Historic Route & Omo Valley Tour (14 Nights / 15 Days)
Tour Code: WET - 018
Discover the former Abyssinia, the legendary home of the Queen of Sheba, and be enchanted by the cultural and religious diversity of Ethiopia. Along the “Historic Route” Northern Ethiopia to take a journey through the exciting and fascinating history of the country and meet with 3000 year old relics of African civilization.
First, you go to Bahir Dar to the monasteries on the islands in Lake Tana and the spectacular waterfalls of the Blue Nile. A visit to the old royal city of Gondar will inspire you as well as the drive along the spectacular mountain road to the Semien Mountains, the mysterious “roof of Africa”, with its endemic fauna. Then it’s in the historic capital of the ancient Ethiopian kingdom of Axum, the supposed resting place for the Ark of the Covenant and its world-famous steles. The undoubted highlight of the trip is to visit the legendary monolithic rock churches of Lalibela, which were made by hand from the rock.
The visit continues to the indigenous people in the south that will impress you with stunning hairstyles and precipitated body jewelry. The Lower Omo is home to a remarkable mix of small, contrasting ethnic groups. At the Omo River you meet the Mursi, whose women are known for their lip plate jewelry.
This Omo valley trip is carefully designed to offer you the best of Omo valley with the exceptional experience of the local villagers’ interaction with visiting one of the tribe’s family houses as a guest. Lifestyles are as varied as the tribes themselves. Lacking any material, culture and artifacts common to other cultures, these tribes find unique ways in which to express their artistic impulses. This package will also offer you to explore the best possible Exotic and colorful weekly traditional markets that add unique value for your holiday.
An ideal blend of historic and cultural experiences with Witness Ethiopia Tours!
All accommodation in very nice tourist standard hotels.
Day 1. Addis Ababa: Welcome to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in the morning at 6:30 AM ??. Addis Ababa (the name means ‘new flower’), the Ethiopian capital, is a delightful place to explore. Morning city tour of the capital including the National museum where you will visit the cast of 3.2 million years old “Lucy” and different historical monuments, continue the city tour at the Ethnological Museum which was the palace of his majesty Emperor Haile Selassie, this museum provides an overview of Ethiopian crafts, culture and art. Finally drive to Merkato, the largest open-air market in East Africa. Accom: Overnight at Addis, Caravan Hotel
Day 2. Addis Ababa – Bahir Dar (Flight ): Fly Addis Ababa to Bahirdar. Meet our guide in Bahirdar and visit the Blue Nile fall and Lake Tana monastries. The beautiful, palm-fringed town of Bahir Dar is situated at the southern end of Lake Tana. In the morning, visit the Tis-ISSAT waterfalls of the Blue Nile and in the afternoon you can enjoy a relaxing boat trip to two famous churches on the lake, in their treasuries precious icons, bibles and Coptic crosses are kept. Overnight at Bahirdar, Jacaranda Hotel or Similar standard accomodation
Day 3. Bahir Dar – Gondar ( 185 KM ): Take a trip to the former residence of Emperor Haile Selassie I, and enjoy a panoramic view from here on the Blue Nile, Lake Tana and the town of Bahir Dar. Then go to the imperial city of Gondar, which was founded in 1632 by the Emperor Fasilidas and was a center of Ethiopian art, literature and science for many decades. (Takes about 3 to 4 hours). City tour to the sites of Gonder in the afternoon will include the city’s unique Imperial compound which contains a number of Castles built between 1632 and 1855 by various Emperors who reigned during this period , the bath of King Fasiledes,and the church of Debre Berhan Selassie with its unique murals. Overnight at Gonder, Kino Hotel or Similar standard accomodation
Day 4. Gondar – Semien Mountains- Debark ( 120 KM to Semien Park ) : ( day excursion to Semien Mountains National Park ) In the morning you will drive to Debark and continue to the Simien Mountains National park, magnificent mountain scenery of the Semien Mountains. After a walk of about 1-2h a panoramic view opens on the mountain chains of the entire environment. With a little luck you can watch Gelada Baboon or bearded vulture. Walk in the park. Have picnic lunch . Drive back to Debark for overnight. Overnight at Debark, Semien Park Hotel Hotel or Similar standard accommodation.
