Our specialist says:
Join our small group tour and celebrate the spectacular Timket Festival and then travel the famed 'Historical Route'.
This tour was not able to take place in 2023 due to the political unrest in the northern part of Ethiopia.
If the situation improves during 2024 we do intend to run all our Ethiopia small group tours, so please call or email to office if you’d like to register your interest.
Timket, the Ethiopian Epiphany is one of the two biggest events on the Ethiopian social calendar. Annually it starts with the preparations of Ketera on 19th Jan and the festivities continue until 20 Jan. Because their magnitude is most impressive in Addis Ababa, we choose to take our guests there to partake in the celebrations: we'll arrange special passes for you so that you are in prime position.
Want to know more about Timket? Read our article Timket explained.
You'll then be taken along the famed Historical Route to see Lake Tana and its island monasteries; Gondar with its castles, the Simien Mountains for unsurpassed scenery; Lalibela for its remarkable rock-hewn churches and Axum for its stelae field.
This is a small group tour with a maximum of 10 participants allowing you to explore Ethiopia with other like-minded individuals at excellent value. Please note, spaces are limited and this tour does sell out.
Other Ethiopia group tours
Timket in Gondar: We also operate a second Timket Tour - view full itinerary. This follows a very similar itinerary but starts three days earlier so that the group can experience the Timket celebrations in Gondar rather than Addis.
Meskel Festival: One of the major religious celebrations in Ethiopia, this takes annually in September and is one of our most popular Ethiopia group tours. View itinerary.
Find out more about the Timket Festival and Historical Route - spaces are limited for our Small Group Tour so talk to us today!
Day 1: 19th Jan 2024: Exploring Addis Ababa
The group will be met at Addis airport and transferred in to the city for a 2-night stay at The Golden Tulip Hotel. Drop off your bags and then head out for a morning city tour of Addis, including visits to the Cathedral, Avenue of Independence, the Merkato (Africa’s largest open-air market) and the National Museum – a great scene setter for the rest of your trip.
Ketera day which is the first day of Timket Festival begins at 2pm.
Day 2: 20th Jan 2024: Timket Festival
Today you will witness the celebration of Timket – Ethiopia’s equivalent to Epiphany and the most important date on their religious calendar. The ceremony and procession in Addis are the largest and most impressive anywhere in the country and we will ensure excellent seats so you can enjoy the spectacle fully. Your guide will explain a little about the day before you leave the hotel and answer any questions as the ceremony is going on, making it a very rewarding experience.
Day 3: 21st Jan 2024: To Bahir Dar
This morning will see an early start to catch the first flight up the day up to Bahir Dar, a modern city on the shores if Lake Tana and the start of your adventure along Ethiopia’s historical Northern Circuit. Drop your bags at the Bahir Dar before heading off on a boat trip along Lake Tana to see the famed Monasteries of the Zeig Peninsula. Serving remote fishing communities, they are unimpressive from the outside but contain some of the most beautiful friezes and carvings of any Ethiopian churches.
Day 4: 22nd Jan 2024: On to Gondar
Enjoy an early breakfast before setting off for a visit to the famed Blue Nile Falls, one of the most spectacular natural sights in the country. From there you will be driven north to the historic town of Gondar, famed for its fairytale castles of King Fasilidies and his lineage. Tour the castle compound with your guide and learn more about one of the great seats of Ethiopian royalty before visiting the beautiful church of Debre Berhan Selassie – renowned for its incredibly painted roof. Spend tonight at The Goha Hotel.
Day 5: 23rd Jan 2024: Explore the Simien Mountains
You will have the chance for a slightly more leisurely morning after a busy start to the trip, setting off after breakfast for the breathtaking Simien Mountains. 2 nights will be spent at Simien Mountain Lodge, an iconic property in the heart of the park with easy access to a range of excellent walks. There will be a chance to enjoy a short walk this afternoon, heading out on the plateau by the lodge to see geralda baboons before returning for sundowner drinks in the “highest bar in Africa”.
Day 6: 24th Jan 2024: A day of walking
Today you will be exploring the Simiens in earnest, heading out with your guide for a day of trekking through the rugged and striking scenary. Keep an eye out for wildlife including geraldas and the striking walia ibex. It is also a great spot for birders, with rare raptors often seen around the clifftops.
Please note: the guide will make an assessment of the exact route based upon the capabilities of the group to ensure everyone can enjoy the walking as much as possible.
Day 7: 25th Jan 2024: Back to Gondar
After breakfast you will depart the Simiens and head back down to Gondar for an overnight stay in The Goha Hotel. This afternoon will be a rare tract of free time to relax and do as you please. Gondar is an excellent city to explore of your own accord, with some excellent restaurants including the renowned Four Sisters, which offers excellent traditional Ethiopian food and coffee ceremonies. Alternatively sit back by the pool, relax and enjoy the stunning views out over the city.
Day 8: 26th Jan 2024: Fly to Lalibela
This morning you will be transferred to Gondar airport and from there fly to Lalibela, an ancient town perched high in the mountains and the most famous stop on Ethiopia’s historical circuit. You’ll be taken to the excellent Hotel Maribela where you will be staying for the next 2 nights. Head off in to the town to visit the first of the two “clusters” of rock hewn Churches (11 churches in all) that were carved out of the red sandstone in the 12th and 13th centuries. A truly spectacular afternoon.
Day 9: 27th Jan 2024: Cave Monasteries and rock Churches
After an early breakfast you will be driven out of town and in to the mountains for the short trek up to the ancient cave Monastery called Yemerehana Kristos. One of the most important historic sights in the country, the façade resembles a layered chocolate cake and a visit here is the highlight of any trip. Head back in to town for lunch and a tour of the second of the Church clusters before rounding off the day at Beit Gyorgis, the last of the churches and the only freestanding monolith in the region.
Day 10: 28th Jan 2024: On to Axum
Another early start is needed this morning to fly to the ancient city of Axum, your last stop on Ethiopia’s historical circuit. The town is famed for its large stelae park, packed with monuments to ancient Kings, as well as a very well-presented museum. You can also visit the two Cathedrals (one modern and one old) and cast a glance at the small chapel reputed to house The Ark of the Covanent. Spend tonight at The Sabean Hotel.
*If Axum is not yet accessible for any reason, we will have a third day in Lalibela, and do an excursion to Genete Mariam Church and Nea'Kuto Le'ab Monastery.
Day 11: 29th Jan 2024: Return to Addis Ababa
After breakfast you will be transferred back to Axum airport to catch a flight to Addis Ababa. From the airport you will be transferred back to The Golden Tulip Hotel where you will have use of a day room and all of the hotel facilities until checking-out this evening.
A transfer will take you back to the airport in good time for the Ethiopian Airlines flight back to London Heathrow, arriving tomorrow morning.
Duration: 10 nights
Location: Ethiopia Holidays, Africa
This Timket Tour is priced at £3,440 per person and includes the following
- All domestic flights
- Accommodation as indicated
- All meals
- English-speaking guide throughout
- Transport services
- Entrance fees including Timket Celebration entry
Single room supplement: £533
Timket in Gondar
- Addis Ababa
- Bahir Dar
- Simien Mountains
- 9 Days
- £3608 PP
- View Trip
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