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Monday, 07 July 2014 09:03

Birding Along the Historic Route

Day 1: Arrive at Addis Ababa and transfer to Ghion Hotel for overnight.

Day 2: Leave early for Debre Libanos through the Sululta plain to see some highland grassy species. Debre Libanos is an important monastic center for Ethiopian Orthodox Christianias established in the 13th century. The Jemma River is one of the tributaries of the Nile, and there is a drop of elevation nearly 1000m. From the general level here at the gorge, and in the forest around the church we can see the endemic Ruppel's Chat, Banded Barbet, the Black headed forest oriole, the White billed starling, Red winged starling, the White winged cliff chat, the white backed black tit, White cheeked turaco, Lammergeier, Ruppell’s s and Lappet faced vultures etc and we will also see one of Ethiopia‘s endemic mammals, the Gelada baboon. An Overnight stay at the Ethio-German Lodge, which is located by the cliff of Jemma River, with a very spectacular view over the Jemma Gorge.

Day 3: Leave early for Bahir Dar Checking in to Tana Hotel. After lunch bird watching around Bahir Dar at the Blue Nile Bridge, Haile Selassie’s Palace of Bezawit, around the Michael Church and the shore of lake Tana, We expect to see a number of aquatic and forest birds, Herons, Sacred ibis, Double toothed barbet, Egyptian goose, Darters, Cormorants, Terns, Pelicans, Egrets, Ducks and etc. Tana Hotel is situated on the lakeshore; Open billed stork, Sacred Ibis, White cheeked Turaco, Striped king fisher, Eagle, Masked weaver, and many different Sunbirds can be seen in or near the hotel compound.

Day 4: Early morning visit to the Blue Nile Falls & return to the Bahir-Dar for lunch. En route we can expect to see Carmine bee-eater, Grey headed Kingfisher, Wire tailed pipit, Spotted Eagle Owl, etc. After lunch boat trip to Zeghe Peninsula, which is known for its 14th centaury round church of Ura Kidane Mihret highly decorated with mural paintings and other magnificent monasteries. The endemic Yellow fronted parrot and Black Winged lovebird can easily be seen from Bete Mariam to Ura Kidane Mihret, though a thick forest. O/N Hotel .

Day 5: Leave early in the morning for Gonder which is 180 Km, on the way different species of birds can be seen, for example, Lovebirds, Abyssinian Ground horn bill, Long Crested eagle, Augur buzzard, crowned crane and large number of Common Cranes. Arrive in time for lunch at Goha Hotel, which is situated high on a mountain overlooking the town. Lammergeier can often be seen soaring around the hotel compound. After lunch start tour of the imperial castles’ compound and the churches of Debre Berhan Selassie, famous for its murals, and Qusquam church. These Places are also important for birding; Black headed forest Oriole and Thick billed raven and others can be seen. Spectacular Sunset view is additional asset to be at Goha hotel. Dinner in the Hotel and tour of Gonder by night is possible if desired.

Day 6: After breakfast leave for Gorgora through Dembia plain at the northern end of lake Tana. Dembia plain is known for its suitability for cattle raring and hot weather crops production. Lunch at the on the shore of the resort hotel. Flock of flamingos, Cattle egrets, little egrets, King fishers, Herons and others will be seen. Visitors may also see hippos. Return to Gonder late in the afternoon for dinner and overnight.

Day 7: Early in the morning leave for Axum, 354 Km north of Gonder. The thrilling Limalimo gorge is worth crossing, up looking the Simen Mountains to the right side and overlooking the gorge of Tekeze that abruptly descends to 2000 meters below the general level .We expect to see among the endemic birds; Wattled ibis, Thick billed raven, White collared Pigeon and, numerous Lammergeier, various vultures, Auger buzzard, Gabar goshawk, Grey Kestrel, Lanner green Pigeon, Mountain black billed barbet etc. O/N Yeha Hotel.

Day 8: Before breakfast, birding in the lush hotel garden where one can see many birds. After breakfast drive to the Edifice ruin of Emperor Caleb and Gebre Meskel, swimming pool of the legendary Queen of Sheba, the main stele park where huge monolithic stele are erected, the church of st. Marry of Zion where the original Ark of the Covenant is believed to be kept, the archaeological museum. O/N Hotel.

Day 9: After breakfast Drive to Lalibela, which was the capital of the Zagwe dynasty kings where several rock –hewn churches that are considered as the 8th wonder of the world are carved out of solid volcanic rocks. Endemic birds like, Black winged lovebird, White Collared Pigeon, Ruppell’s cliff Chat can be seen. O/N Roha Hotel .

Day 10: After breakfast trek to Asheton Mariam church on top of a mountain on foot or on mule back (4 Hour round Trip). The church itself worth the trip and the scenery on the way is again impressive. Among the endemic birds, we can expect to see on the way White billed starling, Golden backed woodpecker and others. In the after noon drive to Nakuto Leab cave church rich in paintings, and other relics, Glossy starling, Superb starling and other birds can be seen. O/N Roha Hotel.

Day 11: Drive to Dessie for an overnight stay. On the way stop at different points to see variety of birds with a different habitat that you will encounter on our way to Dessie. O/N Hotel.

Day 12: Drive to Alem Ketema for an overnight stay and on the way stop at different places to see variety of birds. O/N Hotel.

Day 13: We set off early in the morning to look for the Endemic Harwood's Franklin, Dedric Cuckoo, Erlanger's Lark, White throated Serine, Crimson ramped Waxbill, Masked Shrike, White throated robin, Olivaceous Warble, and at the escarpment we shall see different species of pray birds like Lammergeyer, Verreaux's Eagle, Black shouldered Kite, Red Kestrel, Palled and Montague's Harriers. By spending some time at the Jemma Valley we shall see some more bird species like Banded Martin, House Bunting, Abyssinian Scimitar bill, stone Partridge, Little Rock Thrush, Pale Prinia and more. O/N Alem Ketema.

Day 14: Drive To Ankober Lodge via Debre-Brehan for an overnight stay.

