Northern Ethiopia Safari
Northern Ethiopia tour safari is a 14 day African safari in Ethiopia. The Northern Ethiopia tour safari commences and ends in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa to several world heritage sites in Ethiopia.
About The 14 Day Northern Ethiopia Tour Safari
Northern Ethiopia tour safari is a 14 day African safari in Ethiopia. The Northern Ethiopia safari commences and ends in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa.
This road safari tour in Ethiopia will start with a city tour of Addis Ababa. This African safari in Ethiopia combines culture, history and wildlife. You’ll get to experience the best of religious architectural design in Lalibela.
There will be the unique Gelada baboons that are endemic to Ethiopian highlands. You will trek the Simien Mountains enjoying some of the beautiful views here.
Highlights of the Northern Ethiopia Tour Safari
Some of the highlights of the 14 Day Northern Ethiopia tour safari includes:
- Spectacular landscape around Ankober. This is where emperor Menelik once had his palace. It has breath-taking views over the Rift Valley.
- Visits to the markets of Addis Ababa Senbete and Bati. This are some of the biggest and most colorful markets in Northern Ethiopia.
- Blue Nile Falls, Bahir Dar
- Boat trip on lake Tana with unique island monasteries and nature
- Former imperial town of Gondar (UNESCO world heritage site)
- Breath-taking landscapes of the Simien Mountains with many endemic animals (UNESCO world natural site)
- Former imperial town of Axum with many relics of a several thousand-year-old civilizations. (UNESCO world heritage site)
- Trekking to the famous rock-hewn churches of Tigray in the Gheralta Mountains
- Lalibela, the unofficial 8th wonder of the world (UNESCO world heritage site)
Detailed Northern Ethiopia Tour Safari Itinerary
Day 1: Addis Ababa
You’ll be met upon arrival at Bole International Airport. This will be by our Ethiopia safari representative. You will be transferred to your hotel in Addis Ababa. On arrival you will be checked in. This will be followed by a detailed briefing on this northern Ethiopia tour safari. After settling in you’ll embark on a city tour of Addis Ababa.
You’ll visit the biggest open-air market in Africa, Merkato. This tour also goes to Mount Entoto with its St. Mary church. You’ll also go to St. George cathedral and the National Museum. This is where the most famous hominid skeleton of ‘LUCY’ is. It is believed to be 3.2 million years old. You’ll also visit Trinity Cathedral with its unique architectural design. Overnight will be at your Addis Ababa hotel.
Day 2: Addis Ababa – Debre Markos
You’ll enjoy an early breakfast at your hotel. Your northern Ethiopia tour safari then drives 110 kms north to the Entoto Mountains. You’ll pass through the Sululta Plains to the Monastery of Debre Libanos. This was founded in the 13th century.
Visit ecclesiastical, cultural and historical relics here. You’ll later walk across the 16th Century Portuguese Bridge. This takes you to a spectacular viewpoint overlooking Jema River gorge. Here you may see gelada monkeys that are unique to Ethiopia. Your drive will proceed to Debre Markos. You’ll have a photo stop at the majestic and captivating Blue Nile gorge. Overnight will be at your Hotel in Debre Markos.
Day 3: Debre Markos - Bahir Dar
After breakfast your northern Ethiopia tour safari drives to Bahir Dar. After lunch, city tour in Bahir Dar to visit the panorama view of Bezawit hill top. From here you’ll be able to oversee the Blue Nile River. This is as it comes out from southern mouth of Lake Tana. There is a 16th century ruminant church built by the Spanish missionary Pedro Pez. Your overnight will be at Abay Minch Lodge.
Day 4: Bahir Dar
You will begin your day on northern Ethiopia tour safari with an early breakfast. This will be followed by a boat trip on Lake Tana. You will visit a selection of the monasteries hidden on the islands. There are some that are on the shores of this sacred lake. At the Zege Peninsula you got the monasteries of Azuwa Maryam and Ura Kidane Mehret.
On the island there is the monastery of Debre Maryam. This is near the outlet of the Blue Nile River. Your northern Ethiopia safari will drive out to the Blue Nile Falls. This is in the afternoon for a short hike in the area. You will end the day with a sunset over the lake. Your overnight will be at Abay Minch Lodge.
