12 Days Tour: Historical Northern Circuit, Awash National Park and Harar
Day 1: Addis Ababa
You will be met at the airport by our representative and transferred to your hotel. We shall then embark on a guided tour of Addis’s most important sights: the National Museum, which houses the 3 million-year-old Lucy, the Ethnographic Museum to gain an insight into the diversity of Ethiopian culture, the Mercato, Africa‘s biggest outdoor market, and Trinity Cathedral, resting place of the last emperor. The tour will finish with a short drive to view the city spread out below from Mt Entoto.
- Lunch in Romina restaurant
- Dinner in Caravan hotel
- Accommodation: Caravan Hotel in Addis Ababa
Day 2: Bishoftu – Bahir Dar
A short drive from Addis will bring us to the Kuriftu Resort and Spa in Bishoftu, where there are leisure activities for everyone: a playground, kayaking, horse riding, etc. After lunch we shall head to the airport for a short flight to Bahir Dar.
- Meals, Breakfast Caravan hotel
- Lunch, in Lisaq Lodge
- Dinner, Lake shore restaurant
- Accommodation: Abay Minch Lodge in Bahir Dar
Day 3: Lake Tana
Bahir Dar is situated on Lake Tana, Ethiopia’s biggest lake. Today we will take a scenic boat trip to explore the many monasteries on the islands and shores of this lake. You will see magnificent architecture, colourful frescoes, ancient treasures, set in beautiful scenery.
- Meals, Breakfast Ababy Minch Lodge
- Lunch in Lake Shore restaurant
- Dinner, Abay minch Lodge
- Accommodation: Abay lodge in Bahir Dar
Day 4: Gondar
We shall take the short early morning flight direct to Gondar.
Besides a certain Italian architectural legacy to be encountered here, the World Heritage site of Gondar is most famous for its European-style castles and palaces in the Royal Enclosure. We shall have time to visit them all, together with the famous pool of King Fasilidas, renowned for its celebration of Epiphany. Another highlight will be the visit to the 17th-century Debre Berhan Selassie church to see its stunning painted interior.
- Meals: Breakfast in Abay Minch lodge
- Lunch 4 Sister’s restaurant
- Dinner 4 sister’s restaurant
- Accommodation: Ag Hotel in Gondar
Day 5: Lalibela
Another World Heritage site to visit. Perched on the mountainside, Lalibela contains one of the wonders of the world: eleven subterranean monolithic churches hewn out of the rock dating back to around 1200, many interconnected by tunnels and trenches. At Christmas, Epiphany and Easter pilgrims flock to this busy market town.
- Meals: Breakfast Zagwe hotel
- Lunch kana Restaurant
- Dinner Ben Ababa restaurant
- Accommodation: Hotel Zagwe in Lalibela
Day 6: Axum
We shall take the short morning flight direct to Axum.
Yet another World Heritage site, Axum was the centre of the Axumite Empire at the time of the Romans. Predating the empire’s conversion to Christianity around 356 AD, the city’s ancient stelae – many still standing – are an African phenomenon. Axum is even better known for its being the final resting place of the Ark of the Covenant, brought from Jerusalem. Visits will be made to the stelae field and museum, the cathedral compound with its multiple historic sites, including the church housing the Ark of the Covenant. In the afternoon we shall visit some more archealogical sites of great significance, including the Queen of Sheba’s bathing pool and the ruins of her palace.
- Meals: Breakfast in Zema Yared hotel
- Lunch in Antica traditional restaurant
- Dinner Ab restaurant
- Accommodation: Zema Yared Hotel in Axum
Day 7: Addis Ababa – Awash National Park
We shall take the early morning flight back to Addis Ababa.
This morning a visit to the zoo to see apes and the Ethiopian lions. After lunch we shall enjoy a comfortable drive in a 4×4 to Awash National Park.
- Meals: Awash Lodge
- Lunch picnic
- Dinner Awash Lodge
- Accommodation: Lodge in Awash NP
Day 8: Awash NP
Today we shall enjoy the varied scenery of the Park with a chance to see the Oryx antelope and other species that inhabit this dry landscape. In the afternoon we shall head for the Fentale volcanic crater and bathe in the thermal waters.
- Meals: Breakfast Awash Lodge
- Lunch Picnic
- Dinner Awash Lodge
- Accommodation: Lodge in Awash NP
Day 9: Awash NP – Harar
We shall drive along the Rift Valley through an arid landscape inhabited by the tough nomadic Kereyu people and their camels. The last part of the journey changes to attractive hills as we reach the legendary walled city of Harar, the fourth most holy city of Islam, and for a long time closed to non-Muslims. Now an open and friendly city, its local tradition of feeding the wild hyenas outside the walls each evening makes an entertaining spectacle in which you may join if you wish.
- Meals: Breakfast in Awash Lodge Lunch Hirna
- Dinner Harar Hotel
- Accommodation: Hotel in Harar
Day 10: Harar
Our last World Heritage site, Harar’s narrow, winding alleyways of the old walled town famously conceal 82 mosques and are home to a colourful mix of different peoples living in harmony. The brightly coloured dresses of the local Hadere women contrast with the white dresses of the Amhara women. The colourful, bustling market is not to be missed. We shall also visit the childhood home of Emperor Heile Selassie.
- Meals: Breakfast
- Lunch, fresh touch restaurant
- Dinner in Samrat Hotel
- Accommodation: Samrat Hotel in Harar
Day 11: Dire Dawa– Addis
We shall drive the short distance to Dire Dawa, the city on the railway which stole Harar’s importance as a commercial centre. We shall see the one hundred old railway station that brought the town prosperity. We shall then move on to the traditional market place, which presents a lively and colourful scene. In the afternoon we shall head to the airport for our flight back to Addis.
- Meals: Breakfast in Samrat hotel
- Lunch Ras Hotel
- Dinner Caravan Hotel
- Accommodation: Hotel in Addis Ababa
Day 12: Addis Ababa
This morning will be for relaxation, and the afternoon an opportunity for shopping.
The tour will end with your transfer to the airport.
- Meals: Breakfast Caravan Hotel
- Lunch Beer Garden inn
- Fare well Dinner in Yod Abyssinia traditional house