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Press release of 2016-05-23
Monpays Tours

Please remember to specify the DMCmag reference in all your requests
Since 2005
Fabienne ROCHON
Wendimeneh Street, Arada sub city
Wereda 01 Kebele
01/02 House # 230 Addis Ababa

ETHIOPIA Between Myth and Legends - 9 days

THANK YOU for your interest in our Between Myth and Legends trip.
At Monpays Tours we are passionate about our off the beaten track experiences as they provide our travelers with the thrill of coming face to face with untouched cultures as well as wilderness regions of great natural beauty.

The most populated mountain in the world.

A strong relief dominated by an impressive volcanic dispositive characterizes Ethiopia. Several mountaintops exceed 4000m with, in the Northwestern part of the country, the Ras Dashen culminating at an altitude of 4620m above sea level, in opposition to the Afar depression, which is characterized by a negative altitude of -110m.

The Rift that divides Ethiopia into two massifs is part of the general depression system that goes from the Arabic Peninsula to the South East of Africa. This area is undergoing a significant geothermal activity with especially the famous lava lake of the Erta ’ale volcano. Equidistant from the equator and the tropic of Capricorn, Ethiopia is the 10th largest country in Africa (1 137 000 km2).

The country has nearly 91 million of inhabitants, out of which more than 85% live in the rural areas. Agriculture is sure the backbone sector of the Ethiopian economy that has, 95% of its exports, based on agricultural products.
In Ethiopia, coffee business remains the main foreign currency generating activity although the tourism sectortends to also be on the rise in its middle regions, Ethiopia has a tropical climate characterized by important daily thermal amplitudes. It is above all, the altitude and the wet monsoon of the Indian Ocean that influences the meteorological system of the country.

Trip Highlight

                  - UNESCO - Lalibela
                  - Simien Mountains National Park
                  - Gelada Baboons
                  - Beautiful Landscapes
                  - Lake Tana


Day 1: Addis Ababa – Bahir Dar  (FLIGHT)

Located in the foothills of the Entoto Mountains and standing 2,400 meters above sea level, Addis Ababa is the unofficial capital of Africa and the fifth highest capital in the world. The city has a population of about 4 million. It was from the hills of the Entoto Mountains that Emperor Menelik II and his wife, Empress Taitu, decided about the settlement of Addis Ababa.
Having caught sight of a thin stream of vapor raising to the sky, they went to that place and discovered there hot spring of water, as well as a flower of which they had never seen before. This event brought them into deciding to name their capital Addis Ababa: (« the new flower » in Amharic). After our visit, in the afternoon, we will take a flight Bahir Dar.

Overnight – Bahir Dar
<Visit> Trinity Museum / Entoto Mariam / National Museum

Day 2: Bahir Dar – Gondar

Bahir Dar, also known as the Ethiopian Riviera, is situated at an altitude of 1800m above sea level, on the southern shore of Lake Tana, which is the biggest Lake in Ethiopia and the source of the Blue Nile, flowing 5223km north to the Mediterranean Sea. In the 16th and 17th centuries, various temporary Ethiopian capitals were established in the vicinity of Lake Tana. It was here that Jesuits attempted, with disastrous consequences, to impose Catholicism on the Ethiopian people. This morning, we will be visiting on Lake Tana, treasures of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church which houses more than 20 monastic churches, many of which were founded during the 14th-century scattered across this great Lake. In the afternoon, we will be visiting the market in Bahir Dar before driving to the city of Medieval city Gondar.

Overnight - Gondar
<Visit> Azoa Mariam / Market

Day 3: Gondar

Until the 16th century, the Solomonic Emperors of Ethiopia usually had no fixed capital town, instead living in tents in temporary royal camps as they moved around their realms while their family, bodyguard and retinue devoured surplus crops and cut down nearby trees for firewood. Flanked by twin mountain streams at an altitude of more than 2,300 m, Gondar was founded by Emperor Fasilidas who, tiring of the pattern of migration that had characterized the lifestyle of so many of his forefathers, moved his capital here in 1636, a role that it filled until 1864. It is famous for its many medieval castles and the design and decoration of its churches, monasteries and unique public and private buildings marked by Hindu and Arab influences, subsequently transformed by the Baroque style brought to Gondar by the Jesuit missionaries.

