15 Day Treasures Of The Historic North - From USD$11,119 Per Person

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This 15 day tour endeavours to show you the very best of Ethiopia’s Historic Route & Danakil Depression. Travelling to the North of the country this tour encompasses historic, cultural and natural treasures. 

Starting in the capital Addis Ababa where you have the opportunity to visit the Entoto Hills, giving the chance to catch stunning views over the city and the surrounding area.  You then start your journey North to Erta Ale, the most regularly visited volcanic range where you will partake in a trek to the volcano site. Continue to Gheralta here you can explore one of the churches of Tigray, amongst others. Onwards to Abune Yemata, a church carved into the rocks in the breathtaking mountains of Guh. Moving on to the ancient Teka Tesfi churches and the town of Axum, renowned for its cathedral of St. Mary Zion and the remains of the palace of Queen Sheba.  You will then travel to the Simien Mountains National Park, a World Heritage Site and perfect spot for nature lovers, with the large array of wildlife & birdlife. Continue your tour to Bahir Dar, an enchanting port city located on the southern shore of Lake Tana, where a boat tour awaits. The following day, a flight transfer takes you to Gondar, this was the first capital of the Ethiopian empire, which began in 1632. Spend the day exploring this fascinating destination as well as enjoying fine cuisine.  Your final destination on this remarkable tour is to Lalibela, a World Heritage Site and sometimes acknowledged as the 8th Wonder of the World. Explore the incredible monolithic churches of Lalibela, 11 in total, buried deep into the rock & built in the late 12th and early 13th Centuries by King Lalibela.


• 1 night at The Golden Tulip Hotel (Lunch & Dinner)

• 3 nights at Camping  (Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner)

• 3 nights at Korkor Lodge (Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner)

• 1 night at Sabean International Hotel (Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner)

• 2 nights at Limalimo Lodge (Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner)

• 1 night at Kuriftu Resort and Spa (Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner)

• 1 night at Mayleko Lodge (Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner)

• 2 nights at Mezena Lodge (Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner)

• Flexible departures any day

Please note this is a physically active tour which involves long treks and difficult to access areas, as well as visiting areas of very high temperatures.  One of our team will be very happy to discuss and can provide you with a suitable itinerary for your travel requirements.


Upon arrival, you’ll be greeted by a tour representative who will transfer you to the Golden Tulip Hotel.

Depending on your arrival time, you’ll start to explore Addis Ababa, and drive to Entoto Hills – the best introduction to Addis Ababa. Mt. Entoto is the highest peak in Addis Ababa, giving the chance to catch stunning views over the city and the surrounding area from the summit. It is the first settlement in Addis Ababa where Emperor Menelik II resided and built his palace in 1887; a unique place which offers a fascinating glimpse into the history of Ethiopia’s distinct culture. The compound at the peak hosts the Entoto Mariam church, an Ethiopian artefact museum as well as Menelik II’s palace.

As one drives up the hill there is an appreciable drop in temperature and the air is filled with the scent of the Eucalyptus trees which line the road. Roadside stalls offer fresh Ethiopian coffee.  If you have an interest in Ethiopian traditional clothes it may be possible, depending on time, to stop by at Shero Meda Market, where there is a wide variety of beautiful fabrics, shawls, scarves, dresses, tops and jewellery.

Overnight Golden Tulip Hotel (Lunch & Dinner)

This morning you depart Addis and fly to Erta Ale.   Erta Ale is the most regularly visited volcanic range in the Danakil and ranks as one of the most alluring and physically challenging natural attractions anywhere in Ethiopia. Rising from below sea level to an altitude of 613m, Erta Ale is a shield volcano with a base diameter of 30km and a 1km2 caldera at its summit.

Arrive at your campsite where you will settle in.

Around 4pm you’ll leave the campsite and trek to the Volcano, which takes around 2-2.5hrs.  You will visit the Volcano from 7pm – 9pm; before spending the night in the stone house.

Overnight Camping at Dodom, Erta Ale (Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner)

Today you’ll trek back to Dodom to meet your driver and start heading towards Hammed Ela.  In the late afternoon will make a lasting impression with the camel caravan and the sunset, and there will be the opportunity to take photographs.

Overnight Camping at Hammed Ela (Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner)

Early morning you’ll go on a local guide drive from Hamed Ela to Dallol Depression, which straddles the Eritrean border to the east of the Tigraian Highlands. This is officially listed as the hottest place on earth, with an average temperature of 34-35degree centigrade. Much of this vast and practically unpopulated region lies below sea level, dipping to a frazzled nadir of -116m at Dallol, near Lake Asale, the lowest spot of terra firma on the African continent and one of the driest and most tectonically active areas on the planet. Here you will visit the Sulphur Pools and Lake Asale.

