Ethiopia Timket Small Group Tour 2019
We arrange special passes for guests to enjoy Timket to the full  
Timket is at its most spectacular in Addis Ababa  
Pilgrims at Biet Giorgis, Lalibela  
Blue Nile Falls when water is not being diverted  
At Lake Tana island monastery  
Geladas grazing in Simien Mountains (ETO)  
Gondar aerial including the Imperial Compound (ETO)  
Priest at one of the magnificent rock-hewn churches of Lalibela  
Part of Axum's infamous stelae field (ETO)  
Fishermen in a traditional 'tankwa' on Lake Tana, near Kuriftu Resort  
Timket celebrations are much enjoyed by our guests  
Timket scene  
13 day tour
Including flights
Prices from
£3250

Tour Highlights

  • Enjoy Timket festivities in the most rewarding location
  • Gondar's enchanting castles
  • Magnificent Simien Mountains
  • Awesome rock-hewn churches of Lalibela
  • Axum's ancient stelae
  • Island monasteries in Lake Tana, Bahir Dar
  • Expert guiding throughout (Ethiopia's best!)
I'm enquiring about: Ethiopia Timket Small Group Tour 2019

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I'm enquiring about: Ethiopia Timket Small Group Tour 2019

Ethiopia Timket Small Group Tour 2019

Ethiopia

Our annual Timket Small Group departure has been one of Rainbow Tours' most successful and much-enjoyed small group tours in our 20 year history!

The festival of Timket celebrates the baptism of Christ, and is considered to be Ethiopia's most spectacular event. Our 13-day small group tour begins in Addis Ababa, where Timket is at its most impressive because of the magnitude of the processions. The tour includes visits to Bahir Dar & Lake Tana; the Blue Nile Falls, Gondar,  the Simien Mountains and the awe inspiring rock-hewn churches of Lalibela. Places on our small group tour are limited to a maximum of 10.

Timket festivities

The night before the festivities begin, priests take the Tabots (symbols of the Ark of the Covenant, containing the Ten Commandments) from the church, to a tent beside a consecrated pool or river. The ritual takes place amidst a cacophony of bells and trumpets and clouds of incense.

At 2 am crowds carry flaming oil lamps to a special Mass. As dawn breaks, a priest uses a ceremonial cross to extinguish a candle that is burning high on a pole, set beside the consecrated river or pool. This is the sign for members of the congregation to leap into the water. The Tabots are then transported back to the churches in colourful processions, accompanied by horsemen, and the three days of festivities and celebration begin.

We encourage you to have a look at the reviews on our website from our previous tours, which have been very highly praised by our guests!

Read more about this tour


Day 1
17 January 2019
Depart from London Heathrow on the overnight Ethiopian Airlines flight to Addis Ababa.
Day 2
Day 2
18 January 2019 - Addis Ababa
On arrival into Addis Ababa in the early morning, your professional guide/tour leader and your driver will meet and assist you.
 
Transfer to Golden Tulip Hotel for a 2-night stay with breakfast included.
 
Relax for the morning. In the afternoon and evening, attend some of the Timket festivities which are at their most impressive in the capital. Your special passed will ensure you have prime positioning to make the most of the activities and to get wonderful photographs.
Accommodation: Golden Tulip
     
Day 3
Day 3
19 January 2019 - Addis Ababa - Timket celebrations
Attend the Timket festivities which today are focused on the morning mass. In the afternoon, you'll be taken to see some of the capital city highlights. Overnight in the Golden Tulip, breakfast included. (The group will be taken to a good restaurant for lunch)
Accommodation: Golden Tulip
     
Day 4
Day 4
20 January 2019 - Bahir Dar
Transfer to the airport for the early morning 1 hour flight to Bahir Dar, where you stay two nights in a superior lake-view room at Avanti Blue Nile with all meals included.
 