Day 5: Bahir Dar – Gondar
Your northern Ethiopia tour safari will begin with breakfast. You will then leave driving north to Gondar. This is a four-hour drive will take you through rural villages. The drive offers a wonderful insight into the Amhara culture. After settling in your hotel, you’ll explore the sites of Gondar. This will include a visit to the Royal Enclosure, with six castles.
You’ll also visit Fasilidas’s Pool, still used for Timket celebrations today. The visit takes you to Ras Gimb Palace Museum and the Debre Birhan Selassie church. The church has the most famous ceiling in Ethiopia. Overnight in Gondar will be at Fasil Lodge.
Day 6: Gondar - Simien Mountains
you will begin your northern Ethiopia tour safari with an early breakfast. You will then leabe to Sankober in the Simien Mountains. From here you’ll have an easy hike to the Geech Abyss. Here you’ll see a large waterfall where the Jinbar River plunges into the abyss. This area is also a great place for viewing the endemic gelada baboon.
They are also known as the ‘bleeding heart baboon’. This is due to the red patch of skin on its chest. You will spend the night in Debark at Giant Lobelia Hotel.
Day 7: Simien Mountains – Axum
You will start your day with an early breakfast. This is before your northern Ethiopia tour safari departs north for Axum. You’ll enjoy the spectacular views of the Simien Mountains. There will be a stop for lunch in Adi Arkay. Your splendid Ethiopia safari with then proceed through the dramatic Tekeze Valley.
You’ll have on offer some of the best landscapes in Ethiopia. You’ll proceed to Axum which is home of the ancient Axumite Empire. This was Queen of Sheba’s empire and home to the Ark of the Covenant. You will have the night at Remhai Hotel.
Day 8: Axum
Your northern Ethiopia tour safari has a full day visiting the sites of Axum. Today you’ll visit the famous obelisks and the archeological museum. You’ll go to Queen of Sheba’s Bath that supplies water to Axum year-round. The tour also goes to Ezana’s inscription, King Kaleb’s tomb and King Bazen’s tomb. You’ll have time to go to the Queen of Sheba’s Palace.
As an option, you can also visit the St. Mary of Zion church. This is where the Ark of the Covenant is kept. It is only men only allowed to enter the old church. You will have the night at Remhai Hotel.
Day 9: Axum – Hawsein
Start your day on northern Ethiopia tour safari with breakfast. You’ll then drive to visit the ruins of Yeha. This dates to the 8th to 5th centuries BC. It is thought to be the capital of Ethiopian civilization before Axum. You’ll later visit the Debre Damo monastery where only men must climb up a 15-m rope to enter. Your northern Ethiopia tour safari will proceed through the state of Tigray. You’ll stop en-route for a visit to the rock-hewn church of Medhane Alem Adi Kesho. Your night in Hawsein will be at Gheralta Lodge.
Day 10: Hawsein – Mekele
Start your days early with a wake up for breakfast. Your northern Ethiopia tour safari then visits either Abuna Yemata Guh or Maryam Korkor. Both churches involve an approximate one-hour hike. But they offer commanding views of the surrounding area.
Continue your visit with the more accessible churches. This includes the churches of Abreha we Atsbeha and Chirkos. Your drive will proceed to Mekele for overnight at Axum Hotel.
Day 11: Mekele – Lalibela
This will be a long day on northern Ethiopia tour safari. An early departure will be essential as you have a full day of driving to Lalibela. You’ll will pass through several small villages. They have the typical sandstone homes of the Tigray people. Proceed through this rural area Lalibela. You will have your overnight at Lal Hotel for the night.
Day 12: Lalibela
This will be a full northern Ethiopia tour safari day in Lalibela. In the morning you’ll tour of the rock-hewn churches of Lalibela. You’ll visit the Northwestern Cluster of churches. They are Bet Medhane Alem, Bet Maryam, Bet Meskel, Bet Danaghel, Bet Mikael and Bet Golgotha. Entry at Bet Golgotha is not permitted for women.
After lunch you’ll continue with the Southeastern Cluster of churches. They include Bet Gabriel-Rufael, Bet Merkorios, Bet Amanual, and Bet Abba Libanos. Finally, you’ll visit the most famous of all the churches, Bet Giyorgis. The construction was in honor of the patron saint of Ethiopia – Saint George. Overnight in Lalibela will be at Lal Hotel.
