ETHIOPIA, North and South Tailor-made

Duración:
18 days
Tipología de viaje:
Viaje Exclusivo, Viaje Aventura, Viajes a Medida / En Privado
Tamaño del grupo:
2
Destino:

Ethiopia is a destination with a difference. It is an immersion into the most diverse of all the African countries. Where humanity began, the door through which Christianity entered the continent, and a fine example of cultural and religious variety. Ethiopia is also full of a diversity of wildlife and rich in anthropology. A destination which will never cease to surprise the visitor.

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Descripción

Ethiopia

is a destination with a difference. It is an immersion into the most diverse of all the African countries. Where humanity began, the door through which Christianity entered the continent, and a fine example of cultural and religious variety. Ethiopia is also full of a diversity of wildlife and rich in anthrpology. A destination which will never cease to surprise the visitor.
The Great Abyssinian route, taking the ancient name of the country, takes in the most important features of the country.
In the first part of the route, we enter the north of the country and explore the Tigray area, an unknown place where more than 100 rock hewn churches are. Particularly interesting for nature and trek lovers while in the main time very interesting as archeological and historical sites.

Following that, we head to Lalibela, a World Heritage Site, and also an essential visit to see the churches carved into the rocks.

In the second part of the trip we head south to visit fascinating tribes such as the Hamer, Konso, Nyangatom, Dorze or Dassanetch.
The trip also includes a visit to the Nechisar National Park, and the unexplored lake Chamo, a boat safari to see the hippopotamuses, crocodiles and numerous birds.

All in all a fantastic vision of a country with an impressive cultural value, complemented by the experiences of the local markets as well as religious and tribal ceremonies.

ITINERARY

01.- INTERNATIONAL FLIGHT TO ADDIS ABABA
02.- ADDIS ABABA
03.- ADDIS ABABA – MEKELE (Domestic Flight) – GHERALTA
04.- GHERALTA – ADIGRAT
05.- ADIGRAT – AXUM
06.- AXUM – LALIBELA (Domestic Flight)
07.- LALIBELA
08.- LALIBELA – ADDIS ABEBA (Domestic Flight) – JINKA (Domestic Flight) – TURMI
09.- TURMI – KANGATE (Nyangatom)
10.- KANGATE – OMORATE – OMO DELTA
11.- OMO DELTA – LAKE TURKANA
12.- LAKE TURKANA – TURMI
13.- TURMI
14.- TURMI – KONSO
15.- KONSO
16.- KONSO – ARBA MINCH (Nech Sar National park)
17.- ARBA MINCH – DORZE
18.- DORZE – ARBA MINCH – ADDIS ABABA

DETAILED TOUR

01 – INTERNATIONAL FLIGHT TO ADDIS ABABA

International flight to Addis Ababa.

02 – ADDIS ABABA

We will arrive at the Ethiopian capital early in the morning (if the flight is arriving later, we change the proposal) and after passing through customs and baggage reclaim we will be taken to the hotel. We will be met either at the terminal building exit or at the adjacent car park, once outside the main building.

This day will be spent exploring Addis Ababa. It is not very well-known as people often pass by on their way to other destinations, but it is a fascinating place to visit. At 2,400 meters above sea level, it is one of the highest capital cities in the world.

Addis Ababa (‘new flower’ as it was named in Amharic by the founders) has a growing population and is located in the center of the country. It is a pleasant city to visit and is full of surprises. We will spend the day visiting the most important places such as the Piazza district and the bustling Mesquel Square.

We will also visit the Entoto mountains which is the place where Menelik II lived before founding the city. From these mountains, which reach 3,000 meters above sea level, we can see the true dimensions of the city. Following this, we will discover the secrets of Lucy, one of the most important anthropological discoveries in the whole of history, and which is to found in the National Museum. If we have enough time, we will also be able to visit an Orthodox Christian church. Finally we will return to the hotel for a well-earned rest.

Accommodation at the Azzeman hotel or similar.

03 –  ADDIS ABABA – MEKELE (Domestic Flight) – GHERALTA

We will take a morning flight to the town of Mekele, and from there we will head to the heart of Tigray. Mekele is a large town and is the main doorway to the Danakil desert.
This is where we will begin our exploration of the Tigray churches. In this area some of the oldest churches in the country can be found, some of which are difficult to access. In the afternoon we will visit some of the many orthodox churches which are to be found scattered around this region, and which were excavated inside the sandy cliff faces.
We suggest to visit Wukro Chirkos and Abreha be Atsba, two of the Tigray churches before to go to Gheralta.

