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- 9 Days , Dec 31,2020 – Jan8, 2021
- Tour guide
This tour gives you the chance to celebrate Christmas a second time. Witness an Orthodox Christmas celebration and explore the ancient history and culture of the Historic Route of Ethiopia
9 Days Ethiopian Christmas on the Historic Route of Ethiopia
Day 1 | Arrive Addis Ababa
Arrive in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Welcome to Ethiopia! Upon arrival at Addis Ababa Bole International Airport, you will be welcomed and assisted by your tour guide and driven to your hotel. If you arrive in the morning, an optional city tour can be arranged.
Day 2 | Addis Ababa, Bahirdar (B, D)
In the morning, we drive to Bahirdar through the Great Blue Nile Gorge with stopovers at different small towns like Dejen, Chancho, and Goha Tsion.
Day 3 | Lake Tana, Blue Nile Falls, Bahir Dar
After breakfast, we will take a boat ride on Lake Tana to visit the ancient 14th-century island monasteries of Lake Tana. After lunch at the hotel, we will drive 35 km to visit the majestic Blue Nile Falls.
Day 4 | Bahir Dar, Gondar
After breakfast, we drive to Gondar through the beautiful countryside scenery arriving around lunchtime. After checking into Goha Hotel and having lunch there, we will start tour of Gondar that includes the Royal Enclosure, the pool of King Fasiledas, and the famous Debre Berhan Selassie adorned with brilliant interior frescos.
Day 5 | Simien Mountains National Park
After an early breakfast, we will drive to Simien Mountains National Park. Enroute we will visit the “Felasha”, or Black Jewish village. Driving from Gondar up to Simien Mountains National Park, nothing prepares you for the spectacular scenery that awaits at the top of the massif. For the rest of the day, we trek around the park to explore the stunning views and wildlife of the park including Sankaber.
Day 6 | Gondar, Lalibela, Bete Emanuel Night Ceremony
After breakfast, we drive through the spectacular landscape to Lalibela. Enroute we will stop at Awramba. This community was founded by Zumra Nuru in 1972 with the aim to live together peacefully and work collaboratively, sympathetically, and cheerfully. Community members treat each other as brothers and sisters. Gender equality and care for the elderly are very important.
In the evening, we will drive to Bete Emanuel to attend the special celebration of Emanuel with chanting and dancing by the priests and deacons. The ceremony will be accompanied by a capacity crowd of pilgrims who came to witness this event from far off hamlets and inaccessible valleys on their bare feet walking for weeks and even months.
Day 7 | Lalibela Celebrations at Bete Emanuel
In the morning, we will drive to the sites where we will find a concentration of some of the remarkable rock-hewn churches of Lalibela built from 1200 AD.
At night, we will attend the Christmas Eve ceremony with the pilgrims to be held at Bete Mariam Church. The dancing by the deacons and the priests continues throughout the night while the pilgrims clap and ululate to the drum beat. At midnight, there will be a candlelight ceremony to commemorate the birth of Jesus Christ.
Day 8 | Ethiopian Christmas Eve, Lalibela
In the morning, we will once more drive back to Bete Mariam where the biggest festival will be held outside the church on the cliff surroundinf the church. This will mark the final church ceremony of Ethiopian Christmas. On this day, as it has been for centuries, the priests will be standing in line with their drums and sistra on the cliff edge of Bete Mariam, called Mame Garia. On the bottom, there will be more priests dressed differently to those up on the top of the cliff. The priests on the bottom symbolize the shepherds, and the priests on the top of the cliff symbolize the angels announcing and celebrating the the birth of Jesus.
After lunch and a rest at the hotel, we will continue our journey into Ethiopia’s long and marvelous history with a visit to other Lalibela churches. The rock-hewn churches that we will visit this afternoon include Bete Gebriel, Bete Merkorios Bete Amanuel, Bethlehem, and Bete Aba Libanos. At the end of the tour, there will be a special Ethiopian traditional coffee ceremony for the group prepared at a local house.
Day 9 | Lalibela, Addis Ababa, Departure
After breakfast, transfer to Lalibela airport for the flight to Addis Ababa. Depending on your departure time, an optional city tour of Addis Ababa can be arranged.
In the evening, there will be a complimentary farewell dinner party with traditional special buffet and local drinks. (Flight schedule permitting). At the end of the farewell dinner, transfer to Addis Ababa airport for the flight back. End of tour.