JEWISH RENAISSANCE ETHIOPIA JOURNEY from 1st November 2016
Although Ethiopia has been casting a spell on foreign travellers since the days of the Crusaders, it is a country that is often overlooked by modern travellers. But with unique wildlife, underground tombs, an existing Jewish community that by 2018 will have left the country for Israel, churches hewn out of solid rock, ancient monasteries, bustling market towns and nine UNESCO World Heritage Sites (the most of any African country) we don't think it will stay that way for long! Take a look at the and head to this eye-opening corner of East Africa in 2016 to experience its otherworldly charm before it gets invaded by the masses.
The cheder in Gonda when we visited on Friday morning of 13th November 2015
Soak up the best of Ethiopia on our trip for 12 days leaving 1st November 2016
Our itinerary lets you get under the surface of this diverse and wonderful country. Explore Ethiopia’s highlights, immerse yourself in their rich culture and enjoy the country's amazing wildlife, stunning scenery and fascinating history.
Our itinerary takes you on an epic 12 day [14 nights as two nights flying] exploration of some of Ethiopia's most diverse regions. With lakes, mountains, former Jewish villages, churches, castles, tribes and an abundance of history and whacky wildlife to take in, this extensive itinerary really has it all.
"Ethiopia is so often overlooked when people talk about Africa's spectacular wildlife, and yet the country boasts some of the rarest animals on the continent. I can't rate Ethiopia enough as a holiday destination for wildlife enthusiasts."
Basically Ethiopia is a land that has everything - from the origin of Civilization - the final resting place of the Ark of the Covenant - A land of independence - the only African country which has its own Letter alphabet calendar etc . The home land of human kind where you can say hello to ancestor LUCY in the national museum in Addis.
In the case tourist destination it is chosen by European Tourist organization as the favourite destination of 2015 and 2016
Altogether Ethiopia has 300birds 17endemic and others common ones, historical sites like The Rock hewn church of Lalibela , the medieval castles of Gondar the origin of civilization of the steles of Axum, the Ethnic cultural groups in the Omo valley of Hammar, mursi, Dasenech Bena etc plus the scenic beauty of the Semien Mountain range which we will experience
Jewish Renaissance 2nd trip to [now 12 days] ETHIOPIA from Tuesday 1st November 2016
Terminal 2 flight HEATHROW Ethiopian Airlines 8.15pm Flight No ET 701 [check in recommended 2 hours earlier] with arrival Wednesday 2nd November Addis Ababa at Bole International Airport 6.30am
Wednesday 2nd November – Ethiopia is a country of 70 million with 7 million in Addis Abiba new flower [known as the Brussels of Africa] making it the 3rd biggest capital in the world was founded by Emperor Menilik II in 1896
We meet our guide for the trip ABEBE [see website http://semientrekethiopia.com/ of his travel business for more info] and travel to the adjacent airport to take an internal flight of a short 30 minutes to Bahir Dar. We relax and acclimatize and have lunch by the lake Tano before we have a boat trip to the Island Monastery of Lake Tana to Uka Kidane Mihret where we see mural paintings. We return across Lake Tana at sunset by an Island with stunning bird life and have a relaxing meal at our Grand hotel Spa which has an outdoor swimming pool
Thursday 3rd November
9.00 Excursion to the Blue Nile falls being the second biggest waterfall in Africa after the Victoria Falls. We will be experiencing what is known as an African massage in this region due to the bumpy roads which we will have to travel on. After lunch we experience our first African market before we return to the Hotel. Bahar Dar is home of Ethiopia’s largest water source of the Blue Nile which has 37 scattered islands in Lake Tana and home to more treasures of churches and priceless collections of icons. Evening meal and overnight Grand Hotel Spa
Friday 4th November
Set off at 7.00am early for 3.5 hour drive to Gonda. We make a stop on route at the castle of Guzara erected by King Sertse Dengil in 1563 and the rock which is erected to the sky and is called FINGER OF GOD.
We will get to Gondar in time to see the children in the Jewish school as well as the Jewish Community's weaving factory with lunch at the Kindu Trust supported by Meketa a British based charity supporting Beta Israel Jews [almost 5,000] who have not been able to emigrate to Israel due mainly due to Israeli authorities rejecting their Jewish line of descent. They came from distant villages and have now settled in Gondar where they are supported by the charity. Afternoon relax by the pool at the Goha Hotel with its magnificent views of the city perched on the hill a birdwatchers paradise.
Before we head off for Kabbalat servives at the Synagogue followed by meal at a hotel closer to the Synagogue where we will invite members of the Community to join us. Following prayers evening kosher meal will be at Lamergaier Hotel near the Synagogue
Gondar which was once the capital of Ethiopia founded by Emperor Faslidas in 1636. The City is famous for its many medieval castles with unique designs and became one of the largest cities in the realm being at the centre of a great trading route between blue Nile and Sudan and Red Sea port of Massawa. Known for its centre of religious learning art and culture.
