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The Great Ethiopian Run is one of biggest long distance (10 km) road events of its kind in Africa. It has become one of the most famous and eagerly awaited annual social gatherings since it began in 2001. In 2010, more than 35,000 people took part in the event. It’s a great chance to interact with the local community and a chance to run with the world’s greatest long-distance athletes of Ethiopia, Kenya, and other countries.

Here is another chance for you to experience the most amazing fun-run event in the world. This year, the Great Ethiopian Run will be held on November 18, 2018. Run, jog, walk, or dance around the 10k course on the vibrant streets of Addis Ababa at 8000 ft. with the locals and meet some of the Olympic champions.

Grand Holidays Ethiopia Tours, in collaboration with the organizing committee, would be pleased to book tickets, accommodations, trainings and pre- or post-tours. To make your experience in Ethiopia even more complete, we can combine it with a cultural tour to the Historic Route of Ethiopia or for Omo Valley Tribal Exploration, before or after the event. Below is a suggested tour program:

Suggested travel dates: November 16, 2018, to November 21, 2018 

Day 1 — November 16, 2018: Arrive Addis Ababa

Welcome to Ethiopia! Upon arrival at Addis Ababa, Bole International Airport (ADD), you will be welcomed by the staff of Grand Holidays Ethiopia Tours and transfered to Yaya Village Resort located in the Sululta Hills. It is owned by the legendary long-distance athlete Haile Gebre Selassie.

Founded in 1886 by Menelik II, Addis Ababa is situated at 2,500 meters (8000 ft.) above sea level, which makes it the 5th highest capital city in the world. This hospitable and safe city enjoys an excellent climate year-round, with an average temperature of 25C (77F).

With a multiethnic population of over 5 million, Addis Ababa is a pleasant city with wide avenues of jacarandas, interesting museums, and one of the largest open-air markets in Africa, known as the "Mercato".

There will be an easy, late afternoon acclimatization training by a professional trainer and a chance to meet with some of Ethiopia's greatest atheletes.

Overnight: Yaya Village Resort

Day 2  November 17: Addis Ababa, Blue Nile River Gorge, Debre Libanos

Early morning there will be acclimatization training. After breakfast, we will take an excursion to Blue Nile Gorge, often called Ethiopia’s own Grand Canyon, which is 213 km north of Addis Ababa. This majestic and enormous gorge is known for its magnificent physical features and alluring natural beauty. After visiting the gorge, you will drive back to Addis Ababa visiting the Debre Libanos monastery enroute. Debre Libanos is an important monastic center for Ethiopian Orthodox Christianity. The monastery was founded by the renowned 13th century mystic, St. Teklehaimanot.

Before driving back to the resort, we will stop at the Jemma River Gorge. The Jemma River is one of the tributaries of the Nile with  a drop of nearly 1000 meters to the valley below.

We will walk downhill to the 17th century Portuguese Bridge. Here we can expect to see plenty of birdlife including the Banded Barbet, the Black-Headed Forest Oriole, the White-Billed Starling, the Red-Billed Starling, the White-Winged Cliff Chat, the White-Backed Black Tit, White-Cheeked Turaco, and Hemprich's Hornbill. We will also see one of Ethiopia's endemic mammals, the Gelada, or bleeding heart baboon. 

In late afternoon, you may chose to relax at the beautiful resort in the spa, by the swimming pool, or by having a relaxing massage. Or, if you feel energetic, take part in late afternoon final training.

Overnight: Yaya Village Resort

Day 3  November 18: The Great Run

Today is the special day. In the morning, we will drop you at Meskel Square, where the Great Ethiopian Run begins. Here you go….see you at the finish line. The rest of the day is at your leisure.

Later in the afternoon, join the legendary  at the Pasta Party held at his residence, and enjoy the night with some of the greatest Ethiopian athletes in the world.

Overnight: Yaya Village Resort

Day 4  November 19: Addis Ababa, Lalibela

In the morning, transfer to Addis Ababa airport for the flight to Lalibela.

For the rest of the day, visit some of the most magnificent rock-hewn churches in Lalibela, which are often referred to by many as one of the “living wonders” of the world. These churches were carved out of one piece of rock in 1200 AD.

Overnight: Harbe Hotel

Day 5  November 28: Lalibela, Asheten Mariam

In the morning, mule ride and trek to the top of Asheten Mariam Monastery. In the afternoon, visit the second group of rock-hewn churches in the town.

Overnight: Harbe Hotel

Day 6  November 20: Lalibela, Gonder

After breakfast, transfer to Lalibela airport for the short flight to Gondar. In the afternoon, you will start your tour of the ancient city of Gondar.

Your tour includes the Royal Enclosure, the pool of King Fasilidas, and the famous Debre Birhan Selassie church.

Overnight: Goha Hotel

Day 7  November 21: Gondar, Addis Ababa Departure

In the morning, transfer to Gondar airport for the flight to Addis Ababa. For the rest of the day, you will have a city tour of Addis Adbaba, which includes the National Museum where Lucy is housed, the Ethngoraphic Museum, and a visit to Mercato, one of the biggest open-air markets in Africa.

In the evening, there will be a Grand Holidays Ethiopia Tours complimentary farewell dinner party, an excellent finale to the trip. At the end of the farewell dinner, transfer to Addis Ababa airport for the flight back. End of tour.

To book your space, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. now. We would be pleased to help you participate in this great event.

Grand Holidays Ethiopia Tours would be pleased to book you space on the Great Ethiopian Run, which takes place in Addis Ababa. We can combine the Great Run with other tours before or after the event to make your Ethiopia Experience a complete one. See you at the Great Run, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia!

With its own calendar (where else can you get 13 months of sunshine?), timekeeping, script, language, cuisine, church, and coffee, Ethiopia is as exotic as countries come.

The Ethiopian Immigration and Nationality Affairs main department in collaboration with Ethiopian Airlines are set to unveil a visa service for international visitors to Ethiopia.

The e-visa is processed and issued online on a single webpage where applicants apply, pay, and secure their entry visa online. Once the online application is approved, applicants will receive an email authorizing them to travel to Ethiopia, and they will get their passport stamped with the visa upon arrival in Addis Ababa.

Ethiopia has nine UNESCO World Heritage sites, which were heralded by the commission.

Tourism as a tool for poverty eradication, local community development, and economic independence is a successful strategy. Ethiopia's goal is to boost tourist revenues to $3 billion this year. In 2013, revenues from tourism were at $2 billion.

(CNN) — You would be forgiven for thinking it was Spain, Thailand or Italy. But this year the accolade of World's Best Tourism Destination has been given to a surprising candidate: Ethiopia.

The country has been praised for its outstanding natural beauty, dramatic landscapes and ancient culture, leading the European Council on Tourism and Trade to select it out of 31 countries as this year's top holiday spot.

Tour ID : GHET-017
Transport : Air and surface
Activities/Sights: Ancient colorful festivals, ancient history, age-old culture, breathtaking highland scenery, waterfalls, castles, rock churches, unique tribal culture, game animals, and much more

Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive Addis Ababa

Arrive in Addis Ababa (ADD), Ethiopia at 20:55. Welcome to Ethiopia! Upon arrival at Addis Ababa Bole International Airport, you will be welcomed and assisted by your tour guide and driver and transported on a short drive to Jupiter Hotel (4*). 

Addis Ababa, founded in 1886 by Menelik II, is situated at 2,500 meters (8000 ft.) above sea level. It is the 5th highest capital city in the world. The city enjoys an excellent climate year-round, with an average temperature of 25C (77F). With a multiethnic population of over 5 million, Addis Ababa is a pleasant city with wide avenues of jacarandas, interesting museums, and one of the largest open-air markets in Africa, known as the "Mercato".

After a brief rest in the morning, take a sightseeing city tour of Addis Ababa, which includes the National Museum, Ethnographic Museum, Mercato, Piassa, and other parts of the city, for the rest of the day.

In the morning, you will visit the National Museum and the Ethnographic Museum. The National Museum of Ethiopia is one of the best museums for quality and diversity of the exhibits. Archeological exhibits include the 3.2 million-year-old fossil of Lucy (or Dinkinesh — ‘thou art wonderful’ — in the native language), a hominoid woman of the species Australopithecus Afarensis. The discovery of Lucy’s fossil in 1974 forced a complete rethink of human genealogy, proving that our ancestors were walking 2.5 million years earlier than had been supposed. The National Museum also contains many wonderful artifacts dating back to the pre-Axumite civilization.

The Ethnographic Museum is very different from the National Museum, but equally absorbing. This museum's exhibits include a varied array of artifacts and daily objects related to most ethnic groups in Ethiopia.

In the afternoon, your city tour of Addis will continue with the Mercato, the largest open-air market on the continent and the other part of the city including Piassa and Churchill Avenue.


Accommodation: Jupiter Hotel, Addis Ababa

Day 2: Addis Ababa, Gonder, Simien Mountains

In the morning, fly to Gonder. At Gonder airport, we will meet our driver for the drive to the spectacular Simien Mountains National Park and spend a night at the Simien Lodge, a Gold Winner, Skal Sustainable Tourism Awards 2016, rural accommodation. www.simiens.com

On the journey from Gonder all the way to Simien Mountains National Park, you will be stunned by the spectacular scenery — especially that which awaits you at the top of the massif. The rolling grassy plateau comes to an abrupt stop, and sheer cliffs plunge almost vertically for 1,000m (3280 ft.) to the plains below. The massif itself has been sculpted by 30 million years of upthrust and erosion into a wonderland of jagged ridges, pinnacles, and strangely cropped conical mountains, so that looking out over the heart-stopping precipice you feel you might just be at the edge of the world.

The rest of the day, walk/trek to explore the surroundings of Sankaber, part of the Simien Mountains National Park. Here you have a good chance of spotting groups of Gelada Baboons, one of Ethiopia’s endemic animals.

Accommodation: Simien Lodge, Buit Ras (Meals: B, L, D)

Day 3: Simien Mountains, Gondar

Early in the morning, enjoy the magnificent view with a beautiful sunrise accompanied by troops of Gelada Baboons.

After breakfast, drive to the ancient city of Gondar. Founded by Emperor Fasiledas around 1635, Gondar is famous for its many medieval castles and the design and decoration of its churches — in particular, Debre Birhan Selassie, which represents a masterpiece of the unique Ethiopian school of traditional art.

This afternoon, you will explore the ancient city and its famous sites including the Royal Enclosure, a walled compound having six different castles built from 17th century by different kings who ruled in different times; the pool of King Fasilidas, which still serves as a baptismal pool during Ethiopian Epiphany; and the famous Debre Birhan Selassie, which is adorned with brilliant frescos from inside.

Accommodation: Goha Hotel, Gondar (Meals: B, L, D)

Day 4: Gondar, Bahirdar

After breakfast, we will drive to Bahirdar through the beautiful countryside scenery of Gondar and the Fogera Plains.

After checking into the hotel, we will take a boat cruise on Lake Tana and visit the ancient 14th century island monasteries of Lake Tana. The 37 islands of Lake Tana shelter twenty monasteries — surviving remnants of an old, contemplative tradition. Because of their isolation, they were used to store treasures and religious relics from all parts of the country. The lake’s monasteries are famous for their typical Ethiopian religious paintings, illuminated manuscripts, and other ancient church treasures.

Accommodation: Avanti Blue Nile Resort, Bahirdar

Day 5: Bahirdar, Lalibela 

After breakfast, we will transfer to Gondar Airport for the flight to Lalibela. After checking into Harbe Hotel, we will drive to the site where you will find a concentration of some of Ethiopia’s most famous rock-hewn churches, mostly referred to by many as one of “the living wonders of the world”. These churches are, and they have been for at least 800 years, an active Christian shrine, the spiritual center of the country’s religious life. The monolithic churches were carved out of a 2,600-square-meter natural rock terrace in the 12th century AD by King Lalibela.

Bete Medhani Alem, the largest monolithic rock-hewn church in the world, measures 37.7 ft. in height, covers an area of almost 2625 square ft., and has walls that are up to 6 ft. thick. A plain building supported by 36 pillars on the inside and another 36 pillars around the outside, Bete Medhani Alem was modeled on the original St. Mary Zion Church built by King Ezana in the 4th century at Axum.

The rock-hewn churches that you will visit today include Bete Medhani Alem, Bete Mariam, Bete Meskel, Bete Denagil, Bete Golgotha Michael, and Bete Giorgis.

Accommodation: Harbe Hotel, Lalibela (Meals: B, L, D)

Day 6: Asheten Mariam, Lalibela

In the morning, walk or ride on a mule back to the top of the Asheten Mariam Monastery. This is very famous for its 12th century monastery church and beautiful view at 10,298 ft. above sea level. We will walk/mule ride through dramatic highland scenery that eventually ends in a beautiful, serene agricultural hamlet.

After having lunch and resting at the hotel, you will continue your journey into Ethiopia’s long and marvelous history with a visit to more of Lalibela’s remarkable churches — their architecture and artistry must be seen to be believed. After we finish visiting the second group of churches, we will walk to the village through the complex, bewildering labyrinth of underground tunnels to the monastery were the monks and nuns live.

Today, you will be able to witness the special ceremony of Holy Thursday around the rock-hewn churches where the priests perform different ancient Christian practices with the faithful. The rock-hewn churches that we will visit this afternoon include Bete Gebriel, Bete Mercorios Bete Amanuel, Bethlehem, and Bete Aba Libanos.

In the evening, there will be a special Ethiopian traditional coffee ceremony for the group prepared at a local house. In the birthplace coffee, Ethiopia’s Kaffa region — from where it gets its name — the berries were originally only eaten, never roasted and ground for a drink. Only since the 13th century has coffee  been made a hot drink. Holding a coffee ceremony is a traditional Ethiopian way of welcoming a guest and giving the guest the best hospitality. It is probably one of the most celebrated Ethiopian traditions, and a tradition of most Ethiopians.

Accommodation: Harbe Hotel, Lalibela (Meals: B, L, D)

Day 7: Lalibela, Addis Ababa

After breakfast, transfer to Lalibela airport for the flight to Addis Ababa. 

Overnight: Jupiter Hotel, Addis Ababa (Meal: B)

Witness one of “the living wonders of the world” with a visit to the 12th-century rock-hewn churches of Lalibela. On this journey, you will discover an ancient African civilization with a centuries-old culture.


This cultural tour takes you on Ethiopia’s Historic Route North with the Simien Mountains, splendid Gheralta clusters, the ancient city of Harar, and Awash National Park. You will visit five UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Marvel at the spectacular 2,000-year-old stele at Axum, the rock-hewn churches of Lalibela built more than 800 years ago, the castles of Gondar, the island monasteries of  Lake Tana, the walled city of Harar, Awash National Park, and the Great Blue Nile Falls, as well as the friendly and charming people.

Trip Highlights

  • Visit six UNESCO World Heritage Sites, two of which are national parks 
  • Be amazed by a visit to the rock-hewn churches of Lalibela, one of “the living wonders of the world”
  • Enjoy the magnificent nature and endemic wildlife of the Simien Mountains
  • Experience breathtaking highland scenery
  • Travel back in time to explore the ancient city of Axum, the last resting place of the Ark of the Covenant
  • Discover the fairytale castles of Gondar
  • Take a cruise on Lake Tana to visit the ancient island monasteries
  • Visit the mighty Blue Nile River and Blue Nile falls
  • Discover an old walled city and the fourth holiest city of Islam
  • Discover the wildlife of Awash National Park
  • Visit the vibrant city of Addis Ababa, Africa’s capital
  • Meet your ancestor Lucy at the National Museum in Addis Ababa 
  • Try the varied Ethiopian food
  • Attend an Ethiopian coffee ceremony

Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive Addis Ababa

Arrive in Addis Ababa and afternoon city tour of Addis Ababa.
Overnight: Hotel

Day 2: Addis Ababa, Bahirdar

In the morning, drive to Bahirdar through the Great Blue Nile Gorge.
Overnight: Hotel

Day 3: Lake Tana, Blue Nile Falls, Bahir Dar

In the morning, visit the ancient island monasteries of Lake Tana. In the afternoon, visit the Blue Nile Falls.
Overnight: Hotel

Day 4: Bahir Dar, Gondar

After breakfast, drive to Gondar through the beautiful countryside scenery. In the afternoon, visit the castle compound from the 17th century and Debre Birhan Selassie Church.
Overnight: Hotel

Day 5: Gondar, Simien Mountains National Park

After an early breakfast, we will drive to Simien Mountains National Park. For the rest of the day, we will trek around the park.
Overnight: Lodge

Day 6: Simien Mountains National Park, Axum

After breakfast, we drive to Axum through the beautiful scenery of Simien Mountains, Limalimo, and Tekeze River Gorge.
Overnight: Hotel

Day 7: Axum, Yeha

After breakfast, we will visit the ancient city of Axum. In the afternoon, we have an excursion to the pre-Christian temple of Yeha.
Overnight: Hotel

Day 8: Axum, Hauzien

In the morning, we drive to Hauzien, the center of some of the most ancient rock-hewn churches, through the stunning and historical mountainous of Adwa.
Overnight: Hotel

Day 9: Hauzien

Today, you will explore the Tigray rock-hewn churches and the beautiful surrounding mountains of the area.
Overnight: Hotel

Day 10: Hauzien, Mekele

In the morning, we drive to Mekele enroute visiting some of the most ancient Tigray rock-hewn churches including Wikro Cherkos, Abrha We-atsbeha, and Dugum Selassie.
Overnight: Hotel

Day 11: Mekele, Lalibela

After breakfast, we drive north to Lalibela through Sekota. Enroute you will visit Yimrhane Kirstos and different villages of the Agwe tribal people.
Overnight: Hotel

Day 12: Rock-hewn churches of Lalibela

In the morning, we visit the first group of rock-hewn churches built from the 12th century. In the afternoon, we continue visiting the rock-hewn churches in the second group.
Overnight: Hotel

Day 13: Lalibela, Asheten Mariam

In the morning, we take a mule ride and trek to the top of Asheten Mariam Monastery.
O/N: Hotel

Day 14: Lalibela, Addis Ababa

After breakfast, we transfer to Lalibela airport for the flight to Addis Ababa. For the rest of the day, we take a city tour of Addis Ababa which includes the National Museum, Ethnographic Museum, and Mercato, the largest open air market in Africa.
Overnight: Hotel

Day 15: Addis Ababa, Diredawa, Harar

In the morning, we fly to Diredawa and continue driving to Harar. For the rest of the day, we visit the ancient city.
Overnight: Hotel

Day 16: Full day in Harar

In the morning, we visit the colorful open-air African markets and walk around the ancient city. After lunch, we visit the Hadere villages.
Overnight: Hotel

Day 17: Harar, Awash National Park, Nazreth

In the morning, we drive to Nazreth through Awash National Park.
Overnight: Hotel

Day 18: Nazreth, Debre Zeit, Addis Ababa

In the morning, we drive to Addis Ababa through the crater lakes of Debre Zeit. The rest of the day is left for shopping and preparation for the flight back.

OverviewItneraryDates & RatesImage

This is a small group photographic expedition to the remote tribes of the Omo Valley to witness some of the last remaining authentic tribes on the African continent. Being isolated from the fast-moving world for thousands of years because of its remote location, the Omo Valley is truly a haven for anthropologists and photographers looking for a unique photographic opportunity in a lesser-known and rarely photographed region.

This photographic expedition will take you on the east and west side of the Omo River. On this photo trip, you will visit the Konso, Hamer, Karo, and Nyangatom tribes. You will spend a couple of days visiting their villages and intermingling with the different tribes, learning about their lifestyle, attending ceremonies and rituals, and taking photos. There will be enough time with good light at different days to photograph their day-to-day activities when they do their body and face paintings, herd their cattle, farm, and more. 

Trip Highlights

  • Visit and photograph the most remote and authentic tribes in Africa
  • Meet the Suri, maybe the most exotic tribe in the Omo Valley with their colorful body and face painting and clay lip plates
  • See the daily life of the tribes
  • Witness the rituals and traditions of the tribes
  • Visit colorful markets in different villages
  • Enjoy the amazing landscape, nature, and birdlife of the Ethiopian Rift Valley
  • Meet your ancestor Lucy at the National Museum in Addis Ababa

Tour Guide

This tour will be led by our experienced, friendly guides who have led many photography tours to the Omo Valley. They know each and every village really well, and they will guide you for the best time and place to be there. They have an immense knowledge of the tribes you will be visiting, their culture, and how to interact with them.

Our Drivers

Our drivers are well trained and well travelled in the challenging Omo Valley area. They know the terrain and all the valleys you will be traveling to. They always make sure you are comfortable and safe. They have been rated excellent by many travelers who have traveled with them for long periods of time.

Transportation

On this Photographic Expedition to the Omo Valley, we will be using comfortable 4x4s for the most part. There will be one domestic flight from Addis Ababa to Arba Minch (not included) and one charter flight from Mizan to Addis (included).

Accommodation

On this trip, you will be staying in a 4-star hotel in Addis Ababa and the best available lodges in Turmi. In Dus, we will have a comfortable mobile camp with canvas tents, which will be set up and awaiting us when we arrive. We also have cooks for this part of the trip. There will be electric power to charge batteries as well as mobile showers and toilets in the mobile-tented camp.

Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive Addis Ababa

Arrive at Bole International Airport, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Welcome to Ethiopia! Upon arrival, you will be welcomed by your local tour leader and transfered to the Golden Tulip Hotel. 

Addis Ababa, founded in 1886 by Menelik II, is situated at 2,500 meters (8000 ft.) above sea level. It is the 5th highest capital city in the world. The city enjoys an excellent climate year-round, with an average temperature of 25C (77F). Addis Ababa is a pleasant city with wide avenues of jacarandas, interesting museums, and one of the largest open-air markets in Africa, known as the "Mercato".

For the rest of the day, relax in your comfortable hotel and get ready for the unique adventure awaiting you.

Overnight: Golden Tulip Hotel, Addis Abab

Day 2: Addis Ababa, Arba Minch

We will have a nice breakfast in the morning then a pre-tour briefing when we will share all the necessary information for the photo trip to the Omo Valley, one of the most remote places on the planet.

After the pre-tour briefing, we will meet our driver for the transfer to Addis Ababa airport for our 40-minute flight to Arba Minch.

Upon arrival at Arba Minch airport, you will meet with your drivers and drive north to the mountain village of Chencha, located on the southwestern escarpment of the Great Rift Valley, which runs north to south all the way to Mozambique. This is the home of the Dorze people. The Dorze people, once famous warriors in the region, are now renowned cotton weavers whose tall beehive-shaped and bamboo-woven dwellings are among the most distinctive structures to be seen anywhere in Africa.

Our visit to this village and the unique cultural experience is an ideal way to ease into the authentic tribal experience awaiting us deep in the Omo Valley. As the sun goes down, we will drive back to Arba Minch enjoying the beautiful view of the sunset as we pass through hundreds of cattle herds as they return from a day of grazing in the fields.

Overnight: Paradise Lodge, Arba Minch

Days 3–5: Konso, Turmi

After breakfast, we will continue driving further southwest to the Omo Valley. As we drive from Arba Minch to Turmi, you will see many tribal villages and small towns including the Tsemay and Konso.

Isolated for millennia from the rest of the world, the beautiful Omo Valley is home to an exciting mix of many small and distinctive tribal groups. Amongst others, we find the Kara, the Mursi, and the Hamer — all of whom have retained their own unique customs and traditions. Lifestyles are as varied as the tribes themselves. Lacking any materials, culture, and artifacts common to other cultures, these tribes find unique ways in which to express their artistic impulses. Arbore women are well known for their long headdresses. The girls shave their heads to indicate virginity, and only start growing hair after marriage. The Dassanech are a semi-nomadic tribe living on the shores of the Omo River. Their clans stretch across Sudan, Kenya, and southern Ethiopia. They are known for their very unique and ornate hair buns. Both the Surma and the Kara, for example, are experts at body painting, using clays and locally available vegetable pigments to trace fantastic patterns on each other's faces, chests, arms, and legs. These designs are created purely for fun and aesthetic effect, each artist vying to outdo the others.

Our last destination for today is Turmi village, home to the beautiful nomadic Hamer tribe living beside the Keske River. The Hamer display an elaborate and diverse selection of body decorations. They are also identifiable for their high cheekbones, custom of elaborate beads, cowries, and leather, and thick copper necklaces. The Hamar women are striking with their beautiful colorful beaded skins, ornate necklaces, and metal bangles around their wrist and ankles. We hope to arrive at the lodge for late lunch and be in time to visit a Hamer village with good light for photography.

For the next 3 nights, we will be based here at Turmi village, the center of the Hamer tribe and other tribes living in the surrounding area. This will give us a great chance to attend different rituals including the Evangadi dance and bull jumping ceremonies in some of the off-road tribal villages. This base allows us to be flexible and capitalize on all the photographic opportunities in the area. During our stay in Turmi, we will also visit the Abore and Dassanech tribes.

Overnight: Buska Lodge

Days 68: Kara, Dus

This morning, we will have a chance for one final photoshoot with the Hamer before our drive to the Kara tribe, who reside on the shore of the Omo River. The Kara are the masters in body and face painting, which they practice on a daily basis. Before their rituals and dances, they carefully paint their faces and body as well as the faces of their friends using various-colored soil, minerals, plant pigments, flowers, white chalk, and black charcoal. Men are decorated with red clay hair buns they have prepared for days.

For the next couple of days, you will have the chance to mingle with Kara and spend quality time with them, learning about their daily activities including attending different rituals and following them as they herd their cattle and farm.

Our mobile tent will be set up along the shore of the Omo River as we will make Dus our village for the next 3 days. This will allow us to get to know the Kara tribe better.

