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Lalibela

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Lalibela
Lalibela Rock Hewn Churches


King Lalibela is credited with the foundation of the 11 rock-hewn churches in the 12th century. One of the world's most incredible man-made creations, they are a lasting monument to man's faith in God. Most travel writers describe these churches as the "eighth wonder of the world". These remarkable edifices were carved out of a solid rock, in a region where the ragged landscape still protects the churches.

In Lalibela itself you will find two main groups of churches, one on each side of the river Jordan and one other church set apart from the rest. The town of Roha-Lalibela lies between the first and the second group of churches. It is situated on the higher part of a mountain-terrace on a vast plateau of rock. At Timkat (Ethiopian Epiphany. ca. January 19) a vivid ritual unfolds before the spectator: here the dances of the priests take place after the annual repetition of mass baptism in the river Jordan.

There are twelve churches and chapels, including various shrines. Four churches are monolithic in the strict sense; the remainder are excavated churches in different degrees of separation from the rock. The walls of the trenches and courtyards contain cavities and chambers sometimes filled with the mummies of pious monks and pilgrims

Crosses of Lalibela

The two basic types are the Greek cross, which has equal straight arms, and the Latin cross, which has straight arms with the inferior one longer than the other three. These have been developed into a great number of very elaborate and artistic designs. The favourite form in Ethiopia is the croix pattee -a Greek cross with flaring arms - and its rich variations. In the Zagwe sphere a special kind of elongated processional cross has been developed.
Lalibela crosses very often have bird heads at the sides and have a crown of stylized human figures as symbols of the twelve apostles; the finial cross then represents Christ. Birds (doves) are often depicted together with the cross. The swastika shapes found in Lalibela should not be confused with the old sun symbol found for example in Europe and in India. The Lalibela swastikas were developed from the Greek cross with bent arms and were often combined to form interwoven patterns as was the case in Christian art and in the Middle Ages.
The priests have developed a rich symbolism, every pattern having a different meaning. Three- tipped crosses refer to the Trinity; five incised circles or indentations represent the wounds of Christ. However, these decorative patterns often are interpreted differently according to the schooling of the individual priest.

The best of Lalibela

This isolated town, situated high up in the Lasta Mountains, is famous throughout the world for its incredible rock hewn churches. At 2,630m and perched among wild mountains, the setting is fantastic. From the 10th to the mid-13th century it was the capital of the Zagwe Dynasty that ruled the country and it was under the direction of its most famous King, Lalibela, that the churches were carved. He gathered together the greatest craftsmen possible and some estimate as many as 40,000 people were required to create the churches.



Key information

  • - 3 nights comfortable hotels, most with en suite facilities
  • - Travel by mini or coaster bus
  • - Two internal flights

What's included

  • - All accommodation/ Double or twin room basis
  • - Travel by coaster bus
  • - All transport and listed activities
  • - Two internal flights 
  • - All transfer in and out
  • - All entrance fees
  • - All breakfasts
  • - English speaking guide services
  • - All government taxes

What's not included

  • - Travel insurance
  • - Single accommodation (available on request)
  • - Visas or vaccinations 
  • - Tips

 

Lalibela 4 days

Itineraries on some departure dates may differ, please select the itinerary that you wish to explore.


Simien trek 4 days     Simien trek 11 days   Bale trek 8 days    



 

 
Day 1 - Fly to Lalibela for Rock hewn churches
Lalibela

This morning we will catch a flight to Lalibela, arriving late morning. This isolated town, situated high up in the Lasta Mountains, is famous throughout the world for its incredible rock hewn churches. At 2,630m and perched among wild mountains, the setting is fantastic. From the 10th to the mid-13th century it was the capital of the Zagwe Dynasty that ruled the country and it was under the direction of its most famous King, Lalibela, that the churches were carved. He gathered together the greatest craftsmen possible and some estimate as many as 40,000 people were required to create the churches.

