In Depth Ethiopiafrom
Our In Depth Ethiopia itinerary takes visitors from the north of the country, with its fascinating historical and religious sites, to the south of the country and its traditional tribes.
We head to Bahir Dar for a boat ride on Lake Tana, and a spot of hippo watching. Lake Tana with its historic island monasteries is Ethiopia’s largest lake and feeds the Blue Nile.We witness the might of the Blue Nile Falls before moving onto Gondar, the ‘Camelot of Africa’, to witness its UNESCO recognised ancient castles and palaces.
Reviews 0 Reviews0/5
Vacation Style Holiday Type
Activity Level Challenging
From here we travel to the dramatic Simien Mountain National Park in search of the unique Gelada baboons and the Ibex Walia.
Next we head further north to the ancient city of Axum, legendarily home of the Queen of Sheba and final resting place of the Ark of the Covenant.
We start or journey south travelling through the scenically spectacular Gheralta region, home to some 30 rock-hewn churches. Our destination is Lalibela where we will explore the unique 12th century rock-hewn churches.
We now head south to Arba Minch to explore Ethiopia’s spectacular Rift Valley lakes. We have the chance to spot wildlife as we have a relaxing cruise on Lake Chamo. Next we journey further south to the Omo Valley, and the towns of Jinka and Turmi to mingle with the different ethnic groups.
We break our return journey to back to Addis Ababa with a drive through the Abijatta Shalla National Park for some last minute wildlife watching.
• 12th century Rock hewn churches of Lalibela
• Ancient castles & Palaces of Gondar
• Blue Nile Falls
• Valley lakes
• Traditional tribes
Arrival and departure transfers are included, whether you book flights yourself, or we book them for you.
Accommodation as listed in the itinerary. Should we need to change hotels, but we will endeavour to keep the same standard. However hotel standards may not be the same as you’re used to elsewhere.
You will be escorted throughout by an English speaking guide. You will also have local English speaking guides.
As listed within the itinerary (B-Breakfast, L-Lunch, D-Dinner).
All entrance fees
A bottle of mineral water every day
Guests are responsible for arranging their own visa. We would recommend that you obtain your visa in advance of your trip using the evisa service.
We don’t include international flights in the cost of our tours
It is important that you have insurance in place prior to arriving in country.
Guide and porterage tips, also local payments for photography
Day 1- Addis Ababa L/D
On arrival at Bole International Airport, you will be met and transferred to your hotel. After lunch a city tour will take you to the National Archaeological Museum, to view the 3.6 million-year-old remains of “Lucy”, discovered in 1974, Ethnological Museum at Addis Ababa University and Holy Trinity Cathedral. Drive to the top of Mount Entoto, which rises to an altitude of 10,500 feet for a panoramic view of the metropolis before making your way back to your hotel. Overnight at Swiss Inn Nexus Hotel or similar.
The Ethiopian capital is situated on the southern slopes of central Ethiopia’s Entoto Hills and is the world’s fourth highest capital city with altitudes of 2,350m to more than 2,600m. The city was founded in the 19th century by Emperor Menelik II.
Addis Ababa ”new flower”) or Addis Abeba, also known as Finfinne (”natural spring”), is the capital and largest city of Ethiopia.
As a chartered city, Addis Ababa also serves as the capital city of Oromia. It is where the African Union is headquartered and where its predecessor the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) was based. It also hosts the headquarters of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), as well as various other continental and international organizations. Addis Ababa is therefore often referred to as ”the political capital of Africa” for its historical, diplomatic and political significance for the continent. The city lies a few miles west of the East African Rift which splits Ethiopia into two, through the Nubian Plate and the Somali Plate. The city is populated by people from different regions of Ethiopia.
