January 15- Arrival + Addis Ababa Arrival at Bole International airport. Welcome and assistance by the tour guide at the airport. Transfer into the hotel.
January 16 - Addis – Bahirdar Fly from Addis to Bahirdar, Capital of Amhara Region. Visit to the Tiss-Issat (Blue Nile falls 30km) before lunch. In the noon, boat trip to the Lake Tana and visiting the 14th century AD island monasteries, Ura kidane meheret and Azwa Mariam.
January 17 - Bahirdar to Gondar Early in the morning, drive from Bahir Dar to Gondar and visit the IMPERIAL CASTLE Compound of Gondar (UNESCO World Heritage Site) with their epic European middle ages looking in the heart of Africa, the ‘BATH OF EMPEROR FASILADAS’, the ancient church of QUSKUAM MARIAM (17th century AD), and the church of DEBRE BIRHAN SILLASSIE, which is famous for its wall and ceiling paintings. In the afternoon attend the EVE of Timket, Epiphany at Gondar.
January 18 – Timket Festival at Gondar Timket is Ethiopian for Epiphany. It is the most important and colorful event of the year. The festival starts at Timket Eve, January 17, eleven days after the orthodox Christmas. Although the festival is largely religious, it has no lack of secular elements such as partying and match-making. The Ark of the Covenant is said to be abducted from Jerusalem and brought to Ethiopia during the first millennium BC. Since then, it has become the most sacred element of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church. Tens of thousands of church members and believers, chanting, dancing, drum-beating and horn-blowing are attending the festival. After the chief priest blesses the water, the celebration reaches its climax and Gondar is the best place to celebrate the festival.
January 19 – Gondar - Axum Fly to Axum, after check-in in the hotel, have a sightseeing tour of Axum which includes visiting the Archaeological museum of Axum, the famous stele park (UNESCO World Heritage Site), the church of St. Mary of Zion, believed to be the last resting place of the original Ark of the Covenant, the palace and tomb of King Kaleb and Gebre Meskel and the ruin palace of the Queen of Sheba (9thCentury BC).
January 20 – Axum - Lalibela In the morning, fly to Lalibela – home of the 12th century AD rock hewn churches of King Lalibela. And in the afternoon, visit the first group of six churches of King Lalibela (UNESCO World Heritage Site) which lie in rock cradles one behind the other: Bet Golgotha, Bet Mika'el, Bet Maryam, Bet Meskel, Bet Danaghel and Bet Medhane Alem.
January 21 – Lalibela In the morning, mule back ride to the hill top semi monolithic church of ASHETON MARIAM (13th century AD). The church is situated on the top of a mountain at an altitude of 3150 meters. The roundtrip takes about 4 hours. We return to Lalibela for lunch. In the afternoon, visit the other groups of rock churches.
January 22 – Lalibela - Addis – Departure Fly back to Addis and have a half-day city tour of Addis that includes visiting the National Archeological Museum of Addis Ababa, Merkato - the largest open-air market in Africa, and driving to Entoto (3,200 meters) to have a panoramic view of the capital. In the evening, you will be invited a farewell dinner party at one of the best traditional restaurants of Addis to see the traditional dance of the Ethiopian ethnic groups and to taste the variety of meals of the Ethiopian people. Then transfer out to the airport for departure back to home.