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The stunning silhouette of the Semien Mountains

Explore Ethiopia with University of Montana

Example 13 Day Tour
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Explore the highlights of Ethiopia on this University of Montana tour. Start with time in Addis Ababa visiting national museums and their open-air market. Learn the country's dark history at Red Terror Martyrs Museum and see weavings and handicrafts at the Muya Abyssinia craft. Continue to Lalibela to see the ancient rock-hewn churches. Enjoy the breathtaking scenery while visiting the Simien Mountains, spot wildlife, and experience the mystery of the ‘rooftop of Africa’, one of its biggest mountain ranges. Join the Timket Celebration in Gondar at the Royal Enclosure and Fassilades Bath. Witness this solemn and yet joyous celebration while your guide gives you insight into the sacred traditions and culture of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church. Finally spend time in Bahir Dar, near Ethiopia's largest lake, Lake Tana. This leisurely-paced 13-day Ethiopia trip is perfect for anyone with a sense of curiosity and adventure.
A priest reading from the holy bookEthiopia highlands and hutsGelada baboons spotted in the Simien MountainsA Hamer tribe womanTimket Celebration processionThe stunning silhouette of the Semien Mountains
Highlights
  • Hike in the Simien Mountains, keeping your eyes open for gelada baboons
  • Explore rock-hewn churches of Lalibela & witness an active worship ceremony
  • Celebrate Timket Festival in Gondar at the Royal Enclosure with the locals
  • Tour the National and Archaeological museums of Ethiopia in Addis Ababa
Places Visited
  • Africa
  • Ethiopia
  • Addis Ababa
  • Awra Amba
  • Bahir Dar
  • Chenek
  • Gondar
  • Lalibela
  • Simien Mountains National Park
Activity Level: Relaxed
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Full Itinerary

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Day 1: Arrive Addis Ababa

Upon arrival at Bole airport, your driver will meet you and transfer to your hotel for the evening. Settle in and rest up after your long journey.

Day 2: Addis Ababa

Today is a free day to explore Addis Ababa on your own.

Day 3: Addis Ababa to Lalibela

This morning, transfer to the airport for a short flight to Lalibela, the crown jewel of Ethiopia often referred to as 'Africa's Petra'. Check-in to your hotel and use the remainder of the day to explore on your own.

Day 4: Sightseeing in Lalibela

  • Hotel
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch
Spend the day visiting the churches of Lalibela. Here you find the most well-known and preserved churches in the country and the site for many religious ceremonies throughout the year. Visit the magnificent rock-hewn churches which were built by hand between 800 and 1200 AD and are still active worship places. 

Day 5: Lalibela to Gondar | Simien Mountain National Park

  • Hotel
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch
This morning, you will fly to Gondar and then drive to Simien Mountain National park, known as the "Roof of Africa". Observe the magnificent scenery with unique flora and fauna en route before settling into your lodge for the evening.

Day 6: Trek to Chenek

After breakfast, you will begin your hike to Chenek. There are beautiful views on both sides of the escarpment ridge looking back to Imet Gogo and Inatye. This is a great place to spot the Walia ibex and if you are lucky the Ethiopian Wolf.

Day 7: Simien to Gondar

Early this morning after breakfast, drive back to Gondar. Upon arrival check in to your hotel.

Day 8: Gondar Sightseeing

Gondar was the royal capital of the Ethiopian Empire. Founded in 1636 by the Emperor Fassiledes. From castles to churches, the medieval city is adorned by medieval styled infrastructure that was constructed by the Emperor along with his descendants. Visit the “Debre Birhan Selassie Church” a UNESCO World Heritage Site that was built in the late 18th century by Iyasu I, the grandson of the Emperor Fassiledes, where its walls and ceilings are adorned with rows among rows of winged cherubs that represent the omnipresence of God. In the afternoon, you will attend the Timket eve ceremony called, Ketera. During Ketera, the priests take out the Tabots - replicas of the original Ark of the Covenant.