Day 2- Bahir Dar B/L/D
Board your early morning flight to Bahir Dar and drive to the small town of Tiss Abay to visit the Blue Nile Falls, locally known as Tis Isat or 'Smoke of Fire' Even though much of the water has been diverted to power local hydroelectric generators, the Falls is still an intriguing sight. After lunch board a cruise vessel on Lake Tana to visit the ancient monasteries. We will visit two of the most accessible monasteries; Ura Kidane Mehret and Azwa Maryam. Your hotel is located on the shores of Lake Tana. Overnight Blue Nile ResortHotel or similar.
The town of Bahir Dar is located 180km south of Gondar on the shores of Lake Tana in the north of Ethiopia. It came into prominence in the 18th century as a commercial destination for trade caravans to and from Gondar and the surrounding area. Today, it is one of the most attractive towns in Ethiopia and serves as a celebrated tourist destination. It hosts the fabled Blue Nile falls, the beautiful highland Lake Tana and 14th-century island monastic churches.
Day 3 - Gondar B/L/D
Enjoy a scenic drive (110 miles) to the ancient Imperial city, traveling through a fertile landscape of wide open fields; a perfect African tableau punctuated by undulating hillsides and valleys. Gondar, is the former imperial capital, founded in the 17th century by Emperor Fassiledess. Fassiledess and the five emperors after him each built their own respective palaces and churches, giving rise to Gondar’s nickname; “Camelot of Africa”. Visit the royal enclosure containing six castles, a complex network of connecting tunnels and raised walkways. Proceed to the fascinating DebreBirhan Selassie Church, whose walls and ceiling are decorated with scenes of Biblical lore and medieval historians. Overnight Goha Hotel or similar
Gondar, once the Ethiopian capital, was home to a number of emperors and warlords, courtiers and kings. The graceful city of Gonder, founded by Emperor Fasilidas, become the capital of the Ethiopian empire around 1635. This settlement, which became Fasilidas principal headquarters, grew into an important town, and remained Ethiopia’s capital, and most popular city, for over two centuries.
The oldest of Gondar’s many imperial structures is the impressive 17th century palace of Emperor Fasilidas. Many other fascinating historical buildings and relics can be seen in the area. Gaze down from the balconies of the many castles and palaces to imagine the intrigue and pageantry that took place back in the 17th and 18th centuries of this great city.
Fasilidas endowed his capital with a sizeable palace, known as the Fasil Gemb, or Fasil building. It was larger and more impressive than any structure in Ethiopia up to that time. Fasilidas, who reputedly constructed many other buildings and bridges in the city, was succeeded by his son, Emperor Yohannes (1667-1682), and later by his grandson, Iyasu1 (1682-1706), both of whom built more palaces in the vicinity of Fasil Gemb. Iyasu’s most lasting achievement was the church of Debre Berhan Selassie, the light of the Trinity, which stands, surrounded by a high wall. The interior is marvelously painted with great scenes from religious history.
Apart from the famous castle in the royal compound, visitors should visit the so-called bathing palace of the Emperor. This two storey crenellated stone structure has a flat roof and two wooden balconies. It is set the middle of a large rectangular bath, reminiscent of a modern swimming-pool, which was traditionally filled with water brought by pipe from the nearby Qaha River. It was intended for the Timket Celebrations which commemorated the Baptism of Christ-a use to which the bath is put to this day.
Timkat celebration at Gondar several more palaces were raised by both Yohannes 1 and Iyasu 1. They later built a large two-storey crenellated structure beside that of their grandfather Fasilidas.
The reigns of the first three Gondarie rulers thus witnessed a steady expansion of the city, in the course of which an imperial quarter came into existence.
Gondar is a town of fairy-tale medieval castles and is noted for the design and decoration of its churches, masterpieces, which were constructed from stone in the form of crenellated castles, are of a significant distinctive design.
Flanked by twin mountain streams Gondar retains an atmosphere of antique charm mingled with an aura of mystery. The city was once a vigorous and vital centre of religious learning and art. Painting and music, dance and poetry, together with skilled instructions in these and many other disciplines, thrived for more than two hundred years. Fasilidas and his successors saw their elegant capital as a renaissance of Ethiopian culture and so patronized the arts.
