Our Journey In Diversity starts off in ancient Abyssinia modern day Ethiopia – amongst the oldest civilisation centres in Africa. Here we traverse the famous Historic Route visiting Baher Dar, Gondar, Axum, Lalibela and Addis Ababa. Our next destinations, very diverse than Ethiopia, are the countries of Uganda and Rwanda where the focus is on gorilla tracking and the rural East African culture. Culminating the African experience we now embark upon the UAE with an interesting insight into the culture of the Arab sheikhdoms and experience how the traditional Arab society blends with the new world. Add an optional side trip to the majestic Victoria Falls before flying to the UAE. How diverse can you get?
|Tour Duration||:||17 days|
|Min. Tour Size||:||02 persons|
|Max. Tour Size||:||06 persons|
|Includes international air|
|Tour Price (from)||:||US$|
Day 01: Arrive Addis Ababa (ETHIOPIA)
Upon arrival at Addis Ababa we are warmly received and transferred to our hotel. The balance of the day is free to recover from the flight. Founded in 1886 by Menelik II, Addis Ababa is located at 2,500 m above sea level in one of the highest parts of the Entoto Mountain chain (3,000 m above sea level).
Overnight: Dreamliner Hotel, Addis Ababa (1 night)
Day 02: Addis Ababa/Baher Dar
A short flight gets us to Baher Dar, a pleasant city located on the shores of Lake Tana, Ethiopia’s largest lake. After checking into our hotel, we drive to the Blue Nile Falls, known locally as Tissisat (smoking water). 100 m wide, the water plunges for 45 m, giving rise to steam clouds and rainbows. We climb down to the base of the falls for a closer look and then ascend on the other side. The round trip takes about 10 minutes. We then cross the Blue Nile by boat to return to the point of departure. After lunch we explore Lake Tana and its islands by boat. There are 37 islands on Lake Tana and 30 of them have churches and monasteries of great historical and cultural interest. We tour monasteries dating to 14th century, visiting Ura Kidane Mihret and Azwa Mariam, famous for their old manuscripts, crosses, icons and paintings.
Overnight: Tana/Summerland Hotel, Baher Dar (1 night) (B, L, D)
Day 03: Baher Dar/Gondar (Drive)
We drive to Gondar the first capital city of the Ethiopian Empire, founded in 1632 by the Fasilidas. Here a dozen castles were built by various emperors over the course of 236 years. The city feels more European than African and features a distinct Islamic influence. We visit the 17th century royal palace compound, the bath of King Fasil, the Debre Birhan Selassie Church, the ruined palace of Queen Mentowab and the church of Qusquam. We explore a Falasha (Jewish) village where we will have an opportunity to meet Ethiopian Jews and learn about their culture. In the evening we visit Mini Fogera to enjoy Asmari music and food.
Overnight: Taye Hotel, Gondar (1 night) (B, L, D)
Day 04: Gondar/Axum
Today we fly to Axum, one of the oldest continuously inhabited places in Africa. The Kebre Nagast (‘Book of Kings’) recounts how Axum was the city in which the Queen of Sheba resided in the 10th century B.C. Legend has it that the son of Queen of Sheba and King Solomon brought the Ark of the Covenant to Axum and that it remains preserved in a sanctuary to this day. Axum was the capital of the long Axumite reign, one of the oldest African empires, and represented a crucial link between Africa and Asia for almost a thousand years. We visit the Stelae Park, Queen of Sheba’s palace, the Axum Museum, church of Saint Mary of Zion (where the original Ark of the Covenant is believed to have been housed). We will also see King Kaleb’s Castle, Mai Shum and visit the tomb of King Bazen and museum inside the church grounds.
Overnight: Yeha or Ramhai Hotel, Axum (1 night) (B, L, D)
Day 05: Axum/Lalibela
A short flight gets us to Lalibela. The city contains 11 monolithic churches carved out of pink granite rock in the 12th century and are a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Each church (Bet) has a unique architectural style; all are superbly carved and most of them are decorated with well-preserved paintings. The entire city may be described as a sculpture dedicated to the glory of God. Before lunch we visit the first group of the 11 medieval monolithic rock hewn cave churches of this 13th-century “New Jerusalem.” After lunch, we visit the famous Yemrehane Kristos Church.
Overnight: Lal Hotel/Tuku Lodge, Laibela (2 nights) (B, L, D)
Day 06: Lalibela
After breakfast we take an excursion to visit the unique cave church of Neakuto Leab, followed by a visit of the second group of the 11 medieval monolithic rock hewn cave churches, built by King Lalibela, including the famous Bete Giorgis. (B, L, D)
Day 07: Lalibela/Addis Ababa (Flight)
In the morning we fly to Addis Ababa. Upon arrival we are transferred to our hotel. In the afternoon we explore Ethiopia’s capital visiting the National Archaeological Museum and the Mercato (Italian for market, as the main covered market still in use dates from the colonial administration of the late 1930s), the largest outdoor market in the world. Tonight our Ethiopian hosts bid us farewell dinner Ethiopian style.
Overnight: Dreamliner Hotel, Addis Ababa (1 night) (B, L, D)
Day 08: Addis Ababa/Entebbe (UGANDA)
A short flight gets us to Entebbe where we are warmly received and transferred to our hotel. In the late afternoon we explore Kampala, Uganda’s capital, known for its beautiful setting on hills.
