Day 1: Drive to Bahirdar
Early in the morning, depart north to Bahir Dar via Debre Markos. On the way visit the Portuguese bridge, said to have been the first bridge in Ethiopia. Afterwards, you will pass through the spectacular Blue Nile Gorge. The gorge extends nearly 400km and reaches depths up to 1500m. Overnight in Bahir Dar (hotel).
Day 2: Domestic Flight to Bahirdar
You will have a boat trip on Lake Tana, where 37 islands and 32 of them have churches and monasteries of considerable historical and cultural interest. You visit the monastery church of Ura Kidane Mihret is more decorative with a huge, conical thatched roof is painted with scenes from Biblical lore; Kebran Gabriel is renowned for a magnificent manuscript to the Four Gospels which is believed to date back to at least the late fourteenth or early fifteenth century, and Daga Estifanos is considered one of the most sacred on Lake Tana, and said to have served as a temporary hiding place for the Ark of the Covenant. In the afternoon, you will have an excursion to the Blue Nile Falls, also known locally as Tissisat (smoking waterfall): 100 m (328 ft) wide, the water plunges for 45m, giving rise to steam clouds and rainbows. Late in the afternoon, drive back to Bahir Dar and finish the day with a lovely sunset over Lake Tana.
Day 3: Journey to Gondar
After breakfast, you will drive to Gondar, the camelot of Africa. The city seems more of European than African origin. In the afternoon, visit Fasiladas's Palace, probably the most impressive of all the castles found in the area and the oldest one! Continue going to the Church of Debre Berhan Selassie (Light of the Trinity). The interior is decorated with beautiful frescos, cherubs and paintings. Debre Berham Selassie is rumored to once having been the proposed final resting-place of the Ark of the Covenant of the Ethiopian Empire, which began in 1632.
Day 4: Drive to Simien Mountain National Parks
After breakfast drive to Simien Mountain National Park. Debark is a small market town at an altitude of 2700 meters close to the boundary of the Simien Mountains National Park. Corrugated–iron–roofed buildings surround the colourful and busy market area. Before entering the park, you have to register at the park headquarters just outside town. Here, armed scout – one of the park regulations, joins you. Then drive to Sankaber for the best view. En route, pass through pretty country, the foothills of the Semen Mountains, with carefully tended field, open pasture with grazing horses, stands of trees and distant rocky peaks. At the high point of the road, there are superb views across the weirdly eroded foothills of the range and you may also be lucky enough to spot you first Lammergeiers and Gelada Baboons of the trip.
Day 5: Simien Mountains National Park to Gondar
Today you will go further into the mountains for more scenery and wildlife viewing. In the morning, depart for Chenek, where you will have opportunities to admire the local wildlife, such as the gelada baboons, lammergeyers, and the rare endemic Walia ibex. After the visit, return to Gondar for overnight (hotel).
Day 6: Travel to Lalibela
In the morning, proceed driving to Lalibela via Woreta, passing through Amhara state. You will have stunning views of the Guna Mountains as you travel through this dramatic landscape. Overnight in Lalibela (hotel).
Day 7: Explore Lalibela
In the morning, start your tour of the rock-hewn churches of Lalibela, visiting the Northwestern Cluster of churches - Bet Medhane Alem, Bet Maryam, Bet Meskel, Bet Danaghel, Bet Mikael & Bet Golgotha (entry not permitted for women). After lunch, continue with the Southeastern Cluster of churches – Bet Gabriel-Rufael, Bet Merkorios, Bet Amanual, and Bet Abba Libanos. Finally, you will visit the most famous of all the churches – Bet Giyorgis, constructed in honor of the patron saint of Ethiopia – Saint George. Overnight in Lalibela (hotel).
Day 8: Lalibela - kombolcha
After breakfast, visit the nearby monastery of Na’akuto La’ab, set on the side of a cliff. After the visit, proceed driving to Kombolcha via Woldia. On the way you will stop for a rest in Hayk where you can enjoy the views of this stunning lake, visit the local monastery (open for men only) and enjoy the birdlife. Overnight in Kombolcha (hotel).
Day 9: Kombolcha - Addis
Return driving to Addis via Debre Birhan. On the way you pass the Mezezo Escarpment, with a good chance to see the endemic gelada baboons. If today is a Sunday, you can stop in the town of Senbete to visit the lively market including the interesting camel market.
END OF TOUR