Historic North by Air & Simien Mountains
On this trip through the North of Ethiopia we will discover historical cities such as Axúm, Lalibela, Gondar and Bahir Dar; Trekking the Simien Mountains National Park…
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- Vacation Style Holiday Type
- Activity Level Strenuous
- Group Size Small Group
11 Nights 12 Days : Arrive at Bole international airport and be welcomed by an EETT representative. Depending on your arrival time, you will be taken on an Addis City Tour. WE CAN CREATE A PERSONALIZED ITINERARY
On this 12-day trip through the North of Ethiopia we will discover historical cities such as Axum, Lalibela, Gondar and Bahir Dar, moving to ancient times of spirituality where the most incredible mysteries of Christianity were protected.
For most visitors to Ethiopia, it is about the northern Ethiopia or the Historic Route, which covers all the major historical sites. Unlike anywhere else on Earth, northern Ethiopia has the ability to wow you day after day after day. The historic route packed full of astounding and ancient history as well as some of the best scenery in Africa.
The beautiful natural environment of northern Ethiopia with its impressive mountain ranges offers us a unique opportunity to get into one of the most majestic landscapes of the African continent. Trek the Simien Mountains National Park with a knowledgeable local guide. The jagged panoramas are staggering, with sheer cliff faces and gorges over half a mile deep. The paths you’ll use are also used by the local fauna, so keep an eye out for Gelada Monkeys, Ethiopian Wolves and Walia Ibex.
The company has a diverse group of professionals dedicated to organizing every detail of your trip. Our guides are serious professionals with great knowledge of the country and speak several languages: English, Spanish, French, German and Italian.
Our purpose is to offer an excellent service so that you can fully enjoy your trip. If you want to travel to Ethiopia or neighboring countries, do not hesitate to contact us. We will be at your entire disposal, we organize individual or group trips and we design customized trips.
- Special qualified guide as well as mandatory local guide and scout fees in parks and villages
- 3*-4*star hotels in Addis Ababa and the best available hotels outside of Addis Ababa
- All accommodation based on twin room occupancy
- Meals in Addis, on bed and breakfast basis
- Meals out of Addis, on full board basis
- Farewell dinner in Addis to enjoy traditional Ethiopian food and music
- 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 including insurance, fuel and all costs of the driver
- Traditional Ethiopian coffee ceremony at a convenient time in the program
- Government taxes
- Travel insurance and other emergencies
- Visa fees and entry clearing fees
- Single room accommodations*
- Liquors, beeers and bootled beverages
- Laundry services and other personal expenses
- Photography ccessories like cameras etc.
- International & Domestic flight*(if not in your “by Air tour) if you do not opt for our formula: All in One (which would include all flights)
- Any other expense that is not mentioned in the prices section included
- Day1 Addis Ababa
On arrival in Addis Ababa our representative will meet you at Bole International Airport. After transfer to your hotel an overview of the program will be given. The rest of the day visit historical sites in Addis Ababa including : The National Museum, Ethnological Museum, St George Cathedral and Musuem. Explore the massive Merkato, Holy Trinity Cathdral and head out of Addis for fresh-air walking in the Entoto Mountains and visit the Entoto Mariam Church. Finish the day dining and drinking tej( honey wine) at a traditional Ethiopian restaurants, while enjoying a show of song and dance. Overnight Addis Ababa.
- Day2 Bahir Dar and Lake Tana
From Addis, you’ll take a one hour flight north to Bahir Dar. Here your guide will accompany you on a boat trip on Lake Tana, Ethiopia’s largest lake. Visit some of the peaceful monasteries nestled on the islands and peninsulas around the lake and, if you are lucky, wander through coffee plantations, enjoy some of the local brew and meet local farmers. As the monasteries were used for religious retreats, the lake and its islands serve as an unofficial nature reserve. Look out for white pelicans and ‘airbreathing’ catfish. Your boat tour will end at Zege peninsula. There is a short path walk towards Ura Kidrane Mehret, arguably the most beautiful of all the churches at Lake Tana, with hundred-year-old characterful frescos.
Later venture towards the only outflow of the lake: Blue Nile Falls. These 42 metre falls create such large amounts of spray that they are known in Amharic (Ethiopia’s official language) as ‘Tis Abay’ meaning ‘Smoking Water’, which can soak you from a kilometre away. A short distance down the Blue Nile lies a stone bridge built in 1626: potentially one of the famed seven stone bridges built by the emperor Fasilides. This river and another, the White Nile, are the two main tributaries to the Nile, the world’s longest river. Overnight in Bahir Dar.
