Day 1 & 2 – Departure
Today you'll start your Ethiopia adventure to make unforgettable memories with your group.
Day 3 – Arrival, Addis Ababa
Upon arrival you'll meet with your Tour Manager and begin your journey.
After breakfast, you will have a sight-seeing tour of Addis Ababa and a visit to the National Museum. This museum 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 every found.
In the afternoon you will visit the Addis Ababa ICT Park. The Ethiopian government built this ICT park village in order to establish Ethiopia as the premier IT hub of Africa.
Day 4 – Addis Ababa
You will visit the Ethiopian Commodity Exchange (ECX). The ECX is a new initiative for Ethiopia and the first of its kind in Africa. The vision of the ECX is to revolutionize Ethiopia’s tradition-bound agriculture through creating a new marketplace that serves all market actors, from farmers to traders to processors to exporters to consumers.
In the afternoon, you will visit the African Union Headquarters. You will learn about the general historical background of the Pan-African Organization from the creation of the Organization of African Unity (OAU) in 1963 to the modern African Union. The AU visit will help you to understand how the AU helps Africa.
Day 5 – Lalibela
This morning, you will transfer to the airport and fly to Lalibela. When you arrive you will go to visit the first cluster of Lalibela’s rock hewn churches. Lalibela, the ‘New Jerusalem’, is thought to have been constructed some 800 years ago by King Lalibela. Although churches carved in rock are found in other parts of the world, those found in Ethiopia are particularly interesting. Generally, they were excavated on all sides of a rectangle, leaving a large block of granite isolated in the center. This rock was then shaped and formed both inside and out and the carvings show extremely skillful workmanship and they have been classified as a UNESCO World Heritage site. Each church has a unique architectural style and all are superbly carved. There are 11 rock-cut churches of which the most impressive is Bet Giorgis. It is carved in the form of a Greek cross and it is exceptionally well preserved.
After you will also have the opportunity to taste some of the most prized food products of the country. Ethiopia is believed to be where Arabica coffee originated. In this region by tradition, wives and daughters become coffee masters and invite their family, neighbors, friends and guests to have three cups of coffee. It plays an important role in stimulating communications. You will take part in a coffee ceremony in a local Ethiopian house. Lalibela is also famous for its honey wine and you will have a tasting of this delicious drink.
Day 6 – Aksum
Today you will visit Aksum which was the seat of the ancient capital of the Kingdom of Aksum, which was one of the most powerful in the ancient world. Located at the center of the trading routes between the Mediterranean and India, and controlling the great port of Adulis on the Red Sea, it was economically, politically and technically advanced and at times had control over both sides of the Red Sea. Aksum is also where Christianity originated in Ethiopia and it is believed to be the resting place of the Ark of the Covenant.
You will visit this stunning UNESCO World Heritage Site, stopping to see the ruins of St. Mary of Zion, the first church to be built in Sub-Saharan Africa around 330AD. You will then visit the famous monolithic stelae of Aksum; the tallest one still standing reaches 23 meters and another, once 33 meters high, now lies toppled on the ground. It is most likely the largest monolith ancient human beings ever attempted to erect. Underground tombs, stone inscriptions of ancient Aksumite kings and the small archaeological museum will all contribute to your understanding of the ancient Aksumite history. You will also visit the ruined palace of the Queen of Sheba who is said to have given birth to Menelik the First, fathered by King Solomon. Menelik was the founder of Ethiopia's royal family which ruled until the death of Emperor Haile Selassie in 1975.
Day 7 – Yeha, Adwa, Adigrat, Gheralta
After breakfast, you will head east from Aksum to Yeha, said to be Ethiopia's oldest settlement, likely dating back almost 3,000 years. A large temple, dedicated to the moon god Ilmuqah, appears to be related to other pagan temples dedicated to the same god in Yemen, indicating connections across the Red Sea from the earliest times. The temple was later converted into a church in the 6th century, but still has wonderful friezes of ibex carved into the façade. You shall also make a visit to the important town of Adwa, set amidst rugged mountains. It was at Adwa that the Ethiopians became the first African nation to repel a colonial power, when they defeated the Italian army in 1896. Since then, Ethiopia has been a symbol of African independence, free from European control. This afternoon you will continue to the town of Adigrat. We will explore this rarely visited corner of Ethiopia and discover the remarkable rock-cut churches in this region. These architectural gems were created prior to the 16th century and unknown to the outside world until the 1960s. About 150 are now known to be in existence with all but a handful still in active use by the orthodox Christian community. You will continue your drive to Gheralta where you will stay in a lodge.
Day 8 – Mekelle
After breakfast you will drive to the city of Mekelle and visit the University of Mekelle in the afternoon.
Day 9 – Mekelle, Addis Ababa
This morning, you will visit Mesfin Industrial Engineering and the Mosobo Cement Factory to learn about these industries.
In the evening, you will
have a farewell dinner in a traditional Ethiopian restaurants where we will
enjoy special dance performances from different ethnic groups. After dinner you
will transfer to the airport around midnight for your departure home.
Day 10 – Departure
Today your Ethiopia adventure comes to an end as your group journeys back home.
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