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Safari Highlight :Addis Ababa / Debre Libanos / Bahir Dar / Gondar / Simien Mountains / Axum / Mekele / Lalibela / Dessie / Aledeghi park / Awash park / Harar / Addis Ababa

This tour combines all the highlights of the North with the Eastern part of the country. Breath-taking landscapes, rich wildlife and unique historic sites.

17 Days Africa Discovery tour itinerary

Day 1: Addis Ababa city tour

Morning drive to discover the city of Addis Ababa, founded in 1886 by Menelik II and situated at an elevation of around 2438m making it the 3rd highest capital city in the world. It enjoys an excellent climate all year round, with an average temperature of 25°C. Our city tour takes us to visit the National museum housing some of the country’s historic treasures like the 3.5 million year old remains of ‘Lucy’, the oldest hominid ever found. We proceed to the Ethnographic Museum and the church of the Holy Trinity, Ethiopia’s main cathedral and home to the remains of the last emperor, Haile Selassie. Dinner and overnight at Monarch Hotel ( or Golden Tulip Hotel or similar

Day 2: Entoto Mountain / Debre Libanos

After breakfast we cross the Entoto Mountain with the best views over the capital Addis Ababa. We continue towards North crossing the plains of Sululta until reaching Debre Libanos (120kms, 3hrs). Debre Libanos hosts one of Ethiopia’s most important monasteries with an interesting adjacent museum exhibiting numerous antique treasures of the Ethiopian-orthodox church. After lunch, we will take a pleasant walk to the so-called “Portuguese Bridge”, with great views over the canyon. Some historians are of the opinion that the bridge is from the 16th century, when the Portuguese invaded Ethiopia for a short time, others think it was built by emperor Menelik’s uncle in the 19th century. After crossing the bridge, we will have a view of a 60m high waterfall. We see the endemic Gelada Baboons and a variety of bird species like raptors. Dinner and overnight at Ethio-German Park Hotel ( or similar

Day 3: Bahir Dar

After breakfast, we drive for some 450 kms (9 hrs) to Bahir Dar through the peaceful farmlands of Fogera and Gojam with many beautiful sceneries. We will also cross the Blue Nile Gorge, an impressive canyon. We will reach Bahir Dar in the late afternoon to enjoy the sunset over Lake Tana from the view point on Bezawit Hill, where a former palace of Haile Selassie may still be seen. Dinner and overnight at Kuriftu Lodge ( or Jacaranda Hotel ( or similar in Bahir Dar

Day 4: Full Day in Bahir Dar

After breakfast, we enjoy a boat ride on Lake Tana to explore the nearby monastery of Ura Kidane Mihret on the Zege peninsula known for its 14th century, round, grass-roofed churches and their magnificent wall murals, the Azoa Mariam and Ura Kidane Mihret churches. Its architectural styles with mud plastered round wall and a conical thatched roof are typical examples of ancient Ethiopian orthodox churches. The monastery is found hidden in the mangroves forest of the Zege peninsula. Ura is especially well known for its fine frescoes, manuscripts, ecclesial objects, such as the crown of various emperors dating from the 14th century, gold and silver processional crosses, silver drums and royal vestments. On our walk through the densely-forested area we see monkeys and abundant bird life. On the Lake we see hippos and more wildlife. After lunch, we drive for some 35kms (1 hr) to visit the Blue Nile Falls where the water plunges here for 45m (148ft). Late afternoon, we drive back to Bahir Dar and visit the market, where you may buy souvenirs like jewellery, ox-horn cups or grass baskets (Agelgil), for which Bahir Dar is well known. Dinner and overnight at Kuriftu Lodge ( or Jacaranda Hotel ( or similar

Day 5: Gondar

After breakfast, we drive for some 170 kms to Gondar, a 17th century royal city of Ethiopia, affluent in the imperial structure of a Castle Compound and the spectacularly painted Debre Birhan Selassie Church. After lunch, we visit the royal enclosures of Fassil Ghibe and all the castles of the Gonderian emperors as well as the famous Debre Berhan Selassie Church, which is completely covered in murals, with the angels’ faces on the wooden ceiling that have become a trademark of Ethiopian art and design. Dinner and overnight at Goha Hotel or Fasil Lodge ( or Gondar Hills Resort or Taye Belay Hotel or similar

Day 6: Simien Mountains National Park / Debark (120 km)

After early breakfast, drive to the Simien Mountains National Park to arrive at the Simien lodge, the highest lodge of Africa in the park around. After lunch, we start exploring the Simien Mountains National Park. Due to its unique landscape and its endemic fauna the park has been declared a UNESCO world nature heritage site in 1996. We see Gelada Baboons. We drive up to Sankaber (3’220m) and admire the impressive scenery with its deep gorges and valleys and the highest waterfall in Ethiopia. We take a 2-hour walk to see the endemic animals like the Walia Ibex and the Simien fox. Late afternoon, we will return to Debark. Dinner and overnight at Simien Lodge or Limalimo Lodge or Walia Lodge in Debark or Simien Lodge ( or similar

Day 7:  Axum

After breakfast, we drive for some 244 kms (7 hrs) to Axum with stunning views. Axum is at an altitude of 1637m and is considered as a holy city in Ethiopia where Christianity had begun, dating back over 2000 years. The Axumite kingdom is considered the cradle of Ethiopian civilization. Dinner and overnight at Sabean Hotel ( or Atranos Fantasy Hotel or Yared Zema International Hotel ( or similar

Day 8: Full day in Axum

The city tour of Axum includes: Axum stelae or obelisks, the largest single piece of stone erected by human beings anywhere in the world, castles of former monarchs, Mariam Tsion Church which is built on the site of Ethiopia’s first church, the Palace of Queen Sheba, the inscriptions King Ezana’s and the tombs of the kings Kaleb and Gabre Meskel.

