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THIS IS NOT THE FULL BROCHURE

We invite you to call Sarah or Gwen at 1-800-762-4216 to request the full brochure. The brochure will include Important Traveler Information (and answers to most questions) and a Reservation Form. We can send the brochure through the Postal Service or as a PDF attachment. If you would like to receive a PDF, probably the best way to keep the message from going into a SPAM filter is to send a message to sarah@serioustraveler.com. If you are already on our mailing list, no need to complete the entire brochure request form.

September 17 - 29, 2017

13 days • $5710 Based on double occupancy beginning and ending in Washington, IAD
via Ethiopian Airlines plus $50 Ethiopian visa fee
Single Supplement $870

Day by Day Itinerary

September 17 Depart U.S.A.
Sunday

Meet your travel companions for departure from Dulles International (IAD), Washington, DC at 11:00 AM local time with Ethiopian Airlines ET501.

Meals aloft

September 18 Arrive Addis Ababa
Monday

Arrive in Addis Ababa (ADD), Ethiopia at 7:10 AM. Welcome to Ethiopia! Upon arrival at Addis Ababa Bole International Airport, we will easily secure our visas and be welcomed and assisted by our tour guide and driver. There will be a short drive to the lovely Radisson Blu Hotel (5*).

We will have time for a short rest in the morning, and in the afternoon start our city and sightseeing tour of Addis Ababa, which includes the National Museum, Ethnographic Museum and Merkato. Enjoy lunch this afternoon.

Addis Ababa, founded in 1886 by Menelik II, is situated at 2,500 meters (8000 ft.) above sea level. It is the highest capital city in the world, after La Paz and Quito in South America. Only 9 degrees north of the equator, the city enjoys an excellent climate all year round, with an average temperature of 25C (77F). With a multi-ethnic population of over 5 million, Addis Ababa is a pleasant city with wide avenues of jacarandas, interesting museums, and one of the largest open-air markets in Africa, known as the “Merkato”.

The National Museum of Ethiopia is one of the best museums in quality and diversity. Archaeological exhibits include the 3.5 million-year-old fossil of Lucy (or Dinkinesh – ‘thou art wonderful’- in the native language), a humanoid woman of the specious of Australopithecus Afarensis. The discovery of Lucy’s fossil in 1974 forced a complete rethink of human genealogy, providing that our ancestors were walking 2.5 million years earlier than had been supposed. The National Museum also contains many wonderful artifacts dating back to pre-Axumite civilization.

The Ethnographic Museum is very different to the National Museum, but equally absorbing. This museum exhibits a varied array of artifacts and daily objects related to most ethnic groups in Ethiopia. The city tour of Addis will continue with a drive through the Merkato, the largest open-air market in the continent. The Radisson has a nice dining room and two coffee shops. Enjoy free time this evening to have dinner on your own tonight and retire early. (L)

Radisson Blu-Addis Ababa

September 19 Addis Ababa
Tuesday Bahirdar
Blue Nile Falls

In the morning, fly to Bahirdar. We have an arrival transfer then check in to hotel on the shores of Lake Tana. Walk around the beautiful town of Bahirdar and visit the bustling local market.

After having lunch at the hotel, we drive 22 miles to visit the majestic Blue Nile Falls. Eighteen miles downstream the river empties into Lake Tana. The Blue Nile plunges over a 148 ft high face. Although some of the water has been diverted to the hydro-electric plant, it is still one of the most spectacular waterfalls in Africa. Walking to the falls through the beautiful river gorge on the ancient bridge from the 17th century, and meeting the local people at the small villages on the way to the falls is also a great experience. (B-L-D)

Avanti Blue Nile Resort

September 20 Bahirdar-Lake Tana
Wednesday

In the morning, we will take a boat cruise over Lake Tana to visit the ancient 14th century island monasteries of Lake Tana. The 37 islands of Lake Tana shelter twenty monasteries-surviving remnants of an old, contemplative tradition. Because of their isolation, they were used to store treasures and religious relics from all parts of the country. The Lake’s monasteries are famous for their typical Ethiopian religious paintings, illuminated manuscripts, and other ancient church treasures. The monasteries that we are going to visit include Kibran Gebriel, Ura Kidane Mihret and Azua Mariam.

The rest of the day, relax at our beautiful lakeside lodge. (B-L-D)

Avanti Blue Nile Resort

September 21 Bahirdar-Gondar
Thursday

After breakfast, drive towards Gondar, passing through the beautiful countryside scenery, arriving around midday for check-in.

