Small Group Tour: Timkat, History and Heritage in Northern Ethiopia

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What we came up with

Guided by our own Amelia Stewart from Simoon Travel, partnered with a guest lecturer, discover the spectacular northern region of Ethiopia, once home to some of the greatest ancient civilisations such as Gondar, with its medieval castles and palaces, and Lalibela with its extraordinary rock hewn churches. This trip also takes in Timkat, the most joyous occasion in the Ethiopian calendar.

— Amelia, Original Travel Expert

Itinerary Highlights

Timkat itself celebrates Epiphany; Christ's Baptism by St John in the River Jordan, and falls on January 12th each year (or, by our calendar, January 19th), and the festival embodies so much that is wonderful about Ethiopia and its people, with everyone swept up in a passionate, joyous, religious fervour.

Visit Ethiopia during the festivities in Gondar where the group will spend two nights watching and participating in processions, music, dancing and the ceremony of baptism itself.

Lalibela in particular is one of the wonders of the ancient world with magnificent, medieval, rock-hewn churches, dimly lit passageways, and hidden crypts and grottoes earning it the unofficial title of 'Eighth Wonder of the World'. Now a World Heritage Site, Lalibela undoubtedly ranks among the greatest religious-historical sites in the Christian world and is a highlight on any Ethiopia tour.

This Ethiopia trip will also take in the epic scenery of the Simien Mountains and a visit to Axum, the cradle of Christianity and allegedly where the Ark of the Covenant is kept - under 24hr guard - in the Church of Mary of Zion. There will also be a chance to visit the beautiful monasteries on the islands of Lake Tana, and do a gentle trek into the highlands of the Tigray region - a great way to experience peace and quiet in a beautiful landscape.

The group will also sample the local cuisine, drink delicious coffee and enjoy the warmth and sunny hospitality of the Ethiopian people.

  • Day 1 Overnight flight from the UK
  • Day 2 R&R in Addis Ababa
  • Day 3 Fly to Mekele and into Tigray
  • Day 4 Visit remote churches in the Tigray Highlands
  • Day 5 Visit remote churches in the Tigray Highlands
  • Day 6 Drive through wonderful landscapes to Axum in the north
  • Day 7 Spend a day exploring Axum - the cradle of Christianity
  • Day 8 Head to Gondar
  • Day 9 Celebrating Timkat in Gondar
  • Day 10 Celebrating Timkat in Gondar
  • Day 11 Visit monasteries deep in the jungle on the lake islands of Bahar Dar
  • Day 12 Drive to Lalibela
  • Day 13 Sightsee Lalibela
  • Day 14 Sightsee Lalibela/TESFA Trek in the Tigray Highlands
  • Day 15 Sightsee Lalibela/TESFA Trek in the Tigray Highlands
  • Day 16 Return flight to Addis and on to a spa hotel
  • Day 17 Relax and rejuvenate before night flight back to UK
  • Day 18 Arrive back in the UK

A rough idea of price

From £3500, single supplement: £450. Supplement of £120 per person, for the additional TESFA trek from Lalibela. Price includes: Tour leader Amelia to accompany from the UK, International and Domestic flights (Economy), knowledgeable local guide, all local transport, accommodation in best available hotels, meals - full board throughout, all entrance fees on guided tours, boat tours, Timkat festival fees. Price excludes: Visa, single supplement, travel insurance, personal items, tipping.

A note about prices

The guide prices shown are designed to provide you with a broad indication of how much to budget for your trip. Prices are generally for private arrangements using economy flights based on two people travelling together and sharing a room. There are a number of factors which will influence the price; these include the standard of accommodation, the season, the class of flights, the airline used and the level of private guiding versus shared excursions.

Key Stats

Where
Ethiopia
When
11th - 28th January 2018 (please note these may vary by a day or two according to the festival)
Who
Culture Vultures
Price PP (Inc Flights)
£3,500

You have been so incredibly helpful and we are enormously grateful - definitely keeping your itinerary for future use and will be recommending you to others

Georgina

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