Day Tour from Addis Ababa to visit Debre Libanos Monastery, Jemma Gorge and Portuguese Bridge – Merit Ethiopian Experience Tours one day trip to Debre Libanos Monastery by drive with private vehicle.
Guided Day Trip to visit Ethiopia’s biggest monastery - Debre Libanos Monastery
Keep reading for details of this excursion.
The main activity of this private day tour from Addis Ababa is visiting Debre Libanos Monastery. The ancient Debre Libanos Monastery is the largest Ethiopian Orthodox Christianity Monastery. The Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Monastery of Debre Libanos is located at a distance of about 100 km north of Addis Ababa in the North Shewa Zone of the Oromia Region.
With this day tour to Debre Libanos, you will also see the 16th Century stone made Portuguese Bridge. Enjoy the magnificent views of Jemma River Gorge.
Duration – 8 to 9 hours
Total Distance Covered – 210 km
Means of Travel – Private Toyota Corolla (1 or 2 visitors) or Toyota Minivan (3 to 6 visitors)
With this day trip from Addis Ababa: -
• Visit local villages of the Oromo people to see how Injera (Ethiopia's national bread),
• See Gelada Baboons (found only in Ethiopia) and
• Attend traditional Ethiopian Coffee Ceremony
NOTE – June, July, and August is the rainy season in Ethiopia. Enjoying the views of the Jemma River Gorge and seeing the Gelada Baboons may be difficult.
Women have to cover their hair and dress to cover their body when visiting the monastery.
Major Points of Interest and Attractions to visit: -
• Debre Libanos Monastery – Ethiopia's biggest monastery, founded in the 13th Century AD
• Portuguese Bridge - a small stone-made walking bridge constructed in the 16th Century AD
• Stop at a viewpoint to enjoy the breathtaking scenery of the Jemma River Gorge
• Participate in a typical Ethiopian Coffee Ceremony
• See one of the endemic mammals of Ethiopia – the Gelada Baboon, and
• Cultural experience at the villages of the Oromo people
Itinerary: – Meet your professional local tour guide at your hotel in Addis Ababa at 8:00 AM. Get general information about the day trip from Addis Ababa from your guide. And, drive 100 km north of Addis Ababa to Debre Libanos with a private air-conditioned vehicle.
On your way out of Addis Ababa, drive by Meskel Square – Addis Ababa's central downtown square & events hub. Stop at the stature of Emperor Menelik II – the founder of Addis Ababa.
Cross the beautiful Eucalyptus trees forest of Mount Entoto. The summit of Mount Entoto (3,200 meters or 10,500 feet (3.2 km) above sea level) is the highest peak around Addis Ababa.
If the day tour to Debre Libanos Monastery is in September or October, stop at a few viewpoints to enjoy the lush scenery decorated with Meskel Flowers. With stopovers, enjoy the breathtaking scenery of the Sululta Plains. This time of the year is best to see the beautiful Adey Abeba flowers. This yellow daisy flower known as Meskel Flower is the National Flower of Ethiopia for many.
Before reaching Debre Libanos, stop for half an hour at a village of the Oromo people. Indulge in a cultural experience to learn how Ethiopians bake Enjera. Enjera or Injera is the flat Ethiopian bread made of Teff Cereals. Take time to experience Ethiopian Coffee Ceremony with locals.
During this Addis Ababa day trip, take an hour's long guided visit of Debre Libanos Monastery. The Monastery of Debre Libanos was established by Ethiopian Saint Abune Tekle Haimanot in the 13th Century AD. St. Tekle Haimanot prayed for seven years standing only on one leg. If you are interested and fit to walk on steep cliffs for nearly 15 minutes, you will visit the small cave Saint Tekle Haimanot prayed in for seven years.
Continue tour of Debre Libanos Monastery with visiting the church built by Emperor Haile Selassie I in the 1960s. This church is famous for its beautiful stained-glass windows and mosaics.
Then, visit Debre Libanos Monastery Museum for half an hour. See ancient religious and historical artifacts, crowns, manuscripts, icons, and royal seats. The monastery’s museum is quite interesting to learn the original history of why the monastery was built here by former Ethiopian leaders.
Continue excursion from Addis Ababa by driving 10 minutes to the Portuguese Bridge. Around the small stone made Portuguese Bridge, walk for half an hour to take photos of the bridge. If the day tour is in the rainy season of June to August, visit the powerful waterfall by the Portuguese Bridge.