Overnight - Gondar
<Visit> Royal Enclosure / Debre Birhan Selassie Church / Kuskwam Mariam

Day 4: Simien Mountains

Today, we will be heading north to visit the Simien Mountains National Park famous for being the habitat of the three large endemic mammals ( Gelada Baboons, Ethiopian Wolf and the Walia Ibex), and form one of Africa’s largest mountain ranges created by jagged mountain peaks, deep valleys and sharp precipices dropping some 1,500m with many of the peaks rising above 4000m, they make an awesome sight and contain Ethiopia’s highest mountain (and the fourth highest in Africa) Ras Dashen, standing majestically at 4620m.
Our first stop would be by the old village of the Ethiopian Jews. They were once kings. A half million strong, they matched their faith with fervor and out-matched the Moslem and Christian tribesmen around them to rule the mountain highlands around Lake Tana. They called themselves Beta Israel—the house of Israel—and used the Torah to guide their prayers and memories of the heights of Jerusalem as they
lived in their thatched huts in Ethiopia. But their neighbors called them Falashas—the alien ones, the invaders. And even three hundred years of rule, even the black features that matched those of all the people around them did not make the Jews of Ethiopia secure governors of their destiny in Africa.

Overnight - Gondar
<Visit> Simien Mountains National Park / Falasha Village

Day 5: Lalibela

Today, we will be heading to one of Ethiopia’s holiest cities, Lalibela! We will have a stop on the way at the only “Utopian” community. The Awra Amba community is unique not only for its attitudes toward gender, religion, and education, but for the social security it provides its members in need. We will then continue our journey until we reach Lalibela.

Overnight - Lalibela
<Visit> Awra Amba community / Amhara Village

Day 6: Lalibela

We will be visiting the monolithic churches, classified as a world heritage by UNESCO. This site has not yet revealed its secrets, and many questions especially related to the architectural techniques used still preoccupy nowadays many specialists. Each church has its own history, enriched by legends that are powerfully anchored in the popular culture.
So we will be starting the day by visiting the first part of the churches: « beta Medhane Alem » which is the biggest and the highest church of all, « beta Mariam » known as the favorite church of king Lalibela representing decorations and symbols of Latin crosses. We will be also visiting the churches of « beta Meskel », « beta Denaghel », « beta Michael » and « beta Golgotha ».The afternoon time will be dedicated to the discovery of the second part of the churches: so we will star tour visits by « beta Amanuel », considered as the most beautiful Ethiopian monolithic church of an Axumite style, « beta merkorios », « beta Gabriel and beta Raphael » so we will be having the possibility to admire religious paintings, symbols, mysteries and enigmas decorating the churches of Lalibela. Finally we will finish our visit by going to the most famous church of all: « beta Giyorgis » - the cross shaped one!

Overnight – Lalibela
<Visit> Rock Hewn churches of Lalibela

Day 7: Mekele

This morning, we will be heading to the city of Mekele. On the way we will first visit the Monastery of Yemrehanna Kristos, an old built-up church and a fine example of late-Axumite architecture within a large cavern, on the west side of Mount Abune Yosef. At the back of the church, we will get the chance to visit many skeletons of monks and others, who have been buried in this holy spot, some dating from Yimrehana Krestos' time. We will then drive until we reach Mekele passing through Sekota, which boats to have beautiful landscapes in Ethiopia.

Overnight - Mekele
<Visit> Yemrehana Krestos

Day 8: Mekele

Our journey today will take us to one of the most famous regions of Tigray, known to posses over 250 churches, many carved in mountains. The landscapes of northern Tigray are almost fairytale-like. The luminous light bathes scattered sharp peaks that rise high into the sky out of a sandy, rolling semidesert. Very different from the more famous monolithic (carved out of the ground and only left attached to the earth at the base) churches of Lalibela, the Tigrayan churches are generally semimonolithic (only partially separated from the host rock) or built into pre-existing caves. Most sit high atop cliffs and the improbable perches add to their attraction. After our visit of few churches, we will be heading back to Mekele and visit the open air market of Adi Haki and get the chance to see one of the rarest products found only in this market, which comes from the Danakil Depression.

Overnight - Mekele
<Visit> Abreha Atsebeha Church / Medhane Alem Adi / Kersho church / Wukro Kirkos / Adi Haki Market

Day 9: Addis Ababa (FLIGHT)

This morning we will be flying back to the capital and continue the city tour of Addis. We will visit the Ethnographic Museum set within Haile Selassie’s former palace and surrounded by the beautiful gardens and fountains of Addis Ababa University’s main campus. We will then visit the Menelik II Mausoleum was built by Empress Zewditu in 1917. It also houses a painting of Michelangelo of the Virgin Mary given by the Italian Government as a present at the time. Finally, we will be visiting the biggest open air Market in Africa, Merkato.
We will also get the chance to buy souvenirs from different shops before going to the farewell dinner accompanied by folkloric dance evening.

<Visit> Ethnographic Museum / Menelik II Mausoleum / Merkato

Medium haul
00 39 049 9704834

Khao Sok National Park is a haven of peace in the middle of an exceptional nature.

Ha, Halloween: Scary movies, pumpkin lanterns, fancy dresses in all shades of zombies, witches and bloody ghosts, bunches of kids ringing your bell for that swift sugar rush we hate to love, spider webs and general merriment.

Come to explore this inspiring country and live an adventure bigger than life.