After lunch, explore the ancient city of Gondar. It was founded by Emperor Fasiledas around 1635, and is famous for its many medieval castles. The design and decoration of its churches, in particular Debre Birhan Selassie, represents a masterpiece of unique Ethiopian School of traditional art.

Today you will visit the Royal Enclosure, a walled compound having 6 different castles built from the 17th century by different kings who ruled in different times. See the pool of King Fasilidas, which still serves as a baptismal pool during Ethiopian Epiphany. Visit the famous Deberberhan Sillassie adorned with brilliant frescoes from inside. (B-L-D)

Goha Hotel

September 22 Gondar-Simien
Friday Mountains National
Park

After an early breakfast, we will drive towards Axum through the Simien Mountains National park. En-route we will be visiting the “Felasha” or the Black Jewish village. It is believed that the “Felashas” settled in this village during the time of King Minlik I, the son of the Queen of Sheba and King Solomon.

When driving from Gondar up to Simien Mountains National Park, nothing prepares you for the spectacular scenery that awaits you at the top of the massif. The rolling grassy plateau comes to an abrupt stop, and sheer cliffs plunge almost vertically for 1,000 meter (3,280 feet) to the plains below.

The massif itself has been sculpted by 30 million years of up thrust and erosion into a wonderland of jagged ridges, pinnacles and strangely cropped conical mountains. Looking out over the heart-stopping precipice, you feel you might just be at the edge of the world!

The rest of the day, trek to explore the surrounding of Snakaber, part of the Simien Mountains National Park. You very likely will see some interesting wildlife here. The elevation of the Simien Lodge “The Highest Lodge in the World”, is 10,695 feet. (B-L-D)

Simien Lodge-Buyit Ras

September 23 Simien Mountains
Saturday Axum

After breakfast, continue to Axum through the beautiful sceneries of Simien Mountains, Limalimo and Tekeze River Gorge.

We will have a brief stops at different parts of the park for the best views. Enjoy a picnic lunch near the Tekeze River Gorge whilst enjoying the beautiful Simien Mountains scenery from a distance. (B-L-D)

Sabean Hotel-Axum

September 24 Axum-Yeha
Sunday

After breakfast, we will begin the visit of the ancient city of Axum. This is the birthplace of Ethiopian civilization. By the first century, Axum was a major trading center for exotic goods from Egypt, Rome, Nubia, Greece, Syria, and India. It is believed that the Holy Ark of the Covenant was brought here before the destruction of the Jewish Temple, and Axum is reputed to be the second Jerusalem.

Our visit in Axum includes: the Stele Square, Kaleba Tombs, the 4th century Christian inscription of King Ezana, Queen of Sheba’s Palace, Archaeological Museum, and Tsion Mariam Church where the original Ark of the Covenant is said to be housed.

In the afternoon, make an excursion to Yeha, “Temple of the Moon”, a pre-Christian temple from the 5th century BC and center of the Sabaean Civilization which preceded the Axumite era. (B-L-D)

Sabean Hotel-Axum

September 25 Axum-Lalibela
Monday

After having breakfast at the hotel, transfer to Axum Airport for your flight to Lalibela. After check in, we will drive to the site where we find a concentration of some of Ethiopia’s most famous rock-hewn churches, mostly referred to by many as “the living wonders of the world.” These churches are, and they have been for at least 800 years, active Christian shrines, the spiritual center of the country’s religious life. The monolithic churches were carved out of 8,530 square feet natural rock terrace in the 12th-century AD by King Lalibela.

Bete Medhani Alem, the largest monolithic rock-hewn church in the world, measures 37.7 ft. in height, covers an area of almost 2625 square ft and has walls that are up to six feet thick. A plain building supported by 36 pillars on the inside and another 36 pillars around the outside, Bete Medhani Alem was modeled on the original St. Mary Zion Church built in Axum by King Ezana during the 4th century.

The rock-hewn churches that we will visit today include: Bete Medhani Alem, Bete Mariam, Bete Meskel, Bete Denagil, Bete Golgotha Michael and Bete Giorgis. Our guide will arrange for helpers and/or mules to assist us as we navigate the steps and pathways. Ride a mule if you wish.