Day 5. Debark – Axum ( 260 KM): You leave Debark and drive parallel to spectacular switchbacks to the Semien Mountains towards Axum. Green plateaus, steep cliffs and steep slopes characterize this impressive mountain scenery. On a clear day you can even see the highest mountain in Ethiopia, the Ras Dashen (4550 m). Many endemic species like Rotbrustpavian, Ethiopian wolf and Ethiopian ibex live in Semien National Park (UNESCO World Heritage). In the evening arrive in Axum. (About 6-8h, 260 km) in a hotel. Overnight at Axum, Yared Zema Hotel Hotel or Similar standard accomodation
Day 6. Visit the sites of Axum ( 20 KM in town ) : Axum, the former capital of the kingdom, is a center of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church. From the heyday of the Axumite kingdom come, the 30-meter-high grave stelae. St. Mary’s Church, the original Tablets of the Law of Moses to be saved. The tour of the ruins of former palaces, royal tombs, the “Bath of the Queen of Sheba” and other interesting buildings are now on the agenda. Overnight at Axum, Yared Zema Hotel Hotel or Similar standard accomodation
Day 7. Axum – Lalibela ( flight ): A short flight across the mountain plateau to reach Lalibela. Up on arrival drive 22 Kilometers from Lalibela airport to Lalibela town and transfer to your hotel. In the afternoon visit the first group of the 11 rock-hewn monolithic churches. This world-famous rock-hewn churches were built by King Lalibela in the early 13th Century. One of the world’s most incredible man-made creations, they are a lasting monument to man’s faith in God. Most travel writers describe these churches as the “eighth wonder of the world”. These remarkable edifices were carved out of a solid rock, in a region where the ragged landscape still protects the churches. Overnight at Lalibela, Panoramic View Hotel /Lal Hotel / Zan Seyoum Hotel
Day 8. Visit the rock churches of Lalibela: In the morning excursion along a rocky path through a beautiful mountainous landscape to wander Asheten Maryam Church. The trek can be made by foot or mule. Afternoon visit to the remaining churches of Lalibela. As a showpiece of all the buildings is St. George’s Church, which has been carved in the shape of a cross from the rock , late afternoon take part in a traditional tea ceremony in town, which is an important part of Ethiopian culture. Overnight at Lalibela, Panoramic View Hotel /Lal Hotel
Day 9. Fly Lalibela – Addis (flight): Drive Addis to Hawassa ( from Addis to Hawassa : 270 KM ) Fly back to Addis Ababa, where you will meet your driver who will take you into the Rift Valley to Hawaasa Lake. On a short hike you can enjoy the nature with countless species of birds and mammals, such as discovering the imposing black-and-white colobus monkeys. Overnight at Hawassa, Pina Hotel / Lake View Hotel
Day 10. Hawassa – Arbaminch ( 220 KM): Experience today the fascinating culture and unique architecture of the indigenous peoples of the South. You travel first to the village of Wolayta, which is located in a spectacular landscape with green hills, before continuing to Chencha Mountain and visit the Dorze people. Overnight at Arbaminch, Mora Heights Lodge / Paradise Lodge or similar standard accommodation
Day 11. Arbaminch – Konso ( 90 KM): Boat excursion on Lake Chamo, to see the biggest African crocodiles, and Hippopotamus as well as beautiful aquatic birds including the lovely Kingfisher and Fish Eagle. Drive to Konso en route visiting different cultural people and their villages which includes, Gamo, Derashe, Konso people and undulating landscape of Konso and the surrounding area. Check in to hotel. Overnight at Konso, Kanta Lodge / similar standard accommodation
Day 12. Konso – Jinka ( 140 KM): Morning visit one nice village of Konso. The Konso are famous for their old and unique terracing, unusual engraved wooden statues of Konso grave markers. The consolidation created a unique cultural landscape by terracing the hill slopes to the intensive cultivation and irrigation of crops. The unusual interaction between man and nature, was honored in June 2011 with the appointment as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. After the village drive to meet the traditional King of Konso and visit his home and family. and drive to the colorful KeyAfer market before Jinka. Overnight at Jinka, Jinka Resort / similar standard accommodation
Day 13. Jinka – Turmi ( Jinka – Mago – Jinka : 150 KM , Jinka – Turmi 80 KM) : Today you will cross the Mago National Park to the land of the Mursi.. The first arduous trip is rewarded with the sight of the vast plain on the Mursi Hills. The Mursi men are renowned warriors, and whose women are famous for the lip plates which is highly considered as sign of beauty. The Mursi live in the dry season on the western slopes of the Omo and grow Sorghun, corn and vegetables, they spend the rainy season, with their cattle herds in the Tama steppe.In addition, they hunt and go fishing. Return back to Jinka town for Lunch. Drive to Turmi. Overnight at Turmi, Turmi lodge or similarstandard accommodation
Day 14. Turmi ( Turmi – Karo – Turmi 130 KM): In the morning you are on your way to visit the small ethnic group of diamonds on the Omo River called Karo. Particularly impressive from Karo are their body paintings and decorations scars. The Karo Tribe is the smallest tribe in the Omo Valley, South Ethiopia, and resides along the banks of the Omo River. After noon spend your time in Hammer villages in Turmi. Luckily you may get the chance to attend the wedding ceremony of the Hammers, the traditional “bull jumping“, it is a rite of passage for men before a man is permitted to marry. Payment for the “bull jumping ” festvitiity is covered by tourists in case lucky to attend it. Overnight at Turmi, Turmi lodge or similar standard accommodation
Day 15. Drive Turmi to Omorate then back to Arbaminch ( 410 KM) : Your day begins with a visit to the Dassanech in Omorate. Drive to Omorate about 70 km southwest of Turmi and visit the tribe of Dasenech . Omorate lies on the banks of the Omo. A dugout canoe takes you across the river to a settlement of the Dasanech /Galeb. The semi-nomadic protect their light huts and cattle with thorns from wild animals. The men wear ivory pegs in the lower lip or ear lobe scars and jewelry. They show their victories with Tonkappen in their hair. Drive back to Turmi for lunc and then continue to Arbaminch. On the way back you will pass through the village of Weyto, which is home to the Tsemai tribe. Overnight at Arbaminch, Mora Heights Lodge / Paradise Lodge or similarstandard accommodation.
Day16. Drive Arba Minch – Addis Ababa (450 KM ) :
Today drive via Hossaena to Addis. In the evening, the Witness Ethiopia Tours – Team invites you a traditional dinner with a beautiful dance performance at the end in one of the best Ethiopian traditional restaurants in Addis. . Transfer to the airport and flight back to home. End of tour.