Take a boat trip on the deep blue Lake Tana, Ethiopia’s largest body of water (3600 km sq) to see the regions famed, round, grass-roofed island monasteries with their magnificent friezes.
Accommodation: Avanti Blue Nile
       
Day 5
Day 5
21 January 2019 - Bahir Dar
Visit Africa's second largest waterfalls, the Blue Nile Falls. The Blue Nile plunges over a 45m high rock face into a steep narrow gorge to form one of Africa's most spectacular waterfalls, known locally as Tis Abay (Smoke of the Nile). Note that the 30 - 40 minute walk from where vehicles park to the falls viewpoint is on uneven surfaces.
 
Spend the rest of the day on a tour of Bahir Dar, visiting the colourful local market.
Accommodation: Avanti Blue Nile
       
Day 6
Day 6
22 January 2019 - Gondar
After breakfast, set off on the 2hr,30min drive along the scenic shores of Lake Tana from Bahir Dar up to Gondar, where you visit the town's attractions, best known of which are the impressive 17th century castles in the Imperial Compound. This is one of Ethiopia's many UNESCO World Heritage Sites. You will also see the ‘Bath of Emperor Fasilidas’ and the church of Debre Birhan Selassie, praised for its 'hallmark' wall and ceiling murals. Day ends at Goha Hotel for an overnight stay with all meals included.
Accommodation: Goha Hotel
     
Day 7
Day 7
23 January 2019 – Simien Mountains National Park
Set off early morning on the two hour drive to the Simien Mountains National Park, another of Ethiopia's World Heritage Sites and one of Africa's largest mountain ranges with varied flora in three distinct biospheres. Stay overnight in an en-suite bungalow at Simien Lodge, all meals included. Visit Sankaber nearby, for a walk in the beautiful Afro-alpine zone. There, and at the lodge, Ethiopia's most distinctive endemic primate, the Gelada monkey, is commonly seen as groups frequent both places. It is the world's only primate which grazes and males sport their magnificent, almost leonine manes. Birdlife, as is the case everywhere in Ethiopia, is wonderful.
Accommodation: Simien Lodge
                 
Day 8
Day 8
24 January 2019 - Simien Mountains National Park - Gondar
After a visit to Chennek, deep in the Simien Mountains, to seek the endangered Wahlia ibex, you will be driven back to Gondar for further sightseeing in this interesting town. Overnight in the hill-top Goha Hotel with all meals included.
Accommodation: Goha Hotel
     
Day 9
Day 9
25 January 2019 - Lalibela
Transfer to Gondar airport for the morning flight to Lalibela, Ethiopia's best known World Heritage Site, thanks to its awe- inspiring 12th AD rock-hewn churches, cut into the mountainsides here. Visit the first group of churches with your guides. After completing the visit of the first group or cluster which includes the largest of all Lalibela's churches, Beta Medhane Alem, the excursion ends with a visit to the remarkable cruciform Beta Giorgis - a great end to an absolutely unforgettable day! Overnight at Maribela Hotel with all meals included.
Accommodation: Maribela Hotel
         
Day 10
Day 10
26 January 2019 - Lalibela
In the morning, visit the second cluster of Lalibela's phenomenal rock hewn, monolithic and semi monolithic churches. Lunch at a local restaurant such as Seven Olives, which has an excellent menu.You wil thenl be taken to see the astonishing Yemrehane Kristos - it is about 40km from town, carved into a mountainside and positioned in a cave. (This place is remarkable).
 
* We recommend you take a torch as the interiors of some of Lalibela's churches are very dark.
 
Overnight in Maribela Hotel, all meals included.
Accommodation: Maribela Hotel
         
Day 11
Day 11
27 January 2019 - Axum
Transfer to the airport for flight to Axum in the semi arid northern part of the Historical Circuit, for a 1 stay in the Sabean Hotel , all meals included.
 
Visit the many attractions of this town, notably the Obelisk Park, the Axum museum, the remains of the Bath of the Queen of Sheba and the Mariamtson Church where the original stone tablets of the Ark of the Covenant are said to be housed. Spend the night at Sabean Hotel.
Accommodation: Sabean International Hotel
     
Day 12
Day 12
28 January 2019 - Addis Ababa
Fly to Addis Ababa where you will be taken to see more of the city's attractions including the Merkato, Africa's largest market districts selling everything from casual clothes and spices to spare parts.
 
