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10 Day Bale Mountain

Historical route with the Bale Mountains

Overview

Visit Bahir Dar and embark on a cruise of Lake Tana, the largest lake in Ethiopia to the home of ancient monasteries and the source of the Blue Nile, also a visit to the Blue Nile falls. Travel to Gondar, the ancient capital of Ethiopia, know as the Camelot of Africa its medieval castles and Churches. Later, travel to Axum the land of the queen of Sheba and the resting place of the Ark of the Covenant. Visit Lalibela, the “Jerusalem of Africa”, home of the fascinating rock-hewn churches from the 12th century. A trip to the Bale Mountains national park is known for its wildlife. Over 60 mammal species and 260 bird species have been recorded here. The lush forests of the bale Mountains national Park are perfect for trekking, horseback riding and the walking amongst wildlife. You can observe the endemic Mountain Nyala, the Menelik Bushbuck and The Ethiopian wolf.

Safaris

Day 1: Arrival in Addis Ababa 
Arrive in Addis Ababa and be met by Kibran Tours staff at the airport, get assisted and transferred to Sheraton Hotel, luxury collection five-star hotel (*****). 
Welcome to Addis Ababa (“New Flower), Ethiopia’s capital city! The city lies in the central highlands at an altitude of 2400m, making it the third highest capital in the world.  Emperor Menelik II founded the city in 1887, which selected the site because its location within the Entoto Hills has long been the centre of Shoan politics. Addis Ababa is Africa’s diplomatic capital with headquarters for the Organization of African Unity and the United Nation Economic Commissions for Africa. The capital is rich in Impressive monuments of colonial architecture that are scattered among stretches of sun-bleached shacks. 
After taking a rest, embark on a city tour of Addis Ababa, including a visit to the Ethnographic Museum, Trinity Cathedral and the National museum, which ranks among the most important museums in sub- Sahara Africa.
The Ethnographic Museum, with its two main sections covering local crafts and on regions and people, is an ideal place to start learning about Ethiopia's rich ethnic diversity.  The museum has an impressive array of religious crosses, triptychs and murals, as well as Haile Selassie’s bedroom and bathroom. Next, you visit the Holy Trinity Cathedral, which was built to commemorate the country's liberation from Italian occupation.  It is also the burial place for many famous people and once the largest Ethiopian Orthodox Cathedral. 
Overnight:  Sheraton Hotel, luxury collection five-star hotel

Day 2: Fly to Bahir Dar
Today you will be transferred to the airport for your flight to Bahir Dar (which means “by the side of the sea” in the Amharic language). It is a one-hour flight.
Bahir Dar is known for its wide avenues lined with palm trees and a variety of colourful flowers.  
On arrival in Bahir Dar, you will be met and embark on Boat trip over Lake Tana to visit 2 of the renowned Island Monasteries of the Lake, namely: Ura Kidane Mihret and Azua Mariam both have wonderful paintings which depict the scene from the Old and the New Testaments of the Holy Bible all over their walls. 
After lunch visiting the market, where you can find the typical hand-woven capes and scarves made of good local cotton and the Weyto village, it is 2km west of town the people are known for their production of tankwa boats. Then continue to the former palace of Emperor Haile Selassie at Bizeit, with great views of the town and the place where the Blue Nile flows out of the lake. 
Overnight: Kuriftu Resort & Spa; Located on the shores of Lake Tana, the Kuriftu Resort features spacious rooms, luxurious accommodations and modern amenities including a spa. It has breath-taking lake view & a clever blend of native Ethiopian architecture & decor; 

Day 3: Drive to Gondar
Drive from Bahir Dar to Gondar (185km), 3hrs pleasant drive will take you there. En route visit the Amhara’s village. The wetlands between the towns support more water birds which you witness and drive to the Blue Nile Falls – known locally as Tissiat – which means “Smoking Water.”  The Falls are 328 feet wide and the water plunges some 150 feet, giving rise to picturesque stream clouds and rainbows. Then drive to Gondar, the imperial city of Fasilidas. The kings of Ethiopia based their power in Gondar for two centuries. The city was the first capital of the Ethiopian empire, which began in 1632 with the reign of Fasilidas. In Gondar, there are a dozen castles built by various emperors over the course of 236 years. Many picturesque ruins lie in the royal enclosure like the fairytale castles dating back to the 17th century. The castles reflect the glory of Gondarine kings and characterised by lime mortar style. The other place of interest is Fasilidas pool, in which pilgrims still take a plunge at the issue of Timket (Epiphany) celebrations. In the afternoon visit Debre Birhan trinity church, rewarding for its magnificent murals adorning the roof and the walls of the church and Kuskuam church, situated on a hill just outside the town.
Overnight: Mayleko Lodge, Ideally situated couple of minutes’ drive from Theodros Airport in Gondar. It is a luxury lodge surrounded with breath-taking beauty and nature. The lodge has 20 bungalows that have evocatively designed and styled to echo the area’s rich history. It blends traditional elegance with modern luxury and will offer cuisine and service to a fittingly high standard. 