Day 15: We set off after early breakfast to look for Ankober Serin, which is one of the rare and highly threatened Ethiopian Endemic birds. Apart from this we shall see a lot of other species like Moorland Francolin, Ercklle's francolin, Streaky Seedeater, White billed Starling, Rufus Breasted Sparrow hawk and more. And lunch break drive to the town of Awash town via Meleka Gebedu and Dulecha for an overnight stay. This route is one of productive birding route that can produce so many varieties of bird species in Ethiopia like the endemic Yellow throated Serine, different species of Shrikes and Weavers, Mouse Collared Penduline, African Pygmy, Half collared Kingfishers, Black Billed and Black Wood Hoopoes, Bearded and Cardinal Woodpeckers, different species of Bustard and more. O/N Awash Genet Hotel.

Day 16: Full day birding at Awash National Park, which is one of the best sites in Ethiopian rift valley with abundance bird life. The acacia thorny bushes of Awash in association with ravines forest along Awash River holds a great number of birds like Bush Lark, Ashy Cisticolas, Grey headed Batis, Pygmy Sunbird, white faced scoops Owl and Pearl Spotted Owlets, Palm Swift, Blue Napped Mouse Bird, Wahlbeg's Honey Bird, Yellow Billed Horn Bill, Gillett's Lark, and a lot of prey Birds can be seen. O/N Awash Genet Hotel.

Day 17: Drive to Debre Zeit where there are many crater lakes for which the town is famous. You can see different water birds and various species of swallows and weavers, Hottentot teal, Red Bill Teal, and White backed Duck, Spur Winged Plover, Red Knobbed Coot, and etc can be seen. Lunch, Dinner and over night at the Kuriftu resort and Spa Hotel.

Day 18: Drive back to Addis Ababa, city tour in the capital.

Monday, 07 July 2014 09:02

Historic Route

Day 1: Arrive at Addis Ababa. O/N Ghion Hotel.

Day 2: Fly to Bahir-Dar, after check in a hotel: Drive to Blue Nile falls (35km.south east of Bahir -Dar) through the 17th century bridge or by boat on the river (400-500 meters wide) before the water is diverted to the hydropower station, watch a number of species of birds on the way along the riverine forest, and then back to Bahir –Dar for lunch. In the P.M boat trip to the Zeghe peninsula monastery, Ura Kidane Mihret, this was established in the 14th century and well decorated with 17th century mural paintings, rich in manuscripts, royal belongings donated to the monastery and Kibran Gebrael/Entons Iyesus monastery. O/n in Tana hotel at Bahir Dar.

Day 3: Drive to Gonder. En route visit the day-to-day activity of the local people, the palace ruin of Emperor Sersa Dingile (1567-1597A.D) at Infraz. After check in to Goha hotel, Visit the 17th century castles’ compound, registered by UNESCO as world heritage for the presence of those castles in such immense number and their architectural significance; Debre-Berhan Selesie Church highly decorated with mural paintings of portraits of angles and other biblical history in the A.M, and after lunch the swimming pool of Emperor Fasil and the church of Qusquam where the crypts of King Iyoas and his grand mother Queen Mintewab are located and the Scottish traveler James Bruce had sojourned. O/n in a hotel

Day 4: Fly to Lalibela.The former Roha the present Lalibela town assumed political importance as Aksumite Empire declined and ended its importance as major political center after 1270 A.D. After check in to Roha hotel, visit the first group of the magnificent rock-hewn churches of Lalibela, which are carved out of living volcanic tuff with super architectural skill that the world has never seen yet, elsewhere. These churches are registered as world heritage by UNSCO. Among churches of this group Bete Medahine Alem (house of the redeemer) is the largest with 5 aisles, 72 pillars, vaulted dome and molding decoration. Bete Mariam (house of st. Marry) is the most decorated among the rock-hewn churches. After lunch, visit the second group of the rock-hewn churches; Bete Emanuel (house of Emanuel) is architecturally the finest. Bete Giorgis (the house of George) is the finest of all the churches in Lalibela. O/n in a hotel

Day 5: Fly to Aksum. After check in to a hotel, Visit the swimming pool of the legendary queen of Sheba, the ruin of imperial edifices along with their tombs, the church of st. Marry of Zion where the original Ark of the Covenant is said to be kept secretly, the main stelae park where the huge monolithic stelae are found, and the archeological museum that displays artifacts unearthed archeologically. O/N Hotel.

Day 6: Fly to Addis Ababa and city tour that includes; Cathedral of Trinity, which was established in 1941. It is the 3rd largest in the country and baroque style in architecture. The crypts of the last Emperor Haile Selassie I and, his consort are found here. The cathedral is indispensable for its paintings as well, the National Museum is the best place to have an insight about the past and the present of Ethiopia. It displays substantial artifacts and ecofacts including the fossil of “ Lucy” that dates 3.2 million years back, Entoto which is the best point to overlook the capital and its surroundings, Mercato-is the largest open-air market in Africa where one can get everything if she/he knows the proper place, except the human soul. On the way to the aforementioned places one can visit different quarters of the capital and different historically important monuments.

Note: It is possible to combine this program with Omo Valley program & with Dalol depression program. It can be shortened and extended days.

This route leads to the place where the ancient and the medieval Ethiopian civilization were borne. To mention only few Damat state in B.Cs which had relation with the outside world, Aksumite Empire from 2nd B.C. to the 7th A.D, centered at Aksum, the Zagwe dynasty centered at Lalibela, Gonder starting from the 17th century etc are some of the many historical places that bear traces of the then civilization in the areas.

Day 1:  Arrive at Addis Ababa. O/N Ghion hotel.

Day 2: Fly to Mekelle the Capital of Tigray National Regional State. This place was important center of caravan trade where merchants who came from the hot salt extraction sites in Afar to take breath, to carve their salt bar in to manageable size and as temporary store. Then, Visit the palace of Emperor Yohanes IV, the patriots’ memorial monument and other parts of the city. 
O/N Axum Hotel.

