Historic Route to the northe part of Ethiopia
|From:||Sep 15, 2012|
|To:||Sep 29, 2012|
|Hotel:||Adot tina, Tana, Goha, semain park hotel, yeha, lal|
|Itinerary/Activities||Ethiopian Historic Route to the Northern Ethiopia and the Festival of MESKEL (the finding of true cross in Addis Ababa)|
Tour Code-SET 101-05
Mode of transportation- Flight +Drive
Duration- 11 Days and 10 Nights
Attractions highlight - Addis Ababa, Bahir Dar, Gondar, Axum, Lalibela, Lake Tana, and Castle compound, Debre Berhan Selase Church, Obelisks, and Rock Churches of Lalibela, Stunning Scenery, Simien Mountain National Park, UNSCO sites, and the festival of Meskel
The feast is celebrated in Ethiopia on September 17 Ethiopian calendar (September 27 Gregorian calendar), Meskal has been celebrated in the country for over 1600 years. The word actually means "cross" and the feast commemorates the discovery of the cross upon which Jesus was crucified, by the Empress Helena, the mother of Constantine the Great. The feast is now celebrated on 27 September.
Many of the rites observed throughout the festival are said to be directly connected to the legend of Empress Helena. On the eve of Meskal, tall branches are tied together and yellow daisies, popularly called Meskal Flowers, are placed at the top. During the night those branches are gathered together in front of the compound gates and ignited - This symbolizes the actions of the Empress who, when no one would show the Holy crypt, lit incense and prayed for help. Where the smoke drifted, she dug and found three crosses. To one of the three, on the True Cross of Jesus, many miracles were attributed.
Meskal also signifies the physical presence of part of the True Cross at the church of Egziabher Ab , the remote mountain monastery of Gishen Mariam located 483 kms north of Addis Ababa in Wello administrative zone.
During this time of the year flowers gloom on mountain and plain and the meadows are yellow with the brilliant Meskal daisy. Dancing, feasting, merrymaking, bonfires and even gun salutes mark the occasion. The festival begins by planting a green tree on Meskal eve in town squares and village market places. Everyone brings a pole topped with Meskal daisies to form the towering pyramid that will be a beacon of flame. Torches of tree branches tied up together called "Chibo" are used to light the bundle called "Demera". Addis Ababa particularly Meskal Squire is the best place to celebrate the festivals
Day 1- Addis Ababa: Arrive at the Addis Ababa Bole International Airport. Be meet and welcomed by Stunning Ethiopia Tours representative and transferred to Hotel after breakfast start the city tour with the National and Ethnography Museum then proceed to Entoto, (former capital of Ethiopia), lunch break Mercato (The biggest open air market in Ethiopia) and trinity cathedral, evening cultural dinner in traditional dinner, overnight hotel
Day 2- Addis Ababa- Bahir Dar: Early Morning after breakfast drive to Bahir Dar on the way visit Debre Libanos monastery and the 16th century bridge with the famous Blue Nile gorge, overnight hotel.
Day 3- Bahir Dar: Morning Take a boat cruise on Lake Tana to visit 13th century Monastery of Ura Kidane Mihret and Azwa Mariam which is the most famous of Zege Peninsula monasteries. In the afternoon, you will drive to the village of Tis Isat to see the Blue Nile fall or “Tiss Issat” fall, overnight Hotel.
Day 4- Bahir Dar- Gondar: Drive to Gondar after lunch break Visit the castles and churches built by the Emperor Fasiledes and his descendents, later proceeds to the fascinating Debre Berhan Selassie Church, one of the world’s heritage, overnight hotel.
Day 5- Gondar- Simien Mountains- Debark: early morning drive to Simien Mountains stope over at Debark head quarter of the national park escort local guide and scout, lunch break and proceed to admire sight, which is termed as the most spectacular of all Ethiopian landscape also termed as the 'Roof of Africa’, Registered by UNSCO Observe the magnificent Scenery, late afternoon drive back to Debark, overnight hotel
Day 6-Debark- Axum: Early in the morning drives to the ancient town of Axum through the chains of Simien Mountains and the Tekeze River Valley or gorge, a very interesting and long day drive where you can enjoy one of the most beautiful landscape in Ethiopia with various vegetation and cultural background overnight hotel.
Day 7 Axum: Full day Sightseeing tour of Axum After relaxed breakfast, visit Stelae Park, St. Mary’s Church the Sanctuary Chapel which is the repository of the Arc of the Covenant, the Coronation yard, Queen of Sheba’s Palace Ruins, tomb of Kaleb and Gebremeskel, Axum Museum and the Quarry where stelae used to be made, overnight hotel.
Day 8 Axum- Lalibela: Transfer to Airport and fly to Lalibella, famous for its rock hewn churches dating back 800 years, and transferred to the Hotel. The brilliant feats of engineering and architecture of rock hewn churches of Lalibella referred to as the "Eighth wonder of the world". There are 11 rock -hewn churches in the Town of Lalibella which 3 of them are Monolithic (free standing completely detached from the ground), 7 of them are semi-monolithic and 1 church is cave church. And there are more cave, monolithic, semi-monolithic churches in the district of Lasta region, Overnight hotel.