Overnight: Mobile Camping, Dus

Days 912: Dus, Kibish, the Exotic Suri Tribes

Today, we start our day very early as we prepare to depart for the real adventure awaiting on the other side of the Omo River in the Land of the Suri. After breakfast, we drive to the other side of the Omo River to Kibish, home of the exotic Suri tribes. ‘Exotic’ finds true meaning here.

The Suri tribes are nomadic pastoralists and the men live in the cattle camps. They live on drinking raw blood and milk from  live cows. During our stay at Kibish, we will visit cattle camps and witness rituals and cultural activities at different villages. There will definitely be many great photographic opportunities and a chance to interact with the tribes.

We will set up our mobile camp at Kibish, very close to the villages we will be visiting the following days. After a snack and when it is cooler, we will walk to the Kibish River where we will find the Suri tribes along the river. This will be a wonderful  opportunity to photography the tribe in their daily activity in good light.

Here we will have another 3 full days to explore the Suri tribes. The Suri are one of the most attractive and decorative tribes in the whole of Africa. They paint their body in colorful detail and make various headpieces from wildflowers other natural ingredients. The women wear a lip plate made of clay. The bigger the plate, the more beautiful the woman is considered to be. The art on the body and the scarification are created with thorns from trees and razor blades. You can’t help but feel that you are transported thousands of years back in time and witnessing an ancient tradition unchanged to this date isolated from the fast changing world.

In this captivating region, you will be privileged to witness age-old customs and rituals, learning of the symbolism that remains an integral part of everyday life.

Overnight: Mobile Camping, Kibish

Day 13: Kibish, Mizan, Addis Ababa, Charter Flight

In the morning, we will drive to Mizan to catch our private charter flight to Addis Ababa. The charter flight will save us 2 long days of driving. Upon arrival, we will meet our driver for the drive to our hotel. The rest of the day is at leisure and to freshen up.

In the evening, there will be a special Ethiopian farewell dinner party with traditional buffet and local drinks. There will also be a live cultural dance show of the different ethnic groups living in the country — the perfect ending to your trip! After the farewell dinner, transfer to Addis Ababa Airport for the flight back home. End of the tour.

Rate per person in USD

Confirmed: This tour is guaranteed to operate
Available: This tour is available.
Rate per person: on request
Single Supplement: on request

Group Size: 4–8

Extra Night in Addis Ababa
In double: 125.00 per person
In single: 145.00

 

DatesStatusAvailibilityBook Now
Jan. 20–Feb. 1, 2019 Confirmed Available Book Now
Feb. 17–Mar. 1, 2019 Confirmed Available Book Now

 

Included

  • Roundtrip as per program
  • Transport in 4x4 with AC
  • All necessary transfers
  • 6 nights in hotels and lodges (4-star hotel in Addis Ababa)
  • 6 nights camping (bring your own light sleeping bag)
  • All meals in the south (breakfast only in Addis Ababa)
  • All entrance fees
  • English-speaking, qualified tour guide
  • Farewell dinner (flight schedule permitting)
  • Taxes
  • Photo fees

Not Included

  • Visa fee
  • Tips
  • Meals in Addis Ababa (breakfast only)
  • Personal expenses
  • Domestic flight from Addis Ababa to Arba Minch

Duration of the Tour

Depending on your flight schedule, an additional night in Addis Ababa may be necessary.

Call: +0251-116-183163 or e-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more information.

 

OverviewItneraryDates & RatesImage

This is a small group photographic expedition to the remote tribes of the Omo Valley to witness some of the last remaining authentic tribes on the African continent.

These photographic expeditions will take you on the east side of the Omo River. On this photo trip you will visit the Konso, Hamer, Kara, and Nyangatom tribes. You will spend a couple of days visiting their villages and intermingling with the different tribes, learning their lifestyle, attending ceremonies and rituals, and taking photos. There will be enough time with good light on different days to photograph their day-to-day activities, their body and face painting, herding of cattle, farming, and more.

Being isolated from the fast-moving world because of its remote location for thousands of years, the Omo Valley is truly a haven for anthropologists and photographers looking for a unique photographic opportunity to a lesser-known and seldom-photographed region. 

Tour Guide

This tour will be led by our experienced, friendly guides who have led many photography tours to the Omo Valley. They know each and every village really well, and they will guide you for the best time and place to be there. They have an immense knowledge of the tribes you will be visiting, their culture, and how to interact with them.

Our Drivers

Our drivers are well trained and well travelled in the challenging Omo Valley area. They know all the terrain and the valleys you will be traveling to. They always make sure you are comfortable and safe. They have been rated excellent by many travelers who have traveled with them for long periods of time.

Transportation

On this Photographic Expedition to the Omo Valley, we will be using comfortable 4x4s for the most part. There will be one domestic flight from Addis Ababa to Arba Minch

Accommodation 

On this trip, you will be staying in a 4-star hotel in Addis Ababa and the best available lodges in Turmi. In Dus, we will have a comfortable mobile camp with canvas tents, which will be set up and awaiting us when we arrive. We also have cooks for this part of the trip. There will be electric power to charge batteries as well as mobile showers and toilets in the mobile-tented camp.

Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive Addis Ababa

Arrive at Bole International Airport, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Welcome to Ethiopia! Upon arrival, you will be welcomed by your local tour leader and transfered to Golden Tulip Hotel.

Addis Ababa, founded in 1886 by Menelik II, is situated at 2,500 meters (8000 ft.) above sea level. It is the 5th highest capital city in the world. The city enjoys an excellent climate year-round, with an average temperature of 25C (77F). Addis Ababa is a pleasant city with wide avenues of jacarandas, interesting museums, and one of the largest open-air markets in Africa, known as the "Mercato".

The rest of the day, relax in your comfortable hotel and get ready for the unique adventure awaiting you.

Overnight: Golden Tulip Hotel, Addis Ababa

Day 2: Addis Ababa, Arba Minch

We will have a nice breakfast in the morning then a pre-tour briefing when we will share all the necessary information for the photo trip to the Omo Valley, one of the most remote places on the planet.

After the pre-tour briefing, we will meet our driver for the transfer to Addis Ababa airport for our 40-minute flight to Arba Minch.

Upon arrival at Arba Minch airport, you will meet with your drivers and drive north to the mountain village of Chencha, located on the southwestern escarpment of the Great Rift Valley, which runs north to south all the way to Mozambique. This is the home of the Dorze people. The Dorze people, once famous warriors in the region, are now renowned cotton weavers whose tall beehive-shaped and bamboo-woven dwellings are among the most distinctive structures to be seen anywhere in Africa.

Our visit to this village and the unique cultural experience is an ideal way to ease into the authentic tribal experience awaiting us deep in the Omo Valley. As the sun goes down, we will drive back to Arba Minch enjoying the beautiful view of the sunset as we pass through hundreds of cattle herds as they return from a day of grazing in the fields.

Overnight: Paradise Lodge, Arbaminch (Meals: B, L, D)

Days 3–5: Arba Minch, Turmi

After breakfast, we will continue driving further southwest to the Omo Valley. As we drive from Arba Minch to Turmi, you will see many tribal villages and small towns including the Tsemay and Konso.

Isolated for millennia from the rest of the world, the beautiful Omo Valley is home to an exciting mix of many small and distinctive tribal groups. Amongst others, we find the Kara, the Mursi, and the Hamer — all of whom have retained their own unique customs and traditions. Lifestyles are as varied as the tribes themselves. Lacking any materials, culture, and artifacts common to other cultures, these tribes find unique ways in which to express their artistic impulses. Arbore women are well known for their long headdresses. The girls shave their heads to indicate virginity, and only start growing hair after marriage. The Dassanech are a semi-nomadic tribe living on the shores of the Omo River. Their clans stretch across Sudan, Kenya, and southern Ethiopia. They are known for their very unique and ornate hair buns. Both the Surma and the Kara, for example, are experts at body painting, using clays and locally available vegetable pigments to trace fantastic patterns on each other's faces, chests, arms, and legs. These designs are created purely for fun and aesthetic effect, each artist vying to outdo the others.

Our last destination for today is Turmi village, home to the beautiful nomadic Hamer tribe living beside the Keske River. The Hamer display an elaborate and diverse selection of body decorations. They are also identifiable for their high cheekbones, custom of elaborate beads, cowries, and leather, and thick copper necklaces. The Hamar women are striking with their beautiful colorful beaded skins, ornate necklaces, and metal bangles around their wrist and ankles. We hope to arrive at the lodge for late lunch and be in time to visit a Hamer village with good light for photography.

For the next 3 nights, we will be based here at Turmi village, the center of the Hamer tribe and other tribes living in the surrounding area. This will give us a great chance to attend different rituals including the Evangadi dance and bull jumping ceremonies in some of the off-road tribal villages. This base allows us to be flexible and capitalize on all the photographic opportunities in the area. During our stay in Turmi, we will also visit the Abore and Dassanech tribes. 

Overnight: Buska Lodge (Meals: B, L, D)

Days 6–9: Kara, Dus

This morning, we will have a chance for one final photoshoot with the Hamer before our drive to the Kara tribe, who reside on the shore of the Omo River. The Kara are the masters in body and face painting, which they practice on a daily basis. Before their rituals and dances, they carefully paint their faces and body as well as the faces of their friends using various-colored soil, minerals, plant pigments, flowers, white chalk, and black charcoal. Men are decorated with red clay hair buns they have prepared for days.

For the next couple of days, you will have the chance to mingle with Kara and spend quality time with them, learning about their daily activities including attending different rituals and following them as they herd their cattle and farm.

Our mobile tent will be set up along the shore of the Omo River as we will make Dus our village for the next 3 days. This will allow us to get to know the Kara tribe better.

Overnight: Mobile Camping (Meals: B, L, D)

Day 9: Dus, Konso

Today we leave this exceptional region to go to Konso. The Konso are famous for their old and unique terraces (a UNESCO World Heritage Site) and unusual engraved wooden statues of grave markers. The villages are protected with huge stone walls. (Meals: B, L, D)

Day 10: Konso, Langano

After breakfast, we drive north to beautiful Lake Langano. On the way, we will stop at different villages. Later in the afternoon, you can relax on the beach (bilharzia free) and enjoy the birds at the lake. (Meals: B, L, D)

Day 11: Langano, Addis Ababa

The morning is free for leisure. After lunch, we drive back to Addis Ababa. Depending on the flight schedule, a farewell dinner with local specialties and cultural dances can be organized. Transfer to airport. End of tour. (Meals: B, L, D)

B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner

Rates on request

Group size: 4–8

 

DatesStatusAvailibilityBook Now
Jan. 1020, 2019 Confirmed Availalbe Book Now
Feb. 717, 2019 Confirmed Availalbe Book Now
Mar. 717, 2019 Confirmed Availalbe Book Now
Mar. 28Apr. 7, 2019 Confirmed Availalbe Book Now

Included

  • Roundtrip as per program
  • Transport in a 4x4 with AC
  • All necessary transfers
  • 7 nights accommodation in good hotels and lodges (4-star in Addis Ababa) in double rooms
  • 3 nights camping (bring your own light sleeping bag)
  • All meals as stated in the program
  • All entrance fees
  • English-speaking, qualified national tour guide
  • Farewell dinner (flight schedule permitting)
  • Taxes
  • Photo fees

Not Included

  • Visa fees
  • Tips
  • Meals not stated in the program
  • All expenses of a personal nature (drinks, laundry, phone calls, etc.)
  • Domestic flights

Tour Duration

The tour duration shown above begins and ends in Addis Ababa. Please be aware that the duration of the holiday may be longer with flights, and an additional night in Addis Ababa may be necessary.

Call +0251-116-183163 or e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more information.

 

Ethiopia is a land of natural contrasts — from the tops of the rugged Simien Mountains (4620 meters), the third-highest mountains in Africa, to the depths of the Danakil Depression, at 120 meters below sea level, one of the lowest dry land points on earth. The wealth of natural beauty that blesses Ethiopia offers an astonishing variety of landscapes and wildlife. Afro-Alpine highlands soaring to around 4,620 meters, moors and mountains, the splendor of the Great Rift Valley, white-water rivers, savannah teeming with game, giant waterfalls, dense and lush jungle... the list is endless.

SIMIEN MOUNTAINS

The Simien Mountains present the most dramatic mountain scenery in Africa: Great volcanic plugs, formed some 40 million years ago and eroded over the aeons into fantastic crags, pinnacles, and flat topped mountains.

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BALE MOUNTAINS

This trek takes you into the largest Afro- Alpine habitant in the whole of Africa. Bale Mountains National Park covers the largest Afro-Alpine habitat in the whole of Africa.

 

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DALLOL DEPRESSION EXPEDITION WITH TIGRAY ROCK-HEWN CHURCHES

On this expedition, you will have a lava trek to visit one of few permanent lava lakes on the planet, Erta Ale. You will also have the chance to witness an ancient tradition of extracting salt from the salt fields and transporting the salt bars via caravan of endless lines of camels for days from the depression to the highland towns. This adventure tour is truly a trip of a lifetime!

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BIRDING TOUR

Ethiopia’s greatly diversified ecosystem makes it one of the richest habitats in Africa for birds and mammals. With more than 860 species of birds, Ethiopia possesses about 10% of the world’s bird species, and about 40% of all African birds are found here. Among these, 16 species of birds are found only in Ethiopia. That is the reason why we say, Ethiopia is a must for bird enthusiasts.

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WILDLIFE HOLIDAY IN ETHIOPIA

With 14 major wildlife reserves, Ethiopia provides a microcosm of the entire sub-Saharan ecosystem. Birdlife here is abundant, and there are many endemic mammals from the rare Walia Ibex to the Ethiopian Wolf, from the Mountain Nyala to the Gelada Baboon and the shy Wild Ass that roam free just as nature intended. These offer amazing opportunities for nature and wildlife travel unparalleled in Africa. Our nature and wildlife tour packages are designed to help you explore and enjoy this amazing nature with our nature and wildlife expert tour guides. 

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Are you in Addis Ababa on business and have time only for the highlights of Ethiopia? Or, do you live in Addis Ababa and only have the weekend to visit some of the highlights of Ethiopia in just 2 to 3 days? Then we have something for you to help you explore the highlights of Ethiopia and sample its amazing destinations over the weekend or anytime during the week.

Our short tours and weekend trips are well crafted by our experts to help you discover some of the most fascinating places to visit in Ethiopia in the short time you have. Be it a nature and wildlife tour, bird watching excursion, short mountain trekking in the Bale Mountains, a wildlife safari to Awash National Park, a cultural tour on the Historic Route of Ethiopia, an adventure in the Denakil Desert and Ertale Lava Lake, you name it we have something unique for everybody. Below is a sampling of some of our short tours. If you haven’t found what you are looking for, no worries, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and we will plan something together with you.

Addis Ababa City Tour

Founded in 1886 by Menelik II, Addis Ababa is situated at close to 2,500 meters (8000 ft.) above sea level, which makes it the fifth highest capital city in the world after La Paz, Bolivia; Quito, Ecuador; Bogotá, Colombia; and Thimphu, Bhutan. This hospitable and safe city enjoys an excellent climate year-round, with an average temperature of 25C (77F).

With a multiethnic population of over 5 million, Addis Ababa is a pleasant city with wide avenues of jacarandas, interesting museums, and one of the largest open-air markets in Africa, known as the "Mercato".

Short Tours Around Addis Ababa 

These 1- to 2-day cultural or nature excursions around Addis Ababa allow you to experience Ethiopia outside of the capital city.

 

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Weekend Trips

Enjoy a weekend exploring culture, nature or both.

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On this tour you will enjoy a boat trip on the source of the Blue Nile, Lake Tana, and visit some of the famous island monasteries. The magnificent Nile Falls is another highlight.

The rock-hewn churches of Lalibela are one of the world's most incredible manmade creations, commonly referred to by many as one of the “living wonders of the world”. These remarkable edifices were carved out of solid rock, in a region where the rugged landscape still protects the churches from mass tourism. The 11 manmade churches are found in the town of Lalibela, and they are a lasting monument to man's faith in God.

    
Trip Highlights

  • Take a boat cruise to visit the island monasteries of Lake Tana
  • Visit the source of the second-longest river, Blue Nile and the Blue Nile Falls
  • Discover the ancient rock-hewn churches of Lalibela
  • Enjoy a city tour in Addis Ababa

Itinerary

Day 1: Addis Ababa, Bahirdar, Lake Tana, Blue Nile Falls

In the morning, fly to Bahirdar. After checking into the hotel, we will take a boat cruise on Lake Tana to visit the ancient 14th-century island monasteries of Lake Tana. The 37 islands of Lake Tana shelter 20 monasteries — surviving remnants of an old, contemplative tradition. Because of their isolation, they were used to store treasures and religious relics from all parts of the country. The lake’s monasteries are famous for their typical Ethiopian religious paintings, illuminated manuscripts, and other ancient church treasures.

After having lunch at the hotel, we will drive 35 km to visit the majestic Blue Nile Falls. Thirty km after exiting Lake Tana, the Blue Nile plunges over a 45-meter-high face to form one of the most spectacular waterfalls in Africa. Walking to the falls through the beautiful river gorge on the ancient 17th-century bridge and meeting the local people at the small villages on the way to the falls is also a great experience.

Overnight: Blue Nile Resort, Bahirdar

Day 2:  Bahirdar, Lalibela

After breakfast, transfer from your hotel to Bahirdar airport for the flight to Lalibela. After checking into your hotel, we will drive to the site where we find a concentration of some of Ethiopia’s most famous rock-hewn churches, referred to by many as one of “the living wonders of the world”. These churches are, and they have been for at least 800 years, an active Christian shrine — the spiritual center of the country’s religious life. The monolithic churches were carved out of a 2,600-square-meter natural rock terrace in the 12th century AD by King Lalibela.

Bete Medhani Alem, the largest monolithic rock-hewn church in the world, measures 37.7 ft. in height, covers an area of almost 2625 square ft., and has walls that are up to 6 feet thick. A plain building supported by 36 pillars on the inside and another 36 pillars around the outside, Bete Medhani Alem was modeled on the original St. Mary Zion Church built by King Ezana in the 4th century at Axum.
 
The rock-hewn churches that we will visit today include Bete Medhani Alem, Bete Mariam, Bete Meskel, Bete Denagil, Bete Golgotha Michael, and Bete Giorgis.

After having lunch and resting at the hotel, we will continue our journey into Ethiopia’s long and marvelous history with a visit to more of Lalibela’s remarkable churches. Their architecture and artistry must be seen to be believed. After visiting the second group of churches, we will walk to the village through the complex, bewildering labyrinth of underground tunnels to the monastery were the monks and nuns live.
 
The rock-hewn churches that we will visit this afternoon include Bete Gebriel, Bete Mercorios, Bete Emanuel, Bethlehem, and Bete Aba Libanos.

Overnight: Harbe Hotel, Lalibela

Day 3:  Lalibela, Addis Ababa

After breakfast at the hotel, transfer to Lalibela Airport for your flight back to Addis. End of tour.

Enjoy a unique wildlife holiday in the largest Afro-Alpine habitant in the whole of Africa. Bale Mountains is a high-altitude plateau that is fragmented by numerous remarkable volcanic plugs and peaks, beautiful alpine lakes, and mountain streams that run down into the deep rocky gorges on their way to the lowlands. It is haven for various endemic mammals including the African Wolf, Mountain Nyala, and Menelik's Bushbuck, as well as many endemic birds.

The highlights of this wildlife holiday will be the endangered Ethiopian Wolf, a rare creature unique to the highlands of Ethiopia. On this tour, we will also have the chance to see the gorgeous Mountain Nyala, the delightful Bale Monkey, and many endemic birds, as we will be touring around one of the continent's top five birding hot spots.

Trip Highlights

  • Enjoy endemic wildlife holiday in the beautiful Bale Mountains
  • See the African Wolf and Ethiopian Red Wolf
  • Watch the Mountain Nyala and Menelik's Bushbuck, which are endemic to the Bale Mountains
  • Spot endemic birds and other mammals
  • Go on a city tour of Addis Ababa

Itinerary

Day 1: Addis Ababa, Bale Mountains National Park

In the morning, drive southeast of Addis Ababa on the new express road to Dinsho, in the heart of Bale Mountains National Park. This is one of the biggest Afro-Alpine habitats on the entire African continent. 

In the afternoon, we will do a game drive to visit some of the endemic mammals in the park including the Bale Mountain Nyala, Menelik's Bushbuck, and Warthogs.

Overnight: Wabi Shebele Hotel, Goba (Meals: L, D)

Day 2:  Goba, Senettie Plateau

In the morning, drive through the high plateau of one of the most beautiful parts of the park. This is the territory of the endemic Ethiopian Red Wolf. This endangered canine is the only wolf family found in Africa. It can be spotted commonly here in the vast Afro-Alpine vegetation hunting Giant Mallrats, on which it commonly feeds.

On this well conserved Afro-Alpine ecosystem, you will definitely see some endemic birds like the Blue-Winged Goose, as well as the Giant Mallrats. Later in the afternoon, we will take a relaxing trek around Gesse Valley where we can see much more wildlife and enjoy the scenic view walking around the valley.

Overnight: Wabi Shebele Hotel, Goba (Meals: B, L, D)

Day 3: Goba, Lake Ziway, Addis Ababa

In the morning, drive northwest to the Ethiopian Great Rift Valley Lakes Region. In this region, you will find chains of beautiful Rift Valley lakes, which are home to many birds and other wildlife. Enroute, we will stop at Lake Ziway, one of the biggest Rift Valley lakes. Lake Ziway is very famous for its abundant birdlife. We will have lunch at Haile Resort on the shore of Lake Ziway. 

After our visit to the lakes, we drive back to Addis Ababa through the new expressway, which starts at Mojo, arriving in Addis Ababa late in afternoon. End of tour. (Meals: B, L)

An adventure to the Dallol, Danakil Desert, and Erta Ale Lava Lake is like an adventure like no other. This adventure takes you to one of the hottest, lowest, and geologically active areas on the planet. And this is a trip to some of the most breathtaking landscapes on earth.

It is almost impossible to put the feeling of this extraterrestrial place into words. You just have to come and experience it. Indeed, this adventure tour is truly a trip of a lifetime!

Trip Highlights

  • Explore the Dallol Depression, one of the lowest and hottest places on earth
  • Be carried away by a landscape which makes you feel like you are on a another planet
  • Ride on a camel to Erta Ale Lava Lake in the moonlight
  • Lava trek around Erta Ale Lava Lake
  • Witness the centuries-old tradition of salt extraction and transporting it with hundreds of camel caravans

Itinerary

Day 1: Addis Ababa, Mekele, Hamedella

Early in the morning, transfer to Addis Ababa airport for the flight to Mekele. Upon arrival at Mekele airport, you will be picked up by your drivers and the Grand Holidays Ethiopia Tours team for the drive to Berhale. Then we will continue driving northeast to Hamedella, where you will stay two nights.

The Danakil Depression is the northern part of the Afar Triangle or Afar Depression, a geological depression that has resulted from the junction of three tectonic plates in the Horn of Africa. This photographic adventure is to one of the lowest, hottest, and least hospitable places on earth. Nonetheless, this is a place of otherworldly, colorful mineral fields and amazingly eye-catching landscapes.

Late in the afternoon, we will drive to the Depression where you can see and photograph with the late afternoon light the swirling sulphur and mineral salt formations in the Danakil Depression, one of the hottest and harshest environments on earth.

Here you will also witness and be able to photograph the centuries-old tradition of salt extraction in the big salt flats. You will see the salt bars loaded onto hundreds of camel caravans that will travel from the depression all the way to the highlands on a journey of more than 2 days.

Overnight: Camping at Hamedella (Meals: L, D)

Day 2: Explore Dallol, Erta Ale

Early in the morning, we will drive to Dallol Depression crossing the Danakil Desert from south to north. Lying at 130 meters below sea level, on Lake Assale, the Dallol Depression is one of the hottest and lowest points on earth. This morning, we will also discover one of the most exciting places in Dallol, the water springs in the desert with multicolored minerals gushing to the surface from the inner part of the Earth. 

After our visit to Dallol, we will continue our drive to Dodom, the base of the crater. Once at Dodom, we will rest in the shade of our tents and prepare for the Erta Ale lava trek. We will load our equipment on camels and start the trek when it cools down. We will trek on the lava for 13 km to the top of the Erta Ale crater.

At the top of the crater, we will rest in our camp and have dinner. Afterwards, we will walk downhill to the active lava lake for some night photography and then return to camp.

Overnight: Camping at Erta Ale (Meals: B, L, D) 

Day 3: Erta Ale, Eribiti, Mekele

Early in the morning, we will walk back to the lava lake for some morning photography and trek back to base camp at Dodom where we will meet our vehicles. We proceed straight to Mekelle to catch our evening flight for Addis Ababa. End of Tour

(Meals: B, L)

 

This is a journey to Ethiopia’s past. This cultural tour takes you to the two ancient cities in Ethiopia’s Historic North. Both are listed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The rock-hewn churches of Lalibela are one of the world's most incredible manmade creations, commonly referred to by many as one of the “living wonders of the world”. These remarkable edifices were carved out of solid rock, in a region where the rugged landscape still protects the churches from mass tourism.

The 11 manmade churches are found in the town of Lalibela, and they are a lasting monument to man's faith in God. The medieval castles and the Debre Berhan Selassie Church, one of the finest examples of Ethiopian Art, are must-sees in Gondar. 

Trip Highlights

  • Visit two UNESCO World Heritage Sites
  • Be amazed by a visit to the rock-hewn churches of Lalibela, one of “the living wonders of the world”
  • Discover the fairytale castles of Gondar
  • Visit various less-visited sites and meet with the local people
  • Try the varied Ethiopian food
  • Attend an Ethiopian coffee ceremony

Itinerary

Day 1: Addis Ababa, Lalibela

After breakfast, transfer to Addis Ababa airport for the flight to Lalibela. After checking in to your hotel, we drive to the site where you will find a concentration of some of Ethiopia’s most famous rock-hewn churches, mostly referred by many as one of “the living wonders of the world”. These churches are, and they have been for at least 800 years, an active Christian shrine, the spiritual center of the country’s religious life. The monolithic churches were carved out of a 2,600-square-meter natural rock terrace in the 12th century AD by King Lalibela.