Overnight Camping at Hammed Ela (Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner)

Distance  150km – Approximate journey time half day
Today you will continue on to Hawzien. En route you’ll visit Dugum Selassie, Abraha Atsbeha and the rock-church of Wukro Cherkos, at the edge of the small town of Wukro (47km from Mekelle). On a knoll of red rock, Wukro Cherqos is supposed to have been constructed in the 4thcentury by the two kings Abreha and Atsbeha. It is one of the first of the rock churches of Tigray. The upper part of the wall and the ceilings were painted, even though, most the painting has been faded, but a good impression of the decoration can still be gained. A number of scenes can be distinguished: cherubim and angles, the Abune Samuel, the Nine Saints, St. Qirqos.

Overnight Korkor Lodge (Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner)

Today you’ll drive to Abune Yemata, a rock-hewn church, carved on the cliff face of one of the mountains of Guh. The scenery is breath-taking and the mountains resemble pillars reaching to the sky. The church is carved on the cliff face of the Guh Mountains. The only way to the church is footholds and handgrips in the rock face which is challenging. Just before the entrance to the church there is a narrow ledge carved in the cliff from which one can view a sheer drop of approximately 250m to 300m. The church is not only known for its difficult ascent but also for its truly remarkable murals. It is colourfully decorated, wall to wall, with exciting murals of Old and New Testament stories. Nine of the twelve apostles are depicted in a round frame on the ceiling. Abune Yemata on his horseback is shown on one of the walls. Each church had a unique painting style.; Yemata being the most elaborate.

Overnight Korkor Lodge (Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner)

After breakfast you will drive to the Teka Tesfi churches – three ancient rock churches: Medhane Alem Adi Kesho, considered by many to be Ethiopia’s oldest rock church; Petros wa Paulos and a carved rock dome church Mikael- Melehayzenghi dating to the 8th century.

Overnight Korkor Lodge (Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner)

Distance  150km – Approximate journey time 3 hours
Today after breakfast you’ll drive to Axum. En route you’ll visit the ruin of Yeha Temple, famous for its huge and remarkable temple. According to the 19th century German scholar Heinrich Miiller, the temple is thought to date back to about 700-800 years before the birth of Christ. The temple is believed to be the oldest standing building in the country.

Continue onto Axum. Axum is renowned for its cathedral of St. Mary Zion, where legend has it the original Ark of Covenant is housed.  There are several standing monolithic stelae which are made of single pieces of granite, three of which have identical decoration. The site of the Queen of Sheba’s Palace contains the remains of what was once a massive palace with finely mortared stonewalls, deep foundations and its own impressive drainage system.  It is believed to be the oldest building in Axum.

Overnight Sabean International Hotel (Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner)

Distance  292km – Approximate journey time 5-6 hours
Today after breakfast you’ll drive to the Simien Mountains National Park which will take approximately 3hours.  Upon arrival check in to Limalimo Lodge.

The Simien Mountains are an area of highlands in the northern part of Ethiopia consisting of some of the most spectacular mountain scenery in the world. It was added to the World Heritage Site list in 1978. With a total area of 190km2, the Simien Mountains boast 57 tree species, a wealth of herbaceous plants, 22 large and 13 small mammals and about 180 recorded bird species. Of these, the Walia ibex, Ethiopian wolf, Menelik’s Bushbuck and the Gelada baboon are endemic.

After lunch you’ll drive to Sankaber. Here you can observe the beautiful landscape and animals like the Gelada Baboon (or the ‘bleeding-heart’ Baboon) and the lion monkey. Afterwards, you’ll return to Limalimo Lodge for dinner and overnight.

Overnight Limalimo Lodge (Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner)

After having breakfast you’ll drive to Chenek. Situated at 3620m above sea level it is a spectacular site which contains the scenic mountains range, impressive escarpment, unforgettable viewpoints, mountain summits (such as Mount Buhit) and rich varieties of plant and animal species. Chenek is home to the endemic Walia Ibexes whom you may spot.

You’ll spend the day at Chenek exploring this unparalleled environment, before returning back to the lodge for dinner and overnight.

Overnight Limalimo Lodge (Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner)

Distance  315km – Approximate journey time 5 hours
Today your tour continues to Bahir Dar, an enchanting port city located on the southern shore of Lake Tana. Embark on a boat trip over Lake Tana to the nearby monastery of the Zeghie Peninsula to visit 2 of the renowned Island Monasteries of the Lake known for its 14th century round, grass roofed churches and their magnificent wall murals, namely: Ura Kidane Mihret and Azua Mariam – both have wonderful paintings which depicts the scene from the Old and the New Testaments of the Holy Bible all over their walls.