Day 9: Timket Festival

  • Hotel
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch
In the morning you will return to the ‘Tabot Maderia’ to witness the early morning baptism ceremony. The water which symbolizes the Jordan River is blessed by the priest and the patriarch then dips a golden cross and extinguishes a burning consecrated candle in the altar. Then he sprinkles water on the assembled congregation in commemoration of Christ's baptism. Following the baptism, the Tabots start their way back to their respective churches, while feasting, singing and dancing all the way.

Day 10: Gondar

Today you are free to explore Gondar on your own. 

Day 11: Gondar to Awra Amba and Bahir Dar

After having breakfast, drive to Bahir Dar, en route you will visit the village of Awra Amba, which is located off the Woreta - Woldia 'China-Road'. Visit the unique settlement that is considered to be a prime model for self-help and above all gender equality. Women have equal rights to men and there is no distinction in divisions of labor. Men cook, women plow, and religion has no place. They believe in hard work and being good to people. Continue on to Bahir Dar. Drive to the waterfalls of “Tis Isat” also known as the Blue Nile falls before checking into your hotel. (Please keep in mind that due to the construction of the new dam being built within the vicinity, the water levels could be very minimal).

Day 12: Lake Tana

Early in the morning, board a boat to explore Lake Tana, It is the largest lake in Ethiopia with a size of  2,282 m2; it is also the source of the Blue Nile. There are 37 islands dotted around the lake, of which 20 shelter monasteries believed to have existed since the 14th century. These islands hold vast Ancient Ethiopian history, as well as artifacts of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church and are burial sites for a number of former Emperors of the Ethiopian Empire. The island you will visit holds the monastery “Ura Kidane Mehert” if time allows you will also be able to visit the monastery “Azwa Mariam” both known for their ancient manuscripts, paintings, crosses, and artifacts.

Day 13: Bahir Dar to Addis Ababa | Depart

  • 1 Breakfast
Transfer to the airport for your flight to Addis Ababa. Depending on your International flight timing transfer to a hotel for day use or transfer to Bole International airport for your flight back home.

Accommodations

Jupiter International Hotel

Jupiter International Hotel
Jupiter International Hotel
Enjoy a comfortable stay at Jupiter Hotel

Blue Nile Resort

Junior Suite at Blue Nile hotel
Duplex Suite at Blue Nile Hotel
Duplex Suite Bedroom at Blue Nile Hotel

Tukul Village

Tukul Village
Standard room with balcony and views
Tukul Village Hut

Lammergeyer Hotel

Lammergeyer Hotel
Lammergeyer Hotel
Lammergeyer Hotel

Befiker Kossoye Ecology Lodge

Befiker Kossoye Ecology Lodge
Befiker Kossoye Ecology Lodge
Befiker Kossoye Ecology Lodge

Dates & Prices

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Per person starting at
$2,525

Notes

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Rate displayed is based on a group size of 10 passengers.
Included
  • 12 Breakfasts, 4 Lunches
  • 12 Nights Accommodations
  • Accommodations as listed
  • Meals as listed
  • Ground transportation as listed
  • Professional, bilingual guide service as listed
  • Excursions and activities as listed
  • Simien Mountains National Park Entrance Fee 
  • Photography Fees
  • Park Entrance Fee
  • Arrival Transfer
  • Departure Transfer
Excluded
  • Travel Insurance
  • Personal Expenses
  • Flight costs (please request a quote)
  • Additional excursions during free time
  • Tourist Visa
  • Gratuities
  • Meals not Included
  • International Flights
  • Airport Departure Tax - International Departure tax. Most domestic taxes are included in the ticket price.

Map

When to Go

Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct
Nov
Dec
Good to ideal period to travel, and many people choose to visit at this time.
Typically not offered during this period because of weather conditions.

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Our guide and driver were very good with their knowledge and were very helpful with our questions. It was a very pleasant visit that would have been impossible to do on our own. Hotels and restaurants were fantastic. The special places we got to go to, like the kitchens, were great. Enjoyed the entire trip!
Meyer Smolen
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