The fascination with painting, mainly expressed through church murals, icons, illuminated manuscripts and scrolls, has remained. Religious themes dominate all but the most recent Ethiopian art.
It is also worth visiting the ruins of the palace and abbey of the redoubtable 18th century Empress Mentewab at Quesquam overlooking Gondar. The royal compound, like that at Gondar proper, contains a number of buildings. The largest was apparently used for receptions and served as headquarters of the garrison.
The palace compound was surrounded by a ’high outer-wall;’ which was about a mile in circumference, with outer precincts all occupied by soldiers, labourers and out-doors servants. Quesquam is wonderful and historic place.
Outside the palace compound, a second important building constructed during Iyasu’s reign is the church of Debre Birhan Selassie (or light of Trinity), which stands on raised ground to the north west of the city. This is the finest of the Gondarine churches, with its ceiling decorated with many winged angels.
In the old days it was surmounted by a gold cross, which is now gone. However, original walls painted from top to bottom with scenes of Biblical lore and medieval history is well preserved. Because of its extensive population, and the considerable patronage offered by both state and church, Gondar emerged as a major handicraft centre. Many of the city’s principal artisans come from minority groups. Falasha (Jewish) craftsmen include blacksmiths, weavers and masons, and their womenfolk are potters. Muslim craftsmen are mainly weavers and tent¬makers, some of whom also served as tent carriers and carpenters.
Day 4 - Simien Mountains B/L/D
Travel 60 miles to the principal mountain massifs of Africa, the Simien Mountains. On arrival at the headquarters of Simien Mountains National Park, meet our trekking scout and guide and transfer to the Simien Lodge. This afternoon enjoy a three to four hour relaxing trek to explore the beauty of this mountain range, which includes several plateaus separated by broad river valleys and a number of peaks that rise above 13,000 feet. The sights are impressive and an excellent chance to see herds of Ethiopian Baboons. Overnight Simien Lodge
The Gelada Baboon
The Gelada, unlike the exclusive Walia Ibex is not in fact peculiar to the Semyen, but they are more numerous here than in their other habitats Some live at Debre Sina not far from Addis Ababa and others at Debre Libanos on the way to the Blue Nile. There are also small populations in the Mulu and Bole Valley gorges, but in the Semyen there may be as many as 20,000, and troops of 400 together may be seen.
They do not attack humans and, more surprisingly, the local people do not attack them. They are therefore very tame and will allow humans to approach quite close to the troop before moving nearer to the cliff edge. The Gelada was discovered in 1835 by the explorer Ruppell, who named them by the local name used by the inhabitants of Gonder region where he first observed them.
They are not difficult to study as they are very tame, however, little interest was shown in them until recently, when Patsy and Robin Dunbar made an exhaustive study of their social behaviour. The social behaviour of the apes and monkeys is evidence of a very high degree of intelligence and studies of their rudimentary social structures are proving of considerable value in analysing the origins of human social behaviour.
Day 5 - Simien Mountains B/L/D
Enjoy a full day visit of the Simien Mountains National Park. In the morning we hike from Sankaber campsite to the Jinbar waterfalls before driving as far as Chenek campsite for a picnic lunch and short excursions in search of Walia Ibex and the Ethiopian wolf. Return to Simien Lodge for the evening.
High Semyen, Ethiopia’s dramatic high mountain terrain is the habitat of the Walia Ibex . In the earth’s long history of violent geographical change, the most recent volcanic upheavals took place in eastern Africa. Followed by torrential rains that created the thousand gushing waterfalls which in turn eroded away the newly formed mountain massif, creating the great gorges and gulleys which are so typical of the region. South west of Axum the land descends gradually southwards toward the Takazze river. At the lip of the gorge at about 1,400 metres (4,600 ft.) one can look across the chasm to a similar plateau beyond. On top of this plateau, adorned with steep turrets and bastions rising in three distinct steps, is perched the north wall of the Semyen.
