This Ethiopia Tour features the historical, cultural and natural attractions in the northern Ethiopia and visit of the tribes in the southern Omo Valley of Ethiopia. Fascinating cultures and friendly locals ensure an unforgettable experience.
TOUR CODE: AAT 1112
DURATION: 12 DAYS/ 11 NIGHTS
SITE: BAHIR DAR, GONDAR, LALIBELA AND OMO VALLEY
TRANSPORT: BY AIR & SURFACE
- Domestic flights between all destinations for comfort and more time to explore
- Boat trip on Lake Tana to visit the resident of the ancient monastery Ura Kidane Mihret
- Explore the dramatic nature of the Blue Nile & Tiss Issat Falls,
- Travel the Historic Route to Gondar's castles and Lalibela's famous rock-hewn churches
- Explore the Colorful tribes of the south who still adhere to ancient animistic rituals. Beaded leather skirts and complementing body painting, feathered headdresses and dramatic scarification and the more unusual are the isolated Mursi tribe whose women wear large clay lip plates symbolizing their worth and beauty.
- Overland travel to the south by a very good condition of 4WD Toyota Land Cruiser
- Escorted throughout by a highly experienced Tour Guide
- Best accommodations available in Ethiopia
- Traditional Ethiopian farewell dinner with “coffee ceremony”
Ethiopia has old, fascinating history, and is home to many diverse colorful cultures. In the northern part of this tour you will experience ancient monasteries, Castles, rock-hewn churches and Ethiopia’s magnificent natural beauty. The second part of the program is a cultural tour for visiting the people in the Southern Omo Valley. This adventure takes you on a cultural high, exploring some of the most remote areas of Ethiopia where some of the most colorful and beautiful tribes of the world live. The Mursi, with their decorative lip plates, the Hamer in their amazing hair decorations, the Ari, the Bena and several other tribes are covered on this trip.
Day 1: Arrival in Addis Ababa
WELCOME TO ETHIOPIA. On arrival in Addis Ababa our representative will meet you at Bole
International Airport. After transfer to your hotel an overview of the program will be given. The rest of the day visit historical sites in Addis Ababa including the National Archaeological Museum, where the 3,6 million year old skeletal remains of “Lucy” rest, which were discovered in 1974. Proceed to the Unity Park at the National Palace, the Holy Trinity Cathedral and Mount Entoto, which rises up to an altitude of 3200 meters and offers a panoramic view of the metropolis. Overnight in 4-star hotel.
Day 2: Fly Bahir Dar, Blue Nile Falls
After breakfast fly to Bahir Dar, a small town on the southern shore of Lake Tana. The lake is the source of the Blue Nile and the largest lake in Ethiopia. Thirty of its thirty-seven islands host churches and monasteries of considerable historical and cultural interest. After refreshment, take a boat trip on Lake Tana to visit two of the most accessible and representative monasteries, Ura Kidane Mehret and Azwa Maryam, which still serve their original function. In the afternoon, take the short walk to the best viewing point of the impressive Blue Nile Falls, locally known as Tiss Isat or 'Smoke of Fire’.
Day 3: Drive to Gondar
On the 180 km long drive to Gondar you experience a typical Ethiopian-African landscape - wide grazing land, hilly mountains and numerous farmlands. Visit the castles and churches built by emperor Fassiledes and his descendants, also known as Africa’s Camelot. Later precede to the fascinating Debre Birhan Selassie Church - one of the World’s heritage sights. Its walls and ceilings are decorated with scenes of biblical lore and medieval history.
Day 4: Fly Lalibela
After breakfast transfer to the airport and flight to Lalibela. The town of Lalibela, lies among the Lasta Mountains at 2630 m above sea level and remains until today a place of pilgrim and devotion for Ethiopian Christians. The construction of the eleven rock-hewn churches is attributed to king Lalibela of the Zagwe Dynasty. Some of the 12th century churches are monolithic, carved from a sloping mass of red volcanic scoria under laid by dark grey basalt and interconnected by a maze of tunnels and passages with openings to hermit caves and catacombs. Some are of the basilica type, having archaic features and imitating architectural elements from earlier periods, yet they differ in design and style. The Lalibela churches are included in the World Heritage List since 1978. Afternoon visit of the first group of six churches which lie in rock cradles one behind the other: Bet Golgotha, Bet Mika'el, Bet Maryam, Bet Meskel, Bet Danaghel and Bet Medhane Alem. Bet Medhane Alem, the largest one, is built like a Greek temple and its stone floor is so polished by the countless numbers of visitors that it reflects shafts of light from apertures in the walls high above. In a corner are three empty graves symbolically dug for biblical patriarchs Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Overnight Mezena Lodge
Day 5: In Lalibela
After breakfast take a mule ride to the 13th century rock hewn monastery of Asheten Mariam. The church is situated on the top of a mountain at an altitude of 3150 metres. The roundtrip takes about 4 hours. We return to Lalibela for lunch. In the afternoon, visit the other groups of rock churches. Bet Giyorgis, the most elegant church, lies somewhat isolated in the southwest part of the village on a sloping rock terrace. It can only be reached through a tunnel. The group of four, south of the Jordan River, comprise of Bet Emanuel, Bet Mercurios, Bet Abba Libanos and Bet Gabriel-Rufa'el. Overnight Mezena Lodge
Day 6: Fly to Addis Ababa and drive to Langano, 200 Kilometer, about 3-4 hours drive
After breakfast you will check in to the airport for your flight to Addis Ababa. Up on arrival meet 4WD Vehicles and leave Addis Ababa heading south for the main Ethiopian Rift, to Langano. En route stop at Zeway town and visit The Lake Zeway and then continue driving to Lake Langano for an overnight stay in Sabana Resort.