This incredible group of monuments consists of six churches to the north and five churches to the south, and the churches are linked by a series of rock hewn tunnels similar to catacombs. After settling into our hotel and enjoying an early lunch, this afternoon we'll visit the first cluster of UNESCO World Heritage Site churches, included the famous church of St. George, or Bete Giyorgis, carved in the shape of a cross from the red tuff. For dinner we hope to pay a visit to a local family for a traditional coffee ceremony and the chance to see how a real Ethiopian family live. Overnight Lalibela lodge

 

 


Day 2 - In Lalibela, Take In The Panoramic Views From Sacred Asheton Maryam Church
Lalibela’s Rock-Hewn Churches

It's an early start this morning to meet our mules and muleteers for an adventurous and authentic journey up the hillside to Asheton Maryam Church, 600m above Lalibela. The going is steep in places and we need to hang on, but its great fun and the views across Lalibela and beyond are incredible. We'll ride for around an hour before dismounting and completing the rest of the 30 minute trail on foot.
In the afternoon, return to the temples at Lalibela and take the time to explore the second, and most famous, group of rock churches, including the Church of St George, or Bete Giyorgis. Overnight Lalibela lodge

 


Day 3 -Drive and walk to Yemrehana Kristos built-up church within a large cavern
Yemrehana Kristos

After breakfast we’ll drive up into the mountains to visit the wonderful Yemrehana Kristos cave church, situated about 40km from Lalibela. Set at an altitude of 2,700m and protected by an unflattering wall, Yemrehana Kristos is an old built-up church within a large cavern and is a particularly fine example of late Axumite architecture, with a cruciform carved window and an etched wood-panel roof. It's a short hike up to the church but well worth the visit and the scenery en route is spectacular. Overnight Lalibela lodge

 


Day 4 -In the morning visit Naacutolaab monastery and transfer to airport to fly to Addis
Addis Ababa-Departure

In the morning visit Naacutolaab monastery. On arrival in Addis, check into your hotel. This will either be on day room basis or overnight depending on your international flight times.This evening, we will arrange for a farewell dinner in a restaurant with Ethiopian music and dance, or in a good city centre restaurant.

 


Dates, prices and booking

 

All holidays are subject to availability and prices are subject to change

 

  

September

October


November

December


February

March

April

Group size 2-5 pax

     $570 p/p 

 

Book now

Trip Information

 

 


 

 

Trip Information

Climate and country information

   

Ethiopia

Climate

Ethiopia is generally pleasant and warm, but varies with altitude. The long rains usually arrive mid- June to early September and the short rains between mid-February and April although this pattern has been completely erratic in recent times. Anticipate sunshine most days, generally all day, with comfortably warm temperatures in the north, but in the South it can get rather hot (30s+), especially for the 2 to 3 days when we are in the south. Nights can be cool in the north, even cold in a couple of places, so a jacket and set of thermals should be taken. The Danakil Depression is one of the hottest places on Earth so please come prepared. Our trips to the Danakil run from Oct – Feb as this is the cooler time of year but this can still mean daytime temperatures up to and around 40C. Night time temperatures in the Danakil are in the 20s (C) and rainfall is very rare. Harar and Mekele will be cooler, but the vast majority of this trip is likely to be very hot. Daytime temperatures are mainly warm and comfortable but early morning and evenings in the highlands can be cold. We recommend layers and a thick jumper or fleece, plus a lightweight wind/waterproof jacket. A hat is essential. Take swimwear if you plan to use the hotel's pools. Comfortable, good walking shoes with ankle support are strongly recommended as well as comfortable sandals. Walks and Hikes: While most walks are not difficult, a couple are only suitable for those who enjoy scrambling and have a good head for heights. When there are longer more technical walks we try offer an alternative activity as well.

Time difference to GMT

+3

Plugs

2 Pin Round

Religion

Christian, Islam

Language

Amharic, English

Energy:

Ethiopia uses 220 volts and 50HZ, it is best to bring your own round, two-prong adapter and transfer if necessary.

Transport, Accommodation & Meals

 

Transport, Accommodation and Meals

4WDs, Bus, Boat, Flight

 

Transport

 We will use a private bus charter for the northern loop Addis to Lalibela , a domestic flight as stated in the itinerary and 4WD Land Cruisers for the offroads. Roads can be tar sealed or shingle (dusty), sometimes bumpy and slow due to road works and/or rain damage, although most of the time a reasonable pace can be maintained. Both 4WDs and the bus will be air-conditioned.