Day 3: After breakfast drive to Gherelta Lodge en route visit the semi-monolithic church of Wukro Cherkos. This church according to the church’s officials was established in the 4th century. This church is cruciform in plan and has 23 handsomely carved freestanding pillars. It is decorated with 15th century mural paintings, arches, bas-reliefs and capitals. Then the other semi-monolithic church of Abrha and Atsbeha again said to be hewn in the 4th century in the time of the twin emperors Abrha and Atsbha is worth visiting. It is decorated with mural paintings that describe the biblical scenes. O/N Ghreaelta Lodge.

Day 4:  In A.M. visit, the church of Abune (father) Abraham / Debre-Tsion. This church is situated on top of the escarpment overlooks the Dighum and Hawzien plain. It is monolithic and rectangular in shape. This church is abundantly painted especially the dome is adorned with patterns. After lunch, visit the church of Yohanes Maqudi that takes about an hour walk. This fascinating and strangely painted church can be reached after challenging climbing. O/N Lodge.

Day 5: After breakfast, drive to Megab and Visit the church of Mariam Quorqor. This rock-hewn church has 6 pillars with capitals. The arches and the ceiling are decorated with bas-relief and paintings. This church is also rich in parchments and manuscripts. After lunch, visit Abune (father) Yemata, (4km.drive and about 40 minutes walk) from the campsite. The ascending of this rock mountain that seems the pillar to the sky, closer to the moon than to the earth through footholds and handgrips in the rock faces is challenging. But, on the top one will enjoy visiting the renowned church for its paintings, the splendor view and unusual experience at unusual place. Descend to the campsite for dinner and overnight. O/N Lodge.

Day 6: After breakfast drive to Axum, en route visit Debre-Damo monastery, the first to be established, and has unparalleled importance for the traditional religious education in that locality. The female can watch the ascending scene of males with the help of 16 meters leather rope that descended from the top by the monks but they are not allowed to ascend. Then, visit Yeha the 5thBC temple of the moon, the oldest living monument in black Africa, and lunch at Adwa where the brilliant international victory of Adwa took place in 1896. O/N Yeha Hotel.

Day 7: After breakfast, Visit the swimming pool of the legendary queen of Sheba, the ruin of imperial edifices of Caleb and his successor and son Gebre Meskel along with their tombs, and in the afternoon the church of st. Marry of Zion where the original Ark of the Covenant is said to be kept, the main stele park where the huge monolithic stele whose transportation and erection is still remain undone assignment of archaeologists are found, and the archeological museum that displays artifacts excavated archeologically, in the p.m. O/N Yeha Hotel.

Day 8: After breakfast, drive to Gonder crossing the captivating Tekeze gorge that precipitates down by 2000m from the general elevation and through the Llimalimo glamorous panorama, viewing the majestic Simen mountains. Then, experience the contrasting cool highland weather on the plateau of Debarq known for cool weather crop production like wheat and barley; stop at Kossoye where one can watch the Simen Mountains from close distance. O/n in Goha hotel at Gonder.

Day 9: Visit the 17th century castles’ compound, registered by UNESCO as world heritage for the presence of those castles in such immense number and their architectural significance; Debre-Berhan Selesie Church highly decorated with mural paintings; portraits of angles and other biblical history in the, and after lunch the swimming pool of Emperor Fasil and the church of Qusquam where the crypts of King Iyoas and his grand mother Queen Mintewab are located and the Scottish traveler James Bruce had sojourned. O/n in Goha hotel.

Day 10: After breakfast, drive to Gorgora the northern shore of Lake Tana through the Dembia plain known for its hot weather crops production and cattle breeding. Visit the church of Debre Sina (mount of Sinai) situated on the shore and watch aquatic birds. Lunch at the breath taking resort hotel, shore garden. In the afternoon drive back to Gonder. O/n in Goha hotel.

Day 11: After breakfast drive to Bahir-Dar on the way glimpse to the palace ruin of Emperor Sersa Dingile (16th century) at Infraz, a short pause at Tara Gedam the remaining of the natural forest in the locality can be seen. Over view the Fogera plain important for cattle breeding and irrigation. After lunch in Bahir–Dar, visit the separation point of river Abay (Blue Nile) from lake Tana and to Bezawit hill topped by the palace of Emperor Haile-Selassie I to view clearly the town along with its neighboring Blue Nile River and lake Tana. O/n in Tana hotel.

Day 12: Drive to Blue Nile Falls (35km.south east of Bahir -Dar) through the 17th century bridge or by boat on the river (400-500 meters wide) before the water is diverted to the hydropower station, watch a number of species of birds on the way along the riverine forest, and then enjoy the splendor view of the that crushes from 46 meters cliff. Then, back to Bahir –Dar for lunch. In the after noon boat trip to the Zeghe peninsula monastery, Ura Kidane Mihret established in the 14th century and decorated by 17th century mural paintings, and Kibran Gebrael/Entons Iyesus monastery. O/n in a hotel.

Day 13: After breakfast drive to Addis Ababa. En route, glimpse to the fertile plain of Gojam. Cross the Blue Nile gorge (42 km. Long) that winds down by 2000 meters below the general level. This gorge with semi-desert weather condition and plants witnesses that Ethiopia has diversified ecological zones and wildlife. Then, visit the ruin of a bridge called Portuguese bridge, and the 13thc.monastery of Debre-Libanos that is one of the historically and religiously important monasteries and proceed to Addis Ababa through Central Shewan plateau.

Monday, 07 July 2014 09:00

Bahir-Dar, Gonder, Lalibela, and Axum

Day 1: Arrive at Addis Ababa. O/N Ghion Hotel.

Day 2: After breakfast drive to Dessie (401km.), en route glimpse to Debre-Brehan (mount of light) 15th century town established by Emperor Zera Yacob. Stop at Ghemassa Ghedel where one can clearly observe the separation of the highland, i.e. Shewan plateau and the contrasting lowland, northern part of the rift valley. Probably a troop of Gelada baboon (endemic to Ethiopia) can be seen there. Then, continue your journey through the subway of Tarmaber, which was built by the Italians during their trial of occupation and glimpse at Wof-washa natural forest, which was seedling production center in the 15th century AD and, picnic lunch there. If the day is Sunday, that is a great opportunity to visit Senbete market where the Afar, the Argoba, the Amhara and the Oromo people who have their own traditional costume and decoration style gather for the market. O/N Ambassele Hotel at Dessie.

