cattle by singing. Overnight Yabello Motel, BLD
Day 15:17 Jan: Drive to Lake Langano we drive to Lake Langano and to Bekele Molla Hotel. The soft brown waters of Langano are set against the blue backdrop of the Arsi Mountains which soar to 4000m. Over 150 species of birds have been recorded here. Overnight at Lake Langano at Bekele Molla Hotel.
Day 16: 18 Jan: Drive to Addis Ababa afternoon attend eve of Timket Festival Drive back to Addis Ababa through the Great Rift Valley lakes Via Awassa. After making a quick check in to Hilton Hotel drive to Jan Meda to attend the eve of Timket Festival. Timket, or Timkat, is Ethiopian language for Epiphany. Although the holiday commemorating Christ\'s baptism in the River Jordan is observed by Christians all over the world, Timket is of special significance in Ethiopia. It is the most important and colorful event of the year. When the event finishes return to Hotel. Overnight Jupiter International Hotel BB
Day 17: 19 Jan: Attend Timket festival in Addis Ababa; then departure After breakfast drive to Jan Meda to attend Timket Festival, the colorful festival of the Orthodox Christens. The remainder of the day is free for shopping on your own. Evening we will invite you a fare well dinner at in one of the cultural Ethiopian restaurants for Ethiopian dish and cultural dances from different ethnic groups. Then after transfer to the airport for your departure back home.
Price includes: • Meet and greet at airport • All accommodation based on twin room occupancy • Meals in Addis, on bed and breakfast basis • Meals out of Addis, on full board basis • All entrance fees at sites, churches, parks and villages. • All transfers and visits in Addis Ababa using mini-bus according to the itinerary. • All Ground transportation with 4WD Toyota Land cruisers • Experienced Tour Guide accompanying through out the trip. • Local Guide and scout fees in parks and villages • Boat trip Lake Tana • Farewell dinner in Addis to enjoy traditional Ethiopian food and Music • A traditional Ethiopian coffee ceremony at a convenient time in the program • Government taxes
Price doesn’t include • International flights • Domestic Flights • Insurance • Lunch and Dinner in Addis Ababa • Alcoholic drinks • Video filming and photography fees • Incidental meals, snacks and drinks • Tips and items of personal nature like laundry, souvenirs, etc • All what is not included in the list above
Group Size: Minimum 2, Maximum 7
NOTE: This itinerary has a fixed departure date of 3 - 19 January 2013 - the trip begins and ends in Addis Ababa.
The separate cost for the domestic flight is US $ 350 per person, subject to change
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It has been too long since we wrote you to tell you how much we enjoyed our three weeks in Ethiopia last April, and how we appreciate how you contributed to the quality of our entire holiday. The Africa Guide informed and advised us, and assisted in the e-mail exchanges with Abebe when communications were poor. Abebe was most flexible in setting out the itinerary, to accommodate all our concerns and preferences. And Dawood was the perfect guide – infinitely patient, always friendly and helpful, and most knowledgeable about Ethiopian history, architecture, culture and natural wonders. The drivers, especially Yessu, who was with us most, were all excellent, as were the vehicles. Accommodation varied from reasonable to excellent (we mentioned certain minor weaknesses to Dawood and Abebe as we went along, mostly, in our opinion, due to insufficient attention to service and training of staff on the part of managers/owners).
Ethiopa is like no other country we have lived in or visited – and between us, my husband and I have covered over half the countries of Africa over our years working in cooperation for development. And yet, Ethiopia boasts the oldest known human beings, the source of the Blue Nile, the beginning of the Great Rift Valley, as well as some of the most fascinating historical and architectural monuments and diverse cultures, landscapes, vegetation and birdlife. The visits to the villages of Dorze and Konso in the South afforded us a small insight into the traditiional culture of that area and how people are adapting to change. We were amazed and enchanted by the number of birds we saw, and excited – albeit a bit alarmed—by our boat trip among the hippopotami and crocodiles on Lake Chamo. The National Museum, particularly the section on archaeology and pre-history, is a jewel in Addis Abeba. The various markets, churches and small museums we visited all contributed to give us a better feel for the country and its people. And my husband remembers his evening listening to jazz with Yessu as one of the highlights of his trip.
