Ethiopia Meskel (Finding of the True Cross) - September 26, 2013

Ethiopia Meskel (Finding of the True Cross) - September 26, 2013

Meskal has been celebrated in the country for over 1600 years. The word actually means "cross" and the feast commemorates the discovery of the cross upon which Jesus was crucified, by the Empress Helena, the mother of Constantine the Great. The original event took place on 19 March 326 AD. but the feast is now celebrated on 27 September. 

During this time of the year flowers gloom on mountain and plain and the meadows are yellow with the brilliant Meskal daisy. Dancing, feasting, merrymaking, and bonfires salutes mark the occasion. The festival begins by planting a green tree on Meskal eve in town squares and village market places. Everyone brings a pole topped with Meskal daisies to form the towering pyramid that will be a beacon of flame. Torches of tree branches tied up together called "Chibo" are used to light the bundle called "Demera". 

We offer Meskel holidays of all destinations for groups and individuals of all size.

  • Meskel Celebration and Historic Route
  • Meskel Celebration and Omo valley People
  • Meskel Celebration in Lalibela

Program: Ethiopia Meskel Festival Tour with the Historic Route of Ethiopia 09 days and 08 Nights
Tour Code: AETT - F001
Duration: 09 Days and 08 Nights 
Transport: Flight

Activities: colorful festivals, ancient history, people, age-old culture, breathtaking highland scenery, waterfalls, castles, rock churches, & much more

Day 01, Sep 25, 2013:

Arrive in Addis Ababa a warm welcome at the airport, and then transfer to your hotel. Morning will be free. Afternoon, start your sightseeing tour of Addis Ababa, starting your tour from the Trinity Cathedral, visit to the National Museum (archaeological and historical), which has the best collection of Ethiopian antiquities and archeological discoveries, including the famous oldest hominid “Lucy”; then drive up to Mt. Entoto, the highest part of the capital, where you will have a panoramic view over the town of Addis Ababa; a drive down to the biggest open air market in East Africa called Mercato. Overnight Hotel. 

Day 02, Sep 26, 2013:

Morning mausoleum of Menlilik the II at the church of Beata Mariam, then drive to Ethnographic museum in the courtyard of Addis Ababa university, then drive back your hotel, afternoon walk to the Meskel Square where you will bump into huge street festival of the Ethiopian Orthodox church, Meskel festival commemorates the finding of the very cross on which Jesus Christ of Nazareth was crucified in Golgotha in the fourth century by Empress Helena, the mother of Constantine. The celebration of Meskel recognizes the presence of the true cross at the Mountain of Gishen Miriam monastery in Ethiopia, and also recognizes Empress Helena’s road to finding it. After a mass song and prayer there will be a big bon fire for the commemoration of the Meskel festival. Overnight Hotel. 

Day 03, Sep 27, 2013:

Morning, drive to the airport to fly to Bahir Dar. Arrive at Bahir Dar after a 55 minutes’ flight. Drive to Hotel for check-in. drive to Tisissat (45 minutes) to get to the water fall, which is 35km away from Bahir Dar. At Tisissat, you get a chance to see the “smoke of the Nile” from the usual vantage points. Board on boat to cross Lake Tana. En route, you will visit the churches of UraKidanemihret, Mehal Zege Georgis and Aswa Mariam Late in the afternoon, you will arrive in back Bahir Dar- at around 17:00 hrs- you might get a chance to see the very stunning sun-set from the boat. Overnight and dinner at Hotel. 

Day 04, Sep 28, 2013:

Morning transfer to airport to Fly to Gonder, transfer to Hotel. Start visiting the 17th century capital of Ethiopia: Gondar. Sites to visit include: the castle compound (UNESCO World Heritage Site), King Fasiledes’ Bath, the Debre Birhan Selassie (The light of Trinity) church with wonderful murals, Qusqam church and Mentwab palace. Later, drive to the Jewish village called Welaka, 6Km away from Gonder. Overnight Hotel. 