In the evening, there will be Ethiopian traditional coffee ceremony for the group prepared at a local house. Those who can’t face their day without a cup of coffee may be surprised to know that in its birthplace in Ethiopia’s Kaffa region-from which it gets its name. Originally, the berries were eaten, never roasted and ground for a drink. Only since the 13th century has coffee has been made a hot drink. Holding a coffee ceremony is a traditional Ethiopian way of welcoming a guest and giving the guest the best hospitality. It is probably one of the most celebrated Ethiopian traditions, and a lifestyle - in which most Ethiopians can identify themselves. (B-L-D)

Tukul Village Hotel-Lalibela

September 26 Lalibela-Asheten
Tuesday Mariam-Meskel Eve

In the morning, have a mule ride, and trek to the top of Asheten Mariam Monastery. The famous 12th-century monastery church located at 10,298 ft above sea level provides a beautiful view towards Axum. We will trek/mule ride through dramatic highland scenery, which eventually ends in a beautiful serene agricultural hamlet.

After having lunch and rest at the hotel, we will continue our journey into Ethiopia’s long and marvelous past with a visit to other St. Lalibela’s remarkable churches. Their architecture and artistry must be seen to be believed. Once we finish visiting the second group of churches we will walk to the village through the complex and bewildering labyrinth of underground tunnels to the monastery where the monks and nuns live.

The rock-hewn churches that we will visit this afternoon include: Bete Gebriel, Bete Mercorios, Bete Amanuel, Bethlehem and Bete Aba Libanos.

Late in the afternoon, attend Demera, which is the eve of Meskel. At the Demera, there will be a lot of dancing and singing by the priest, deacon and the local people around a pile of bonfire to be burned the next morning. (B-L-D)

Tukul Village Hotel-Lalibela

September 27 Meskel Festival
Wednesday Yimrhane Kirstos
Bilbala Cherkos

Early in the morning, we will witness one of the most colorful festivals - Meskel. The faithful will come to the Demera to share the blessing and to dance and sing around the bonfire. This ceremony is performed colorfully by priests and deacons with drums and sitars with a capacity crowd in front of the first group of rock-hewn churches.

After breakfast we drive to Yimrhane Kirstos through Bilbala Giorgis and Bilbala Cherkos, en route visiting some of the most ancient rock-hewn churches in Ethiopia, some of them dating back to the 6th century and even earlier. These are living proof that stone craft started in Ethiopia even much earlier than thought by many people. The built-up cave church of Yimrhane Kirstos itself predates the rock-hewn churches of Lalibela by eight years. This is one of the most beautiful built-up cave churches, built from marble, wood and beautifully decorated from inside and outside with untold architectural skill. In the backside of the cave, you will also see many mummified bodies of pilgrims from centuries ago. The rest of the day is at leisure. (B-L-D)

Tukul Village Hotel -Lalibela

September 28 Lalibela-Addis Ababa
Thursday Departure

After breakfast, transfer to Lalibela airport for the flight to Addis Ababa. After check in at the hotel, the rest of the day we will have city tour of Addis Ababa which includes the view of Addis Ababa from Entoto. We will also have the chance to walk around Piassa and Churchil Avenue for shopping.

Day rooms will be available at the Radisson Blu hotel until evening. Enjoy a Farewell Dinner party with traditional buffet and local drinks. This evening transfer to Bole International Airport for flights back home with Ethiopian Airlines ET500 departing at 10:50 PM. (B-D)

September 29 Arrive U.S.A.
Friday

Arrive at Dulles International airport (IAD)at 8:40 AM. Welcome home!

Note: Flight schedules always subject to change.

January 28 - February 8, 2017

11 extra days • $3990 from Addis Ababa
Single Supplement $750

Day by Day Itinerary

September 28 Addis Ababa
Thursday

Begin our Omo Valley tour with an overnight in Addis Ababa. (D)

Radisson Blu-Addis Ababa

September 29 Addis Ababa-Tiya
Friday Langano

In the morning, drive south of Addis Ababa on the Butajira Road to Langano en-route enjoying the stunning views and visiting Gurage Village and Tiya.

At Tiya, you will visit the northern most example of a peculiar type of engraved, standing stelae which stretch across parts of southern Ethiopia. These stelae are believed to have been erected between the 12th and 14th centuries and are almost certainly grave markers.

On the shore of Lake Langano, check in to the Sabana Lodge. We can relax along the shore of the beautiful Rift Valley lake or take a relaxing trek in the acacia forest full of beautiful endemic birds. (B-L-D)

Sabana Lodge-Langano

September 30 Lagano-Arbaminch
Saturday

After breakfast, drive to Arbaminch on the way visiting the different towns and villages such as Shasemene, Welyita and Tembaro. (B-L-D)

Paradise Lodge-Arbaminch

October 1 Arbaminch-Konso
Sunday Turmi

After an early breakfast, we will drive to Turmi visiting different cultural people and their villages including the Konso and the undulating landscape of the Konso area.