Overall, a memorable trip, and our congratulations, thanks and best wishes to everyone who contributed to making it unforgettable.
)ur Timkat tour was wonderful. Our dedicated driver, Abdi, and guide, Measho, took very good care of us throughout our 14-day excursion and their combined knowledge of their country and customs (Abdi is a Moslem and Measho is an Orthodox Christian) gave us a fascinating insight to ancient and modern Ethiopia. Mr. Abebe was reachable by cell phone throughout our trip and dealt swiftly and efficiently with the few glitches we encountered en route. We felt throughout that we were in safe hands.
Our overall impression of Ethiopia is that it is a very old country and very rich in culture and history. This was why we chose to travel there in the first place and we were not disappointed! We were also amazed by the beauty of the landscape – always dramatic! – and we often wondered why the “outside world” knows so little about this country and still only associates it with famine, deserts and war. The Ethiopian government and the nascent tourism industry need to do more together to promote the more positive aspects of Ethiopia via the international media. The road network in Ethiopia is being almost entirely rebuilt by the Chinese. This is a good thing as many of the roads are in a poor state of repair and for an itinerary like ours – which took us some 2000 kms around the country – can be a bit bone-shaking... Some of the hotels we stayed in need to improve their housekeeping and service standards – that is if they sincerely wish to attract upmarket, international tourists. One gets the impression that many of the hotels in Ethiopia are/were para-statal operations – poorly managed and maintained. Some have now apparently been bought over by private investors who, one hopes will inject new ideas, new standards of service and a better attitude towards customers along with new capital investment and facilities. By far the nicest hotel we stayed in en route was The Tukul in Lalibela which combines local architecture with overseas know-how – a winning combination!
What a great trip we had! . I was very pleased with the services provided. I had many questions for Abebe, and we had many emails back and forth before we arrived. Abebe answered our questions quickly and clearly.
We toured the northern part of Ethiopia, including Bahir Dar, Gondar, Lalibela and Axum, and the southern part of Ethiopia including visits to the Arba Minch, Jinka, Turmi and Yabello. The sites we saw and the people we met were amazing.
Ethiopia is one of the most interesting countries we have visited, and we have done quite a bit of travelling over the years. Abebe and his guides and drivers were all very good at identifying the birds of Ethiopia as well, and they turned me into an avid birdwatcher!
In all our touring, Abebe ensured that we were well looked after. Our hotels were all very comfortable, our guides were very knowledgeable and fun to travel with, and our drivers drove carefully and safely. We became fans of the national dish, injera, and of course we love buna, Ethiopian coffee. We were also happy to discover that Ethiopia has delicious pasta as well!
We were 110% satisfied with our tour, and would recommend Ethiopia and this operator for anyone interested in African travel.
Five Canadians had the pleasure of taking a Nature Tour through Ethiopia organized very successfully through the operator.
Our success in seeing most of the endemic birds and mammals of Ethiopia was due mostly to the leadership of our guide and the well thought out itinerary that optimized our chances.
The drivers were excellent and patient with our demanding requests.The people, culture, history and scenery of Ethiopia are quite amazing. The memories from this trip will linger with us fo a long while.
Personally, I shall try to return to Ethiopia with another group in the future and I would recommend this tour operator to anyone that wants to see Ethiopia's fascinating Nature or Culture.
my daughter and i had an amazing and interesting time in Ethiopia, thanks to Abebe.
He took very good care of us and was a very interesting and informative guide. He was also very knowledgeable about bird-life, which is important to me and is one of ethiopias finest points. I thought Abebe was very responsible and I thought we were very lucky to have found him.
Our trip was quite varied, from cultural sites to hiking in the Simien mts. and ending w a visit to a religious festivals, and he was good humored and altogether excellent throughout.