Day 3: After breakfast drive to Lalibela, this was the capital of the Zagwe dynasty, after the downfall of Aksumite Empire. En route, a short visit to the 9th century monastery of Haik Istifanos (st. Stephen). It was one of the most important monasteries. This monastery was the learning center of the royal family; for example, Emperor Yukuno Amlak was taught at that monastery, by Aba Iyesus Moa and was coroneted by the same father. Wooden water containers, wooden shackle, grinding stones and others are among the relics of the monastery to be seen there. A number of species of bird can be seen on the lakeshore. Another shortstop will be at Yismanigus, the place where Wuchale treaty, the immediate cause for the battle of Adwa was signed between the Italian representative Antoneli and Emperor Menelik II of Ethiopia in1889. Lunch at Woldia and proceed to Lalibela. Dinner and over night in Roha hotel.


Day 4: After breakfast visit the first group of the magnificent rock-hewn churches of Lalibela which are carved out of living volcanic tuff with super architectural skill that the world has never seen, yet elsewhere. UNESCO registers these churches as world heritage. Among churches of this group Bete Medahine Alem (house of the redeemer) is the largest with 5 aisles, 72 pillars, vaulted dome and molding decoration. Bete Mariam (house of st. Marry) is the most decorated among the rock-hewn churches. After lunch, visit the second group of the rock-hewn churches; Bete Emanuel (house of Emanuel) is architecturally the finest. Bete Giorgis (the house of George) is the finest of all the churches in Lalibela for which reason art historians conclude that this church is carved at the end of the cluster, after the masons have developed their skill to carve the church in such extraordinary perfection. O/N Hotel.

Day 5: After early breakfast in the morning, trek on mule back or on foot to Asheton Mariam church on top of a hill, the first work of Lalibela (4 hours double trip). The site was not large enough to carve many churches and the rock type was not easily workable. So, he changed the place of carving to the present one and carved the church of st. Marry first and the others around it at the foot of the hill as we see them today. After lunch visit Nakuto La’ab cave church established by Emperor Nakuto La’ab, who reined after Lalibela. The emperor is said to be pious Christian who used to roll on sword on every Friday to memorize the passion of Christ. O/N Hotel.

Day 6: Drive to Mekelle, capital of Tigray National Regional State through Alamata panoramic terrain. Mekelle was important center of caravan trade where merchants who come from the hot salt extraction sites in Afar to take breath, to carve their salt bar in to manageable size and as temporary store. Visit the palace of Emperor Yohanes IV.O/n in a hotel.

Day 7: Drive to Adigrat, en route visit the 4th century semi-monolithic churches of Wukro Cherkos, and Abrha and Atsbeha said to be established by the time of the twin emperors Abrha and Atsbeha by Abune (father) Selama, whose hand cross is said to be kept at Abrha we Atsbeha church. In this church honey trickles down from the roof occasionally and this is said to be the miracle of the church, as the churchmen. O/N Sabagadis Hotel.

Day 8: After breakfast drive to Axum, en route visit Debre-Damo monastery, the first to be established, and unparalleled importance for the traditional religious education in that locality. The female can watch the ascending scene of males with the help of 16 meters leather rope that descended from the top by the monks but are not allowed to ascend. Then, visit Yeha temple of the moon (Pagan worshipping place), the oldest living monument in black Africa. Lunch at Adwa where the international victory of Adwa took place in 1896.In the after noon visit to Gobedra (4km.from the town) the place where the giant stele are carved. O/N Yeha Hotel.

Day 9: After breakfast, visit the ruin of imperial edifices of Caleb and his successor and son Gebre Meskel along with their tombs, the swimming pool of the legendary queen of Sheba and lunch at the hotel. In the afternoon, visit the church of st. Marry of Zion where the original Ark of the Covenant is said to have been kept, the main stele park where the huge monolithic stele whose transportation and erection is still remain undone assignment of archaeologists are found, and the archeological museum that displays artifacts excavated archeologically. O/N Hotel.

Day 10: After breakfast, drive to Gonder crossing Tekeze gorge that precipitates down by 2000m from the general elevation and through the Llimalimo gorgeous terrain, viewing the majestic Simen mountains that look as if they were gathered there for a meeting. Then, experience the contrasting cool highland weather on the plateau of Debarq known for cool weather crop production like wheat and barley; stop at Kossoye where one can see the Simen Mountains from close distance. O/N Goha Hotel.

Day 11: After breakfast visit the 17th century castles’ compound, registered by UNESCO as world heritage for the presence of those castles in such immense number and their architectural significance; Debre-Berhan Selesie Church highly decorated with mural paintings of portraits of angles and other biblical history. After lunch, visit the swimming pool of Emperor Fasil and the church of Qusquam where the crypts of King Iyoas and his grandmother, founder of the church, Queen Mintewab are located. The Scottish traveler James Bruce had sojourned at this church that was used as a residence of the founder as well. O/N Hotel.

Day 12: After breakfast, drive to Gorgora the northern shore of Lake Tana through the Dembia plain known for its hot weather crops, spice, honey production and cattle breeding. Visit the church of Debre Sina (mount of Sinai) rich in paintings situated on the shore and watch numerous aquatic birds. Lunch, at the breathtaking resort hotel with view of shore garden. In the afternoon drive back to Gonder. O/n in the hotel.

Day 13: After breakfast drive to Bahir-Dar on the way glimpse to the palace ruin of Emperor Sersa Dingile (16th century) at Infraz, over view the Fogera plain important for cattle breeding and irrigation, visit the Awra Amba village. This village is close to the high way and accessible by car all year round and is new site for tourism. These people have their own unique sub-culture in the context of the country; there is no duty segregation based on sex. After lunch in Bahir–Dar, visit the separation point of river Abay (Blue Nile) from Lake Tana and to Bezawit hill topped by the palace of Emperor Haile-Selassie I to view clearly the town along with its neighboring Blue Nile River and Lake Tana. O/N Tana hotel.