Overnight: Lake Victoria Serena Resort (1 night) (B, D)
Day 09: Kampala/Bwindi National Park (Southern Part)
After a drive-through tour of Kampala we drive through the countryside to the famous Bwindi National Park. The ancient rainforest of Bwindi spans over 300 sq. km and is the habitat of over 90 mammal species, a range of primates, including the world-famous mountain gorillas, as well as 23 Albertine Rift endemic bird species, including the African Green Broadbill and the Bar Tailed Trogon. On the way we visit the Royal Drum makers, to see how traditional African drums are made, stop at the Equator to stand in both, the Northern and Southern hemispheres simultaneously and also visit local villages and meet the local folks, arriving at Bwindi in time for our evening meal.
Overnight: Lake Mutanda Chamelon Hill Lodge (2 nights) (B, L, D)
Day 10: Bwindi 1st gorilla tracking
This morning we are set for an exciting day as we head out for our first gorilla viewing. We hike through the thick, verdant, rainforest to viewing the gorillas in their natural habitat. This is truly an amazing and an unforgettable experience. Actual trek times vary, depending on where the gorillas will be. Usually this excursion can take between 4 to 6 hours. Should you not participate in this excursion, you will not need to pay the Uganda gorilla-viewing fee. In this case you may partake of several optional activities, such as exploring the Batwa Trail, where the local tribe demonstrate hunting techniques, gather honey, point out medicinal plants and demonstrate us how to make bamboo cups, visit Ngarama Caves or see tribal traditional dances. (B, L, D)
Day 11: Bwindi National Park/Parc de National (RWANDA)
We drive to the Uganda/Rwanda border and after the formalities we drive to Volcanoes National Park (Parc National des Volcans), which lies in northwestern Rwanda and borders Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in Uganda. The national park is known as a haven for the mountain gorilla. It is home to five of the eight volcanoes of the Virunga, which are covered in rainforest and bamboo. The park was the base for the zoologist Dian Fossey. We relax in the afternoon in preparation for an early morning rise for our next gorilla viewing experience. The Mountain Gorilla View Lodge is a new mid-range lodge in the area and is ideally located for gorilla viewing excursions in Rwanda.
Overnight: NThe Mountain Gorilla View Lodge (2 nights) (B, L, D)
Day 12: Parc de National – 2nd gorilla viewing
Today we go on our second gorilla viewing trek, Volcanoes National Park is the definitive location in Africa to look for the rare mountain gorilla and also a great place to encounter golden monkeys. Trekking here involves less walking and is less strenuous than at trekking in Bwindi. An encounter with these beautiful creatures, which despite their size are remarkably nonaggressive, is a magical experience that is absolutely worth the price. In the evening we have the option to be entertained by the Ibyiwatu Cultural group to learn about Rwandan culture, music, dance, and drama or visit the twin lakes. (B, L, D)
Day 13: Ruhengere/Kigali
The safari portion of tour comes to a close as we drive to Kigali, Rwanda’s capital through the foothills of the Virunga mountain range. Upon arrival we explore the city, visiting the Genocide Museum and the Caplaki Crafts Center. Time permitting we also visit the Mille Collins Hotel made famous by the movie, Hotel Rwanda. We are then transferred to our hotel.
Overnight: Lemigo Hotel (1 night) (B, L, D)
Day 14: Kigali/Dubai (UAE)
After a wonderful experience of seeing and experiencing the heritage of East Africa, we are transferred to the airport for our flight to Dubai to experience a completely different world. Upon arrival we are welcomed and transferred to our hotel.
Overnight: Holiday Inn, Bur Dubai (3 nights) (B, L)
Day 15: Dubai
Our specially designed historical tour of Dubai starts with visiting the ancient townhouses of the rich merchant of the region who came from Bastak and settled on the creek of Dubai which is now called Bastakia. We then visit 150-year old Fort Fahidi and the Dubai Museum. Next we walk through the ancient souk of textiles and later cross by a traditional abra (water taxi) to arrive at the spice souk and continue to the gold souk where an array of gold and jewellery are displayed. We then visit the Al Hamadiya School followed by the heritage village and the ancestral palaces of the ancient sheikhs of the Bu falasa tribe. Our Dubai tour also includes the Jumeirah mosque, Burj Khalifa, Zabeel Palace and historical Dubai creek. In the afternoon we have an incredible desert experience as we take on a desert safari. This is a 6-hour excursion, which takes us on 4x4 vehicles over the sand dunes culminating with a barbecue dinner ubder the stars with entertainment and music. (B, D)
Day 16: Dubai
Today we are free to explore Dubai. We could enjoy the many attractions of the Emirate, such as visiting the only 7-star hotel in the world, engage in more shopping adventures or take an excursions to the neighbouring emirates of Abu Dhabi or Sharjah. (B)
Day 17: Depart Dubai
After the experiencing the great cultural and natural of our tour, we are transferred to the airport for our departure flight. Optional extensions available within the United Arab Emirates or to neighbouring countries. (B)
B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner
English Speaking Departures (Please contact us for information on French, German, Italian and Spanish speaking departures).
Tour PriceWe accept payment in US $ (US Dollars), CA $ (Canadian Dollars) or equivalent EURO (for clients outside North America). Bestway Tours & Safaris offers conversion rate protection. Once full payment has been received, and no modification has been made to the tour itinerary, we will honour that rate. For complete payment procedures, please click here
Due to the very limited number of gorilla viewing permits being issued, this tour has been tailored in a way that we have two opportunities of gorilla viewing in two different settings –Uganda and Rwanda.
Estimated International Airfare (International airfare is NOT included in this tour)
This tour operates on a minimum of 02 and a maximum of 06 participants
If you would like to have a tour on dates other than the above ones or with a customised itinerary, please contact us and we will be happy to work out an exclusive program for you.
You may e-mail us at email@example.com or call 1-604-264-7378. Residents of U.S.A./Canada may call us toll free at 1-800-663-0844.