Ethiopia has a proud and long history extending all the way to the known beginnings of human kind. The Historic Route overland tour takes visitors from the current capital of Addis Ababa to the former capitals of the Gonderite and Axumite empires, as well as to the sacred city of Lalibela and the rock churches of Tigray.
The journey takes travelers some 2000 kilometers through the Ethiopian countryside, mountains and desert. Driving from site to site gives the traveler a chance to see the places in between, enjoy local culture and see the Ethiopia that exists outside of these incredible historic sites.
From Addis Ababa, we journey north and visit a series of churches before arriving to Bahir Dar on Lake Tana. Our next stop is Gonder, where visitors walk through the great castles, royal bathes and churches built by the kings of Ethiopia over 400 years ago. The next day we drive the most scenic byway in Ethiopia around the Simien Mountains to Axum, the first capital and ancient entry point of Christianity to Ethiopia. Here, travelers will be stunned by the great stele left behind by this mysterious civilization. We continue the overland journey through the region of Tigray to the majestic Gheralta valley, where we take to our feet and visit a series of ancient churches carved into the sandstone dating back to the 4th and 5th centuries. All of these historic sites testify not only to the great faith of these societies, but also to their advanced architectural skills.
Finally, travelers go back in time to the late middle ages of Lalibela, where a great religious civilization flourished and a pious king constructed more than a dozen churches hewn out of massive monolithic rocks in the center of the city. From Lalibela, we journey back to Addis Ababa, finishing the circle of history and enjoy the lifestyle of modern Ethiopia.
Day 1 Arrival in Addis Ababa.
Day 2 Drive north to Bahir Dar: en route visit Debre Libanos monastery and pass through the Blue Nile Gorge on the way.
Day 3 Full day in Bahir Dar: visit the Blue Nile Falls, afternoon boat trip on Lake Tana to various islands and 14th century monasteries.
Day 4 Drive to Gonder: visit the Fasilades Castle Compound (16th century) and Bathes of King Fasil.
Day 5 Full day in Gonder: visit the 16th century church of Debre Berhan Selassie, afternoon visit to the Felasha village outside of Gonder.
Day 6 Drive to Axum on the scenic byway passing through the Simien Mountains, the Tekezze river gorge and the spectacular cliffs of Tigray.
Day 7 Full day in Axum: visit the famous Axumite stelea, archeological sites, the bath and the palace of Queen of Sheba, the tomb of Kings and the church of St. Mary of Zion (Where it is said King Menelik I brought the true Ark of Covenant from Israel).
Day 8 Drive to Gheralta Valley: en route visit the ancient ruins of Yeha Temple (5th century B.C.), the churches Grat Beal Gebri, Debredamo and Abuna Aregawi rock churches.
Day 9 Drive to Mekele: en route visit the rock churches of Tigray, including Wekro Cherkos and the monumental church of Abreha & Atsbeha.
Day 10 Drive to Lalibela on the scenic byway through the town of Sekota.
Day 11 Full day Laliebla: visit Asheten Mariam monastery and the rock-hewn churches of Lalibela.
Day 12 Full day Lalibela: visit second cluster of Lalibela rock-hewn churches, afternoon visit to Na’aktu Laab monastery.
Day 13 Drive to Kolmbolcha: en route visit Hayk Estefanos monastery and lake.
Day 14 Drive to Addis Ababa: en route visit a Oromo/Afar market.
Day 15 Full Day Addis Ababa: city tour including museums, churches and shopping at local markets. In the evening farewell dinner party. End of the tour.