Accommodation at the Gheralta Lodge or similar.

04 – GHERALTA

We will spend the day visiting some of the magnificent churches which have been carved into the rocks of this mountainous region. The most well-known are Wukro Cherkos, Petros and Paolos, Abraha Atsba, Medhanialem Adi Kasho, Mariam Korkor and Abune Yemata (these last two are quite difficult to access)*. Small Tigray settlements are scattered around this area.
We suggest a trek to Mariyam and Daniel Korkor, two churches accessible doing a three-hour trek in the heart of Gheralta mountains, a breathtaking landscape accompanied by a local guide specialist in the area.

Accommodation at the Gheralta Lodge or similar.

05 – ADIGRAT – AXUM

Today we will continue exploring the Tigray landscape as we head to Axum. We will visit the temple of Yeha, which is considered to be the oldest construction in Ethiopia and dates from 700BC. By mid-afternoon we wil arrive at Axum, the historical town of Tigray.
This town can be described as the real heart of national culture. It is the capital of the powerful Axumita empire, and one of the most well-known places for the Ethiopian Orthodox Christian pilgrims. This is due to the belief that the Arc of the Covenant is guarded there. It is a place which is full of antiquities and wonderful markets.

We will visit the Axum museum, the Tsion Maryam cathedral, Mai Shum, the pools of the Queen of Saba, the park of King Exana, and the tombs of King Kaleb and Gebre Meskel.

The most photographed features, however, are the fields with more than 300 steles and monolithic obelisks, some of which are over 20 metres tall. One of these obelisks is an incredible 33 metres tall, and with a weight of over 600 tons is the biggest monolithic monument in the world. These monuments, which are made of granite, were extracted from the adjacent mountains. We will also visit the underground catacombs, and the ruins of the ancient palaces.
Axum is also the birthplace of the fabulous legend of the Queen of Saba.

Accommodation at the Sabean Hotel or similar.

06 – AXUM – LALIBELA (Domestic Flight)

Today we head off by plane to the magical Lalibela. After landing and while we are on route to the city, we will stop off at Nakute La´ab, which is a small church near to a cave with various sacred pools fed by natural springs. The temple contains numerous treasures such as paintings, a leatherbound bible, and drawings which can be seen close up. Following the visit we have a 6km journey which will take us to the town.

Lalibela can be said to be one of the most important religious/artistic places in the world. We will discover the so-called ‘African Jerusalem’. The churches in Lalibela were declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1979 and it is the traditional destination for the Orthodox Christian pilgrims. We will visit the first group of churches which have been built into the rocks. In this group there is the well-known Medhanialem Church (San Salvador), which is one of the grandest and most impresssive with its exterior columns, and the Bete Mariam Church, a small church which has conserved its interior beauty with wall paintings and a curious two-storey construction.

As the churches in Lalibela are underground, they are interconnected by a series of tunnels and trenches which are of particular interest to visiting tourists. We will spend the day getting to know Lalibela, one of the wonders of the world, in full. It is located at 2,630 metres above sea level, and apart from its incredible churches it has charming sidestreets where we can spend time wandering around until it is time for the evening meal.

Accommodation at the Cliff Edge or similar.

07 – LALIBELA

The second day in Lalibela. At the break of day, if this happens to be a Sunday we will be able to witness the spectacular religious ceremonies which are held in the churches. Later we will visit the temple of Ashete Maryam.

In the afternoon we will continue exploring the churches which were carved into the rocks in the town centre. In this second group of churches we can find the Gabriel– Rufael churches (characterised by their deep well) and the churches of Amanuel and Abba Líbanos. We will also visit Bete Giorgis, famous for its cross-shaped structure and its small interior with a dome which is not noticeable from outside. This is probably the most spectacular monolithic church of all. We will be using the ancient tunnels to get from one church to the next.

Accommodation at the Cliff Edge or similar.

08 – LALIBELA – ADDIS ABEBA (Domestic Flight) – JINKA (Domestic Flight) – TURMI

From Lalibela we will take a flight to Addis Ababa where we will connect to Jinka where the vehicle and the guide will be waiting for us to drive to Turmi.

Turmi is a small village which serves as a starting point for visiting other Hamer tribal settlements, and also to visit Omorate, and see other tribes such as the Dassanetch, or the Karo, and the Niangatom.

Accommodation at Buska Lodge or similar.