Bete Medhani Alem, the largest monolithic rock-hewn church in the world, measures 37.7 ft. in height, covers an area of almost 2625 square ft., and has walls that are up to 6 feet thick. A plain building supported by 36 pillars on the inside and another 36 pillars around the outside, Bete Medhani Alem was modeled on the original St. Mary Zion Church built by King Ezana in the 4th century at Axum.
 
The rock-hewn churches that you will visit today include Bete Medhani Alem, Bete Mariam, Bete Meskel, Bete Denagil, Bete Golgotha Michael, and Bete Giorgis.

After having lunch and a rest at the hotel, you will continue your journey into Ethiopia’s long and marvelous history with a visit to more of St. Lalibela’s remarkable churches — their architecture and artistry must be seen to be believed. After we finish visiting the second group of churches, we will walk to the village through the complex, bewildering labyrinth of underground tunnels to the monastery where the monks and nuns live.
 
The rock-hewn churches that we will visit this afternoon include Bete Gebriel, Bete Mercorios Bete Emanuel, Bethlehem, and Bete Aba Libanos.

In the evening, there will be a special traditional Ethiopian coffee ceremony for the group prepared at a local house. In the birthplace of coffee, Ethiopia’s Kaffa region, from which it gets its name, the berries were originally only eaten, never roasted and ground for a drink. Only since the 13th century has coffee been made into a hot drink. Holding a coffee ceremony is a traditional Ethiopian way of welcoming a guest and giving the guest the best hospitality. It is probably one of the most widespread and celebrated Ethiopian traditions.

Overnight: Harbe Hotel, Lalibela

Day 2: Lalibela, Gondar

After breakfast, transfer to Lalibela airport for the 30-minute flight to Gondar. After checking in to Goha Hotel, located on a hill overlooking the city, and having lunch there, you will start your tour of Gondar.

Gondar, founded by Emperor Fasiledas around 1635, is famous for its many medieval castles and the design and decoration of its churches — in particular, Debre Berhan Selassie, which represents a masterpiece of the unique Ethiopian School of traditional art.

This afternoon, you will explore the ancient city and its famous sites including the Royal Enclosure, a walled compound having six different castles built starting in the 17th century by different kings who ruled in different times. You will also see the pool of King Fasiledas, which still serves as a baptismal pool during Ethiopian Epiphany, and the famous Debre Berhan Selassie, which is adorned with brilliant frescos from inside.

Overnight: Goha Hotel, Gondar

Day 3: Gondar, Addis Ababa, Departure

In the morning, transfer to Addis Ababa airport for the flight back to Addis Ababa. End of tour.

This short wildlife safari takes you northeast of Addis Ababa to Awash National Park, which is found 253 km into the Ethiopian Great Rift Valley. This beautiful park was established as a recreational park for the royal family in 1966. The Awash National Park is home to over 460 species of birds and several mammals such as the Beisa Oryx, Desert Warthog, Summering’s Gazelle, Lesser Kudu, Hamadryads Baboon, Olive Baboon, Grivet's Monkey, Abyssinian Hare, Harar Dik Dik, Spotted Hyena, Ard Wolf, Bat-eared Fox, Golden Jackal, African Wildcat, and some other rarely seen mammals. 

Trip Highlights

  • View amazing landscapes including young volcanic mountains and lakes
  • See unique wildlife
  • Relax in hot springs
  • Engage in bird watching

Itinerary

Day 1: Addis Ababa, Awash National Park

In the morning, drive to Awash National Park, 230 km away, part of the Ethiopian Great Rift Valley. Visit Debre Zeit Crater lakes while enroute.

After having lunch at Nazret, drive to Awash National Park through the volcanic mountains and valleys, and witness the lava on both sides of the road as freshly turned earth. We will visit beautiful Beseka Lake rich in bird life. Here you can see the Wattled Ibis, Pink-winged Pelican, African Fish Eagle, Saddled Stork, and many more birds. This is also the place where you can see the nomadic Kereyu tribe, bringing in large herds of camels for water.

After visiting the alkaline Lake Beseka, we will continue our visit to the base of the Fentale Volcanic Mountain, one of the youngest volcanic mountains. At the base of this mountain is a very big and recent rift formed by the volcanic activity in the region. This rift continues all the way to the lake, which enables numerous hot springs to flow all the way to Lake Beseka. As a result, the volume of the lake continues to increase. Under this rift, there are many Spotted Hyena, and around late afternoon they all come out of their caves. This creates a great opportunity to see and photograph this wild beast. Sometimes, the Warthogs share the same cave with the Spotted Hyenas and you can see them as they come out.  

As the sun starts to go down, we will drive to Awash National Park for a possible evening game drive and visit the beautiful Awash Falls. Your lodge today is located in a very beautiful part of the park overlooking the Awash River waterfall.

Overnight: Awash Fall Lodge, Awash National Park (Meals: L, D)

Day 2: Awash National Park, Ali Dege National Park

In the morning, we will have an early morning game drive around Awash National Park, near the falls and over the Ilala grassland. Here we can expect to see many Olive Baboons, Byssen Oryx, Waterbucks, and Bushbucks, as well as many native birds and more.

After our morning game drive, we will drive to Doho Hot Springs where Doho Lodge is located overlooking the Doho Lake, which formed as the result of the many hot springs around the area. For the rest of the morning, relax around the hot springs or rest. Here we can also visit nomadic Afar Villages.

Late in the afternoon, we will drive to Ali Dege, 70 km away. Here we can expect to spot among many other wildlife species such as the Summering Gazelle, Gerenuk, Graving Zebra, and perhaps the Kori Bustard and Arabian Bustard.

On our way to the lodge, we may spot the Hamadryads Baboon, the sacred baboon depicted on the ancient pyramids of Egypt.

Overnight: Doho Lodge (Meals: B, L, D)

Day 3: Awash, Addis Ababa

In the morning, drive back to Addis Ababa through Debre Zeit and the express road. At Debre Zeit, you can relax at the beautiful resorts before heading to Addis Ababa. We expect to arrive in Addis Ababa late in the afternoon. (Meals: B, L)

This cultural tour takes you to one of the world's most incredible manmade creations, commonly referred by many as one of the “living wonders of the world”. These 11 remarkable edifices were carved out of solid rock, in a region where the rugged landscape still protects the churches from mass tourism. 

If you just have only a couple of days and you have to choose one tour, this UNESCO World Heritage Site excursion is truly a must-see.

Trip Highlights

  • Explore the rock-hewn churches of Lalibela, one of “the living wonders of the world" and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  • Be carried away by the magnificent carved architecture.
  • See the amazing fresco paintings
  • Visit the vibrant city of Addis Ababa.
  • Try various Ethiopian foods.
  • Attend an Ethiopian coffee ceremony.

Itinerary

Day 1: Addis Ababa, Lalibela

Early in the morning, transfer to Addis Ababa Airport for the flight to Lalibela. After checking into Mount View Hotel, drive to the site where you will  find a concentration of some of Ethiopia’s most famous rock-hewn churches, often referred to as one of “the living wonders of the world”. These churches are, and they have been for at least 800 years, an active Christian shrine, the spiritual center of the country’s  religious life. The monolithic churches were carved out of a 2,600-square-meter natural rock terrace in the 12th century AD by King Lalibela.

Bete Medhani Alem, the largest monolithic rock-hewn church in the world, measures 37.7 ft. in height, covers an area of almost 2625 square ft., and has walls that are up to 6 feet thick. A plain building supported by 36 pillars on the inside and another 36 pillars around the  outside, Bete Medhani Alem was modeled on the original St. Mary Zion Church built by King Ezana in the 4th century at Axum.
 
The rock-hewn churches that you will visit today include Bete Medhani Alem, Bete Mariam, Bete Meskel, Bete Denagil, Bete Golgotha Michael, and Bete Giorgis.

Accommodation: Mount View Hotel, Lalibela (Meals: L, D)

Day 2: Asheten Mariam, Lalibela

In the morning, trek to the top  of Asheten Mariam Monastery, famous for its 12th-century monastery church and beautiful view at 10,298 ft above sea level. We will walk/mule ride through dramatic highland scenery that eventually ends in a beautiful, serene agricultural hamlet.

After lunch and rest at the hotel, you will continue your journey into Ethiopia’s long and marvelous history with a visit to other of Lalibela’s remarkable churches. Their architecture and artistry must be seen to be believed! After visiting the second group of churches, we will walk to the village through the complex, bewildering labyrinth of underground tunnels of the monastery where the monks and nuns live.
 
The rock-hewn churches that we will visit this afternoon include Bete Gebriel, Bete Mercorios Bete Amanuel, Bethlehem, and Bete Aba Libanos.
 
Accommodation: Mount View Hotel, Lalibela (Meals: B, L, D)


Day 3:  Lalibela, Addis Ababa

After breakfast, transfer to Lalibela airport for the flight to Addis Ababa. (Meals: B)

The Simien Mountains present the most dramatic mountain scenery in Africa: Great volcanic plugs, formed some 40 million years ago and eroded over the ages into fantastic crags, pinnacles, and flat-topped mountains. The "chess pieces of the gods", as one writer described them, tower over precipitous gorges, river valleys, and plains stretching all the way to Eritrea. There are many peaks over 4000 meters. 

This tour goes through landscapes of deep gorges and striking rock towers. In addition to having breathtaking scenery and ample hiking opportunities, this park is also a haven to many endemic species of wildlife and flora, including the Gelada Baboon; the Walia Ibex, the sacred animal of the ancient Ethiopians; the rare Ethiopian Wolf; and many endemic bird species. The park was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1979.

Trip Highlights

  • Go on a unique wildlife tour amidst the spectacular Simien Mountains, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  • Watch the Gelada Baboon, the last surviving species of ancient grazing primates.
  • Spot the magnificent Walia Ibex, which is only found in the Simien Mountains.
  • Enjoy unmatched endemic bird watching.
  • Spot the last surviving African wolf, the Ethiopian Red Wolf.
  • Visit the ancient city of Gondar, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  • Enjoy a city tour of Addis Ababa.

Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive Addis Ababa  

Arrive in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Welcome to Ethiopia! Upon arrival at Addis Ababa Bole International Airport (ADD), you will be welcomed by your tour guide and driven to the Jupiter Hotel (4-star). 

Addis Ababa, founded in 1886 by Menelik II, is situated at 2,500 meters (8000 ft.) above sea level. It is the 5th highest capital city in the world. The city enjoys an excellent climate year-round, with an average temperature of 25C (77F). With a multiethnic population of over 5 million, Addis Ababa is a pleasant city with wide avenues of jacarandas, interesting museums, and one of the largest open-air markets in Africa, known as the "Mercato".

Overnight: Jupiter Hotel, Addis Ababa

Day 2: Addis Ababa, Gondar, Sankaber

Early in the morning, transfer to Addis Ababa airport for the 50-minute flight to Gondar. 

Upon arrival at Gondar airport, we will meet our driver for the drive to the Simien Mountains National Park.

Driving from Gondar up to Simien Mountains National Park, you will be amazed by the spectacular scenery that awaits you at the top of the massif. The rolling grassy plateau comes to an abrupt stop, and sheer cliffs plunge almost vertically for 1,000m (3280 ft.) to the plains below. The massif itself has been sculpted by 30 million years of upthrust and erosion into a wonderland of jagged ridges, pinnacles, and strangely cropped conical mountains, so that looking out over the heart-stopping precipice you feel you might just be at the edge of the world.

After checking into the Simien Lodge and having lunch there, we will relax a bit and get ready for the afternoon photo shoot of the Gelada "bleeding heart" Baboon around Sankaber.

Overnight: Simien Lodge, Buyit Ras (3200 m)

Day 3: Sankaber, Gelada Baboon Territory

In the morning, we will drive/walk around Sankaber. This is the territory of Gelada Baboon, where we find them in great numbers as they come out to graze on the plains of Sankaber. The endemic Gelada Baboon is the last surviving species of ancient grazing primates that were once numerous. Geladas spend most of their day sitting and plucking and munching on grasses. They have fatty rear ends, much like human buttocks, which seem well adapted to this activity.

Theropithecus Gelada live in small family units of one male and three to six females. Though males are larger and more colorful, females dominate Gelada societies. When an aging male begins to decline, the females in his family decide when he will be replaced by a younger rival — though the male will do all he can do to drive off such competition. Gelada family units often combine to form large foraging bands of 30 to 350 animals.

We will spend the morning photographing the Gelada Baboon around the plains and further down the hills. In the afternoon, we will walk around the lodge in different locations for more opportunities to photograph the Gelada Baboon in the late afternoon light.

Overnight: Simien Lodge, Buyit Ras (3200 m)

Day 4: Cheneck, Walia Ibex territory

Today, we will rise early in the morning with the sun and drive to Cheneck through Sankaber and other beautiful parts of the park. This will give you a unique opportunity to photograph the Gelada Baboon and other endemic wildlife as they graze and hunt around the plains in the beautiful morning sun.

Around Cheneck, you will also have a chance to photograph the endemic Mountain Nyala in some of the most spectacular parts of the park. After spending the morning exploring around Checnk, we will drive back to the lodge. Late in the afternoon, we will go out around Cheneck and surrounding area to spend more time among the Geladas with the golden light of late afternoon.

Overnight: Simien Lodge, Buyit Ras (3200 m)

Day 5: Buit Ras, Gondar

Drive from Buit Ras to Gondar with stops in some picturesque places. After checking into Goha Hotel and having lunch there, we will have a city tour of Gondar. Founded by Emperor Fasiledas around 1635, Gondar is famous for its many medieval castles and the design and decoration of its churches — in particular, Debre Birhan Selassie, which represents a masterpiece of unique the Ethiopian school of traditional art.

Today you will visit the Royal Enclosure, a walled compound having six different castles built starting from 17th century by different kings who ruled in different times; the pool of King Fasiledas, which still serves as a baptismal pool during Ethiopian Epiphany; and the famous Debre Berhan Selassie adorned with brilliant frescos inside.

Overnight: Goha Hotel, Gondar

Day 6: Gondar, Addis Ababa, End of tour

In the morning, transfer to Gondar airport for the flight to Addis Ababa. For the rest of the day you will have a city tour of Addis Ababa which includes the National Museum, the Mercato, the Piassa, and other parts of the city.

After checking into the hotel, we will drive to the National Museum to meet your ancestor Lucy. The National Museum  is one of the best museums in Ethiopia. Archeological exhibits include the 3.2-million-year-old fossil of Lucy (or Dinkinesh — ‘thou art wonderful’ — in the native language), a hominoid woman of the species Australopithecus Afarensis. The discovery of Lucy’s fossil in 1974 forced a complete rethink of human genealogy, proving that our ancestors were walking 2.5 million years earlier than had been supposed. The National Museum also contains many wonderful artifacts dating back to the pre-Axumite civilization.

After our visit to the museum, we will continue our city tour of Addis Ababa with the Mercato, the largest open-air market in Africa, other part of the city including the Piassa, and Churchill Avenue for souvenir shopping.

In the evening, there will be a special Ethiopian farewell dinner party with a traditional buffet and local drinks. There will also be a live cultural dance show of the different ethnic groups living in the country. The perfect way to end the trip! After the farewell dinner, transfer to Addis Ababa Airport for the flight back home. End of the tour.

 

This wildlife tour takes you into the largest Afro-Alpine habitant in the whole of Africa. It is a high-altitude plateau fragmented by numerous remarkable volcanic plugs and peaks, beautiful alpine lakes, and mountain streams that run down into the deep rocky gorges on their way to the lowlands. It is haven for various endemic mammals including the endangered Ethiopian Red Wolf, the Mountain Nyala, Menelik's Bushbuck, and many endemic birds and other mammals. The highlight of this wildlife tour will be the endangered Ethiopian Red Wolf, a rare creature unique to the highlands of Ethiopia.

On this tour, we will also have the chance to see the gorgeous Mountain Nyala and delightful Bale Monkey. And we will have plenty of chances to spot many endemic birds, as we will be touring around one of the continent's top five birding hot spots. 

Trip Highlights

  • Enjoy endemic wildlife in the beautiful Bale Mountains.
  • See the last surviving African wolf, the Ethiopian Red Wolf.
  • Watch the Mountain Nyala and the Menelik Bushbuck, endemic to the Bale Mountains.
  • Experience unmatched endemic bird watching and different mammals
  • Visit the Great Rift Valley lakes.
  • Take a city tour of Addis Ababa.

Itinerary

Day 1: Addis Ababa, Arrival

Arrive in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Welcome to Ethiopia! Upon arrival at Addis Ababa Bole International Airport (ADD), you will be welcomed and assisted by your tour guide and driven to Jupiter Hotel. 

Addis Ababa, founded in 1886 by Menelik II, is situated at 2,500 meters (8000 ft.) above sea level. It is the 5th highest capital city in the world. The city enjoys an excellent climate year-round, with an average temperature of 25C (77F). With a multiethnic population of over 5 million, Addis Ababa is a pleasant city with wide avenues of jacarandas, interesting museums, and one of the largest open-air markets in Africa, known as the "Mercato".

Overnight: Jupiter Hotel, Addis Ababa

Day 2: Addis Ababa, Ethiopian Great Valley Lakes, Langano

In the morning, we drive to the Great Ethiopian Rift Valley and Lake Langano. While driving from Addis Ababa to Langano, we will pass by different small towns and stop for a visit at one of the most beautiful Rift Valley lakes, Lake Ziway.

For the rest of the day, relax at the beautiful Sabana Lodge perched on the top of a hill overlooking the beautiful lake.

Accommodation: Sabana Lodge, Langano

Day 3: Langano, Bale Mountains National Park

In the morning, we drive to Dinsho in Bale Mountains National Park. This is one of the biggest Afro-Alpine habitats on the entire African continent. In the afternoon, we will take a game drive around Dinsho to see some of the endemic mammals in the park including the Bale Mountain Nyala (endemic to Bale Mountains National Park), Minilik Bushbuck, warthogs, and many more.

Overnight: Wabi Shebele Hotel, Goba

Day 4: Bale Mountains National Park

We will rise early in the morning to drive up on the Senettie Plateau on one of the highest roads on the continent, 4000 meters above sea level. This is also the biggest Afro-Alpine habitat in the whole of Africa and is crucial for the survival of Africa’s last wolf, the Abyssinian Wolf. This red wolf is one of the most endangered canid in the world.

The wolves depend on the abundant rodents available here including the endemic Giant Mole Rat. Crossing the plateau to the escarpment, we descend towards Harenna Forest, one of the best-conserved Alpine forests in the country. This dense, indigenous forest shelters the endemic Bale Mountains Monkey, Baboons, Giant Hog, Bush Pig, Leopard, Black Manned Lion, Caracal, and many forest birds.

Overnight: Bale Mountains Lodge, Harenna Forest  

Day 5: Bale Mountains, Lake Awassa

In the morning, we drive southwest to the Ethiopian Great Rift Valley Lakes Region. In this region, you will find chains of beautiful Rift Valley lakes that are home to many birds and other wildlife.

After checking into the beautiful Haile Resort, owned and run by the great Ethiopian Olympic gold medalist athlete, we will then walk around Lake Awassa to see different aquatic birds. We can also take a boat trip for more bird watching and hippo spotting. The rest of the day, you can relax in the swimming pool or in the spa.

Overnight: Haile Resort, Awassa

Day 6: Awassa, Langano, Ziway, Addis Ababa

Early in the morning, we will visit the Awassa fish market, where local fishermen sell freshly caught fish for the locals. The interaction of the fishermen with the people, the birds, and the surrounding environment always fascinates.

After breakfast at the hotel, we will drive back to Addis Ababa enroute visiting two Rift Valley lakes: Lake Ziway, the biggest Rift Valley lake and Lake Langano. Both are very famous for their abundant bird life. After we finish our visit to the lakes, we return to Addis Ababa in the late afternoon on the new expressway, which starts at Mojo. End of tour.

 

Looking for an experience a little different from the typical African wildlife safari? Then Ethiopia is your destination in Africa! 

Ethiopia has an amazingly varied landscape and ecosystem — from hot deserts to high, rugged mountains. This makes it home to an astonishingly varied amount of flora and fauna, among which are many species of mammals, birds, and plants endemic to Ethiopia.

What wildlife is there to see? There are over 270 species of mammals (7 endemic to Ethiopia) and over 830 bird species (29 endemic to Ethiopia). Prepare to be surprised! 

Wildlife and Nature Tours

Grand Holidays Ethiopia Tours is the local travel specialist for wildlife tours in Ethiopia. We offer a variety of nature and wildlife tours throughout Ethiopia. Our tours focus on Ethiopia’s amazing and diverse nature, dramatic landscape, unique mammals, and rich bird life. We also have birding tours for the bird enthusiasts.

Our Mammals of Ethiopia wildlife tour focuses on the varied mammals found in the four national parks and Great Rift Valley lakes region of Ethiopia. You will have a chance to spot many bird and wildlife species amongst the breathtaking landscapes of Ethiopia. As our tour goes to the spectacular Simien Mountains and Bale Mountains National Parks, you have a excellent opportunity to discover the endemic mammals of Ethiopia that you cannot find anywhere else.

Highlights of the Tour

  • See the breathtaking landscapes of Simien Mountains National Park and Bale Mountains National Park, UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
  • Experience the Great Rift Valley lakes and abundant birdlife of Ethiopia.
  • Explore the beautiful Nech Sar National Park and Awash National Park.
  • See the Senekele game reserve.
  • Witness tribal culture in the southern Ethiopia.
  • Visit the fairytale castles of Gondar, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  • Enjoy a city tour of Addis Ababa.

Wildlife You May See on the Tour

  • The last wolf of Africa — the endangered Ethiopian Wolf
  • The Gelada "Bleeding Heart" Baboon, the last and only grazing primate
  • The magnificent Walia Ibex, the handsome Mountain Nyala, and Menelik's Bushbuck 
  • The endemic Bale Monkey and Giant Mallrat
  • Grevy's Zebra, the Gerenuk, the Beisa Oryx, the giant Nile Crocodiles, and more

Itinerary

Day 1: Addis Ababa Arrival

Arrive in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Welcome to Ethiopia! Upon arrival at Addis Ababa Bole International Airport (ADD), you will be welcomed and assisted by your tour guide and driven to Jupiter Hotel. 

Addis Ababa, founded in 1886 by Menelik II, is situated at 2,500 meters (8000 ft.) above sea level. It is the 5th highest capital city in the world. The city enjoys an excellent climate year-round, with an average temperature of 25C (77F). With a multiethnic population of over 5 million, Addis Ababa is a pleasant city with wide avenues of jacarandas, interesting museums, and one of the largest open-air markets in Africa, known as the "Mercato".

Overnight: Jupiter Hotel, Addis Ababa

Day 2: Addis Ababa, Awash National Park

This morning we will be setting off towards the great East African Rift Valley where the Awash National Park is found. While driving from Addis Ababa to Awash National Park, we will go through the towns of Debre Zeit and Nazret.

The Awash National Park was established in 1966 as the royal family’s recreational park. The Awash area is part of the Great Rift Valley, and here, in different parts of the park, you will witness volcanic activity. Some of the recent and youngest craters and volcanic mountains are also found here.

The Awash park is home to over 460 species of birds and several mammals, including the Beisa Oryx, Desert Warthog, Summering’s Gazelle, Lesser Kudu, Hamadryads Baboon, Olive Baboon, Grivet's Monkey, Abyssinian Hare, Harar Dik Dik, Spotted Hyena, Ard Wolf, Bat-Eared Fox, Golden Jackal, and African Wild Cat.

Once at Lake Beseka, we will walk around the lake for bird viewing and then near the foot of Mount Fenta'ale, following the deep cracks coming from the mountains towards the lake. Here around dusk we will look for group of spotted Hyenas teaming out of this caves.

Overnight: Awash Falls Lodge, Awash National Park

Day 3: Awash National Park

After an early breakfast at the lodge, we drive to Alideghe Game Reserve northeast of Awash National Park. Here we will do a game drive and scan the vast plain for Grevy's Zebra, Gerenuk, Beisa Oryx, Simmering Gazelle, Grant's Gazelle, Somali Ostrich, and rare birds. We then drive to Doha Lodge for lunch and enjoy the natural hot springs under the vast palm trees.

After relaxing at Doho, when the sun starts to cool down, we will take a short drive to Awash National Park. For the rest of the afternoon, we will have a game drive around Ilala Plains. Here we should see herds of Beisa Oryx, Sommering's Gazelle, and Leopard Tortoise. If we are lucky, we will spot some of the rare animals like the Bat-Eared Fox, African Wild Cat, and different endemic birds. After we finish our game drive, we will take a relaxing walk to our lodge and wonder around the waterfalls spotting crocks and monkeys.

Overnight: Awash Falls Lodge, Awash National Park

Day 4: Awash National Park, Bale Mountains National Park

Today we will be heading to the famous Bale Mountains National Park known for its endemic wildlife and birds.

Driving from Awash National Park to the Bale Mountains, we will pass through different landscapes and vast farm land. We will reach Dinsho and walk the buffer zone Gessay Valley for our first encounter with the Mountain Nyala, Bohor Reed Back, Common Warthog, and some endemic birds. We then walk inside the reserve for more encounters of the Mountain Nyala and other endemic wildlife in the park including Menelik's Bushbuck and some other commonly seen mammals and birds. After our walking safari, we will have an hour drive to Goba for overnight.