The mountain massif is a broad plateau, cut off on the north and west by this enormous single crag over 60 kms. (40 miles) long and 1,000-1,500 metres (3000-5000 ft.) high. To the south the table and slopes gently down to 2,200 metres (7,000 ft.) divided by deep gorges 1,000 metres deep and taking two days to cross. Time has not yet been sufficient to soften the contours of the crags and buttresses of hardened basalt. As far as the eye can see looking north from the escarpment, the fused volcanic cores stand starkly defying the elements. Overhead stretches the vast dome of a sky of the deepest blue, which spreads downwards as clear as sapphire to the mauve of the horizon. In this scenic splendour, lives the Walia Ibex; here and nowhere else in the world. Forced by Man to retreat, and to retreat again, it has been driven in its extremity to inhabit the most inaccessible (except to a bird or a Walia), cliffs of the Semyen escarpment. The Walia once existed in significant numbers probably several thousands in the highland massif, feeding on the cliff faces and coming up to roam the plateau at rutting time. Large herds wandered unmolested on these chilly heights.
Day 6 - Axum B/L/D
Drive 175 miles through the mountain range offering extraordinary scenery of the Simiens as we descend towards the Tekeze Gorge. This scenic drive takes us from a height of 10,200 feet down to 4,600 feet. Drive through small villages dotted between the mountain massifs, where people somehow eke out an existence in this unforgiving countryside. Drive through the Tekeze valley into Axum. Overnight Altranos FantasyHotel or similar.
The Tekezé or Täkkäze River, is a major river of Ethiopia, 608 kilometres long. It rises near Lalibela, and flows north and then west, where it serves as part of the border between Ethiopia and Eritrea, to enter Sudan The canyon which it has created is the deepest in Africa and one of the deepest in the world, at some points having a depth of over 2000 meters.
Day 7 - Axum B/L/D
After breakfast have a city tour of Axum which was the heart of ancient Ethiopia, the capital of the Kingdom of Axum which was the most powerful state between the Eastern Roman Empire and Persia. The archaeological and historical attractions in Axum include monolithic steles or obelisks, the tombs of King Kaleb and King GebreMeskal, the legendary Bath of the Queen of Sheba, and the ruins of her ancient palace. Also visit the new and the old Cathedral of St Mary of Tsion (Zion) and the sanctuary that houses the original Arc of the Covenant. The older of the two cathedrals, built in the 16th century, is believed to be built on the ruins of an earlier 4th century church, and is the holiest site in Ethiopia. Overnight Altranos FantasyHotel or similar
The kingdom of Aksum, the first verifiable kingdom of great power to rise in Ethiopia, immerge during the first century AD. The Persian religious figure Mani listed Axum with Rome, Persia, and China as one of the four great powers of his time. It was in the early 4th century that a Syro-Greek castaway, Frumentius, was taken to the court and eventually converted king Ezana to Christianity, thereby making it an official religion. For this accomplishment, he received the title ”Abba Selama”. At various times, including a period in the 6th century, Axum controlled most of modern dayYemen just across the Red Sea.
The Aksumite Empire or Axumite Empire (sometimes called the Kingdom of Aksum or Axum), was an important trading nation in northeastern Africa, growing from the proto-Aksumite period ca. 4th century BC to achieve prominence by the 1st century AD. It was a major player in the commerce between the Roman Empire and Ancient India and the Aksumite rulers facilitated trade by minting their own currency. The state established its hegemony over the declining Kingdom of Kush and regularly entered the politics of the kingdoms on the Arabian peninsula, and would eventually extend its rule over the region with the conquest of the Himyarite Kingdom.
Under Ezana Aksum became the first major empire to convert to Christianity and was named by Mani as one of the four great powers of his time along with Persia, Rome, and China. In the 7th century the Muslims who originally converged in Mecca, sought refuge from Quraysh persecution by travelling to Aksum which is known in Islamic history as the First Hijra. Its ancient capital is found in northern Ethiopia. The Kingdom used the name ”Ethiopia” as early as the 4th century. It is also the alleged resting place of the Ark of the Covenant.
