5 days Small Group Tours Register for 2018 via our enquiry form Tailor make this journey and make it yours

Price

$1687 AUD per person twin share

$240 AUD single supplement

Domestic airfares for this itinerary:

If you are flying internationally with Ethiopian Airways $435 AUD

If you are flying internationally with any other airline $904 AUD

Inclusions

  • Transportation in an air-conditioned vehicle
  • 4 nights accommodation
  • 4 Breakfasts, 4 Lunches, 4 Dinners
  • English speaking local guides
  • Entrances fees to sights and monuments as per the itinerary
  • Domestic flights
  • Scrubba Wash Bag

Exclusions

  • International flights
  • Visas
  • Travel and medical insurance
  • All services, meals other than those indicated above
  • Any changes to the proposed and confirmed program.
  • All items of a personal nature e.g. drinks, laundry, telephone calls, tips

Gondar throws the most impressive Timket Festival and thats exactly where Crooked Compass is taking you. Timket is a religious festival celebrated with much zeal throughout Ethiopia. The festival is the Ethiopian Orthodox celebration of Epiphany and venerates Christ's baptism in the River Jordan. Although the festival is observed by orthodox Christians all over the world, in Ethiopia it takes on a special significance as it is the most colourful event of the year in the country. The most relevant symbol of the festival is colourful embroidered umbrellas that protect the sacred Tabot and the priests carrying the Tabot.

Day 1 - Arrival and Addis City tour

Welcome to Ethiopia and bustling city of Addis Ababa. The name of the city, in Amharic, means “new flower”. Founded in 1886 by Menelik II, it is located at 2,500 metres above sea level in one of the highest parts of the Entoto mountain chain (3,000 metres above sea level). Addis enjoys an excellent climate all year round, with an average temperature of 25°C. Addis Ababa is a pleasant city with wide avenues of jacaranda trees, interesting museums and one of the largest open air markets in Africa, known as the “Mercato”. It also has a good number of restaurants and nightclubs.

In the morning, following your arrival, you will depart on a city tour that will include a visit the National Museum, Ethnographic Museum and the Holy Trinity Cathedral. Time permitting, you  will go shopping at the open air Mercato market. (L,D)

Overnight at the Debre Damo Hotel or similar

Day 2 - Addis to Axum

Following breakfast, you will be met and transferred to the airport for your flight to Axum. Axum is a town of legends, offering a glimpse into a truly remarkable past. It is littered with the ruins of palaces, underground tombs, mysterious monolithic stelae carved from single piece of granite and many historical relics. The founding of the Empire of Axum in the 5th century BC is often taken as the starting point of the Ethiopian civilization. The kingdom maintained trading relations with the Greek-Roman world, India and China during its most prosperous times.

The legends narrated in the Kebre Nagast “Book of Kings” recount how the city of Axum as early as the 10th century B.C was the city in which the Queen of Sheba resided. It is recounted that the son of the Queen of Sheba and King Solomon brought the Ark of the Covenant to Axum and it remains there to this day, preserved in a sanctuary. Famous long before the time of Christ, Axum was the capital of the long Axumite reign, one of the oldest African empires, and represented a crucial connecting-point between Africa and Asia for almost a thousand years. You will visit the steles, granite monoliths dating from pre-Christian times and decorated with symbolic engravings, and other archaeological sites. There is also a visit to the church of Santa Maria of Zion, which contains the crowns of Ethiopian kings and other treasures. (B,L,D)

Overnight at the Yared Zema Hotel or similar

Day 3 - Axum to Gondar - Timket Celebrations

This morning you will be transferred to the airport to catch your flight to Gondar. You will check-in to your hotel where you can freshen up before the afternoons excitement of witnessing the pre-Timket festivities. These are just as exciting as the actual festival day. Tonight is the eve of Timket – the biggest religious festival in Ethiopia marking the Epiphany (or baptism of Christ). Local priests carry tabots (replicas of the Ark of the Covenant) from their churches to Fasiladas’ Bath in Gondar where they are guarded overnight. The baths, empty for the rest of the year, have been filled with water for the occasion. The parade of tabots is brilliantly colourful and we will dedicate the afternoon to watching all the action. (B,D)

2 nights at the Goha Hotel or similar

Day 4 - Timket Festival

Today is the main celebration day for the Timket Festival and is marked by a public holiday. It is a very early start this morning (around 5:00am) with a transfer to Fasiladas’ Bath where priests and faithful Christians have spent an all night vigil watching over the tabots (replicas of the Ark of the Covenant). Crowds gather at the Bath in the morning where the water is blessed and splashed over the tabots. You will witness the whole baptism ceremony where religious vows are renewed before the tabots are paraded back to church accompanied by a furor of singing and dancing. The spectacle of thousands of white-robed faithful following a procession of colourful and elaborately dressed priests is truly incredible. It is impossible not to get caught up in the fever of excitement associated with this celebration. In the afternoon when the parade has finished, you will visit the church of Debre Berham Selassie (Light of the Trinity), a UNESCO heritage site, its walls and ceilings decorated with scenes of Biblical lore and medieval history shows the religious art of the Gondarian period. The interior is decorated with beautiful frescoes. (B,D)

Day 5 - Gondar to Addis

After breakfast you will be transferred to the airport to catch your flight to Addis. In the afternoon you will have time to explore more of the capital and maybe do some shopping. In the evening, there is a farewell traditional dinner where you will experience live cultural music and dance.  Your tour concludes by being dropped to Bole International Airport to meet your flight to your onward destination. (B,L,D)