Air Transportation: The National carrier is Ethiopian Airlines www.ethiopianairlines.com which has extensive domestic flight network flying to several destinations including the popular tourist destination Axum, Lalibela, Gonder, Bahir Dar, Mekelle, Dere Dawa, Arba Minch, Jimma.

 

Currency

The Local currency is an Ethiopian Birr, made up of 100 Cents, Visitors may import an unlimited amount of foreign currency, but they need decoration to the customs authority upon arrival.

Time and calendar

Ethiopia is in GMT +3 hours’ time Zone, and follows the unique Julian calendar which is seven years and eight months behind the Gorgonian calendar, consists of thirteen month, the twelve months consists of 30 days each and the last (13th Month) will have 5 or 6 days during leap year, The New Year fall on the 11th of September.

When to come


Ethiopia can be visited all round the year, but for some special route like the south west Ethiopia and Danakil (Dallol) depression contact us to know the detail.

Accommodation

Addis Ababa has two 5 stat hotels- the Hilton and the Sheraton (Luxury collection) and a growing number of tourist class hotels. Standards vary outside the capital, but apart from some remote areas where camping is unavoidable it is generally possible to get relatively clean rooms with en suite toilet and shower. Hotels / Lodges anticipated are essentially Star**/***/****/(*****in Addis)/. In some remote places hotels is basic and simplistic.

 

Passports, Visas and Vaccinations

 

Passports, Visas and Vaccinations

 
Clients must ensure that they are aware of all relevant passport and visa requirements and that they allow adequate time to obtain them. Please note that many Ethiopian immigration require that passports are valid for six months beyond the period of the Client’s stay. Requirements can change and it is the Clients’ responsibility to ensure that they comply with current passport, visa and health requirements and take all necessary documents with them to gain access to any country or region which forms part of the tour. The Client will be solely responsible for any cost, loss or damage which he or the Company incurs as a result of a failure to obtain all necessary passports, visas and/or vaccinations.

 

Visa


Visa is required for all visitors to Ethiopia and they can get from Ethiopian Diplomatic Mission abroad ,Visitors from the countries listed below can obtain visa on arrival at Bole International Airport (Addis Ababa): Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Korea Republic, Kuwait, Luxemburg, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Russian Federation, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, UK, and US.

 For a single entry visa you can apply via the e-visa website: https://www.evisa.gov.et . You will need to print a copy of your evisa approval letter and present this with your passport at immigration upon your arrival. The approval letter will take a minimum of 3 days to be processed so we strongly advise for you to apply within plenty of time before your departure. You will be permitted to stay within Ethiopia for upto 30 days or upto 90 days depending on which single entry visa you request. We strongly recommend for you to read the Help section on the e-visa website before applying.

 

Insurance 

Insurance that provides cover for emergency repatriation in case of a medical emergency is compulsory for all tours. You should be aware that due to some of the areas visited and some of the activities included on certain of our trips some standard insurance policies may not always provide adequate cover. As such we strongly recommend that you purchase a policy that adequately covers your trip.

 

General Information

 

General Information

 

Registration

Program contracts and service agreements become valid upon Amazing Ethiopia Tours’ confirmation of the booking by letter, fax, e-mail or telephone. A deposit of 30% of the total cost is requested at the time of confirmation.he remainder of the total cost is is payable 30 days before the beginning date of the tour.'If complete payment has not been received, Amazing Ethiopia Tours is not obligated to accept the client or conduct the tour unless prior arrangements have been made.

 

Cancellation

The Client may cancel the booking at any time provided that the cancellation is communicated to the Company in writing. Cancellation charges will be applied as shown below calculated from the day when written notice is received by the Company. The more notice that the Company receives, the less the Company will charge the Client. However, in addition to the charges shown below many air tickets have no refund value whatsoever and, therefore, airlines may impose 100% cancellation charges.

Cancellation charges apply as follows:

-Cancellations of confirmed bookings received more than 30 days prior to departure are subject to a cancellation penalty of US $500 per person.

-Cancellations received between 30 and 15 days prior to departure will be subject to a penalty of 50% of the total tour rate.

-Cancellations received under 15 days prior to departure will be subject to forfeiture of the entire tour rate.