Day 13: Lalibela – Kombolcha
You will begin the day with and early breakfast on the northern Ethiopia tour safari. This will be followed by a visit the nearby monastery of Na’akuto La’ab. The monastery is set on the side of a cliff. You’ll later drive off via Woldia to Kombolcha. There will be a stop for a rest in Hayk. Here you can enjoy the views of this stunning lake. There is a local monastery that is open for men only or enjoys the birdlife. Your overnight in Kombolcha will be at Sunnyside Hotel.
Day 14: Kombolcha - Addis Ababa
The day on northern Ethiopia tour safari will begin early. You will be driving back to Addis via Debre Birhan. On the way you pass the Mezezo Escarpment. There are good chances to see the endemic gelada baboons here. For a Sunday, you can stop in the town of Senbete. This is to visit the lively market including the interesting camel market. You are expected in Addis Ababa later in the day.
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14 Day Northern Ethiopia Tour Safari Costs:
What is included in the 14 Day Northern Ethiopia Tour Safari cost?
- Accommodation on Twin/Double Bed Room sharing basis
- All entrance(admission) fees at places of visits in the itinerary
- All transfer in and outs
- Comfortable private safari Minivan
- Gasoline (fuel) and driver's allowance
- Professional experienced English-speaking guide for the entire route
- All on-site guides
- Boat hire at Lake Tana and to cross the Blue Nile River
- Scouts at the Simien Mountains NP
- Guide Air Fare
- Bottled Water in the vehicle
- And, all related government taxes
14 Day Northern Ethiopia Tour Safari Price excludes:
- Any meals and drinks
- Visa Fee
- Domestic flight fare
- Fees to take pictures and videos
- Any expense of personal nature such as souvenirs, laundry, tips for service people, etc
- And, any expense which is not mentioned in the "Included" List above
What to Carry on the 14 Day Northern Ethiopia Tour?
- Light and a few heavy clothing for evenings
- Closed, comfortable shoes
- Hiking boots
- Sun protection like sun cream, hat
Northern Ethiopia Tour Safari Destinations
Your Northern Ethopia tour safari starts from the capital, Addis Ababa. This has always seemed like a magical portal, a gateway to another world.
Addis Ababa is Africa’s fourth-largest city and its diplomatic capital. It is also a traffic-choked, sprawling city of no discernible beauty that many foreign visitors try to transit as quickly as possible.
However, by skipping out on the contradictions of this complex city on your Northern Ethopia tour safari will run the risk of failing to understand Ethiopia altogether. Apart from anything else, Addis is the best place in the country to sample Ethiopian food, and has some wonderful museums and places to stay.
Debre Markos, former capital of Gojjam Province, is a city and woreda in northwest Ethiopia. Your Northern Ethiopia tour safari will be taking you to the Misrak Gojjam Zone of the Amhara Administrative Region.
Debre Markos has a latitude and longitude of 10°20′N 37°43′E, and an elevation of 2,446 meters. The city is named Debre Markos after its principal church, which was constructed in 1869 and dedicated to St. Markos.
Debre Markos was the capital of Tekle Haymanot, Nigus of Gojjam. During his reign and as a result the population of Debre Markos "fluctuated greatly with the presence of absence of the army" of the Negus.
When the Nigus resided in the town, it had between 20,000 and 40,000 inhabitants; in his absence, between 5,000 and 6,000.
The explorer Pellegrino Matteucci (b. 1850) arrived at what was at that time named Monkorer on 3 June 1879. He explored the neighboring area, then departed 20 June for Adwa and Massawa.
Your Northern Ethiopia tour safari then heads to Bahir Dar. It is the capital city of the Amhara region in northern Ethiopia. It’s a port on the south shore of the huge inland Lake Tana. Dek Island is one of many islands in the lake that are home to medieval monasteries.
On the Zege Peninsula, the Ura Kidane Mihret monastery is known for its elaborate, colorful murals. The Blue Nile River snakes southeast of the city toward the towering cliffs at the Blue Nile Falls.
Bahir Dar is 600 kilometres north of Addis Ababa. It provides the setting and starting point for the majority of Ethiopian tours. The Northern Ethiopia tour safari here takes you to the edge of the beautiful Lake Tana, and surrounded by cool mountain air.
Bahir Dar is a great contrast to Addis and a gentle introduction to the north of Ethiopia. The town has a well-served airport that connects it to Addis Ababa and the entire north of the country, which is why most Ethiopia tours end here too.
