Ethiopia: Our Ancestral Land
January 17-27, 2020
Guided by: Joni Kabana
US$ 3,390 per person sharing (international airfare not included)
Jan 17, 18: Arrive Addis Ababa
Your international flight takes you to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (arriving on or before the morning of Jan. 18th). Upon arrival, Joni will welcome you with champagne and cold face towels, before driving you to the nearby Azzeman Hotel. After resting at your hotel, enjoy a city tour of Addis Ababa which includes the Trinity Cathedral Church, one of the most historical churches in Addis Ababa, the National Museum to see the replica of Lucy, the oldest and more complete fossil remains of early human ancestors, and then the Ethnological Museum at the Institute of Ethiopian Studies at Addis Ababa University where you will have a chance to see ethnographic items from a multitude of different ethnic groups and other items to learn much of Ethiopia and its culture.
Jan 19: Addis Ababa
Spend the day exploring the city's sights that you didn't see the day before, as well as the preparations for the famous “Timkat” Festival celebrating the Ethiopian Epiphany, one of the biggest events in the Ethiopian social calendar. Return to Azzeman Hotel for the night.
Jan 20, 21, 22: Addis Ababa - Lalibela
After breakfast, transfer to the airport for your domestic flight (included) to Lalibela where you will visit the first of the 11 rock-hewn Churches of Lalibela, one of the world’s greatest historical and religious sites. Spend the next three nights at the beautiful Jerusalem Hotel, in the heart of the Timkat Festival! The next morning, drive to Yimrehane Kristos which is extremely different from the other churches around Lalibela and a fine example of late Axumite architecture. Return to Lalibela after lunch and visit the second and third group of Lalibela Churches. The next day, visit the famous Asheton Mariam which houses interesting wall paintings and several ancient crosses, manuscripts and other treasures. The excursion is just as remarkable for the incredible highland setting and the wonderful views on the way up. This trek involves 5-6 hours of walking, but provides excellent material for avid photographers and nature lovers.
Jan 23: Lalibela - Mekele - Gheralta
After an early breakfast, transfer to the airport for your domestic flight (included) to Mekele. Upon arrival, you can choose to visit either (a) The Mekele School for the Blind where we will find ourselves inspired by the exceptional skills of the children as we read, play sports and socialize with them. This school is known for instilling within each child the confidence that they can do anything, in spite of any handicap; or (b) Dignity Period, an organization that employs Ethiopian women to sew reusable menstrual pads and promotes menstrual education. After this powerful experience, we will drive to Gheralta to visit the fascinating rock-hewn churches and photograph the incredible Gheralta mountains. Spend the night at the well located Wukro Lodge.
Jan 24: Gerhalta – Maryam Korkor (or Abune Yemata or Daniel Korkor) – Danakil Depression
After breakfast, visit either Maryam Korkor Church known for its architectural features (cruciform pillars, arches and cupolas), or Abune Yemata Church (a monolithic church situated at a height of 2,580 metres that has to be climbed on foot), notable for its dome and wall paintings dating back to the 5th century and its architecture. Drive past camel caravans to the Danakil Depression for your overnight stay at a rustic tented camp.
Jan 25: Danakil Depression - Sulphur Hot Springs – Mekele
In the morning, spend time visiting one of the most inhospitable regions of the world, with varying landscapes formed by volcanic activity, and eye-catching sulphur springs. Drive to Mekele for dinner and overnight at the Desta Hotel (exactly what we will need after a few days in the desert!).
Jan 26, 27: Mekele – Addis Ababa – Departure
After a final breakfast, transfer to the airport for your flight (included) back to your day room at the Azzeman Hotel in Addis Ababa. Here you will have time for lunch, and some shopping in the market, before enjoying a ‘last supper’ of traditional Ethiopian food while watching Ethiopian dancers from different Ethiopian ethnic groups. Then, your driver will transfer you to the airport in time to catch your international flight (night of Jan. 26th), with memories of our Ancestral Lands that will last a lifetime (arriving home on Jan. 27)
Included for this safari:
- All en-suite accommodations (based on double occupancy) and all meals as per the itinerary.
- Exclusive transport with excellent drivers.
- Services of exceptional English-speaking guides, knowledgeable of the local region and culture.
- Long-range radio communication (and access to mobile phone) for the duration of the trip.
- Complimentary bottled drinking water.
- Daily safari briefings.
- All park entry fees, conservation fees, entrance fees, airport transfers, and departure taxes.
- Guided photographic walks, charitable organizations visits, and cultural excursions as per the itinerary.
- Leadership in ethical, socially responsible practices.
- Three domestic chartered flights as mentioned in the itinerary.
- Complete pre-departure information including packing lists, trip itinerary, and flight details.
- International airfare.
- Travel/medical/cancellation/interruption insurance.
- Single Supplement (if you would like your own room).
- Passport fees, inoculations, and Tourist Entry Visa.
- Gratuities for drivers and any optional excursions.
- Souvenirs, soft drinks, bar beverages, laundry, email, phone, and items of a personal nature.