Ethiopia travel and Tour in depth and experience the Land of Origin: exploring the simian mountains, the Historic Route, Gheralta Mountains , visit the amazing rock formation in Danakil Depression, Visit the city of Harer, Bale Mountains and the tribes in the southern Omo Valley of Ethiopia are included.
TOUR CODE: AAT 1116
DURATION: 22 DAYS/ 21 NIGHTS
SITE: BAHIR DAR, GONDAR, LALIBELA AND AXUM
TRANSPORT: BY AIR & SURFACE
- Explore the dramatic nature of the Blue Nile Gorge & Tiss Isat Falls and take a boat trip on Lake Tana to visit the ancient monasteries Ura Kidane Mehret and Azwa Maryam
- Visit the Castles of Gondar, which are known as Africa’s Camelot
- Explore the dramatic scenery of the Simien Mountains National Park
- Visit wild life in Bale Mountains National Park
- Visit the splendid vestiges of the fabled Queen Sheba in Axum
- Visit the old city of Harar which is considered the "fourth holiest city of Islam" after Mecca, Mediana and Jerusalem
- Walk the path of pilgrims to the amazing rock-hewn churches of Lalibela, a UNESCO World Heritage Site
- Explore the fascinating and strange cultures of the indigenous tribes of the Omo Valley in a modern 4WD Nissan Patrol.
- Traditional Ethiopian farewell dinner with “coffee ceremony”
The name Ethiopia come from a Greek word meaning "sunburned faces." The Greeks called all peoples south of Egypt Ethiopians because of their darker skin. Ethiopia's former name is Abyssinia, a word of uncertain origin: some people believe it comes from an Arabic word meaning "mixed" - a reference to the country's many ethnic groups; others contend that the name belonged to an early Ethiopian tribe.The famous skeleton of 'Lucy', dating back to 3.4 million years ago, was found in Hadar, Ethiopia. . It is also the source of the Blue Nile, the great river whose power and fertility nurtured the origin of civilization itself. And it is the origin of one of life’s great pleasures – coffee, our gift to the world. We simply call Ethiopia as “land of origins”.
Departure Day: Daily Guaranteed Departure with 2 participants minimum
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 in 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 hotel.
Day 2: Drive Bahir Dar, ca. 8 h
After breakfast drive to Bahir Dar via Debre Markos and Dejen, the teff growing region of the country. Teff is the staple food of Ethiopians. En route visit the 13th century monastery of Debre Libanos. Further down, you will enjoy the fabulous Blue Nile Gorge, similar to the Grand Canyon of the USA.
Day 3: In Bahir Dar
After breakfast drive to the small town of Tiss Abay to visit the impressive Blue Nile Falls, locally known as Tiss Isat or 'Smoke of Fire'. Return to Bahir Dar for lunch and in the afternoon 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. Lake Tana 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 cultural interest.
Day 4: 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 5: Drive to Simien Mountains
After early breakfast we drive to Debark, the head quarter of the Simien Mountain National Park. We proceed to Sankaber, where we walk around through breath-taking scenery enjoying endemic Gelada Baboons and the bone breaker giant bird Lammergeyer.
Day 6: Drive Axum, ca. 7 h
This drive is probably the most spectacular in Ethiopia. The road descends from 3100 meters through hairpin bends down the Simien Mountains to 1400 meters in just 40kms! The drive down to Adi Arkay showcases not only the immensely beautiful Simien Mountain massifs but also the people who eke out an existence in this unforgiving countryside. The drive continues through the Tekeze valley, crossing the Tekeze River and onto Axum.
Day 7: In Axum
Visit historical and archaeological sites in Axum. The ancient city marks the location of the heart of ancient Ethiopia, when the kingdom of Axum was the most powerful state between the eastern
Roman empire and Persia. The archaeological and historical attractions in Axum include: the
archaeological museum, the magnificent monolithic steles and obelisks, the tombs of king Kaleb and king Gebre Meskal, the legendary bath of Queen Sheba and the ruins of her palace. The 16th century cathedral St. Mary of Zion, the holiest church in Ethiopia, is said to host the original Ark of the Covenant. The churches and monasteries of Axum are richly endowed with icons and historical crowns of ancient emperors.