- Day3 Lalibela
From Bahir Dar m you’ll take a short flight to Lalibela, home of the rock-hewn churches and a World Heritage Site. These eleven structures are world-famous, having been built in the 12-13th century and carved out of single pieces of rock. Haile Selassi reportedly risked his life to make a solo pilgrimage here during the war with Italy, seeking clarity and guidance.
Discover Biete Medhane Alem (House of the Saviour of the world), believed to be the world’s largest monolithic church, before navigating through the system of trenches to arrive at Biete Ghiorgis (House of St. George), the most famous and isolated of all the structures. It’s worth spending a day wandering through these mazes of rock and soaking up the heritage. If you’ve time, there is also a wonderful hike to a Monastery up on the mountainside. Finish the day with a delicious dinner in the famous Ben Abeba restaurant, a crazy structure of steel and concrete overlooking the hills and valleys of the mountains. overnight Lalibela.
- Day4 Gondar
Spend the morning visiting the remaining rock-hewn churches in Lalibela. Catch a midday flight to Gondar, the old capital of the country. Your first stop will be Debre Berhan Selassie Church, whose heavy and unassuming stone facade hides the colourful frescoes inside.
After this you will head to the well-preserved Fasil Gebbi in Gondar, described by some as the ‘Camelot of Africa’ for a guided tour. Now known as the Royal Enclosure, this was initially founded in 1636 and built by Emperor Fasilides as his home, but successive emperors and rulers added to his blueprint. Now, the buildings span over 70,000 square metres of land and include palaces, libraries, two lion houses, royal baths, and a women’s vocational school built by Mentewab, the Empress of Ethiopia. Within the enclosure there there are multiple architectural styles and influences jostling for position. The influences include Indian, Portuguese, Moorish and Aksumite. Overnight Gondar
- Day5 Simien Mountains NP 3h-7km
Simien Mountains National Park – Gondar – Debark to Sankaber (3,200m) 2-3 hours / 7km.
A car will pick you up from your hotel in Gondar take you to Debark, the headquarters of the Simien Mountains National Park. Here you’ll meet with your trek leader and scout, who will talk you through all aspects your hike in the next few days. You’ll take a 4×4 some of the way to your first camp at Sankaber, but you will walk the final stretch (approximately 3 hours) in order to acclimatise to the altitude. Ascending to over 3,000m above sea level and with a jagged landscape, you’ll be stunned by the views from the offset. You’ll be met with drinks, a tasty and hearty dinner, and a campsite in Sankaber where you can sit around the fire and swap stories with guides and other trekkers.
- Day6 Simien Mountains NP 8h-15km
Simien Mountains National Park – Sankaber (3,200 m) – Geech (3,600m). 7-8 hours / 15km.
The first full day of hiking starts with breakfast, and then a trail along the ridge. This gives you a vantage point and incredible views over the foothills some 800m below. The mountains are known worldwide for their biodiversity: Ethiopia’s placement on the equator makes this mountain range a particularly temperate one. Your guides will point out flora and fauna of note, but regular sightings on this trail are of Gelada Baboons, Kilpspringer and Ibex. From these heights, you’ll be able to watch birds of prey soar on the thermals below.
A highlight of today’s path is Genbar Falls, a waterfall over a sobering 500m sheer drop which you’ll see from the opposite side of the ridge. After a break for lunch, you’ll carry on towards Geech, a remote traditional village with thatched roofs. This is the perfect opportunity for a booster: some coffee and injera. Then onwards to the camp which is a great spot for watching the sunset.
- Day7 Simien Mountains NP 7h-15km
Simien Mountains National Park – Geech (3,600m) – Inayte (4,070m) – Cheneck (3,600m) – 7 hours, 15km.
Most of today’s path hugs the edge of the ridge. You’ll drop down through a forest of Giant Hazel before rising back to open grassland and continuing on your ascent up to Inyate. The views from the top are monumental. After recovering from the climb and the view, you’ll descend towards Chenek camp. This camp is well known for its visitors: Wallia Ibex and Gelada Baboons.
- Day 8 Simien Mountains NP – Mount Buahit
Simien Mountains National Park – Mount Buahit (4,430m) 5-6 hours
Today you’ll reach the highest point of the trek so far. The day will start with a gentle trek up the Buhait pass before the trail steepens. The climb will test but reward you, with the jagged and steep terrain giving way to striking views once you reach the summit. As with the other areas, wildlife is plentiful here and people have spotted the elusive Ethiopian Wolf as well as Ibex, monkeys and an array of bird life. This is the perfect way to bring your exploration of the Roof of Africa to a close. Overnight at Chennek.
- Day 9 Limalimo Lodge
In the morning, drive (~2.5 hours) to the incredible Limalimo Lodge. Spend the day relaxing around the idyllic lodge – the perfect way to bring your adventure in the Simien Mountains to an end.