 

Local Laws

All participants in tours operated by the Company are expected to obey the laws and regulations of the countries visited and any failure to do so will relieve the Company of all obligations that it may otherwise have under the Contract.
•“Amazing Ethiopia Tours” is the trading name of Amazing Ethiopia , a private company head office in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Registration No. 487/97
•Office Address :Bole Medhanealem, Redwan Bldg #202

 

 

Travel and cancellation insurance

Travel Insurance is mandatory for all clients whilst on a holiday organised by the Company. Clients together with their personal property including baggage are at all times solely at their own risk. Clients are wholly responsible for arranging their own insurance. Clients not taking out the Company’s specially arranged travel/cancellation insurance are responsible for ensuring that they have alternative personal travel insurance with protection for the full duration of the holiday in respect of at least medical expenses, injury, death, repatriation, cancellation and curtailment with adequate and appropriate cover.

Clients making their own arrangements should ensure that there are no clauses limiting or excluding protection for the type of activities included in their holiday. Clients should satisfy themselves that all travel insurance purchased meets their particular requirements and should arrange supplementary insurance if need be. It is your responsibility to ensure that the insurance you purchase provides adequate cover. We do not check insurance policies and cannot be liable for any expenses incurred as a result of your not having adequate, appropriate or valid insurance cover.

 

If we cancel your holiday

The Company reserves the right to cancel a holiday in any circumstances but will not cancel a holiday less than 8 weeks before the start of the holiday except for force majeure , or the client’s failure to make all payments (including the final balance and any surcharge) when due. If we have to cancel, we will tell you as soon as possible. If there is time to do so before departure and the cancellation does not result from your failure to pay, we will offer you the option of purchasing another available holiday from the Company (paying or receiving a refund in respect of any difference in price) or receiving a full refund of all monies paid to us.

We regret we cannot meet any visa, vaccination or similar costs in the event of any change or cancellation by us. Similarly, as you are advised only to book fully flexible flights, we cannot pay any cancellation, amendment of other charges you may incur in relation to any flights which you have to change or cancel as a result of the cancellation of your holiday.

 

Behavior

It is the Clients’ responsibility to ensure that he and the members of his Party do not behave in a way which causes offence or danger to others or which risks damage to property belonging to others. In such circumstances all suppliers (e.g. hotel managers, airline pilots) and the Company have the right to terminate arrangements made on the Clients’ behalf, in which case the Company’s responsibility to the Client ceases immediately. Therefore, the Company will not be liable for any refunds, payment of compensation or reimbursement of any cost or expenses incurred as a result. Further, the Client will be liable to reimburse the Company for any expenses whatsoever that it incurs as a result of such behavior.

 

Age, Fitness and Participation

All Clients are expected to satisfy themselves prior to booking that they are fit and able to complete the itinerary of their chosen tour as described in the Company’s websites and written through e mails with clients. No unaccompanied minors (i.e. those under 18 years of age) can be accepted on tours operated by the Company, however children of 15 or more may travel provided that they are accompanied by a parent or a guardian who accepts full responsibility for them and subject, in all cases, to the ultimate discretion of the Company.

Clients agree to accept the authority and decisions of the Company’s employees, tour leaders, and agents whilst on tour with the Company. If in the opinion of such person, the health or conduct of a Client before or after the departure appears likely to endanger the safe, comfortable or happy progress of the tour, the Client may be excluded from all or part of the tour, in which case all monies paid will be forfeited and the Company will not be liable to pay any compensation whatsoever to such Client.

Highlights of Ethiopia tourist attractions

 

Highlights of Ethiopia tourist attractions

 

Simien National Park

A stupendous landscape that stretches as far as the eye can see. Featuring 1,000m high escarpments, rugged pinnacles and towering buttresses, this park is home to the endemic Gelada Monkeys, Walia Ibex and the Ethiopian Wolf and to the World’s highest density of Lammergeyer, the huge bearded-vulture. The park is a scenic gem, the short walks are exciting and wildlife viewing is rewarding.

Lake Tana / Blue NileFalls

Lake Tana is Ethiopia’s largest lake and primary source of the Blue Nile. Walk to the Blue Nile Falls where the river drops over an impressive 45m high escarpment on its way to join the White Nile.