09 – TURMI – KANGATE (Nyangatom)

Kangate is the heart of the Nyangatom ethnic group area, Nyangatom use to have large necklaces worn by their women. They use to live around their livestock and they belong to the Ateker groups (among which we can find the Karamajong, Turkana or Toposa of South Sudan).
We will visit a Nyangatom village near Omo river and we will share activities with locals and learn about their lifestyle.

Accommodation in a local hotel or camp.

10 – KANGATE – OMORATE – OMO DELTA

From Kangate we will drive to Omorate where we will take the boat to go to Bubuwa village one of the Dassanech settlements where tourists barely arrive. Here we can experience the touch with local people sharing their activities and discussing with them.

The Dassanech cultivate sorghum and corn and this is the basis of their subsistence. They are considered to be livestock people but they also carry out seasonal cultivations depending on the state of the river and the flooding that take place. It is a patriarchal tribe in which the authorization is determined by a group of elders known as the Ara.

Camping accommodation.

11 – OMO DELTA – LAKE TURKANA

On this day we will make an incursion through the Omo delta at its mouth towards the Turkana Lake in a boat that will allow us to visit other remote Dassanech villages.

One of the most surprising details of the Dassanetch are men’s hairstyles, which mark the rise in the age system. From the complete shave, to the «helmet» hairstyle of the children, to the sophisticated hairstyles with earth that signal the adulthood and social recognition. Some of the Dassanech who are living in this area are fisherman and hunters, they belong to another clan and they have some differences comparing with other groups who are mainly dedicating their work to the crops.

Camping accommodation.

12 – LAKE TURKANA – TURMI

In the morning we will go back to Turmi. Turmi is the capital of the Hamer ethnic group. It is a tribe of ancestral customs, with its own language, religion and beliefs. The Hamers are hospitable, with unique rites among which we can highlight the Ukuli Bula or bull jumping, the delivery of the Boko and the Evangadi dance.
The Hamer are surely the archetypal ethnic group of the Omo. The women are especially striking, adorned with thick braids of ocher-colored hair that form a thick fringe, fur skirts and numerous bracelets fitted to the arms and legs.
For their part, men, like women, practice body scarification and wear a simpler outfit, except for what they wear for ceremonies.
Accommodation at Buska Lodge or similar.

13 – TURMI

Entire day exploring Hamer villages, markets (up on availability) and sharing the life with locals in a very close contact with them.
During this day we will entirely be dedicated to understand the lifestyle of Hamer people and we will be able to share the daily activities.

In the evening we will have once again the chance to be in the elder’s conversation in the evening sharing buno (Hamer coffee).

Accommodation at Buska Lodge or similar.

14 – TURMI – KONSO

Today we will head to the Konso villages. Konso people are mainly cultivators who grow crops on the characteristic terraces. They are, however, excellent beekeepers, whose honey is appreciated internationally. They are also excellent craftsmen specialized in carpentry, ironwork, pottery and weaving. We will share the daily lives of the people in these villages during the early part of the morning.

One there the visits will be in Nechollo village for coffee ceremony and cheka tasting with locals (is a cereal energetic drink that looks like a light porridge and is fermented so it is a bit alcoholic) all village will be there, men, woman and any age of people as for their culture everything is shared.

The social structure of the Konso is based on belonging to one of the nine clans known as ‘gada’. Each ‘gada’ has a religious leader who is the pokwalla. The rituals relating to the death of clan members are very important to the Konso people. The most visible representation of this cult are the Wagas, which are wooden statues which are erected in memory of the most relevant members of the Konso society when they pass away.

Accommodation at the Kanta Lodge or similar.

15 – KONSO

Here in Konso we will have a morning trek from Busso to Katu (4 to 5 hours), we will see the construction or renovation of terraces for cultivation and also the waterholes they use for collecting water in the traditional way. Kala Gezaw, the Konso’s royal compound is another special visit where we can learn about tradition of mummification and other local traditions.

We can learn also about traditional medicine, traditional food (in Konso there is an extraordinary vegan food which is called kurkufa that is made from cereals and Moringa tree leaves which are an amazing food complement very rich of nutrients), depending on the day we can visit the remote markets, all of them very interesting and we can also see the women preparing their pottery or cooking it. Let us surprise you with local music in the evening.

Accommodation at the Kanta Lodge or similar.

16 – KONSO – ARBA MINCH (Nech Sar National park)

Drive to Arba Minch (40 springs) where we will have a boat trip in Laka Chamo to see the nile crocodiles, hippos and many birds and also we will have a walking safari on the park where possibly we can spot zebras.
Accommodation at Haile Resort or similar.