Day 4: Flight to Axum
Morning transfer to the airport for your flight to Axum.
From around 200 BC to 700 AD, Axum was the seat of an Empire which extended across the Red Sea to Arabia, traded with India and China, had its own alphabet and notational system, constructed great engineering works and dams and which was reckoned in the 4th century to be one of the four great powers of the ancient world.  Today the visitor can see Stella (the largest single pieces of stone erected anywhere – how they were brought from the quarry and erected is still not fully understood), the tombs and castles of kings, Axum Museum and Mariam Tsion Church, built on the site of Ethiopia’s first church. A chapel within the church compound is believed by Ethiopian Orthodox Christians to house the Ark of the Covenant or the original tablets of Moses.
After check in, visit the city including Stella (the largest single pieces of stone erected anywhere – how they were brought from the quarry and erected is still not fully understood), the tombs and castles of kings, Axum Museum and Mariam Tsion Church, built on the site of Ethiopia’s first church. A chapel within the church compound is believed by Ethiopian Orthodox Christians to house the Ark of the Covenant or the original tablets of Moses. 
Overnight: Yeha Hotel is a private -owned hotel, built in a modern style in the centre of town, within walking distance of most of the ancient sites. It has one of the best elevated sites in Axum, overlooking the church and stelae park. Rooms are decorated in an ethnic style

Day 5: Fly to Lalibela
After taking breakfast transferred to the airport for your flight to Lalibela. 
At the end of the 12th and beginning of the 13th centuries, King Lalibela of the Zaghwe dynasty built a series of rock-hewn churches in this spot, calling it New Jerusalem.
Today Lalibela is rightly acknowledged as being one of the wonders of the world.  There are 11churches in the town named after the king.
After checking into the Mount View Hotel, begin your tour of the first group of churches in town and then continue your tour late in the afternoon.
The first group of six churches lies in rock cradles, one behind the other: Bet Golgotha, Bet Mikael, Bet Mariam, Bet Meskel, Bet Danaghel and Bet Medhane Alem.
Bet Medhane Alem, the largest, is built like a Greek temple. In a corner are three empty graves symbolically dug for biblical patriarchs Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Bet Giyorgis, possibly the most elegant and majestic of all the Lalibela churches, lies somewhat isolated in the southwest part of the village on a sloping rock terrace. It can only be reached throw a tunnel. The group of four, south of the Jordan River, comprise of Bet Emanuel, Bet Mercuiros, Bet Abba Libanos and Bet Gabriel-Rufa'el.Bet Emanuel's elaborate exterior is much praised by art historians. 
Overnight: Mount view Hotel, it’s panoramic mountain view is a source of admiration to nature. It is one of the best views to feel the sunset

Day 6: Lalibela
Today you start with a visit to a church just outside Lalibela, Nakto Laab. It is named after its constructor, the nephew and successor of King Lalibela. This relatively simple church built around a shallow cave in which several holy pools are fed by natural springs. It has many treasures, some of which are claimed to have belonged to Nakto Laab himself. This includes paintings, crosses and a leather bible. After lunch, you will visit the second group of churches and Bet Giyorgis, which is arguably the most majestic – and the most photographed – of all Lalibela churches.
Take part in a traditional coffee ceremony. 
Overnight: Mount view Hotel, its panoramic mountain view is a source of admiration to nature. It is one of the best views to feel the sunset

Day 7: Fly to Addis then drive to Langano
On this day after breakfast transfer to the airport for your flight back to Addis Ababa.
Upon arrival drive to Langano which takes about 2 and half hours, via Debr Zeyit, Meki & Ziway, DebrZeyit. First stop at Lake Ziway, also known as Lake Dambal, is the northern most of Ethiopia’s natural Rift valley lakes.
Continue driving to Langano. Spend the night at Sabana Lodge, located the southern shore of Lake Langano, with a surface area of 350km and depth of up to 45m, and is more developed for tourism than any other lake in the Ethiopian Rift valley.
Overnight: Hara Lodge

Day 8: Drive to Bale Mountains National park (with optional horse Riding)
After breakfast in the hotel set off for the Bale Mountain National Park, it is known for their wildlife. Over 60 mammals Species and 260 bird species have been recorded here. Amongst an interesting collection of upland birds, likely to see eleven of Ethiopians 29 endemic: Blue winged Goose, Rouget's Rail, Spot-breasted plover, white -collared Pigeon, Black-winged Lovebird, Golden-backed woodpecker, Abyssinian Longclaw, Abyssinian Catbird, White-backed Tit, Black-headea Siskin and Thick-billed Raven..
Entering the park you will encounter the first of many mammals including the endemic Mountain Nyala (a magnificent antelope unique to these hills) & look for a few more of the endemic birds such as Abyssinian Long-eared owl, White-backed black Tit, Abyssinian catbird, Black-winged Lovebird, Golden-backed woodpecker and, if very fortunate, maybe even Black-headed Siskin.  
Then Horse riding (optional) to Geysay Mountain where it guarantees every visitor views of the Endemic Mountain Nyalas, Reedbuck warthhoge, Grey Duiker, Colobus and Baboon.  
Overnight: Bale Mountain Lodge is located at 2380m above sea level on a small hill, overlooking a mountain stream and offering views of the 1500m high Harenna Escarpment, with its volcanic outcrops rising dramatically above the forest