Overnight: Wabishebele Hotel, Goba

Day 5: Bale Mountains National Park

We will rise early in the morning to drive up on the Senettie Plateau on one of the highest roads on the continent, 4000 meters above sea level. This is also the biggest Afro-Alpine habitat in the whole of Africa and is crucial for the survival of Africa’s last wolf, the Abyssinian Wolf. This red wolf is one of the most endangered canid in the world.

The wolves depend on the abundant rodents available here including the endemic Giant Mole Rat. Crossing the plateau to the escarpment, we descend towards Harenna Forest, one of the best-conserved Alpine forests in the country. This dense, indigenous forest shelters the endemic Bale Mountains Monkey, Baboons, Giant Hog, Bush Pig, Leopard, Black Manned Lion, Caracal and many forest birds.

After exploring this forest, we drive back to the plateau for some more chances to encounter the Abyssinian Wolf — our star focus on this trip.

Overnight: Wabishebele Hotel, Goba

Day 6: Bale Mountains, Awassa

After again crossing Gessay Valley, we drive southwest to one of the Great Rift Valley lakes, Lake Awassa. While driving from Goba to Awassa, we will ecounter beautiful landscapes before reaching Awassa in the afternoon. After checking into our hotel, we will go on a boat cruise to spot hippos and also scan for different aquatic birds around the lake.

For the rest of the day, you can choose between relaxing in the swimming pool, enjoying the spa at the beautiful lakeside Haile Resort, or taking a relaxing walk along the shore of the beautiful lake.

Overnight: Haile Resort, Awassa

Day 7: Awassa, Senkele, Arbaminch

In the morning, we drive to Arbaminch enroute visiting Senkele Game Reserve. Covering 58 square kilometers, the reserve is located some 10 kilometers south of the Shashemene-Arba Minch Road near the town of Aje. This small open terrain reserve is the only place in Ethiopia where Swayne's Hartebeest sightings are practically guaranteed. At this reserve, we will have the opportunity to spot the Golden Back Jackal, the Black-Backed Jackal, and some common mammals and many birds.

Overnight: Paradise Lodge, Arba Minch

Day 8:  Arba Minch, Nech Sar, Lake Chamo

Nech Sar National Park includes diverse and beautiful landscapes such as the vast woodlands, white grass savannah plains, hot springs, the twin lakes — Lake Chamo and Lake Abaya — and the natural mountain bridge, the “Bridge of God”, which connects the two lakes.

In the morning, we will take a boat cruise on Lake Chamo to see the gigantic Nile Crocodiles, as well as hippos and aquatic birds. Olive Baboons are also commonly seen in the forest near the lake.

After crossing the lake by boat, we will have a guided walking safari tour to the Nech Sar Plains to spot Burchell’s Zebra, Grant’s Gazelle, Swayne’s Hartebeest, the Greater Kudu, and other large mammals.

Overnight: Paradise Lodge, Arba Minch


Day 9: Arba Minch, Dorze, Bishangari

After breakfast, we will drive north to the mountain village of Chencha on the southwestern escarpment of the Great Rift Valley running north to south all the way to Mozambique. This is the home of the Dorze people. The Dorze people, once famous warriors in the region, are now renowned cotton weavers whose tall beehive-shaped and bamboo-woven dwellings are among the most distinctive structures to be seen any where in Africa. This is also the best place to see the view of the Nech Sar National Park and the two lakes underneath.

After visiting Dorze, we will drive to Lake Langano, one of the most beautiful Rift Valley lakes, and enroute we will visit different villages including the Rastafarian Community at Shashemene.

After lunch at Shashemene, we will continue driving to Bishangari. After checking into the lakeside Bishangari Lodge, we will go out on a walking safari to spot wildlife using a flashlight. Our main goal is to encounter the rare and elusive nocturnal animal of any successful African safari: the Aardvark, which feeds on termites and cuts tunnels like a caving machine. We also expect to spot the Ethiopian Genet, African Civet Cat, White-Tailed Mongoose, Jackal, and Bush Duiker. After our safari walk, we return to the lodge for the evening.

Overnight: Bishangari Lodge, Langano

Day 10: Langano, Addis Ababa

We rise early to explore the surrounding area of the ecolodge for more wildlife viewing opportunities then return to the restaurant for breakfast.

After breakfast, we will drive to Addis Ababa. Enroute, we will go to Abiata Shala National Park to look out for the Somali and Masai Ostrich, Grant's Gazelle, Desert Warthogs, and birds. As we near the alkaline Lake Abiata, we may spot flocks of Greater and Lesser Flamingos and other water birds. We then return to the main road to continue our drive to Addis Ababa visiting Lake Ziway, an excellent birding site, on the way. After lunch at Haile Resort Ziway, we will drive to Addis Ababa.

Overnight: Jupiter Hotel, Addis Ababa

Day 11: Addis Ababa, Gondar, Buit Ras

Early in the morning, transfer to Addis Ababa airport for the 50-minute flight to Gondar. 

Upon arrival at Gondar airport, we will meet our driver for the drive to the Simien Mountains National Park. Driving from Gondar up to Simien Mountains National Park, we will experience the spectacular scenery that awaits at the top of the massif. The rolling grassy plateau comes to an abrupt stop, and sheer cliffs plunge almost vertically for 1,000 m (3280 ft.) to the plains below. The massif itself has been sculpted by 30 million years of upthrust and erosion into a wonderland of jagged ridges, pinnacles, and strangely cropped conical mountains, so that looking out over the heart-stopping precipice you feel you might just be at the edge of the world.

After checking into the Simien Lodge, the highest lodge in Africa at 3260 m, and having lunch there, we will relax a bit and get ready for the afternoon for our first encounter with the endemic Gelada "Bleeding Heart" Baboon in the breathtaking scenery. This is the last refuge of "Tropiticcus Gelada". This primate used to live all over Africa but then split from other baboon members over 400,000 years ago, and the Ethiopian highland plateau became its last refugee. The Gelada Baboon is the last surviving species of ancient grazing primates that were once found in numerous numbers. Geladas spend most of their day sitting down, plucking and munching on grasses. They have fatty rear ends, much like human buttocks, which seem well adapted to this activity. Theropithecus Gelada live in small family units of one male and three to six females.

Overnight: Simien Lodge, Buyit Ras (3200 m)

Day 12: Simien Mountains National Park

Today, we will rise early in the morning with the sun, and after breakfast we will drive for about 2 hours through breathtaking scenery to Cheneck. The main goal today is to spot the magnificent, endemic Walia Ibex and enjoy the spectacular scenery of the Simien Mountains. Around Cheneck, we will find a small population of the Walia Ibex, once considered to be a sacred animal by the ancient Ethiopians and that can be found carved into different artifacts from ancient times.

We will have our picnic lunch under the shade of trees enjoying the magnificent view and observing the endemic birds — especially the giant Lammergeyer and Thick-Billed Raven — that roam the mountains.

After lunch, we will slowly drive back to our lodge with several stops for viewing wildlife.

Overnight: Simien Lodge, Buyit Ras (3200 m)

Day 13: Buit Ras, Gondar

Today we drive from Buit Ras to Gondar with stops in some picturesque spots. After checking into Goha Hotel and having lunch there, we will take a city tour of Gondar. Gondar, founded by Emperor Fasiledas around 1635, is famous for its many medieval castles and the design and decoration of its churches — in particular, Debre Berhan Selassie, which represents a masterpiece of the unique Ethiopian school of traditional art.

Today you will visit the Royal Enclosure, a walled compound having six different castles built from the 17th century by different kings who ruled in different times; the pool of King Fasiledas, which still serves as a baptismal pool during Ethiopian Epiphany; and the famous Debre Birhan Selassie adorned with brilliant frescos inside.

Overnight: Goha Hotel, Gondar

Day 14: Gondar, Addis Ababa

In the morning, we transfer to Gondar airport for the flight to Addis Ababa. For the rest of the day, you will have a city tour of Addis Ababa that includes the National Museum, Mercato, Piassa, and other parts of the city. After checking into the hotel, we will drive to the National Museum to meet your ancestor Lucy.

The National Museum of Ethiopia is one of the best museums in in Ethiopia. Archeological exhibits include the 3.2 million-year-old fossil of Lucy (or Dinkinesh — "thou art wonderful" — in the native language), a hominoid woman of the species  Australopithecus Afarensis. The discovery of Lucy’s fossil in 1974 forced a complete rethinking of human genealogy, proving that our ancestors were walking 2.5 million years earlier than had been supposed. The National Museum also contains many wonderful artifacts dating back to pre-Axumite civilization.

After our visit to the museum, we will continue our city tour of Addis Ababa with the Merkato, the largest open-air market in Africa, and other parts of the city including the Piassa and Churchill Avenue for souvenir shopping.

In the evening, there will be a special Ethiopian farewell dinner party with traditional buffet and local drinks. There will also be a live cultural dance show of the different ethnic groups living in the country — the perfect ending for the trip! After the farewell dinner, transfer to Addis Ababa Airport for the flight back home. End of the tour.

 

Ethiopia is one of the world's great crossroads, where the people and cultures of Africa, the Middle East, and the Mediterranean have been interacting for thousands of years. The resulting ethnic and cultural diversity has given rise to many unique and dynamic visual traditions. The country has thus been called a cultural mosaic, due to its 80 different languages and dialects and as many, if not more, cultural varieties.

The strong religious setting, celebrations, and festivals play an important part in everyone's daily life. Church ceremonies are a major feature of Ethiopian life. Above all, it is a country of great antiquities, cultures, and traditions stretching back 3000 years.

These cultural tours have been designed in a way to enable visitors to experience this amazing culture and history of one of the world's most ancient peoples and civilizations. Click on the links below for each tour for specific information.

Cultural Tour to the Historical Route of Ethiopia

Welcome to the beauty of Ethiopia’s Historic Route! The magnificent cultures and landscapes are indicative of an extraordinary past. It has left a mark on the land, the people, and their monuments. In this fascinating land, the past comes alive in the form of strange and beautiful monuments and ruins, built centuries ago in what used to be one of the greatest kingdoms of the world. Moreover, it is a past that began as the cradle of mankind.

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Festival Tours

Ethiopia is a country where many cultures come together as one to form a fascinating nation. Its cultural diversity has existed since the beginning of time and is incomparably unique.

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Tribal Tour to the Omo Valley

Isolated for millennia from the rest of the world, the beautiful Omo Valley is home to an exciting mix of many small and distinctive tribal groups. Amongst others, we find the Karo, the Mursi, and the Hamer — all of whom have retained their own unique customs and traditions.

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Planning to rent a car in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia? We have cars in excellent condition suitable for various-sized groups and the different road conditions and activities involved in a specific tour. All our vehicles have comprehensive insurance coverage.

Our friendly, well-trained, and experienced tour drivers know the terrain and valleys you will be traveling to extremely well. Our drivers have a very good knowledge of the places and cultures they travel to. They do their share to make sure there is as few footprints on the environment and host communities as possible when they take tourists to the areas.

 

Grand Holidays Ethiopia Tours is a locally owned and operated tour company based in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. We understand one of the first and most important decisions you will make when planning your long-awaited holiday to Ethiopia is choosing your tour company. Some companies may seem to appear ‘cheaper’ in price, at first glance. But, when you look closer and deeper, you will understand why traveling to Ethiopia with Grand Holidays Ethiopia Tours will guarantee the most reliable and memorable travel experience. We appreciate the trust you put in us when it comes to choosing your tour operator for your holiday in Ethiopia.

In recognition of our quality service, National Geographic has given Grand Holidays Ethiopia Tours a 95 out of 100 client satisfaction rating and a 89.5 in Quality of Service. We have also been awarded by the Ethiopian Ministry of Culture and Tourism for our contribution to tourism in Ethiopia.

We are the specialists in customized itineraries, group tours, family holidays, independent vacations, escorted tours, adventure holidays, cultural tours, logistical arrangements for filming, and so much more throughout the land of many wonders, Ethiopia!

Our tour packages and itineraries have been developed over many years to reflect the requests of our independent travelers. These can, of course, be fully customized to your individual needs and particular interests.

Our Philosophy

We encourage our staff to take an active interest in responsible and sustainable tourism and train them accordingly so that they can put our policies into practice. We provide our clients with advice and guidelines on how to respect the social, cultural, and religious beliefs of local communities.

We support and encourage our clients to support local organizations like clinics, schools, orphanages, etc., that serve the community. We endeavor to ensure our practices help in the environmental conservation of the area we visit.

Grand Holidays Ethiopia Tours, the Environment, and Responsible Tourism

As we take more tourists to the different sites and attractions, we recognize our obligation to operate our tours in a responsible, sustainable fashion. We view this not only as an environmental issue but as a cultural and social issue as well. Above all, we are committed to the well being of the communities, which are our hosts, and the cultural and natural environment that we are there to experience. We also believe that by following these policies we can provide a more rewarding and interesting experience to our clients.

Grand Holidays Ethiopia Tours Staff

Our staff is one of our key assets. Our office staff members, regardless of their position, have been tour leaders and have directed tours for many years. The Grand Holidays Ethiopia Tours management team has many years’ experience combined working in the tourism field at different posts. Our tour leaders are carefully selected and all of them are qualified, experienced, young, energetic, and passionate about leading tours.

Our Tours and Services

  • Cultural tour to the Historic Route of Ethiopia
  • Omo Valley Tribal Exploration
  • Mountain trekking adventure in the Simien Bale Mountains
  • Dallol Erta Ale Lava Lake Desert Expeditions
  • Pilgrimage and religious festival tours
  • Personal interest tours
  • Logistical arrangements for filming and aerial photography
  • Charter flight arrangements
  • Safaris
  • Bird watching
  • Photographic tours
  • Hotel and ticket reservations
  • Group incentive tours
  • Organization of conferences and summits
  • Car hire, and much more

Trip Notes

For every trip on this site, you can request detailed additional information. On this site, you can find background information such as geography, history, climate, and customs together with an extensive descriptive itinerary and other technical details. Information on visas and vaccinations can be found on the Tip and Travel Fact. Services are to the standard of your utmost satisfaction. Grand Holidays Ethiopia Tours believes quality is job #1.

Rates

Rates are competitive and are provided upon request. The outlined sample itineraries are flexible depending on your particular interests and flight arrival and departure times. Whether you are 9 or 90, a family or a group of friends, or a person traveling alone, our team of professionals and experienced tour operators, guides, and drivers are committed to making your holidays in Ethiopia GRAND.

Transportation and Equipment

Equipment is of the highest standard. We have a range of brand new, tourist-standard vehicles with comprehensive insurance coverage including comfortable 4x4s, deluxe buses, minibuses, and small automobiles. The vehicles and camping equipment fit the weather you are planning to travel in.

Registration and License

Grand Holidays Ethiopia Tours is registered and licensed by Ethiopia’s Ministry of Trade and Industry under license number 199/98. We are also recognized by the Ethiopian Tourism Minister and a proud member of Ethiopian Tour Operators Association under membership code ETOA/028/06.

If you have any questions, send us an This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., fax, or call us. Our team of friendly experts are more than happy to help you plan a trip of a lifetime in this magical land, Ethiopia.

This cultural tour takes you on the Ethiopia’s Historic North Route to see the Sebaratmu Giorgis Festival, one of the most colorful festivals celebrated at Lalibela. This festival is less famous, but equally absorbing as the Timket Festival, and it is celebrated colourfully around one of the most famous rock-hewn churches, St. George, just 1 week after Timket.

On this tour, you will also visit the classic Historic Route of Ethiopia which includes the rock-hewn churches of Lalibela, castles of Gondar, the island monasteries of Lake Tana, and the source of the Blue Nile and the Blue Nile Falls. 

Trip Highlights

  • Witness an anceint Christian festival around the rock-hewn churches of Lalibela. 
  • Visit three UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
  • Be amazed by a visit to the rock-hewn churches of Lalibela, one of “the living wonders of the world”. 
  • Enjoy the magnificent nature and endemic wildlife of the Simien Mountains.
  • Discover the fairytale castles of Gondar.
  • Take a cruise on Lake Tana to visit the ancient island monasteries. 
  • See the source of the mighty Blue Nile River and the Blue Nile Falls.
  • Visit the vibrant city of Addis Ababa.
  • Meet your ancestor Lucy at the National Museum in Addis Ababa.
  • Try various types of Ethiopian food.
  • Attend an Ethiopian Coffee Ceremony.

Dates

January 22–30, 2019

January 22–30, 2020

Accommodation

On this trip, you will be staying in a 4-hotel (in Addis Ababa) and in the best-available tourist standard hotels, lodges, and resorts, which are selected and regularly inspected by our team.

Tour Guide

This tour will be lead by our experienced A-rated friendly, cultural tour guides who have led many tours in Ethiopia and know the history, culture, nature, and wildlife well.

Our Drivers

Our drivers are well trained and well travelled in the area. They know the terrain and the valleys you will be traveling in extremely well and will always make sure you are comfortable and safe. They have been rated excellent by many travelers who have been on the road with them for long periods of time.

Transportation

On this tour, you will be traveling in a modern minibus or coaster bus. All our vehicles have AC and seat belts.

Note: On this trip there will be a domestic flight from Lalibela to Addis Ababa. The domestic flight must be arranged separately.

Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive Addis Ababa

Arrive in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Welcome to Ethiopia! Upon arrival at Addis Ababa Bole International Airport (ADD), you will be welcomed and assisted by your tour guide and driven to your hotel. If you arrive in the morning, we will arrange a city tour.

Overnight: Jupiter Hotel, Addis Ababa

Day 2: Addis Ababa, Bahirdar (B, D)

In the morning, we will drive to Bahirdar through the Great Blue Nile Gorge with stopovers at different small towns like Dejen, Chancho, and Goha Tsion.

Overnight: Avanti Blue Nile Hotel, Bahirdar

Day 3: Lake Tana, Blue Nile Falls, Bahir Dar (B, D)

In the morning, we will take a boat cruise on Lake Tana to visit the ancient 14th-century island monasteries of Lake Tana. After lunch at the hotel, we will drive 35 km to visit the majestic Blue Nile Falls.

Overnight: Avanti Blue Nile Hotel, Bahirdar

Day 4: Bahir Dar, Gondar (B, D)

After breakfast, we drive to Gondar through the beautiful countryside scenery and arrive at Gondar around lunchtime. After lunch, we tour of the ancient city of Gondar.

Overnight: Goha Hotel

Day 5: Excursion Simien Mountains National Park (B, D)

After an early breakfast, we will drive to the Simien Mountains National Park. For the rest of the day, we trek to explore the surrounding area of Sankaber, part of the Simien Mountains National Park.

Overnight: Goha Hotel, Gondar

Day 6: Gondar, Lalibela, Sebaratmu Giorgis Eve at Lalibela (B, D)

After breakfast, we drive through the spectacular landscape to Lalibela. Enroute, we will stop at Awramba. This community was founded by Zumra Nuru in 1972 with the aim of living together peacefully and working collaboratively, sympathetically, and cheerfully. Community members treat each other as brothers and sisters. Gender equality and care for the elderly are also very important. Late in the afternoon, we will drive to Bete Giorgis to attend the eve of Sebaratmu. Here, the priest and deacons will be chanting with their drums and sistras to celebrate the eve of St. Gorge.

Overnight: Tukul Village or Harbe Hotel, Lalibela

Day 7: Lalibela, Asheten Mariam (B, D)

In the morning, we do a mule ride to the top of Asheten Mariam to visit the 12th-century monastery church.
After lunch and rest at the hotel, we will continue our journey into Ethiopia’s long and marvellous history with a visit to other of Lalibela’s remarkable churches.

The rock-hewn churches that we will visit this afternoon include Bete Gebriel, Bete Merkorios Bete Emanuel, Bethlehem and Bete Aba Libanos. At the end of the tour, there will be a special Ethiopian traditional coffee ceremony for the group prepared at a local house.

Overnight: Tukul Village or Harbe Hotel, Lalibela

Day 9: Lalibela, Addis Ababa, Departure (B)

After breakfast, we transfer to Lalibela airport for the flight to Addis Ababa. Depending on your departure time, we may take an optional city tour.

In the evening, there will be Grand Holidays’ complimentary farewell dinner party with traditional special buffet (flight schedule permitting). At the end of the farwell dinner, transfer to Addis Ababa airport for the flight back. End of tour.

Rate per person in double room: $1,990 USD

Single room supplement: $338 USD

Included

  • Roundtrip as per program
  • All necessary transfers
  • 8 nights accommodation in good hotels (4-star in Addis Abeba) in double rooms
  • All meals as stated in the program
  • All entrance fees
  • English-speaking, qualified national tour guide
  • Farewell dinner (flight schedule permitting)

Not Included

  • Visa fees
  • Tips
  • Meals not stated in the program
  • All expenses of ampersonal nature (drinks, laundry, phone calls, etc.)

 

 

This festival  tour is designed around the classic Historic Route of Ethiopia with the Meskel Festival celebration at Lalibela. Meskel has been celebrated in Ethiopia for more than 1600 years. This is one of the most colourful festivals on the Ethiopian Calendar. Meskel has always been celebrated in beautiful weather at the end of the rainy season, with a lot of dancing and feasting, and lighting a massive bonfire to commemorate the discovery of the true cross on which Jesus Christ was crucified.  

The Meskel Festival tour on the Historic Route of Ethiopia provides the traveller with a practical image of the ancient historical mysteries and living historical facts and monuments of Ethiopia including the amazing rock-hewn churches of Lalibela, the Simien Mountains, the fairytale castles of Gondar, the source of Blue Nile, the Blue Nile Falls, the island monasteries of Lake Tana, the National Museum with Lucy, and last but not least, the charming and friendly people of Ethiopia.

Join us on this unique journey of discovery as we witness an ancient African culture and civilization in the land where all began.

Trip Highlights

  • Witness the ancient Meskel Festival celebration at Lalibela.
  • Visit three UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
  • Be amazed by a visit to the rock-hewn churches of Lalibela, one of "the living wonders of the world".
  • Enjoy the magnificent nature and endemic wildlife of Simien Mountains
  • Discover the fairytale castles of Gondar.
  • Take a boat ride on Lake Tana to visit the ancient island monasteries.
  • See the source of the mighty Blue Nile River and the Blue Nile Falls.
  • Visit the vibrant city of Addis Ababa.
  • Meet your ancestor Lucy at the National Museum in Addis Ababa.
  • Try the varied Ethiopian cuisine.
  • Attend an Ethiopian coffee ceremony.

Tour Guide

This tour will be led by our experienced, A-rated, friendly, cultural tour guides who have led many tours to the Historic Route of Ethiopia and who know the history, culture, nature, and wildlife well.

Our Drivers

Our drivers are well trained and well travelled in the area. They know the terrain and valleys you will be traveling to well and will always make sure you are comfortable and safe. They have been rated excellent by many travelers who have been on the road with them for long periods of time.

Transportation

On this cultural tour to the Historic Route of Ethiopia, you will be traveling primarily by coaster bus. We have well-maintained buses in excellent condition suitable for the road conditions you will be traveling on. All our vehicles have AC and seat belts.

Note: On this trip there will be a domestic flight from Lalibela to Addis Ababa and must be arranged separately.

Accommodation

On this trip you will be staying in a 4-star hotel in Addis Ababa and in the best-available tourist standard hotels, lodges, and resorts, which are selected and inspected by our team, on the rest of the trip to the Historic Route.

Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive Addis Ababa

Arrive in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Welcome to Ethiopia! Upon arrival at Addis Ababa Bole International Airport, you will be welcomed and assisted by your tour guide and driven to your hotel. If you arrive in the morning, we can arrange an optional city tour.

Overnight: Jupiter Hotel, Addis Ababa

Day 2: Addis Ababa, Bahirdar (B, D)

In the morning, we drive to Bahirdar through the Great Blue Nile Gorge with a stopover at different small towns like Dejen, Chancho, and Goha Tsion.

Overnight: Avanti Blue Nile Hotel, Bahirdar

Day 3: Lake Tana, Blue Nile Falls, Bahir Dar (B, D)

In the morning, we will take a boat cruise on Lake Tana to visit the ancient 14th-century island monasteries of Lake Tana. After lunch at the hotel, we will drive 35 km to visit the majestic Blue Nile Falls.

Overnight: Avanti Blue Nile Hotel, Bahirdar

Day 4: Bahir Dar, Gondar (B, D)

After breakfast, we drive to Gondar through the beautiful countryside scenery to arrive at Gondar around lunchtime. After lunch, we will tour the ancient city of Gondar.

Overnight: Goha Hotel

Day 5: Excursion Simien Mountains National Park (B, D)

After an early breakfast, we will drive to the Simien Mountains National Park. For the rest of the day, trek to explore the surroundings of Sankaber, part of the Simien Mountains National Park.

Overnight: Goha Hotel, Gondar

Day 6: Gondar, Lalibela, Meskel Eve (B, D)

After breakfast, we drive through the spectacular landscape to Lalibela. Enroute we will stop at Awramba. This community was founded by Zumra Nuru in 1972 with the aim to live together peacefully and work collaboratively, sympathetically, and cheerfully. Community members treat each other as brothers and sisters. Gender equality and care for the elderly are very important.

In the afternoon, we will attend Demera, the Eve of Meskel, where the priest and deacons dressed in their colourful clothing sing and dance while marching to a place near the churches to assemble the fireworks to be lit the next morning. The faithful, dressed in their dazzling white, flock here, most with a piece of firewood. Then we witness the blessing, chanting, and dancing until the evening. It is a very colourful eve to be sure.

Overnight: Tukul Village or Harbe Hotel, Lalibela

Day 7: Meskel Eve at Lalibela (B, D)

In the morning, we will witness one of the most colourful festivals held in Ethiopia — the Meskel Festival at Lalibela.

In the afternoon, we visit the first group of rock-hewn churches. The churches that we will visit today include Bete Medhani Alem, Bete Mariam, Bete Meskel, and Bete Denagil.