Gondar, or Gonder, is a city in northern Ethiopia. It's known for the walled Fasil Ghebbi fortress and palace compound, once the seat of Ethiopian emperors.
Dominating Gondar is the immense 17th-century castle of Emperor Fasilides. It combines Portuguese, Indian and local architectural styles. Outside the complex is Debre Berhan Selassie church, with an interior of elaborate murals, including a ceiling of faces.
Gondar has been called the Camelot of Africa because of its castles and fortress-like battlements. The very presence of these castles in Africa make them a rare and imposing sight.
It has rich in history, ambassadors of the Moguls of the Ottoman Empire and of Louis XVI of France were once entertained here.
Gondar was the imperial capital from the 17th to mid-19th centuries. Today visitors on Northern Ethiopia tour safari can see the imperial compound, with castles still in good condition. Some recently restored by UNESCO after bombings in World War II.
There is also the bath of King Fasilides. At Timkat (Ethiopian Epiphany) a nearby river’s course is purposely changed to bring its flow in to fill an area the size of a small swimming pool.
This is the sight of a traditional re-enactment of the baptism of Christ, where worshippers plunge into the pool every January 19th.
The Semien Mountains, in northern Ethiopia, north east of Gondar in Amhara region. They are part of the Ethiopian Highlands.
They are a World Heritage Site and include the Simien Mountains National Park. Your Northern Ethiopia tour safari takes you to mountains that consist of plateaus separated by valleys and rising to pinnacles. Your will be here for Simien Mountains trekking.
The Simien Mountains National Park in Northern Ethiopia is an exotic setting with unique wildlife. It has breath-taking views on a landscape shaped by nature and traditional agriculture.
The natural beauties of this region have always filled visitors from Ethiopia and abroad with awe. Gentle highland ridges at altitudes above 3600 meters above sea level (m asl.
They are covered with grasses, isolated trees (Erica &bored) and the bizarre Giant Lobelia (Lobelia rhynchopetalum). These are found on the high plateau that ends abruptly at 1000- to 2000-m deep escarpments.
Axum is also referred to as Aksum, a city in northern Ethiopia. Your Northern Ethiopia tour safari will be here for its tall, carved obelisks, relics of the ancient Kingdom of Aksum. Most are in the northern Stelae Park, including a huge fallen pillar, now in pieces.
Centuries-old St. Mary of Zion is a Christian church and pilgrimage site believed to have housed the biblical Ark of the Covenant. The neighboring Chapel of the Tablet is said to contain the Ark today.
It is possibly the greatest historical site that you’ve never heard of. The town was once the center of a great ancient civilization. It is notable for its huge and iconic obelisks. It is rumored to have been the home of the Queen of Sheba.
Axum is also believed by some to house the Ark of the Covenant. The small town of Axum in the Tigray region is seen as the holiest city in Ethiopia.
The Northern Ethiopia tour safari goes to the home to the Church of Our Lady Mary of Zion, which according to Ethiopia’s Orthodox Church is where the Ark of the Covenant came to rest. In addition to this place of pilgrimage, the main attraction is what was the main city of the Axum empire.
Axum dates back to the 1st century AD and saw its heyday in the 4th-7th centuries. The empire collapsed with the rise of Islam, as Muslim merchants closed off the Axum Empire trading routes across the Red Sea.
A Northern Ethiopia tour safari to Lalibela takes you to a town in the Amhara region of northern Ethiopia. It's known for its distinctive rock-cut churches dating from the 12th and 13th centuries, which are pilgrimage sites for Coptic Christians.
Carved out of rock, the subterranean monoliths include huge Bete Medhane Alem, and cross-shaped Bete Giyorgis. Many are joined by tunnels and trenches, and some have carved bas-reliefs and colored frescoes inside.
Lalibela tour takes you back to history and mystery of a city frozen in stone. Its soul alive with the rites and awe of Christianity at its most ancient and unbending. No matter what you’ve heard about or seen in Lalibela, nothing can prepare you for the reality of seeing it for yourself.
Lalibela safari here does not only take you to a World Heritage site, but truly a world wonder. You can spend a night vigil here during one of the big religious festivals. This is when white-robed pilgrims in their hundreds crowd the courtyards of the churches. You will on the Northern Ethiopia tour safari, witness Christianity in its most raw and powerful form.