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10-Day Ethiopia Historical & Cultural Tour

Historical & Cultural Tour in Ethiopia: Best Sights: Ancient Monasteries, Rock-Hewn Churches, and Rich Ethno-Cultural Heritage in Ethiopia Safari.


Rock-hewn churches

Situated in the Horn of Africa, Ethiopia boasts extraordinary natural features, a vast range of wildlife, and a captivating historical and cultural heritage. An increasing number of visitors are frequenting this treasure trove filled with unique attractions. Popular attractions include the mediaeval castles of Gondar; the walled city of Harar; and Lalibela, a pilgrimage site known for its ancient monolithic churches, hewn into the area’s steep, rocky hillsides. Ethiopia’s stunning natural landscapes are the real tourist drawcard.

Fascinating scenery

From the lush Simien Mountains to the Sulphur vents of the Danakil Depression, the country’s outstanding natural environment is unforgettable. Bahir Dar, located on Lake Tana, is popular as a base from which to explore the fascinating monasteries situated on the numerous islands dotted around the lake. As well as the Blue Nile Falls, which are arguably the most spectacular in North Africa.


Ethiopia is regarded as the land of history and the cradle of human beings. Ethiopia is distinguished from many African destinations by its wealth of historic sites and the identity of its unique and diverse cultures. Among the best-known historic sites are Bahir Dar, Gondar, and Lalibela. All of these speak of the people’s great faith and unmatched architectural skills. Together, they make up the northern historic route. This is a highlight of this itinerary.

This trip will also provide discovery of the ethnic community of Omo Valley. The most fascinating people on the continent of Africa and around the world. They have kept their unique and diverse traditional costumes, traditions, and beliefs. You also visit the central Rift Valley Lakes region and national parks.

Day 1: Arrival – Bahir Dar

Arrive in Addis Ababa, and connect directly to your flight to Bahir Dar. You will be welcomed and transferred to your resort on the shores of Lake Tana.

Activities & Services: Bahir Dar; Accommodation on a BB basis at Jacaranda Hotel.

Bahir Dar is situated on the southern shores of Lake Tana in northern Ethiopia. Bahir Dar serves as the capital city of the Amhara region. The city features palm-lined avenues and was awarded the ‘UNESCO Cities for Peace Prize’ in 2002, for addressing the challenges of rapid urbanisation.

Bahir Dar is a popular tourist destination in Ethiopia, offering a wonderful selection of attractions in the surrounding area. Visitors can enjoy a wide selection of interesting sites. These include visiting some of the world’s oldest mediaeval monasteries and churches on the islands scattered within Lake Tana. Discovering the spectacular Blue Nile Falls, featuring a 45-metre drop, an impressive 400-metre width, and an array of misty rainbows.

Day 2: Bahir Dar

Full day in Bahir Dar. On a boat trip on Lake Tana, visit some of the ancient monasteries on the Zege Peninsula. In the afternoon, optionally visit the Blue Nile Falls or the market in the city.

Activities & services: Lake Tana, Zege Peninsula, Accommodation on a BB basis. at Jacaranda Hotel.

Optional: Blue Nile Falls

Day 3: Bahir Dar – Gondar

Drive to visit the Awra Amba village, then continue to Gondar. Sightseeing in Gondar includes the castles known as the Camelot of Africa, Fasilides Castle, and Debre Birihan Selassie Church.

Activities & services: Awra Amba, Gondar, Fasilides’ Bath, Debre Birhan Selassie Church,  Accommodation on a BB basis at Zobel Resort.

Gondar: Situated southwest of the Simien Mountains, north of Lake Tana, Gondar once served as the royal capital of the ancient Ethiopian Empire. Gondar, dubbed ‘Camelot of Africa’, hosts the World Heritage Site Fasil Ghebbi, an old fortress-city of Emperor Fasilides.

Visitors can enjoy a wide selection of wonderful activities, including discovering the ancient Gondar Castle, a mediaeval castle, and a palace complex. Exploring the 17th-century Church of Debre Sina, featuring biblical murals on every wall. A visit to the nearby Simien Mountains National Park. Don’t miss a visit to Ras Dashen, the highest mountain in Ethiopia.

Day 4: Gondar – Lalibela

Fly from Gondar to Lalibela. Visit the rock-hewn churches of Lalibela and participate in an Ethiopian coffee ceremony.

Activities & Services: Lalibela, Bete Maryam, Bete Golgotha, Bete Giyorgis,  Accommodation on BB basis at Cliff Edge Hotel.

