Ethiopian Christmas Tour


Day 1: Addis Ababa
Arrive in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Welcome to Ethiopia! Upon arrival at Addis Ababa Bole International Airport, you will be welcomed and
assisted by your tour guide and driven to your hotel. If you arrive in the morning, an optional city tour can be arranged.
Overnight: Hotel, Addis Ababa

Day 2: Addis Ababa, Bahirdar
In the morning, drive to Bahirdar through the Great Blue Nile Gorge with stops at different small towns like Dejen, Chancho, and Goha
Overnight Hotel, Bahir Dar

Day 3: Lake Tana, Blue Nile Falls, Bahir Dar
After breakfast, we will take a boat cruise over Lake Tana to visit
the ancient 14th-century island monasteries of Lake Tana. After lunch at the hotel, we will drive 35 km to visit the majestic Blue Nile Falls.
Overnight: Hotel, Bahir Dar

Day 4: Bahir Dar, Gondar
After breakfast, we drive to Gondar through the beautiful countryside scenery to arrive at Gondar around lunchtime. After check in to Goha Hotel and lunch there, we will start tour of Gondar that includes the Royal Enclosure, the pool of King Fasilidas, and the famous Debre Berhan Sellassie church adorned with brilliant frescos inside.
Overnight: Goha Hotel, Bahir Dar

Day 5: Gondar, Simien Mountains National Park
After an early breakfast, we will drive to Simien Mountains National Park. En route, we will visit the “Felasha”, or Black Jewish village.
On the drive from Gondar up to Simien Mountains National Park, you will enjoy the spectacular scenery including at the top of the massif. For the rest of the day, we will trek around the park and Sankaber to explore the stunning views and wildlife.
Overnight: Simien Lodge

Day 6: Simien Mountains National Park, Axum
After breakfast, we drive to Axum through the beautiful scenery of the Simien Mountains and the Tekeze River Gorge.
Overnight: Hotel, Axum

Day 7: Axum
After breakfast, we will visit the ancient city of Axum. Your visit in Axum includes the Stele Square, Kaleba Tombs, the 4th-century
Christian inscription of King Ezana, Queen of Sheba’s Palace, Archeological Museum, and Tsion Mariam Church, where the original Ark
of the Covenant is housed.
Overnight: Hotel, Axum

Day 8: Axum, Hauzien
In the morning, we drive to Hauzien, the center of some of the most ancient rock-hewn churches, through the stunning and historical
mountains of Adwa.
Overnight: Lodge, Hauzien

Day 9: Hauzien, Mekele
In the morning, we drive to Mekele en route visiting some of the most ancient Tigray rock-hewn churches including Wikro Cherkos, Abrha
We-atsbeha, and Dugum Selassie.
Overnight: Hotel, Mekelle

Day 10: Mekele, Lalibela, Celebration at Bete Emanuel
After breakfast, we drive north to Lalibela through Sekota. En route, you will visit Yimrhane Kirstos and different villages of the Agwe
tribal people. In the evening, we will drive to Bete Emanuel to attend the special celebration of Emanuel with chanting and dancing by the priests and deacons. The ceremony will be accompanied by a capacity crowd of pilgrims who came to witness this event from far off hamlets and inaccessible valleys on their bare feet walking, for weeks and even months.
Overnight: Hotel, Lalibela

Day 11: Rock-hewn churches of Lalibela, Ethiopian Christmas Eve
In the morning, we will drive to the sites with the highest concentration of rock-hewn churches of Lalibela from 1200 AD. At night, we will attend the Christmas Eve ceremony to be held at Bete Mariam church. This evening, you will attend the Ethiopian Christmas Eve Ceremony with the pilgrims. The dancing by the deacons and the priests continue throughout the night while the pilgrims clap and ululate to the drumbeat. At midnight, there will be a candlelight ceremony to commemorate the birth of Jesus Christ.
Overnight: Hotel, Lalibela

Day 12: Lalibela, Asheten Mariam, Ethiopian Christmas
In the morning, we will once more drive to Bete Mariam to witness the final ceremony of Ethiopian Christmas. On this day, as it has been for centuries, the priests will be lined up with their drums on the cliff edge of Bete Mariam and others at the bottom, representing the shepherds and the angels announcing the birth of Jesus. After lunch and a rest at the hotel, we will continue our journey into Ethiopia’s long and marvelous history with a visit to more of Lalibela’s remarkable churches. The rock-hewn churches that we will visit this afternoon include Bete Gebriel, Bete Merkorios Bete Amanuel, Bethlehem, and Bete Aba Libanos. At the end of the tour, there will be a special Ethiopian traditional coffee ceremony for the group prepared at a local house.
Overnight: Hotel, Lalibela

Day 13: Lalibela, Addis Ababa, Departure
After breakfast, transfer to Lalibela airport for the flight to Addis Ababa. Depending on your departure time, we can arrange an optional
city tour of Addis Ababa. In the evening, there will be a Lalibela tour and trekking complimentary farewell dinner party with a traditional special buffet and local drinks (flight schedule permitting). At the end of the farewell dinner,
transfer to Addis Ababa airport for the flight back. End of tour.

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