You will have the use of day rooms at Nexus Hotel.
 
This evening will be a farewell dinner at a traditional restaurant in Addis to enjoy a variety of Ethiopian dishes and traditional dances.
 
Late evening transfer to the airport for clients departing just after midnight.
Day 13
29 January 2019: Departure (reluctantly!)
The Ethiopian Airlines flight to London departs at 01h50 and arrives in Heathrow at 06h35

Pricing Information & Dates

13 day tour, from £3250 per person
Price Includes:
  • Flights
  • Accommodation
Itinerary Dates From Price
17 Jan 2019
-
29 Jul 2018
£3250
Price Includes
* Return international flights on Ethiopian Airlines (economy class seating, subject to availability) from London Heathrow
* Domestic Ethiopian Airlines flights (DISCOUNTED due to international flights being on Ethiopian Airlines)
* Departure taxes
* Transfers and internal travel with all transportation
* Local guide and scout fees
* All entrances fees
* Services of a dedicated, professional, experienced, Ethiopian guide/tour leader, and of drivers,
* All excursions and activities
* Timket entrance passes
* All accommodation on a full board meal plans, except in Addis Ababa where meal plan is b&b.

Single room supplement: £625
Price Excludes
* Ethiopian visa (US$50, issued on arrival),
* Gratuities, personal items (drinks, phone calls, laundry, travel insurance)

Group size: minimum 6 - maximum 10.
Price Notes
Please note: a reasonable surety of foot is required for this tour as there are some walks on uneven surfaces (stairs to certain monasteries at Lalibela and the 30- minute walk to the Blue Nile Falls viewpoint). However your tour-leader and local guide will be pleased to assist you if required. Overall grading of the tour: Easy.

Flight prices are subject to availability and we would be happy to assist with alternative airlines and routings - ask us for details.

If you would like to do tailor-made individual extensions to places such as Bale Mountains or Harar, please contact us.

Tour Route Map

  1.   Addis Ababa
  2.   Bahir Dar & Lake Tana
  3.   Gondar
  4.   Simien Mountains
  5.   Lalibela
  6.   Axum

Accommodation on this Tour

Avanti Blue Nile
Avanti Blue Nile
Bahir Dar & Lake Tana, Ethiopia
Avanti Blue Nile About 8 km from Bahir Dar, this very modern, neatly designed lakeside hotel has 135 rooms.The hotel has 100 Classic Rooms, 16 Superior Rooms, 14 Duplex Suites and 5 Junior Suites.......
       
Goha Hotel
Goha Hotel
Gondar, Ethiopia
Goha Hotel Goha Hotel in Gondar was privatised some years ago and its big selling point is its superb location on a hilltop from where there are lovely views over the town.From the terrace and the......
     
Golden Tulip
Golden Tulip
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Golden Tulip Very conveniently located just 1 kilometer from Bole International Airport, this comfortable, internatonal, tourist-class hotel (part of the Louvre group) is a perfect base for those who......
     
Maribela Hotel
Maribela Hotel
Lalibela, Ethiopia
Maribela Hotel One of Lalibela's best hotels, Maribela provides accommodation of a high standard and is enjoyed by our clientele. Its design was inspired by that of some of the town's......
         
Sabean International Hotel
Sabean International Hotel
Axum, Ethiopia
Sabean International Hotel Sabean International Hotel is currently the best accommodation option in Axum and is located in the town centre. (It must be noted that accommodation in Axum does not......
     
Simien Lodge
Simien Lodge
Simien Mountains, Ethiopia
Simien Lodge is currently the only accommodation in the Simien Mountain National Park which is listed as a World Heritage site because of the incredible views and the endemic animals.
                 

Image Gallery

Reviews

'Overall holiday satisfaction (Timket Group 2, January 2018): Excellent. A good variety of different activities and destinations giving an excellent introduction to the country. 

Avanti Blue Nile: needs refurbishment, then this can be excellent. 

Mayleko Lodge: Good in terms of comfort, service and location. Meals and faclities average. Large room; comfortable. No toiletries provided except soap. Peaceful. TV and WiFi only in reception. 