The Konso are famous for their old and unique terracing and unusual engraved wooden statues of Konso grave markers. Between Konso and Turmi, you will also have brief stops to visit the different cultural people and their villages like: Tsemay near Weito River, the Bena at Keyafer and the Ari at Kako Village. (B-L-D)

Buska Lodge-Turmi

October 2 Turmi-Omorate
Monday Hamer-Turmi

In the cool morning, we will drive to Omorate to visit the Desanech (Geleb) tribal village after crossing the Omo River by boat. The Desanech are nomadic pastoralists found across the western bank of the Omo River south of Lake Turkana very close to the Kenyan boarder.

Late in the afternoon, we will drive to the Hamer Village. The Hamer, display an elaborate and diverse selection of body decorations. They are also identifiable for their high cheekbones, elaborate custom of beads, cowries and leather, and thick copper necklaces. At the same village we will enjoy the seasonal cultural activities including the famous Evangadi (Hamer Dancing). (B-L-D)

Buska Lodge-Turmi

October 3 Turmi-Dimeka Market
Tuesday Jinka

In the morning, we will drive to Jinka en-route visiting different tribal villages including Ari and Bena.

In the afternoon, drive to Dimeka to visit the colorful multi ethnic and multi-cultural weekly tribal market. On Tuesdays and Saturdays, fair number of the Hamer and the Bena tribes walk to the market from miles around. Here we will have the chance to see the tribes of the surrounding area in their traditional marketing activities and displaying their local handicrafts. We will also have an opportunity to bargain for varieties of handicrafts. The rest of the day, explore the surrounding of the Turmi area. Continue to Jinka for overnight. (B-L-D)

Eco Omo Lodge -Jinka

October 4 Jinka-Mursi Village
Wednesday Mago National Park
Jinka

After having an early breakfast, we will drive from Jinka to Mursi Village. The Mursi, undoubtedly the most celebrated residents of South Omo are a distinctive group of pastoralists. The Mursi are best-known for their unique item of decoration - lip plates. Women of Mursi wear a circular clay plate on their lower lip and the bigger a women can wear, the greater her value when she gets married.

After our visit to the Mursi Village, we will have our picnic lunch in the Mago National Park and continue driving back to Jinka through the park. (B-L-D)

Eco Omo Lodge-Jinka

October 5 Jinka-Arbaminch
Thursday

In the morning, drive back to Arbaminch with brief stops at different villages including Erbore Village where the nomadic Cushitic Speaking Erbore tribes live. (B-L-D)

Paradise Lodge-Arbaminch

October 6 Arbamich-Lake Chamo
Friday Chencha-Arbaminch Chencha Village

After breakfast, we will have a boat cruise over Lake Chamo to see some of the largest African crocodiles, hippopotamus, and many beautiful aquatic birds including the lovely Kingfisher and African Fish Eagle.

In the afternoon, drive to the mountain village of Chencha, home of the Dorze people. The Dorze people, renowned cotton weavers whose tall beehive-shaped and bamboo woven dwellings - Tukul, are among the most distinctive structures to be seen anywhere in Africa. (B-L-D)

Paradise Lodge-Arbaminch

October 7 Arbaminch-Langano
Saturday

After breakfast, we will start driving north to Langano en-route visiting different villages and some of the most beautiful Rift Valley lakes.

After check in to Bishangari Lodge, located on the shore of Lake Langano, you will have a relaxing walk in the well conserved natural forest full of different species of endemic birds and different mammals. You will also have the chance to relax along the shore of Langano. (B-L-D)

Bishangari Lodge-Langano

October 8 Langano-Addis Ababa
Sunday Departure

After spending part of the morning relaxing around the lake, we will continue driving north towards Addis Ababa with brief stops at different towns such as Mojo and Debrezeit.

Spend the rest of the day with a city tour of Addis Ababa and some souvenir shopping. In the evening, transfer to Bole International airport for the flight back home with Ethiopian Airlines ET500 departing Bole (ADD), Addis Ababa at 10:50 PM. (B-L)

October 9 Arrive U.S.A.
Monday

Arrive Dulles International airport (IAD), Washington D.C., at 8:40 AM. Welcome home!

Note: Flight schedules always subject to change.

THIS IS NOT THE FULL BROCHURE

We invite you to call Sarah or Gwen at 1-800-762-4216 to request the full brochure. The brochure will include Important Traveler Information (and answers to most questions) and a Reservation Form. We can send the brochure through the Postal Service or as a PDF attachment. If you would like to receive a PDF, probably the best way to keep the message from going into a SPAM filter is to send a message to sarah@serioustraveler.com. If you are already on our mailing list, no need to complete the entire brochure request form.

