Rondreis East Ethiopia - Individual Tour North Ethiopia with Harar

Hoogtepunten Noord Ethiopie & Harar


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Day 1 – Arrival in Addis Ababa - Capital of Ethiopia

Welcome to Ethiopia! You’ll be stepping off the plane into Africa’s fourth largest city and diplomatic capital, Addis Ababa. Your Yared Tour & Travel guide will be there to meet you at Bole International Airport and drive you to your hotel.
The direct translation of Addis Ababa is ‘new’ ‘flower’ and you are likely to find this rapidly growing city a fascinating place full of contrasts between traditional and modern Ethiopia, making it a great starting point for your tour.


Day 2 - City tour Addis Abeba

Today begins with a drive to Entoto Mountain where we visit the historical site of Emperor Menelik’s Palace and Maryam church, the oldest in Addis Ababa. From here we drive through Shiro Meda which hosts the city’s largest market for traditional clothing, continuing to the campus of Addis Ababa University, home to one of Africa’s best Ethnological museums and the former palace of Emperor Haile Selassie. You visit the Ethnological or Ethiopia's National Museum with ‘Lucy’, the world-famous fossilized hominid. The museum also showcases ancient artefacts from Axum and Gondar, and an exhibition of Ethiopian art. Then visit the Holy Trinity Cathedral (built in 1933), the largest Orthodox church in Ethiopia and the final resting place of Haile Selassie. To conclude, you will visit the busy life of traders in Mercato - Africa’s biggest outdoor market.


Day 3 - Drive to Axum

Our next destination is Axum, the historic capital of the Axumite Empire located at the base of the Adwa mountains in the far north of the country, Tigray region. The ancient kingdom was once an important meeting point of cultural and commercial interests, home to the Queen of Sheba during the 10th century BC and has a legendary and mysterious heritage. To reach Axum, we drive on a long and impressive route following the edge of the Simien Mountains passing through the gorge of the Takeze river, and small towns with traditional stone farmhouses typical of the Tigrian countryside.


Day 4 - Archeological city Axum

Today we visit ‘The Stelae Field’, an active UNESCO archaeological site containing several enormous, symbolic obelisks sculpted from granite, which are believed to have served as monuments to the Empire’s Kings, some 1,700 years old. The largest obelisk stands at 24m high. We learn more about the ancient civilisation, excavations and research findings at the Archaeological museum, whilst local legends will be brought to life for you with stories from a trained local guide.


Day 5 - The Simien Mountains

In the morning we drive through the Ethiopian Highlands to the ‘Roof of Africa’, The Simien Mountains. Here you will soak in breath-taking views of a truly unique mountain landscape formed from countless volcanic lava outpourings between 25-40 million years ago. Despite their rugged harshness and high altitude, the mountains are full of life; thousands of plant species and different wildlife inhabit the land such as the special gelada monkey, the walia ibex, the Ethiopian wolf, antelopes, jackals, bushbucks, and even large cats such as leopards, various birds of prey, but also isolated local communities.


Day 6 - Hike in Simien Mountains & Gondar

You’ll have the chance to make a beautiful hike in the morning in the Simien Mountains. Soak in breath-taking views of a truly unique mountain landscape formed from countless volcanic lava outpourings between 25-40 million years ago. Despite their rugged harshness and high altitude, the mountains are full of life; thousands of plant species and different wildlife inhabit the land such as the special gelada monkey, the walia ibex, the Ethiopian wolf, antelopes, jackals, bushbucks, various birds of prey and also isolated local communities. You’ll have the chance to make a beautiful hike in the morning in the Simien Mountains and then continue towards Gondar, a legendary city so full of regal history that it is often regarded to be ‘the Camelot of Africa’.


Day 7 - Fasilides' Gondar

We take the full day to learn about the Kings and Emperors of Ethiopia and discover all the best of World Heritage Site Gondar. During a guided tour, we visit some of the oldest and most impressive buildings dating back to the 17th century and Fasilides’ time; the Royal Enclosure, a 70,000 sq/m compound contains the remains of several royal buildings; Fasilides’ castle, Iyasu’s palace, Dawit’s Hall, a banqueting hall, stables, Empress Mentewab’s castle, a chancellery, library and three churches. Near the city lies Fasilides’ ancient bathhouse, home to an annual ceremony where it is blessed and then opened for bathing, and finally Debre Berhan Selassie church, said to be one of the most beautiful and well-preserved in the country. Then we drive to Simien Mountains.


Day 8 - Awra Amba & Bahir Dar

On the road between Bahir Dar, Gondar and Lalibela we’ll be stopping off to visit a village like no other in Ethiopia. The special community of Awra Amba is a thriving egalitarian society where residents believe in gender-equality, shared responsibility, hard work and education. The village was founded in 1972 on the vision of a young farmer named Zumra and a small group of like-minded friends. Today, Awra Amba has successfully evolved into a self-sustaining community, independent of food aid and religious funding. Residents run a weaving social enterprise and profits are invested into community services such as a local library and retirement home. You’ll have the chance to visit the village. We are then heading to the capital of the Amhara region and one of Ethiopia’s most popular highland cities, which is Bahir Dar. The rest of the day is free time.