Day 9- Lalibela: In the morning half-day excursion to The Church of Na’Kutoleab cave church from the same time of the Zagway dynasty. Return to the hotel for lunch. Afternoon spent visiting more of the rock churches in Lalibella town, Overnight hotel.
Day-10 Lalibela- Addis Ababa- Transfer to the Airport and fly back to Addis to attend the festival of Meskel, in Meskel squire where more than ten thousand religious people attend the celebration with singing and dancing with big Bone fire after that traditional dinner with cultural Ethiopian tribal dances, overnight hotel
Day -11 Addis Ababa – departure morning after breakfast transfer to air port for departure, end of the tour
|Most memorable part of trip||All|
|Useful tips||Travel Tips|
Location and size: The FEDERAL DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF ETHIOPIA is situated in the Northern east of Africa customary known as the horn of Africa. so called because of the horn, shaped tip of the continent and it is about twice the size of France, has an area of 1,112,000 square kilometers, About 65 percent is presently cultivated. Ethiopia Shares its boundaries with Eritrea north and north east, Djibouti Easter part, Somalia south east and south, Kenya south and Sudan in the western side.
Capital: The capital of Ethiopia is Addis Ababa which mean (NEW FLOWER), founded in 1886 by Empress Taytu as Addis Ababa, currently the population of Addis Ababa is estimated to be 6(six) millions, Addis Ababa also known as the capital of Africa by hosting many international organization headquarters, UN for Africa (ECA), the AU (African union) and other Diplomatic mission for Africa.
Climate: Throughout most of the country there are two major seasons: the dry season prevails from October through May; the wet season runs from June to mid of September.
Language: Amharic is the official language, but there are 80 other local language which is dialectic to some 200. English and Arabic are wildly used and Italian and French is spoken.
Religion: Ethiopian Orthodox churches, are deeply rooted mainly in the northern part of the Country which will cover almost 50 %, Islam will cover 35% mainly in the east and south. There are other religion Evangelical, Protestant, Roman Catholic and animism also practice in a very few remote areas which will cover the rest 15% of the population.
Currency: The Local currency is an Ethiopian Birr, made up of 100 Cents, Visitors may import an unlimited amount of foreign currency, but they need decoration to the customs authority upon arrival.
Time and calendar: Ethiopia is in GMT +3 hours’ time Zone, and follows the unique Julian calendar which is seven years and eight months behind the Gorgonian calendar, consists of thirteen month, the twelve months consists of 30 days each and the last (13th Month) will have 5 or 6 days during leap year, The New Year fall on the 11th of September.
When to come: Ethiopia can be visited all round the year, but for some special route like the south west Ethiopia and Danakil (Dallol) depression contact us to know the detail.
Accommodation: Addis Ababa has two 5 stat hotels- the Hilton and the Sheraton (Luxury collection) and a growing number of tourist class hotels. Standards vary outside the capital, but apart from some remote areas where camping is unavoidable it is generally possible to get relatively clean rooms with en suite toilet and shower.
Communication: Telephone, Tele fax, Internet, e-mail and postal facilities are available in the country. Internet services are available in major cities and towns.The international dialing code for Ethiopia is +251.
Customs: Duty-free import are permitted for up to:
200 cigarettes, or 50 cigars or 1/2 lb of tobacco
1 liter of alcoholic beverages
1/2 liter, or two bottles of perfumes
Visitors may export souvenirs with a value not exceeding Birr 500, although some articles (such as animal skins and antiques) require an export permit.
Economy: About 90 per cent of the population earn their living from the land, mainly as subsistence agriculture, Agriculture is the backbone of the national economy and the principal exports from this sector are coffee, oil seeds, flowers, vegetables, sugar and foodstuffs for animals. There is also a thriving livestock sector, Annual growth rate: 10%.
Courier and Money Transfer Services: Money transfers can be made through Western Union and Money Gram. Both have representative branches in Addis Ababa and make their services available from private and national banks. For courier services, DHL, FedEx, UPS, TNT, and EMS have offices in Addis Ababa.
VISA: visa is required for all visitors to Ethiopia and they can get from Ethiopian Diplomatic Mission abroad ,Visitors from the countries listed below can obtain visa on arrival at Bole International Airport (Addis Ababa): Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Korea Republic, Kuwait, Luxemburg, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Russian Federation, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, UK, and US.
People: Ethiopia’s population is estimated around 80 million, that makes second highest population in the continent. Ethiopia is composed of about 83 ethnic groups. ba
Major Ethnic groups: Oromo 40%, Amhara 25%, Tigre 7%, Somali 6%, Sidama 9%, Gurage 2%, Wolaita 4%, Afar 4%, other nationalities 3%.
