Danakil Depression

Historic Routes & Danakil Depression 15 Days

Historic Routes, Danakil Depression

Discover historic routes, Danakil Depression & Awash National Park for amazing Ethiopian History with the Ark of the Covenant in Axum, Rock churches in Lalibela, Gondar Castles, Potash and sulfur volcanic activity in the lowest and hottest region of the world (120m below sea level) – near the Red Sea, active Volcano at the Top of a hill called Arta Ale (613m above sea level) salt Lakes : Assale and Afdera, wildlife at Awash National park : lesser and greater kudu, Beisa Oryx, waterbuck, cheetah and lions,  Hamadryas baboons, secretary and bustard birds, hot springs and crocodiles and Awash River Falls and desert palm trees Danakil Depression 


Program:  Historic Routes, Danakil Depression & Awash National Park

Code: GrandT 03

Duration: 14Nights (15 Days)

Transportation: Air & Land (4WD)

Tour starts: Addis Ababa

Tour ends: Addis Ababa

Day 1: Arrive and City Tour of Addis Ababa

In the morning, arrive at Addis Ababa bole International Airport, meet with us  and transfer to your Hotel then after Breakfast, we drive to the Entoto Mountain (3300m) for a panoramic view of Addis, Entoto Museum with historical and royal exhibit, The Church of St. Mary, built in 1885 and the old palace of emperor MenelikII. Take some images at Mount Entoto.  We drive back to Addis for Ethnological Museum (in Addis Ababa University) that exhibits the culture and handicrafts of various Ethiopian ethnic groups, the National Museum in which you are visiting different archaeological findings (including Lucy’s replica Skeleton). After lunch, visit the Trinity Cathedral, Mausoleum of emperor MenelikII at Bààta Church (you will discover many turtles that have been here since before Addis Ababa was established in1886) and finally Merkato. Overnight – at chosen hotel – Addis Ababa

 Day 2: The Tis Issat of the Blue Nile and Monasteries on Lake Tana

After breakfast; fly from Addis Ababa & drive to the small town of Tiss Abay (32km rough road) to visit the impressive Blue Nile Falls, locally known as Tis Isat means in Amharic: ‘Smoke of Fire’. Much of the water is diverted for Hydro electric Generation plant but it is still worth visiting for remaining waterfalls, trekking around and to see a Portuguese Bridge (17Century) and the country side as well. The area around the waterfall is amazingly fertile and the Amhara people who live here farm wheat, sorghum and Teff (from which Injera, the national bread, is made). After the fall, return to Bahir Dar & make city tour of Bahir Dar which includes: market where you can find the pottery, traditional hand-made woven clothes, and Woito Basket market.

Afternoon; take a chartered boat trip on Lake Tana to visit monasteries (constructed during 14 up to 18 century). You will visit only the most accessible and representative of the monasteries on the lake, still serving their original function: Ura Kidane Mehret, and Azwa Maryam (in Zeghie Peninsula), Kibran Church (prohibited for women) & Entos Eyesus. Overnight – at chosen hotel – Bahir Dar

Day 3: Awra Amba Communities and Gondar Castles

After breakfast; drive to Gondar (187km best asphalt road). Near Bahir Dar, visit the Bezawit Hill tops and the palace of Emperor Haile SellassieI (entering is prohibited) & the Blue Nile (we call it Abay or Geon), leaving its source – Lake Tana. Also the sunset here is attractive. Again on the way; visit Awra Amba village/Communities. Awra Amba communities are famous in their work activity. Any member, whatever the type of task or knowledge they perform, the share distribution among them is equal. They believe any member of the community should be treated fairly & get their support until death. When a member dies, only two people bury the dead body. No one cries for the dead but go working!!  The founder of the community is called Zumra, an old man, still alive!!Proceed to Gondar. Afternoon, visit the 17century church of Debre Birhan Silassie (Light of Trinity) unique in its murals, the Castles of emperor Fassiladas and his swimming pool, and palace of Empress Mentewab. Visit also the Jewish / Felasha Village – about 2km from Gondar.  Overnight – at chosen hotel – Gondar

Day 4:  Axum (the Birth place of Ethiopia)

Morning, fly from Gondar to Axum and visit the town of Axum. Axum treasures the ancient Ethiopian history. The attractions of Axum include: the archaeological museum, monolithic steles/obelisks, the tombs of King Kaleb, and the legendary Bath and the ruins of ancient palace of the Queen of Sheba, St Mary of Zion and the sanctuary that houses the original Ark of the Covenant. Note that almost all  Ethiopian Orthodox Christians and some scholars believe firmly on  the presence of the original Ark of  the covenant for centuries here in Axum,  at the chapel in the middle of St Mary of Zion and Emperor Fassiladas’ Castle of Axum. Visit also the monastery of Abba Pantelion (requires about 30 minutes walk) at the hill side of Axum (prohibited for women).  Overnight – at chosen hotel –Axum