- Day 10 Axum
After breakfast at Limalimo, drive for around 4 hours to Axum, After check in the hotel, explore the fantastic mix of history and adventure and home of the Ark of Covenant that holds Moses’ 10 commandments in small Aksum chapel. After lunch a visit to ancient Aksum obelisks (stelae), the archeological museum (contains interesting variety of objects), the Queen of Sheba’s Bath, Ezana’s enscription, King Kaleb’s tomb, King Bazen’s tomb, and the Queen of Sheba’s Palace. Overnight Axum
- Day 11 Axum
After breakfast at the hotel, we continue the visit of Axum, Ethiopia’s most religious city which is home to an impressive display of Obelisks. The city is purported to have been the home of the Queen of Sheba. Rumour has it that the lost Arc of the Covenant is in the Church of St Mary of Zion. A short walk through the cobbled streets brings you to the stelae fields. Some of the 4th century AD granite structures rise to over 23 metres. Overnight Gheralta Lodge
- Day 12 Mekele - Addis
Head to Mekele airport and visit two fantastic churhces en route. Fly to Addis Ababa after arrival you will make a city tour in Addis Ababa including the National museum and the Biggest open air market known as Merkato then you will attend farewell dinner at cultural restaurant, Departure
In recent years, the level of comfort and services of the Ethiopian accommodation has improved significantly. You will stay in the accommodations selected by our local advisors based on the criteria of location and comfort.
We are working with different hotels and lodges to continue improving the quality services demanded by our visitors.
According to your itinerary you will stay in one of these hotels or lodges / or similar :
– Abay Minch Lodge
– Abay Minch Lodge
– Haile Resort
– Taye Belay
– Lal hotel
– Panaromic (Amde)
– Haile Resort
– Lewi Resort
– Haile Resort
– Sabean hotel
– Yared Zema hotel
– Atse Yohanes Hotel
– Harar Ras Hotel
Afar : Camping
Hamer (Turmi) Jinka :
– Jinka Resort
– Kanta Lodge
– Korebta Lodge
Your opinion and comments help us to continue improving our accomodation services.
Between September and February the main dry season of the year takes place. In March and April the rains are present, they are interrupted in May and they return in June, July and August. Ethiopia has a wide variety of climates, from the occasional snow in the mountain peaks of Bale to the very high daytime temperatures of the Danakil desert, that can reach 50 ° C. Normally, the central highlands have an average temperature of 16 ° C. The east and the south have a drier and warmer climate, being able to reach 28 ° C. The western plains have a more humid and hot climate. In August, there may be heavy showers in the afternoon, so it is advisable to bring a water layer or similar.
To travel to Ethiopia you need a valid passport with a minimum validity of 6 months. All visitors require an entry visa. For citizens of the European Union the visa is processed upon arrival at the Addis Ababa airport and costs $ 50 USD or 43 euros per person. Since June 2018 it is possible to make the electronic visa on this website: www.evisa.gov.et
Ethiopia is a high risk destination in terms of sanitary conditions. According to the source, the vaccine against yellow fever is mandatory (Ministry of Foreign Affairs) or recommended (Ministry of Health). In addition, the recommended vaccines for a trip to Ethiopia are: Tetanus, Meningitis, Cholera, Typhus and Hepatitis A and B. There is also a risk of malaria in areas less than 2,000 meters above sea level.
The capital, however, is free of this risk. For more information on health and vaccines, we advise you to visit the website of the Ministry of Health (from your country of origin). It is recommended to bring a kit with analgesics, antibiotics, antihistamines, anti-diarrheals , antiseptics, sun protection, insect repellents, soothing lotions against stings and cures material. Do not drink tap water or take food without cooking. Keep in mind that in the wet season there are mosquitoes, although they do not produce excessive discomfort, at least compared to other places in Africa. That’s because of the cool temperature of Ethiopia. In any case, most hotels provide mosquito nets. In the churches, the floor is covered with carpets and they usually have fleas, especially in those of Lalibela. It is advisable to always carry some socks in the backpack because it is mandatory to take off when entering and insect repellent.
It is recommended not to bathe in swamps or lakes because there is a risk of getting Bilarziasis. Lake Langano is the only one where this precaution is not necessary. It is advisable to travel with medical insurance.
Lightweight cotton clothing, short sleeve shirts and long sleeves, fleece lining or some similar warm clothing, comfortable and resistant shoes, sunglasses, hat and some rain coat.
It is convenient to take all the necessary photographic material from the country of origin since it is not safe to find it in the country and if it is found more expensive, as well as provide spare batteries. There are continuous blackouts of light and in the most remote areas of the country and sometimes in large cities.
