Timkat Festival, Blue Nile & Camelot

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Ethiopia

A truly unforgettable tour

Join us on this small-group tour to Ethiopia for the Timkat Festival which is the Ethiopian Orthodox Church's celebration of Epiphany. Discover Ethiopia’s natural beauty as it reveals itself in the Simien Mountains and Blue Nile Falls. Explore Africa's Camelot, stunning Gondar. And there is more to discover on this exciting adventure!

Itinerary

Addis Ababa → Adigrat and Tigray → Mekelle → Axum → Simien Mountains → Gondar → Bahir Dar → Blue Nile Falls and Lake Tana → Lalibela

Day 1: Addis Ababa

Day 1: Addis Ababa

Arrive in Addis Ababa and transfer to hotel accommodation. The rest of the day is free to relax. Overnight at Nexus Hotel or similar.

Day 2: Addis Ababa – Adigrat and Tigray churches

Day 2: Addis Ababa – Adigrat and Tigray churches

A morning flight takes us to Mekele and on by road to Adigrat. We explore the sites of Tigray, visiting some of the region’s 130 rock churches including Medhane Alem Adikusho, Wukro Cherkos and Abraha Atsbeha. The architecture is notably different here. Churches are in part or wholly excavated within the living rock, rather than carved from it. Overnight at Agoro Lodge or similar.

Day 3: Mekelle - Axum

Day 3: Mekelle - Axum

Axum passes through spectacular landscapes. Axum is Ethiopia’s holiest town and since 1980 a World Heritage Site. Highlights include a remarkable collection of ancient stelae, the bath and palace of the Queen of Sheba, and St Mary of Tsion Church, claimed by some to hold the Ark of the Covenant containing the original stone tablets handed down to Moses. Overnight at Yared Zema Hotel or similar.

Day 4: Axum - Simien Mountains

Day 4: Axum - Simien Mountains

The journey to the Simien Mountains is long, but as we ascend towards the mountains the scenery is rewarding. Along the way, it’s worth keeping an eye out for endemic Ethiopian wildlife, including Gelada Baboons and many species of birds. Depending on our arrival time there may be an opportunity for a short walk in the park to glimpse the breath-taking beauty of Simien mountainscapes. Overnight at Ras Dejen Hotel or similar. Please note it can be very cold in the mountains at night so you should bring warm clothing to wear.

Day 5: Simien Mountains

Day 5: Simien Mountains

Today we walk in the mountains, taking in awe-inspiring viewpoints and spotting some of the endemic wildlife. The effects of altitude, though mild, will be apparent. We’ll make frequent stops, stay well hydrated and travel at the pace of the slowest. Shorter hikes are possible for those preferring not to walk for the whole day. Overnight at Ras Dejen Hotel or similar.

Day 6: Simien Mountains - Gondar

Day 6: Simien Mountains - Gondar

Drive to Gondar, once Ethiopia’s imperial capital, and famous for its beautiful castles and palaces. This afternoon, you can witness the Eve of the Timkat Festival celebration. Overnight at Goha Hotel or similar.

Day 7: Timkat Celebrations

Day 7: Timkat Celebrations

Early in the morning, we will go to the church to see the Timkat celebration and the crowd waiting to be baptized by the holy water. The water which symbolizes the Jordan River is blessed by the priest, and the patriarch then dips a golden cross into it, and extinguishes a burning consecrated candle on the altar. He then sprinkles water on the assembled congregation in commemoration of Christ's baptism in the Jordan River. The ceremony will be over around 8 am and afterwards, we visit some of the town’s main sites, which include the Bath of King Fasiladas and the ornately decorated Debre Birhan Selassie Church (Light of Trinity) known for its colourful murals. Overnight at Goha Hotel or similar.

Day 8: Gondar - Bahir Dar

Day 8: Gondar - Bahir Dar

After breakfast we continue to explore Gondar before the drive to Bahir Dar, close to Lake Tana, stopping at points of interest en route. On arrival check into our hotel which overlooks Lake Tana, source of the Blue Nile. Overnight at Avanti Blue Nile Hotel or similar.

Day 9: Blue Nile Falls and Lake Tana

Day 9: Blue Nile Falls and Lake Tana

From the town we drive to the Blue Nile Falls, taking a short walk to view the falls themselves, before returning. We take boats out onto Lake Tana to explore its collection of ancient monasteries, dramatically situated on the lake’s islands and peninsulas. Overnight at Avanti Blue Nile Hotel or similar.

Day 10: Bahir Dar - Lalibela

Day 10: Bahir Dar - Lalibela

After breakfast, start the journey to the town of Lalibela, stopping at points of interest along the way. Overnight at Mountain View Hotel or similar.

