Ethiopia: Historical and Contemporary

12 - 26 Feb 2019
  • Cultural Tours
+ Optional extension: The Rift Valley

About the tour

Ethiopia has a unique and ancient heritage. It contains the oldest human bones ever discovered, the 3,000 year old city of Axum, the palace of the Queen of Sheba and the 12th century rock-hewn churches of Lalibela, as well as the castles of Gondar. The mountainous landscapes of northern Ethiopia are breathtaking and the culture vibrant and eclectic. The tour is led by Dr Richard Marsh, an experienced tour leader who provides expert insight into Ethiopian history, music and contemporary culture. 

Explore the capital Addis Ababa and visit Mount Entoto for a panoramic view of the city. Fly onto Lalibela, where eleven complete churches were hewn out of solid rock almost 800 years ago. Fly to Axum, Ethiopia's most ancient city, where you wil lsee the holiest church in the country, a chapel where the Ark of the Covenant is said to rest and where the Emperors of Ethiopia were traditionally crowned, as well as the Queen of Sheba's Palace. Visit Gondar, the capital of 17th century Ethiopia, with its dramatic castles and palaces. Visit the famous church of Debre Birhan with spectacular views of the Simien Mountains. Visit the vast expanse of Lake Tana and the Blue Nile Falls, with its "smoking water" as it plunges into a gorge below. 

Your tour leader

Picture of JBT tour leader, ​Dr Richard Marsh

​Dr Richard Marsh

Dr Richard Marsh has a long association with the Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox churches.  He is the author of Black Angels: The Art and Spirituality of Ethiopia, Prayers from the East and co-authored Millenium Challenges for Development and Faith Institutions. He works in the voluntary sector, building capacity and improving governance and impact. Richard has travelled extensively and is an experienced tour leader, having led many successful tours to many destinations. He lives in Co. Mayo, Ireland.

Need more information?

  • Tel: (Toll Free) 1-8777-398-764
  • Mon-Fri: 9am-5pm
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Itinerary at a glance

  • 12 Feb (Tues) London/ Addis Ababa: If taking the group flight from London with Ethiopian Airlines, depart London.
  • 13 Feb (Wed) Addis Ababa: Arrive Addis Ababa and at leisure. Short city orientation tour followed by a trip up Mount Entoto for a panoramic view of the city
  • 14 Feb (Thurs) Addis Ababa: Talk: “Ethiopia – the context”. Visit the National Museum. Visit Trinity Cathedral and the Ethnographic Museum. Talk: “Development in Ethiopia” Mulugeta Gebru
  • 15 Feb (Fri) Addis Ababa / Axum: Fly to Axum and transfer to the Yeha Hotel. Visit Axum's sites including the Queen of Sheba's Palace, King Caleb’s Tomb, the Stelae Park and museum. Talk: “Ethiopian Myths and History”
  • 16 Feb (Sat) Axum:  Drive via the site of the battle of Adwa to the pre-Axumite Temple at Yeha. Visit a typical Tigrean house and onto the Church Treasury and hear an onsite talk: “Ethiopian Religious Art”. Visit the church compound and see the church of St Mary of Zion, supposed repository of the Ark of the Covenant and the church treasury. Talk: “Politics and People”
  • 17 Feb (Sun) Axum / Lalibela: Fly to Lalibela and transfer to the hotel. Visit the Eastern Group of rock churches
  • 18 Feb (Mon) Lalibela: Visit the Western Group of the rock churches. Visit the Cave Church of Nakuto La’ab
  • 19 Feb (Tues) Lalibela: Drive out of Lalibela to see the spectacular church of Yemrehanna Krestos. Return via coffee at Yemrehanna Krestos village.  Visit the local Tej House and Tegegne Art Studio
  • 20 Feb (Wed) Lalibela / Gondar: Fly to Gondar. Tour of the castles of Gondar, the centre of the Ethiopian empire in the 17th and 18th centuries, and the ruins of Kusquam Abbey
  • 21 Feb (Thurs) Gondar:  Visit Kossoye for spectacular views of the Simien Mountains. Visit the Women’s Ploughshare Project and brief stop at the Felasha village. Visit the church of Debre Birhan at Haile Sellassie. Talk: “Ethiopia and the World: The Quest for Prester John”
  • 22 Feb (Fri) Gondar / Bahar Dar:  Travel by road from Gondar to Bahar Dar, check into the hotel. Visit the viewpoint by the former palace of Haile Sellassie and the Bahar Fistula Outreach Project
  • 23 Feb (Sat)  Bahar Dar: Full day boat trip. Visit Narga Sellassie Island. Talk: “Sacred Geometry and Ethiopian Church Painting”, picnic lunch. Continue to the Zeghie peninsula to visit the church of Oura Kidane Mihret and treasury of Azwa Maryam
  • 24 Feb(Sun) Bahar Dar / Addis Ababa: Visit Tissisat Falls (the Blue Nile Falls). Fly to Addis Ababa. Talk “ Feeding a nation – challenges and opportunities”
  • 25 Feb (Mon) Addis Ababa: Visit the Addis Ababa Museum. Visit Muya and Churchill Road. Farewell dinner in restaurant with national food accompanied by traditional music
  • 26 Feb (Tues) Addis Ababa: Transfer to airport for the early morning flight to London if taking the group flight with Ethiopian Airlines. Alternatively, extend your stay with the Rift Valley Extension

Tour cost

$5,370 per person flight inclusive from London ( $4,995 per person ground only excluding International flight flights and airport transfers)

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