 

Rift Valley and the Lakes Region - 

South of Addis, enter the gigantic East African Rift Valley that slices the African continent from the Red Sea to Mozambique. Enjoy the lakes – swim in Lake Langano and go boating on Lake Chama to find the hippos, gigantic crocodiles and a huge variety of birds; 800 bird species are found in Ethiopia and many of these are found in the Rift.

 

Amazing Historical and Cultural Heritage Axum 

The oldest city in Ethiopia and the holiest city of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church. According to Orthodox Christian belief, Axum is the home of the Ark of the Covenant. Visit Stelae Park and observe ancient religious rituals.

 

Rock Hewn Churches of Tigray

More than a hundred rock-hewn monasteries are clustered in the cliffs and promontories of the Tigray region. Climb/hike along incredible pathways to discover cliff-face rock-hewn churches and tiny chapels that are filled with medieval paintings and sacred artifacts.  Some fantastic short walks are optional participation.  

 

Lalibela 

Unofficially recognized as the 8th Wonder of the Ancient World, the 12th and 13th century rock-hewn churches of Lalibela are unique. Totally carved below ground level, the churches have been a focal point for the devout highland people for eight centuries and today are living Christian shrines. People come to services and prayers each day and colourful traditional ceremonies can be observed. Behind the town is Asheton Maryam Monastery at almost 4,000m, the hike takes 4 hours return, it’s a fabulous morning walk for those who make the climb as the views are stunning

 

Lake Tana Monasteries 

The Tana islands and peninsulas are home to a host of 14th Century Ethiopian Orthodox Monasteries, where the amazing untouched murals and artifacts are a visual encyclopedia of Ethiopia’s religious heritage.

 

Tigray

Tigray is Ethiopia's best-kept secret. This northernmost region of the country was the birthplace of Ethiopia's Axumite Empire, and among the first regions to have embraced Christianity, a heritage still visible in the numerous rock churches that dot its rugged landscape.

 

Harar

Harar is an important Muslim holy city, home to no fewer than 90 mosques. Though it lacks the historic marvels of Gondar and Axum, Harar is one of Ethiopia's liveliest, most welcoming cities.

 

Gondar 

A medieval Capital city and Royal Compound of the 17th and 18th Century kings, Gondar is often referred to as the “Camelot of Ethiopia”

 

Danakil Depression

Dallol in the Dannakil Desert is one of the lowest places on earth at 116 meter below sea level, where lakes of acid form colorful sulfur formations in the hottest and deepest part of the Danakil depression where salt is excavated, cut salt into slabs and loaded on to caravans of camels. Volcano Erta Ale is globally recognized as one of the most alluring and yet physically challenging natural attractions.

 

The South Omo Valley

The Omo Valley is home to a dozen or so animist tribes whose striking body adornments and traditional lifestyle scarcely acknowledge that the modern world exists.  This region is a living anthropological museum, where the tribes still practice body scarring and body painting and create amazing ochre-coated hairstyles. To visit the Mursi, Hamer, Konso, Ari, Karo and Dorze people in their traditional villages, is a true once–in-a-lifetime experience

 

 

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update

 

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update

Flexible booking conditions, guaranteed refund option, COVID-19 refund promise

 

ETHIOPIA Restriction Detail

Date: 02 December 2020

Ethiopia entry requirement in relation to COVID-19 Pandemic:

 

 - All passengers traveling to Ethiopia MUST present a negative RT PCR test certificate for COVID-19 before boarding a flight. The certificate validity shouldn’t exceed 120 hours on arrival from the date sample is given.

 

 - Children less than or equal to 10 years of age are exempted from the RT PCR test certificate requirement.

 

- There shall be no COVID-19 test to be done on arrival at Addis Ababa. 

 

- A Rapid diagnostic test (RDT antibody test) will not be accepted for this purpose.

 

- The above requirement does not apply to transit passengers. 

 

- All Diplomatic and Service (including United Nations and African Union) passport holders, including their immediate families, are advised but not required to have a certificate of negative PCR-COVID-19 test before arrival to Ethiopia. However, anyone (diplomatic and service passport holder including their immediate families) who come to Ethiopia without negative PCR COVID-19 test result, is required to stay in quarantine for fourteen (14) days at home.