Lalibela: Situated in northern Ethiopia, the town of Lalibela is named after King Lalibela of the Zagwe Dynasty. The town is considered Ethiopia’s cultural capital. It is one of Ethiopia’s holiest cities, and it serves as a centre of pilgrimage. The undeniable highlight of this ancient capital is dubbed the ‘Eighth Wonder of the World’. It includes eleven rock-hewn churches dating back to the 13th century.

This UNESCO World Heritage Site is carved out of solid rock and includes subterranean monoliths, a network of interconnected tunnels, and chambers featuring magnificent frescoes. Lalibela also plays host to some of the most famous church festivals in Ethiopia.

Day 5: Lalibela

Excursions to outlying churches in the countryside, including Yemrehane Christos, or taking a mule ride or walk to Asheton Maryiam. In the afternoon, visit the rest of the churches in Lalibela.

Activities & Services: Yemrehana Krestos Church; Accommodation on BB basis at Cliff Edge Hotel.

Optional: Asheton Maryam

Day 6: Lalibela – Addis Ababa – Jinka

Fly from Lalibela to Addis Ababa and connect to your flight to Jinka. Visit the cultural museum in Jinka.

Activities & Services: Jinka, Jinka Museum, Accommodation on BB basis at Jinka Resort.

Jinka: Located in southwestern Ethiopia, near the borders of Sudan and Kenya, Jinka is the largest town in the Debub Omo Zone. It serves as an excellent base from which to explore the surrounding area. This remote market town is home to the Mursi people, who are well known for their elaborate lip plates made of clay.

At the South Omo Research Centre and Museum, visitors can learn more about the Mursi and other communities in the region through a series of exhibits detailing the cultures and customs of local ethnic communities. Nature enthusiasts will enjoy the nearby Mago National Park, where abundant wildlife finds shelter in the dense acacia woodland.

Day 7: Jinka – Turmi

Drive to Mago National Park and visit the Mursi ethnic community. In the afternoon, drive to Turmi and if the day is Tuesday or Saturday, visit Dimeka market.

Activities & services: Mago National Park, Mursi Village, accommodation on a BB basis at Turmi Lodge.

Optional: Dimeka

Turmi, a small market town in southwestern Ethiopia, functions as a central transport hub as well as an important meeting point for the area’s weekly Monday market. The local Hamer inhabitants of the surrounding villages flock here to buy and sell local produce and handicrafts. Visitors to the area can enjoy culturally fascinating guided tours of the surrounding villages.

Popular cultural attractions include traditional Hamer dance performances and exhilarating ‘Jumping of the Bulls’ ceremonies, which form the culmination of a three-day-long rite of passage for any young man within the Hamer ethnic community. Turmi is a great choice of destination for travellers in search of a unique and authentic African experience in one of the most remote places on the continent.

Day 8: Turmi

Drive to Omorate and visit the Dasenech ethnic community. If there is a bull-jumping ceremony, you’ll also attend this. You can also visit the Caro or Hamer ethnic communities.

Activities & Services: Omo National Park, Dassenach ethnic community, accommodation on a BB basis at Turmi Lodge.

Optional: Hamer Market, Caro ethnic community.

Day 9: Turmi – Arba Minch

Drive from Turmi to Arba Minch. En- route, visit Konso village. Upon arrival at Arba Minch, take a boat trip to Lake Chamo.

Activities & Services: Arba Minch, Konso, Lake Chamo, Accommodation on a BB basis at the Ezana Arbaminch Hotel.

Arba Minch: Situated in southern Ethiopia at the base of the western side of the Great Rift Valley, the city of Arba Minch is the largest city in the Gamo Gofa Zone. Surrounded by forested mountains and home to two of Ethiopia’s largest Rift Valley Lakes, Arba Minch is named after the abundant springs found in the area.

This resort town rests on the edge of Lake Chamo, where it has a stunning view of the aptly named ‘Bridge of God’, an isthmus that separates Lake Chamo from the neighbouring Lake Abaya. This stretch of land is home to zebras, gazelles, kudus and other wildlife. The Dorze village is also a popular attraction in Arba Minch; here tourists can visit the famous beehive huts built by the Dorze community.

Day 10: Arba Minch – Departure

Excursion to Dorze village, followed by a transfer to the airport in preparation for your return trip to Addis. Remain at the airport for your international departure.

Options are, of course, many and varied, and in many cases, we can be flexible about the itinerary for accommodation facilities and the extension of the safari destinations.

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