Northern Ethiopia Safari
Northern Ethiopia safari is a 14 day African safari in Ethiopia. The northern Ethiopia safari commences and ends in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa. This road safari tour in Ethiopia will start with a city tour of Addis Ababa. It combines culture, history and wildlife. You’ll get to experience the best of religious architectural design in Lalibela. There will be the unique gelada baboons that are endemic to Ethiopian highlands.
Day 1: Addis Ababa
You’ll be met upon arrival at Bole International Airport. This will be by our Ethiopia safari representative. You will be transferred to your hotel in Addis Ababa. On arrival you will be checked in. This will be followed by a detailed briefing on this northern Ethiopia safari. After settling in you’ll embark on a city tour of Addis Ababa. You’ll visit the biggest open air market in Africa, Merkato. This tour also goes to Mount Entoto with its St. Mary church. You’ll also go to St. George cathedral and the National Museum. This is where the most famous hominid skeleton of ‘LUCY’ is. It is believed to be 3.2 million years old. You’ll also visit Trinity Cathedral with its unique architectural design. Overnight will be at your Addis Ababa hotel.
Day 2: Addis Ababa – Debre Markos
You’ll enjoy an early breakfast at your hotel. Your northern Ethiopia safari then drives 110 kms north to the Entoto Mountains. You’ll pass through the Sululta Plains to the Monastery of Debre Libanos. This was founded in the 13th century. You’ll visit ecclesiastical, cultural and historical relics here. You’ll later walk across the 16th Century Portuguese Bridge. This takes you to a spectacular viewpoint overlooking Jema River gorge. Here you may see gelada monkeys that are unique to Ethiopia. Your drive will proceed to Debre Markos. You’ll have a photo stop at the majestic and captivating Blue Nile gorge. Overnight will be at your Hotel in Debre Markos.
Day 3: Debre Markos – Bahir Dar
After breakfast your northern Ethiopia safari drives to Bahir Dar. After lunch, city tour in Bahir Dar to visit the panorama view of Bezawit hill top. From here you’ll be able to oversee the Blue Nile River. This is as it comes out from southern mouth of Lake Tana. There is a 16th century ruminant church built by the Spanish missionary Pedro Pez. Your overnight will be at Abay Minch Lodge.
Day 4: Bahir Dar
You will begin your day on northern Ethiopia safari with an early breakfast. This will be followed by a boat trip on Lake Tana. You will visit a selection of the monasteries hidden on the islands. There are some that are on the shores of this sacred lake. At the Zege Penninsula you got the monasteries of Azuwa Maryam and Ura Kidane Mehret. On the island there is the monastery of Debre Maryam. This is near the outlet of the Blue Nile River. Your northern Ethiopia safari will drive out to the Blue Nile Falls. This is in the afternoon for a short hike in the area. You will end the day with a sunset over the lake. Your overnight will be at Abay Minch Lodge.
Day 5: Bahir Dar – Gondar
Your northern Ethiopia safari will begin with breakfast. You will then depart driving north to Gondar. This is a four-hour drive will take you through rural villages. The drive offers a wonderful insight into the Amhara culture. After briefly settling in your hotel, you’ll explore the sites of Gondar. This will includea visit to the Royal Enclosure, with six castles. You’ll also visit Fasilidas’s Pool, still used for Timket celebrations today. The visit takes you to Ras Gimb Palace Museum and the Debre Birhan Selassie church. The church has the most famous ceiling in Ethiopia. Overnight in Gondar will be at Fasil Lodge.
Day 6: Gondar – Simien Mountains
you will begin your northern Ethiopia safari with an early breakfast. You will then depart to Sankober in the Simien Mountains. From here you’ll have an easy hike to the Geech Abyss. Here you’ll see a large waterfall where the Jinbar River plunges into the abyss. This area is also a great place for viewing the endemic gelada baboon. They are also known as the ‘bleeding heart baboon’. This is due to the red patch of skin on its chest. You will spend the night in Debark at Giant Lobelia Hotel.