Day 14: Drive to Blue Nile falls (35km.south east of Bahir -Dar) through the 17th century bridge or by boat on the river (400-500 meters wide) before the water is diverted to the hydroelectric power station, watch a number of species of birds on the way along the riverine forest, and then enjoy the spectacular view of the fall that crushes down from 46 meters cliff. Then, back to Bahir –Dar for lunch. In the P.M boat trip to the Zeghe peninsula monasteries; Ura Kidane Mihret established in the 14th century and decorated by 17th century mural paintings and rich in manuscripts, royal belongings donated to it, and Kibran Gebrael/Entons Iyesus monastery. O/n in a hotel.

Day 15: After breakfast drive to Addis Ababa. En route, glimpse to the fertile plain of Gojam, cross the Blue Nile gorge (42 km. Long) that winds down by 2000 meters below the general elevation, starting just after Dejen. This gorge with semi-desert weather condition and plants witnesses that Ethiopia has diversified ecological zones and wildlife. Then, visit the ruin of a bridge called Portuguese bridge and the 13thc.monastery of Debre-Libanos one of the historically and religiously important monasteries and proceed to Addis Ababa through Central Shewan plateau.

Wednesday, 18 June 2014 18:53

Conditions Governing Package Tours

Conditions Governing Package Tours

All rates are valid only for a period of one year and are subject for change without a prior notice. It is advisable to contact Pathfinder Tour Operator before any rate comment is made.
Rates include hotel or camp accommodation, meals while camping and in a hotel, too, unless excluded by the question of the clients, vehicle, boat, and train transportation, guide service and entrance fees.
Rates do not include expenses of Airfare, Visa, Custom, Embarkation, Alcoholic drinks, Laundry Internet and any item of personal nature.

Payment Conditions

I. Pathfinder Tour Operator accepts wholesalers’, agents or private individuals’ request to provide services in connection with tours and safaris, trekking, rafting etc in Ethiopia in good faith and diligence.
II. After confirmation of tours, agencies making bookings with Pathfinder Tour Operator, shall make payments in the following manners as Pathfinder Tour Operator also enter in to contracts on their behalf with service rendering agents for the tour arrangements.
I. Fifty percent (50%) of the total cost of the tour will be transferred through bank account three month prior to the commencement of the tour.
II. Full payment of the tour will be transferred one month prior to the commencement of the tour.
If complete payment of the tour has not been made at the commencement of the tour, Pathfinder Tour Operator is not obliged to conduct the tour, unless something special is arranged

Cancellation

I. If tour booking would be canceled one month before the commencement of the tour, Pathfinder Tour Operator will charge 25%, as it has to pay cancellation fee for the reservations it made on your behalf
II. If tour booking would be cancelled two weeks before the commencement of the tour, Pathfinder Tour Operator will charge you 50% of the total cost of the tour.
III For tour cancellation of less than two weeks before the commencement of the tour no refund will be made.

Transportation

We have a fleet of 4WD,Buses, Coaster buses and others for the tours we provide in the capital and outside the capital.

Guides

English, French, and German speaking professional Ethiopian Guides are provided. When requested, we can arrange Italian and Spanish speaking guides and specialists in Botany, Ornithology and others.

Liability

I. Pathfinder Tour Operator and its agents act only as agents of the passengers in all matters related to hotel and tent accommodation, transport, and other tour arrangements, and shall not be liable for injury, flight schedule change and delay, discomforts loss or damage arise from any cause and in any manner.
II. Pathfinder Tour Operator liability for its passenger carried by its vehicles is governed by the present laws of Ethiopia and all claims are subject to the jurisdiction of the court of Ethiopia.
III. Whilst every care is taken, Pathfinder Tour Operator will not be held responsible for any damage or loss of baggage.

Regarding Hotels

Our company has reliable business partnership with hotels in the capital and in other tours out of the Addis Ababa.
In the Capital, we can book hotels from simple recommended hotels to the luxury collection Sheraton Addis hotel. Outside Addis, we can arrange and book from camping up to the 3* hotels, or the best possible in the localities.

Wednesday, 18 June 2014 15:08

Festivals

Ethiopian Festivals

One of the unique things that you will find in Ethiopia as compare to many African countries is that the festivals that are taking place in the country. The main one are Enqutatash/ Ethiopian New year/, Meskel/ finding of the true Cross/, Genna/ Ethiopian Christmas/, Timket /epiphany/, and Sheikh Hussein.

 

 

 

Meskel / Finding of the True cross

Meskel is celebrated every year on 27 September for the commemoration of finding of the true cross by Empress Helena who is the mother of Constantine the great by praying to god using a smoke for guiding her in finding the place where it is buried. This the cross where Jesus Christ was crucified and this cross-found at Gishen Mariam, the Amahra regional state of South Wollo and there is special pilgrimage festival taking place every year on 31st of September.

 

 

Timket/ Feast of epiphany

Timket is the biggest festival of the year that is celebrated every year on 19th January. It is a three-day affair starting from the eve of epiphany with the colorful procession. And the following day is celebrated in commemoration of Christ baptism at Jordan River by John the Baptist, which is the day of epiphany and the third day is devoted to the archangel of St. Michael's day.

 

 

 

Genna (Ethiopian Christmas)

Genna is celebrated on the 7th of January every year and it is a religious festival that is celebrated throughout the night inside the church and will be followed by a special ceremony of chanting and dancing outside the church and this celebration is best attended at Lalibella for it's colorful ceremony, since it is unique to lallibella, at St.George church with all the drum, dancing and chanting ceremony by the cliff of the rock-hewn cross design church, which is the last and best architectural work of King Lalibella.

 

 

 

Sheikh Hussein / Ethiopian Muslim Pilgrimage

As Ethiopia is the only country that offered sanctuary to the first Muslim immigrant when they were denied the right to pursue their religion by the Quraysh people who were the rulers of Mecca during prophet Mohamed and King Negash granted an asylum during his ruling time of 615 and among the refugees were the prophet's daughter Ruquyya, his future wives Umma Habiba and Umma Salama and his cousin and leader of the religious exiles. Sheikh Hussein pilgrims' festival takes place on September and February at desert planes of Bale province in Sheikh Hussein shrine, which is decorated with glistening white domes float in a vast sea of emerald green scrub. This shrine is devoted to the renowned saint, sheikh Hussein and the tomb of sheikh Hussein is placed at the shrine.