Day 8 - Gheralta Range
Visit the historical town of Adwa in which a decisive 1896 battle the Ethiopian army commanded by Emperor Menelik II defeated the Italians, dashing any hope they had to colonize Ethiopia. Continue to Yeha, a small village to view ancient ruins (5th century B.C.) of a large pre-Christian temple, believed to be the oldest standing building in Ethiopia. Also on the temple grounds is the 6th century A.D church of Aba Aftse, dedicated to one of the nine saints who migrated from Syria and introduced Christianity to this area. Overnight GheraltaLodge or similar.
Yeha is a large Bronze Age archaeological site located about 15 miles (25 km) northeast of the modern town of Adwa in Ethiopia. It is considered the birthplace of Ethiopia’s earliest known civilisation nearly three millennia ago. The Great Temple of Yeha is also known as the Almaqah Temple because it was dedicated to Almaqah, the moon god of the Saba’ kingdom.
Day 9 - Mekelle B/L/D
The Gheralta Range is home to a treasure trove of rock churches, which are carved into the sandstone buttes. This morning trek for 45 minutes to the top of an escarpment to visit the church of DebreTsion; its domes and the wall panels are abundantly decorated with fine paintings of saints and apostles. After lunch, we will visit the rock church of AbrahaAtsbeha, dedicated to the twin kings of the Axumite dynasty, who converted to Christianity in the 4th century. Continue to Mekelle, visiting the town of Werkro to view the rock church of Wekro Cherkos. Overnight Merkelle AxumHotel or similar
Mekelle, the capital of the Tigray Region and the largest city in northern Ethiopia, It was founded by Emperor Yohannes IV as his capital when he relocated his power base from Debra Berhane to Mekele in 1881. Mekele is a useful base from which to visit the rock-hewn churches of Tigray such as the Churches of ”Abraha wa Atsebah” in Wekro. Mekele is the seat of a historical palace called Atse Yohannes IV Palace named after the famous King who ruled Ethiopia from 1872-1889. Emperor Yohannes chose Mekelle as the seat of his government and built his graceful palace, still intact, in 1870s. The palace now serves as a museum. The Emperor’s throne, royal bed, ceremonial dress, rifles and many other valuable historical collections can be seen in the museum and the fantastic throne of Atse Yohannnes IV made by the Italian engineer Giacomo Nareri in 1874 is the eye catching centerpiece of the museum.
Day 10 - Lalibela B/L/D
Enjoy a relaxing scenic drive through the Tigray landscape and appreciate the abundant evidence of why Ethiopia is the most mountainous country in Africa. Visit Lake Ashenge a magnificent area to view the indigenous bird life of Ethiopia. Visit the exquisite church of YemrehaneKristos Arrive into historic Lalibela. Overnight Cliff Edge Hotel
Located in the north-east of Ethiopia, Lalibela is another renowned historical destination. Placed third in historic sequence, its site hosts the “eighth wonder of the world”, the Lalibela rock-hewn churches. UNESCO has recorded this site as one of the world wonders. It is also holy land for Ethiopia’s Orthodox Christians.
Today the town of Lalibela hosts eleven rock-hewn churches and all, apart from their historic significance, are renowned for their excellent and unique rock-carvings. The art displayed on the rocks dates from the twelfth century yet is still intact and in great shape. An active pilgrim site, the town is extensively visited and a source of admiration for architects and tourists alike.
Founded at the center of the Lasta mountain chain, Lalibela was originally called Roha and was a site of the Zagwe dynasty, of the Agew people. The decline of the Axumite dynasty gave rise to the Zagwe dynasty and, as a result, power shifted southward from Axum. After an interruption of the Solomonic line for almost 12 years, King Lalibela III, from the last of the Zagwe dynasty, managed to have these rock-hewn churches carved.