Day 05, Sep 29, 2013:

Make a day Excursion to Semin Mountain, Drive to Debark in the morning, 100Kms from Gonder, the Headquarter of the Semien Mountains National Park. Proceed to Sankaber, 37Kms farther, which is your first trekking starting spot, 3250 ms above sea level. Spend the day trekking around the camp sites. Here you will see some endemic Ethiopian Birds like wattle Ibis, and some mammals like the Gelada Baboon. Around 15:00hrs, you will drive back to Gondar. Overnight Hotel. 

Day 06, Sep 30, 2013:

Early in the morning, drive to the airport to fly to Lallibela in the morning and then transfer from the airport to your hotel. The airport is 26 Km from the hotel- it will be a half-an-hour drive. After check-in, start visiting the rock hewn churches of Lallibela. Today tour will be the first group of churches (the grouping is according to their geographical location): Bete Medhane Alem, Bete Mariam and Bete Meskel. Return to your hotel for lunch at 12:30 AM, and continue touring the rest of the first group of churches after 14:00 AM. Return to your hotel at 17:30 AM. Overnight Hotel. 

Day 07, Oct 01, 2013:

Early in the morning make a mule excursion to Asheten Mariam church, where you will the semi-monolithic church which was hewed out by the nephew of King Lalibella, then back to Hotel for lunch afternoon visit the remaining churches in Lalibella by the 2nd group of the rock hewn churches of Lallibela: Bete Emanuel, Bete Rafael and Gabriel, Bete Mercury’s and Aba Libanos. Continue your tour from the stunning Bete Giorgis, which was hewed out with the Greek cross, then walk back to your Hotel. Overnight Hotel. 

Day 08, Oct 02, 2013:

At 07:30, transfer to the airport to fly to Axum and then transfer to your hotel, which is 10 minutes drive from the airport. Sightseeing in Axum, a town steeped in more than 2500 years of history, from the palace and tomb of King Kaleb (6th C, AD). You will also visit the extraordinary Stella’s records as a world heritage site (WHS) and the tomb of king Remhay (1st to 4th C, AD). Visit the church of St Mary of Tsion (17th C, AD), in which is deposited the Arc of the Covenant. Return to your hotel for lunch. Drive out of the town, 4 Km away, where you will walk up to see the rock-carved lion and palace from where the Stella's were hewn- some still lie there, unfinished one too. From here we can visit the palace of the queen of Sheba, and other archaeological sites. The day’s wandering ends at the small but amazing museum. Return. Dinner and overnight will be at Hotel. 

Day 09, Oct 03, 2013:

At 10:30, drive to the airport to fly to Addis Ababa, arriving at a hotel in Addis at 4:30. Lunch will be Addis Ababa, and the rest of the afternoon will be freely spent at the hotel. In the evening at 19:30, meet in the lobby and then drive to the traditional restaurant, where you will enjoy traditional Ethiopian music performances at your fare well dinner. Overnight Hotel. In the evening transfer to the air port for departure to home.

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Program: Meskel Celebration In Addis With The Omo Valley Tour
Tour Code: AETT - F002
Duration: 13 Days and 12 Nights
Transport: Surface 

Activities: colorful festivals, peoples, Alaba village, Chencha village, Tsemay, Bena and the Ari ethnic groups, National parks,Mursi village, Tsemay ethnic group, Dassenech ethnic group, hamer villages in Turmi , nature, culture, breathtaking scenery & much more

Day 01, Sep 25:

Arrival Addis: Upon arrival be met and welcomed by AETT Tour and Travel and Tours representative and transfer to Hotel 

Day 02, Sept 26:

Meskal Festival at Addis Ababa: Morning, After break fast you will have a sight seeing of Addis Ababa which includes Trinity Cathedral beautiful church with a baroque style of European Architecture unique to both Ethiopia and Africa, National Museum-the home of the famous complete hominid fossil remain of Lucy dated 3.5 millions years back.Afternoon after lunch you will attend the very colourful Meskel Festival (the finding of the true cross) at the Meskel square

Day 03, Sep 27:

Addis - Arbaminch: in the morning drive to Arbaminch on the way visit Alaba village and their unique way of home decorating style, overnight in hotel ore lodge at Arbaminch. 