The predominant climate type is tropical monsoon, with wide topographic-induced variation. As a highland country, Ethiopia has a climate which is generally considerably cooler than other regions at similar proximity to the Equator. Most of the country’s major cities are located at elevations of around 2,000 – 2,500 metres (6,600 – 8,200 ft) above sea level, including historic capitals such as Gondar and Axum, and Addis Ababa – the highest capital city in Africa at 2,400 meters (8,000 feet).
Ethiopia has three different climate zones according to elevation:
* Kolla (Tropical zone) – is below 1830 meters in elevation and has an average annual temperature of about 27 degree Celsius with annual rainfall about 510 millimeters. The Danakil Depression (Danakil Desert) is about 125 meters below sea level and the hottest region in Ethiopia where the temperature climbs up to 50 degree Celsius.
* Woina dega (Subtropical zone) – includes the highlands areas of 1830 – 2440 meters in elevation has an average annual temperature of about 22 degree Celsius with annual rainfall between 510 and 1530 millimeters.
* Dega (Cool zone) – is above 2440 meters in elevation with an average annual temperature of about 16 degree Celsius with annual rainfall between 1270 and 1280 millimeters.
The average annual temperature in Addis Ababa is 16°C (61°F), with daily maximum temperatures averaging 20 – 25°C (68 – 77°F) throughout the year, and overnight lows averaging 5 – 10°C (41 – 50°F). A light jacket is recommended for the evenings, though many Ethiopians prefer to dress conservatively and will wear a light jacket even during the day.
The local currency is the Ethiopian birr, made up of 100 cents. Notes are issued in denominations of 1, 5, 10, 50, and 100 birr. There are five different coins: 1, 5, 10, 25, and 50 cents.
Currency regulations: There is no limit to the amount of foreign currency imported into Ethiopia, but it must be declared on arrival, using a currency declaration form. Foreign currency may be changed only at authorized banks and hotels. The currency declaration form will be required by Customs on departure. Visitors may change back any excess birr into foreign currency at the airport before departure, but you must, in addition to the currency declaration form, bring with you all receipts for exchange transactions.
You can find mobile and internet coverage in most of the country but it works quite badly. To call Ethiopia from abroad, dial 00-251 plus subscriber number. To communicate from Ethiopia with the rest of the world it is necessary to dial 00 + the area code + the telephone number.
The Ethiopian time is GMT +3 (one hour + in summer time and 2 + in winter time). They have a different way of measuring time. They have 12-hour periods that start at 6:00 and 6:00 p.m. At dawn it is hour 0 in the morning and at sunset it is 0 in the afternoon. Therefore the Ethiopian time has a lag of 6 hours compared to ours. Thus, given an hour in the Ethiopian system it is enough to only subtract 6 to obtain our time. In many places, especially at the official level or for plane flights, they work with the international system, but at the level of the local population, they usually work with the Ethiopian system. This is especially important with bus schedules, because if they tell us, for example, that a bus leaves at 11:30 h. Normally they will mean that it leaves at 5:30 h. (international time) If there is any doubt, it is always necessary to clarify if the time they give us is ethiopian time (Ethiopian time) or faranji time (foreign time). The custom in Ethiopia is to wake up very early, have breakfast around 6 in the morning, eat at 12 and about 6 in the evening, dinner and go to sleep. (Dinner between 6:00 pm and 8:00 pm).
Ethiopia follows the Julian calendar, which has 12 months of 30 days and 1mes more than 5 days (6 days in leap year). The New Year begins on September 11. There are 7 years and 8 months less than in the Gregorian calendar. Therefore the Ethiopian calendar consists of 13 months (the country’s tourism motto was, until recently: Ethiopia, 13 months of sunshine, was updated by: Ethiopia Land of Origins).
* The official language is Amharic, English, Italian, Harari, Oromiña, Sidama, Tigrinya, Somali and about a hundred other ethnic languages are also spoken.
* Electric current operates at 220 volts at 50 Hz. It is not necessary to use an adapter.
Compared to other surrounding countries, Ethiopia is an oasis of tranquility for the traveler. It is safe to travel almost the entire country by public transport and, except for the inconvenience of being the object of persecution of groups of children asking for a birr, you do not have to take special precautions.
Basic safety rules for travelers
* Dont walk on your own at night in Addis Ababa and other major tourist towns.
* Watch out for pickpockets at the Mercato in Addis Ababa
* Don’t wear jewelry. Don’t carry too much cash with you.
* Don’t carry a lot of camera equipment especially in the major cities.
* Avoid travel at night because roads are perilously filled with potholes, livestock, and broken down vehicles.
It is not advisable to travel to border areas with Eritrea and Somalia. The land border crossings are Sudan, Kenya and Djibouti may present difficulties. It is advisable to inform yourself in advance.