Day 7: Drive Arba Minch, 300 Kms about 5 - 6 hours drive
Drive to Arba Minch visiting Chencha and the Dorze village en route. The village is high in the mountains north of Arba Minch. The Dorze are well known as master weavers and live in interesting igloo-shaped houses. Arba Minch - meaning 'Forty Springs' in Amharic - takes its name from the bubbling streams that cover the forest and the flats of the town. Overnight Haile Resort
Day 8: Boat Trip on Lake Chamo then drive to Turmi, 234 Kms 5 - 6 hours drive
After breakfast take a boat trip on Lake Chamo, where you can spot many hippos and spectacular concentrations of giant crocodiles. The water birds are great the scenery is unforgettable. Locals fish here in traditional fishing boats. Then after drive to Konso and then Continue along impressive land terracing to the village of the Woito people, near the Woito River. Then to drive to Turmi for an overnight stay in Buska Lodge.
Day 9: Krro Village then back to Turmi, 130km, 5 Hours drive
After breakfast we will make an excursion trip to the Karo Tribe (approx 65km drive one way ). The Karo people live in the bank of the Omo River and they are very famous for their body painting. The Karo people use clays and locally available vegetable pigments to trace fantastic patterns on each other’s faces, chests, arms, and legs. Karo men, as with neighbouring tribes, are also famous for their unique hairstyle. Then after we drive back to Turmi for lunch. In the afternoon we visit a Hamer village. The Hamer tribe (also called Hammer or Hamar) is one of the largest groups of people in the Omo Valley. The Hamer cultivates sorghum, millet, vegetables, tobacco and cotton as well as raising cattle and goats. Cattles are very important for their life and most of their religious life are attached with cattle. They are known for the fine pottery they produce as well as their remarkable hairstyling. Most dramatic of all are the clay hair buns with ostrich feathers that the men don when they have killed a fierce animal. These hair buns stay on for 3-6 months at a time. The women wear beaded necklaces and iron coils around their arms and decorate their skin with cowry shells. These decorations indicate the wealth and prestige of a woman’s husband. Overnight Buska Lodge Or Turmi Lodge or Paradise Lodge
Day 10: Excursion to Omorate then back to Turmi
After breakfast, drive to Omorate to visit the Gelab (Dassanech) tribe inhabiting the riverbanks of Omo River. Cross Omo River by a small boat and walk fifteen minutes to visit their village. The Gelabs are also known for their body painting. . Return to Turmi in the afternoon, where depending on the day you might be able shop at a vibrant local market, savoring the smells and tastes while bumping shoulders with the Karo, Homer and Benna people. Overnight Buska Lodge Or Turmi Lodge or Paradise Lodge
Day 11: Drive to Jinka, 120 killometers, about 3 hours drive
On the way to Jinka stop at Demeka Market ( Saturday is market day), a tribal market, where different ethnic groups gather to sell and buy their agricultural products. Overnight Eco Omo Lodge
Day 12: Jinka – Mursi - Jinka – Addis 140 killometers, about 3 - 4 hours drive
After breakfast leave Jinka and drive to the Mursi village to visit and appreciate the very attractive culture of the Mursi tribe. They are renowned for the strange custom followed by their women who, on reaching maturity, have their lower lips slit and circular clay discs inserted. Then drive back to Jinka for lunch then transfer to Jinka Airport and fly to Addis Ababa .
We respect your personal preference on what is to be included and not included on the tour cost.
But as a standard included in our given prices are meet and greet at airport, All accommodation, Meals in Addis, on bed and breakfast basis, Meals out of Addis, on full board basis, All entrance fees at sites, churches, parks and villages, All ground transportation according to the itinerary and Guide service.