 

January 17 - 29, 2018

13 days • $5710 Based on double occupancy beginning and ending in Washington, IAD
via Ethiopian Airlines $50 Ethiopian visa fee
Single Supplement $870

Day by Day Itinerary

January 17 Depart U.S.A.
Wednesday

Meet your travel companions for by 7:30 AM for departure from Dulles International (IAD), Washington, DC at 10:30 AM local time by Ethiopian Airlines ET501.

Meals aloft

January 18 Arrive Addis Ababa
Thursday

Arrive in Addis Ababa (ADD), Ethiopia at 7:45 am. Welcome to Ethiopia! Upon arrival at Addis Ababa Bole International Airport, we will easily secure our visas and be welcomed and assisted by our tour guide and driver. There will be a short drive to the lovely Radisson Blu Hotel (5*).

We will have time for a short rest in the morning, and in the afternoon start our city tour and sightseeing tour of Addis Ababa, which includes the National Museum, Ethnographic Museum and Merkato. Enjoy lunch this afternoon.

Addis Ababa, founded in 1886 by Menelik II, is situated at 2,500 meters (8000 ft.) above sea level. It is the highest capital city in the world, after La Paz and Quito in South America. Only 9 degrees north of the equator, the city enjoys an excellent climate all year round, with an average temperature of 25C (77F). With a multi-ethnic population of over 5 million, Addis Ababa is a pleasant city with wide avenues of jacarandas, interesting museums, and one of the largest open-air markets in Africa, known as the “Mercato”.

The National Museum of Ethiopia is one of the best museums in quality and diversity. Archaeological exhibits include the 3.5 million-year-old fossil of Lucy (or Dinkinesh – ‘thou art wonderful’- in the native language), a humanoid woman of the specious of Australopithecus Afarensis. The discovery of Lucy’s fossil in 1974 forced a complete rethink of human genealogy, providing that our ancestors were walking 2.5 million years earlier than had been supposed. The National Museum also contains many wonderful artifacts dating back to pre-Axumite civilization.

The Ethnographic Museum is very different to the National Museum, but equally absorbing. This museum exhibits a varied array of artifacts and daily objects related to most ethnic groups in Ethiopia. The city tour of Addis will continue with a drive through the Merkato, the largest open-air market in the continent.

The rest of the day, attend the Timkat Eve Festival at Jan Meda where many people will be gathered.

The Radisson has a nice dining room and two coffee shops. Enjoy free time to have dinner this evening and retire early. (L)

Radisson Blu-Addis Ababa

January 19 Addis Ababa - Bahirdar
Friday Timkat Festival
Lake Tana

In the morning, fly to Bahirdar. We have an arrival transfer then check in to our hotel. Enjoy a boat ride on Lake Tana to Ura Kidane Mihret and Zege Peninsula to witness one of the most colorful and undiluted Timkat Festivals. This is a unique and non-touristic experience.

The 37 islands of Lake Tana shelter twenty monasteries - surviving remnants of an old, contemplative tradition. Because of their isolation, they were used to store treasures and religious relics from all parts of the country. The Lake’s monasteries are famous for their typical Ethiopian religious paintings, illuminated manuscripts, and other ancient church treasures. The monasteries that we are going to visit include Kibran Gebriel, Ura Kidane Mihret and Azua Mariam. (B-L-D)

Avanti Blue Nile Resort-Bahirdar

January 20 Bahirdar - Blue Nile Falls
Saturday

After breakfast at the hotel, we will drive 22 miles to visit the majestic Blue Nile Falls. Eighteen miles after it exits Lake Tana, the Blue Nile plunges over a 148 feet-high face to form one of the most spectacular waterfalls in Africa. Walking to the waterfalls through the beautiful river gorge on the ancient bridge from the 17th century, and meeting the local people at the small villages on the way is also a great experience.

The rest of the day relax at our beautiful lakeside lodge. (B-L-D)

Avanti Blue Nile Resort-Bahirdar

January 21 Bahirdar – Gondar
Sunday

After breakfast, drive towards Gondar, passing through the beautiful countryside scenery, arriving around midday for check-in.

After lunch, explore the ancient city of Gondar. It was founded by Emperor Fasiledas around 1635, and is famous for its many medieval castles. The design and decoration of its churches, in particular Debre Birhan Selassie, represents a masterpiece of unique Ethiopian School of traditional art.