Day 9: Bale Mountains National Park
Today first drive to the high altitude Sanetti Plateau, the road is lined with the orange-blossomed Lenontis and in the wet season the "red hot pocker" (Knip hofia) is blooming beneath the trees and attracting the brilliant irridescent Tacazze and Malachite sunbirds. On this area, Wintering spotted, Imperial and other Aquila eagles are amongst the birds of prey that you may see, and almost all Ethiopians vulture species regularly occur.
After spending the morning on the plateau, walk to the spectacular Harenna Escarpment, some remarkable views and an afternoon in which to descend the Escarpment. It will be more realistic to set our sight on such endemic birds as white-backed Black Tit, Abyssinian catbird, Black-winged Lovebird, Golden-backed woodpecker and Black-headed Siskin perhaps.
Overnight: Bale Mountain Lodge is located at 2380m above sea level on a small hill, overlooking a mountain stream and offering views of the 1500m high Harenna Escarpment, with its volcanic outcrops rising dramatically above the forest

Day 10: Fly back to Addis Ababa
After breakfast transfer to the airport for your flight back to Addis Ababa.
Upon arrival balance of the day with more sightseeing and shopping.
Visit Kechene Women’s Potters Association, gives visitors the chance to experience the whole process of making pottery. Starting from the grinding and sifting of clay soil until it is burned and changed into useful product. And, you can find the traditional coffee sets and tea sets, candle holder, incense burners…
Then Merkato is located in western Addis Ababa and is the largest open-air market in Africa, offering an array of colours, aromas, costumes, produce and jewellery.  
Back to your hotel to take a shower & rest then the driver picks you up for cultural evening & final transfer out.
Have a cultural evening at one of Addis Ababa Restaurant; Ethiopia is a mosaic of people with more than 80 languages, different lifestyles, costumes and cultural dances. 

Location

Ethiopia is situated in the Horn of Africa and has borders with Sudan, South Sudan, Kenya, Somalia, Djibouti and Eritrea.

Experiences

The National Museum displays prehistoric fossils, including replicas of the famous early hominid known as Lucy, along with Ethiopian art and traditional crafts. The burial place of the 20th-century emperor Haile Selassie, the copper-domed Holy The traditional source of the Blue Nile, locally known as 'Abai', is a spring which feeds the little 'Abai', a stream which flows NE into Lake Tana from the highlands of 'Gishen'.

Lake Tana, the largest lake in Ethiopia, situated north of the beautiful town of Bahir Dar is the source from where the famous Blue Nile starts its long journey to Khartoum, and on to the Mediterranean. There are 37 islands scattered about the surface of Lake Tana, out of which some 20 have churches and monasteries of huge historical and cultural interest. The Lake Tana region and the Blue Nile gorge host a wide variety of birds, making the area an ideal place for birdwatchers. The Blue Nile got the 'blue' part of its name because of its muddy colour due to the huge amount of fertile soil it erodes from the Ethiopian highlands. The Blue Nile from the highlands of Ethiopia and the White Nile from Lake Victoria meet in Khartoum, and merge in what Arab poets call 'the longest kiss in history', to form the Nile river. The Blue Nile Falls is one of the most dramatic spectacles on either the White or Blue Niles and is the second largest of its kind in Africa, and is one of the best sceneries in the entire continent. Gondar is a royal and ancient historical city and was the home of many emperors and princesses who led the country from the 12th century to the last decade of the 20th century. Gondar Castle, called the Ethiopian Camelot, is not a single castle but is the name given to the entire complex of castles and palaces in the area. The ruins of the ancient city of Aksum are found close to Ethiopia's northern border. The massive ruins, dating from between the 1st and the 13th century A.D., include monolithic obelisks, royal tombs and the ruins of ancient castles. Lalibela is a town in northern Ethiopia famous for monolithic rock-cut churches. Lalibela is one of Ethiopia's holiest cities, second only to Aksum, and a centre of pilgrimage. Unlike Aksum, the population of Lalibela is almost completely Ethiopian Orthodox Christian.

Accommodations

Addis Ababa, including the high-end Sheraton Addis.

Useful Info

Capital: Addis Ababa

Time: Three hours ahead of GMT and eight hours ahead of EST.

Money: The Ethiopian Birr is the currency of Ethiopia.

Health: You should be vaccinated against Yellow Fever, Typhoid, Hepatitis A and Tetanus/Polio/Diptheria. You should also consider getting vaccinated against Rabies, Hepatitis B and Cholera. Malaria is common in areas of the country below 2,000 metres, so precautionary measures are necessary.

Water: Water-borne diseases are common. Drink or use only boiled or bottled water and avoid ice in drinks.

Climate: Ethiopia is in the tropical zone located between the Equator and the Tropic of Cancer. It has three different climate zones (tropical, subtropical and cool) according to elevation.

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