It took King Lalibela his entire reign and more than 60,000 men to finish the work. According to local accounts, the work was assisted by angels. Other erected and cave churches built during this period are found at a short distance from the town.
Day 11 - Lalibela B/L/D
Lalibela’s churches are collectively referred to as ‘The Eighth Wonder of the World’.
Legend has it that Emperor Lalibela had been instructed, in a vision from God, to build the new Jerusalem after returning from Jerusalem which was sacked by the Muslims. Visit the 11 majestic, rock churches that are still used as places of worship by Lalibelans. Since its relatively remote location, Lalibela has yet gained the worldwide exposure and has been compared as the “Petra of Africa”. Overnight Cliff Edge Hotel or similar
Day 12 - Arba Minch B/L/D
Morning drive to Nakutoleab which is an interesting cave church then have a flight to Addis Ababa and connect the flight to Arba Minch. After lunch, drive to the village of the Dorze tribe and Walk amongst the Dorze people and appreciate their beehive-shaped homes. Overnight Paradise lodge or similar
This tribe is respected as expert weavers. Also, they are expert farmers, their ingenious terracing technique, allow them to farm efficiently along the mountainside whilst preventing soil erosion.
Day 13 - Jinka B/L/D
This morning drive to Jinka; along way visit the colorful village of the Konso tribe. A pagan society, the Konso erect eerie wooden totems, replete with phallic symbols over the graves of the dead. They also have numerous cults based around the breeding and veneration of serpents. The cornerstone of Konso culture, however, is a highly specialized and successful agricultural economy that, through terracing buttressed with stone, enable these people to extract a productive living from the none-too-fertile hills and valleys that surround them. This will be an excellent day to mingle among the people, take photographs with them and learn firsthand about a culture virtually untouched by the outside world.
Proceed to the Ari Village compound learn and understand how the local people process different foods and alcohol. Later in the afternoon arrive in Jinka, located at the foot of Mago National Park. Overnight Jinka Resort.
A pagan society, the Konso erect eerie wooden totems, replete with phallic symbols over the graves of the dead. They also have numerous cults based around the breeding and veneration of serpents. The cornerstone of Konso culture, however, is a highly specialized and successful agricultural economy that, through terracing buttressed with stone, enable these people to extract a productive living from the none-too-fertile hills and valleys that surround them. This will be an excellent day to mingle among the people, take photographs with them and learn firsthand about a culture virtually untouched by the outside world
Day 14 - Turmi B/L/D
This morning drive to a Mursi tribal village. The tribe is renowned for the now-uncommon custom of their women, upon reaching maturity, having their lower lips slit and circular clay discs inserted. Return back to Jinka for lunch and this afternoon proceed to Dimeka to visit the colorful Hamer tribe. They are well known for their remarkable hairstyles made of ochre, water, and binding resin, resulting in copper-colored locks. This is a sign of wealth for this tribe. The Hamers are also considered the masters of body decoration. The Hamers are also known in Evangadi dance (night dancing) and Bull Jumping activities. Overnight TurmiLodge or similar
The Hammers have a traditional Bull jumping which is rite of passage for a younger son; coming of age must be passing through this ritual so as to get marry. The young man must jump, minimum four times, over a line of more than 10 bulls. He has to be nude while in jumping except for a few cords bound across the chest as a symbol of the childhood he is about to leave behind him. This event lasts three days, on completion of this test, the young man joins the ranks of the maza – Maza are other men that have successfully completed the bull jumping event. During this ceremony, the women of the tribe provoke the maza to whip them on their bare backs. This is extremely painful and causes severe scaring on the women. The scars are a symbol of devotion to the men and are encouraged by the tribe. After a successful bull jumping, there is an evening dancing ceremony called Evangadi, a Hammer tradition. The Hammers have unique huts that are made up of mud, wood and straw. Since this is not a day to day activities, we are not included it as a part of the program, but you may have a chance to see this at late afternoon and if there is an opportunity to see this event, there will be an additionl charge of $35p/p to be paid to the locally.