We are visiting this city of course due to the existing Jewish community that remains in Ethiopia to learn how they survived and thrived for so many centuries another miracle of Jewish survival which we will experience firsthand by spending Shabbat with the community.
Overnight Goha Hotel Gondar
Shabbat 5th November
9. 30 We leave Hotel to attend the prayer services in the Synagogue.
Afternoon following Kiddush/lunch we visit the church of Debre Birhan, Silassie church and the swimming pool of Fasilades plus visit to the famous Gonda castle of Fasilades
Overnight Goha Hotel Gondar
Sunday 6th November
We visit the various Jewish villages in the surrounds of Gondar together with their cemeteries including excursion to Ambeo Ber which was established in 1939 as a Jewish village for Falashas where we see their simple Beta Israel Synagogue together with their old and new Synagogues where Hebrew books stand with Aramaic and English books donated from different communities.
Overnight Goha Hotel Gondar
Monday 7th November we leave Gondar early at 8.00am and head for the Semien Mountains to stay for 1 night in an Eco Lodge in Debark with walks and tours to see the nature wildlife monkeys and some of the most exotic birdlife on this planet
Overnight Semien Lodge Hotel
Tuesday 8th November
We depart the Semien mountains after another nature walk and head for AXUM to see its sites. Axum is a town of legends considered to be the last resting place of the ark of the covenant, littered with ruins of palaces, underground tombs, mysterious monolithic steles which are the largest in the world and carved from from single piece of granite. We travel to Sabean Hotel to check in then we start visiting the historic route of tombs of Remhai, the city museum, legendary palace of the Queen of Sheba.
Overnight Sabean Hotel Axum
Wednesday 9th November
We fly to Lalibela early to spend 2 nights at the Tukul Village Hotel - Lalibela, a medieval settlement is a site of 11 remarkable rock formations rock-hewn monolithic churches believed to have been built by King Lalibela in the 12th century. Carved into red rock they are considered among the wonders of the world with each building structurally unique with carvings and beautiful paintings
After lunch at the Hotel an excursion to Yemrehane Kirstos which is 45 kilometres away
We return to Hotel at approx 7pm for overnight and meal.
Overnight Tukul village hotel
Thursday 10th November
9.00 – We continue to discover the wonders of Lalibela, the impressive and mysterious churches some lying in deep trenches and others in quarried caves all are complex in architecture and super human scale of workmanship and concept
Lunch in Lalbela
Continue visiting these amazing sites and overnight Tukul Village Hotel Lalibela
Friday 11th November
After visiting more sites in Lalibela we take the internal flight back to Addis Ababa where we take our coach to the National Museum, cathedral church of Trinity and the Old Church of St George. We also aim to try and visit the secret Jews Factory in Addis before we head for the the Entoto Mountain and its magnificent views. The altitude of the city is 2,300 metres in downtown Addis Ababa and we visit biggest market in Africa in Shiro Meda, Synagogues of Kechene, Medhanialem and Koteba
Overnight Hilton Hotel which has an outside pool in nice grounds allowing for some rest and relaxation ahead of our night journey Home on Sunday night
Friday night Kabbalat shabbath prayers and diner overnight Hilton Hotel Addis Ababa
Saturday 12th November
Saturday morning prayers before we head to visit other sites not seen in Addis including museums or alternative relaxation Overnight Hilton Hotel
Sunday 13th November We travel out of the capital of Ethiopia to visit the two Synagogue near to Ankober and to Debre Birhan (130km) from Addis Ababa.
After return to the city we all head to an excellent restaurant in the city of Addis Ababa for a farewell party and final group meal
10.30 Transfer from restaurant to Bole International airport for check in for Heathrow
London flight No ET700 on Monday 14th November at 1.55am landing at Terminal 2 London Heathrow at 6.55am
Sharing a twin or double room is £2,795 – single supplement is £595 – Cost covers all your meals hotels, all non alcoholic drinks with all meals, transportation guide fees and museum fees tips to drivers and local guides plus 3 internal flights within Ethiopia
Excludes flights [2015 flights were £595 economy return and £2,280 business class return on Ethiopian Airways as travelling overnight] Full AITA and ATOL cover certificates will be issued if West End Travel book your flights as a combined flight and land package in Ethiopia.
Trip will be confirmed on 10 bookings only, so do not proceed to book flights yourself until trip is confirmed. We will proceed to book flights for the group once trip is confirmed advising you first of the cost.
Please return booking form with deposit of £300 per person to Marcel Manson at West End Travel 70 Edgware Way, Edgware Middx HA8 8JS or by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
Tel No 0208 9545074 for enquiries
The group for 2016 is restricted to 18 people so we advise to book early to avoid disappointment – As a Jewish Renaissance trip subscription to the J R magazine is necessary to join trip at £29 per annum