Day 04, Sep 28:

Arbaminch: In the morning drive to Chencha village, to visit the Dorze ethnic group with their unique home building style and traditional weaving. (visit their market if it is a market day), drive back to Arbaminch. After lunch in hotel, boat trip on Lake Chamo to see crocodiles (at Crocodile Market) and hippos, overnight Arbaminch.

Day 05, Sep 29:

Arbaminch- Jinka: Drive to Jinka on the way visit the Tsemay, Bena and the Ari ethnic groups with their untouched culture, overnight in Jinka 

Day 06, Sep 30:

Jinka- Mursi- Jinka: after breakfast drive to Mago national park and proceed to Mursi village to visit the Mursi people, whose females put lip plates on their lower lip. Drive back to Jinka for lunch, after lunch visit the Ari village or the museum in the town. Over night hotel in Jinka 

Day 07, Oct 1:

Jinka -Turmi: After breakfast drive to Turmi-On the way visit the Tsemay ethnic group and the most Colorful market in the Omo valley- Key Afer market if it is Thursday and the Dimeka market if it is Tuesday overnight at lodge or hotel 

Day 08, Oct 2:

Turmi - Omorate - Turmi: in the morning drive to Omorate and after crossing the Omo Rive by traditional boat visit the Dassenech ethnic group with their untouched culture. Drive back to Turmi, in the late after noon visit one of the Hamer villages in Turmi, over night lodge or hotel in Turmi.

Day 09, Oct 3:

Turmi - Murule - Turmi: in the morning drive to Murule to visit the Karo Ethnic group who are very well known for their body painting and their fascinating houses. Drive back to Turmi for over night, and visit market of Turmi if the day is Monday or Market of Dimeka if it is Tuesday. over night lodge or hotel in Turmi.

Day 10, Oct 4:

Tumi -Yabello: in the morning drive to Yabello on the way visit the Cushitic-Elbore tribe, and the Konso village who are famous for terracing and unique way of living, before arriving to Yabello you will see the Borena Oromo people, overnight at hotel in Yabello 

Day 11, Oct 5:

Yabello - Awassa: after break fast drive to Awassa on the way you will visit 9th C Tutu Fela stele park, continue driving to Awassa trough the village of the Borena people, and also trough the breathtaking landscape and vegetation, over night hotel in Awassa 

Day 12, Oct 6:

Awassa - Addis: After break fast drive to the beautiful fish market on the shore of Lake Awassa with many aquatic birds, and then continue driving to Addis, on the way to Addis you will visit Ziway lake which is rich in aquatic bird life and, over night in hotel.  

Day 13, Oct 7:

City tour of Addis and Departure: Sightseeing tour that includes Trinity Cathedral-a beautiful church with a baroque style of European Architecture unique to both Ethiopia and Africa, National Museum-the home of the famous complete hominid fossil remain of Lucy dated 3.2 millions years back, Ethnological Museum-presents different collections to have an overview of the history, culture, tradition and religions of almost all tribal groups in Ethiopia, St. George Cathedral and Museum-a historical church with the traditional Ethiopian Orthodox Church architecture founded by Emperor Menelik-II, Mount Entoto panoramic view point at the highest pick in Addis with an altitude of 3200 meters, The Merkato: the biggest open air market in Africa. In the evening transfer to the air port for departure to home.

