Small Group Ethiopian Festival Tours

Discover the world of the ancient Ethiopians as you take these festival tours on the Historic Route of Ethiopia. With more than 80 different ethnic groups living together with traditions as old as humanity itself, Ethiopia is a melting pot of cultures. In this fascinating country, you will be amazed to witness how ancient historical traditions have been preserved in a remarkable manner for thousands of years. And, indeed, the ceremonies and rituals of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church open a window on the authentic world of the Old Testament. Like nowhere else, in this country you will find yourself so dramatically transported back in time to participate freely in the sacred rituals of an ancient faith.

Below you will find small group departure festival tours carefully crafted around some of the most important and colorful festivals in the Ethiopian calendar. On these tours, you will also visit the unmatched sites of Ethiopia’s Historic Route among which four of the sites are listed under UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites. Step back in time and explore thousands of years of history, legend, and lore as you take these trips to the Historic Route of Ethiopia to witness some of the most colorful and ancient Christian festivals.

    Ethiopian Easter Festival With the Historic Route of Ethiopia and the Simien Mountains — 13 Days

    This tour takes you deep into the land that used to be one of the greatest kingdoms of the world. In this fascinating land, the past comes alive in the form of beautiful, exotic monuments and ruins built centuries ago. Moreover, it is a past that began as the cradle of mankind. Marvel at the spectacular 2,000-year-old stele at Axum, the rock-hewn churches of Lalibela built more than 800 years ago, the castles of Gondar, the island monasteries of Lake Tana, the magnificent Simien Mountains, the less-visited rock-hewn churches of Tigray, the great Blue Nile Falls, and last but not least, the friendly and charming people.

    Trip Highlights

    • Celebrate Ethiopian Easter Festival in the ancient way around the rock-hewn churches of Lalibela.
    • Experience Ethiopian Orthodox Christian doctrines and traditions.
    • Visit four UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
    • Be amazed by the rock-hewn churches of Lalibela, one of "the living wonders of the world".
    • Enjoy the magnificent nature and endemic wildlife of the Simien Mountains.
    • Travel back in time to explore the ancient city of Axum, the last resting place of the Ark of the Covenant.
    • Discover the fairytale castles of Gondar.
    • Take a cruise on Lake Tana to visit the ancient island monasteries.
    • See the source of the mighty Blue Nile River and the Blue Nile Falls.
    • Discover the old walled city and the fourth holiest city of Islam.
    • Visit the vibrant city of Addis Ababa.
    • Meet your ancestor Lucy at the National Museum in Addis Ababa.
    • Try the varied Ethiopian food.
    • Attend an Ethiopian coffee ceremony.

    Itinerary: Ethiopian Easter Festival Tour 2019

    Travel dates: April 9 to April 21, 2019 

    Day 1: 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, we can arrange an optional city tour.

    Accommodation: Kaleb Hotel, Addis Ababa

    Day 2: Addis Ababa, Bahirdar

    In the morning, drive to Bahirdar through the Great Blue Nile Gorge with stops at different small towns like Dejen, Chancho, and Goha Tsion. The majestic and enormous Blue Nile Gorge is one of the most captivating gorges in Africa.

    Accommodation: Hotel, Bahirdar

    Day 3: Lake Tana, Blue Nile Falls, Bahir Dar

    In the morning, we will take boat cruise 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.

    Accommodation: Hotel, Bahirdar

    Day 4: Bahir Dar, Gondar

    After breakfast, we will drive to Gondar through the beautiful countryside scenery to arrive at Gondar around lunchtime.

    For the rest of the day, you will have a city tour of Gondar. Today you will visit the Royal Enclosure and the famous Debre Berhan Sellassie church.

    Accommodation: Hotel, Gondar

    Day 5: Gondar, Simien Mountains

    After an early breakfast, we will drive to the Simien Mountains National Park. Enroute we will visit the "Felasha", or Black Jewish village. For the rest of the day, we trek to explore the area of Snakaber, part of the Simien Mountains National Park.

    Accommodation: Simien Lodge, Buit Ras

    Day 6: Simien Mountains National Park, Axum

    After breakfast, we drive north to Axum through the beautiful scenery of the Simien Mountains and the Tekeze River Gorge.

    Past the Tekeze River Gorge, whilst enjoying the beautiful Simien Mountains scenery from a distance, you will have your picnic lunch under the shade of a tree and continue driving to Axum.