Overnight: Tukul Village or Harbe Hotel, Lalibela

Day 8: Lalibela (B, D)

In the morning, we take a mule ride, and/or walk to the top of Asheten Mariam Monastery, famous for its 12th-century monastery church and beautiful view at 10,298 ft. above sea level.

After lunch and a rest at the hotel, you will continue your journey into Ethiopia’s long and marvelous history with a visit to other of Lalibela’s remarkable churches — Bete Gebriel, Bete Mercorios, Bete Amanuel, Bethlehem, and Bete Aba Libanos. Their architecture and artistry must be seen to be believed!

Overnight: Tkul Village or Harbe Hotel, Lalibela

Day 9: Lalibela, Addis Ababa, Departure (B, D)

After breakfast, transfer to Lalibela airport for the flight to Addis Ababa. Here, you will have a city tour if you didn't have one on your first day.

Flight schedule permitting, there will be a special Ethiopian farewell dinner party with traditional buffet and local drinks. There will also be a live cultural dance show of the different ethnic groups living in the country — the perfect ending to your trip! At the end of the farewell dinner party, transfer to Addis Ababa airport for the flight back. End of tour.

Rate per person sharing double: $1.990.00 USD
Single Supplement; $338.00 USD

Included

  • Roundtrip as per program
  • All necessary transfers
  • 8 nights accommodation in good hotels (4-star in Addis Ababa) in double rooms
  • All meals as stated in the program
  • All entrance fees
  • English-speaking, qualified national tour guide
  • Farewell dinner (flight schedule permitting)

Not Included

  • Visa fees
  • Tips
  • Meals not stated in the program
  • All expenses of a personal nature (drinks, laundry, phone calls, etc.)

Dates

September 21–29, 2019

September 21–29, 2020

Join us on this trip of discovery as we witness an ancient way of celebrating Easter and explore the world of the ancient Ethiopians. Step back in time and celebrate Easter the way it has been performed for centuries. You will be amazed how ancient historical traditions and unique African culture have been preserved in an incredible manner. 

This tour takes you deep into the land that used to be one of the greatest kingdoms of the world. In this fascinating land, the past comes alive in the form of strange and beautiful monuments and ruins, built centuries ago. Moreover, it is a past which began as the cradle of mankind. Marvel at the spectacular 2,000-year-old stele at Axum, the rock-hewn churches of Lalibela built more than 800 years ago, the castles of Gondar, the island monasteries of Lake Tana, the magnificent Simien Mountains, the less-visited rock-hewn churches of Tigray, the Great Blue Nile Falls, and last but not least, the friendly and charming people.

Trip Highlights

  • Celebrate of Ethiopian Easter.
  • Experience Ethiopian Orthodox Christian doctrines and traditions.
  • Visit three UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
  • Be amazed by the rock-hewn churches of Lalibela, one of "the living wonders of the world”. 
  • Enjoy the magnificent nature and endemic wildlife of the Simien Mountains.
  • Discover the fairytale castles of Gondar.
  • Take a cruise on Lake Tana to visit the ancient island monasteries.
  • See the source of the mighty Blue Nile River and the Blue Nile Falls.
  • Visit the vibrant city of Addis Ababa.
  • Meet your ancestor Lucy at the National Museum in Addis Ababa.
  • Try the varied Ethiopian cuisine
  • Attend an Ethiopian coffee ceremony.

Tour Guide

This tour will be led by our experienced, A-rated, friendly, cultural tour guides who have led many tours to the Historic Route of Ethiopia and who know the history, culture, nature, and wildlife of Ethiopia well.

Our Drivers

Our drivers are well trained and well travelled in the area. They know the terrain and the valleys you will be traveling in well and always make sure you are comfortable and safe. They have been rated excellent by many travelers who have been on the road with them for long periods of time.

Transportation

On this cultural tour to the Historic Route of Ethiopia, you will be traveling primarily by coaster bus. We have well- maintained buses in excellent condition suitable for the road conditions you will be traveling on. All our vehicles have AC and seat belts.

Note: On this trip, there will be a domestic flight from Lalibela to Addis Ababa that must be arranged separately.

Accommodation

On this trip, you will be staying in a 4-star hotel in Addis Ababa. On the rest of the trip to the Historic Route, you will be staying in the best-available tourist standard hotels, lodges, and resorts, which are selected and inspected by our team.

Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive Addis Ababa

Arrive in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Welcome to Ethiopia! Upon arrival at Addis Ababa Bole International Airport, you will be welcomed and assisted by your tour guide and driven to your hotel. If you arrive in the morning, we will arrange a city tour.

Overnight: Jupiter Hotel, Addis Ababa

Day 2: Addis Ababa, Bahirdar (B, D)

In the morning, we drive to Bahirdar through the Great Blue Nile Gorge with stopovers at different small towns like Dejen, Chancho, and Goha Tsion.

Overnight: Avanti Blue Nile Hotel, Bahirdar

Day 3: Lake Tana, Blue Nile Falls, Bahir Dar (B, D)

In the morning, we will take boat cruise on Lake Tana to visit the ancient 14th-century island monasteries of Lake Tana. After lunch at the hotel, we will drive 35 km to visit the majestic Blue Nile Falls.

Overnight: Avanti Blue Nile Hotel, Bahirdar

Day 4: Bahir Dar, Gondar (B, D)

After breakfast, we drive to Gondar through the beautiful countryside scenery arriving around lunchtime.
After lunch, we tour the ancient city of Gondar.

Overnight: Goha Hotel

Day 5: Simien Mountains National Park (B, D)

After an early breakfast, we will drive to the Simien Mountains National Park. The rest of the day, we trek to explore the surroundings of Sankaber, part of the Simien Mountains National Park.

Overnight: Goha Hotel, Gondar

Day 6: Gondar, Lalibela (B, D)

After breakfast, we will drive through the spectacular landscape to Lalibela. Enroute we will stop at Awramba. This community was founded by Zumra Nuru in 1972 with the aim of living together peacefully and working collaboratively, sympathetically, and cheerfully. Community members treat each other as brothers and sisters. Gender equality and care for the elderly are very important.

Overnight: Tukul Village or Harbe Hotel, Lalibela

Day 7: Good Friday at Lalibela (B, D)

After an early breakfast, we will drive to the site where we find a concentration of some of Ethiopia’s most famous rock-hewn churches, often referred to as one of "the living wonders of the world". The rock-hewn churches that we will visit today include Bete Medhani Alem, Bete Mariam, Bete Meskel, Bete Denagil, Bete Golgotha Michael, and Bete Giorgis. In the afternoon, we will witness the Good Friday ceremony at Bete Mariam rock-hewn church. This is a special day for the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, and it is celebrated with great devotion and in a very ancient way.

On this day, the faithful who have been fasting the whole day without any food or water, dressed in their dazzling white cloths, walk to St. Mary’s Church to attend service. The devotion of the faithful and the special centuries-old practices for this day that remember the suffering of Jesus Christ when he was crucified is very emotional. 

Overnight: Tukul Village or Harbe Hotel, Lalibela

Day 8: Lalibela (B, D)

In the morning you will continue your journey into Ethiopia’s long and marvellous past with a visit to other Lalibela  churches. The rock-hewn churches that you will visit this afternoon include Bete Gebriel, Bete Mercorios Bete Emanuel, Bethlehem, and Bete Aba Libanos. In the afternoon, you will visit one of the most colourful annual Easter markets at Lalibela. In the evening, you will witness one of the most important ceremonies of Easter in one of the biggest rock-hewn churches of Lalibela, Bete Medhani Alem.

In the evening, all the rock-hewn churches will be filled with people who have been fasting for 55 days. None of them have eaten anything at least for a day and half without any food and water. They are here to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ. There will be prayers and a candlelit ceremony accompanied by chanting and dancing of the priest until 3:00 in the morning. After the ceremony is over, everybody goes home to break the fast with the special Easter meal.

Overnight: Mount View Hotel, Lalibela

Day 9: Ethiopian Easter Lalibela, Addis Ababa, Departure (B, D)

After breakfast, transfer to Lalibela airport for the flight to Addis Ababa. Depending on your departure, an optional city tour can be arranged.

In the evening, there will be Grand Holidays Ethiopia Tours complimentary special Easter farewell dinner party with a traditional special buffet and local drinks. Flight schedule permitting, there will also be cultural dance show of the different ethnic groups living in the country — the perfect ending to your trip! At the end of the farewell dinner, transfer to Addis Ababa airport for the flight back. End of tour.

Dates: April 2129, 2019

Rate per person sharing double: $2,212.00 USD
Single supplement: $602.00 USD

Included

  • Roundtrip as per program
  • All necessary transfers
  • 8 nights accommodation in good hotels (4-star in Addis Ababa) in double rooms
  • All meals as stated in the program
  • All entrance fees
  • English-speaking, qualified national tour guide
  • Farewell dinner (flight schedule permitting)

Not Included

  • Visa fees
  • Tips
  • Meals not stated in the program
  • All expenses of a personal nature (drinks, laundry, phone calls, etc.)

 

On this tour, you will witness one of the most colorful and ancient festivals celebrated in Ethiopia — the Timket Festival. Commemorating the baptism of Jesus Christ, this is an extremely colorful 3-day festival around the rock-hewn churches of Lalibela. You will also visit the timeless sites of Ethiopia’s Historic Route, three of which are UNESCO World Heritage Sites: Lalibela, Gondar, and the Simien Mountains ("the chess pieces of gods"). You will also see the island monasteries of Lake Tana, and the Great Blue Nile River, the Geleda "Bleeding Heart" Baboon, and much more!

Trip Highlights

  • Witness the amazing Timket Festival.
  • Experience Ethiopian Orthodox Christian doctrines and traditions.
  • Visit three UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
  • Be amazed by the rock-hewn churches of Lalibela, one of "the living wonders of the world".
  • Enjoy the magnificent nature and endemic wildlife of the Simien Mountains.
  • Discover the fairytale castles of Gondar.
  • Take a cruise on Lake Tana to visit the ancient island monasteries.
  • See the source of the mighty Blue Nile River and the Blue Nile Falls.
  • Visit the vibrant city of Addis Ababa.
  • Meet your ancestor Lucy at the National Museum in Addis Ababa.
  • Try the varied Ethiopian cuisine.
  • Attend an Ethiopian coffee ceremony.

Accommodation

On this trip you will be staying in a 4-star hotel in Addis Ababa and on the rest of the trip to the Historic Route, in the best-available tourist standard hotels, lodges, and resorts that are selected and regularly inspected by our team.

Tour Guide

This tour will be led by our experienced, A-rated, friendly cultural tour guides who have led many tours in Ethiopia  and know the history, culture, nature, and wildlife well.

Our Drivers

Our drivers are well trained and well travelled in the area. They know the terrain and valleys you will be traveling in well and always make sure you are comfortable and safe. They have been rated excellent by many travelers who have been on the road with them for long periods of time.

Transportation

On this tour you will be traveling in a modern minibus or coaster bus. All our vehicles have AC and seat belts.

Note: On this trip there will be a domestic flight from Lalibela to Addis Ababa that must be arranged separately.

 

Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive Addis Ababa

Arrive in Addis Ababa (ADD), Ethiopia. Welcome to Ethiopia! Upon arrival at Addis Ababa Bole International Airport, you will be welcomed and assisted by your tour guide and driven to your hotel. If you arrive in the morning, we can arrange an optional city tour.

Overnight: Jupiter Hotel, Addis Ababa

Day 2: Addis Ababa, Bahirdar (B, D)

In the morning, we drive to Bahirdar through the Great Blue Nile Gorge with stopovers at different small towns like Dejen, Chancho, and Goha Tsion.

Overnight: Avanti Blue Nile Hotel, Bahirdar

Day 3: Lake Tana, Blue Nile Falls, Bahir Dar (B, D)

In the morning, we will take boat ride on Lake Tana to visit the ancient 14th-century island monasteries of Lake Tana. After lunch at the hotel, we will drive 35 km to visit the majestic Blue Nile Falls.

Overnight: Avanti Blue Nile Hotel, Bahirdar

Day 4: Bahir Dar, Gondar (B, D)

After breakfast, we drive to Gondar through the beautiful countryside scenery and arrive around lunchtime.
After lunch, we tour the ancient city of Gondar.

Overnight: Goha Hotel

Day 5: Simien Mountains National Park (B, D)

After an early breakfast, we will drive to the Simien Mountains National Park. For the rest of the day, we will trek to explore the surroundings of Sankaber, part of the Simien Mountains National Park.

Overnight: Goha Hotel, Gondar

Day 6: Gondar, Lalibela, Timket Eve (B, D)

After breakfast, we will drive through the spectacular landscape to Lalibela. Enroute, we stop at Awramba. This community was founded by Zumra Nuru in 1972 with the aim to living together peacefully and working collaboratively, sympathetically, and cheerfully. Community members treat each other as brothers and sisters. Gender equality and care for the elderly are very important.

In the late afternoon, we will attend the Timket Eve Ceremony, called Ketera. During Ketera, the priests take out the tabots — replicas of the original Ark of the Covenant — from each church and bless the water of the pool where the next day's celebration will take place.

In the evening, we return to the Tabot Maderia to attend the night celebrations.

Overnight: Tukul Village or Harbe Hotel, Lalibela

Day 7: Rock-Hewn Churches of Lalibela, Timket Festival at Lalibela (B, D)

Early in the morning, we will again walk to the Tabot Maderia to witness the early morning baptism ceremony. The water, which symbolizes the Jordan River, is blessed by the priest and the patriarch. Then a golden cross is dipped in water and a burning, consecrated candle is extinguished in the alter. Then the bishop or head priest sprinkles water on the assembled congregation in commemoration of Christ's baptism.

Following the baptism, the Tabots start their way back to their respective rock-churches, while the feasting, singing, and dancing continues back to the churches.

Overnight: Tukul Village or Harbe Hotel, Lalibela

Day 8: Lalibela, 2nd day of Timket (B, D)

In the morning, attend the second day of Timket around the first group of rock-hewn churches. After lunch and a rest at the hotel, we will continue our journey into Ethiopia’s long and marvelous history with a visit to other Lalibela churches

The rock-hewn churches that we will visit this afternoon include Bete Gebriel, Bete Merkorios Bete Emanuel, Bethlehem, and Bete Aba Libanos. At the end of the tour, there will be a special Ethiopian traditional coffee ceremony for the group prepared at a local house.

Overnight: Tukul Village or Harbe Hotel, Lalibela

Day 9: Lalibela, Addis Ababa, Departure (B, D)

After breakfast, transfer to Lalibela airport for the flight to Addis Ababa. Depending on your departure time, an optional city tour can be arranged.

In the evening, there will be Grand Holidays Ethiopia Tours complimentary farewell dinner party with a traditional special buffet (flight schedule permitting). At the end of the farwell dinner, transfer to Addis Ababa airport for the flight back. End of tour.

Rate per Person Sharing Double: $2,212.00 USD
Single Supplement: $602.00 USD

Dates

January 13–21, 2020

Included

  • Roundtrip as per program
  • All necessary transfers
  • 8 nights accommodation in good hotels (4-star in Addis Ababa) in double rooms
  • All meals as stated in the program
  • All entrance fees
  • English-speaking, qualified national tour guide
  • Farewell dinner (flight schedule permitting)

Not Included

  • Visa fees
  • Tips
  • Meals not stated in the program
  • All expenses of a personal nature (drinks, laundry, phone calls, etc.)

 

This 9-day Ethiopian Christmas tour on the Historic Route of Ethiopia takes you to Ethiopia’s Historic North with a visit to some of the major highlights including three UNESCO World Heritage Sites. On this tour, you will celebrate Ethiopian Christmas around the rock-hewn churches of Lalibela with pilgrims who came on their bare feet to share the blessing of this special ceremony. You will also visit some of the major highlights on the Historic Route including the island monasteries of Lake Tana, the source of the Blue Nile, the Blue Nile Falls, the fairytale castles of Gondar, the Siimien Mountains National Park, and more.  

At Lalibela, Christmas is celebrated with great devotion, chanting, dancing, and singing around the rock-hewn churches of Lalibela which were built more than 800 years ago. The ancient city of Lalibela will be filled with tens of thousands of pilgrims who come from all directions and from all walks of life to share the blessing of Christmas. Most of the pilgrims reach Lalibela from far away hamlets and inaccessible valleys, walking on their bare feet for days, weeks, and even for months to share the blessing on Christmas day. Even though Ethiopian Christmas is on January 7, there will be different ceremonies held around the rock-hewn churches starting the night of January 4th. This is an ancient Christian tradition that has remained unchanged over the centuries. Witnessing this event, you feel like you are transported back in time.

On the morning of January 7, the biggest celebration will be held around Bete Mariam. On this day, as it has been for centuries, priests will be standing in line with their drums and sistra on the cliff edge of Bete Mariam, called Mame Garia. On the bottom, there will be more priests dressed differently to those up on the top of the cliff. The priests on the bottom symbolize the shepherds, and the priesta on the top cliff symbolize the angels announcing and celebrating the the birth of Jesus. 

Step back in time and explore thousands of years of history, legend, and lore as you visit the Historic Route of Ethiopia and witness one of the most important and ancient festivals celebrated around the rock-hewn churches of Lalibela and many more of Ethiopia's amazing delights.

Trip Highlights

  • Celebrate Ethiopian Christmas.
  • Experience Ethiopian Orthodox Christian doctrines and traditions.
  • Visit three UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
  • Be amazed by the rock-hewn churches of Lalibela, one of "the living wonders of the world".
  • Enjoy the magnificent nature and endemic wildlife of the Simien Mountains.
  • Discover the fairytale castles of Gondar.
  • Take a boat ride on Lake Tana to visit the ancient island monasteries.
  • See the source of the mighty Blue Nile Rive and the Blue Nile Falls.
  • Visit the vibrant city of Addis Ababa.
  • Meet your ancestor Lucy at the National Museum in Addis Ababa.
  • Try the varied Ethiopian cuisine.
  • Attend an Ethiopian coffee ceremony.

Tour Guide

This tour will be led by our experienced, A-rated, friendly, cultural tour guides who have led many tours to the Historic Route of Ethiopia and who know the history, culture, nature, and wildlife of Ethiopia well.

Our Drivers

Our drivers are well trained and well travelled in the area. They know all the terrain and valleys you will be traveling in and always make sure you are comfortable and safe. They have been rated excellent by many travelers who have been on the road with them for long periods of time.

Transportation

On this cultural tour to the Historic Route of Ethiopia, you will be traveling primarily by coaster bus. We have well-maintained buses in excellent condition suitable for the road conditions you will be traveling on. All our vehicles have air conditioning and seat belts.

Note: On this trip there will be a domestic flight from Lalibela to Addis Ababa that must be arranged separately.

Accommodation

On this trip, you will be staying in a 4-star hotel in Addis Ababa, and on the rest of the trip to the Historic Route, you will be staying in the best-available tourist standard hotels, lodges, and resorts that are selected and regularly inspected by our team.

 

Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive Addis Ababa

Arrive in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Welcome to Ethiopia! Upon arrival at Addis Ababa Bole International Airport, you will be welcomed and assisted by your tour guide and driven to your hotel. If you arrive in the morning, an optional city tour can be arranged.

Overnight: Jupiter Hotel, Addis Ababa

Day 2: Addis Ababa, Bahirdar (B, D)

In the morning, we drive to Bahirdar through the Great Blue Nile Gorge with stopovers at different small towns like Dejen, Chancho, and Goha Tsion.

Overnight: Avanti Blue Nile Hotel, Bahirdar

Day 3: Lake Tana, Blue Nile Falls, Bahir Dar (B, D)

After breakfast, we will take a boat ride on Lake Tana to visit the ancient 14th-century island monasteries of Lake Tana. After lunch at the hotel, we will drive 35 km to visit the majestic Blue Nile Falls.

Overnight: Avanti Blue Nile Hotel, Bahirdar

Day 4: Bahir Dar, Gondar (B, D)

After breakfast, we drive to Gondar through the beautiful countryside scenery arriving around lunchtime.

After checking into Goha Hotel and having lunch there, we will start tour of Gondar that includes the Royal Enclosure, the pool of King Fasiledas, and the famous Debre Berhan Selassie adorned with brilliant interior frescos.

Overnight: Goha Hotel, Gondar

Day 5: Simien Mountains National Park (B, D)

After an early breakfast, we will drive to Simien Mountains National Park. Enroute we will visit the “Felasha”, or Black Jewish village.

Driving from Gondar up to Simien Mountains National Park, nothing prepares you for the spectacular scenery that awaits at the top of the massif. For the rest of the day, we trek around the park to explore the stunning views and wildlife of the park including Sankaber.

Overnight: Goha Hotel, Gondar

Day 6: Gondar, Lalibela, Bete Emanuel Night Ceremony (B, D)

After breakfast, we drive through the spectacular landscape to Lalibela. Enroute we will stop at Awramba. This community was founded by Zumra Nuru in 1972 with the aim to live together peacefully and work collaboratively, sympathetically, and cheerfully. Community members treat each other as brothers and sisters. Gender equality and care for the elderly are very important.

In the evening, we will drive to Bete Emanuel to attend the special celebration of Emanuel with chanting and dancing by the priests and deacons. The ceremony will be accompanied by a capacity crowd of pilgrims who came to witness this event from far off hamlets and inaccessible valleys on their bare feet walking for weeks and even months.

Overnight: Tukul Village or Harbe Hotel, Lalibela

Day 7: Lalibela Celebrations at Bete Emanuel (B, D)

In the morning, we will drive to the sites where we will find a concentration of some of the remarkable rock-hewn churches of Lalibela built from 1200 AD.

At night, we will attend the Christmas Eve ceremony with the pilgrims to be held at Bete Mariam Church. The dancing by the deacons and the priests continues throughout the night while the pilgrims clap and ululate to the drum beat. At midnight, there will be a candlelight ceremony to commemorate the birth of Jesus Christ.

Overnight: Tukul Village or Harbe Hotel, Lalibela

Day 8: Ethiopian Christmas Eve, Lalibela (B, D)

In the morning, we will once more drive back to Bete Mariam where the biggest festival will be held outside the church on the cliff surroundinf the church. This will mark the final church ceremony of Ethiopian Christmas. On this day, as it has been for centuries, the priests will be standing in line with their drums and sistra on the cliff edge of Bete Mariam, called Mame Garia. On the bottom, there will be more priests dressed differently to those up on the top of the cliff. The priests on the bottom symbolize the shepherds, and the priests on the top of the cliff symbolize the angels announcing and celebrating the the birth of Jesus. 

After lunch and a rest at the hotel, we will continue our journey into Ethiopia’s long and marvelous history with a visit to other Lalibela churches. The rock-hewn churches that we will visit this afternoon include Bete Gebriel, Bete Merkorios Bete Amanuel, Bethlehem, and Bete Aba Libanos. At the end of the tour, there will be a special Ethiopian traditional coffee ceremony for the group prepared at a local house.

Overnight: Tukul Village or Harbe Hotel, Lalibela

Day 9: Lalibela, Addis Ababa, Departure (B, D)

After breakfast, transfer to Lalibela airport for the flight to Addis Ababa. Depending on your departure time, an optional city tour of Addis Ababa can be arranged.

In the evening, there will be Grand Holidays Ethiopia Tours complimentary farewell dinner party with traditional special buffet and local drinks. (flight schedule permitting). At the end of the farewell dinner, transfer to Addis Ababa airport for the flight back. End of tour.

 

Rate per Person Sharing Double: $2,212.00 USD
Single Supplement: $602.00 USD

Included

  • Roundtrip as per program
  • All necessary transfers
  • 8 nights accommodation in good hotels (4-star in Addis Ababa) in double rooms
  • All meals as stated in the program
  • All entrance fees
  • English-speaking, qualified national tour guide
  • Farewell dinner (flight schedule permitting)

Not Included

  • Visa fees
  • Tips
  • Meals not stated in the program
  • All expenses of a personal nature (drinks, laundry, phone calls, etc.)

 

 

Join us on a unique wildlife holiday in Ethiopia designed by our experts and led by our passionate wildlife professional tour guides. 

Looking for an experience a little different from the typical African wildlife safari? Then Ethiopia is a great choice! Ethiopia has an amazingly varied landscape and ecosystem from hot deserts to high, rugged mountains. This makes it home to an astonishingly varied number of flora and fauna species, among which many mammals, birds, and plants are endemic to Ethiopia.

Our Endemic "Big 5" of Ethiopia’s Wildlife Tour focuses on the endemic wildlife and breathtaking landscapes of Ethiopia. You will discover the endemic mammals and birds of Ethiopia, which you cannot find anywhere else. 

Ethiopia's Wildlife

Ethiopia is home to an amazing mix of  mammals and birdlife. There are over 80 species of larger mammals, of which more than 7 are endemic to Ethiopia. And there are over 800 birds in Ethiopia, of which more than 20 are endemic. Plenty of variety and unique species to view!

You will likely see at least 5 endemic wildlife species, many other large mammals, and over 15 endemic species of birds on this tour.

Tour Highlights

  • Discover Ethiopia’s "Big 5" endemic wildlife: The Ethiopian Wolf, Walia Ibex, Mountain Nyala, Gelada Baboon, and Menilik's Bushbuck
  • Trek in the endemic hotspot, the magnificent Bale Mountains.
  • Trek on the roof of Africa, the Simien Mountains.
  • See plenty of birdlife species, many of which many are endemic.
  • Explore the fairytale castles in the ancient city of Gondar, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Itinerary

Day 1: Addis Ababa  

Arrive in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Welcome to Ethiopia! Upon arrival at Addis Ababa Bole International Airport, you will be welcomed and assisted by your tour guide and driven to Radisson Blu Hotel (4 star). 
    
