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Timkat Lalibela Fikre Priests Carrying Tabot

Timket in Gondar

10 days from £3,608pp
Addis Ababa  → Bahir Dar  → Gondar  → Simien Mountains  → Lalibela

Witness Timket at its best.

Our small group tours let you fully immerse yourself in Timket Festival, an event you'll never forget.

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 or Ketera on 18 January and the festivities continue until 20 January.

This trip combines seeing Timket festival in Gondar with the famous castles also found here, a tour of Addis Ababa, a boat trip across Lake Tana, the impressive Blue Nile Falls, walking in the stunning Simien Mountains and of course, the rock churches of Lalibela.

Why watch Timket in Gondar?
Gondar was the capital city of Ethiopia from the early 17th to mid-19th century, a city known as the Camelot of Africa. The city really comes to life during the Timket celebrations with worshippers from around Ethiopia flocking to King Fasilidies’ Pool (pictured above), where priests bless the congregants in the holy waters of a large sunken bathing pool.

Experiencing the Timket festivities in Gondar offers a different experience to Addis – ask one of our experts to explain the key differences, as we offer a Timket in Addis group tour also - full itinerary here.

Want to know more about Timket? Read our article Timket explained.

Other Ethiopia group tours
Timket in Addis Ababa -- We also operate a second Timket Tour - view the 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.

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.

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01768 603 715

Speak to one of our Ethiopia experts and create your perfect trip. Spaces are limited for Timket Festival Small Group Tour.

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The itinerary…

Day 1: 16th Jan 2024: Exploring Addis Ababa

Addis Ababa

Addis Ababa

Group participants will arrive during the course of the day off international flights from around the world. You will check in to the Golden Tulip hotel where you will stay two nights.

In the evening the tour leader will host a group meal to conduct a tour briefing and answer pre-departure questions.

Day 2: 17th Jan 2024: Addis Ababa

Merkato Market In Addis Ababa By Muluken

Market in Addis Ababa

Full day guided tour of Addis Ababa.

This day provides an excellent grounding on the key periods of Ethiopia’s history – the understanding of which will underpin the technicolour experiences of Ethiopia's famed historical circuit that you are about to enjoy. Today's itinerary will include Trinity Cathedral, Mt Entoto, the Avenue of Independence, the Merkato (Africa’s largest open-air market) and importantly the National Museum.

There will be time in the afternoon to relax and prepare for departing Addis early the following day.

Day 3: 18th Jan 2024: To Bahir Dar

Bahir Dar Mural

Bahir Dar Mural

Early start today to catch the first flight up to Bahir Dar, a lakeside city on the shores of Lake Tana, and which marks the entrance to Ethiopia's Northern Circuit.

Check-in and drop your bags at the Bahir Dar before heading off on a boat trip along Lake Tana to see the densley wooded, 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 church.

Day 4: 19th Jan 2024: Head to Gondar

Timkat Priests Carring The Tabot Fikreselassie

Timkat Priests carrying the tabot

After an early breakfast, drive along the northern shores of Lake Tana towards the famed Blue Nile Falls, one of the most impressive natural sights in Ethiopia. From here, head north to the historic town of Gondar, famed for its fairytale castles of King Fasilidies and his lineage (17th century), which feel somewhat surreal and unexpected in Africa.

This afternoon marks the start of Timket kicking off with Ketera.

Spend three nights at The Goha Hotel.

Day 5: 20th Jan 20224: Timket in Gondar

Timkat  Lalibela  Fikre  Circle


Today you will witness the celebration of Timket – Ethiopia’s equivalent to Epiphany and the most important date on their religious calendar. Gondar is renowned for having one of the most elaborate celebrations of Timket 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 6: 21st Jan 2024: Gondar

Gondar Palaces Preview

Gondar Palaces

Timket continues today, but you will also have a chance to visit the historical sites of Gondar. Visit the Imperial Compound for the wonderful 17th-century castles where your guide will give you a full tour and teach you more about one of the great seats of Ethiopian royalty. Finally, visit the church of Debre Berhan Selassie where you can gaze up at its stunning painted roof.

Day 8: 22nd Jan 2024: Simien Mountains

Simien Mountains In Ethiopia

Simien Mountains

Today you will travel 2 hours to Simiens National Park. Here you will enjoy walking through the simply stunning landscapes for which the area is renowned. Along the way there will be a chance to see some wildlife including the 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.

Stay two nights at Simien Lodge.

Day 8: 23rd Jan 2024: Day of walking

Simiens  View  From  Fikre

Simien Mountains

Today you will enjoy a full day of walking in the Simien Mountains giving you a chance to really explore the area and to see contrasting scenery. Keep an eye out for geraldas and the striking walia ibex which if you are lucky you will see.

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 8: 24th Jan 2024: Fly to Lalibela



This morning you will travel approx 2 hours 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. Make sure you look out the plane window as you come into Lalibela, as seeing the rock churches from the air is wonderful and gives you a sense of their scale.

After dropping your bags at Hotel Maribela where you will be staying for the next 2 nights, you will head into 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: 25th Jan 2024: More rock churches

Rock  Church  Lalibela

Rock church in Lalibela

Take a drive into 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.

This afternoon you will finish your church tour by visiting the second cluster of churches before rounding off the day at Beit Gyorgis, the last of the churches and the only freestanding monolith in the region.

Day 10: 26th Jan 2024: Return to Addis Ababa

Addis Ababa Museum Eto

Addis Ababa Museum Eto

After breakfast you will be transferred to the 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: 9 nights

Location: Ethiopia Holidays, Africa

Price: £3608pp

This Timket Tour is priced at £3,608 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: £641

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