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Festivity Tour - Hosanna and Ethiopian Easter

This special festival itinerary allows you to experience first hand the ancient monuments, the precious treasures and the beautiful frescoes of Ethiopia's old churches in the colorful setting in the Easter holiday season when tens of thousands of pilgrims are present. Experience the deep Ethiopian faith.

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This Italian-speaking tour combines the classical Northern Ethiopian highlights with the hustle and bustle of two of the major Ethiopian holidays. Starting from Addis Ababa you will first visit the ancient ruins of the Axumite Empire in Ethiopia's far North. The epic Gheralta region with its towering sandstone mountains is rather less impressive with hundreds of century old rock churches that where chiseled by early Christians into the rock facades. Followed by the masterpieces of this church architecture: Lalibela where you spend some days to discover the world famous churches and celebrate Palm Sunday (Hosanna). Highlight of the trip surely will be your time in Lake Tana region where you follow colorful the Easter celebrations in Bahir Dar not missing out the region's famous sights such as Gondar's castles, the Blue Nile Falls and Simien Mountains National Park.

Dates:

  • GR08-01: April 20 to May 02, 2021
  • GR08-02: April 12 to 24, 2022

Tour code: GR08

Operator: SimienEcoTours

Gallery

Itinerary & In/Exclusions

Day 1

Visit of the city and the National Museum

Travel: 2 h; 30 km

Arrival in Addis Ababa in the morning and formalization of entry visas, followed by a transfer to your hotel for some refreshment. On your full day city tour you will visit the National Museum, interesting for its archaeological findings and Lucy's remains, an australopitecus afarensis who lived in the Awash valley more than 3 million years ago and the proof that Ethiopia is the craddle of mankind. Then lunch in a typical restaurant, before reaching  the Entoto Mountain at 3,000 meters, from where you can enjoy a wonderful panoramic view of Addis Ababa. Afternoon return to your hotel for some rest. If interested, you can also visit a local charity project that is supported by our agency. Dinner and overnight at the hotel.

Meals: B/L/D

Accommodation: Caravan Hotel or similar, Addis Ababa

Day 2

The archeologichal sites of Axum

Flight time: 1 h

Travel: 1 h; 20 km

Early morning breakfast and transfer to the airport for your domestic flight to Axum. Upon arrival Axum city tour where you visit the ancient the steale, the 'Palace of the Queen Sheba' and the  Saint Mary of Tsion Cathedral, that hosts the Ark of Covenant. The legend says it was brought to Ethiopia in the time of King Salomon. Its small museum hosts interesting artifacts and scripts which are a great a testimony of the trades between the Axumite Empire, Egypt and the Southern Arabic peninsula.

Meals: B/L/D

Accommodation: Atranos Hotel or similar, Axum

Day 3

Yeha and the temple of the Moon

Travel: 6-7 h; 170 km

Today you drive from Axum to Gheralta. Along the way lies the Temple of Yeha that you reach driving through the volcanic landscapes of the Adwa Mountains. The ancient temple dates back to the pre-axumite period and is approximately 2,700 years old. Archeologists nowadays see clear signs of a pre-axumite civilisation coming from Southern Arabia. Some original artefact can been seen in the museum. The setting is beautiful. Surrounded by the volcanic mountains of Adwa. In 1896 this was the battle field of the historic battle between Ethiopians and Italians when Ethiopian Emperor Menelik II prevented his country from colonialism. In the late afternoon you arrive in your lodge in Gheralta settled in an amazing landscape with towering sandstone mountains.

Meals: B/L/D

Accommodation: Gheralta Lodge or similar, Hawzien

Day 4

Discover the rock churches of Tigray

Travel: 2-3 h; 30 km

Hiking:1-2 h, 1km (difficulty: easy; altitude difference: ↑50m, ↓50m)

After your breakfast you begin the visit of the spectacular rock churches, excavated between the 6th and 16th century hidden in a majestic mountainous landscape. Your first stop is Medhane Alem Adikasho church. It is one of the oldest and biggest rock-hewn churches in Ethiopia and iconic for its complex architecture. Many of these churches are accessible only through an often difficult but always spectacular route. In the late afternoon you will return to Gheralta Lodge, where you will enjoy an excellent typical dinner and then spend the night in the pleasant quiet of your lodge.