 

Wednesday, 18 June 2014 14:33

Historic Route

BAHER DAR: Lake Tana and The Blue Nile Falls

Is located on the southern Showa of lake Tana, the source of the Blue Nile, with its ancient monasteries and both the Blue and the White Nile's most spectacular feature, The Tis Isat falls water falls. On the island of Dega Estifanos you will find the church of Saint Estifanos, which has a collection of icons and manuscripts and houses the mummified remains of member of Ethiopian emperors. Ethiopia is often referred to as the water tower of eastern Africa because of the many rivers that pour off its high tableland and visit to this part of Rift valley studded with Lakes volcanoes and savannah grassland offers the visitor a true safari experience.

 

GONDAR: the Camelot of Africa

Which emperor Fasilidas founded as his capital in 1636, is the site numerous castles- like palaces dating from the 17th and 18th centuries. The city was Ethiopia's capital until the region of Emperor Tewodros II also known as 'Theodre' during the long years when it was a capital the settlement emerged as one of the largest, and most populous, cities in the realm. Besides the famous palaces in the royal compound there is Debre Birhan Sellasie church with is remarkable ceiling decorated with winged angels.

 

 

AXUM: mysterious monoliths

Ethiopians most ancient city and renowned for its cathedral of st.marry of Zion where as the legend has it, the original Ark of the convent is housed. Axum is also famous for its seven mysterious monolithic stelea, all made of single pieces of granite and with identical decorations. The biggest of them is 33 meter high and weights over 500 tones it was the largest monolith in the world but fell at some time in the past. Near it stands a smaller, but nevertheless most impressive, 24 meter high obelisk, and a larger oblise was taken to Rome, by the fascist Italian dictator Bento Mussolini in 1937 but now it is returned to its country and its reerction is under way. And Axum, is the home town of Queen of Sheba, and her Palace is located Axum. Axum, in its day, was a great commercial central issuing its own currency and trading with Egypt, Arabia, Persia, India and Even Ceylon.

YEHA: Ethiopia oldest town

This is the site of a huge and most impressive, temple, thought to date from around the sixth or seven century B.C. Even the journey takes you past the site of Ethiopia's historic victory over Italian colonialists, at the battle of Adwa of 1896, the greatest victory time of Hannibal
This pre-christian' temple of the moon' was the ancient center of the Sabena civilization.

 

 

DEBRE DAMO: Stairway To Heaven

A monastery built on the summit of a towering mountain close to the Eritrea border. The monks enter or leave the monastery by means of a wrist-thick rope made from twinged leather strips

 

 

 


LALIBELA: A city of Caved From Legend

Described as a creation of angels lalibela has seen preserved as one of UNESCO's 5th wonder world Heritage sites for its 11 rock hewn monolithic churches, which have been built by king Lalibela in the late Twelfth or early Thirteenth century.

 

 

 

AFAR: The roots of mankind.

Afar is the origin of human being, The Homemade named Lucy (Dinkinesh in Amharic) whose aged 3.5 million years old is found at Afar Region. Afar is also the park of an active volcano and the Danakil depression at 120 meters below sea level one of the lowest dryland points on earth.

 

 

 

GAMBELLA

Located about 600 kilometres from Addis Ababa on the river Baro, Gambela has a strange history. From 1902 until it was captured by the Italians in the Second World War, it was administered by the British, the only part of Ethiopia to be so governed, The reason for this is that the British opened a port there on the wide and navigable Baro River, which during four months of the rainy season is navigable and provides direct access to the sea via the Nile through Khartoum.

Wednesday, 18 June 2014 11:43

Birding Along the Historic Route

Day 1: Arrive at Addis Ababa and transfer to Ghion Hotel for overnight.

Day 2: Leave early for Debre-Marcos (305km.) through the Sululta plain. Stop at Debre Libanos and descend to Jemma River Gorge. Debre Libanos is an important monastic center for Ethiopian Orthodox Christianias established in the 13th century. The Jemma River is one of the tributaries of the Nile, and there is a drop of elevation nearly 1000m. From the general level here at the gorge, and in the forest around the church we can see the Banded Barbet, the Black headed forest oriole, the White billed starling, Red winged starling, the White winged cliff chat, the white backed black tit, White cheeked turaco, Lammergeier, Ruppell’s s and Lappet faced vultures etc and we will also see one of Ethiopia‘s endemic mammals, the Gelada baboon.
We will leave Debre Libanos to Debre Marcos in the after noon. O/n Shebell Hotel, Debre Marcos.

Day 3: Leave early for Bahir Dar Checking in to Tana Hotel. After lunch bird watching around Bahir Dar at the Blue Nile Bridge, Haile Selassie’s Palace of Bezawit, around the Michael Church and the shore of lake Tana, We expect to see a number of aquatic and forest birds, Herons, Sacred ibis, Double toothed barbet, Egyptian goose, Darters, Cormorants, Terns, Pelicans, Egrets, Ducks and etc. Tana Hotel is situated on the lakeshore; Open billed stork, Sacred Ibis, White cheeked Turaco, Striped king fisher, Eagle, Masked weaver, and many different Sunbirds can be seen in or near the hotel compound.

Day 4: Early morning visit to the Blue Nile Falls & return to the Bahir-Dar for lunch. En route we can expect to see Carmine bee-eater, Grey headed Kingfisher, Wire tailed pipit, Spotted Eagle Owl, etc. After lunch boat trip to Zeghe Peninsula, which is known for its 14th centaury round church of Ura Kidane Mihret highly decorated with mural paintings and other magnificent monasteries. The endemic Yellow fronted parrot and Black Winged lovebird can easily be seen from Bete Mariam to Ura Kidane Mihret, though a thick forest. O/N Hotel.