International flights, Lunch and Dinner in Addis Ababa , Any drinks including local non-alcoholic beverage and alcoholic drinks, Video filming and photography fees, Incidental meals, snacks and drinks and Tips and items of personal nature like laundry, souvenirs, etc
Visa and Immigration Requirements
Most nationals require a visa for entry into Ethiopia. The easiest way to get Ethiopian Visa is to get it on line thttps://www.evisa.gov.et/ . Again visa can be obtained at Ethiopia’s diplomatic missions overseas.. The last option is to get visa on arrival at Bole International Airport; nationals of 33 countries are now allowed to receive their tourist visas on arrival in Ethiopia at the regular charge. The list includes Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greek, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Republic of Korea, Kuwait, Luxembourg, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Thailand, citizens of United Kingdom and United States.
How to get in to Ethiopia
Addis Ababa is a major hub for international airlines. Ethiopian Airlines, the national airline of Ethiopia, provides excellent links with East, West and South Africa, Europe and the Middle East, with connections to America and the Far East. The national airline also offers domestic services to the major towns in Ethiopia, as well as most regional centers. All international services arrive at Bole International Airport, Addis Ababa. Other airlines serving Ethiopia include: Kenya Airways, Emirates, Egyptian, Alitalia, British Airways, Lufthansa, Saudi, Aeroflot, Yemeni, and Turkish Airways.
Luggage on tour
your luggage should not exceed 20kgs (44lbs). One large suitcase/rucksack, and one small hand luggage rucksack is acceptable. Soft rolling bag (we usually use a 22 inch roll aboard) are recommended.
Weather and Climate
There are two seasons: the dry season prevails from October through May; the wet season runs from June to September.
Generally except for June, July and August, most part of Ethiopia will be sunny and pleasant temperature to travel around.
When you travel to the north you are staying in higher altitude towns (Example Addis Ababa, Gondar, and Lalibela) the daily average Temperature is from 20 – 25 degrees and the temperature drops quite rapidly towards sunset. Evenings are fairly cold and you are advised to bring something warm for the evenings, like a sweater or warm Jacket.
Those travelling to the Southern Omo Valley of Ethiopia, the weather of this region will be sunny, hot and dry; the average temperatures is about 30 degrees. During the day the sun is strong. Shorts, Hats, sun glasses, sun creams, light cotton summer clothes and layers of clothes are recommended. Although the daytime temperatures are not very high, the sun is strong and people coming pale and pasty from a European winter should be careful of sunburn -long sleeved shirts may be advisable.
Travelers are advised to travel with American Dollar or Euro. Australian dollar cannot be exchanged in Ethiopia. There is ATM machine In Most of the Regions and one can withdraw money Visa or Master Card. Banks are places to exchange money.
Hotel rooms are basic but generally clean with en suite toilet and bath facilities (usually shower only). In many places hotel accommodation is limited; we utilize the best tourist class properties available. Hotel in Addis is 3-star international standard.
We will be using 4WD Land Cruisers, 4WD mini buses or Coaster buses depending on the conditions of the roads and the size of the group. All our vehicles are Air- conditioned.
For internal flights, we use the national airline Ethiopian Air lines, which offer excellent domestic services to the major towns in Ethiopia.
Handshaking is the usual mode of greeting, although friends or families who have not seen each other for some time will kiss on each cheek. (Displays of sexual intimacy, kissing or hugging, will arouse embarrassment among most Ethiopians.) Usually a handshake greeting is accompanied by a pleasant discussion on personal matters before getting down to business. The offer of tea or coffee is normal, and time is not that important. Smoking is not popular amongst traditional people, or in front of priests. Shoes are often taken off on entering churches, and always on entering mosques.
Despite years of the civil wars in the previous regime, in terms of crime and robbers, Ethiopia is still a very safe country to visit, and Addis Ababa is still one of the safest capitals in Africa. Visitors should of course take the usual precautions, not carry large amounts of money with them and leave particularly valuable items with hotel reception. Both men and women visitors should be careful about hand and money bags, keeping them close at hand in crowded places. Like everywhere else, pick pockets and snatch thieves like to create some kind of diversion before making their move, so visitors should walk purposefully and be cautious about sudden introductions in the street.
- Meet and greet at airport
- Hotel accommodation based on single room as mentioned on the itineraries
- Meals – breakfast only in Addis but full board elsewhere.
- Drinks- a bottle of non alcoholic drinks at time of lunch & dinner.
- All transfers according to the itinerary
- All ground transportation to the south with a good condition of 4WD Toyota Land Cruiser, with fuel, all insurance and driver costs
- Boat trip on Lake Tana
- Mule ride to a monastery around Lalibela
- All entrance fees at museums, churches, castles and archeological sites
- Farewell dinner in Addis to enjoy traditional Ethiopian food and Music
- A traditional Ethiopian coffee ceremony at a convenient time in the program
- Guide services and scout fees in parks and villages
- Service charge and all types of government taxes
Price doesn’t include
- International flights
- Lunch and dinner meals in Addis
- Alcoholic drinks and drinks off-meal time
- Other expenses of personal nature like laundry, souvenirs, etc
- All what is not included in the list above