Simien Lodge: restaurant manager surly; beer overpriced but overall a super place. 

Lalibela Lodge: good in terms of comfort and service. 

Sabean Hotel: convenient if a little noisy. 

We were fortunate to have an excellent guide (Temesgen) and a good group of people of similar ability and interest. This added greatly to our enjoyment of the holiday.'

 

Mr and Mrs Little
April 11, 2018

'The start of the trip was Timket. What a stroke of luck we got there. It was a fascinating and unique experience. Well done to Rainbow for spotting it. There were very few other tourists, which was a surprise. 

Staff of all the hotels were friendly, helpful and invariably tried their best. Full marks to them. Our tour guide was excellent and really made our trip that much more successful. He was VERY knowledgeable; he was patient and nothing was too much trouble. 

The local guides at the local sites were a mixed bunch. The one at Lalibela simply could not be bothered. Fortunately for us our tour guide knew everything anyway so problem solved. On the other hand the local guides in the [Simien] mountains and at Lake Langano were fantastic; knowledgeable and enthusiastic. 

All drivers were excellent and highly capable. 

Hara Langano extention: wonderful local guide and super setting. Birdlife wonderful and hippos just yards from the beach!

Mr Cole and Ms Campbell
March 1, 2018

(Timket Tour 2018): Overall excellent. Henok absolutely superb. No fault. Hotels no better nor worse than expected. Drivers and vans fine. Everyone friendly and delightful. Fascinating time. Axum the least spectacular; Lalibela the best. I would go again to see the South. Ethiopians (were) almost universally lovely as well. Extraordinary.

Mr Hollingworth
February 23, 2018

Overall holiday satisfaction (Timket 2018, group 1): Excellent.

Henok was quite extraordinarily excellent. Incredibly knowledygeable, energetic, helpful, calm and encouraging. 

Service from tour operator: Excellent

Local guides incomprehensible and unecessary - Henok usaually knew more than they did! 

Golden Tulip: excellent comfort, service and location for airport.

Avanti Blue Nile: excellent comfort, service and location. Meals average. Facilities good. 

Simien Lodge: excellent in terms of comfort, service and location especially. Meals and facilities good.

Maribela Hotel: same. 

Sabean Hotel: Excellent comfort and service. Location good. Meals average. Facilities good. 

Overall an excellent and a memorable trip. Many thanks!!

Sir and Lady Davies
February 23, 2018

'We (both my husband and myself) thought that Ethiopia was amazing - we went with high expectations and it surpassed these.  Our guide, Hennok, was first class, we got on well with our fellow travellers - but more importantly the scenery, wildlife, local people and culture we experienced were truly outstanding.  The tour arrangements worked extremely well - hotels were clean and comfortable, travel was efficient and on time, and the content of the trip was pretty much spot-on.  We knew very little about the Timket festival when we booked the tour, but now realise that it right up there with other top cultural events around the world.  To have been given such close-up access to the festival with our "guest passes" made it even more special and it will stay in our memories forever, especially returning before dawn and seeing all of the local people who had kept overnight vigil on the Ark of the Covenant.  We're so pleased that we went this year because we suspect that Ethiopia will become a "must do" on many people's destination list and that in coming years it may become more commercialised.  Very definitely one of our best ever (and we've had many) trips and we're still absorbing many of the wonderful things we experienced.  My husband is a keen photographer and he came home with some incredible wildlife shots (geladas, wolves and birds), stunning portraits of local people and great scenery shots'

Mr and Mrs Haley
February 8, 2016

'This trip was an experience of a lifetime not just because of the beauty of the country and kindness of the people, but mainly because of our exception guide, Henok. He is extremely knowledgable, patient, kind, and thoughtful. I had some mobility issues and he ensured that I was cared for and safe. He also has a great sense of humor which was very important with our jovial group, who got along with each other from the start and laughed constantly. He handled our mixed Brit/Yank jokes very well! Our driver, Lake, was exceptional. We never had a moment of worry about our safety, even over difficult terrain. Every day of the tour was a new amazing experience, from Gelada monkeys to the ancient rock-hewn churches of Lalibela and finally, the inspiring, beautiful ceremonies of the Timkut festival. I am spreading the word that Rainbow's Ethiopia with Henok is an experience not to be missed!