Day 5: Lalibela Churches

Morning, fly from Axum to Lalibela and after lunch, visit the first group of six churches: 1.Bet Golgotha, 2.Bet Mikael, 3.Bet Mariam, 4.Bet Meskel, 5.Bet Danaghel and 6.Bet Medhane Alem. Bet Medhane Alem is the largest monolithic rock hewn church in the world, built like a Greek temple! In a corner there are three empty graves symbolically dug for biblical patriarchs Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Overnight – at chosen hotel – Lalibela

Day 6: 2nd group of Rock Hewn Churches – Lalibela

Early morning, Climb Asheten Mariam (optional) for a panoramic view of the region and a mountain Church named Asheten. After breathing on the top (more than3000m), descend down to Lalibela (at 2630m above sea level), one of the most fascinating historical sites of Ethiopia. After lunch and a short siesta, continue exploring the fascinating churches (Second group): 7.Bete Amanuel, 8.Bete Marqorewos, 9.Bete Abba Libanos, 10.Bete Gabriel -Rufael and11. Bet Giyorgis is the most elegant of all Lalibela churches, which lies somewhat isolated in the southwest part of the town on a sloping rock terrace. Also visit Nakuto Làabe Cave Church (5km from Lalibela).  Overnight – at chosen hotel – Lalibela

Day 7: Yimrahine Kristos –Mekele

Full day drive to the cave church called Yimrahine Kristos (42 km from Lalibela). This Church has been constructed by King Yimrahine Kristos during the13th Century. In the church, there are more than 5000 (five thousand) dead human skeletons (Bones) lying without any coverage for the past 700 years. They are supposed to be pilgrimages from Syria, Egypt and Ethiopia. The murals on the dark walls of the church and the forest around are very impressive and worthy to be visited.  Visit the church and proceed to Mekelle. Overnight – at chosen hotel – Mekelle

Day 8:   Mekelle   – Hammed Ela

Drive from Mekelle to Hammed Ela. After the small town of Agula; we descend to the Afar Region. You will see too many camel caravans, transporting rock salt from Lake Asalé to the town of Mekelle at many spots on the road. As we penetrate deep down to the region, the temperature becomes hotter and hotter. Lunch and some rest at the small town of Berahile (110km from Mekelle) where entrance tickets will be collected. Then we proceed towards Hammed Ela; accompanying with Afar polices and a local guide from Berahile. Overnight – camping (in Afar House) – Hammed Ela

Day 9:  Danakil Depression and Lake Asalé

Early morning (6:30am); excursion to the Danakil depression. On this day; surely, you will be overwhelmed with strong feeling of admiration, because of the awesome of Danakil /Dallol Depression. After Dallol; proceed to the traditional salt extraction site from where too many camels are waiting to be loaded rock salts – just nearby the Salt Lake of Asalé. Then approach to Lake Asalé. Overnight – camping (in Afar House) – Hammed Ela

Day 10: the Eternal fire of Arte Ale, Active Volcano Lake

Morning; drive from hammed Ela towards Arte Ale (78km dirty road) via Kursewat & Dodom and then climb Arta Ale (3-4hrs walk). Explore the extraordinary lava that babbles from its rim of Arte Ale volcanic fire. During night time the volcano will be fully seen with its magnificent zigzagging fire, produced from huge rocks. Therefore; in the evening, descend from Camping site to the drama of the volcano.  Overnight- camping on the rim of Arte Ale.

Day 11: Arta Ale – Afdera/ Afréra

Descend to where vehicles are camped and drive to Afdera. Overnight – basic hotel – Afdera

Day 12: Afdera – Awash National park.

Drive from Afdera to Awash National Park. Lunch at Logia and proceed, overlooking the Yangu Di Rassa National Park and Awash River; the only river that waters the desert area of the Afar Region.  Overnight – at chosen hotel/lodge – Awash Park

Day 13: Awash National park & Yirgalem (370km)

Morning, Game view in Awash National Park: Oryx, Dik Dik, Bustard, & Secretary Birds are some expected wildlife and drive to the town of Yirgalem (370km asphalt road). Overnight – at chosen hotel/lodge – Yirgalem

Day 14: Yirgalem – Addis Ababa

Drive to Addis Ababa. On the way, visit Sinkille Hartebeest Sanctuary, Lake Awassa, Abijata – Shalla lakes National Park and Debre- Zeit. Overnight – at chosen hotel – Addis Ababa

Day 15: Departure

Based on time,  you can  visit Addis ( if you have any not visited on day 1) or shopping such as coffee, go to handicrafts centre  ….and go home/ departure after dinner in restaurant with live tribal dance.  (End of the trip)

Notice: This itinerary can be amended up on request