Today you will visit the Royal Enclosure, a walled compound having 6 different castles built from the 17th century by different kings who ruled in different times. See the pool of King Fasilidas, which still serves as a baptismal pool during Ethiopian Epiphany. Visit the famous Deberberhan Sillassie adorned with brilliant frescoes from inside. (B-L-D)

Goha Hotel

January 22 Gondar
Monday Simien Mountains
National Park

After an early breakfast, we will drive towards Axum through the Simien Mountains National park.

When driving from Gondar up to Simien Mountains National Park, nothing prepares you for the spectacular scenery that awaits you at the top of the massif. The rolling grassy plateau comes to an abrupt stop, and sheer cliffs plunge almost vertically for 1,000 meter (3,280 feet) to the plains below.

The massif itself has been sculpted by 30 million years of up thrust and erosion into a wonderland of jagged ridges, pinnacles and strangely cropped conical mountains, so that looking out over the heart-stopping precipice, you feel you might just be at the edge of the world!

The rest of the day, trek to explore the surrounding of Snakaber, part of the Simien Mountains National Park. You very likely will see some interesting wildlife here. The elevation of the Simien Lodge “The Highest Lodge in the World”, is 10,695 feet. (B-L-D)

Simien Lodge-Buyit Ras

January 23 Simien Mountains-Axum
Tuesday

After breakfast, continue to Axum through the beautiful sceneries of Simien Mountains, Limalimo and Tekeze River Gorge.

We will have brief stops at different parts of the park for the best views. Enjoy a picnic lunch near the Tekeze River Gorge whilst enjoying the beautiful Simien Mountains from a distance. (B-L-D)

Sabean Hotel-Axum

January 24 Axum-Yeha
Wednesday

After breakfast we will begin the visit of the ancient city of Axum. This is the birthplace of Ethiopian civilization. By the first century, Axum was a major trading center for exotic goods from Egypt, Rome, Nubia, Greece, Syria, and India. It is believed that the Holy Ark of the Covenant was brought here before the destruction of the Jewish Temple, and Axum is reputed to be the second Jerusalem.

Our visit in Axum includes: the Stele Square, Kaleba Tombs, the 4th century Christian inscription of King Ezana, Queen of Sheba’s Palace, Archaeological Museum, and Tsion Mariam Church where the original Ark of the Covenant is said to be housed.

In the afternoon, make an excursion to Yeha, “Temple of the Moon”, a pre-Christian temple from the 5th century BC and center of the Sabaean Civilization which preceded the Axumite era. (B-L-D)

Sabean Hotel-Axum

January 25 Axum-Lalibela
Thursday Sebaratmu Giorgis Festival

After breakfast at the hotel, transfer to Axum Airport for your flight to Lalibela. After check in, we will drive to the site where we find a concentration of some of Ethiopia’s most famous rock-hewn churches, mostly referred to by many as “the living wonders of the world”. These churches are, and they have been for at least 800 years, active Christian shrines, the spiritual center of the country’s religious life. The monolithic churches were carved out of 8,530 square feet of natural rock terrace in the 12th-century AD by King Lalibela.

Bete Medhani Alem, the largest monolithic rock-hewn church in the world, measures 37.7 ft. in height, covers an area of almost 2625 square ft and has walls that are up to six feet thick. A plain building supported by 36 pillars on the inside and another 36 pillars around the outside, Bete Medhani Alem was modeled on the original St. Mary Zion Church built in Axum by King Ezana during the 4th century.

The rock-hewn churches that we will visit today include: Bete Medhani Alem, Bete Mariam, Bete Meskel, Bete Denagil, Bete Golgotha Michael and Bete Giorgis. Our guide will arrange for helpers and/or mules to assist us as we navigate the steps and pathways. Ride a mule if you wish.

At Bete Giorgis, we will attend the Eve of Sebaratmu. Here the priest and deacons will be chanting with their drums and sistras to celebrate the Eve of Sebaratmu. (B-L-D)

Tukul Village Hotel -Lalibela

January 26 Lalibela
Friday Sebaratmu Giorgis Festival

After breakfast we will drive to the Tabot Madeira where the replica of the Ark of the Covenant will be rested overnight. The following day the Ark will be transported to Bete Giorgis accompanied by feasting, singing and dancing. When the Tabot reaches the church, there will be dancing by the priest along the cliff edge of the church while the faithful continue to dance forming different smaller groups.

After having lunch and rest at the hotel, we will continue our journey into Ethiopia’s long and marvelous past with a visit to other remarkable churches of St. Lalibela. Their architecture and artistry must be seen to be believed. Once we finish visiting the second group of churches we will walk to the village through the complex and bewildering labyrinth of underground tunnels to the monastery where the monks and nuns live.