Jan Cowell, Pasadena' 

Ms Jan Cowell
February 4, 2016

'Dear Derek

We are now back in the UK, just a bit flight-lagged, having spent the last week in Dubai with our family.  Rosie and I have such happy memories of our recent trip. Our highest appreciations go to such a beautiful country with its lovely welcoming and happy people. To finish the tour with the amazing Timkat celebrations was the icing on the cake. Unforgettable.

The amazing guide Henok Tsegaye was definitely the best we have ever experienced in our many travels to other countries. He was incredibly well-informed historically and he is so proud of his country, which he loves so much. He was totally clear in his diction and instructions, attentive, caring, with a great sense of humour (he quickly came to realise when we Brits and the lady from the USA were winding him up in a friendly, jokey way!) and nothing was too much trouble. Those essential touches, such as plenty of bottled drinking water being always available wherever we were, make all the difference on a busy schedule. We will be sending him and Dinknesh Ethiopia Tour an email of appreciation. The drivers on our trips were all first-rate, courteous and careful.

Our group of ten visitors all bonded so well. We had fun and a happy time together. Amazingly, we discovered that one couple (Andrew and Viv) live here in East Molesey! If it is at all possible we will try to arrange a reunion for us all early this June, when Ken and Mandy are over from South Africa. We may even tempt Jan over from America!

A big thank you to yourself, together with your colleagues in London and Ethiopia for all your diligence in organising everything. We will send off the questionnaire to you when we come down to earth!

When we said to friends that we were going to Ethiopia several said 'why?'

It is merely that they are unaware of the culture, the history and the beauty there. Our photographs, some of which have already been posted on Facebook, show why! We have sent you a few. Let us hope that many more will travel there and see for themselves. We will certainly encourage this, since tourism is so important for the Ethiopian economy.

Kind regards

John and Rosie Rendall'

Mr and Mrs Rendall
January 27, 2016

'Overall holiday satisfaction (of the Ethiopia Timkat 2016 small group departure): Excellent.

Sora Lodge, Lalibela: very friendly, attentive staff.

Henok is an excellent guide. He dealt with all with humour and patience. He was knowledgeable and a delight. The driver - Hake (spelling?) was also exceptional'.

Ms Yate
January 25, 2016

'Overall holiday satisfaction (of the Timkat 2016 small group set departure): excellent. Jupiter International hotel is a comfortable, international hotel with hot water and Wifi.

Abayminch Lodge, Bahir Dar: good in all respects; excellent location. Electricity is erratic, didn't have this issue elsewhere.

Goha Hotel: good tourist hotel; good breakfast; OK dinner

Simien Lodge: great choice - loved it! Excellent in all respects.

Sora Lodge, Lalibela: excellent. Superb location; cooking class excellent. Fair to say vegetarians are not confused by choice.

Sabean Hotel, Axum: Comfort, facilities, location all good. Service and meals average. Meals here were a little poor especially dinner.

WOW, What a great holiday. Everything went like clockwork. Henok i the No 1 from the moment we arrived to the second we left at the airport for our flight back home. Nothing was too much trouble. New bottles of water in the bus every day. He arranged for the collection of our luggage from our hotel rooms, and even off the airport carousels. He took care of the tipping as we westerners are hopeless when it comes to this - when and how much. The VIP tickets in Addis for the Timkat festival meant we were literally right in the action. Again Henok was on hand to explain and direct us.

Ethiopia is THE place to go....and do it now whilst it is unspoilt by tourists. The people are amazing - we didn't see one private car for 8 days. People walk everywhere. The scenery is fabulous, awe inspiring with thousands of donkeys and mules, goats and sheep. Henok stopped at the roadside for us to photograph alongside a stop to see a young lady making injera, their local tef pancake (acquired taste but lovely).  Henok is Number1! 

Great holiday - where next?

 

 

 

Mr and Mrs Stockdale
January 25, 2016
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