Day 11: Lalibela

Day 11: Lalibela

This morning we will begin to explore the rock-hewn churches known in some circles as the 8th wonder of the world. This afternoon we will continue visiting these intriguing monuments to discover more of Ethiopia’s enigmatic past. Overnight in Mountain View Hotel or similar.

Day 12: Lalibela - Eve of Timkat Celebrations

Day 12: Lalibela - Eve of Timkat Celebrations

This morning we will visit the first group of rock-hewn churches known in some circles as the 8th wonder of the world. This afternoon, you can witness the Eve of the Timkat Festival celebration in one of the Rock-Hewn churches. Overnight in Mount View Hotel or similar.

Day 13: Departure

Day 13: Departure

At a suitable time, you will be transferred to the airport for your departure flight. Tour ends.

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Why Us

Discover Ethiopia’s natural beauty as it reveals itself in the Simien Mountains

Discover Ethiopia’s natural beauty as it reveals itself in the Simien Mountains

Visit the annual Timkat Festival, which celebrates the Ethiopian Epiphany

Visit the annual Timkat Festival, which celebrates the Ethiopian Epiphany

Spend time in Lalibela exploring both the main churches and lesser-known ones

Spend time in Lalibela exploring both the main churches and lesser-known ones

Explore the sites of Tigray, visiting some of the region’s 130 rock churches

Explore the sites of Tigray, visiting some of the region’s 130 rock churches

Learn about the history of the ancient Axumite Empire at Axum

Learn about the history of the ancient Axumite Empire at Axum

Travel to ‘Africa’s Camelot’ – the wonderful castles and palaces of Gondar

Travel to ‘Africa’s Camelot’ – the wonderful castles and palaces of Gondar

Our reviews
Trustpilot

Michael Morcos

Australia

Qatar World Cup experience was awesome, I travelled in 2018 with Varya and the team with my dad, this time around took my cousin and both times the team went above and beyond expectations. Thank you to the World of Discoveries team. Looking forward to USA, Mexico, Canada or even potentially Asian Cup in Qatar.

Dragan Rakic

Australia

Great experience and organisation by the team at World of Discoveries - communication was great all the way through the trip

Terry O'Connell

France

Great trip all round I booked not knowing what I was going to getting, a little sceptical and apprehensive due to never using these guys before. I could not have been more wrong, the service has been great and the tour has also been great. Mike the tour guide and the girls in the office are 5 star. Even had a disaster and left my passports in the hotel safe of one city and Mike and the team could not do enough to help me get these back. Really appreciate your professionalism and kindness. Will see you at the World Cup ?

Carlos Silva, Family & Friends

USA

World of Discoveries went above and beyond on the World Cup tour, aside from the tour in Qatar they helped us and manage the logistics to get small 2-3 day tours to Egypt and Jordan in a marathon but memorable 16 days trip. We got to be in 2 of the 5 wonders of the world (Egyptian Pyramids & Petra; among other places) Everything they promised they delivered and always check on each and everyone on our group of 7. Helen from Spain did all the paper work and signed us up and the the land crew that greeted us in Doha were just perfect! Very well recommended and for the next World Cup and the Olympics they will be our go to people for the planning for a great experience such as Qatar 2022. Well done Wofdi!! Kudos to everyone of you!!! (Helen, Michael, Anna, Lina, Varya, among others) don’t meant to leave anyone out intentionally!!

Joice

Australia

We have just attended the Opening of Euro Cup 2024 in Munich and WofDi has given us a blast! Opted for an organized trip due to limited time we could spend in Germany and wanted to have it all arranged for us – accommodation, game tickets, transportation. WofDi polished the standard travel package with an awesome welcome party. Private lounge for our group in the famous Hofbräuhaus included great meals eat-all-you-can (and then eat more), unlimited bear (really unlimited), very good selection of wine, entertainment program and truly amazing hosts on site. With such a fantastic start, our experience continues with seamless transfers to/from the venue. 5-1 Germany vs Scotland as boring as never was the only thing which spoiled the night. Sadly, that was beyond WofDi’s control. Thank you for everything and looking forward to experience FIFA World Cup 2026 with you, guys.

Daniela

Great Britain

From start to finish the team couldn't have made this any easier to plan the trip. From the initial discussion to the finer details, don't hesitate to book. It's always daunting using a new company for things like this but they were so professional and I'll be using them again in the future. Lina was great with communication regarding the trip and Gulner was amazing ensuring we knew all about the transfers at the other end. They couldn't be more helpful or reassuring and I can't thank them enough!