Addis Ababa, founded in 1886 by Menelik II, is situated at 2,500 meters (8000 ft.) above sea level. It is the 5th highest capital city in the world. The city enjoys an excellent climate year-round, with an average temperature of 25C (77F). With a multiethnic population of over 5 million, Addis Ababa is a pleasant city with wide avenues of jacarandas, interesting museums, and one of the largest open-air markets in Africa, known as the "Mercato".
    
Overnight: Radisson Blu, Addis Ababa
    
Day 2: Addis Ababa, Gondar, Sankaber

Early in the morning, transfer to Addis Ababa airport for the 50-minute flight to Gondar. Upon arrival at Gondar airport, we will meet our driver for the drive to the Simien Mountains National Park. We drive from Gondar up to Simien Mountains National Park and nothing can prepare you for the spectacular scenery that awaits at the top of the massif: The rolling grassy plateau comes to an abrupt stop, and sheer cliffs plunge almost vertically for 1,000m (3280 ft.) to the plains below. The massif itself has been sculpted by 30 million years of upthrust and erosion into a wonderland of jagged ridges, pinnacles and strangely cropped conical mountains, so that looking out over the heart-stopping precipice. You feel you might just be at the edge of the world.

After checking into the Simien Lodge and having lunch there, we will relax a bit and get ready for the afternoon photo shoot with the endemic Gelada "Bleeding Heart" Baboon, around Sankaber.

Overnight: Simien Lodge, Buyit Ras (3200 m)
    
Day 3: Sankaber, Gelada Baboon Territory

In the morning, we will drive/walk around Sanakber. This is the territory of Gelada Baboon where we can find them in great numbers as they come out to graze on the plains of Sankaber.

The endemic Gelada Baboon is the last surviving species of ancient grazing primates that were once numerous. Geladas spend most of their day sitting down, plucking and munching on grasses. They have fatty rear ends, much like human buttocks, which seem well adapted to this activity. Theropithecus Gelada live in small family units of one male and three to six females. Though males are larger and more colorful, females dominate Gelada societies. When an aging male begins to decline, the females in his family decide when he will be replaced by a younger rival— though the male will do all he can do to drive off such competition. Gelada family units often combine to form large foraging bands of 30 to 350 animals.
    
We will spend the morning photographing the Gelada Baboon around the plains and further down the hills. In the afternoon, we will walk around the lodge for more photography opportunities of the Gelada Baboon with the late afternoon light in different locations.

Overnight: Simien Lodge, Buyit Ras (3200 m)

Day 4: Cheneck, Walia Ibex Territory

Today, we will rise early in the morning with the sun and drive to Cheneck through Sankaber and other beautiful parts of the park. This will give you a unique opportunity to photograph the Gelada Baboon and other endemic wildlife as they graze and hunt around the plains.
    
Around Cheneck, you will also have a chance to photograph the endemic Mountain Nyala with the beautiful morning sun around some of the most spectacular parts of the park. After spending the morning exploring around Checnk, we will drive back to the lodge.
    
Late in the afternoon, we will go out around Cheneck and surrounding area to spend more time among the Geladas with the golden light of late afternoon.

Overnight: Simien Lodge, Buyit Ras (3200 m)

Day 5: Buit Ras, Gondar

Today we drive from Buit Ras to Gondar with stops in some picturesque places. After checking into Goha Hotel and having lunch there, we will take a city tour of Gondar. Founded by Emperor Fasiledas around 1635, Gondar is famous for its many medieval castles and the design and decoration of its churches — in particular, the Debre Berhan Selassie represents a masterpiece of the unique Ethiopian school of traditional art.
    
You will visit the Royal Enclosure, a walled compound having six different castles built from 17th century by different kings who ruled in different times; the pool of King Fasilidas, which still serves as a baptismal pool during Ethiopian Epiphany; and the famous Debre Berhan Selassie adorned with brilliant interior frescoes.

Overnight: Goha Hotel, Gondar

Day 6: Gondar, Ethiopian Great Valley Lakes, Lake Langano (B, L, D)

In the morning, transfer to Gondar airport for the flight to Addis Ababa. Upon arrival, we will meet our driver for the drive to Lake Langano. While driving from Addis Ababa to Lake Langano, we will pass by different small towns and stop for a visit at one of the most beautiful Rift Valley Lakes, Lake Ziway.
    
For the rest of the day, relax around the beautiful Sabana Lodge perched on top of the hill overlooking the beautiful lake.
    
Overnight: Sabana Lodge, Lake Langano
    
Day 7: Lake Langano, Bale Mountains National Park (B, L, D)

In the morning, we drive to Bale Mountains National Park, one of the biggest Afro-Alpine habitats on the entire African continent.

In the afternoon, we will have a game drive around the park to visit some of the endemic mammals including the Bale Mountain Nyala (endemic to Bale Mountains National Park), Menilik's Bushbuck, Warthogs, and many more.
    
Overnight: Wabi Shebele Hotel, Goba

Day 8:  Goba, Senetie Plateau (B, L, D)

In the morning, drive high in Senetie Plateau, one of the most beautiful parts of the park. This is the territory of the endemic Abyssinian Wolf. This very endangered canine is the only wolf family member found in Africa. It can be spotted commonly here in the vast Afro-Alpine vegetation hunting on Giant Mole Rat on which it commonly feeds.

In this well-conserved Afro-Alpine ecosystem, you will definitely see some endemic birds like the Blue-Winged Goose as well as the Giant Mole Rat pretty much everywhere.

Later in the afternoon, we will take a relaxing trek around Gesse Valley where we can see many more wildlife species and enjoy the scenic view walking around the valley.

Overnight: Bale Mountains Lodge, Harena Forest
    
Day 9: Harenna Forest (B, L, D)

Today we will explore the dense and well-conserved Afro-Alpine forest in the Bale Mountains. Here we can expect to see the recently discovered endemic Bale Monkey and the illusive Black Leopard. If we are lucky, we will also see the rare Abyssinian Black-Maned Lion

Overnight: Bale Mountains Lodge, Harena Forest

Day 10: Harena Forest, Lake Awassa

In the morning, we will drive back to the Ethiopian Great Rift Valley Lakes region. In this region, you will find chains of beautiful Rift Valley lakes, which are home to many species of birdlife and wildlife.

After checking into the beautiful Haile Resort, owned and run by the great Ethiopian athlete and Olympic gold medalist, we will walk around the Lake Awassa to see different aquatic birds. We may also take a boat trip for more bird watching and hippo spotting. The rest of the day, you can relax in the swimming pool or around the resort.

Overnight: Haile Resort

Day 11: Awassa, Addis Ababa

Early in the morning, we will visit the Awassa fish market, where local fishermen sell freshly caught fish for the local people. The interaction of the fishermen with the local people, birds and surrounding environment is interesting to watch.

After breakfast at the hotel, we will drive back to Addis Ababa enroute visiting at least two Rift Valley lakes, namely Lake Ziway, the biggest Rift Valley lake and Lake Langano. Both are very famous for their abundant birdlife.

After our visit to the lakes, we drive back to Addis Ababa on the new expressway, which starts at Mojo, and will arrive in Addis Ababa late in the afternoon. End of tour.
    


B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner  

Ethiopia is an inexhaustible source of wonder for travelers — a sprawling country of ancient African civilization, colorful festivals, breath-taking landscapes, diverse tribal culture, and amazingly friendly people.

There are countless reasons to visit this fascinating country. Here are just ten:

  1. Visit the remarkable rock-hewn churches of Lalibela, built from 1200 AD and often referred to as one of the "living wonders of the world".
  2. See the 3000-year-old ancient city of Axum, the land of the Queen of Sheba, and the last resting place of the Ark of the Covenant.
  3. Explore an amazing mix of tribal ethnic groups in the Omo Valley.
  4. Trek on the "Roof of Africa", The Simien Mountains — one of the most spectacular mountain ranges in Africa. 
  5. Discover many exciting endemic wildlife species.
  6. Explore an alien landscape on earth — the Denakil Depression is one of the lowest and hottest places on earth, and the lava trek to Ertale Lava Lake is otherwordly.
  7. Enjoy the beautiful national parks and lakes of the Great Ethiopian Rift Valley.
  8. Embark on a boat cruise to Lake Tana to visit some of the ancient island monasteries and see the source of the mighty Blue Nile River, part of the second-longest river in the world.
  9. Marvel at the fairytale castles of Gondar.
  10. Get lost in the walled and colorful medieval Islamic city of Harar.
  11. Meet your ancient ancestor Lucy, the 3.2-million-year-old hominoid skeleton in the National Museum in Addis Ababa. This truly is a journey to the land where all began!

Ethiopia, once called Abyssinia, has beckoned explorers, writers, and adventure seekers for thousands of years. It's as exotic and exciting as it sounds. After all, this is the land where it all began. Now, it's your turn to experience this truly magical land!

This is a journey to Ethiopia’s past and present. This cultural tour takes you to the two ancient cities of Ethiopia in Ethiopia’s Historic North. Both are listed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites. 

Axum is the birthplace of Ethiopian civilization. By the first century, Axum was a major trading center for exotic goods from Egypt, Rome, Nubia, Greece, Syria, and India. The Holy Ark of the Covenant was brought here before the destruction of the temple, and Axum is reputed to be the second Jerusalem.

The 11 rock-hewn churches of Lalibela are one of the world's most incredible manmade creations, commonly referred to as one of the “living wonders of the world”. These remarkable edifices were carved out of solid rock, in a region where the rugged landscape still protects the churches from mass tourism. 

Trip Highlights

  • Explore two of the most ancient cities of Ethiopia, which are also UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
  • See the ancient city of Axum, the last resting place of the Ark of the Covenant.
  • Explore the ruins of the palace of the Queen of Sheba.
  • Visit the rock-hewn churches of Lalibela, one of "the living wonders of the world".
  • Take a city tour of Addis Ababa and meet Lucy at the National Museum.
  • Meet with the local people.
  • Try various Ethiopian dishes.
  • Attend an Ethiopian coffee ceremony.
  • Enjoy a live cultural dance ceremony.

Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive Addis Ababa
Arrive in Addis Ababa and spend the afternoon taking a city tour of Addis Ababa.

Day 2: Addis Ababa, Axum
Fly to Axum and have the full day to explore the ancient city of Axum. In the afternoon, take an excursion to the pre-Christian temple of Yeha.

Day 3: Axum, Lalibela
In the morning, fly to Lalibela and visit the first group of rock-hewn churches built from 1200 AD.

Day 4: Lalibela, Asheten Mariam
In the morning, take a mule ride and trek to the top of Asheten Mariam Monastery. In the afternoon, visit the second group of rock-hewn churches.

Day 5: Lalibela, Addis Ababa
In the morning, fly to Addis Ababa. The rest of the day will be a city tour of Addis Ababa that includes the Mercato, Entoto, and Piassa. In the evening, there will be traditional dinner and live cultural dance show. At the end of the farewell dinner, transfer to Addis Ababa airport for the flight back. End of tour.

Weekend excursions specially for those living in Addis Ababa

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Ethiopia Luxury Tours: private & tailor-made travel packages 

Discover the very best of Ethiopia when you travel with Grand Holidays Ethiopia Tours. Enjoy insider experiences, ancient African civilization, amazing wildlife encounters, unique cultural interactions, and a host of extraordinary moments on one of our Ethiopia luxury tours.

At Grand Holidays Ethiopia Tours, we custom design your luxury travel to suit your available time, specific interests, and travel lifestyle. With an outstanding and expert personal knowledge about all our destinations, along with the skill and ability to innovate, we have the knowledge and genuine desire to understand our client’s sophisticated luxury holiday needs.

We can custom design an excellent itinerary with comfort to some of the most magnificent attractions Ethiopia has to offer with a private charter or helicopter combined with luxurious ground transport as well as comfortable lodging. There are a number of luxurious international-standard hotel options in the capital city of Addis Ababa and excellent  lodges and eco resorts in the major tourist destinations in Ethiopia.

Here are some of Ethiopia's memorable adventures awaiting you:

  • Explore the beautiful and vibrant city of Addis Ababa, the political capital of Africa.
  • Take a private charter to visit the amazing rock-hewn churches of Lalibela, often referred to as one of ‘the living wonders of the world’.
  • Fly over the Blue Nile Falls and sip champagne on a sunset cruise on Lake Tana while visiting the source of the Blue Nile and the island monasteries.
  • Enjoy the splendid view of the stunning Simien Mountains and sample some excellent Ethiopian wines
  • Take a helicopter safari and picnic in the spectacular Tigray Mountains.
  • Enjoy the spectacular views as you fly over Erta Ale lava lake.
  • Explore the out-of-this-world Danakil Depression landscape. 
  • Take a charter flight into the Ethiopian Great Rift Valley and venture thousands of years back in time.
  • Get to know the exotic tribes of the Omo Valley and their world.
  • Get lost in the beautiful nature of the Bale Mountains, one of the biggest Afro-Alpine habitats and home to many endemic wildlife including the Ethiopian Wolf.

We completely understand that the most difficult question for luxury holiday seekers is not where to go for a luxury holiday, but who should plan it. Grand Holidays Ethiopia Tours has fulfilled the dreams and aspirations of many luxury travelers from around the world for more than 13 years. Have your Ethiopian luxury tour designed by National Geographic’s award-winning adventure company. 

With Grand Holidays Ethiopia Tours, you can relax confident that you have made the right choice.

 

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A Land of Discovery

Ethiopia is the earliest-known home of humankind. A skeleton of an older human ancestor, Australopithecus Afarensis, was discovered in 1974 in Haddar, along the Awash river, in the Afar region in the east of the country. Anthropologists have established that the skeleton of 40% of the human body had belonged to a 20-year-old female that lived 3.2 million years ago.

Ethiopia is one of the world's great crossroads — where the peoples and cultures of Africa, the Middle East, and the Mediterranean have been interacting for thousands of years. The resulting ethnic and cultural diversity has given rise to many unique and dynamic visual traditions.

The strong religious setting, celebrations, and festivals play an important part in everyone's daily life. Church ceremonies are a major feature of Ethiopian life. The events are impressive and unique. The Ethiopian Orthodox Church has its own head, follows its own customs, and is extremely proud of its 4th-century origins.

Ethiopia's Islamic tradition is also strong and offers colorful contrast, particularly in the eastern and southeastern parts of the country. In fact, there were Ethiopian Muslims during the lifetime of Prophet Mohammed. This rich religious history is brought to life in the romantic walled city of Harar, considered by many Muslims to be the fourth "Holy City" following Mecca, Medina, and Jerusalem.

Truly a land of discovery, Ethiopia is mysterious, seductive, and extraordinary. Above all, it is a country of great antiquities, cultures, and traditions stretching back 3000 years. The country has thus been called a cultural mosaic, due to its 80 different languages and dialects and as many, if not more, cultural varieties.

Fascinating People

The Lower Omo is home to a remarkable mix of small, contrasting ethnic groups — not only the Bume and Konso, but also the Gelebe, the Bodi, the Mursi, the Surma, the Arbore, and the Hamer, to name but a few. Lifestyles are as varied as the tribes themselves. Lacking any material culture and artifacts common to other cultures, these tribes find unique ways in which to express their artistic impulses. Both the Surma and the Karo, for example, are experts at body painting, using clays and locally available vegetable pigments to trace fantastic patterns on each other's faces, chests, arms, and legs. These designs are created purely for fun and aesthetic effect, each artist vying to outdo the others.

The Afar

The Afar, most of whom occupy one of the most inhospitable desert or semi-desert areas in the world, have long been regarded as a fierce and warlike people. They are certainly proud and individualistic, and somehow manage to eke out a living from the challenging wilderness in which many of them live. The majority of the Afar are semi-nomadic pastoralists, but a minority have settled, notably those in the Aussa oasis. Almost all are Muslims and are organized into confederacies, tribes, and clans. The nomads live in small, isolated groups with the camel as their beast of burden and keep sheep, goats, and cattle.

The Anuak

The Anuak people are found in the Gambella region. The indigenous Anuak people are mainly fishermen in this region, and the crops they grow, for example sorghum, don't reach their full potential because of the extremely basic methods employed. There are few large villages, as people prefer instead to group together around a mango grove in the extended family compound of no more than five or six huts.

Amhara

The Amhara women wear dresses with a tight bodice and full skirt. The dresses are bright white with colored embroidery and woven borders. The men are resplendent in white jodhpurs and tunics. Although originally most of the border designs were based on the varied designs of the Ethiopian cross, today you sometimes see more modern motifs — flowers, birds, and even airplanes.

Harari

The Muslims of Harar wear colorful dress. The men often dress in red, purple, or black. The women of Harar part their hair in the middle and make large buns behind their ears. Harari women have been known for their basketwork for centuries and still weave intricate creations from coloured fibers and grasses. Harar is also famous for the work of its silversmiths, who craft beautiful anklets, necklaces, arm bands, silver chains, bangles, and earrings out of the precious metal. Although these items can be purchased at the market, some of the best selections can be found in the homes of the craftsmen and women.

The Oromo

The Oromo people offer their products for sale in open markets. They produce the more familiar grains and vegetables of established agriculture. Coffee, one of the world's favorite beverages, is believed to have been 'born' in this region.

The Somali

The lowland Somali wear long, often brightly coloured cotton wraps, while some of the cattle-herders in the lake district have clothing made of skins.

The Tigray

The women of Tigray wear dozens of plaits (shuruba) tightly braided to the head and fuzzing out at the shoulders. Young children often have their heads shaved, except for a tuft or a small tail of plaits, which are left so that if God calls them 'He will have a handle by which to lift them up to Heaven'.

The South People

The Southern region comprises hundreds of ethnic groups. The region of the south of Konso and Yabello is inhabited by the Konso people. Except for trading with the neighboring Borena for salt or cowrie shells, outside influence had, until recently, virtually passed by the Konso. The cornerstone of Konso culture, however, is a highly specialized and successful agricultural economy that, through terracing buttressed with stone, enables them to extract a productive living from the none-too-fertile hills and valleys that surround them.

 Join us on a a unique journey to some of the most remote tribes of Ethiopia. Our tribal tours and cultural tours are well designed by our experts and led by our passionate, expert cultural tour guides. Contact us for a custom-made unique cultural holiday in Ethiopia.

Ethiopia is a land of natural contrasts, from the tops of the rugged Simien Mountains to the depths of the Danakil Depression, at 120 meters below sea level and one of the lowest dry land points on earth. The cornucopia of natural beauty that blesses Ethiopia offers an astonishing variety of attractions.

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Afro-Alpine highlands soaring to around 4,300 meters, moors and mountains, the splendor of the Great Rift Valley, whitewater rivers, savannah teeming with game, giant waterfalls, dense and lush jungle — the variety of landscapes in Ethiopia is vast.

Ethiopia's many national parks enable the visitor to enjoy the country's scenery and wildlife, conserved in natural habitats, and offer opportunities for travel adventure unparalleled in Africa.

With 14 major wildlife reserves, Ethiopia provides a microcosm of the entire sub-Saharan ecosystem. Birdlife abounds, and indigenous animals from the rare walia ibex to the shy wild ass roam free, just as nature intended. Ethiopia, after the rains, is a land decked with flowers and with many more native plants than most countries in Africa. Among the many natural tourist attractions, only the principal ones are briefly listed below.

The Simien Mountains

The Simien Mountains present the most dramatic mountain scenery in Africa: Great volcanic plugs, formed some 40 million years ago and eroded over the aeons into fantastic crags, pinnacles, and flat-topped mountains, "the chess pieces of the Gods" as one writer described them, tower over precipitous gorges, river valleys, and plains stretching all the way to Eritrea. There are many peaks over 4000 meters, and Ras Dashen at 4620 meters is the highest in the country and the fourth highest in Africa. While trekking in the Simien Mountains, visitors can see the endemic Gelada Babboon (or "Bleeding Heart" Baboon), the Walia Ibex, the Simien Wolf, and the Rock Hyrax as well as endemic birds such as the Thick-billed Raven, Black-headed Siskin, White-collared Pigeon, Wattled Ibis, White-billed Starling, Spot-breasted Lapwing, White-backed Black Tit, Cruising Lammergeyers with their 3-meter wingspan, and Afro-Alpine meadows carpeted with flowers and punctuated by Giant Lobelia and the tall, spiky Kniphophia or "red hot pokers".

You can go in for a day, or go the whole hog and climb Ras Dashen. It is not a technical climb and no special climbing ability is needed. Mules can carry you and your luggage. The itinerary is for a longer expedition, but Grand Holidays Ethiopia Tours can easily arrange a shorter historic extension for those whose main interest is trekking.

The Blue Nile Falls (Tis Isat Falls)

The river Nile, over 800 km in length within Ethiopia and the longest river in Africa, holds part of its heart in Ethiopia. From Lake Tana, the Blue Nile, known locally as Abbay, flows for 800 km within Ethiopia to meet the White Nile in Khartoum to form the great river that gives life to Egypt and the Sudan. It has been said that the Blue Nile contributes up to 80% of the Nile's flow. The Blue Nile Falls are about an hour by tour bus from Bahar Dar. Known locally as Tis Isat "Smoking Water", the falls are over 400 m (1312 ft.) wide and 45 m (148 ft.) deep. Because of a series of dams near Bahar Dar, they aren't as impressive as they used to be. Nowhere, are the falls more spectacular than where they thunder over the cliff near Bahar Dar. Here millions of gallons of water cascade over the cliff face and into a gorge, creating spectacular rainbows, in one of the most awe-inspiring displays in Africa.

The Blue Nile Falls can be easily reached from Bahir Dar, and the Blue Nile Gorge, 225 km from Addis Ababa, can be enjoyed as part of an excursion from the capital.

The Sof Omar Cave

Sof Omar, a tiny Muslim village in Bale, is the site of an amazing complex of natural caves, cut by the Wab River as it found its way from the nearby mountains. The settlement, which is a religious site, is named after a local sheikh.

Armed with torches and an official map, visitors to Sof Omar make their way underground, far into the bowels of the earth, beside a subterranean stream, and there can see an extraordinary number of arched portals, high eroded ceilings, and deep echoing chambers.

Lake Abiata, Shalla National Park

The Rift Valley Lakes National Park, about 215 km south of Addis Ababa, is an ornithologist's paradise. As would be expected in a park surrounding two Rift Valley lakes, waterbirds predominate. Over 150 different species have been recorded here, including large numbers of great white pelicans, great and lesser flamingos, and sacred ibis. The forests are especially good for seeing unusual weavers and turacos.

The Yangudi, Rassa National Park

Although this park has little development and no tourist facilities, its dry grasslands are home to herds of the endangered Somali wild ass, as well as Grévy's Zebra, Hamadrya's Baboon and the Beisa Oryx. The park lies astride the Addis-Assab road, and consists of 4,730 sq. km of semi-desert and dry scrub. Grand Holidays Ethiopia Tours can arrange safari, birdwathcing and trekking programs to any of the above attractions in combination with other sites and attractions within the country, if desired.

The Awash National Park

Lying in the lowlands east of Addis Ababa and astride the Awash River, the Awash National Park is one of the finest reserves in Ethiopia. The Awash River, one of the major rivers of the horn of Africa, waters important agricultural lands in the north of Ethiopia and eventually flows into the wilderness of the Danakil Depression. The dramatic Awash Falls, where the river tumbles into a gorge, is a sight not to be missed. Awash National Park, surrounding the dormant volcano of Fantale, is a reserve of arid and semi-arid woodland and savannah, with riverain forests along the Awash River. Forty-six species of animals have been identified here, including the Beisa Oryx and Swayne's Heartebeest. The birdlife is prolific — many of the 392 species are endemic to Ethiopia — especially along the river and at nearby Lake Basaka. A special attraction is the beautiful clear pools of the Filwoha hot springs.

The Rift Valley

The Ethiopian Rift Valley, which is part of the famous East African Rift Valley, comprises numerous hot springs, beautiful lakes, and a variety of wildlife. The valley is the result of two parallel faults in the earth's surface between which, in distant geological time, the crust was weakened and the land subsided. Ethiopia is often referred to as the "water tower" of Eastern Africa because of the many rivers that pour off the high tableland. The Great Rift Valley's passage through Ethiopia is marked by a chain of seven lakes. Each of the seven lakes has its own special life and character and provides ideal habitats for the exuberant variety of flora and fauna that make the region a beautiful and exotic destination for tourists. Most of the lakes are suitable and safe for swimming and other water sports. Additionally, Lake Abiata and Lake Shalla are ideal places for bird watchers.

Most of the Rift Valley lakes are not fully exploited for touristic purposes except Lake Langano, where tourist-class hotels are built. The Rift Valley is also the site of numerous natural hot springs. These hot springs are highly valued for their chemical contents that produce therapeutic benefits. However, they are currently not fully utilized. In short, the Rift Valley is endowed with many beautiful lakes, numerous hot springs, a warm and pleasant climate, and a variety of wildlife. It is considered as one of the most ideal areas for the development of international tourism in Ethiopia.

The Omo National Park

The Omo National Park, one of the most beautiful national parks in Ethiopia with its 4,068 square kilometers of wilderness, is bordered by the Omo River and home to an amazing range of wildlife. Eland, buffalo, elephants, giraffes, cheetahs, lions, leopards, and Burchell's zebras are quite common, and 306 species of birds have been identified here.

The Nech Sar National Park

The broad grass plains of Nech Sar National Park lie 510 km south of Addis Ababa near the town of Arba Minch, between the lakes Abaya and Chamo. A wide variety of plain game roams freely amongst 514 square miles of savannah, dry bush, and groundwater forest, which are also the habitat of 188 recorded species of birds. In the far eastern part of the park, hot springs bubble to the surface. A backdrop of hills and mountains combine to make Nech Sar one of the most attractive national parks in Ethiopia.