Day 5: Leave early in the morning for Gonder which is 180 Km, on the way different species of birds can be seen, for example, Lovebirds, Abyssinian Ground horn bill, Long Crested eagle, Augur buzzard, crowned crane and large number of Common Cranes. Arrive in time for lunch at Goha Hotel, which is situated high on a mountain overlooking the town. Lammergeier can often be seen soaring around the hotel compound. After lunch start tour of the imperial castles’ compound and the churches of Debre Berhan Selassie, famous for its murals, and Qusquam church. These Places are also important for birding; Black headed forest Oriole and Thick billed raven and others can be seen. Spectacular Sunset view is additional asset to be at Goha hotel. Dinner in the Hotel and tour of Gonder by night is possible if desired.

Day 6: After breakfast leave for Gorgora through Dembia plain at the northern end of lake Tana. Dembia plain is known for its suitability for cattle raring and hot weather crops production. Lunch at the on the shore of the resort hotel. Flock of flamingos, Cattle egrets, little egrets, King fishers, Herons and others will be seen. Visitors may also see hippos. Return to Gonder late in the afternoon for dinner and overnight.

Day 7: Early in the morning leave for Axum, 354 Km north of Gonder. The thrilling Limalimo gorge is worth crossing, up looking the Simen Mountains to the right side and overlooking the gorge of Tekeze that abruptly descends to 2000 meters below the general level .We expect to see among the endemic birds; Wattled ibis, Thick billed raven, White collared Pigeon and, numerous Lammergeier, various vultures, Auger buzzard, Gabar goshawk, Grey Kestrel, Lanner green Pigeon, Mountain black billed barbet etc. O/N Yeha Hotel.

Day 8: Before breakfast, birding in the lush hotel garden where one can see many birds. After breakfast drive to the Edifice ruin of Emperor Caleb and Gebre Meskel, swimming pool of the legendary Queen of Sheba, the main stele park where huge monolithic stele are erected, the church of st. Marry of Zion where the original Ark of the Covenant is believed to be kept, the archaeological museum. O/N Hotel.

Day 9: After breakfast Drive to Lalibela, which was the capital of the Zagwe dynasty kings where several rock –hewn churches that are considered as the 8th wonder of the world are carved out of solid volcanic rocks. Endemic birds like, Black winged lovebird, White Collared Pigeon, Ruppell’s cliff Chat can be seen. O/N Roha Hotel.

Day 10: After breakfast trek to Asheton Mariam church on top of a mountain on foot or on mule back (4 Hour round Trip). The church itself worth the trip and the scenery on the way is again impressive. Among the endemic birds, we can expect to see on the way White billed starling, Golden backed woodpecker and others. In the after noon drive to Nakuto Leab cave church rich in paintings, and other relics, Glossy starling, Superb starling and other birds can be seen. O/N Roha Hotel.

Day 11: Fly to Addis Ababa, city tour in the capital.

Wednesday, 18 June 2014 11:32

Who Is Pathfinder Tour Operator?

Pathfinder Tour Operator is a private company engaged in tour operation Business based in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Pathfinder Tour Operator believes that tourism is an educational forum that brings people from different parts of the world and enhances peace and common understanding among people. So, it strives to the development of this human industry, tourism.


Pathfinder Tour Operator is staffed with multilingual, professional personnel, and equipped with tourist standard fleet of car, camping gears, and other paraphernalia to provide efficient service.


Pathfinder Tour Operator is aware of the impact of unplanned tourism activities and is trying its best in this regard. It consults with government bodies, tourism institutions, and other concerned Stakeholders at national and regional levels.

Promoting Responsible Tourism:


Pathfinder Tour Operator is one of the only company that strongly discourage begging and specially when the tourist are coming with school materials such as pen, pencils, books etc as well as toys, used clothes and other materials and an empty water bottle to give to the children around the villages that are running after the tourist, instead we facilitate to donate the materials to the needy ones like remote area schools, orphanage and clinics.


Pathfinder Tour Operator believes that the community should be benefited from the tourism income that we generate and on this regard we have already supports the needy ones like a school that is located at Iloweha, which the Mursi village school, Tsegie Orphanage that is located in the outskirt of Addis Ababa at the village called Legetafo and donates food to the needy ones twice a year at Saint Michael Church at Addis Ababa for almost 1200 peoples.


And we at Pathfinder Tour Operator strongly believes that for a sustainable tourism flow to the country all tour operators in the country should follow a Responsible Tourism (RT) so that the next tourist should find the same as that of the first and also benefiting the community at large so that whenever the tourist drive to that particular tourist village the group or individual should be welcomed with a very pleasant hospitality and we are working on this regard with the concerned stake holders as well as government bodies.

Pathfinder Tour Operator Organizes


• Historic and cultural route tours

• Horse riding

• Botanical tours

• Fishing

• Ornithology tours

• Camping facilities

• Trekking and safari

• Arrange Airplane and Helicopter charters

 

 

 

Wednesday, 18 June 2014 11:23

FAQ

Do I need a Visa to come to Ethiopia?

No visa is required for the nationals of Kenya Djibouti, and The Sudan. In addition nationals of the following countries can easily get a visa on arrival in the air port.
. ARGENTINA . AUSTRALIA . AUSTRIA . BELGIUM . BRAZIL . CANADA . CHINA . DENMARK . FINLAND . FRANCE . GERMANY . GREECE . IRELAND . ISRAEL . ITALY . JAPAN . KOREA REPUBLIC . KUWAIT . LUXEMBOURG . MEXICO . NETHERLANDS . NEW ZEALAND . NORWAY . POLAND . PORTUGAL . RUSSIAN FEDERATION . SOUTH AFRICA . SPAIN . SWEDEN . SWITZERLAND . TAIWAN (PROVINCE OF CHINA) . UNITED KINGDOM . UNITED STATES
Nationals out of the mentioned countries above can apply for a visas at where available the Ethiopian Diplomatic Missions Offices.


What can you tell me about Ethiopia?

The Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia is a developing country located in the northeastern part of Africa commonly known as ' The Horn of Africa'. It leis in the equatorial region between 30 - 180 north and 330 - 480 east, Eritrea and Djibouti bound in on the northeast, on the east and southeast by Somalia, on the south by Kenya and on the west by the Sudan. Ethiopia, as large as France and Spain combined, has an area of 1,104,300 km? It is the tenth largest country in Africa. It is a democratic national comprising of 11 semi-autonomous administrative regions organized loosely along major ethnic lines. It has an agriculturally dominated economy, which is about 65 per cent of the land is presently cultivated. Ethiopia is the oldest independent country in Africa having its own calendar, alphabet and clock.


Is Ethiopia really the cradle of mankind? What can you tell me about 'Lucy'?

Lucy is a 3.5 million years old female skeleton, which is among the important archaeological discoveries that make that make Ethiopia to have the prestigious title of 'the cradle of mankind'. It is a complete direct hominid fossil discovered in the north - eastern part of Ethiopia at the place called Hadar. Now any tourists in the National museum in Addis Ababa can visit it. So the fact that the most crucial discoveries, including the Lucy's, have taken places in Ethiopia make the country the most probable site for the cradle of mankind

What can you tell me about the people of Ethiopia?

Ethiopia is considered to be the' mosaic of cultural diversity. 'The population of Ethiopia is estimated to be about 65 million. It is the home of more than 80 ethnic groups. Based on the language they speak, they can be divided into Semitic, Hamitic, Nilotic and Omotic stocks. Despite their diversity, Ethiopians are characterized with peace, hospitality and struggle to develop. The Ethiopians, often called the 'Habesha' are generally sociable and friendly, not at all hostile to tourists. Ethiopians are proud of their culture and civilization, which pre-date those of Europe. They are known for their unforgettable hospitality and well-deserved cultures.

I want to taste the national foods and drinks of your country.

A wide variety of different dishes are available in Ethiopia and most of them are unique to the country so you have to familiarize yourself first with the names of different dishes. You can choose from the spicy and hot Doro Wot, Kitfo, or Key Wot to less spicy dishes like Alicha Wot you can get these foods virtually anywhere in the country and portions are generous and very cheap. There are also home made and fabricated local drinks for you to choose from Araki- a strong alcoholic beverage made from millet and maize, Tej - a mead like drink made from honey and Tela - locally brewed beer from maize, wheat and barely and Guder- the Ethiopian wine.

What is the base of the Ethiopia economy?

Ethiopia's economy is predominantly agricultural. The highlands are very fertile, which contain many large rivers with enormous untapped potential for irrigation projects. About 90 per cent of the population earns their living from the land, mainly as subsistence farmers. Agriculture is the backbone of the national economy and the principal exports from this sector are coffee, oil seeds, pulses, flowers, vegetables, sugar and foodstuffs for animals. There is also a thriving livestock sector, exporting carrel on the hoof and hides and skins. 25% of the populations grow coffee and it accounts for 55% of Ethiopia's exports.

What can you tell me about the topography of Ethiopia?

A volcanically formed central plateau, isolated on three sides by low- lying desert dominates the Ethiopian landscape. The central plateau, often referred to as the Ethiopian highlands, has an average altitude of above 2,000m and includes 20 peaks of 4,000m or higher. The Ethiopia highlands are dramatically mountainous, no more than where hey are bisected by the Rift valley, which starts at the Red sea, then continues through the Denakil depression and through southern Ethiopia to Mozambique in Southern Africa. The part of the Rift valley, south of Addis Ababa, is notable for its string of eight lakes. The most extensive mountain ranges on the highlands are the Semien, which lie directly north of Gondar, and Bale, which lies in the southern highlands to the east of the Rift Valley. Mount Ras Dashen in the Semien is at 4,620m, the fourth highest peak in Africa. The highlands also form the source of four major river systems. The nest known of these is the Blue Nile or Abbay, which starts at Lake Tana in the northwest and supplies nine- tenths of the Nile's water, which eventually reaches Egypt's Nile valley.

What is the climate in Ethiopia?

Ethiopia shows a wide climatic variation, ranging from the peaks of the Semien and Bale, which receive periodic snowfall, to regular daytime temperatures of over 500 C in the Denakil Desert As a rule, the highland has a temperate climate and average day time temperature of 160C. Due to their proximity to the Equator, the eastern lowlands and far south is dray and hot. The western lowlands are moist and hot, making them one part of the country that feels truly tropical. The southern rift valley, much of which is at the relatively high altitude of 1.500m, is temperate to hot and seasonally moist. The general precipitation pattern is that the bulk of the rain in the highlands and Rift valley falls between mid-June and early October. The rainy season in the Rift Valley generally starts and ends a few weeks earlier than in the highlands. The northeastern highlands have a less reliable rainy season than other highland parts of Ethiopia. In normal rainy season the highlands receive an average rainfall of 1,000mm. From a tourist's point of view, rain tends to fall in dramatic storms, which end as suddenly as they start a situation that is infinitely easier for travel than are days of protracted drizzle.

What does thirteen months of sunshine mean?

Ethiopia follows the Julian calendar, which consists of twelve months of thirty days each and a thirteenth month of five days (six days on leap year). You can see the sun every day of the year That is why we call our country- a country where the sun shines thirteen months. You will be seven years younger when you arrive in Ethiopia because the calendar is seven years and eight months behind the western calendar.Back to top

What is the time difference in Ethiopia?

Ethiopia has a different time calculating system and three hours ahead of Green witch Mean time (GMT). The Ethiopian day is calculated in a manner similar to that in many equatorial countries, where day and night is always the same length. Time remains constant through the year counting starts from western 6 and 6 Western 7 is there fore one o'clock, noon is 6 o' clock and 6 is 12 o'clock. In Addis Ababa, then sunrise and sunset at around 6:30 and 18.45 respectively.

What is the best time to visit Ethiopia?

Ethiopia can be visited at any time of the year. People are often advised against traveling during the rainy season, which normally runs from June until early October. But it has its own advantages. The scenery is particularly wonderful green in September and early October. At this time the whole country will be a riot of wild flowers. The ideal time to visit Ethiopia is between October and April, when the rains are over but the countryside is still green.

 

 

 

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