Unravel the mysteries of Ethiopia on this
comprehensive historical and cultural
tour. Travel through awe-inspiring
landscapes, visiting the tall cliff-churches
of Tigray and the world-renowned sites
of Axum, Lalibela and Gondar. Explore
atmospheric monuments including a
temple dedicated to a moon god, the
reputed home of the Ark of the Covenant,
stark monoliths towering high above
tombs of long-dead kings, and revered
rock-cut churches packed with religious
treasures. Spend time cruising on tranquil
Lake Tana and see the importance of
its island monasteries in local people’s
everyday lives, and visit the awe-inspiring
Blue Nile Falls. Lastly, chart Ethiopia’s
artistic development, from medieval
frescoed churches to the art of animal skin
painting and the arrival of modern art
galleries in the Ethiopian capital, Addis
View more climate information & imperial units
Fly from London
Heathrow to Addis Ababa with Ethiopian
Arrive in the third
highest capital in the world. Afternoon tour
of Addis, including the Ethnological Museum
and Mount Entoto. Stay 1 night at the
Radisson Blu or similar. (L, D)
In the morning, fly
to Mekelle and drive to Hawzien visiting
the rock-hewn churches of Wukro Cherkos,
Abreha wa Atsbeha and Dugem Selassie. Stop
en route at the mosque at Negash, the earliest
Muslim settlement in Africa. Stay overnight at
Gheralta Lodge or similar. (B, L, D)
Morning visit to the
Medhane Alem Adi Kesho, one of the bestpreserved
rock-hewn churches in the Tigray
region, which also exhibits some beautiful
wall paintings. Continue to Yeha to see the
eighth-century BC Sabaean temple. Proceed to
Axum and stay 2 nights at the Yeha Hotel. The
northern stelae fields, which mark the tombs
of the former kings of Axum, are situated
adjacent to the hotel. (B, L, D)
Full-day tour of Axum. Discover
history and myth at the Queen of Sheba’s Palace and Bath before visiting the St Mary of
Zion churches, reputedly home to the Ark of
the Covenant. Continue to King Ezana’s Stone,
written in three ancient languages, en route to
the tombs of King Kelab and Gebre Meskel,
two of Axum’s most important rulers who
succeeded in bringing southern Arabia under
their rule. After lunch, visit the Axum stelae
field and museum. A short walk offers excellent
views of the surrounding countryside, before a
private visit to a local artist who specialises in
religious paintings. (B, L, D)
Morning flight to Lalibela,
famed for its 11 Unesco-protected rock hewn
churches. Built by King Lalibela in the 12th
century, the town was to be the ‘new Jerusalem’
after Muslim conquests halted Christian
pilgrimages to the Holy Land. On arrival,
transfer to the town for a private demonstration
by a local priest in the ancient tradition of
parchment writing used for early manuscripts
and paintings. In the afternoon, visit the northwest
cluster of churches, including the Church
of St George, referred to as the ‘Eighth Wonder
of the World’. Stay 3 nights at the Mountain
View Hotel or similar. (B, L, D)
Morning visit to the southeast
cluster of churches, which includes a
former royal palace, chapel, prison and bakery.
Optional afternoon visit to a local family for
a cooking demonstration, including baking
injera, the national dish of Ethiopia. (B, L, D)
Full-day tour to the Bibilla
Circuit of churches north of Lalibela. This
off-the-beaten-track cluster is rarely visited,
but offers a rewarding contrast in style to the
Lalibela churches. Highlights include the
semi-monolithic Bibilla Cherkos with its
beautiful 800-year-old goatskin books and
the Yemrehanna Kristos cave monastery, with
an alternating wood and granite face giving it
the appearance of a layered chocolate cream
cake. (B, L, D)
Fly to Gondar and
transfer to the Goha Hotel or similar for 2
nights. Afternoon sightseeing tour of the
castles of Emperor Fasiladas and the palace of
Queen Mentuab. (B, L, D)
Morning visit to Debre
Berhan Selassie church, with ecclesiastical 17thto
19th-century paintings by Haile Meskel
and, more recently, Egwala Tyson, depicting
religious scenes ranging from the life of Christ
to Mohammed being led by the devil. The
ceiling is painted with 80 cherubic faces and is
probably the most photographed piece of art in
Ethiopia. Optional afternoon visit to the Kosoye
Viewpoint, which offers a stunning panorama of
the Simien mountains and the chance to see the
endemic gelada monkeys. (B, L, D)
After breakfast, drive to
Gorgora, a quaint town on the northern shores
of Lake Tana. Visit the Derbre Sina Mariam
church, a fine example of a circular thatched
church decorated with religious murals, before
embarking on a private boat across the lake to
Bahir Dar where abundant birdlife is attracted
to the islands. En route, visit the island
monastery of Narga Selassie and Azwa Mariam
on the Zege peninsula. Spend 2 nights at the
Kuriftu Resort & Spa or similar. (B, L, D)
Morning visit to
the picturesque Blue Nile Falls with the
opportunity for quaint river walks. Afternoon
at leisure at the hotel or optional visit to the
Bezawit Palace viewpoint and the market in
Bahir Dar. (B, L, D)
to Addis Ababa. Arrive and drive south to
Bishoftu, a resort town known for its five crater
lakes. Visit the African Arts and Training
Museum run by the legendary Ethiopian
artist Lemma Guya who is renowned for his
pioneering animal skin paintings. Return
to Addis Ababa and stay overnight at the
Radisson Blu Hotel or similar. (B, L, D)
Morning at leisure.