Join us on a unique nature and wildlife tour in Ethiopia designed by our experts and lead by our passionate, professional wildlife tour guides. Contact us for a custom-made unique wildlife holiday in Ethiopia.

Ethiopia, the oldest independent nation in Africa, has a heritage dating back to the first century AD. Traders from Greece, Rome, Persia, and Egypt knew of the riches of what is now Ethiopia, and by the first century AD, Axum was the capital of a great empire. This realm became one of the first Christian lands of Africa.

Late in the 10th century, Axum declined and a new Zagwe dynasty, centered in what is now Lalibela, ruled the land. Axum, Lalibela, and Gondar now provide the greatest historical legacy. It was in the 16th century that the son of the great explorer Vasco da Gama came to Ethiopia. He found a land of many kingdoms and provinces beset by feuds and war.

The following are some of the major historical attractions:

Axum: The "Cradle of Ethiopian Civilization"

This is the birthplace of Ethiopian ancient civilization. Axum was a seat of legendary rulers and fabulous kings and an empire that extended across the Red Sea to Arabia, traded with India and China, had its own alphabet and notational system, and constructed great engineering works and dams. It was reckoned in the 4th century to be one of the four great powers of the ancient world.

This ancient city is also believed to be the last resting place of the Ark of the Covenant. The holy city of Axum is still one of the most important Christian pilgrimage centers. Here, visitors can see stelae (the largest single pieces of stone erected anywhere), the tombs and castles of kings, Axum Museum, and the Mariam Tsion Church, built on the sit of Ethiopia’s first church, and much more. A visit to Axum can be extended to take in the 500 BC pre-Axumite temple of Yeha.

Lalibela: One of the "Living Wonders of the World"

St. Lalibela is credited with the foundation of the 11 rock-hewn churches in the 12th century. Some of the world's most incredible manmade creations, they are a lasting monument to man's faith in God. These remarkable edifices were carved out of solid rock, in a region where the rugged landscape still protects the churches from mass tourism. The 11 manmade churches are found in the town of Lalibela. Other churches are reached by a 45-minute drive by 4x4 vehicle, or a 3-hour mule ride. This place is a very nice venue for some of the most famous church festivals in Ethiopia — A visit during the great celebrations of Timket (Epiphany) and Gena (Ethiopian Christmas) is particularly rewarding.

Bahir Dar and the Island Monasteries of Lake Tana

The beautiful city of Bahir Dar is set on the southeastern shore of Lake Tana, the source of the mighty Blue Nile River. On the lake, local fishermen still use papyrus boats to fish and get around the different islands. Bahir Dar is just 30 km from the spectacular Tis Isat Falls. Here the Blue Nile creates "Smoking Water" — an awe-inspiring sight as it plunges into the gorge below. From Bahar Dar, you can also explore some of the ancient island monasteries that have been built around Lake Tana. The 37 islands of Lake Tana shelter 20 monasteries — surviving remnants of an old, contemplative tradition. Because of their isolation, these monasteries were used to store treasures and religious relics from all parts of the country. The lake’s monasteries are famous for their typical Ethiopian religious paintings, illuminated manuscripts, and other ancient church treasures. The monasteries include Dek Stephanos, with its priceless collections of icons and remains of several medieval emperors, Kebran Gabriel, and Ura Kidane Mehret, famous for its frescoes. The colourful local market at Bahar Dar is alo very interesting for visitors. 

Gondar: The Camelot of Africa

Gondar was the 17th-century capital of Ethiopia and is notable for its medieval castles and churches. The city's unique imperial compound contains a number of castles built between 1632 and 1855 by the various emperors who reigned during this period. These dramatic castles, unlike others in Africa, display richness in architecture that reveals the Axumite traditions as well as the influence of Arabia. On a second day, visitors could take in the very fine and recently restored medieval church of Debre Sina Maryam at Gorgora, at the northern end of Lake Tana, or vistas of the Simien Mountains.

Harar: The Living Museum

The fortified historic town of Harar is located in the eastern part of the country on a plateau with deep gorges surrounded by deserts and savannah. The walls surrounding this sacred Muslim city were built between the 13th and 16th centuries. Harar Jugol, said to be the fourth holiest city of Islam, numbers 82 mosques, three of which date from the 10th century, and 102 shrines. But the townhouses with their exceptional interior design constitute the most spectacular part of Harar's cultural heritage. The impact of African and Islamic traditions on the development of the town's building types and urban layout make for its particular character and uniqueness.

The city is also noted for its superb handicrafts that include woven textiles, basketware, silverware, and handsomely bound books. Harar has been a place of pilgrimage from all over the world for many years.

We are the cultural tour specilists in Ethiopia. Our cultural tour to the Historic Route is crafted by our experainced tour operators and led by our expert cultural tour guides. For any of the above attractions, Grand Holidays Ethiopia Tours can organize a tour program by air and/or road travel. Let us know your interest and the time you have and we can tailor-make a program that suits your interest, time, and budget. 

Grand Holidays Ethiopia Tours is a locally owned and operated tour company based in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. We understand one of the first and most important decisions you will make when planning your long-awaited holiday to Ethiopia is choosing your tour company. Some companies may seem to appear ‘cheaper’ in price, at first glance. But, when you look closer and deeper, you will understand why traveling to Ethiopia with Grand Holidays Ethiopia Tours will guarantee the most reliable and memorable travel experience. We appreciate the trust you put in us when it comes to choosing your tour operator for your holiday in Ethiopia.

In recognition of our quality service, National Geographic has given Grand Holidays Ethiopia Tours a 95 out of 100 client satisfaction rating and a 89.5 in Quality of Service. We have also been awarded by the Ethiopian Ministry of Culture and Tourism for our contribution to tourism in Ethiopia.

We are the specialists in customized itineraries, group tours, family holidays, independent vacations, escorted tours, adventure holidays, cultural tours, logistical arrangements for filming, and so much more throughout the land of many wonders—Ethiopia!

Our tour packages and itineraries have been developed over many years to reflect the requests of our independent travelers. These can, of course, be fully customized to your individual needs and particular interests.

Our Philosophy

We encourage our staff to take an active interest in responsible and sustainable tourism and train them accordingly so that they can put our policies into practice. We provide our clients with advice and guidelines on how to respect the social, cultural, and religious beliefs of local communities.

We support and encourage our clients to support local organizations like clinics, schools, orphanages, etc., that serve the community. We endeavor to ensure our practices help in the environmental conservation of the area we visit.

Grand Holidays Ethiopia Tours, the Environment, and Responsible Tourism

As we take more tourists to the different sites and attractions, we recognize our obligation to operate our tours in a responsible, sustainable fashion. We view this not only as an environmental issue but as a cultural and social issue as well. Above all, we are committed to the well being of the communities, which are our hosts, and the cultural and natural environment that we are there to experience. We also believe that by following these policies we can provide a more rewarding and interesting experience to our clients.

Grand Holidays Ethiopia Tours Staff

Our staff is one of our key assets. Our office staff members, regardless of their position, have been tour leaders and have directed tours for many years. The Grand Holidays Ethiopia Tours management team has many years’ experience combined working in the tourism field at different posts. Our tour leaders are carefully selected and all of them are qualified, experienced, young, energetic, and passionate about leading tours.

Our Tours and Services

  • Cultural tour to the Historic Route of Ethiopia
  • Omo Valley Tribal Exploration
  • Mountain trekking adventure in the Simien Mountains and Bale Mountains
  • Dallol Erta Ale Lava Lake Desert Expeditions
  • Pilgrimage and religious festival tours
  • Personal interest tours
  • Logistical arrangements for filming and aerial photography
  • Charter flight arrangements
  • Safaris
  • Bird watching
  • Photographic tours
  • Hotel and ticket reservations
  • Group incentive tours
  • Organization of conferences and summits
  • Car hire, and much more

Trip Notes

For every trip on this site, you can request detailed additional information. On this site, you can find background information such as geography, history, climate, and customs together with an extensive descriptive itinerary and other technical details. Information on visas and vaccinations can be found on the Tip and Travel Fact. Services are to the standard of your utmost satisfaction. Grand Holidays Ethiopia Tours believes quality is job #1.

Rates

Rates are competitive and are provided upon request, except for the fixed departure tours. The outlined sample itineraries are flexible depending on your particular interests and flight arrival and departure times. Whether you are 9 or 90, a family or a group of friends, or a person traveling alone, our team of professionals and experienced tour operators, guides, and drivers are committed to making your holidays in Ethiopia truly Grand!

Transportation and Equipment

Equipment is of the highest standard. We have a range of brand new, tourist-standard vehicles with comprehensive insurance coverage including comfortable 4x4s, deluxe buses, minibuses, and small automobiles. The vehicles and camping equipment fit the weather you are planning to travel in.

Registration and License

Grand Holidays Ethiopia Tours is registered and licensed by Ethiopia’s Ministry of Trade and Industry under license number 199/98. We are also recognized by the Ethiopian Tourism Minister and a proud member of Ethiopian Tour Operators Association under membership code ETOA/028/06.

 

If you have any questions, send us an This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., fax, or call us. Our team of friendly experts are more than happy to help you plan a trip of a lifetime in this magical land, Ethiopia.

This is a small group photographic expedition to the remote tribes of the Omo Valley to witness some of the last remaining authentic tribes on the African continent. 

Isolated for millennia from the rest of the world, the beautiful Omo Valley is home to an exciting mix of many small and distinctive tribal groups. Amongst others, we find the Karo, the Mursi and the Hamer — all of whom have retained their own unique customs and traditions. Lifestyles are as varied as the tribes themselves. Lacking any material, culture and artifacts common to other cultures, these tribes find unique ways in which to express their artistic impulses. Arbore women are well known for their long headdresses. The girls shave their heads to indicate virginity, and only start growing hair after marriage. The Desanech are a semi-nomadic tribe living on the shore of Omo. Their clans stretch across Sudan, Kenya and Southern Ethiopia. They are known for their very unique and ornate hair buns. Both the Surma and the Karo, for example, are experts at body painting, using clays and locally available vegetable pigments to trace fantastic patterns on each other's faces, chests, arms, and legs. These designs are created purely for fun and aesthetic effect, each artist vying to outdo his fellows.

This photographic expedition will take you on the east side of the Omo River. On this photo trip you will visit the Konso, Hamer, Karo, and Nyangatom tribes. You will spend a couple of days visiting their villages and intermingling with the different tribes, learning their lifestyle, attending ceremonies and rituals, and taking photos. There will be enough time with good light on different days to photograph their day-to-day activities of body and face painting, herding cattle, farming, and more.

Being isolated from the fast-moving world because of its remote location for thousands of years, the Omo Valley is truly heaven for anthropologists and photographers looking for a unique photography opportunity in a lesser-known and seldom-photographed region.

Tour Guide

This tour will be lead by our experienced A-rated friendly guides who have lead many photography tours to the Omo Valley. They know each and every village really well and will guide you on the best times and places to be. They have an immense knowledge of the tribes you will be visiting, their culture, and how to deal with them.

Our Drivers

Our drivers are well trained and well travelled in the challenging Omo Valley area. They know the terrain and the valleys you will be traveling in well. They always make sure you are comfortable and safe. They have been rated excellent by many travelers who have been on the road with them for long periods of time.

Transportation

We will primarily be using comfortable 4x4s on the tour. There will be one domestic flight from Addis Ababa to Arba Minch.

Accommodation

On this trip, you will be staying in a 4-star hotel in Addis Ababa and the best-available lodges in Turmi. In Dus, we will have a comfortable mobile camp with canvas tents that will be waiting for us ready when we arrive. We will also have our cooks ready for this part of the trip. There will be electric power to charge our batteries as well as a shower and toilet in the mobile tented camp.

Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive Addis Ababa

Arrive at Bole International Airport, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Welcome to Ethiopia. Upon arrival, you will be welcomed by your local tour leader and transfered to Golden Tulip Hotel.

Addis Ababa, founded in 1886 by Menelik II, is situated at 2,500 meters (8000 ft.) above sea level. It is the 5th highest capital city in the world. The city enjoys an excellent climate year-round, with an average temperature of 25C (77F). Addis Ababa is a pleasant city with wide avenues of jacarandas, interesting museums, and one of the largest open-air markets in Africa, known as the Mercato. 

For the rest of the day, relax in your comfortable hotel and get ready for the unique adventure awaiting.

Overnight: Golden Tulip Hotel, Addis Ababa

Day 2: Addis Ababa, Arba Minch (B, L, D)

We will have a nice breakfast in the morning and then have a pre-tour briefing of useful information before we head out to the Omo Valley, one of the most remote places on the planet.

After the pre-tour briefing, we transfer to Addis Ababa Airport for our 40-minute flight to Arba Minch. 

Upon arrival at Arba Minch Airport, you will meet your driver for the drive north to the mountain village of Chencha, located on the southwestern escarpment of the Great Rift Valley running north to south all the way to Mozambique. This is the home of the Dorze people. Once famous warriors in the region, the Dorze are now renowned cotton weavers whose tall beehive-shaped and bamboo-woven dwellings are among the most distinctive structures to be seen anywhere in Africa.

Our visit to this village and the unique cultural experience is a good way to ease into the tribal experience awaiting  us in the Omo Valley. As the sun goes down, we will drive back to Arba Minch enjoying the beautiful view of the sunset and the cattle herds as they come back from day-long grazing in the fields.

Overnight: Paradise Lodge, Arba Minch

Days 3–5: Arba Minch, Turmi (B, L, D)

After breakfast, we will continue driving further southwest to the Omo Valley through many tribal villages and small towns including the Tsemay and Konso.

Our last destination for today is Turmi, home to the beautiful nomadic Hamer tribe living on the side of Keske River. The Hamer display an elaborate and diverse selection of body decorations. They are also identifiable for their high cheekbones and elaborate custom of beads, cowries, leather, and thick copper necklaces. The Hamer women are striking with their colorful beaded skins, ornate necklaces, and metal bangles around their wrists and ankles. We hope to arrive at the lodge for late lunch and be in time to visit Hamer village with good light for photography.

For the next three nights, we will be based here at Turmi Village, the center of the Hamer Tribes and other tribes living in the surrounding area. This will give us a great chance to attend different rituals including, Evangadi and the Bull Jumping Ceremonies in some of the off-road tribal villages. Our base here will allow us to be flexible and capitalize on all the wonderful photographic opportunities in the area. During our stay in Turmi, we will visit the Arbore and Desanech tribes.

Overnight: Buska Lodge

Days 69: Karo, Dus  (B, L, D)

This morning, we will have a chance for one final photoshoot with the Hamer before we continue our drive to the Kara tribe residing on the shore of the Omo River. The Kara are the masters in body and face painting, which they practice on a daily basis. Before their rituals and dances, they carefully paint their faces and body, as well as the faces of their friends, using different colored soil, minerals, plant pigments, and flowers, and white chalk and black charcoal. The men are mostly well decorated with red clay hair buns, prepared for days to be ready for the event.

For the next couple of days, you will have the chance to mingle with Kara and spend quality time with them, learning about their daily activities including attending different rituals, follow them as they herd their cattle, do farming.

Our mobile tent will be set up along the shore of Omo River as we will make Dus our village for the next 3 days. This will help us to get very close to the Karo tribes.

Overnight: Mobile camping

Day 9: Dus, Konso (B, L, D)

Today we leave this exceptional region to go to Konso. The Konso are famous for their old and unique terracing (a UNESCO World Heritage Site) and unusual engraved wooden statues of Konso grave markers. The villages are protected with huge stone walls.

Day 10: Konso, Langano (B, L, D)

After breakfast, we drive north to beautiful Lake Langano. On the way, we will stop at different villages. Later in the afternoon you can relax on the beach (bilharzia free) and enjoy the birds at the lake.

Day 11: Langano, Addis Ababa (B, L, D)

The morning is free for leisure. After lunch, we drive back to Addis Ababa. Depending on the flight schedule, a farewell dinner with local specialties and cultural dances can be organized. Transfer to airport. End of tour.

B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner

Rates on request

Group size: 4–8

Included

  • Roundtrip as per program
  • 4x4 transport with AC
  • All necessary transfers
  • 7 nights accommodation in good hotels and lodges (4-star in Addis Ababa) in double rooms
  • 3 nights camping (bring your own light sleeping bag)
  • All meals as stated in the program
  • All entrance fees
  • English-speaking, qualified, national tour guide
  • Farewell dinner (flight schedule permitting)
  • Taxes
  • Photo fees

Not Included

  • Visa fees
  • Tips
  • Meals not stated in the program
  • All expenses of a personal nature (drinks, laundry, phone calls, etc.)
  • Domestic flights

Tour Duration

The tour begins and ends in Addis Ababa. You may need to included an extra day or two for flights to and from Addis Ababa.

Please call +0251-116-183163 or e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more information.

This cultural tour focuses on the ancient history and culture as well as the people and nature of the classic Historic Route of Ethiopia. Among other things on this tour, you will visit four UNESCO World Heritage Sites as we follow in the footsteps of the legendary Queen of Sheba.

As you travel by road on the Historic Route of Ethiopia, you will be able to explore more of the country's less-visited natural and cultural sites as history unfolds in front of you each and every mile. From Addis Ababa, you will pass through many villages and small towns stopping at Jemma River Gorge and the magnificent Blue Nile River Gorge, Ethiopia’s own Grand Canyon.

You can book this tour on any date as an individual journey.

Trip Highlights

  • Visit four UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
  • Be amazed by the rock-hewn churches of Lalibela, one of "the living wonders of the world".
  • Explore the ancient city of Axum, the last resting place of the Ark of the Covenant. 
  • Visit the ruins of the Queen of Sheba.
  • Discover the fairytale castles of Gondar. 
  • Visit the breathtaking Simien Mountains National Park, "the Roof of Africa".
  • Discover the ancient island monasteries of Lake Tana. 
  • Visit the source of the mighty river, the Blue Nile and the Blue Nile Falls. 
  • Visit the vibrant city of Addis Ababa.
  • Meet your ancestor Lucy at the National Museum.
  • Visit less-visited sites and meet the local people. 
  • Try the varied Ethiopian food.
  • Attend an Ethiopian coffee ceremony.

Accommodation

Depending on the category you booked on this trip, you will be staying in either in a 3- or 4-star hotel in Addis Ababa; and on the rest of the trip to the Historic Route, you will be staying in the best-available tourist standard hotels, lodges, and resorts that are selected and regularly inspected by our team. 

Planned Hotels

Comfort

  • Addis Abeba: Jupiter Bole
  • Bair Dar: Avanti Blue Nile
  • Gondar: Goha
  • Axum: Sabaen
  • Lalibela: Tukul Village

Budget

  • Addis Ababa: Venetian or Heyday
  • Bahir Dar: Rahnile
  • Gondar: AG-Hotel
  • Axum: Consular
  • Lalibela: Harbe

In case these hotels are not available, we will provide accomodation in hotels of a similar quality and standard.

Tour Guide

This tour will be lead by our experienced, A-rated friendly cultural tour guides who have led many tours to the Historic Route of Ethiopia and who know the history, culture, nature, and wildlife of Ethiopia well.

Our Drivers

Our drivers are well trained and well travelled in the area. They know the terrain and the valleys you will be traveling in well. They always make sure you are comfortable and safe and have been rated excellent by many travelers who have been on the road with them for long periods of time.

Transportation

On this cultural tour to the Historic Route of Ethiopia, you will be traveling primarily by coaster bus. We have well-maintained buses in excellent condition suitable for the road conditions you will be traveling on. All our vehicles have air conditioning and seat belts.

Note: This trip requires domestic flights from Addis Ababa to Bahir Dar, Gondar, Axum, Lalibela, and Addis Ababa. These  flights must be arranged separately.

Day 1: Arrive Addis Ababa

Arrive in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Welcome to Ethiopia! Upon arrival at Addis Ababa Bole International Airport, you will be welcomed and assisted by your tour guide and driven to your hotel.

For the rest of the day, you will take a city tour of Addis Ababa that includes the National Museum, one of the churches of Addis Ababa, the Piassa, and the view from Mount Entoto.

Accommodation: Hotel in Addis Ababa

Day 2: Addis Ababa, Bahirdar (B, D)

In the morning, fly to Bahirdar. At Bahirdar, you will be picked by your driver for the transfer to your hotel. After checking into the hotel in the morning, we will take a boat ride on Lake Tana to visit the ancient 14th-century island monasteries of Lake Tana. The 37 islands of Lake Tana shelter twenty monasteries — surviving remnants of an old, contemplative tradition. In the afternoon, we will drive 35 km to visit the majestic Blue Nile Falls.

Accommodation: Hotel in Bahirdar

Day 3: Bahirdar, Gondar (B, D)

After breakfast, we drive to Gondar through the beautiful countryside scenery of Fogera to arrive at Gondar around lunchtime.

Gondar was founded by Emperor Fasiledas around 1635. This UNESCO World Heritage is famous for its many medieval castles and the design and architecture of its churches. In particular, Debre Berhan Selassie represents a masterpiece of the unique Ethiopian School of traditional art. This afternoon, you will visit the ancient city.

Accommodation: Hotel

Day 4: Gondar, Axum (B, D)

In the morning, transfer to the airport for your short flight to Axum. After checking into your hotel, you will spend the day visiting the ancient city of Axum. This city is the birthplace of Ethiopian civilization and the last resting place of the Holy Ark of the Covenant. It is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Accommodation: Hotel in Axum

Day 5: Axum, Lalibela (B, D)

After an early breakfast at the hotel, we transfer to Axum airport for your flight to Lalibela. After checking into the hotel, we will drive to the site of a concentration of some of Ethiopia’s most famous rock-hewn churches, often referred to by many as one of "the living wonders of the world." These churches are, and they have been for at least 800 years, an active Christian shrine — the spiritual center of the country’s religious life. The monolithic churches were carved out of a 2,600-square-meter natural rock terrace in the 12th century AD by King Lalibela.

Today, we will visit the first group of rock-hewn churches. In the evening, there will be a traditional Ethiopian coffee ceremony for the group prepared at a local house.

Accommodation: Hotel in Lalibela

Day 6: Asheten Mariam, Lalibela (B, D)

In the morning, we will take a mule ride, and/or walk to the top of Asheten Mariam Monastery, which is famous for its 12th-century monastery church and beautiful view at 10,298 ft. above sea level. 

After having lunch and resting at the hotel, you will continue your journey into Ethiopia’s long and marvelous history with a visit to other of Lalibela’s remarkable churches — their architecture and artistry must be seen to be believed!

Accommodation: Hotel in Lalibela

Day 7: Lalibela, Addis Ababa, Departure (B, D)

After breakfast, you transfer to Lalibela airport for the flight to Addis Ababa. After checking into the hotel, you will take city tour of Addis Ababa for the rest of the day that includes the Mercato and the view of Addis Ababa from Entoto. You will also have the chance to walk around the Piassa and Churchill Avenue for shopping.

In the evening, there will be a special Ethiopian farewell dinner party with a traditional buffet and local drinks. There will also be a live cultural dance show of the different ethnic groups living in the country — the perfect ending to the trip! At the end of the farewell dinner party, transfer to Addis Ababa airport. End of tour.

B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner

 

Rates on request

 

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Included

  • Roundtrip as per program
  • Transport in minibus or coaster bus with AC
  • All necessary transfers
  • 6 nights accommodation in good hotels in double rooms
  • All meals as stated in the program
  • All entrance fees
  • Boat trip on Lake Tana
  • English-speaking, qualified national tour guide
  • Farewell dinner (flight schedule permitting)
  • Taxes

Not Included

  • Visa fees
  • Tips
  • Meals not stated in the program
  • All expenses of a personal nature (drinks, laundry, phone calls, etc.)
  • Domestic flights

Tour Duration

The tour duration shown above does not included the flights to/from Addis Ababa. 

Call +0251-116-183163 or e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more information.

Ethiopia’s greatly diversified ecosystem makes it one of the richest habitats in Africa for birds and mammals. With more than 860 species of birds, Ethiopia possesses about 10% of the world’s bird species, and about 40% of all African birds are found here. Among these, 16 species are found only in Ethiopia. That is the reason why we say Ethiopia is a must for bird enthusiasts. 

This birding holiday will enable you to view a significant number of Ethiopian birds. On this tour, will have the chance to spot some of Ethiopia's endemic birds and mammals as we explore some of the breathtaking landscapes including Jemma River Gorge, the Sululta Plains, the Rift Valley lakes, Wondo Guenet Forest, and the magnificent Bale Mountains, where more than 10 of these endemic birds are found. Although this is a bird watching tour, we will also have the opportunity to spot different endemic mammals.  

Trip Highlights

  • See numerous birds including many birds endemic to Ethiopia.
  • Spot many of Ethiopia’s endemic mammals including the Ethiopian Wolf, Mountain Nyala, and Gelada Baboon.
  • Experience breathtaking nature and landscapes.
  • Explore the Bale Mountains, the Jemma River Gorge, the Great Ethiopian Rift Valley lakes, and Wondogenet Forest.
  • Get to know Ethiopian culture.
  • Learn about Ethiopia's birds with our guide, an experienced ornithologist.

Itinerary

Day 1: Addis Ababa, Debre Libanos 

After arrival, your tour guide will welcome you at the airport. First we will have Ethiopian coffee and breakfast before heading towards Debre Libanos. Flocks of Hooded Vultures and Black Kites will be wheeling overhead and we should see Dusky Turtledoves the endemic White-Collared Pigeon, Tacazze Sunbirds, Baglafecht Weavers, and Streaky Seedeaters. After breakfast this morning, we will cross the Sululta Plains. These high-altitude plateau grasslands provide superb birding, despite intensive cultivation.

