Available from November 1,2019 to February 30, 2020
Day 1: Drive from Mekele to Hawzien
In one day you will visit three churches; Abuna Yemata Guh; Maryam Korkor and Daniel Korkor. All of which are very different in style but stunningly beautiful in their own way.
To visit Abuna Yemata Guh, walking for about an hour to commence a steep ascent up the side of the Gheralta massif. This steep ascent soon turn into a climb using foot holds and hand holds chipped into the sandstone rock by the passage of many hands and feet. The climb and the walk along very narrow ledges with sheer drops to the side is not one for the faint hearted. The church itself can be reached by walking out on a ledge one meter wide and with a 200m drop to the left hand side. At the entrance there is a small cave and a wooden door built into the rock.
Of the three, Maryam Korkor is the most impressive architecturally. A huge, high ceiling is supported by 12 free standing pillars. Looking at it you could not help but wonder how the architect managed to carve so high from the ground.
Overnight in Hawzien at Vision Hotel
Day 2: Hawzien to Axum
Wake up early to catch the sunrise from the inside of a hot air balloon with a spectacular view of the magical scenery of the Gheralta rocks.
We will pick you up from your hotel to take you to the takeoff field. At the takeoff field you will witness firsthand how a hot air balloon is filled and how the process works. To keep you warm, we will serve hot beverages or some fresh juice during this unique experience.
Our pilot will give a short briefing on flight safety and off you go, into the basket to climb the skies. The balloon goes up 300 to 500 meters above the ground and experience one of the most magical sunrises of your life. You will enjoy the amazing views while the sun hits the Gheralta rocks and experience an hour from inside the basket of the hot air balloon. After you touched down again we will have a traditional champagne ceremony to celebrate the flight. Of course we will not leave you with an empty stomach so we will go to a restaurant where we have a delicious breakfast with all the passengers. After the breakfast we bring you back to the hotel and you have the rest of your day to think about this magical experience.
The program will be from 5am till 10am.
Continue your visit of the churches on the way to Axum.
On this day, you will be visiting Debre Damo or Yeha. Yeha is famous for its huge and remarkable temple. According to the 19th-century German scholar Heinrich Miiller, the temple is thought to date back to about seven or eight hundred years before the birth of Christ. The temple is believed to be the oldest standing building in the country. Beside the remarkable temple stands a church dedicated to Abba Aftse. Abba Aftse was one of the famous nine saints who came to Ethiopia in the 6th century from the eastern Roman Empire to teach the Gospel. The church, sharing the same compound with the temple is rectangular in shape. Proceed to Debre Damo monastery accessible only by rope and not allowed for women.
$575 per person.
• All Entrance fees and licenses as per the program.
• Includes Vehicle
• Fuel, driver allowance
• Hotel with Bed & Breakfast
• Local guide service as per the program
• comprehensive insurance, free mileage
• accommodation in Hawzien tourist class hotel.
NB: The tour can start from Axum or from Mekele.
Reservation for this tour has to be a minimum of 3 weeks before departure date.
With no less than 120 Rock-Hewn Churches in Tigray, organized in different clusters, you could spend weeks in this area and still not discover everything. Many are stunning, and you can only cover a few of those in the Wukro Cluster and the Gheralta Cluster on these two days