Day 7: Simien Mountains – Axum
You will start your day with an early breakfast. This is before your northern Ethiopia safari departs north for Axum. You’ll enjoy the spectacular views of the Simien Mountains. There will be a stop for lunch in Adi Arkay. Your splendid Ethiopia safari with then proceed through the dramatic Tekeze Valley. You’ll be offered some of the best landscapes in Ethiopia. You’ll proceed to Axum which is home of the ancient Axumite Empire. This was Queen of Sheba’s empire and home to the Ark of the Covenant. You will have the night at Remhai Hotel.
Day 8: Axum
Your northern Ethiopia safari has a full day visiting the sites of Axum. Today you’ll visit the famous obelisks and the archeological museum. You’ll go to Queen of Sheba’s Bath that supplies water to Axum year-round. The tour also goes to Ezana’s inscription, King Kaleb’s tomb and King Bazen’s tomb. You’ll have time to go to the Queen of Sheba’s Palace. Optionally, you can also visit the St. Mary of Zion church. This is where the Ark of the Covenant is kept. It is only men only allowed to enter the old church. You will have the night at Remhai Hotel.
Day 9: Axum – Hawsein
Start your day on northern Ethiopia safari with breakfast. You’ll then drive to visit the ruins of Yeha. This dates to the 8th to 5th centuries BC. It is thought to be the capital of Ethiopian civilization before Axum. You’ll later visit the Debre Damo monastery where only men must climb up a 15-m rope to enter. Your tour will proceed through the state of Tigray. You’ll stop en-route for a visit to the rock-hewn church of Medhane Alem Adi Kesho. Your night in Hawsein will be at Gheralta Lodge.
Day 10: Hawsein – Mekele
Start your days early with a wake up for breakfast. Your northern Ethiopia safari then visits either Abuna Yemata Guh or Maryam Korkor. Both churches involve an approximate one-hour hike. However they offer commanding views of the surrounding area. Continue your visit with the more easily-accessible churches. This includes the curches of Abreha we Atsbeha and Chirkos. Your drive will proceed to Mekele for overnight at Axum Hotel.
Day 11: Mekele – Lalibela
This will be a long day on northern Ethiopia safari. An early departure will be essential as you have a full day of driving to Lalibela. You’ll will pass through several small villages. They have the typical sandstone homes of the Tigray people. Proceed through this rural area Lalibela. You will be accommodated at Lal Hotel for the night.
Day 12: Lalibela
This will be a full northern Ethiopia safari day in Lalibela. In the morning you’ll tour of the rock-hewn churches of Lalibela. You’ll visit the Northwestern Cluster of churches. They are Bet Medhane Alem, Bet Maryam, Bet Meskel, Bet Danaghel, Bet Mikael and Bet Golgotha. Entry at Bet Golgotha is not permitted for women. After lunch you’ll continue with the Southeastern Cluster of churches. They include Bet Gabriel-Rufael, Bet Merkorios, Bet Amanual, and Bet Abba Libanos. Finally, you’ll visit the most famous of all the churches, Bet Giyorgis. This was constructed in honor of the patron saint of Ethiopia – Saint George. Overnight in Lalibela will be at Lal Hotel.
Day 13: Lalibela – Kombolcha
You will begin the day with and early breakfast on the northern Ethiopia safari. This will be followed by a visit the nearby monastery of Na’akuto La’ab. The monastery is set on the side of a cliff. You’ll later drive off via Woldia to Kombolcha. There will be a stop for a rest in Hayk. Here you can enjoy the views of this stunning lake. There is a local monastery that is open for men only or enjoys the birdlife. Your overnight in Kombolcha will be at Sunnyside Hotel.
Day 14: Kombolcha – Addis Ababa
The day on northern Ethiopia safari will begin early. You will be driving back to Addis via Debre Birhan. On the way you pass the Mezezo Escarpment. There are good chances to see the endemic gelada baboons here. For a Sunday, you can stop in the town of Senbete. This is to visit the lively market including the interesting camel market. You are expected in Addis Ababa later in the day.