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Northern Ethiopia (9 days)

About this tour:

This tour is ideal for all travellers who want to explore all the highlights of Northern Ethiopia.


  • Blue Nile Falls, Bahir Dar
  • Boat trip on lake Tana with unique island monasteries and nature (animal viewing- and excellent birding)
  • Former imperial town of Gondar (UNESCO world heritage site)
  • Breath-taking landscapes of the Simien Mountains with numerous endemic animals (UNESCO world natural site)
  • Lalibela, the unofficial 8th Wonder of the World (UNESCO world heritage site)

Included in the travel price

  • 8 nights with breakfast in hotels and lodges as agreed at the time of booking
  • Road transfer in Toyota minibus or 4x4 Landcruiser with experienced tour driver and fuel
  • Professional tour guide (English, German, French, Italian and Spanish-speaking available)
  • All local guides, rangers and scouts as required
  • 2 domestic flights with Ethiopian Airlines (discounted tariff if your international flight is with Ethiopian Airlines)
  • All entrance fees
  • Boat trip on lake Tana
  • Traditional dinner on the last evening before departure
  • 1 liter of mineral water per day

Short Info:

  • Tour code: WET-NE-9
  • Hotel Standard: Can be chosen from basic / middle-class to high-end
  • Number of domestic flights: 2
  • Required fitness level: no requirements

Day 1: Arrival and Addis Ababa City Tour

Upon arrival at Bole International Airport, you will be met by a Welcome Ethiopia Tours representative and be taken to your reserved hotel. Depending on your arrival time, we have various sightseeing options:

  • Mount Entoto with the best views over the capital.
  • Institute of Ethiopian Studies, where you can see a variety of artifacts from all the different regions reflecting the history and culture of the country
  • National Museum which among other exhibits the 3.5-million-year-old bones of Lucy.
  • Trinity Cathedral: this is the burial place of members of the imperial family and noted patriots; the cathedral is the most magnificent of its kind in the country, ornamented with carvings, mosaics and other artistic works.
  • The Mercato, the largest open-air market in Africa,

Accommodation: Hotel, Addis Ababa

Addis Ababa

Day 2: Addis Ababa – Bahir Dar (flight)

Morning: Flight to Bahir Dar
After breakfast you will be transferred to the airport and fly to Bahir Dar. You will be met at the airport in Bahir Dar and taken to your hotel.

Afternoon: Boat trip on Lake Tana
We will go on a boat trip 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 hope to encounter monkeys and abundant bird life. On the lake, you will also have a chance to see hippos and more wildlife.

Accommodation: Hotel, Bahir Dar

Tyia, Ethiopia

Day 3: Bahir Dar – Gondar (170 km)

Morning:  Visit to the Blue Nile Falls
After breakfast, we will visit the magnificent Blue Nile Falls. The water plunges here for 45m (148ft). It is about 35km/1hour drive from town. In the later afternoon, we drive back to Bahir Dar and discover the market, where you may purchase handicrafts like jewellery, woven and embroidered garments, ox-horn cups or grass baskets (Agelgil), for which Bahir Dar is well known, or simply watch the indigenous culture of the local community.

Drive to Gondar
After lunch,  we drive 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.

Accommodation: Hotel, Gondar

Lake Chamo, Ethiopia

Day 4: Gondar – Simien Mountains National Park (120 km)

Morning: Historic Tour of Gondar
We will visit all the historic sites of Gondar including to the royal enclosures of Fassil Ghibe, all the castles of the Gonderian emperors and the Fasilades bath 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.

We continue our journey to the Simien Mountains National Park. In the late afternoon, will reach the highest Lodge of Africa inside the national park. Due to its unique landscape and its endemic fauna the park has been declared a UNESCO world nature heritage site in 1996. In the park, you may experience very close interactions with the friendly Gelada monkeys.

: Lodge, Simien Mountains National Park

Mursi, Mago National Park

Day 5: Simien Mountains National ParkGondar (120 km)

We explore and admire the impressive scenery with its deep gorges and valleys and the highest waterfall in Ethiopia. A gentle walk to the waterfall would take us about 2 hours. We hope to encounter further endemic animals and birds. In the late afternoon, we will drive back to Gondar, where we spend the night.

Accommodation: Hotel, Gondar

Hamer woman, Ethiopia

Day 6: Gondar– Lalibela (350 km)

Today we continue our drive through ever changing landscapes to Lalibela (approx. 7-8 hours). On the way we may opt for a stop at Awra Amba and visit the completely self-sufficient community, where men and women are socially equal and where there are no religions. Quite an interesting and unique approach in Ethiopia. Judge it for yourself! We will reach Lalinela in the late afternoon.

Accommodation: Hotel, Lalibela

Day 7: Full Day in Lalibela

We will 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. These towering edifices seem to be a superhuman creation in scale, workmanship and concept. 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 first group of six 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 will visit to the second group of churches located to the south of the river Jordan. The second group comprises Bet Giyorgis, possibly 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 four churches, south of the river, comprises Bet Emanuel, Bet Mercurios, Bet Aba Libanos and Bet Gabriel and Rufeal. Bet Emanuel’s elaborated exterior has been much praised by international art historians.

Accommodation: Hotel, Lalibela

Hamer woman, Ethiopia

Day 8: Fascinating Surroundings of Lalibela

If you wish we can spend some more time exploring the rock-hewn churches. Alternatively, we may take an excursion to the Asheton Maryam Monastery, spectacularly located at 3’200 m above sea level) with panoramic views over the beautiful surrounding landscapes.
After lunch we will visit the fascinating cave church of Yirmahne Kristos dating from the 11th century. Driving through the local villages and scenic landscape will take us 2 hours each way.

Accommodation: Hotel, Lalibela

Dassanech, Omorate

Day 9: Lalibela – Addis Ababa (flight) – Departure

Depending on the flight times, we can still visit the interesting Ne’akuto Le’ab Monastery outside the town of Lalibela. You will then take your flight to Addis Ababa, where you will be transferred to your hotel (a day room will be reserved for you until 6 pm).
In the evening, you are invited for a traditional Ethiopian dinner and dance show at a renowned restaurant of Addis Ababa. After dinner you will be transferred to the airport for your international departure, or, if you still stay in Addis Ababa overnight, to your hotel.

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