From January 17–24, 2017, we will have the extraordinary opportunity to join Bob Cornuke, the famous international Biblical site investigator, on an expedition to Ethiopia to participate in the annual Timkat celebration. When we have done this in the past we have found it to be one of the most life-changing experiences we’ve ever had. The following itinerary is a preview of this exciting expedition:
Ethiopia is an integral part of Christian history, and its tradition lays claim to what many believe is the Ark of the Covenant. Come explore the tradition, the wonder, and the mystery of the Ark and Ethiopia.
Each day will be an expedition as Bob leads us on an amazing journey! Have your hearts and cameras ready for the warmth of the Christian Ethiopian communities, the rock-hewn churches, the palace of the Queen of Sheba, Tana Kirkos — previous home of the Ark of the Covenant — and the Timkat festival’s momentous, joyous ceremonies. The chanting and prayers of fellow believers is almost overwhelming. Here’s the planned schedule:
Day 1: Tuesday, January 17, 2017 – Arrival in Addis Ababa
Depart from home city and arrive in Addis Ababa. Upon arrival at Bole International Airport, you will be welcomed and assisted by Jacaranda staff and driven to your hotel.
If your flight to Addis Ababa is in the late evening hours, you shall be transferred to your hotel and your trip down to Axum will begin the following morning. However, if the flight to Addis Ababa is in the early morning hours you shall have a full/half day city tour depending on the time of arrival.
The name of the city, in Amharic, means “new flower.” Founded in 1886 by Menelik II, it is located at 2,500 meters above sea level in one of the highest parts of the Entoto mountain chain (3,000 meters above sea level). It enjoys an excellent climate all year round, with an average temperature of 25°C. Addis Ababa is a pleasant city with wide avenues of jacaranda trees, interesting museums and one of the largest open air markets in Africa, known as the “Mercato.”
Day 2: Wednesday, January 18, 2017 – Addis-Axum (fly)
In the morning you shall catch a flight to Axum. The legends narrated in the Kebre Nagast “Book of Kings” recount how the city of Axum as early as the 10th century B.C. was the city in which the Queen of Sheba resided. It is recounted that the son of the Queen of Sheba and King Solomon brought the Ark of the Covenant to Axum and it remains there to this day, preserved in a sanctuary. Famous long before the time of Christ, Axum was the capital of the long Axumite reign, one of the oldest African empires, and represented a crucial connecting-point between Africa and Asia for almost a thousand years. A visit is organized to the steles, granite monoliths dating from pre-Christian times and decorated with symbolic engravings, and other archeological sites. In the evening you shall get the chance to participate in the evening program of the Timkat festival.
Day 3: Thursday, January 19, 2017 – Axum
In the morning we will attend the Timkat festival. In the afternoon there is also a visit to the church of Santa Maria of Zion, which contains the crowns of Ethiopian kings and other treasures.
Day 4: Friday, January 20, 2017 – Axum-Lalibela (fly)
After breakfast, you will be transferred to the airport to catch your flight to Lalibela. The city is located at 2,600 meters above sea level. It contains 11 monolithic churches that were built in the twelfth century and are carved out of the pink granite rock; they have been classified as one of the wonders of the world. Each church has a unique architectural style; all are superbly carved and most of them are decorated with well-preserved paintings. The entire city may be described as a sculpture dedicated to the glory of God. Upon arrival you will visit the Monastery of Nakuto Leab named after its constructor, the nephew and successor of King Lalibela. The rest of the day will be dedicated to visit the 1st and 2nd group of the rock hewn churches and exploring the city itself.
Day 5: Saturday, January 21, 2017 – Lalibela-Gondar (fly)
After breakfast you shall be transferred to the airport to catch your flight to Gondar. Gondar was the first capital city of the Ethiopian empire, which began in 1632 with the reign of Fasilidas. It is set in a landscape of incomparable beauty. We will visit the castle, one of the most marvelous buildings built by Emperor Fasilidas and his descendant. Later we proceed to the fascinating Debre Birhan Selassie church (termed by UNESCO as one of the World’s heritages), its walls and ceilings decorated with scenes of Biblical lore and medieval history shows the religious art of the Gonderian period.
Day 6: Sunday, January 22, 2017 – Gondar - Bahir Dar
After breakfast you shall drive to Bahir Dar which is a pleasant city located at 1,800 meters above sea level on the shores of Lake Tana, the largest lake in Ethiopia. There are 37 islands on Lake Tana and 30 of them have churches and monasteries of considerable historical and cultural interest.
In the afternoon you shall drive directly to Blue Nile Falls, which is known locally as Tissat Falls: 100 meters wide, the water plunges for 45 meters, giving rise to steam clouds and rainbows. (It’s about a 1hr walk to the falls and another 1hr to return back to the point of departure via the Portuguese bridge). We shall return back to the city for sunset. Overnight stay at the Kuriftu Resort or a hotel of similar standard.
Day 7: Monday, January 23, 2017 – Bahir Dar
The day will be dedicated to a full day boat trip on the lake to explore some of the islands; there is a visit to the Zege peninsula for its famous 14th century monasteries, including Tana Kirkos, for their wonderful 16th century mural paintings, crowns, crosses and many old church treasures. Overnight stay in the Kuriftu resort or a hotel of similar standard.
Day 8: Tuesday, January 24, 2017 – Bahir Dar-Addis (fly)
After a relaxed breakfast at your hotel you will be transferred to the airport to catch your flight to Addis. In the afternoon you will have time to explore more of the capital and maybe do some shopping. In the evening, there is a farewell traditional dinner where you will experience live cultural music and dance. Your tour concludes by being dropped off at Bole International Airport in Addis Ababa by Jacaranda staff to catch your flight home.
Price per person:
$3895.00 Based on room sharing basis
$495.00 Single supplement
$350.00 Discount if your international flight is booked with Ethiopian Airlines
The price includes: Full Accommodation, all entrance fees, local guide fees, boat fees, all transfers and ground transportation and government tax.
The price does not include: Air travel to/from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia; Alcoholic drinks, video camera charges, porter fee or personal gratuity.
This trip will be conducted by an English speaking accompanying guide and local guide at each location.
Please note that all prices are quoted in US Dollars and are subject to change in case of drastic changes in hotel rates, entrance/guide fees, flight fees, etc. Though this is unlikely, we will inform you ahead of time if this occurs.
Join the Expedition NOW as space is limited!