Meals: B/L/D

Accommodation: Gheralta Lodge or similar, Hawzien

Day 5

Ancient religion on the way to Woldya

Travel: 6-7 h; 360 km

In the morning you start to drive south towards the town of Woldya. On the way you will take a break in the historic town of Wukro, where you will visit the ancient rock church of Wukro Cherkos. After lunch, you will resume the journey until you reach the town of Woldya in the late afternoon. In the evening, group dinner and overnight at the hotel.

Meals: B/L/D

Accommodation: Lal Hotel or similar, Woldya

Day 6

Hosanna holiday in Lalibela

Travel: 4-5 h; 170 km

Today to celebrate the Christian Orthodox holiday of Hosanna (Ethiopia's Palm Sunday), you head towards the beautiful Lalibela, a place of pilgrimage and holy city for Ethiopian Orthodox Christians. On your way you will meet pilgrims on their way to service. Lalibela's main attraction are its famous monolithic underground churches carved into the rock in ancient times and surrounded by many legends as well as beautiful mountains. These churches have been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site and in the afternoon you will reach Lalibela and start your visit of the first of 11 churches.

Afterwards you will attend the religious festivities to celebrate Hosanna in this magnificent setting, among sacred songs in Ge'ez language and liturgical ceremonies. To finish Hosanna's day in the best possible way, you will have a typical dinner at sunset.

Meals: B/L/D

Accommodation: Lalibela Lodge or similar, Lalibela

Day 7

Lalibela - the holy town of pilgramage

Travel: 0.5 h; 4km

After the holiday bustle has calmed you can enjoy the second group of churches in a more quiet atmosphere. You will have the full day to enjoy the mystical churches with a guide and on your own. According to the legend these eleven churches were built in the 12th century and excavated by over 16,000 Ethiopians in just 23 years of construction. After the visit of the second group of churches and the famous cruciform Bet Giorgis church, you will enjoy some free time and have dinner with mountain views.

Meals: B/L/D

Accommodation: Lalibela Lodge or similar, Lalibela

Day 8

Crossing from the Lasta Mountains to medieval Gondar

Travel: 6-7 h; 300 km

In the morning you begin your journey westwards to Gondar, the medieval capital of Ethiopia until 1855. Halfway there lies the Awra Amba village, a community in the Amhara region that has been self-governing since 1980. Awra Amba is an interesting example for prosperity and welfare without foreign support. The comparatively well-being of the 500 villagers with a library, kindergarten, school and elderly care was a vision by Zumra Nura that came to reality in Awra Amba. After an impressive visit you will move onwards to your hotel in Gondar.

Meals: B/L/D

Accommodation: Herfazy Resort or similar, Gondar

Day 9

Explore the nature of Simien Mountains National Park

Travel: 3 h; 130 km

Hiking: 1-2 h, 3 km (difficulty: easy/moderate, altitude difference: ↑100m, ↓100m)

A day in the breathtaking scenery of Simien Mountains National Park awaits you. You drive from Gondar to the park. In Debark, a town of around 30,000 inhabitants at an altitude of over 2,800m, the guide will carry out some formalities in the park administration offices while you sip a cup of coffee. Then you will move on to Sankaber camp to enjoy a spectacular view of the impressive Simien mountain range. In this area you will probably meet the Gelada Baboons, the only grass-eating baboons in the world and endemic to Ethiopia: you will see how Geladas gather in groups of even one hundred specimens, and spend most of the time looking for grass and edible roots. Before sunset, you will return for dinner at the splendid Simien Lodge.

