10 Days in Danakil Plus Northern Ethiopia
Group name: Ercole Di Martino
Number of pax: 2
Number of days: 10
Day 1 : Mekelle – Volcano
Fly from Addis to Mekeklle and drive from Mekele to – Dodom. We start early drive to Dodom (at the base of Erta Ale). Leave after an early breakfast, possible at 07:30. This is may be one of the worst roads in the world. The 70 km distance may take about 5 hrs passing through changing landscape of solidified lava, rock, sand and occasional palm lined oasis. After you pass several small hamlets scattered here and there in this desert land, Dodom is about 9.5km from Erta Ale and it takes about 3 hrs trekking. Early dinner around 17:00 and trek up to Ertale at 20:00 hours. Camels transport all the camping materials and some food (sleeping materials like light mattresses and mat and water) to the rim of the volcano, where we spend the night watching the dramatic action of the boiling lava. Erta Ale ranks one of the most alluring and physically challenging natural attractions anywhere in Ethiopia. It is a shield volcano with a base diameter of 30 km and 1km square caldera at its summit. Erta Ale contains the world’s only permanent lava lake. Overnight on the top of the mountain. Erta Ale is 613 meters, with a lava lake, one of only five in the world, at the summit. It is notable for being the longest existing lava lake, present since the early years of the twentieth century.O/n camping on the mountain
Day 2 : Dodem –Hammedele,
Descend from Erta Ale around 9 am Dodom – Hamd Ela. Leave back to Dodom after an early breakfast, if possible at 07:00. You will reach latest at 10:30 am at the camp, time to relax. After drive to reach Hamad Ela, better village with a total population about 500 people. O/n Hamedela( camping)
Day 3 :Hamedela-Mekele
Morning tour Drive to Ragad (Asebo), the place where the localities are mining salt. Look the activity of breaking the salt from the ground, cutting in to rectangular pieces and loading on camels. You drive ahead to Dallol and visit the difference landscape formed by volcanic activity, Dallol + Lake Assal + camel caravans. Excursion to Dallol (116 meter below sea level, one of the lowest places in the world) colorful salts mining, visit Lake Assal, follow up camel caravans and walk with the Afar people. Drive back to Hamedela and proceed to Mekele. Overnight hotel in Mekelle( hatsey Yohanis hotel)
Day 4 Mekelle- Gehralta
Drive from mekele about 100km towards the massive Gheralta mountains to drop you in the beginning of the trekking site after breakfast in the bottom of the mountain continue trekking 1:30 to reach the old church on the sky called youhans maqudi after visit this church continue trekking about 3 -4 hours to reach the colourful decorated church which is dated back to 7thc, AD called abune Abraham and continue down to the base camp about 2 hour. Accommodation at: camping in the village under the big tree.
Day 5 : Gehralta- Axum
After breakfast by our professional guide continue trekking admiring the wonderful view, wildlife and traditional Tigray house to reach Mariam papsite. After visiting that church continue trekking to the base camp about 4 hours and latter in the afternoon to Axum.( O/n Consular hotel)
Day 6: Full day Axum
Exprole the sites of Axum, including the famous obelisks (one that was recently erected after being returned from Italy), the Queen of Sheba’s Bath (which supplies water to Axum year-round), King Bazen’s tomb, and the Queen of Sheba’s Palace. You can also visit the St. Mary of Zion church, where the Ark of the Covenant is kept. Men only are allowed to enter the old church. Unfortunately, no one (except one specially chosen guardian monk) is allowed to enter the chapel where the Ark is kept. Overnight in Axum (consular hotel).
Day 7: Fly Axum – Lalibela
Explore Lalibela which is most famous for its rock churches – which are still active places of worship and host many major religious Ceremonies. The churches are carved out of solid rock, and each has unique architectural features. Take a wander through the tunnels and stairways linking the churches together.
We will drive to the site where we find a concentration of some of Ethiopians most famous Rock Hewn churches, mostly referred by many as ʺthe living wonders of the worldʺ this churches are, they have been here for at least 900 years, an active christen shrine, the spiritual centre of the counters religious life. The monolithic churches where carved out of 2600-sq natural rock terrace in the twelve century AD by king lalibela.
Bete Medhanialem, the largest monolithic Rock hewn churches of the world, Magers 37.7 ft in Height, covers an area of almost 2625 Square ft and has walls that are up to 6 feet thick. A plain building supported by 36 pillars on the inside and anther 38 pillars around the outside. Bête Medhanialem modeled on the original st. Merry zion church build by king Ezana in 4th century at axum.
The Rock hewn churchs that we will visit today before lunch will be the first group of churches included: Bete Medhanialem, Bete Mariam, Bete Meskel, BeteDenagl and Bete Gologota Michal .
After Having lunch we will continue our journey in to Ethiopians long and marvelous past with a visit to other sent Lalibela remarkable churches. There architecture and artistry must be seen to be believed.
The Rock Hewn Churches that we will visit this afternoon the second group of churches and St, Gorge it included: Bete Gebral, Bete Merquros, Bete Emanule, Betelehiam , Bete Aba Libanos and Bete Ghiorgis .
Once we finished visiting the second group of churches and we will walk to the village so the complex bewildering labyrinth of underground Tunnels to the monastery where the monks and nuns live. O/n cliff edge hotel.
Day 8: Gondar all day
Fly to Gonder and, explore the sites of Gondar, including a visit to the Royal Enclosure, with six castles and several other buildings. Additionally, visit Fasilidas’s Pool, still used for Timket celebrations today, and the Debre Birhan Selassie church, with the most famous ceiling in Ethiopia and we take to Woleka village only 7 km from down town Gonder, Woleka a place where the Ethiopian Jewish( the Felasha used to live) Overnight in Gondar ( AG hotel).
Day 9 : Day trip to Simien mount
Today is an early morning departure to Sankober in the Simien Mountains. From here you will go for an easy hike to the Geech Abyss, where you will 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, also known as the ‘bleeding heart baboon’ due to the red patch of skin on its chest and back to gonder ( AG hotel)
Day 10 : Gondar – Bahirdar
early rive to Bahirdar in the morning, take a boat trip on Lake Tana to visit the island monasteries, such as those on the Zege Peninsula and Kibran Gabriel , and the source of the Blue Nile River. In the afternoon drive out to the Blue Nile Falls for a short hike in the area. Overnight in Bahir Dar ( Summer land hotel).
Fly to Addis and you will have time to visit the museums and markets..