June 9–June 25, 2016
This trip is custom planned to provide Water to Thrive supporters with a firsthand view into Ethiopia’s rich culture and Christian heritage. In addition, you will witness the transformation that clean, safe water brings to communities served by Water to Thrive, its Ethiopian partners, and our passionate supporters. The trip is organized by Water to Thrive. Travelers will be accompanied by Water to Thrive leadership and an Ethiopian tour director.
Day 1: Thursday, June 9: Depart Austin, arrive at hotel close to Dulles International Airport, Washington, D.C.
Travelers from other cities will join the group in Washington. Overnight stay near the airport.
Day 2: Friday, June 10: Depart Dulles before noon on a direct flight on Ethiopian Airlines Boeing aircraft to Addis Ababa, the capital city of Ethiopia.
Day 3: Saturday, June 11: Arrive in Addis Ababa early in the morning. Afternoon is open to explore Addis, the market, museums, and the bustling capital city.
Day 4: Sunday, June 12: Early flight to Lalibella. In the afternoon, we will explore the famous sacred churches carved entirely from granite inside and out. These are incredible monolithic churches cared directly out of the mountain and still in use today.
Day 5: Monday, June 13: Morning flight to Axum. After checking into the hotel, we will shop at local markets and tour some historic sites including the ancient obelisks, Chapel of the Ark of the Covenant, and Church of St. Mary of Zion.
Day 6: Tuesday, June 14: We will meet with our partners (REST – Relief Society of Tigray) in this region. The group will visit multiple communities enjoying clean water, see wells under construction and meet with villages still in need.
Day 7: Wednesday, June 15: We will be with our partners (REST) visiting multiple communities enjoying clean water, see wells under construction and meet with villages still in need. We will overnight at the beautiful Gheralta Lodge.
Day 8: Thursday, June 16: We will depart the lodge early, to visit Water to Thrive projects recently completed or under construction on the way to Mekele. We will have dinner with the leadership of REST.
Tentative Itinerary Continued
Day 9: Friday, June 17: Early flight back to Addis Ababa and catch our flight to the south at Arba Minch. We will drive up into the hills of Chencha, the village of the Dorze people. The road is 1,700m above sea level on a series of switchbacks and dramatic views of the Rift Valley. The Dorze are renowned cotton weavers and live in distinctive, beehive-shaped houses constructed entirely of organic material. After our visit to the village, we will return to Arba Minch and stay at the aptly named Paradise Lodge.
Day 10: Saturday, June 18: In the morning, we will visit Nech Sar National Park where we may be lucky to see some wildlife including Burchell’s Zebra, Warthog, Bushbuck, Guenther’s Dik-Dik, Greater Kudu, Grant and Thomson’s Gazelle and the endemic Swayne’s Hartebeest Bushbuck. In the afternoon, we will drive to the Konso village. The Konso are famous for their old and unique terracing, unusual engraved wooden statues/totems. We will also enjoy a stop at the Saturday market. In the evening, we will return to Arba Minch and the Paradise Lodge.
Day 11: Sunday, June 19: In the morning, we will take a boat over Lake Chamo to see the Nile Crocodiles and Hippopotamus as well as beautiful aquatic birds including the Kingfisher and African Fish Eagle. W
e will then continue the drive to Hawassa to meet our water partner in this region (SCES – South Central Ethiopia Synod of Makane Yesus), visiting water projects. We will have dinner and stay at the Haile Resort, Hawassa.
Day 12: Monday, June 20: Visit more projects with our water partner in this region (SCES – South Central Ethiopia Synod of Makane Yesus). In the evening, we will enjoy the nearby resort on beautiful Lake Longano.
Day 13: Tuesday, June 21: Travel north to visit projects with our partner (CGS – Central Gibe Synod) in Elu Gelan. We will stay overnight at Negash Lodge.
Day 14: Wednesday, June 22: Continue visiting sites with our partner, Central Gibe Synod and an overnight stay at Negash Lodge.
Day 15: Thursday, June 23: Proceed to Ambo and visit with Gosu Kora School and the community. In the afternoon, drive to Addis Ababa and visit Entoto for bead and jewelry shopping. In the evening, the group will experience Ethiopian culture and dinner at a traditional Ethiopian restaurant.
Day 16: Friday, June 24: Worship at Mekane Yesus church. The afternoon is open for shopping and sightseeing in Addis Ababa. We will have a late night departure from Addis back to the US – Washington Dullas International Airport.
Day 17: Saturday, June 25: Arrive back in your home city with treasured photos and memories and a much deeper, richer understanding of the blessing of clean, safe water!