10-day Northern Whirlwind tour
You will be greeted in Bahir Dar and taken to your hotel (Winn Hotel). After checking-in, you will be shown the city and taken to recommended restaurants/cafes. In the evening you will be taken to a cultural club where you will learn about the many cultures of Ethiopia and maybe even try your hand at dancing.
After Breakfast you will depart by Land Cruiser to the village of Tis Abay to view the beautiful Blue Nile Fall and the surrounding nature 30km downstream of the source of the Blue Nile River.
You will return to Bahir Dar for some Lunch before departing for your hotel (Fasil Lodge) in Gondar. If remaining daylight permits, you will have the opportunity to visit either the medieval castles or the Felasha Jewish community.
You will be collected after breakfast and driven to the base of the Simien Mountains where park entrance will be gained and equipment, local guide, cook and scout will be collected. You will drive up high into the mountains and will begin trekking on the flatter cliff paths where you can take it the amazing views. All the while whilst you are in the mountains you will have your own vehicle who will be able to collect and drop you off as per your requirements. You will drive to highlighted view areas where you will have the chance to see Lammergeyer fly over 800m cliffs with a cascading waterfall and you will get up close and personal with Gelada Baboon who graze the grass near the cliff edges. You will descend to the first campsite where you will spend the night with stunning views down the valley. Tents will be erected for you and hot food and drink will be prepared for you. Be prepared for low temperatures at night!
The day will start with a small ascent to search for Walia Ibex and Ethiopian Red Wolf. After your camp has been packed up for you, you will make the all day descent down the mountains and join the road to the ancient town of Axum, home of the Ark of the Covenant. The drive is a long one but it will take you along some of the most spectacular roads in Ethiopia. Hotel for the night will be Axum-Touring Hotel.
Today you will have some flexibility as to how you wish to spend your day. You will certainly drive to Mekele, but after discussing with your guide and the driver you can choose what to see on the way. The options are the Ancient Stelae Park and other historic artefacts in Axum; a pre-judaic temple called Yeha, the oldest standing structure in sub-saharan Africa; the precariously perched Abune Yemata 6th century church; Debre Damo, a table-top mountain monks refuge accessed by a goat leather rope or various other mountain-side churches. Hotel for the night will be Melina Pension in Mekele.
You will head off after breakfast to the Afar region town of Aksoma. This drive through dessert scenery, lava fields and occasional oases should take 6 to 7 hours. From Aksoma you will trek for a couple of hours towards Erta Ale, an active volcano with lava continually bubbling from it. You will spend the night here in the campsite with all equipment provided and transported for you. You will spend the night camping near the rim marvelling at the bright molten lava in this other worldly landscape. The Danakil Depression is an incredibly hostile area with temperatures often hitting 50 degree celcius. Strong shoes are advisable for the rocky broken ground around the volcano.
You will rise with the sun and explore other nearby fissures and pits before making your way back down from Erta Ale. When back at the lower camp you will have a chance for some breakfast and rest before heading to the mystical Lake Afrera. This lake is one of the lowest places on the planet and is an eruption of colour in an otherwise barren landscape as the minerals bubble out of hot springs making colourful pools of water. After this experience you will visit the local salt mining site where slabs of salt are cut straight out of the ground before being sent to markets by camel caravan and you will follow their route back to Mekele and Melina Pension.
We have proposed flying from Mekele to Lalibela via Addis Ababa, although should you prefer it is also possible to spend a whole day driving out of the dessert, and back into the mountainous terrain around Lalibela. You will have the afternoon to relax but we would be happy to show you around the town or arrange a cooking class, but we will leave this open to give you a rest should you wish. Hotel for the night is Blue Nile Guesthouse.
Today our local guide Joseph will show you around the millennia old complex of churches carved directly out of the ground and connected by tunnels and secret passageways. This is guaranteed to be a day of awe and astonishment. In the evening you can reserve dinner at the infamous Ben Abeba restaurant. Hotel will again be Blue Nile Guesthouse.
Tour will conclude at Lalibela Airport where you will fly to Addis Ababa. If you require any assistance in Addis Ababa we have staff at our office who can assist you.