Timket festival Tour 11 days/ 10 nights

Timket festival Tour 11 days/ 10 nights

Tour Name:  Timket festival Tour 11 days/ 10 nights
Tour Code: AD 014
Transport: flight and Surface

Accommodation: Standard Hotels and Lodge

Trip highlights

On Arrival at Bole International airport Enter Ethiopia Tour Operators representative will welcome you and transfer you to your reserved hotel. After having some rest you will have highlight of Ethiopia through visiting the National Museum (home of our ancestor Lucy) and the Ethnological Museum (Set within Haile Selassie’s former palace) followed by an afternoon drive to the Entoto Maryam Church and the former site of Menelek’s Capital in the Entoto hills.

Overnight Sapphire Addis Hotel

Today early morning you will catch your flight to Bahir Dar and transfer to your hotel. After check in you will start your tour with a boat excursion to visit the island monasteries on Lake Tana. We will have a visit to Zeghie peninsula and 2 churches, Azua Mariyam and Ura Kidane Miheret, including the overview of Kibran Gebriel and Entons Monastery. These beautifully painted churches were found in or before the 15th century. After lunch we drive (35km) to Tississat, the waterfalls of the Blue Nile.

Overnight Avanti Blue Nile Hotel

Following Breakfast we drive to Gondar visiting Guzara Castle on the way. We will pass through the beautiful scenery of the Amhara region in-route. The afternoon visit will be to Fasil Ghebbi, the seven-hectare royal compound containing the 16th and 17th century’s built-in five castles, and the ornately decorated church of Debre Birhan Selassie which houses some of the best ecclesiastical art in Ethiopia.

Overnight Gondar Goha hotel or similar standard

We will spend this day in Gondar enjoying preparation for the festival. Timket falls on Tirr 11th (January 19th) every year. It is commemoration of Jesus Christ’s baptism in River Jordan. Celebration of Timket starts on the eve of the main festival, the eve is known as ’Ketera’ and taken from the Amharic word ‘ketere’ meaning to make a dam; it is usual to make a dam in some places where there is no enough river water for the celebration of Timket. Afternoon At about 3 or 4 pm, each “Tabot” begins the journey to Fasilides;s bathing palace. This involves an even more colorful ceremony with a variety of religious and traditional songs. The priests wear astonishing brocade ceremonial clothes and carry decorated umbrellas, while chanting to the drums and the rhythmic clink of the Sistrum and other instruments. Although it is colorfully celebrated throughout the country, Timket is highly regarded in Addis Ababa, Lalibela and Gondar.

Overnight Gondar Goha hotel or similar standard

In Gondar, the bathing palace of Fasilides is still dedicated to this colorful ceremony. It is still filled with water each year by a canal from the River Keha for the colorful Timket celebration. Besides the baptism of Jesus Christ, celebration of Timket in Gondar also commemorates the re-baptizing of thousands of people who have converted from Catholicism to the Orthodox faith. Even though Gondar can be visited at any time of the year, the city is a wonderful place of visit during this season as it gives one a chance to witness the colorful ceremonies of the Timket Festival. In the morning at about 10 or 11 am, each “Tabot” begins the journey back to its church. After noon we drive to the Semien Mountains via Debark, the Headquarters of the Semien Mountain National Park. Enjoy the views as you ascend to Sankaber. Troops of Gelada Baboons are often seen here, grazing along the escarpments.

Overnight Semien Lodge or Sankaber Camp

Today we will enjoy a morning walk along the edge of the escarpment taking in fantastic views of the highlands. Drive further into the highlands to Chenek, where we’ll see Gelada Baboons grazing in large troops and, if you are lucky, the Waliya Ibex, a rare species of mountain goat. Expect to walk for an hour or two.

Overnight Semien lodge or Sankaber Camp

Morning we drive to Axum, the center of the Axumite Empire from the first to the seventh centuries and considered the holiest city in Ethiopia. Enjoy splendid views of the Western Semiens as we cross the Tekeze Valley.

Overnight Yared Zema Hotel or similar standard

Today we visit the historical sites of Axum including St. Mary’s Church (fabled resting place of the true Ark of the Covenant) and the stelae field. The afternoon visit will be the former palace of the Queen of Sheba (Dungur Palace) and the ruins of the former tombs of King Kaleb and King Gebre Meskel.

Overnight YaredZema or similar standard

Morning we will catch the flight to Lalibela, a striking town set at over 2,500m in wild, craggy mountains. Here we see the extraordinary 12th – and 13th century rock churches carved below ground level and connected by a maze of subterranean passages. Each of the churches is unique and intricately carved. Wander through the northern and southern clusters and visit the most famous of the rock-hewn churches, Bete Giyorgis, the house of St. George. The 1st group churches which are included Bete MedhaniAlem (Chapel of Holy Savior) which is the biggest and Bete Mariyam (Chapel of Mary): three aisled with mural paintings and a covered pillar containing inscriptions about the end of the world according to the “Gedil” (act) of saintly king. Further visit of Bete Denagel (Chapel of the Virgins), Bete Meskel (Chapel of the cross) and finally, the “double – church” of Debre Sina and Bete Golghotha (women are not allowed in the latter since it’s where the remains of King Lalibela are also because it has the tabernacle of the Holy Trinity). In the Afternoon visit of the second group of rock-hewn churches that are namely; Bete Gabriel and Raphael, Bete Merquorios, Bete Emmanuel with unprecedented Axumite style and the Bete Aba Libanos (Said built by King Lalibela’s consort Meskel Kibra and visit the Bete Giyorgis which is the cruciform chapel of St. George.

Overnight Mountain View or similar standard

Optional mule excursion to Asheten Mariyam Church situated on a steep hill-top with outstanding views. Return to the hotel for lunch. Afternoon drive to the charming semi-cave church of Neakutoleab, an early 13th century church with reputedly curative waters.

Overnight Mountain View or similar standard

We will catch Morning flight to Addis. The afternoon is free for souvenir shopping in Addis Ababa before last evening, visit the Merkato, Africa’s largest open-air market; attend the Farwell dinner meal at one of the city’s best traditional restaurants to enjoy a variety of Ethiopian cuisines and watch traditional dancing, then will transfer you to airport for the flight back home.

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