Day 15 - Turmi B/L/D
Turmi is our new base as we explore the region and meet the different tribes who share this valley but live a life uniquely their own. Drive to the Murulle area. Murile (also spelled Muelle and Murli) lies on the banks of the Omo River, and is a popular base for exploring this area. The two main tribes who live here are the Karo and the Hamer, both of whom practice scarification and have elaborate hairstyles. The Karo are experts in body painting, using clays and locally available vegetable pigments to trace fantastic patterns on their faces, chests, arms and legs. These designs have no special symbolic significance but instead are created for fun and aesthetic effect, as each artist tries to outdo another. Karo men also sculpt and shave their hair into extravagant shapes, with special ochre
The Karo live primarily in the village of Duss along the banks of the Omo and today their number is less than 600 individuals. As such, they are an endangered people. The Karo are especially noted for their exuberant body painting dances and celebrations. They differ from all of the other ethnic groups of the Omo in that they live in one main village. They are directly related to the Hamar, speaking a ditect of Hamar. The two tribes are descendants of a very ancient indigenous Omotic population whose origin has been never been determined. The Karo gaze their Goat and cattle on the same pastures as the Hamar
Day 16 - Arba Minch B/L/D
In the morning drive back to Arba Minch en-route visit the Bena tribes. Bena people are neighbours with the Hamer tribe and it is believed that the Bena actually originated from them centuries ago. Just like most of the indigenous tribes in the lower Omo Valley, the Bena practice ritual dancing and singing. The Bena look very similar to the Hamer and are often called the Hamer-Bena. Common rituals and traditions of other tribes are shared by the Bena. One of the distinctive aspects of the Bena/Hamar cultures is the
Benna people are neighbors with the Hamer tribe and it is believed that the Bena actually originated from them centuries ago. Just like most of the indigenous tribes in the lower Omo Valley, the Bena practice ritual dancing and singing.The Bena look very similar to the Hamer and are often called the Hamer-Bena. Common rituals and traditions of other tribes are shared by the Bena. One of the distinctive aspects of the Bena/Hamar cultures is the ”bull-jumping ceremony” that enables a young man to make the transition into adulthood. After having successfully jumped a row of bulls, the young man is eligible to select his wife. The Bena men often have their hair dressed up with a colorful clay cap that is decorated with feathers. Both the men and women wear long garments and paint their bodies with white chalk. Women of the tribe wear beads in their hair that is held together with butter
Day 17 - Addis Ababa
Back to Addis Ababa and stop at Lake Ziway, the biggest lake in the Ethiopian Rift valley system and to view the colorful birds. Then proceed to a sightseeing tour of the UNESCO World Heritage Site Tiya – an archaeological site of ancient Ethiopians. This evening enjoy a “farewell dinner” and coffee ceremony at a famous traditional Ethiopian restaurant and also enjoy an Ethiopian Folkloric show
Traditional musical instruments in widespread use include the massinko, a one-stringed violin played with a bow; the krar, a six-stringed lyre, played with the fingers or a plectrum; the washint, a simple flute; and three types of drum – the negarit (kettledrum), played with sticks, the kebero, played with the hands, and the atamo, tapped with the fingers or palm. Other instruments include the begena, a huge, multi-stringed lyre often referred to as the Harp of David; the tsinatseil, or sistrum, which is used in church music; the meleket, a long trumpet without fingerholes, and the embilta, a large, simple, one-note flute used on ceremonial occasions.
Though often simply made, the massinko can, in the hands of an expert musician, produces a wide variety of melodies. It is often played by wandering minstrels,particularly near eating houses, where the musicians entertain the diners. The rousing rhythms of the negarit were used in times gone by to accompany important proclamations, and chiefs on the march would be preceded by as many as 30 men, each beating a negarit carried on a donkey.
The tiny atamo is most frequently played at weddings and festivals, setting the rhythmic beat of folk songs and dances. Modern-style bands have come into existence in recent decades, and there are noted Ethiopian jazz musicians.