Signature Departure: Ethiopia An Unspoiled Corner of Africa with Timkat Festival

Axum, Simien, Bahir Dar, Lalibela, Addis Ababa

Group tour

At a Glance

  • Witness the annual Timkat festival in Addis Ababa

     

  • Be invited to a local village for a coffee ceremony

  • Small group size of maximum 16 people

  • All meals included with 1 glass of juice/beer/wine

  • Tipping to Guide, Driver & Porter included

  • Accompanied by Scott Dunn Travel Concierge

  • Comprehensive Travel Insurance included

We design each itinerary around you, so this suggested itinerary is a starting point that we can tweak or transform into something completely bespoke to you. Call us on 020 3993 5269 to start planning your holiday.

Itinerary

Take the road less travelled and discover the secrets of Ethiopia, a country of diversity, existing almost simultaneously in different eras against a magnificent backdrop of plains and proud mountains. This unique departure coincides with the annual Timkat ceremonies, the most important festival in the Ethiopian Orthodox calendar. Witness this colourful ceremony and all that gather to take part. Weather wise, it is also the best time to visit this endlessly surprising country.

  1. Days 1-2: Tigray Region, Ethiopia

    Saturday 11th January

    From Singapore:
    Singapore/Addis Ababa - ET 639 - 0215/0605 +1 (8hrs 50mins)
    Addis Ababa/Axum - ET 128 - 0740/0910 (1hr 30mins)

    From Hong Kong:
    10JAN Hong Kong/Addis Ababa - ET 609 - 2255/0640 +1 (12hrs 45mins)
    11JAN Addis Ababa/Axum - ET 128 - 0740/0910 (1hrs 30mins)

    Upon arrival, met and transfer to Yared Zema International Hotel for 1 night. Axum is another of Ethiopia’s star attraction. The little town is littered with ruins of palaces, underground tombs, stelae and inscriptions. It was once the capital of the powerful Axumite Empire (3rd to 6th centuries) as well as that of the legendary Queen Sheba. In the morning, visit the small archaeological museum, the obelisk park, Queen Sheba’s bath, Axumite palaces and tombs and the trilingual inscription of Ezana. In the afternoon, visit St Mary of Zion church, which is the oldest in Ethiopia and sub Sahara.

    Meals: Lunch & Dinner

    Accommodation: Yared Zema International Hotel (1 night)

  2. Days 2-4: Simien Mountains, Ethiopia

    Sunday 12th January

    Flight:

    Axum/Gondar - ET 123 - 1210/1350 (1hr 40mins)

    Upon arrival in Gondor, which has been called Africa’s Camelot with its series of castles and churches. It is Ethiopia’s capital from 1636 to 1667. Most have survived the ravage of time and constitute one of Ethiopia’s most fascinating antiquities. After lunch, we’ll visit the Debre Birhan Sellassie Church or “Trinity at the mount of Light”, with the most famous ceiling in Ethiopia. Transfer to Limalimo Lodge and enjoy the sunset. Homer considers Simien to be the playground of Greek gods. The scenery is truly breathtaking. UNESCO has listed it as a world heritage site.

    Optional: Helicopter is flying to Danakil Depression, then to Erta Ale active volcano and fly back to Limalimo Lodge

    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

    Monday 13th January

    In morning, we take a 1.5h walk, mostly flat or downhill, and hope to see the endemic Gelada baboons, Klipspringers, Lammergeyer vultures, and bushbuck. The scenery is truly breathtaking and there will be time for a walk around the Sankaber region of the National Park. The maximum altitude we reach is 3250m. After lunch, we’ll visit Simien National Park. The park is home to some extremely rare animals such as the Gelada baboon, the Simien fox and the Walia ibex, a goat found nowhere else in the world. 

    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

    Accommodation: Limalimo Lodge (2 nights)

  3. Days 4-6: Lake Tana, Ethiopia

    Tuesday 14th January

    This morning, our exploration will cover the Royal Enclosure with the palace of Emperor Fasilidas and Kwesquam to see the castle of Empress Mentwabe. Additionally, visit Fasilidas’s Pool, still used for Timket celebrations today. After lunch, drive about 3 hours (180km) south to Bahir Dar. In the early evening, check into Avanti Blue Nile Hotel for 2 nights.

    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

    Wednesday 15th January

    This morning, we will explore Lake Tana by boat. It has some 30 islands with monasteries dating from 13 to 18 centuries. Visit the monastery of Ura Jidane Mihret on the Zeghe Peninsula giving you an insight into the splendor of Ethiopia’s religious heritage. The lake cruise itself also provides the opportunity to numerous lake bird sightings and local papyrus fishing boats in action, we will also see the source of Blue Nile. In the afternoon, explore the colorful bustling local market. End the day with a sunset overlooking the lake, river and town.

