Epiphanies(Timkat) Festival the Ethiopian Orthodox equivalent to Epiphany, is celebrated at churches throughout the country on January 19. The best place to be during Timkat is Gondar, where the festivities culminate in a crowded and colorful afternoon re-enactment of the first baptism at the 17th century Fasil’s Pool, which is filled with water for the occasion.
Jan 15: Arrival – Sightseeing Addis (The new Flower)
You will be met upon arrival and transferred to your hotel. Refresh and begin your sightseeing of Addis with a drive up to mount Entoto for a panoramic view of Addis. Descend down and drive to National museum where you will have a chance to spot the oldest hominids of ‘Lucy’ fossil. Visit and proceed to the Holy Trinity built during the WWII. Then proceed to Ethnographic museum, which use to be the palace of Emperor Hailesellase. To wrap up you drive to merkato, the biggest market in East Africa. Overnight in Addis.
Jan 16: Fly Addis – Bahir Dar (Lakeside Town)
You will be transferred to the airport for your flight to Bahir Dar. Be met and transferred to your hotel. Later, you will take a boat cruise on Lake Tana to visit the 14th century Monastery of Ura Kidane Mihret which is the most famous of the Zege peninsula monasteries. Afternoon, you will drive to the village of Tis Isat to see the Blue Nile falls (Note that the volume of the water could be minimal because of the construction of the new dam.) Overnight in Bahir Dar.
Jan 17: Drive Bahir Dar – Gondar (The Camelot of Africa)
After having your breakfast, you will begin your journey to Gondar. The Royal Capital of Ethiopia, Gondar was founded in 1636 by Emperor Fassiladas. Afternoon you will attain the most colorful eve ceremony of Timket. It commemorates Christ’s baptism by St. John in the Jordan River. ON this day the tabots (replica of arc of covenant) of each church are carried out in procession to a place near a river where the next day’s celebration will take place. A special tent is set up for each tabot, each hosting a proud manner depicting the church’s saint. The ceremony is accompanied by hymns and dances of the priests, drum beating, bell ringing and blowing of trumpets. Overnight in Gondar.
Jan 18: Timket
Early in the morning you will walk to the baptism place to be baptized. In the afternoon you will visit the city of Gondar with the drive to the Castles and Churches built by Emperor Fassiladas and his descendants. Proceed to the fascinating Debre Birhan Selassie (The Enlightening of Trinity) with Wonderful murals art, Qusquam Church. Overnight in Gondar.
Jan 19: Fly Gondar – Axum (30 min) (Mysterious Monolithes)
You will be transferred to the airport for your flight to Axum. A city more than 2500 years of history, once the center of a great empire and ancient civilization, home of the original Ark of covenants, Axum is the prime historical site in the north of Ethiopia. Take a city tour that include the St. Mary’s Church, the sanctuary Chapel which is the repository of the ‘Ark of covenant’, the coronation yard, Stelae Park, Tomb of Kaleb and his son Gebre Meskel, Ezana’s Inscriptions, Queen of Sheba’s Bath, Queen of Sheba’s palace ruins and Axum Museum. Overnight in Axum.
Jan 20: Fly Axum – Lalibela (30 min) (The Eighth Wonder of the World)
You will be transferred to the airport for your flight to Lalibela. Be met upon arrival and transferred to your hotel. ‘Eighth wonder of world Heritage’ Lalibela is famous for its underground rock-hewn cathedrals. In the afternoon you will visit top attractions of Lalibela that will simply stagger you. Visit the rock hewn churches. Overnight in Lalibela.
Jan 21: Fly Lalibela – Addis – Departure
This day you will be transferred to the airport for your flight to Addis. In the evening attend a folkloric dinner where you will have a chance to taste several national dishes and watch dances of the various ethnic groups of Ethiopia. The traditional coffee ceremony will also be served. Later you will be transferred to the airport for your departure.
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