Dinner and overnight at Sabean Hotel ( or Atranos Fantasy Hotel or Yared Zema International Hotel ( or similar

Day 9: Yeha / Mekelle

After breakfast, we will visit the temple of Yeha (50km, 1 hr). The way passes through Adwa, where in 1896 the famous battle between the Ethiopians and Italians took place. Yeha was a pre-axumite settlement and is famous for its well-preserved stone temple with 12 m high walls estimated to be 2,500 years old. After lunch, we continue to Mekelle (200kms, 3 hrs). On the way, we will visit the famous rock-hewn churches of Wukro Cherkos and Abreha We Atsbeha. Dinner and overnight at Axum Hotel ( or Planet Hotel or similar

Day 10: Lalibela

After breakfast, we drive for some 400kms (8 hrs) through ever-changing landscapes to arrive in Lalibela in the late afternoon. Dinner and overnight at Panoramic View Hotel ( or Mountain View Hotel ( or Maribela Hotel or Top 12 Hotel ( or similar

Day 11: Full Day in Lalibela

After breakfast, we visit the 11-renowned rock hewn churches of Lalibela, also known as the “8th wonder of the world”. The Lalibela rock hewn churches are physically carved from the rock on which they stand. Some are sculptured out of a solid volcanic rock, others are connected by long underground tunnel and mazes. Some are quarried enlargements of caves. The 1st group of 6 churches lies in rock cradles, one behind the other: Bet Golgotha, Bet Mikeal, Bet Mariam, Bet Maskel, Bet Dangal and Bet Medhanealem. Bet Medhanealem, the largest rock hewn church in the world is built like a Greek temple. After lunch, we visit the 2nd group of churches located to the south of the river Jordan. The 2nd group comprises Bet Giyorgis, the most elegant of all the Lalibela churches. Bet Giyorgis lies somewhat isolated to the southwestern part of the village on a slopping rock terrace and can only be reached through a tunnel. The group of 4 churches, south of the river Jordan River, comprises Bet Emanuel, Bet Mercurios, Bet Aba Libanos and Bet Gabriel and Rufeal. Dinner and overnight at Panoramic View Hotel ( or Mountain View Hotel ( or Maribela Hotel or Top 12 Hotel ( or similar

Day 12: Dessie

After breakfast, we visit the cave monastery of Ne’akuto Le’ab outside Lalibela. We drive for 289kms to Dessie with a stop over enroute at Lake Hayk which is located in lush and green nature. Lake Hayk is known for its diverse birdlife and monastery on the Western shore, accessible to men only). Dinner and overnight at Melbourne Hotel or similar

Day 13: Bati Market / Aledeghi National Park

After breakfast, we drive for some 400 kms to Aledeghi national park with a stopover at Bati market, the 2nd largest market in Ethiopia (after the Mercato in Addis Ababa). Bati Market is frequented by several ethnic groups turning it into an extremely colourful place. The market is huge and chaotic and covers an entire hillside. Bati is with no doubt among the most interesting markets in whole Africa. After visiting the market, we proceed down towards East into the hot and seemingly endless savanna. In the late afternoon, we will reach Doho Lodge close to the Aledeghi National Park, the home to a variety of birds, mammals and wildlife like Lions, Hippos etc. The fantastic hot springs are another highlight of the lodge. Dinner and overnight at Doho Lodge ( or similar in Aledeghi National Park

Day 14:  Awash National Park

After early breakfast, we drive for 67 kms through the open grassland of the Aledeghi National Park to look for mammals, birds, gazelles, gerenuk, oryx, zebras, kudus, warthogs, ostriches, Lions, Leopards and cheetahs. We proceed to the Awash National Park to arrive for lunch at the Awash Falls Lodge located next to the Awash Falls. We have the opportunity to spot a great variety of birds and mammals in the savanna as well as crocodiles living at the Awash River. We will enjoy an impressive sunset over the Awash River gorge. Dinner and overnight at Awash Falls Lodge ( or similar in Awash National park 

Day 15: Harar

After early game drive, we drive for some 328 kms (8 hrs) for Harar with a stopover enroute at Avadai, Ethiopia’s biggest Khat market, and Dire Dawa. In the evening, you will see the “Hyena Man” feeding the hyenas that gather every night outside the town. You participate in the feeding.  Dinner and overnight at Ras Hotel or Wonderland Hotel or Heritage Plaza Hotel or Rewda Guesthouse or similar

Day 16: Full Day in Harar

After breakfast, we drive to discover the 16th century walled city of Harar, the 4th most important city in the Islamic World and a UNESCO world heritage site. We visit the home of Arthur Rimbaud, the renowned French poet who lived in Harar, the National and Harari museums; the house of Ras Mekonnen (the father of Haile Selassie); traditional Harari homes, the market and many more interesting places. Dinner and overnight at Ras Hotel or Wonderland Hotel or Heritage Plaza Hotel or Rewda Guesthouse or similar

Day 17: Addis Ababa

After breakfast, transfer to the airport for your flight to Addis Ababa.

Group Size per vehicle (adults) – 2 Pax ,3 Pax ,4 Pa5 , Pax  ,6 Pax

What is Included on the safari price:-

  • 16-night accommodation & meals as per the program
  • All tours as per the itinerary
  • Transport as per program
  • English speaking guide
  • Entrance fees to all sites as per the itinerary
  • One-way domestic regular flight Harar/Addis
  • Bottled water during the tours
  • All service charges and taxes.

What is Excluded on the safari price:- 

  • International flights and taxes
  • Entry visa
  • Airport transfers
  • Personal expenses
  • Optional activities not included above
  • Gratuities
  • Tips
  • Personal insurance cover
  • Deviation from above program

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