Ethiopia is one of the ancient countries with over three thousand years of history and culture preserved. Located in northeastern Africa, Ethiopia is home to 70% of the mountains in Africa, of which the highest peak is Ras Dejen (4550 m), situated in the Simien Mountains National Park, listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Some interesting facts about Ethiopia:
• Ethiopia is the only country that has never been a colony
• It is the homeland of coffee, first discovered in the province of Kaffa, hence its name
• The longest river in the world - the Nile - originates from Lake Tana, which is the largest lake in Ethiopia
• In Ethiopia, there are over 50 endemic species of birds, animals and plants to be found only in Ethiopia
Itinerary: (a unique opportunity to have a local guide who speaks perfect Ethiopian, English and Bulgarian):
Flight from Sofia to Addis Ababa. Located at 3000 m above sea level, it is one of the highest capitals in the world. We will visit the church on top of Mount Entoto, with the palace of Emperor Menelik II, who founded the capital more than a century ago. On the way back we will visit the Shiro Meda market, which offers a variety of local goods and the historical museum, where the oldest human remains are on display (3.5 million-year-old).
Flight to Mekelle and a jeep ride (280 km) to Erta Ale. We have an early dinner to be able to go up to watch the eruption of the volcano in the dark! Erta Ale is 613 m high and is the most astonishing active volcano on Earth! Erta Ale, meaning the Smoking Mountain, is one of the six active volcanoes in the world. It takes 4 hours to climb it on foot (15 km). Camels will carry our backpacks. We camp near the eruption site on the crater wall of the lava lake.
Breakfast, lunch and dinner included in the price.
Upon our return from the crater, we have breakfast and set off to Hamed Ela, where we get first-hand knowledge about the life of local nomads and we spend the night out (camping) with them.
Breakfast, lunch and dinner included in the price.
After breakfast we head to the Dallol Depression - the lowest point on Earth (116 m below sea level) - one of the most astounding sights we will enjoy in our lives! We will visit a multicolored salt mine, where salt blocks are extracted from Lake Asale. In the late afternoon we go to the city of Mekelle, where we will stay at a 3-star hotel.
Hadem Ela - Dallol - Mekelle (about 300 km)
Mekelle - Lalibela (470 km). We will be on the road throughout the day, enjoying spectacular views all along. We will spend the night at a 3-star hotel.
Lalibela is the second most sacred spot in the country after Axum. It was built by King Lalibela to be the new Jerusalem after the conquest of Jerusalem by the Muslims in the 12th century. Hence, part of the historical buildings were named after and looked like some of the Jerusalem buildings. Rock-hewn churches are still preserved. These were built under the reign of King Lalibela in the 12th century and are on the UNESCO list.
We travel for about 7-8 hours to Bahir Dar (350 km), accompanied by impressive views on the way! We will spend two nights at the guesthouse there.
A day to remember - we will see the springs of the longest river in the world - the Nile! We will also see the mind-blowing waterfalls of the Blue Nile! We take a boat trip on Lake Tana (the beginning of the Nile River); with an area of 3500 sq. km, it is the largest in Ethiopia. There are 37 islands in the lake - 27 of them have medieval monasteries and churches from the 13th and 14th century.
It takes us 3 hours to reach Gondar (180 km). We visit the Debre Berhan Sellasie medieval church, famous for its icons and ceiling frescos and the city bath of Emperor Fasil.
We travel for 110 km to the town of Debarq. We will visit the highest part of Ethiopia - the Semien Mountains and the Semien National Park. We will take a stroll in the mountains to enjoy the breathtaking views of the North Ethiopian mountain range, and the endemic species walia ibex, gelada monkeys and others.
We travel to Axum (280 km). Dinner and overnight in Birana Hotel where we spend 2 nights.
Axum has a population of 27,000. It is one of Ethiopia's most important religious centres. According to the Ethiopian tradition, the Ark of the Covenant is kept in the Church of Our Lady Mary of Zion. From the 1st to the 7th century the city is the capital of the Axum kingdom. The city will show us the ruins of the ancient Ethiopian civilization, such as the 3rd and 4th century obelisks, the Archaeological Museum, etc.
Axum - Adigrat (150km). We will pass through the town of Yeha, known for the Temple of the Moon, dating back to the 5th century BC. We will also visit the town of Adva - the world famous anti-colonial battlefield against Italy in the 19th century. We spend the night at the Agamos Hotel.
We head off to the border with Eritrea which is 30 km away. Then we have another 130 km to go to the capital Asmara. Eritrea is a small country, slightly larger than Bulgaria, founded in 1993 after its separation from Ethiopia. It borders the Red Sea and has a population of 6 million.
Today we go to the Red Sea!!! :) We travel to the city of Massawa (120 km), where we enjoy one-day sightseeing.
We go for a boat trip to the Green Island in the Red Sea, where we will have coffee. In the afternoon, we return to Asmara, by crossing the Filfil National Park, where we are amazed by the great relief and wildlife - gazelles, antelopes, boars, baboons and many bird species (owls, eagles, etc.) We spend our last night in Eritrea, waiting for our flight home.
Days 17 & 18:
Flight to Addis Ababa and from there flights to Bulgaria.
Price: EUR 3249
The price covers:
The price does not cover:
Booking and payment:
• mountain boots – at least 3-season
• backpack (women: 40-50 l, men 60-75 l)
• thermal underwear
• fleece and sweater
• trekking poles
• cabin and hotel clothes - a lot of pairs
• socks – a lot of pairs
• warm clothes
• headlamp (with extra batteries)
• water bottle or vacuum flask
• outdoor knife
• UV-protection sunglasses
• swimming suit, towel
• other – personal stuff; a camera is not a bad idea :)
• ID documents – valid international passport