The Castles of Gondar

Historic Routes & Lower Omo Tribes 16 Days

Historic Routes & Lower Omo Tribes

Lower Omo Tribes, Historic Routes

Bahir Dar, Monasteries on Lake Tana ,Kibran Gabriel , Ura Kidanemehret, Azwa Maryam, Blue Nile Falls, Portuguese Bridge, Gondar, Simien Mountains, Axum, Lalibela

Lower Omo Valley Tribes; Culture in South Omo – Hamer, Mursi, Bena, Arbore, Arba Minch, Konso Jinka,  Turmi, key Afer, Dassenech, karo, Dus, Omo Park, Surma, Jinka, south Omo Markets and Hamer Bull Jumping and more…

Itinerary

Program:  Historic Routes & Lower Omo Tribes

Code: Combined Tour 02

Duration: 15 Nights (16 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.  Than 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 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’, trek around to see a Portuguese Bridge (17Century) and the country side . The area around the waterfall is fertile land 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 Gabriel (prohibited for women) & Entos Eyesus. Overnight – at chosen hotel – Bahir Dar

Day 3: Awra Amba Communities – Gondar

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/Gi’hon), 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 Rock 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. 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: Swayne’s Hartebeest – Yirgalem (315km)

Morning, fly from Lalibela to Addis Ababa and drive to the town of Yirgalem (315km asphalt road). Near Awassa, discover Swayne’s Hartebeests at Sinkille (also named as Sinkille) Sanctuary, the only place in Ethiopia where Swayne’s Hartebeest sightings are practically guaranteed. Then drive to Yirgalem.  Overnight – at chosen Lodge / hotel – Yirgalem

Day 8: Singing Wells & Chew Beth (El Sod)

After breakfast; drive to Yabello. On the way, at Wenago, visit the Tutu Fella stelae field – a unique collection of carved stones. Just nearby Yabello, visit Dublock (Borena Village), and Singing Wells. The Borena ethnics move every time in groups across a large area in search of food and water for their herds of zebu cattle.  The zebu cattle are poorly adapted to the arid & desert heat so they must be watered regularly at the desert wells – about 20-30 meters deep.  While watering their cattle the Borena have special songs to praise their cattle. On the way to Mega – Moyale Road, visit El Sod (Salt House) also known as, Chew Bet to discover people extracting salt there. Overnight – at chosen hotel – Yabello

Day 9: Yabello – Turmi –Arbore

Drive from Yabello to Turmi via Arbore. Visit the Arbore people at their town named Arbore. On the way after 105 km drive, Visit town of Konso (UNESCO World Heritage Site) – The people of Konso are well known for their intricately terraced hillsides, fine woven materials, carved totems made of wood, decorated graves (mainly the king & his wife), impressive village and etc. Explore The Konso King, totems, Konso villages, and Gesergiyo (New York)-magnificent rock formation. Overnight – at chosen lodge – Turmi

Day 10: Turmi – Karo – Dus and Nyangatom tribes

With lunch box, drive from Turmi to Dus & Karo villages (60 km rough road). In Dus, visit the unique house – made in wood for wedding & bull jumping ceremony, then drive back to another Karo village called Kolcho.  The Karo tribes are mainly known for their special hairstyle and body paintings. Then drive to Nyangatom tribes through Murulle. They are settled at the Omo River bank. Therefore, cross the Omo River by a boat and reach the villages of Nyangatom tribes. Overnight – at chosen lodge – Turmi

Day 11: Omorate – Dassenech/Galeb –Turmi market

Monday, the area around Turmi is where the Hamer & Bena people live, famous for their bull-jumping ceremonies and great body decoration. There is a popular Hamer and Bena market held in Turmi on every Monday, this is what you have to  schedule your  visit for, but the market  will not be full until mid-afternoon, so this morning, after early breakfast, first drive to Omorate (75km),nearby the Omo River and cross the river by local boat. This area is inhabited by the Dassenech (Galeb) people, known for their very interesting house design and body painting. You will stay with them for a couple of hours, then cross the river again and drive back to Turmi, for lunch and a short break from the heat &  visit the Turmi Market. The Hamers dominate this market. The Hamers are a fine looking people, both men and women take great pride in their appearance, shaving and coloring their hair, oiling their bodies and decorating themselves with beads and bracelets worn around arms and legs. Late afternoon; approach to some Hamer villages to discover their lifestyle at home and attend the Evangadi Dance. You will be attending if Bull Jumping Ceremony is taking place in any place in south, during your presence here. Overnight – at chosen lodge – Turmi

Day 12: Turmi – – Alduba – Jinka

Drive from Turmi to Jinka via Dimeka and Alduba for Markets. Overnight – at chosen hotel/lodge – Jinka

Day 13: Mursi tribes, Mago National Park

Morning; drive to Mago National Park32km for game view. If it is early morning, visible wildlife could be: Kudu & dik-dik. In the park, discover the lifestyle of Mursi in their small village. Mursi women split and stretch their lower lips time after time to make bigger room for bigger & bigger discs.  A women having bigger disc is consider the most beautiful amongst women in the tribe!  Drive back to Jinka and to Arba Minch (240km). Overnight – at chosen hotel/lodge -Arba Minch

Day 14: Nechsar National Park & Lake Chamo

Drive to Nechsar National Park for bird watching and game viewing. Nechsar is the home of some mammals like the endemic Swayne’s Hartebeest (the park was primarily established to protect the endemic Swayne’s Hartebeest), Thomson’s gazelle, Berchule’s Zebra, Greater Kudu, Dik-Dik, and Baboons. Afternoon; boat trip on Lake Chamo. This Lake is known for its enormous population of Crocodiles, Hippopotamus & pelicans. Overnight – at chosen hotel/lodge-Arba Minch

Day 15: Arba Minch – Addis Ababa (505km)

Drive from Arba Minch to Addis Ababa. On the way, visit the Dorzé Village, near Arba Minch. Overnight – at chosen hotel – Addis Ababa

Day 16: 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 center  ….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

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