Name: Ethiopia - Historical Journey
Activities: Cultural Experience, Guided Safari Photography, Walking, Wildlife
Location(s): Ethiopia
Duration: 8 days


The Rock-hewn churches of Lalibela

Pilgrim at Lalibela

Golden Cross Ceremony, Addis Ababa

Gelada Baboon, Simien Mountains

Jeremy Hunter

Our prices for a minimum of 2 guests, start at approximately US$ 800 per person per day

Consult your favourite Africa Travel Specialist who works with Origins Safaris or let us know "how you heard about us?", and then we can then refer one to you. Contact us



Day 1: Addis Ababa

You will be met by an Origins Safaris representative and transferred to the Hilton Hotel in the city of Addis Ababa. Should you wish to see some of the amazing sights of this vibrant city and its surrounds, you can arrange a city tour with your guide.

Addis Ababa at between 2300 - 2500 meters is the third highest capital in the world and Entoto is several hundred meters higher - From the top, there is a panoramic view of the capital and surrounding countryside.

Entoto is an important watershed; to the north, water flows to the Blue Nile and on to the Mediterranean, to the south to the Awash River and east to Djibouti. Your guide will point out the important landmarks of the city. Originally the capital city, Entoto was soon abandoned as a site - it was cold, difficult to provision and there was a shortage of wood. Empress Taytu was said to have led the move down to the plain of Finfine in 1889, and named the new capital Addis Ababa, or New Flower. Two important structures remain within the old imperial compound on Entoto, the churches of Mariam and the Archangel Raguel. 

After viewing the churches you descend to Addis Ababa, stopping off at the National Archaeological Museum.  Here you see exhibits ranging from the 3.5 million-year-old bones of Lucy, relics and treasures from the Axumite and Gonderene periods through to the period of the monarchs Tewodros and Menelik II.

1 overnight Hilton Hotel

Days 2 & 3: Gonder

This morning you fly to Gonder, arriving in time for lunch. After lunch you set off for a four hours scenic drive to the Simien Mountains National Park, arriving at the Simien Eco-Lodge late afternoon. The Simiens offer perhaps the most dramatic scenery in Africa. Here great volcanic plugs formed some 40 million years ago and eroded over the aeons into fantastic crags, pinnacles and flat topped mountains: the chess pieces of the Gods", as one writer described them.

The locals here use a network of tracks, ideal for us to use as our walking trails, as they take us through small villages and the terraced fields of the lower valleys, to the beautiful alpine meadows and rugged wilderness of the high peaks. There are many peaks over 4000 metres, and Ras Dashen at 4620 metres is the highest in the country and the fourth highest in Africa.

You drive to Sankaber – where you will see plenty of Gelada baboons, if there is time you can also look for Walia Ibex (found further into the park) or packs of Simien Wolf (the rarest canid in the world).

2 overnights Simien Eco-Lodge

Days 4 & 5: Bahir Dar

After breakfast you set off for the 6-hour drive to Bahir Dar. On arrival you check in at the Kuriftu Lodge for lunch. After lunch head off to visit the Blue Niles - some 30km from the town. a 20 minute walk will bring you to the falls themselves which are at their most spectacular during and after the rainy season (from about June to January).

Here the Blue Nile, which contributes 85% of the main Nile flow, starts its long journey to the Mediterranean.

2 overnights Kuriftu Lodge

Days 6 &7: Lalibela

After breakfast you transfer to the airport for your flight to Lalibela. You will be met and transferred to the Jerusalem Guest House for lunch before beginning to explore.

Lalibela, meaning 'a prayer stone' is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its extraordinary, rock-hewn subterranean medieval churches. At the end of the 12th and beginning of the 13th centuries King Lalibela of the Zaghyou dynasty built a series of rock hewn churches - the New Jerusalem as he called it - now rightly

acknowledged to be one of the wonders of the world. There are 11 churches in the town named after him, with others in the surrounding countryside – all are still in use today. There are two groups of these stone churches divided by the Yordanos River (River Jordan)

On your second day after breakfast you set off on mule or on foot to the church of Ashetun Mariam, about a 4 hours' round trip. There are wonderful views of the surrounding countryside from the top of the mountain where the church is located. If visitors prefer a shorter journey, you can go a shorter distance to the cave church of Neakuto Leab. The afternoon is spent at leisure, to wonder in the town or revisit some of the churches.

2 overnights Jerusalem Guest House

Day 8: Depart

After a leisurely breakfast at the guest house, transfer to the airport and fly back to Addis Ababa Airport for your onward flight departure .


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