Portuguese Bridge foundation is in the 16th Century, according to locals. Some historians claim that Ras Darge built the Portuguese Bridge in the 19th Century. What is for sure, anyhow, is that Portuguese Bridge is worth visiting and offers fantastic scenery.
Walk over the Portuguese Bridge, head to the best outlook where you will have birds’ eye view of the beautiful Jemma River Gorge. Jemma River is one of the rivers flowing into the bigger Blue Nile Gorge.
The wildlife part of this day tour from Addis Ababa helps visitors to see one of the endemic mammals of Ethiopia – the Gelada Baboon. The Debre Libanos area is the nearest place to Addis Ababa to see Gelada Baboons, which are notable for their red patch on their chest. “The bleeding heart baboon” is the nickname of Gelada Baboons.
Have lunch at a local Ethiopian restaurant or at Ethio-German Park Hotel where you will try tasty Ethiopian food.
For bird lovers, this Addis Ababa day tour gives chance to see the Ethiopian endemic birds of Rüppell's Chat, White-winged Cliff-chat and White-billed Starling.
Then, drive 100 km back to Addis Ababa, with a couple of stops for scenic pictures along the way.
This day trip is a great getaway from the busy daily life of Addis Ababa city.
It gives visitors opportunity to develop photography skills in taking photos. Get great shots of different scenes – historical places like Debre Libanos monastery, and the Portuguese Bridge. Wildlife photo capturing includes Gelada Baboons and some birds.
With this day trip from Addis Ababa to Debre Libanos indulge yourself in cultural activities such as Ethiopian Coffee Ceremony, and unique landscape of the Jemma River Gorge (one of the biggest rivers forming Blue Nile Gorge).
The other best part of this Addis Ababa day trip is visit of local villages. With this cultural visit, see how HAPPY people live in difficult living conditions, which make most visitors appreciate and give more value for their life.
Per person tour price of Addis Ababa to Debre Libanos Monastery Day Tour
|Number of visitors in a group||Per-Person Price in US Dollars|
|1 visitor||155 US Dollars|
|2 visitors||86 US Dollars|
|3 visitors||77 US Dollars|
|4 visitors||62 US Dollars|
|5 visitors||53 US Dollars|
|6 visitors||47 US Dollars|
|Contact us if you have any questions|
The price of this day trip includes: -
• Comfortable Toyota Corolla or Toyota Minivan equipped with air conditioning and seat belts
• Fuel (gasoline) and driver's allowance
• All admission (entrance) fees to places of visits mentioned
• Lunch with soft drinks, water, coffee, or tea at a local Ethiopian restaurant
• Professional experienced English-speaking tour guide
• Family Visits and attendance of Coffee Ceremony
• Bottled water in the car
• And, related government taxes
Price does NOT include: -
• And, any other expense which is not mentioned in the “Included” list above
Please, contact us if you want the exact price of the tour.
This one day tour from Addis Ababa can be customized to meet visitors’ interests and preferences best. And, the tour can be booked for up to six visitors with the same tour price.
This day trip can be extended to include the famous Blue Nile Gorge by driving 200 km more.
Contact us for booking this day tour from Addis Ababa or for further details!
Debre Libanos Monastery (ደብረ ሊባኖስ ገዳም) is located north of Addis Ababa. Debre Libanos is 100 km (about 62 miles) north of Addis Ababa past the towns of Sululta (ሱሉልታ), Chancho (ጫንጮ), and Debre Tsige (Debre Tsege) (ደብረ ጽጌ). At a small settlement known as Chagel (ጫገል), turn right and drive about 4 km to Debre Libanos Monastery.
“Debre Libanos Massacre” was committed on 20 May 1937 by Italian troops massacring more than 2,000 Ethiopian pilgrims and monks at Debre Libanos Monastery.
Italy occupied Ethiopia from 1936 to 1941. On 19 February, 1937, two Ethiopian nationalists tried to kill the Italian Viceroy, Rodolfo Graziani. Following the failed assassination, more than 30,000 Ethiopians were killed by the fascist Italians – as revenge.
The May 20, 1937, Debre Libanos Massacre is part of this retaliation against innocent Ethiopians by invader Italians. More than 2,000 monks, nuns, pilgrims, and regular Christians were brutally slaughtered as they were celebrating an important religious holiday at Debre Libanos Monastery.
Learn more about Ethiopian History with a day trip from Addis Ababa to Debre Libanos.
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