Afternoon city tour of Addis Ababa including
St George’s Cathedral, notable for its unique
octagonal design and stained glass works by
Afewerk Tekle. Visit the baroque-style Trinity
Cathedral, built to commemorate Ethiopia’s
liberation from Italian occupation, and which
also contains the coffin of the revered emperor,
Haile Selassie I. Finish at the Modern Art
Museum, dedicated to the painter-poet Gebre
Kristos, whose style of abstract expressionism
pioneered contemporary art in Ethiopia. Enjoy a farewell dinner and traditional entertainment
before a late evening transfer to the airport. Fly
from Addis Ababa to London Heathrow with
Ethiopian Airlines. (B, L, D)
Early morning arrival. (N)
As per itinerary – B: Breakfast,
L: Lunch, D: Dinner, N: No meals.
Ethiopia is mountainous and
altitude may be a problem for some visitors.
Some rocky drives and steep walks are
necessary to reach many of the churches and
Ethiopia is a developing
country. Hotels, while sometimes not reaching
western standards, are clean and comfortable
and the country’s cultural wonders more than
make up for occasional deficiencies.
Located near to Hawzien, in the northern region of Ethiopia, Gheralta Lodge offers bungalow style accommodation and a small restaurant. With its unique chain of mountains, the Gheralta area is the home of the rock churches famous for their architecture, ancient paintings and...
The Goha Hotel is situated on a hill with a panoramic view of the town and its monuments, and with great sunsets from the terrace. Occasionally visitors will see the giant Lammergeyer, with its 3 metre wing span, soaring on the air currents by the...
Situated on the shores of Lake Tana, the Kuriftu Luxury Resort comprises 28 stone bungalows set out in gardens by the lake. Each room is decorated in a traditional Ethiopian style with en suite facilities, a four-poster bed, lounge and flat-screen television. The resort also boasts its own restaurant, spa and swimming...
Mountain View Hotel is situated at an altitude of 2,680 metres at the edge of the Lasta Mountain chain. It has wonderful panoramic views of the mountain range and is an excellent place from which to view the sunset. The hotel rooms are clean and...
Radisson Blu Hotel is located in the upmarket Kazanchis business district, just minutes away from major attractions such as the Holy Trinity Cathedral and St George's Cathedral. The 204 ultra-modern, chic rooms and 16 suites have air conditioning, a flat-screen television, complimentary high-speed wireless internet access, a minibar and separate shower and bathtub. The Veres en Vers brasserie serves gourmet French cuisine and the Signature Bar & Terrace is a relaxing place for snacks and cocktails. The Rainforest Day Spa features a fully equipped gym plus a steam bath, relaxation area and four treatment...
The Yeha Hotel is a government-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...
Regional air connections are available from within the UK. Please contact your travel consultant for current prices from your nearest city.
We can also arrange flights from overseas, simply give us a call to find out more.
If you choose to take the tour without flights arranged through Cox & Kings, please contact one of our travel consultants prior to booking the flights to ensure that you are aware of the tour timings and all the implications of not booking through us. We strongly advise you not to book flights independently of Cox & Kings if significant charges would apply in case of cancellation.
Flight details may be subject to change prior to departure.
This tour can be booked / reserved online by clicking on one of the coloured links below.
This large town is situated on the southern shore of Lake Tana and has...
Gondar, founded by Emperor Fasilidas around 1635, is famous for its many...
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