    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

    Accommodation: Blue Nile Resort Hotel (2 nights)

  4. Days 6-7: Lalibela, Lalibela and Northern Ethiopia, Ethiopia

    Thursday 16th January

    Flight:

    Bahir Dar/Lalibela - ET 120 - 0900/0930 (30mins)

    Upon arrival, met and transfer to Sora Lodge for 2 nights. Lalibela also known as Africa’s Petra, Lalibela and its rock-hewn churches are arguably Africa’s top attraction. It is set amongst the rugged Lasta Mountains at 2630m. This afternoon, you will visit what have become known as the 8th wonder of the world – the churches of King Lalibela (A.D. 1180 to 1220). According to legend, the 11 monolithic churches, hand cut directly from the stone of the earth required 25,000 people and 24 years to complete.

    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

    Accommodation: Sora Lodge (1 night)

  5. Days 7-8: Lake Tana, Ethiopia

    Friday 17th January

    This morning we have two choices: A) Take a morning hike with mules to Mount Asheton, with its 13th century rock-hewn monastery, Monastery of Ashetom Mariam and great views of the town; - OR - B) Drive to Yemrehanna Kristos, a beautiful church situated in a shallow cave that predates the churches of Lalibela. The drive to Yemrehanna will also give you the opportunity to view the rural countryside and villages of the Ethiopian highlands. This afternoon, continue to visit other groups of King Lalibela churches.

    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

     

    Accommodation: Blue Nile Resort Hotel (1 night)

  6. Days 8-10: Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

    Saturday 18th January

    This morning you will be transferred to the airport and fly to Addis Ababa.

    Flight:

    Addis Ababa/Lalibela - ET 121 - 1010/1110 (1hr)

    On arrival, you will be transferred to your hotel, Sheraton Addis Ababa, check in for 2 nights. This late afternoon, we will drive uphill to Entoto, which once was Emperor Minilik II’s permanent camp. Enjoy the panoramic view of the capital and surrounding countryside with sunset.

    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

    Sunday 19th January

    This morning, enjoy a city tour of the capital, starts with National Museum which houses some of the country’s historic treasures. The collection of fossils and bones of early hominids discovered in Ethiopia include the 3.5 million year old remains of ‘Lucy’, the oldest hominid ever found. Then we visit the church of the Holy Trinity, Ethiopia’s main cathedral and home to the remains of the last emperor, Haile Selassie. In the afternoon, Addis Ababa City will be surrounded by Timket holiday spirit. The Eve of Timkat called Ketera, which is the day, when the celebration of this astonishing Timkat festival officially starts. On the afternoon, every street of Addis Ababa was adorned with the green, yellow and red Ethiopian flag. It was the day when Tabots (replicas of the Ark of the Covenant) were taken to chosen places. Others accompanied the Tabots, by walking with it all the way to the destination. The journey always adorned with priests who hold decorated sparkling umbrellas, exceptionally dressed children’s of traditional gospel singers of particular orthodox churches, traditional Ethiopian gospel songs and moves.

    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

     

    Accommodation: Sheraton Addis (2 nights)

  7. Addis Ababa | Singapore

    Monday 20th January

    Today, the streets of Addis Ababa City will be packed with children, men and women walking towards Jan Meda in the morning – where the main festival of Timkat takes place- in different kinds of neighborhoods, to attend the event, pray and blessed by the holy water, wearing the Ethiopian traditional clothe called Netela. On this day, all the Tabots are then paraded back to the churches, with the same kind of vibrant process. In the afternoon, visit the Ethnological Museum, set within Haile Selassie’s former palace, showing the full sweep of Ethiopia’s cultural and social history across two floors. Then visit Merkato, the largest open-air market in Africa, where almost every possible commodity is on sale. After our farewell dinner, you will be transferred to the airport for your flight back home.

    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

    To Singapore:
    Addis Ababa / Singapore - ET 638 - 0045/1450+1 (9hrs 5mins)

    Arrive Singapore on 21 Jan (Tue)

    To Hong Kong:
    Addis Ababa / Hong Kong - ET 644 - 2355/1455+1 (10hrs)

    Arrive Hong Kong on 21 Jan (Tue)

Location

Axum, Simien, Bahir Dar, Lalibela, Addis Ababa

Speak to our specialists 020 3993 8860

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We design each itinerary around you, so this suggested itinerary is a starting point that we can tweak or transform into something completely bespoke to you. Call us on 020 3993 5269 to start planning your holiday.

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