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Denakil is one of the hotte st spots on the planet with gentle oases, rivers and lakes. The area to south eastern part (on the river bank of Awash) is known by its cotton products and named as the region of “ white gold”
In Danakil Depression temprature soars to 52 °c . Dallol (-120m) is the lowest place on earth with numerous colorful sulphurous springs, Erta`ale the most famous active volcano, which has been in a state of eruption since 1967, is the permanent lava lake on the planet.Lake Afdera with bright green waters and salty shores have been harvested for centuries(salt lake which is the source salt to the whole country).
Hadar the place where the origin of mankind, lucy(Australopithecus Afarensis) discovered by American scientist Dr. Donald Johaneson in 1974, is wort visiting. 80kms from Hadar is Yangudi Rassa national park, which is a semi- desert and was originally established for the protection of extremely the rare endemic Wild Ass.
Day 1: Addis Ababa-Awash National Park
Morning Drive Addis Ababa-Awash National Park, already in the Rift Valley Starting at Dukem en route visit Lake Bishoftu, one of the lakes in the rift valley area. Visit Lake Beseka, supporting varities of aquatic birds & crocodiles. Afternoon game viewing in the park, like the Beysa Oryx, lion, grivet monkey and others, the Awash fall, is also very magnificent.
Day 2: Awash-Logia, hotel
Drive Awash- Logia through the Rift Valley to the regional of Afar, the region’s capital is Semera. En route visit Afar people overnight hotel
Day 3: Semera-Afdera
Drive to Afdera, visit the salt lake and the salines. overnight camping.
Day 4: Lake Afdera–Korsewad-trek for Eartale
Gravel road dusty and sandy but interesting scenery till we leave the car and then start trekking up for 3hours beginning late afternoon to escape from the sun heat, arriving Eartale early night, taking the first closer look to the volcano which will be less than 100mters from the camping, will get some hours sleep and woke up to see the volcano before the sun rise.
Day 5: Eartale – trek back to Korsewad – Ahmedela.
Early at dawn we leave Eartale and trek back and meet the cars, then after a short break we drive to Ahmedela.
Day 6: Ahmedela–Lake Asale – full day at Dalolle – Ahmedela.
This is one of the lowest points on our planet, the lake, the ground itself is salt, 2km in depth too, we drive 25km on the salt to explore a rear bizarre formation of acids popping up-out forming crystal-like very unique forms of all kinds of colors. Later while we driving back, head straight to the traditional salt bar extracting area where hundreds of caravans have been transporting the salt bars since the time of Egyptian Pharos till now. You will see and feel the courage of these hard working men extracting the salt under harsh, unfavorable and bleak atmosphere.
Day 7: Ahmedela–Berh Ale–Mekele.
Gravel road but dusty, driving up the altitude increases and the scenery also changes. Afternoon at Mekele you will have a break day for the shower in a hotel.
Day 8: Mekele-Wekro–Degum–Gheralta.
On the way admiring the unique style of the Tigrian houses made of stone even the roof. At Wekro there is a 4th century rock-hewn church called Wekro Kirkos, five minutes’ walk then 20minutes drive to visit one of the oldest 4th century church, believed to be hewn by the well-known, twin kings, Ezanz and Suzana, named Abreha we Atsbeha after accepting Christianity officially by the first Bishop of Ethiopia, Abba Selama.
Afternoon: – After lunch break at the campsite, for 3hours, trekking to explore the church of Debre Tsion, Abune Abraham which has several 15th century paintings of the wall and the dome.
Day 9: A day dedicated to visit the churches of Gerealta.
Trekking and climbing from the campsite, an altitude of 2000m to 2200m in each 4hours before and after midday. Tigray, Ethiopia’s northern most region, is the cradle of the country’s glorious history. Bing the home of both the original Ark of the Covenant and the first Christian church in Sub-Saharan Africa, Tigray is called the “open air museum”.
Gerealta is the name of red-rock plateau stretched northeast of Wekro up to south of Tembien. It is where one third of the total over 150 cave and rock-hewn churches found.
Because of their tricky access, they were saved kept untouched and most of the churches where disclosed after 14th century.
Morning: After 20minuts drive, between 7:30am – 11am, trekking for 3hours to explore the church of Abune Yemata, Guh, is said to be founded by, one of the nine Saints (Syrian) of the 6th century who fleet to Ethiopia, is found at the middle of a perpendicular cliff. There are some foot holds and hand-grips in the rock face at three places for use in the ascent. Also at the end before entering, there is a narrow ledge carved in the cliff from which one can view a sheer drop of 800 to 1000ft, but at the end you will be rewarded by the well preserved, splendid murals attributed to the 15th century.
Afternoon: – After 10mintus drive and 1hour climbing, the church of Debre Mariam Koror, which is very rich and unique in mural arts of ancient times. There is also a chapel said to be the fames 14th century monk, Abba Daniel.
Day 10: Degum – Mekele – Korem – Lalibela.
Picturesque road, leaving the land of Tigre, crossing through different low land stunning views of Amhara low land, to arrive the town of Roha, Lalibela, the second most sacred place of worship next to Axum Tsion .
Overnight at hotel.
Day 11: A day dedicated to visit the rock-hewn churches and surroundings of Lalibela (Roha).
Walking, all the eleven churches of St. Lalibela are all in a walking distance, less than 1sq.km which are visited, half day 8am-12am five churches and half day 2pm-5pm the rest six churches.
There are over 24 rock-hewn churches around Lalibela but we will visit the closest 11 in town and 2 out of town. Roha town (Lalibela) at 2600m altitude, visit the surroundings of Roha town and its people, the monastery and the two story cottages rear elsewhere but found here. St. Lali-bela (which means Honey-eater) was a king and Saint who reigned around 12th century for 40 years, like other eleven Zagewi dynasty kings who ruled Ethiopia between 920AD – 1253AD. (There had been two dynasties in Ethiopia, Solomon dynasty and Zagewi). This ancient town was visited by the Portuguese priest traveler Francisco Alvares at 1521AD and wrote a book called “A True Relation of the Lands of Prester John”. Lalibela churches were deliberately hewn as a symbol of Heaven. A living story of the Bible. Dividing the ten churches in to two, Heavenly of Jerusalem and Earthly of Jerusalem by a river named Jordan. Each church is named and architecturally hewn to memorize stories from the Bible. One of them, Bete Medhane Alem (house of Emanuel) is the largest monolithic rock-hewn church in the world, measuring 11.5m in height and covering 800sq.m. A plain building with its 36 pillars inside and 36 pillars outside, modeled to memorize Abraham’s Tent from the bible. All the eleven churches have treasures like 12th century processional crosses, hand crosses and ecclesiastical books made of goats’ skin the then paper. The churches of St. Lalibela are recorded as UNESCO’s world heritage.
Overnight at hotel.
Day 12: Early flight to Addis Ababa – City tour – farewell dinner, transfers to Air port.
City tour includes visiting deferent parts of Addis Ababa (which means New flower in Ethiopian official language Amharic) the world’s third highest capital at an altitude of 2400m, founded by Emperor Menilik II in 1887, with the headquarters of AU (African Union), ECA (economic commission for Africa), many International Organizations over 105 Embassies and with its 4million habitants makes Addis Ababa metropolitan city which is declared as a capital city of Africa.
Before lunch National Museums which are the best of their type in Africa, after lunch Mercato, the largest open air market in Africa and time for visiting souvenir and artifact shops. At the end from 7pm- 9pm farewell dinner with cultural music show, 9:30pm transfer to Bole International Airport.