The rock-hewn churches that we will visit this afternoon include: Bete Gebriel, Bete Mercorios, Bete Amanuel, Bethlehem and Bete Aba Libanos.

At the end of the tour, there will be a Ethiopian traditional coffee ceremony for our group prepared at a local home. Those who can’t face their day without a cup of coffee may be surprised to know that in its birthplace in Ethiopia’s Kaffa region - from which it gets its name - the berries were originally only eaten, never roasted and ground for a drink. Only since the 13th century has coffee been made into a hot drink. Holding a coffee ceremony is a traditional Ethiopian way of welcoming a guest and giving the guest the best hospitality. It’s one of the most celebrated Ethiopian traditions, and a life style with which most Ethiopians can identify themselves. This is a great chance to be part of this unique coffee ceremony, at its birth place. (B-L-D)

Tukul Village Hotel -Lalibela

January 27 Yimrhane Kirstos
Saturday Bilbala Cherkos

After breakfast we drive to Yimrhane Kirstos through Bilbala Giorgis and Bilbala Cherkos, en route visiting some of the most ancient rock-hewn churches in Ethiopia, some of them dating back to the 6th century and even earlier. These are living proof that stone craft started in Ethiopia even much earlier than thought by many people. The built-up cave church of Yimrhane Kirstos itself predates the rock-hewn churches of Lalibela by eight years. This is one of the most beautiful built-up cave churches, built from marble, wood and beautifully decorated from inside and outside with untold architectural skill. In the backside of the cave, you will also see many mummified bodies of pilgrims from centuries ago. The rest of the day is at leisure. (B-L-D)

Tukul Village Hotel -Lalibela

January 28 Lalibela-Addis Ababa
Sunday Departure

After breakfast, transfer to Lalibela airport for the flight to Addis Ababa. After check in to hotel, the rest of the day we will have a city tour of Addis Ababa which includes the view of Addis Ababa from Entoto. We will also have the chance to walk around Piassa and Churchil Avenue for shopping.

Day rooms will be available at the Radisson Blu hotel until evening. Enjoy a Farewell Dinner party with traditional buffet and local drinks. This evening transfer to Bole International Airport for flights back home with Ethiopian Airlines ET500 departing at 11:00 PM. (B-D)

January 29 Arrive U.S.A.
Monday

Arrive at Dulles International airport (IAD) at 7:30 AM. Welcome home!

Note: Flight schedules always subject to change.
B=Breakfast, L=Lunch and D=Dinner

THIS IS NOT THE FULL BROCHURE

We invite you to call Sarah or Gwen at 1-800-762-4216 to request the full brochure. The brochure will include Important Traveler Information (and answers to most questions) and a Reservation Form. We can send the brochure through the Postal Service or as a PDF attachment. If you would like to receive a PDF, probably the best way to keep the message from going into a SPAM filter is to send a message to sarah@serioustraveler.com. If you are already on our mailing list, no need to complete the entire brochure request form.

January 29 - February 8, 2018

11 extra days •
$3990 from Addis Ababa
Single Supplement $750

Day by Day Itinerary

January 28 Addis Ababa
Sunday

Begin our Omo Valley tour with an overnight in Addis Ababa. (D)

Radisson Blu-Addis Ababa

January 29 Addis Ababa-Tiya
Monday Langano

In the morning, drive south of Addis Ababa on the Butajira Road to Langano en-route enjoying the stunning views and visiting Gurage Village and Tiya.

At Tiya, you will visit the northern most example of a peculiar type of engraved, standing stelae which stretch across parts of southern Ethiopia. These stelae are believed to have been erected between the 12th and 14th centuries and are almost certainly grave markers.

On the shore of Lake Langano, check in to the Sabana Lodge. We can relax along the shore of the beautiful Rift Valley lake or take a relaxing trek in the acacia forest full of beautiful endemic birds. (B-L-D)

Sabana Lodge-Langano

January 30 Langano-Arbaminch
Tuesday

After breakfast, drive to Arbaminch on the way visiting the different towns and villages such as Shasemene, Welyita and Tembaro. (B-L-D)

Paradise Lodge-Arbaminch

January 31 Arbaminch-Konso
Wednesday Hamer-Turmi

After an early breakfast, we will drive to Turmi visiting different cultural people and their villages including the Konso and the undulating landscape of the Konso area.

The Konso are famous for their old and unique terracing and unusual engraved wooden statues of Konso grave markers. Between Konso and Turmi, you will have stops at the Tsemay near Weito River, the Bena at Keyafer and the Ari at Kako Village.