Day 8: Drive to Gheralta
After breakfast we drive through the historical town of Adwa, a major African battlefield, where Emperior Minilic II defeated the Italian army on 1st March 1896 thereby ensuring that his Empire would be the only African state to enter the 20th centuryas a fully independent entity Visit the 5th century B.C. ruins of Yeha temple - a large pre-Christian temple consisting of a single oblong chamber. The temple is believed to be the oldest standing building in Ethiopia. You will also visit the 6th century AD church of Aba Afse close by. Overnight Geralta Lodge
Day 9: Drive to Mekele, ca. 6 h
This day is a time to visit the wonderful rock churches of Tigray. The landscape is extraordinary: some of the nearby churches in the area. There are a lot of Table Mountains (Ambas) and other fantastic rocky formations. Late afternoon drive to Mekele. Overnight at Axum Hotel.
Day 10: Drive to Lalibela, ca. 10 h
On this day, you will have the longest drive but the magnificent scenery with gigantic up and downs is nice to experience. Visit Lake Ashenge on the way which is good for birding. We arrive in Lalibela in the late afternoon.
Day 11: In Lalibela
Full day sightseeing tour of Lalibela, famous for its rock hewn churches dating back 800 years. There are no less than 1000 churches in the Lasta Region of Lalibela, some hidden in enormous caves, but it's exceptional to find 11 churches of such master craftsmanship in one location. These brilliant feats of engineering and architecture are often referred to as the "Eighth wonder of the world". Explore the atmospheric subterranean complex of passages and the 11 remarkable rock-hewn churches which until today remain a place of pilgrim and devotion for Ethiopian Christians. The construction of the 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 underlaid 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. Two are decorated with
interesting wall paintings and carved figures.
Day 12: Drive to Kombolcha, ca. 7 h
After breakfast drive through the highland area of Delb. Stop over at Hike town to visit the 13th century monastery of Hike Istifanos on the island of Lake Hike. Proceed to Kombolcha for dinner and overnight stay.
Day 13: Drive to Awash, ca. 7 h
Drive to Awash and visit the magnificent Awash water falls. The Awash National Park is home of Oryx antelopes, Kudus and a number of colorful birds like Bustards, Sandgroose, Secretary birds etc.
Day 14: Drive to Harar, ca. 6 h
After breakfast drive from Awash Sebat Killo to Harar. You will be driving through the Hararghe Mountains and will see plenty of coffee and ‘chat’ fields. The region is well known in growing one of the best qualities of coffee in the world. We arrive in Harar early in the afternoon.
Day 15: In Harar
Visit colorful Muslim and Christian markets (known for basketry), the museum and traditional
Hararie houses situated within the famous walled city. In the evening visit the hyena man feeding wild hyenas in a bizarre spectacle.
Day 16: Drive to Nazareth, ca. 7h
After breakfast leave Harar and drive to Nazareth. You will be driving through the magnificent
landscape of the Hararghe Mountains and the Ethiopian Rift Valley. En route you see many chat plantations and typical farming scenes.
Day 17: Drive to Bale Mountains National Park, ca. 7 h
Drive to Bale Mountains National Park, traveling through the southeast part of Ethiopia, where fertile land is cultivated by the Muslim Oromo people. We arrive at the park headquarters in Dinsho in the afternoon, in time for a walk around to see endemic mammals like Menelik's Bushbucks and Mountain Nyalas. Birds like Blue-winged Goose, Spot-breasted Lapwing, Abyssinian Long Claw, Wattled Ibis, Black-headed Siskin, Rouget’s Rail and many more can be seen, too. Overnight camping
Day 18: Drive to Senete plateau then drive to Awassa
Leave the lodge early in the morning towards Sanete Plateau. While crossing a lush green forest, you will enjoy the Semien Wolves, endemic mammals. Then you will take another hike to the right hand side of the road to reach the highest peak, 4377 meters above sea level. It is here where you will highly experience the chilly wind. Then you will walk slightly down and down across a moorland landscape dotted with white and yellow cushions of flowers, colorful lichen-covered rocks and sparse Giant Lobelias. You will visit many water birds in the small ponds. In particular search the trails of Bale Mountains for Chestnut-napped Francolin, Ground scarper Thrush (of the distinctive, endemic race Simensis), the secretive Abyssinian Ground-Thrush, vocal Abyssinian Catbird, and the endemic White-backed Black-Tit on the high moorlands, if we are very fortunate, we will see a pair of the endangered Wattled Crane striding through the moist grassland or spot a Cape Eagle-Owl sunning on a rocky perch. We will also search for Moorland Francolin, the endemic Spot-breasted Lapwing, others like Thekla Lark, Red-breasted Wheatear and dumpy Moorland Chats; Ethiopian Wolf is also highly prized here. Then after you drive to Awassa for an overnight stay in Haile resort.
