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Monday, 07 July 2014 09:27

Nature & Culture (South Omo Rift valley, Awash N/p and Historical heritage circuit)

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The rift valley is a funnel shaped depression that opens up in the northeast in to Gulf of Aden and red Sea and crosses Ethiopia from northeast, Afar area to southwest, lower Omo area. It is formed as a result of the volcanic movement of tertiary period. During that period there was extensive lava outpouring followed by a great uplifting movement of earth and the crust of the earth was pushed up to 3000m.

Eventually, the uplift movement and the removal of magma from beneath the crust weakened the central part of the arch. This resulted in cracks and rift valley was created. Several lakes were created, too.

Day 1: After breakfast drive to Arbamincch en route, visit; Melka Kunture archaeological site discovered in 1963 and yielded many eco-facts and artifacts that date back to 1.7 million years ago. Then, proceed to Addadi Mariam rock hewn church established in the 12th century by Lalibela. The church has 12 gates and 24 windows those represent the 12 apostles and the 24 priests of the sky to mean in the heaven. And then proceed to Tiya where several megalithic steles can be seen. These steles have engravings of green plants that are common food for the local community and household tools. Stop for lunch at Hossana and proceed to Arbaminch. O/N tourist Hotel.

Day 2: After breakfast, drive to Nech-sar National Park for game viewing. Mammals like Burchel’s zebra, Gazelles, Kudus, Dikdiks, Swayness hurt beast, etc and many birds can be seen. After lunch, boat trip on Lake Chamo where the longest and fastest crocodiles in Africa can be seen in abundance. This place is locally known as the crocodile market since several crocodiles can be seen at a time. Hippos and plenty of birds like storks, Egyptian goose, herons etc. can also be seen. O/N Hotel.

Day 3: Drive to Jinka. After arrival and check-in at Jinka Resort Hotel, drive through Mago National Park. This Park has a total area of 2162km Square, 84-recorded species of mammals, and 257 species of birds. Buffalo is the charismatic species of the park but they are very hard to see because of the dense forest and the size of the park. Then, visit the Mursi people famous for the clay disc the female insert in to their lower lips as a mark of beauty. As the larger the disc is, the more beautiful the lady is. After picnic lunch by the head quarter of the park, drive back to Jinka for dinner and overnight stay.

Day 4: After breakfast, drive to Turmi (128 km.) through Keyafer and Dimeca to visit the Hammer people known for their dancing known as Evangadi, occasional bull jumping as a mark of promotion for the young men from childhood to adulthood, jewelries; like copper bracelets, beads etc and hairstyle. O/N camping.

Note: Thursday, Saturday and Monday are the market days (open) of Keyafer, Dimeca and Turmi respectively when the surrounding people gather in large number.

Day 5: Afterbreakfast, drive to Murule to visit the Karo people known for their body painting with the use of local colors especially white lime, which they use to imitate the plumage of Guinea fowl. Then, cross-river Omo at Kangate to visit the Gnangatom (Bume) people, brave warriors, and also known for their decoration style. After Picnic lunch by the rift Valley safari Camp, drive back to Turmi for dinner and overnight camping.

Day 6: After breakfast, drive to Omorate (75km.), cross the river Omo to visit the Geleb (Dassenech) people. These people are mainly pasturealist and to some extent they also produce grains. The Geleb people have their own cultural dressing style. The unmarried girls wear leather skirt with double flaps where as the married ones wear a single flap skirt. Then, if the time permits drive for an excursion or an overnight stay to Lake Turcana. Over night, camping.

Day 7: After breakfast drives to Konso via Erbore (120km.). The Erbore are people with culture and language that relates to those of the Konso and the Tsemay. The Konso people are famous for their natural resource conservation activities like, terracing for water and soil conservation. They are also known for wood carving art. Visit the red soil pinnacle carved by erosion, Gesergiyo village, and Waga village for the woodcarvings erected as a mark of tomb. O/N Hotel/Camping.

Day 8: After breakfast drive to Yabello (105km.) to southeast, on the way glimpse to the way of life of the Borena, pastoralist people. After check in to a hotel/pitching tent and lunch, proceed to visit the Crater Lake at a place locally known as El Soda, 100km. South of Yabello town. On return, visit one of the cattle watering wells at Dibluque (65km. South of Yabello) where people haul up water from depth for their cattle & other animals. People sing a song to moralize themselves while they are on work, for which reason those wells are known as singing well. O/N Hotel/ Camping Yabello Motel.

Day 9: After breakfast drive to Yeregalem. On the way visit the Sidamo verdant plain renown for the best quality coffee production. For an overnight stay and special sight seeing of the coffee plantation as well as Hyena feeding at the evening at the compound of the lodge.

Day 10: After breakfast, drive to Langano En route, visit the City and Lake Awassa. It is rich in bird life; Village weaver, Marabou stork, Egrets, Hammer kop, Egyptian goose, Plover, African fish eagle, Sacred ibis, are only few of the birds that can be seen on the shore. After lunch at the namesake Town, proceed to lake Langano. After checking in to Wabi-Shebelle hotel, proceed to Abyata-Shalla National Park. Lake Abiyata, the feeding ground of birds is 205 km2 in area and 14 m. in depth. This lake is referred, as the bird watchers’ paradise for the abundance of birds, most importantly Flamingos and Pelicans, where as Lake Shalla the breeding ground of birds is area and 250m.deep.Then, relax on the shore of lake Langano, some more birds can be seen on the shore. O/N Saban Resort Hotel.

Day 11: After breakfast drive to Awash National Park. The park was established in 1966 and gazettes in 1969. It has a total area of 756mk2 and En route, visits lake Ziway (on average 434km2 large, 4m.deep). It is rich in bird life; Village weaver, Marabou stork, Egrets, Hammer kop, Egyptian goose, Plover, African fish eagle, Sacred ibis, are only few of the birds that can be seen on the shore average altitude of 1000m. Before entering in to the park stop at lake Beseka for bird watching. Proceed to the town of Awash for Hotel chick-in and proceed to Awash National Park for the game drive and for the waterfall of Awash River. Beisa Oryx, Dorcas gazelle, Black backed jackal; Common jackal etc will be seen. O/N Hotel.

Day 12: After an early break fast drive to the town of Woldiya, en-route the low land of the Afar people regional state and the origin of mankind. O/N Hotel.

Day 13: After breakfast drive to Lalibela, this was the capital of the Zagwe dynasty, after the downfall of Aksumite Empire. On the way Visit one of the rock Hewn churches of Saint Mary and the cave church which is named after the King called Nakuto La’ab. Nakuto La’ab. Emperor Nakuto La'ab, who reined after Lalibela, establishes cave church. 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 14: 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 15: Drive to Mekelle, capital of Tigray National Regional State through the Sekota 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 Hotel.

Day 16: 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. En-route you will see the Adwa Mountains where the international victory of Adwa took place over the Italian colonialist in 1896.

Day 17: After breakfast, visit 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 her ruined palace 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 18: 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 Hotel.

Day 19: 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 20: 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. Then, after check-in at the hotel and lunch proceed on a 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 Hotel.

Day 21: 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. And drive to the town of Debere Markose for an overnight stay. O/N Hotel .

Day 22: 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. After arrival and lunch proceed for a city tour of Addis Ababa.

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