Historical routes through Ethiopia
Northern Ethiopia features historical sites - located predominantly in and around the cities of Bahir Dar, Gondar, Axum and Lalibela - that give archaeological evidence of the kingdoms and religions that have been a feature of the history of Ethiopia over the past 1,000 years.
We can organise expeditions to the many historic sites in Northern Ethiopia, as well as visits to places of interest to the South and East of Addis Ababa. The sample expedition below includes visits to the major sites of Northern Ethiopia. North Expeditions specialises in tailor-made expeditions, and we can tailor the number of sites visited according to the interests of our guests and the time that you have available.
North Expeditions can organise every aspect of your trip, coordinating road, air and boat travel, arranging guides to the historical sites, booking hotels, and organising other accommodation (e.g. camping equipment and sites) where relevant. A full tour of the historical sites of Northern Ethiopia would include:
We can meet you in Addis Ababa, either on your arrival in Ethiopia, or at a time and location of your convenience. Alternatively, we can begin the expedition at any other city along the historical route. If you do visit Addis Ababa you must not miss the opportunity of visiting Ethiopia's National Museum which features one of the oldest humanoid skeleton ever discovered. It is dated to about 3.2 million years ago and it was excavated in 1974 in the Awash Valley in Ethiopia. It quickly became famous worldwide under the name Lucy.
Attractions in and around Bahir Dar include the Blue Nile Waterfalls and the monasteries on the shores and islands of Lake Tana. We can organise a visit to Blue Nile Waterfalls as a 1-day return trip from your hotel in Bahir Dar. We can arrange tours of the monasteries on Lake Tana, travelling by boat hired for your exclusive use. The monasteries that you will visit can be tailored entirely to your own interests and preferences.
We coordinate your travel (by road or by air, depending on your route) to Gondar with arranging your accommodation in the hotel best suited to your budget and requirements. In Gondar we arrange visits to the Royal Enclosure, featuring six well-preserved castles built in the 17th and 18th centuries by King Fasillides and his successors when Gondar was the prominent political centre and capital of Ethiopia. Following the visit to the Royal Enclosure, guests may visit the Fasillides Baths (home of the famous Timkat festival), and the Debre Birhan Selassie church, featuring well-preserved paintings covering the walls and ceiling. We can arrange visits to other historical sites around Gondar such as the Falasha village and Kuskuam palace complex.
Axum was the original capital of the kingdom of Axum. The kingdom was at its height under King Ezana in the 4th century, but remained significant in the region until the 14th century. The major Axumite monuments in the town are stelae, including the 33m high Great Stele and the tallest standing (at 20.6m) King Ezana Stele. Other features of the town include Maryam Tsion church, built in 1665 and said to contain the Ark of the Covenant, and archaeological treasures such as King Bazen's Tomb and Queen of Sheba bath. We at North Expeditions can co-ordinate your travel (by air or road, as suits you) to Axum (perhaps the holiest Orthodox Christian city in Ethiopia), your accommodation in Axum and tailor a schedule to your needs to visit the main sites of the area, or those which you are most interested in.
Lalibela is famous for its isolated location in mountains in Northern Ethiopia and for its iconic rock-hewn churches. The town contains 13 churches, all constructed during the reign of the emperor Lalibela during the 12th and 13th centuries. The churches include Bet Medhane Alem - home to the Lalibela Cross and believed to be the largest monolithic church in the world, and Bete Giyorgis - perhaps the most finely executed and best preserved church. Lalibela's remote location makes it a challenge to comfortably include in a tour along Ethiopia's historical route. We organise our expeditions through Northern Ethiopia to make your journey as convenient and pleasurable as possible. We co-ordinate all travel with hotel bookings and entrance to sites, so that you are free to fully appreciate the unique historical wonders of Ethiopia.
A tour of the historical sites may be combined with a visit to the Simien Mountains National Park.
Make your own itinerary
North Expeditions specialises in tailor-made tours, and we would be happy to discuss variations to the routes and alternative schedules to meet the interests of our guests. Please do not hesitate to contact us for bookings or inquiries.