The monastery of Ura is found hidden within the mangrove forest of the Zege peninsula. Its architectural style is a typical example of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church having mud plastered round wall with a conical thatched roof. Ura is known especially for its fine frescoes, manuscripts, ecclesiastical objects including the crown of various emperors dated from the 14th century, processional crosses of silver & gold, silver-drum and royal vestments.

Overnight Kuriftu Resort and Spa (Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner)

Today after breakfast you’ll fly to Gondar. Up on arrival you will check in to the hotel before embarking on your exploration of Gondar, the imperial city of Fasilides. The city was the first capital of the Ethiopian empire, which began in 1632, with the reign of Fasilides; and the kings of Ethiopia based their power there for over two centuries,

In Gondar, there are a dozen castles built by various emperors over the course of 236 years. Many picturesque ruins lie in the royal enclosure, like fairy-tale castles dating back to the 17th century. The castles reflect the glory of Gondarine kings and is characterised by its distinctive architectural style. The other place of interest is the Fasilides pool, in which pilgrims still take a plunge during the Timket (Epiphany) celebrations.

After taking a rest you’ll visit Debre Birhan Trinity Church, (rewarding for the magnificent murals adorning the roof and the wall), and Kuskuam Church, situated on a hillscape, just outside the town.

During this day of remarkable sights, you will pause for breath and for lunch at the Four Sisters Restaurant, which offers the finest cuisine in Gondar.

Overnight Mayleko Lodge (Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner)

Approximate Flight time 40 mins
Today after breakfast you transfer to Gondar airport for your flight to Lalibela.  On arrival, you will meet with your tour representative who will welcome you and transfer you to Meazena Lodge.

Lalibella is rightly acknowledged as being one of the Wonders of the World.  At the end of the 12th and beginning of the 13th centuries King Lalibella of the Zaghwe dynasty built a series of rock hewn churches in this spot, calling it New Jerusalem. Crafted from the rock in which they stand, these towering edifices seems to be superhuman creation in scale, workman ship and concept. 11 churches in the town are named after the King.

After checking in to your hotel, you’ll begin your tour of the first group of six churches in town. This group of churches lie in rock cradles, one behind the other: Bet Golgotha, Bet Mikael, Bet Mariam, Bet Meskel, Bet Danaghel and Bet Medhane Alem.

Overnight Mezena Lodge (Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner)


This morning you’ll take an excursion to visit the second group of the rock churches. The south-east cluster of churches is more irregular in design than the north-western cluster. Several of the individual churches in this cluster are thought to have been secular in origin, and some predate the reign of King Lalibela by five centuries. The churches in the south-east cluster include Bet Gebriel-Rafael, Bet Abba Libanos, Bet Lehem, Bet Emanuel, and Bet Mercurios. According to legend, Bet Abba Libanos was built overnight by Lalibela’s wife, Meskel Kebre, who was assisted by a group of angels.

Finally you’ll visit Bet Giyorgis, possibly the most elegant and majestic of all the Lalibela churches, which lies somewhat isolated in the southwest part of the village on a sloping rock terrace. It can only be reached through a tunnel.

Overnight Mezena Lodge (Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner)

Approximate Flight time 60 mins
This morning you will fly back to Addis Ababa and Transfer to the airport for final departure.
A day room at Golden Tulip Hotel can be arranged if you have a later flight.

Prices & Booking Information

FROM USD$11,119 Per Person
Based on a minimum of 2 people traveling together

  • Subject to our standard Terms & Conditions
  • Subject to change & availability of services at time of booking
  • Contact Us>>for a quote for specific travel dates

Inclusive of:

  • Transportation by air-conditioned vechicle, whilst on tour
  • All entrance fees during your excursion/s
  • All accommodation & meals as stated, unless indicated otherwise
  • Accompanying Guide throughout the tour
  • Bottled water is included for your comfort, whilst on route.

Exclusive of:

  • International & all domestic flights as described in the itinerary
  • Visa Fees
  • Insurance coverage for personal loss, injury, illness or damages incurred during your trip. (We strongly recommend travel/cancellation insurance)
  • All extras and/or items of a purely personal nature, incl.  laundry, dry-cleaning, internet, fax or phone charges, transfers, sightseeing and meals/snacks/beverages not  indicated in your itinerary (e.g. bar fridge in hotel room).
  • Excess baggage charges
  • Tips & Gratuities
  • Any drinks/meal/snack shown as not included
  • Any additional excursions and activities not shown as included

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