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Program: Meskel Festival with the Historic Route of Ethiopia 13 days and 12 nights
Tour Code: AETT - F003
Duration: 13 Days and 12 Nights
Transport: Surface 

Activities: colorful festivals, ancient history, people, age-old culture, breathtaking highland scenery, waterfalls, castles, rock churches, & much more

Day 01: September 16: Arrive Addis Ababa

Arrive in Addis Ababa (ADD),Ethiopia. Upon arrival at Addis Ababa Bole International Airport, you will be welcomed and assisted by your tour guide and driver for the transfer to Hotel. There will be a short drive to your hotel. In you arrive in the morning we can arrange an optional city tour. Overnight Hotel. 

Day 02: September 17: Addis Ababa-Bahirdar

In the morning, drive to Bahirdar through the Great Blue Nile Gorge with a stopover at different small towns like Dejen, Chancho and Goha Tsion. Overnight Hotel. 

Day 03: September 18: Lake Tana-Blue Nile Falls-Bahir Dar 

In the morning, we will make boat cruise over Lake Tana to visit the ancient 14th century island monasteries of Lake Tana. After having lunch at the hotel, we will drive 35 KM to visit the majestic Blue Nile Falls. Overnight Hotel. 

Day 04: September 19: Bahir Dar-Gondar

After breakfast, drive to Gondar through the beautiful countryside scenery to arrive at Gondar around lunchtime. After lunch tour of the ancient city of Gonder. Overnight Hotel. 

Day 05: September 20: Gondar-Simien Mountains

After an early breakfast, we will drive to the Simien mountains National park. The rest of the day, trek to explore the surrounding of Snakaber, part of the Simien Mountains National Park. Overnight Hotel. 

Day 06: September 21: Simien Mountains National Park-Axum

After breakfast start driving to Axum through the beautiful sceneries of Simien Mountains, Limalimo, Tekeze River Gorge. Overnight Hotel.

Day 07: September 22: Axum

After breakfast, we will start to visit the ancient city of Axum which include:  the Stele Square, Kaleba Tombs, the 4thcentury Christian inscription of King Ezana, Queen of Sheba’s Palace, Archeological Museum, and Tsion Mariam Church where the original Ark of the Covenant is housed. Overnight Hotel. 

Day 08:  September 23: Axum-Mekele

In the morning, drive to Mekele, through the stunning and historical mountains of Adwa en-route visiting the Pre-Christian temple of Yeha and WikroCherkos. Overnight Hotel.

Day 09: September 24: Mekele-Lalibela 

After breakfast, start driving north to Lalibela through Sekota en-route you will visit YimrhaneKirstos and different villages of the Agwe tribal people. Overnight Hotel. 

Day 10: September 25: Meskel Eve at Lalibela

In the morning, visit the first group of rock-hewn churches. The rock-hewn churches that we will visit today include:  Bete MedhaniAlem, Bete Mariam, BeteMeskel, BeteDenagil. Overnight Hotel. 

Day 11: September 26: Meskel Festival at Lalibela

In the morning, we will witness one of the most colorful festivals held in Ethiopia, the Meskel Festival at Lalibela. The rest of the day, we will continue our journey into Ethiopia’s long and marvelous past with a visit to other St. Lalibela’s remarkable churches. The rock-hewn churches that we will visit this afternoon include: BeteGebriel, BeteMercorios, BeteAmanuel, Bethlehem and Bete Aba Libanos. Overnight Hotel. 

Day 12: September 27: Lalibela-Kombolcha

In the morning drive to Kombolchaon top of the amazing YejuWadlaDelanta land-bridge, a high land plateau which adjoins the Wello and Gondar regions and the beautiful Lasta Mountains. You will also be driving through the towns of Weldia and Dessie. Overnight Hotel. 

Day 13: Septmber 28: Kombolcha-Addis Ababa-Departure 

In the morning, drive to Addis Ababa through Kemise, Ataye, Shewarobit and Debresina. At Kemiise we will have the chance to see multi-tribal local market. 

In the evening, there will be a farewell dinner party with traditional special buffet and local drinks (flight schedule permitting). At the end of the farewell dinner, transfer to Addis Ababa airport for the flight back. 

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