Ethiopia: An Antique Land

Monday 1 June 2015

Saga opens way to explore 3 million years of African history

Ethiopia: An Antique Land

  • New 12-night tour with option to extend by 4 nights
  • Travel in a small group of up to 18 passengers
  • Two departures for solo travellers only
  • Save £100 on selected dates if booked by June 30, 2015

 

Travel in a group of up to 18 guests to the capital Addis Ababa and visit the Holy Trinity Cathedral where Emperor Haile Selassi I is buried in the north transept and later tour the National Museum, home to the three million year-old skeleton ‘Lucy’. Stay in the Capital Hotel and Spa for two nights.

Spectacular scenery at the Blue Gorge awaits and en route visit the 13th century monastery of Debre Libanos, founded by the Saint Tekle Haymanot who, according to myth, meditated in a cave for 29 years.

Fly on to the lakeside city of Bahir Dar for two nights to stay at the Avanti Blue Nile Resort or Kariftu Resort and Spa. Discover the Blue Nile Falls, known as ‘smoking water’ and later visit local villages, relax beside the lake or tour the Bahir Dar markets with stalls selling coffee beans, fragrant spices and local handicrafts.

Take a morning boat trip across Lake Tana, the source of the Blue Nile, and look out for a variety of birdlife. View the sacred Coptic monasteries of the Zege Peninsula and Dek Island before continuing to Gondar to stay at the Goha Hotel or Mayleko Lodge.

Tour Gondar and the UNESCO-protected fortress city of Fasil Ghebbi, where ancient palaces, churches and monasteries are encircled by a vast wall. Next, visit the Simien Mountains National Park which is also a protected area and home to the rare Gelada baboon and Walia ibex.

Fly on to Axum to see the 20th century church of St Mary of Zion and a 17th century church, which interestingly has the same name. Next door is the chapel that houses the Ark of the Convenant, a chest described in the Book of Exodus.

There is more history to unravel at Axum’s Stalae Field with its giant engraved granite obelisks, dominated by one that is accredited to King Ezana which stands at 23 metres.

Spend a night at the Sabean Hotel or the Yared Zema Hotel before flying to Lalibela for a tour of one of Africa’s most important religious sites, the monolithic cave churches which are cut out of red volcanic rock, including Bet Giyorgis, or Church of St George, which is shaped like a cross and stands inside a deep pit.

In the evening, relax and experience some traditional Ethiopian hospitality during a visit to a local family’s home.

Travel back to Addis Ababa and there will be time for further exploring and a visit the vibrant Merkato market, one of the largest in Africa to round off this fascinating new tour.

For details call 0800 504 555 or visit travelsaga.co.uk

12 nights from £2,499, departing Heathrow on November 11, 2015; February 3, March 2 and 16, April 20, May 4, June 1, September 7 and 21 and November 2 and 9. Book by June 30, 2015 to save £100.

Guests can extend the tour by four nights in the Rift Valley from £899.

Solos-only tours on May 18, 2016 from £2,699 and Oct 26, 2016 from £3,099.

Guests are asked to note that accommodation outside the capital of Addis Ababa is comfortable but fairly basic. Travel to heights of 3,000m is also a feature of this tour.

Price includes VIP door-to-door chauffeur service, return flights, airport taxes, most meals, accommodation, travel in group of up to 18, porterage, tour manager, tourist visa, travel insurance and cancellation cover or a discount of £40 discount if passenger has own insurance cover.

Optional Extension

Visit the Rift Valley from Addis Ababa to Langano for an overnight stay beside Lake Langano. Then continue to the Bale Mountains National Park for two nights in a 3Q+ mountain lodge, followed by an overnight stay in Awassa.

Enjoy included excursions to Bale Mountain National Park to go in search of the rare Ethiopian Wolf and a variety of birds including raptors, drive on Africa's highest road and visit Awassa fish market. Total tour price £3498

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