Day 19: Drive Arba Minch, 300 Kms about 4 - 5 hours drive
Drive to Arba Minch visititing 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 20: Boat Trip on Lake Chamo then drive to Konso
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 where you visit the Konso people, known for colorful dresses and unusually engraved wooden statues, used as grave markers. We continue our experience of tribal life with a visit to the Konso. A pagan society, the Konso erect eerie wooden totems replete with phallic symbols over the graves of the dead and have numerous cults based around the breeding and veneration of serpents. The cornerstone of Konso culture, however, is a highly specialized and successful agricultural economy that, through terracing buttressed with stone, enable these people to extract a productive living from the none-too-fertile hills and valleys that surround them. An excellent day to meet the people, take photographs with them and learn of a culture that has had very little outside influence. Visit a konso village at Mecke. Visit the so called “New York” and also visit the Konso King, Overnight at Kanta Lode.
Day 21: Drive to Jinka, 134 Kms 4-5 hours drive
Continue along impressive land terracing to the village of the Woito people, near the Woito river. On the way to Jinka stop at the Key Afer Market (Thursday is market day), a tribal market, where different ethnic groups gather to sell and buy their agricultural products. Overnight Eco Omo Lodge
Day 22: Jinka – Mursi - Jinka – Turmi, 265 Kms about 4-5 hours drive
Today our journey begins with an excursion to a Mursi village (70 km from Jinka one way ).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. The men are famous for their hairstyle. Scarification on young ladies is very common. After the visit drive back to Jinka and then continue driving to Turmi through Dimeka to visit the Hamer people and their village. Jinka to Turmi is 125 Kms. Turmi is a small town, which is the base to visit the Hamer village. Overnight Buska Lodge Or Turmi Lodge or Paradise Lodge
Day 23: In Turmi
After breakfast visit the one of the Hamer village in the afternoon visit the Satuday Market of the Hamer people at Demeka. Hamers have remarkable hairstyles made from ochre, water and binding resin. They rub the mixture into their hair then twist the strands repeatedly to create coppery-colored locks. This is a sign of wealth and welfare. Hamers are considered to be masters of body decoration. Overnight Turmi Lodge
Day 24: Turmi - Omorate - Turmi
Today we visit the Geleb tribes, crossing the Omo River by boat. The people of Geleb have their own distinctive dress and decoration and villages with interesting architecture. In the afternoon we drive back to Turmi and spend the night camping. . Overnight Turmi Lodge
Day 25: Turmi – Yabello
Drive to Yabello visiting the Arbore and the Tsemay people en route. After lunch stop at Konso, continue to the region of Oromo Borena and visit their village. The drive this day will let you to experience the life of the Oromo Borena People who is well known in cattle rearing. You also visit the Oromo Borena People villages and their 'singing well' from which they cater water to their own thousands of cattle by singing. Overnight Yabello Motel
Day 26: Lake Langano
Today we drive to Awassa over a beautiful Sidamo mountains and coffee plantation. On the way, we stop at Wenago to visit the Tutu Fella stelae field – an unusual collection of carved stones. We then continue to Lake Awassa, and then to Langano which is surrounded by mountains and populated by countless species of birds.
Overnight Sabana Lodge
Day 27: Drive Addis Ababa then departure
After breakfast drive back to Addis Ababa through the Great Rift Valley lakes Via Awassa. En route we will stop on the viewpoints for the Rift Valley Lakes of Shala, Abyta and Langano. In the Evening a fare well diner party in one of the Traditional Ethiopian restaurant with dances from the different ethnic Groups. Transfer out to the airport for departure back to home.
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.
- Driver Guide
- All accommodation based on twin room occupancy
- Meals in Addis, on bed and breakfast basis
- Meals out of Addis, on full board basis
- Farewell dinner in Addis to enjoy traditional Ethiopian food and music
- All entrance fees at sites, churches, parks and villages
- All transfers and visits according to the itinerary
- All ground transportation including insurance, fuel and all costs of the driver
- Boat trip
- A traditional Ethiopian coffee ceremony at a convenient time in the program
- Government taxes
Price doesn’t include
- International flights
- Lunch and Dinner in Addis Ababa
- Any kind of drinks, alcoholic or non-alcoholic
- Video filming and photographing fees
- Incidental meals, snacks and drinks
- Tips and items of personal nature like laundry, souvenirs, etc.
- All what is not included in the list above