Late in the afternoon, we will drive to the Hamer Village. The Hamer display an elaborate and diverse selection of body decorations. They are also identifiable for their high cheekbones, elaborate custom of beads, cowries and leather, and thick copper necklaces. At the same village we will enjoy the seasonal cultural activities including the famous Evangadi (Hamer Dancing). (B-L-D)

Buska Lodge-Turmi

February 1 Turmi-Keyafer Market
Thursday Turmi

In the morning, we will drive to Jinka en-route visiting the colorful Keyafer Market and several tribal villages.

The town of Keyafer hosts a multi-cultural market that is as colorful as any other in the region. Here every Thursday, the Hamer, the Bena and the Ari people come walking for miles for this special market. See traditional marketing activities and bargain for local handicrafts. After our visit to the market, we will head back to Turmi. (B-L-D)

Buska Lodge-Turmi

February 2 Turmi-Omorate
Friday Jinka

In the cool morning, we will drive to Omorate to visit the Desanech (Geleb) tribal village after crossing the Omo River by boat. The Desanech are nomadic pastoralists found across the western bank of the Omo River south of Lake Turkana very close to the Kenyan border.

Later we will head towards Jinka followed by a walk around its town. (B-L-D)

Eco Omo Lodge –Jinka

February 3 Jinka-Mursi Village
Saturday Mago National Park
Jinka

After having an early breakfast, we will drive from Jinka to Mursi Village. The Mursi, undoubtedly the most celebrated residents of South Omo are a distinctive group of pastoralists. The Mursi are best-known for their unique item of decoration - lip plates. Women of Mursi wear a circular clay plate on their lower lip and the bigger a women can wear, the greater her value when she gets married.

After our visit to the Mursi Village, we will have our picnic lunch in the Mago National Park and continue driving back to Jinka through the park. (B-L-D)

Eco Omo Lodge-Jinka

February 4 Jinka-Arbaminch
Sunday

In the morning, drive back to Arbaminch with brief stops at different villages including Erbore Village where the nomadic Cushitic Speaking Erbore tribes live. (B-L-D)

Paradise Lodge-Arbaminch

February 5 Arbaminch- Lake Chamo
Monday Chencha Village

After breakfast, we will have a boat cruise over Lake Chamo to see some of the largest African crocodiles, hippopotamus, and many beautiful aquatic birds including the lovely Kingfisher and African Fish Eagle.

In the afternoon, drive to the mountain village of Chencha, home of the Dorze people. The Dorze people, renowned cotton weavers whose tall beehive-shaped and bamboo woven dwellings - Tukul, are among the most distinctive structures to be seen anywhere in Africa. (B-L-D)

Paradise Lodge-Arbaminch

February 6 Arbaminch - Langano
Tuesday

After breakfast, we will start driving north to Langano en-route visiting different villages and some of the most beautiful Rift Valley lakes.

After check in to Bishangari Lodge, located on the shore of Lake Langano, you will have a relaxing walk in the well conserved natural forest full of different species of endemic birds and different mammals. You will also have the chance to relax along the shore of Langano. (B-L-D)

Bishangari Lodge-Langano

February 7 Langano-Addis Ababa
Wednesday Departure

After spending part of the morning relaxing around the lake, we will continue driving north towards Addis Ababa with brief stops at different towns such as Mojo and Debrezeit.

Spend the rest of the day with a city tour of Addis Ababa and some souvenir shopping. In the evening, transfer to Bole International airport for the flight back home with Ethiopian Airlines ET500 departing Bole (ADD), Addis Ababa at 11:00 PM. (B-L)

February 8 Arrive U.S.A.
Thursday

Arrive Dulles International airport (IAD), Washington D.C. at 7:30 AM. Welcome home!

Note: Flight schedules always subject to change.

THIS IS NOT THE FULL BROCHURE

We invite you to call Sarah or Gwen at 1-800-762-4216 to request the full brochure. The brochure will include Important Traveler Information (and answers to most questions) and a Reservation Form. We can send the brochure through the Postal Service or as a PDF attachment. If you would like to receive a PDF, probably the best way to keep the message from going into a SPAM filter is to send a message to sarah@serioustraveler.com. If you are already on our mailing list, no need to complete the entire brochure request form.

 

 
 
 

 

© 2017 Travel Concepts International, Inc. CST 2005743-40

Travel Concepts International, Inc.
Cultural Tours to Better Understand the World and Its People

5500 Bucks Bar Road • Placerville, CA 95667 U.S.A. • Voicemail/Telephone/Fax 1-530-621-3007
Voicemail/Tollfree in U.S.A. 1-800-762-4216
G
wen@SeriousTraveler.com • Web site www.SeriousTraveler.com