17 – ARBA MINCH – DORZE

Next, we will go to the Dorze Villages. We will ascend a track that is gaining height and with incredible views over the Nechisar National Park. We will visit the Dorze ethnic group.
Say about the Dorzes that their unique houses (made with bamboo canes) form domes up to six meters high are the calling card of this ethnic group. Inside, quite spacious, they always have a fire that they use both for cooking and to heat the room.
The Dorzes are also known for their colorful geometric-patterned robes, which they make and export throughout the country. It is easy to see the Dorzes working on traditional looms or spinning the cotton threads on the doors of their houses, with which they later manufacture the fabrics.
Also, if it coincides, we can enjoy one of the picturesque markets in the Dorze area.
At the end of the day we will enjoy the typical Dorze dances, around a fire.
Accommodation at Dorze Lodge or similar.

18 – DORZE – ARBA MINCH – ADDIS ABABA

In the morning we will head to Arba Minch where later we will fly to Addis Ababa. In the Ethiopian capital we will dedicate the time to make the last purchases and stroll along Churchill Avenue, one of its commercial arteries.
In the evening, farewell dinner and transfer to the airport.

Price per person (land services)……check the price €

Accomodation

ADDIS ABEBA:  Azzeman or similar.
TIGRAY: Gheralta Lodge or similar.
AXUM: Sabean hotel or similar.
LALIBELA: Cliff Edge or similar.
TURMI: Buska Lodge or similar.
KANGATE: Local Hotel or similar.
OMO/ TURKANA: Camp.
KONSO: Kanta lodge or similar.
DORZE: Dorze Lodge or similar.
HAILE: Haile resort or similar.

Services Included

English speaking guides.
Vehicles with drivers and petrol
Boat hire
All activities described in the itinerary.
Double room with full board
Entrance tickets to parks and visits at settlements

Services not included

Visas
International and domestic flights
Airport taxes
Alcoholic drinks
Tips
Any service which is not specifically indicated in the section of ‘services included’ will be considered as ‘services NOT included’

Important notes

Sabàtika Tours and its receptive design all the routes on offer thoroughly, taking into consideration the needs of the travellers at all times. However, the programmed itinerary may suffer variations both in the actual route and/or the places visited, due to various circumstances within the country. Climatic changes, the condition of the roads, as well as tribal disputes, may deem it necessary to make modifications in both the timetable and the actual route.

Health and Vaccinations

We recommend that travellers consult a specialist or visit official health organisms before departing to destinations in  Africa. Health specialists are able to offer general advice on visiting tropical areas, as well as specific advice for the areas through which our routes pass.

Consultation with health specialists and possible vaccinations are the responsibility of the traveler.

Safety

Sabàtika Tours will require all the necessary contact details from its travelers, so that it will be possible to respond quickly to  any incident that may occur during the tour

Documentation

The traveller is responsible for having all the necessary documentation for the trip. A visa is necessary for entering the country. In order to obtain the visa it is necessary to have a passport with sufficient pages for the visa stamp and with a validity of at least 6 months from the end of the trip.

The visa can be obtained online at: https://www.evisa.gov.et/#/apply/start. which can take hours or various days, or at the destination airport.

Personal Advice

We are committed to offering personal advice to all travellers who contract its services.  We will supply a list of the things which are necessary for travellers to take, advise travellers on how to prepare a small first-aid kit, or on what photographic equipment is the most suitable, and so on. Our staff will be delighted to offer help and solutions to questions and doubts which may arise during the preparation of the trip.

Responsibility

We are convinced that this trip will be an unforgettable experience for the travellers, an intense learning process and cultural exchange, as well as an inspirational immersion into African culture and society.

We consider that it is its responsibility as the travel agent to promote values such as respect for the way of life of the ethnic groups: their society, their culture and their environment. These values should be present in all trips.

In the same way, Sabàtika Tours has to ensure that its trips have no negative impact on both the country and its people. Together, it is possible to contribute to the sustainable development of the African people.

We consider it is very important to contribute to the strengthening and developement of the country. For this reason, it is important that our clients understand that we make our small contributuion by constantly contracting the local people (as guides, drivers, cooks, boat handlers etc) and using the local services (accommodation, restaurants and specialised guides). We always make sure that this is done in a respectful way, and that the remuneration for these services is both dignified and just.

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