Day 9 - Lake Tana & falls

Bahir Dar is the big city in north-western Ethiopia. Around 30km south of Bahir Dar and Lake Tana we visit the Blue Nile Falls. It’s immense power and beauty is known locally as ‘tis abay’ meaning ‘great smoke’. The best time of year to see the falls is during the wetter months. To reach the most beautiful viewpoint, we take a gentle stroll for around 1½ hours. Lake Tana, source of the Blue Nile, is Ethiopia’s largest lake and an absolute delight to explore. We’ll be taking a boat ride to the lake’s peninsula visiting two picturesque church monasteries dating back to the 13th & 14th centuries. You’ll have a chance to explore the monasteries, see the colourful murals of Christian saints and martyrs adoring their walls and hear stories about the remains of ancient Ethiopian Emperors and treasures of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church.


Day 10 - Drive to Lalibela

We’ve saved the best of your Ethiopia tour until last, the world wonder of Lalibela. In this magical, cobblestone town, you can view no less than thirteen beautiful medieval churches. Lalibela’s churches have also been carved out of rocks, like Tigray’s, but they sit below ground level, some connected by narrow passages. It is believed the churches were built for King Lalibela, with the help of angels (as the legend tells), whose vision was to create a ‘new Jerusalem’ for Christian Ethiopians during the 13th century.

After a long journey, you’ll soak up more of the jovial atmosphere and traditional nightlife at a local bar whilst enjoying Asmari performances, Ethiopia’s version of stand-up comedy. And of course, you will have the chance to taste Lalibela’s delicious local honey wine and enjoy more good Ethiopian food.


Day 11 - Churches of Lalibela

Today you explore the mystical rock-hewn churches of Lalibela, that are organised into two groups. The northern group consists of six churches including Bet Medhane Alem, the largest of all Lalibela churches which has the shape of a Greek temple. Bet Maryam, dedicated to Maria has a bath which is said to have wonderful healing properties. Other churches are Bet Meskal, Bet Danaghel, and the interconnected churches of Bet Golgotha and Bet Mika'el.
The southern group consists of four churches including Bet Amanuel which is praised by art historians for its beautifully decorated exterior walls. Bet Abba Libanos, has a structure of great charm, and Bet Gabriel-Rufael.Last but not least you visit the remarkable church of Bet Giyorgis, carved into a cross shape and perhaps the most elegant of all in Lalibela.


Day 12 - To Unesco city of Harar

Located at an altitude of 1,855m, with 386 alleyways crammed into just 1sq m, is the unique and vibrant, ancient stone-walled city of Harar. The lively World Heritage listed city has been the capital of the Harari region for thousands of years and is stepped in history and charm.

Once an independent city-state, Harar served as an important political, commercial and cultural crossroads between Africa, India and the Middle East. During the middle ages, it became a centre for Islamic culture, sometimes referred to as ‘the fourth holiest city in Islam’, you can find a total of 82 tiny mosques which date from
the 10th century within the city,

When Emperor Menelik II conquered the city in 1887, Harar was assimilated into Ethiopia. Today, the city is a melting pot of different ethnic groups such as Somalis, Oromo, Arabs and Turks.


Day 13 - Food & Citytour in Harar

Harar is a fascinating place to explore on foot. On a guided city & food tour, we’ll wander through the narrow alleys of Harar’s old town, stopping off to visit some of the original Harari houses with walls covered in handicrafts. We also go to mosques, shrines and tombs of important Islamic leaders, the Harar cultural center, Rimbaud’s house and Ras Tafari’s house. Along the journey, we’ll visit some of Harar’s best fresh markets and stop-off for authentic local cuisine and coffee in cosy restaurants. In the evening, on the outskirts of the city, we’ll have the chance to attend a night show of hyena feeding. The daily ritual which involves feeding sticks of raw meat to wild hyenas by hand is deeply embedded in the traditions and beliefs of the local people, said to acquire good luck and discourage the wild predators from attacking.


Day 14 - Babile Camel Market

In the morning, we set-off on a beautiful drive to Babile around 35km east of Harar on the way to Jijiga. The small town is mostly inhabited by Somali people and known for its mineral water, elephant sanctuary and for hosting one of Ethiopia’s biggest livestock markets where traders come from long distances to buy camels, donkeys, goats and cattle. Around 7km from Babille, we’ll stop off at the Dakhata Valley otherwise called ‘the valley of marvels’ due to view its special sculpted rock formations.


Day 15 - Drive to Awash National Park

Continuing our adventure in the East, we reach Awash National Park which covers 827 sq km of acacia grassland with volcanic landscapes located along the Awash river. The park spans from the north-eastern corner of Oromia to the southern tip of the Afar region.


Day 16 - Visit Awash NP & back home

We take the whole morning to explore Awash on a 30km-loop game drive through the park spotting different fauna along the way. Wildlife highlights include; orynx, gazelle, dik-dik, kudus, warthogs, velvet monkeys, baboons and over 453 species of native birds including ostriches. On the drive, we pass by Awash Falls, a mighty waterfall plunging into a beautiful 200m gorge. Filwoha hot springs in the far north of the park are another interesting feature with waters which can reach 45 degrees. If time permits, we will visit the Fantale Crater in the west of the park, to climb the dormant volcano passing wildlife on the mountainous slopes and rewarding panoramic views from the top. In the afternoon we continue to Addis Abeba.


Dag 16 - Bezoek Awash NP & naar huis

After our visit to Awash National Park we head back to Addis Ababa. You could shop or make a single final visit in the capital in the afternoon. Or you take a rest in your dayroom in Addis Ababa. On the final day you will enjoy a farewell meal and celebration in one of the city’s cultural restaurants. Enjoy the authentic Ethiopian cuisine for the last time, whilst enjoying traditional dance and music.