Ethiopia - Citadels and Desert Palaces

Simien mountains
Simien mountains
Bet Medhane Alem, 'House of the Saviour of the World' Lalibela
Bet Medhane Alem, 'House of the Saviour of the World' Lalibela
Tiya Stelae
Tiya Stelae
St. Gregory's Church, Lalibela
St. Gregory's Church, Lalibela
Simien mountains and valley around Lalibela
Simien mountains and valley around Lalibela
Lake Tana
Lake Tana
Blue Nile Falls
Blue Nile Falls

Ethiopia is a land of striking contrasts, defined by the peaks of the Simien mountain plateau and the depths of the Rift Valley, home to the modern city of Addis Ababa and the granite stelae of Aksum, landlocked and yet refreshed by the waters of the Blue Nile. This ancient land, source of fables and stories since antiquity, is full of exciting archaeology to explore. Some of the earliest and most complete remains of human ancestors were discovered here and Saba‘an-style temples dating back to the early first millennium before Christ are still in the process of being excavated. While rock-hewn churches, carved into fabulous shapes and in some cases lavishly painted, hint at Ethiopia’s rich Christian heritage, the city of Harar is a focal point for the country’s Islamic past. Modern history records the hard-fought independence of Ethiopia in the face of colonial powers - ensuring that this land retained its distinctive and enthralling cultural riches.

Follow the Blue Nile south to its source, to venture into the past of one of the world’s most exciting archaeological destinations. Leading this tour is Dr Jacke Phillips, an archaeologist from the School of Oriental and African Studies, London, who has excavated extensively in Ethiopia and is one of the leading figures in Ethiopian archaeology. Jacke’s experience and knowledge of the country are second to none, making her the perfect person to bring the fascinating history of Ethiopia to life.

  • Magnificent rock-cut churches with colourful artwork
  • View the rock-cut city of Lalibela
  • Witness the spectacular Blue Nile waterfalls
  • Visit the Imperial Palace complex at Gondar
  • Discover the home of the Ark of the Covenant


  • Rock Art
  • Prehistory
  • Medieval
  • Historic Churches


  • All Inclusive

What's Included

  1. Expert Guide Lecturer
  2. Tour Manager
  3. Local Travel - Private a/c coach and boat
  4. Meals - All meals included with wine at dinner
  5. Entries & Tips - Entry to all sites in programme; tips included
  6. Field Notes
  7. Hotels
  8. Flights

Hotel Info

We stay in a combination of modern, comfortable 4* & 5* hotels, and some simpler, more traditional establishments in rural areas:

  • 2 + 1 night in a stylishly modern hotel in Addis Ababa: conveniently located about a 15 minute drive from Bole International Airport. Facilities include a restaurant, bar café and spa services.
  • 2 nights in Lalibela: lodges designed in the form of traditional 'tukuls'; airy and light with large bathrooms.
  • 2 nights in Bahir Daron: on the shores of Lake Tana, the resort enjoys cooling shore breezes all year round, a breathtaking lake view expanse and a clever blend of native Ethiopian architecture and décor. Features include beautiful gardens and large swimming pool and sunbathing terrace, a gourmet restaurant, bar and spa, to which all guests are entitled a free Swedish massage!
  • 2 nights in a modern Ethiopian-styled hotel in Gondar: situated on the hills of the city and is a short distance away from its 17th century royal enclosures. Facilities include a restaurant which serves traditional and European cuisine throughout the day, swimming pool, internet café, atmospheric lounge and a bar with campfire terrace.
  • 1 night a modern and comfortable hotel in Aksum.
  • 1 night in Mekele.
  • 2 nights in a hotel with a large swimming pool, in Dire Dawa.

Linked Tours

Many of our tours can be linked together to form longer programmes. We are happy to arrange connecting flights and hotels, allowing you to spend as long as you wish exploring the ancient world... See suggestions below:

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2019 Tour Details

Sun 27th October - Sat 9th November

Accepting £500 deposits



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Guide Lecturer

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