    Accommodation: Hotel, Axum

    Day 7: Axum

    After breakfast, we will visit the ancient city of Axum. Our visit in Axum includes the Stele Square, Kaleba Tombs, 4th-century Christian inscription of King Ezana, Queen of Sheba’s Palace, Archeological Museum, and Tsion Mariam Church, where the original Ark of the Covenant is housed.

    Accommodation: Hotel, Axum

    Day 8: Axum, Hauzien

    In the morning, we will drive to Hauzien, the center of some of the most ancient rock-hewn churches, through the stunning and historical mountains of Adwa.

    Accommodation: Lodge, Hauzien

    Day 9: Hauzien, Mekele

    In the morning, we will drive to Mekele enroute visit some of the most ancient Tigray rock-hewn churches including: Wikro Cherkos, Abrha We-Atsbeha, and Dugum Selassie.

    Accommodation: Hotel, Mekele

    Day 10: Mekele, Lalibela

    After breakfast, we drive to Lalibela through Sekota. Enroute you will visit Yimrhane Kirstos and different villages of the Agwe tribal people.

    Accommodation: Hotel, Lalibela

    Day 11: Good Friday at Lalibela

    After having an early breakfast, we will drive to the site where we find a concentration of some of Ethiopia’s most famous rock-hewn churches, mostly referred to by many as one of "the living wonders of the world". The rock-hewn churches that we will visit today include: Bete Medhani Alem, Bete Mariam, Bete Meskel, Bete Denagil, Bete Golgotha Michael, and Bete Giorgis.

    In the afternoon, witness the Good Friday ceremony at Bete Mariam rock-hewn church. This is a special day for the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, and it is celebrated with great devotion and in a very ancient way. On this day, the faithful who have been fasting the whole day without any water or food, dressed in their dazzling white cloths, walk to St. Mary’s church to attend the prayers and performance of the priest and deacons. It is a special opportunity to witness the devotion of the faithful and their practices remembering the suffering of Jesus Christ when he was crucified. Every performance of the priest and the deacons as well as the devotion of the people takes you back centuries.

    Accommodation: Hotel, Lalibela

    Day 12: Lalibela, Asheten Mariam, Ethiopian Easter Eve at Lalibela

    In the morning you will continue your journey into Ethiopia’s long and marvelous past with a visit to more of Lalibela’s remarkable churches. The rock-hewn churches that you will visit this afternoon include Bete Gebriel, Bete Mercorios, Bete Amanuel, Bethlehem, and Bete Aba Libanos.

    In the afternoon, you will visit one of the most colorful annual Easter markets at Lalibela. In the evening, you will witness one of the most important ceremonies of Easter in one of the biggest rock-hewn churches of Lalibela, Bete Medhanialem. In the evening all the rock-hewn churches will be filled with people who have been fasting for 55 days. None of them have eaten or drank anything at least for a day and half. They are here to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ, and there will be prayers and candlelight ceremonies accompanied by chanting and dancing of the priest until 3:00 in the morning. It’s only after the ceremony is over that everybody goes home to break the fast with the special Easter meal. The feast that began at the church continues all day long and for weeks to come.

    Accommodation: Hotel, Lalibela

    Day 13: Ethiopian  Easter Lalibela, Addis Ababa, Departure

    After breakfast, we transfer to Lalibela airport for the flight to Addis Ababa. Depending on your departure, an optional city tour can be arranged. 

    In the evening, there will be Grand Holidays Ethiopia Tours complimentary special Easter farewell dinner party with traditional special buffet and local drinks, flight schedule permitting. There will also be cultural dance show of the different ethnic groups living in the country — the perfect ending to your trip. At the end of the farewell dinner, transfer to Addis Ababa airport for the flight back. End of tour.


    Additional Info

    • Trip Type: Cultural and Festival Tour
    • TourCode: GHET-F04
    • JourneyType: Private Journey
    • TourDuration: 13 Days
    • Activities/Description: Join us on this trip of discovery as we witness the ancient ways of celebrating Easter and explore the world of the ancient Ethiopians. See how ancient traditions and unique African culture have been preserved and explore the highlights of this amazing country.
    Grand Holidays Ethiopia Tours has been operating responsible travel activity and adventure holidays in Ethiopia for more than a decade.Travel to Ethiopia with Grand Holidays Ethiopia Tours and discover amazing Ethiopia. We have a wide selection of holiday tour packages including the following: cultural tours for groups and individuals, family holiday options, varied adventure tours and travel packages, photo expeditions, trekking adventure holidays, cultural explorations in the Omo Valley, and photo tours in Ethiopia. We are the local travel specialists and the leading Ethiopian tour operator based in Addis Ababa. Contact us for your holiday in Ethiopia.
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