Meals: B/L/D

Accommodation: Simien Lodge or similar, Simien Mountains National Park

Day 10

The nature wonders of the Simien Mountains National Park

Travel: 3-4 h; 150 km

Hiking: 1-2 h, 3-4 km (difficulty: easy/moderate; altitude difference: ↑150m, ↓150m)

After an excellent breakfast you will take a panoramic walk from Simien Lodge and enjoy the breathtaking scenery. Once you reach the edge of the cliff, you will see the very spectacular Jinbar Waterfall plunging almost 400 meters into a deep canyon. A beautiful spot to see birds soaring including vultures, eagles and buzzards. Then you will descend again towards Gondar, to visit at the end of the afternoon the church of Debre Birhan Selassie, famous for its frescoes depicting the faces of angels. In the evening, group dinner and overnight at the hotel.

Meals: B/L/D

Accommodation: Herfazy Resort or similar, Gondar

Day 11

The UNESCO Sites in Gondar

Travel: 0.5 h; 10 km

In the morning you will visit the UNESCO sites of Gondar. The city was founded by Emperor Fasilidas in 1636 and is famous for the remains of the castles in the imperial enclosure. In the afternoon, refreshed by a typical lunch, you will also visit the pleasure residence of the Ethiopian Emperors with its immense pool that is still active up date. Every January thousands of pilgrims celebrate on of the biggest holidays here.

Meals: B/L/D

Accommodation: Herfazy Resort or Similar, Gondar

Day 12

The Blue Nile Waterfalls

Travel: 3-4 h; 200 km

Today you will head towards Bahar Dar: after a typical lunch, you will discover the famous Tisisat waterfall, better known as "the source of the Nile". On a short walk you will reach the roaring waters. Along the picturesque path lie villages and an old Portuguese bride to cross the river gorge. Tropical bird are all over the place along the fertile lands. To reach back to your car you have to cross the river once more by boat. Finally, you drive to your accommodation in the lake town of Bahir Dar.

Meals: B/L/D

Accommodation: Jacaranda Hotel or similar, Bahir Dar

Day 13

Easter holiday and the monasteries of Lake Tana

Flight time: 1 h

Travel: 1 h; 50 km

To celebrate Easter morning you will take a boat trip on the great Lake Tana, where you will visit one of the monasteries on the many islands, such as Ura Kidane Mihiret or other monasteries. During the boat trip you will also have the opportunity to observe several beautiful animals typical of the place (for example hippopotamuses and especially pelicans). After watching the Easter celebrations both on the islands of Lake Tana and in the city of Bahir Dar completely festive, at the end of the afternoon you will reach the airport of Bahir Dar and fly to Addis Ababa. 

Once you reach Addis Ababa airport, you will finalize your trip and depart in the evening, depending on the flight schedule.

Meals: B/L/D

Accommodation: ---

 

Included

Our services include:
  • all 2 domestic flights (Addis Ababa - Axum; Bahir Dar - Addis Ababa) Note: If the international flight is with a carrier other than Ethiopian Airlines, there will be a supplement of € 180 for the domestic flights;
  • all accommodations in double rooms with private toilet/shower in hotels or lodges (1x high-range, 11x mid-range);
  • all transfers and travels in Ethiopia with private car (minivan or Coaster bus);
  • full board (1 drink per meal included, alcoholic drinks excluded);
  • all entrance fees and permissions at tourist attractions, churches, museums and national parks;
  • for Simien Mountains National Park: entrance fees, guide, scouts and rangers;
  • all persons for safety and security (when prescribed);
  • all taxes and administrative fees;
  • all tips for meals;
  • all (mandatory) local guides in the single destinations;
  • 24/7 emergency assistance;
  • experienced SimienEcoTours cultural guide (fluently Italian & Amharic speaking).

Excluded

Our services do not include:
  • international flights;
  • travel insurance;
  • visa for Ethiopia (currently € 46);
  • alcoholic drinks;
  • tipping;
  • photo and video fees (if any apply);
  • all extras and personal expenditures.