Transportation: Surface Transpiration: There is asphalt road which will connect the whole tourist destination except the southern Omo Valley, for this route you need to have (4 X 4); the road is a grave and dry weather road. Air Transportation: The National carrier is Ethiopian Airlines www.ethiopianairlines.com which has extensive domestic flight network flying to several destinations including the popular tourist destination Axum, Lalibela, Gonder, Bahir Dar, Mekelle, Dere Dawa, Arba Minch, Jimma.
Heath requirement: A visitor should have a valid health certificate for yellow fever, vaccination against cholera is also required for any person who has visited or transited a cholera-infected area within six days of arriving in Ethiopia.
Banking hours are usually from 8:00 am - 5:00 pm from Monday to Friday and from 8:00 am - 11:00 am on Saturdays. Closing times may be an hour longer in some private banks. Most banks work through lunchtime including foreign exchanges services.
Energy: Ethiopia uses 220 volts and 50HZ, it is best to bring your own round, two-prong adapter and transfer if necessary.
Clothing: Visitors should take light, summer clothes for the day time and something warm for the evenings, like a sweater or jacket. The temperature drops quite rapidly towards sunset. Simian or bale Mountains trekkers should bring warm clothes and water proofs for unexpected seasonal rains. Shoes must always be removed before entering churches and mosques, foe more information in clothing please contact us.
Safety: Ethiopia is generally a safe country, and Addis Ababa a safe capital city, but one should still take the normal precautions, avoiding unfamiliar areas at night and not carrying large sums of money in accessible pockets. It is advisable to beware of pickpockets operating in certain areas, skilled at identifying new arrivals, other than that violent robbery and muggings are rare and generally visitors can tour the city day and night in safety. Safety is one of the main factors that are considered while stunning Ethiopia Tour organizes its trips.
Brief Historical and geographical information: Ethiopia (formerly known as Abyssinia) is located in the east of Africa, commonly known as the Horn of Africa. It covers an area of 1, 1 12,000kmq, twice the area of France, and according to the recent census has an estimated population of 82 million inhabitants with 80 ethnic groups. It is bounded on the northeast by Eritrea and Djibouti, on the east and southeast by Somalia, on the south by Kenya and on the west by Sudan. The Ethiopian landscape is dominated by a volcanic plateau with an average altitude of 2000 meter above sea level, which decreases towards the country's borders on three sides. The Great Rift Valley which begins at Jordan, Red Sea and traverses long distance all the way the Danakil depression (which contains the lowest point on the earth 120 meter below sea levels) continuing towards the south of Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania and finally Mozambique. Ethiopia known as cradle of human kind, it is almost certain that human beings and their hominid ancestors evolved in the eastern zone of the Rift Valley: Lucy, our most distant ancestor, who lived 3.2 million years ago, was found in the rift Valley region a place called Hadar.Ethiopia has a very strong cultural identity, which has been preserved thanks to a long period of independence, lasting practically until present times.
The Ethiopian national dish consists of Enjera, a flat, circular pancake of fermented made from an endemic grain seed called teff, served with different kinds of cooked meats, vegetables and different sauce, The sauces are generally spiced with berbere, a blend of herbs and spices (including hot peppers) that gives Ethiopian food its characteristic taste. Vegetarians should try "fasting food" (for devout Ethiopian Orthodox Christians fast days make up more than half the year), a colorful spread of salads and vegetables devoid of all meat and animal products.
Usually One eats national dishes with the right hand (water for washing is usually brought to the table before the food is served).
Addis Ababa now boasts of a wide variety of restaurants traditional, Italian, Far East and western, and at hotels in tourist sites European st
In most hotels and restaurants, a 10 per cent service charge is added to the bill. Tipping is a fairly frequent custom, but amounts are depending on the service quality differ.
The Ethiopia is an independent republic operating under the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia. The president is the head of state, while the prime minister is the head of government.
Enkutatash (Ethiopian New Year) 11 September
Meskel (The find of the true cross) 27 September
Genna Ethiopian Christmas: birth of Christ) 7 January
Timkat Ethiopian Epiphany: baptism of Christ) 19 January
Adwa Day (commemorates the victory by Menelik II over Italy in 1896) 2 March
Patriots' Day (celebrates end of Italian occupation in 1941) 6 April
International Labour Day 1 May
Ethiopian Good Friday May (variable)
Fasika (Ethiopian Easter Sunday) May or April (variable)
Idd al Fitr (end of month of fasting for Ramadan) May (variable)
Idd al Adha August (variable)
Travelers using rail ways on the Djibouti border is the only point of entry to Ethiopia and those driving to Ethiopia via surface, Moyale (in Kenya), Humera and Metema (in Sudan), and again Galafi in Djibouti are the available means of entries. All arrivals undergo full customs and immigration checks.
For the major part of travelers accessing via flight, the Bole International Airport is the only terminal available in the Capital Addis Ababa though there are other domestic airports and airstrips serving domestic needs.
Drivers require a valid International Driving License, which can be obtained by exchanging their local license at the Transport and Road Authority office in Addis Ababa. Visitors can recover their original license a day or so prior to departure. Those with their own Vehicle will require a permit from the ministry of Transport and communication. Driving is on the right