Resident birds we may find here include the Secretary Bird, White-Backed Vulture, African Hobby, Erckel's Francolin, Red-Chested Swallow, Cape Crow, Pectoral-Patch Cisticola, and African Quail Finch. Suddenly, the seemingly endless plain dramatically drops off into the Blue Nile drainage system. Perched on the edge of the gorge is the Debre Libanos Monastery, one of Ethiopia's most sacred Christian sites. We will concentrate our search here for Rappel’s Vulture, Verreaux's Eagle, the African Hawk-Eagle, Augur Buzzard (dark-morph birds are commonly seen here), Lanner Falcon, Nyanza Swift, Hemprich's Hornbill, the three endemic birds — Rüppell's Chat, the White-winged Cliff-chat, and the White-Billed Starling — Mocking Cliff-Chat, the Yellow-Rumped Serin, and the Cinnamon-Breasted Bunting. You may also see the Lion-Headed Baboon in this area.

Overnight: Ethio German Lodge

Day 2: Debre Libanos, Sululta

We will leave early in the morning in order to look for the highly localized endemic Harwood’s Francolin.
We will likely spot it around dawn by Jemma Gorge. For the rest of the day, we will explore for terrestrial birding and drive to Sululta town for overnight.

Overnight: Yaya Village Resort or back Addis Jupiter Bole Hotel

Day 3: Sululta, Awash

Sululta Plain is known for its abundance of birds. This morning, we will look for Ethiopia's endemic species: the Abyssinian Longclaw, Erlanger’s Lark, Ethiopian Siskin, Wattled Ibis, Blue-Winged Geese, and Spot-Breasted Plover. We then head to Awash National Park, stopping to look for birds enroute.

Overnight: Awash Lodge

Day 4: Awash

Today will be spent exploring the superb Awash National Park. We will bird around the Alleghedi Reserve and Doho Lodge with its hot springs, the Awash River, and Kirayawa Gorge, exploring riverine forests, wetlands, thorn woodlands, savanna grasslands, rocky hills, cliffs, and escarpments.

The park boasts a bird list of 460 species and we will make an effort to find, amongst many others, the Egyptian Vulture, Greater Spotted Eagle, Scissor-Tailed Kite, Shikra, Arabian, Buff-Crested, Hartlaub's and White-Bellied Bustards, Three-Banded Courser, Helmeted Guinea Fowl, Small Buttonquail, Eastern Grey Plantain-Eater, White-Browed Coucal, Plain Nightjar, Northern Carmine Bee-Eater, Greater Honeyguide, Wire-Tailed Swallow, Red-Winged Lark, Singing Bush Lark, Blackstar, Red-Backed Scrub-Robin, Eastern Olivaceous Warbler, Green-Backed Camaroptera, Grey-Headed Batis, Pale Flycatcher, Slate-Colored Boubou, White-Rumped Shrike, Somali Fiscal, Nile Valley and Marico Sunbirds, Grey-Headed and Sulphur-Breasted Bush Shrikes, Fan-Tailed Raven, Red-Billed Quelea, and Red-Rumped Waxbill.

Mammals we may see include the Aardwolf, Lion, Leopard, Beisa Oryx, Aardvark, Soemmering's Gazelle, Hamadryas Baboon, Abyssinian Hare, African Wild Cat, Black-Backed Jackal, Spotted Hyena, and Greater and Lesser Kudu. We will also take a night drive to look for the more elusive nocturnal species.

Overnight: Awash Falls Lodge

Day 5: Awash, Langano

We will depart early and head south, towards the Great Rift Valley lakes, and make our first birding stop around the Lake Beseka crater, then at the artificial Lake Koka. We will have lunch and birding stop at Lake Ziway where the surrounding lake teems with birds, and we will look for flocks of approachable Black-Winged Lovebirds, Blue-Breasted Bee-Eaters, White-Faced Whistling Ducks, Hottentot Teals, Great White Pelicans, Black Herons, Black-Billed Barbet, Rufous-Necked Wryneck, African Yellow Warbler, Rüppell’s Robin Chat, Black-Headed Batis, Beautiful Sunbirds, and Rüppell’s Weaver.

We will also visit Koka Dam and Lake Ziway. Here we will search for the Pink-Backed Pelican, Great White Pelican, Intermediate Egret, African Darter, Goliath Heron, Hamerkop, Yellow-Billed Stork, Saddle-Billed Stork, Spur-Winged Goose, Egyptian Goose, Comb Duck, African Pygmy Goose, African Fish Eagle, Black-Crowned Crane, African Jacana, Lesser Jacana, Senegal Thick-Knee, Spur-Winged Lapwing, Pied and Malachite Kingfishers, and Winding Cisticola. After lunch, we proceed to Lake Langano and to our lodge.

Overnight: Bihsangari Lodge

Day 6: Langano

We explore the ecolodge grounds all day for Sulfur-Breasted Bush Shrike, Northern Puff Back, Black Shrike, Yellow-Shouldered Shrike, Common Red Start, Slender-Tailed Night Jar, Senegal Thick Knees, Abyssinian Ground Trush, etc.

Overnight: Lake Langano

Day 7: Langano, Bale

In the morning, we head towards the world-famous Bale Mountains National Park. At the park headquarters in Dinsho, we will search for Chestnut-Napped Francolin, Ground Scraper Thrush (endemic race simensis), Abyssinian Ground-Thrush, Abyssinian Catbird, and the endemic White-Backed Black-Tit. We also hope to see a variety of mammals including Mountain Nyala, Menelik's Bushbuck and Desert Warthog.

Overnight: Goba Shebele Hotel

Day 8: Bale (Senettie Plateua), Harenna Forest

We will drive up the Bale Mountain massif onto the Senetti Plateau, which lies between 3800 m and 4377 m above sea level. As we ascend, we will enter a tid, or juniper forest zone. Here we will search for the African Goshawk, Rufous-Chested Sparrow Hawk, African Hill Babbler, Abyssinian Woodpecker, Cinnamon Bracken-Warbler, Montane White-Eye, and Yellow-Bellied Waxbill. Once we reach this unique plateau, we will be driving on Africa’s highest road, passing close to the summit of Ethiopia’s second-highest mountain. This habitat is termed 'Afro-Alpine moorland' and is characterized by jibrra, or giant lobelias, which tower over the rich tussock grasslands. This site is an important bird area of immense significance, supporting seven globally threatened species and nearly all of Ethiopia’s highland biome species.

If we are very fortunate, we will see a pair of endangered Wattled Cranes striding through the moist grassland, or spot a Cape Eagle-Owl sunning on a rocky perch. We will also search for the Black Stork, Wattled Ibis, Lammergeyer, Chestnut-Naped Francolin, Moorland Francolin, Rouget's Rail, Spot-Breasted Lapwing, Thekla Lark, Red-throated Pipit, Red-Breasted Wheatear, and Moorland Chat. The grasslands are estimated to support an amazing biomass of 4000 kg of rodents per hectare.

This obviously attracts raptors, and we should see Steppe Eagles, Golden Eagles, and Pallid Harriers courting over this green sea. They share this abundant food source with the plateau's most celebrated resident, the Ethiopian, or Simien, Wolf, the world's rarest canid. Finally, we will reach the escarpment of this elevated plateau and stare down through the clouds at the vast Harenna Forest below. This is the largest intact forest block in Ethiopia and the largest protected Afro-Alpine forest on the continent. It still supports populations of Lion and the only surviving forest-dwelling African Wild Dogs. Here, we will search for the uncommon Mountain Buzzard, Rameron Pigeon, Lemon Dove, Tambourine Dove, African Emerald Cuckoo, Narina Trogon, Brown Woodland-Warbler (a subspecies endemic to this national park), Abyssinian Crimson-Wing, African Citril, and Cape Canary. In the afternoon, we will return across the Senetti Plateau to Goba.

Overnight: Goba Shebele Hotel

Day 9: Bale, Awassa

Today we descend 1500 m to enjoy the dry, warm central Rift Valley. Here we will be exploring for aquatic bird species along Lake Awassa.

Overnight: United Africa Hotel

Day 10: Awassa, Addis Ababa

This morning we scan the ground of United Africa Hotel for the Spotted Creeper, Red-Throated Wryneck, Eurasian Wryneck, African Pigmy Goose, White-Backed Duck, and Blue-Headed Coucal, and we take a short drive to a fish market on the shore of Lake Awassa. We return to Jupiter Hotel in Addis Ababa stopping enroute to look for birds.  In the evening, transfer to the airport. End of tour.

 

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Day 1: Debre Zeit, Lake Koka, Lake Ziway, Lake Langano, Lake Abiata, and Lake Shalla

Pick up from the hotel is at 8:00 a.m. Then we head south to the Great Ethiopian Rift Valley, passing through the town of Debre Zeit, and by Lake Koka, Lake Ziway, Lake Langano, Lake Abiata, and Lake Shalla. 

Surrounded by mountains, Lake Awassa is one of Ethiopia’s most beautiful lakes in the Rift Valley and is home to an enormous population of aquatic birds. Along the shore of this lake, we can also see hippos, Colobus, Velvet monkeys and baboons.

In the afternoon, we will take a boat trip among the fishermen and enjoy the afternoon watching birds including the African Fish Eagle, Malachite Kingfisher, and many others.


Day 2: Awassa, Langano, Addis Ababa

In the morning, we visit the fish market where the fishermen sell their catches to the people and feed the birds with the leftovers. You will have the chance to closely witness this daily activity of the fishermen and the local people. 

After breakfast, we will drive back to Addis Ababa with a stop for lunch along the shore of one of the lakes.

Day 1: Addis Ababa, Nazret, Awash National Park

Drive to Awash National Park through Debre Zeit, Mojo, and Nazret. In the late afternoon, we will do a game drive in Awash National Park. In the park, you will visit the spectacular Awash Falls and spot different game animals including the Oryx, Swine’s Hartebeest, bushbucks, olive baboons, and crocodiles as well as different specious of endemic birds. 

Day 2: Awash National Park, Debre Zeit Crater Lakes, Addis Ababa

In the morning, we drive back to Addis Ababa enroute visiting the crater lakes of Debre Zeit, which include Lake Hora, Lake Kuriftu and Lake Bisheftu. We will arrive in Addis Ababa in the late afternoon.

 

Day 1: Addis Ababa, Suba Forest, Weliso

In the morning, we drive to Suba and walk in the natural forest full of many endemic birds and some mammals. While taking a walk in the forest, you will see indigenous trees, such as the Juniper and Podocarpus, that are over 400 years old.

You will also see endemic birds like the Abyssinian Cat Bird, Banded Barbet, Golden-Backed Woodpecker, Black-Headed Forest Oriole, and Wattled Ibis as well as some endemic animals such as Menelik’s Bushbuck. In the afternoon, we drive to Weliso and spend the rest of the day around Weliso in the beautiful lodge. 

Day 2: Weliso, Wonchi Crater Lake, Addis Ababa

In the morning, we drive to Wonchi Crater Lake enroute enjoying the magnificent countryside scenery. After about 27 km, we will be driving up a 1000-meter altitude difference.

At Wonchi, we will take a walk and/or horseride to the viewing spot where you will see one of the most beautiful crater lakes. Then we drive back to Addis Ababa through Ambo, arriving in Addis Ababa in the late afternoon. 

In the morning, we drive north on the Dessie Road to the historical city of Debre Berhan, which is located 130 km from Addis Ababa. The great Emperor Zera Yaqob (1434–1468) made his imperial capital here after seeing a "heavenly light" (almost certainly Halley’s comet), which he took as a divine sign. Later, rulers abandoned the town, but it once again became an important center under the Shoan kings, notably King Sahle Selassie (1813–1847).

Then we continue driving to Ankober, which traces its history to the 12th century. It reached its climax in the 19th century with the coronation of Menelik II as King of Ethiopia. It served as the capital for the Shoan rulers until the founding of Addis Ababa as capital in 1886. Here you will visit the ruins of the Menelik Palace and an ancient Christian monastery. You will also enjoy a spectacular view of the Great Ethiopian Rift Valley.

After visiting Ankober, we will drive back to Addis Ababa with a quick stopover at Debre Berhan for coffee/tea and arrive back in Addis Ababa in the late afternoon.

 

The Blue Nile Gorge, often called Ethiopia’s own Grand Canyon, is 213 km north of Addis Ababa. This majestic and enormous gorge is known for its magnificent physical size and alluring natural beauty. After visiting the gorge, we visit Debre Libanos Monastery. Debre Libanos is an important monastic center for Ethiopian Orthodox Christianity. The monastery was founded by the renowned 13th century mystic, St. Teklehaimanot.

Before driving back to Addis Ababa, we will stop at the Jemma River Gorge. The Jemma River is one of the tributaries of the Nile, and there is a drop of nearly 1000 m to the valley below. We will then walk downhill to the 17th century Portuguese Bridge.

Here we can expect to see plenty of birdlife including the Banded Barbet, the Black-Headed Forest Oriole, the White-Billed Starling, the Red-Billed Starling, the White-Winged Cliff Chat, the White-Backed Black Tit, the White-Cheeked Turaco, and Hemprich's Hornbill. We will also see one of Ethiopia's endemic mammals, the Gelada or "Bleeding-Heart" Baboon. Leaving the gorge, we drive back to Addis Ababa to arrive back late in the afternoon.

Our full-day city tour of Addis Ababa includes the National Museum, Ethnographic Museum, Mercato, Ba’ata Mariam Church, St. George Cathedral, and the view of Addis Ababa from Mount Entoto.

You will start your city tour of Addis Ababa with the National Museum of Ethiopia. This is one of the best museums in the country. Archeological exhibits include the 3.2-million-year-old fossil of Lucy (or Dinkinesh, "thou art wonderful" in the native language), a hominoid woman of the species Australopithecus Afarensis. The discovery of Lucy’s fossil in 1974 forced a complete rethink of human genealogy, providing that our ancestors were walking 2.5 million years earlier than had been supposed. The National Museum also contains many wonderful artifacts dating back to the pre-Axumite civilization.

We continue our tour of Addis Ababa with a visit to the Ethnographic Museum, on the Addis Ababa University campus. This museum is very different from the National Museum, but equally absorbing. This museum exhibits a variety of artifacts and daily objects related to most ethnic groups living in Ethiopia. After lunch, the city tour of Addis Ababa continues with the visit to the Mercato, the largest open-air market in Africa, where almost every possible commodity is on sale.

Our visit continues with St. George Cathedral, one of the oldest cathedrals in Addis Ababa. Finally, we will drive uphill to Entoto, which once was Emperor Menelik II’s permanent camp. As we drive up the hill, you will notice a considerable drop in altitude, and the air is filled with the scent of the Eucalyptus trees that cover the area. From the top, there is a panoramic view of the capital and surrounding countryside. After spending some time on top of the hill, we will drive back to the hotel. End of tour.

 

Melka Konture is a pre-historic site situated on the southern face of the Awash River Gorge opposite Melka Awash. It is regarded as one of the most important Stone Age sites in Ethiopia. Melka Konture is best known for the numerous Stone Age artifacts that have been unearthed along the river including a variety of clevers, hand axes, and other tools made from basalt and other hard rocks. The site has also proved to be an important source of fossils of extinct mammals.

The rock hewn-church of Adadi Mariam at Lalibela was built in the 12th century. In fact, local tradition ascribes it to King Lalibela who is said to have had it built on his visit to Mount Zuqwala in 1106.

Driving further south, we will find Tiya, where you will see the northernmost example of a peculiar type of engraved, standing stele that stretches across parts of southern Ethiopia. The stele at Tiya are believed to have been erected between the 12th and 14th centuries and are almost certainly grave markers. Recent excavations at Tiya have revealed the remains of young people of both sexes, aged 18–30 and buried in fetal positions. Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the stele field at Tiya today comprises more than 45 stones of up to 2 meters.

 

This half-day city tour of Addis Ababa includes the National Museum, the Mercato, St. George Cathedral, and the view of Addis Ababa from Mount Entoto.

You will start your city tour of Addis Ababa with the National Museum of Ethiopia. This is one of the best museums in the country. Archeological exhibits include the 3.2-million-year-old fossil of Lucy (or Dinkinesh, "thou art wonderful" in the native language), a hominoid woman of the species Australopithecus Afarensis. The discovery of Lucy’s fossil in 1974 forced a complete rethink of human genealogy, providing that our ancestors were walking 2.5 million years earlier than had been supposed. The National Museum also contains many wonderful artifacts dating back to the pre-Axumite civilization.

City tour of Addis Ababa continues with the visit to Mercato, the largest open-air market in Africa, where almost every possible commodity is on sale. Then we visit the St. George Cathedral, one of the oldest cathedrals in Addis Ababa.

Finally, we will drive uphill to Entoto, which once was Emperor Menelik II’s permanent camp. As we drive up the hill, you will notice a considerable drop in altitude, and the air is filled with the scent of the Eucalyptus trees that cover the area. From the top, there is a panoramic view of the capital and surrounding countryside. After spending some time on top of the hill, we will drive back to the hotel. End of tour.

This 11-day cultural tour takes you to the Historic Route of  Ethiopia and the Simien Mountains National Park. You will discover Ethiopia’s ancient history and authentic culture while enjoying the magnificent landscape and spotting wildlife. Plus, you will also have the chance to interact with the local people and learn about their culture and lifestyle. 

Trip Highlights

  • Take a relaxing trek in the breathtaking Simien Mountains National Park as you view troops of Gelada Baboons.
  • Discover endemic wildlife in the Simien Mountains.
  • Visit four UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
  • Be amazed by a visit to the rock-hewn churches of Lalibela, one of "the living wonders of the world".
  • Explore the ancient city of Axum, the last resting place of the Ark of the Covenant.
  • Discover the fairytale castles of Gondar.
  • Take a boat ride on Lake Tana to visit the ancient island monasteries.
  • See the source of the mighty Blue Nile River and Blue Nile Falls.
  • Visit the vibrant city of Addis Ababa.
  • Meet your ancestor Lucy at the National Museum in Addis Ababa.
  • Try the varied Ethiopian food.
  • Attend an Ethiopian coffee ceremony.

 

Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive Addis Ababa

Arrive in Addis Ababa and spend the afternoon taking a city tour of Addis Ababa. 

Day 2: Addis Ababa, Bahirdar

In the morning, we drive to Bahirdar through the Great Blue Nile Gorge.

Day 3: Lake Tana, Blue Nile Falls, Bahir Dar

In the morning, we visit the ancient island monasteries of Lake Tana. In the afternoon, we visit the Blue Nile Falls.

Day 4: Bahir Dar, Gondar

After breakfast, we drive to Gondar through beautiful countryside scenery. In the afternoon, we visit the castle compound built from the 17th century as well as the Debre Birhan Selassie church.
 
Day 5: Gondar, Simien Mountains National Park

After an early breakfast, we will drive to the Simien mountains National park. For the rest of the day, we will trek around the park.

Day 6: Sankaber, Chenek, Simien Mountains

Today, we will take relaxing trek in some the most dramatic areas of the park including the Ginbar River Falls and Wolkafit Mountains chain.

Day 7: Simien Mountains National Park, Axum

After breakfast, we drive to Axum through the Simien Mountains and Tekeze River Gorge.

Day 8: Axum, Yeha

After breakfast, we will visit the ancient city of Axum. In the afternoon, we take an excursion to the pre-Christian temple of Yeha.

Day 9: Axum, Lalibela

In the morning, we fly to Lalibela and visit the first group of rock-hewn churches built from 1200 AD.

Day 10: Lalibela, Asheten Mariam

In the morning, we take a mule ride and trek to the top of Asheten Mariam Monastery. In the afternoon, we visit the second group of rock-hewn churches.

Day 11: Lalibela, Addis Ababa

In the morning, we fly to Addis Ababa. For the rest of the day, we take a city tour of Addis Ababa which includes the Mercato, Entoto, and Piassa. In the evening, there will be traditional dinner and live cultural dance show. At the end of the farewell dinner, transfer to Addis Ababa airport for the flight back. End of tour.

Welcome to the beauty of Ethiopia’s Historic Route! The magnificent cultures and landscapes are indicative of an extraordinary past. And the past has left its mark on the land, the people, and their monuments. In this fascinating land the past comes alive in the form of strange and beautiful monuments and ruins, built centuries ago in what used to be one of the greatest kingdoms of the world. Moreover, it is a past that began as the cradle of mankind.

These tour takes you on the highlights of the Historic Route of Ethiopia as you travel by air, giving you more time to explore the different sites.  

Trip Highlights

  • Visit three UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
  • Visit the ancient city of Axum, the last resting place of the Ark of the Covenant.
  • Wonder the magnificent rock-hewn churches of Lalibela.
  • Explore the fairytale castles of Gondar.
  • Take a boat cruise to visit the island monasteries of Lake Tana.
  • Discover the source of the mighty Blue Nile River and Blue Nile Falls.
  • Taste the varied Ethiopian food.
  • Attend an Ethiopian coffee ceremony.
  • Go on a city tour of Addis Ababa.
  • Meet your ancestor Lucy at the National Museum.
  • Mingle with the local people.

Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive Addis Ababa

Arrive at Bole Airport in Addis Ababa and transfer to hotel. If you arrive in the morning, an optional city tour of Addis Ababa can be arranged.

Day 2: Addis Ababa, Axum 

In the morning, transfer to Addis Ababa airport for your flight to Axum. For the rest of the day, tour the ancient city of Axum. Your visit in Axum will include the stele field, kaleba tombs, 4th-century Christian inscription of King Ezana, Queen of Sheba’s Palace, Archeological Museum, and Tsion Mariam Church where the original Ark of the Covenant is housed.

Day 3: Axum, Yeha, Debre Damo

After breakfast, you will have an excursion to to the pre-Christian temple of Yeha.

Day 4: Axum, Lalibela

After breakfast, transfer to Axum airport for the flight to Lalibela. In the morning, fly to Lalibela and visit the first group of rock-hewn churches from 1200 AD.

Day 5: Lalibela, Asheten Mariam

In the morning, mule ride and trek to the top of Asheten Mariam Monastery. In the afternoon, visit the second group of rock-hewn churches.

Day 6: Lalibela, Gondar 

After breakfast, transfer to Lalibela airport for the flight to Gondar. In the afternoon, tour Gondar including the Royal Enclosure, the pool of King Fasilidas, and the famous Debre Berhan Selassie Church.

Day 7: Excursion to Simien Mountains, Gondar

Full-day excursion to the Simien Mountains National Park.


Day 8: Gondar, Bahirdar

In the morning, drive to Bahirdar and take an afternoon boat cruise on Lake Tana to visit the island monasteries.

Day 9: Blue Nile Falls, Bahirdar

After breakfast, drive 35 km to visit the majestic Blue Nile Falls. In the afternoon, walk around the town and visit the colorful local market.

Day 10: Bahirdar, Addis Ababa, Departure

In the morning, transfer to the airport for the flight to Addis Ababa. Or there can be an optional city tour, depending on your departure time.

Flight schedule permitting, in the evening, there will be Grand Holidays Ethiopia Tours complimentary farewell dinner party — the perfect end to the trip! At the end of the farewell dinner, transfer to Addis Ababa airport for the flight back. End of tour.

 

Discover the land that used to be one the greatest kingdoms of the world as you travel to the Historic Route of Ethiopia, Simien Mountains, and Tigray rock-hewn churches. This cultural tour combines some of the most ancient history and culture of Ethiopia and the breathtaking scenery of the Simien Mountains and Gheralta area. On this tour you will also have the chance to view some endemic wildlife in the Simien Mountains.

Trip Highlights

  • Visit four UNESCO World Heritage Sites. 
  • Be amazed by a visit to the rock-hewn churches of Lalibela, one of "the living wonders of the world".
  • Enjoy the magnificent nature and endemic wilife of Simien Mountains.
  • Explore the less-visited Tigray rock-hewn churches.
  • Travel back in time to explore the  ancient city of Axum — the last resting place of the Ark of the Covenant. 
  • Discover the fairytale castles of Gondar.
  • Take a cruise on Lake Tana to visit the ancient island monasteries.
  • See the source of the mighty Blue Nile Rive and Blue Nile Falls.
  • Visit the vibrant city of Addis Ababa.
  • Meet your ancestor Lucy at the National Museum in Addis Ababa.
  • Try the varied Ethiopian food.
  • Attend an Ethiopian coffee ceremony.

Itinerary

Day 1: Addis Ababa

Arrive in Addis Ababa and take a tour of the city in the afternoon.

Day 2: Addis Ababa, Bahirdar

In the morning, we drive to Bahirdar through the Great Blue Nile Gorge.

Day 3: Lake Tana, Blue Nile Falls, Bahir Dar

In the morning, we visit the ancient island monasteries of Lake Tana. In the afternoon, we visit the Blue Nile Falls.

Day 4: Bahir Dar, Gondar

After breakfast, we drive to Gondar through the beautiful countryside scenery. In the afternoon, we visit the castle compound built from the 17th century and the Debre Berhan Selassie Church.

Day 5: Gondar, Simien Mountains National Park

After an early breakfast, we will drive to the Simien Mountains National Park. For the rest of the day, we will trek around the park.

Day 6: Simien Mountains National Park, Axum

After breakfast, we drive to Axum through the beautiful scenery of the Simien Mountains and the Tekeze River Gorge.

Day 7: Axum, Yeha

After breakfast, we visit the ancient city of Axum. In the afternoon, we will visit the pre-Christian temple of Yeha.

Day 8: Axum, Hauzien

In the morning, we drive to Hauzien, the center of some of the most ancient rock-hewn churches, through the stunning and historical mountainous town of Adwa.

Day 9: Hauzien

Today, we will explore the Tigray rock-hewn churches and the beautiful surrounding mountains of the area.

Day 10: Hauzien, Mekele

In the morning, we drive to Mekele visiting some of the most ancient Tigray rock-hewn churches including Wikro Cherkos, Abrha We-atsbeha, and Dugum Selassie enroute.
 
Day 11: Mekele, Lalibela

After breakfast, we drive north to Lalibela through Sekota. Enroute we will visit Yimrhane Kirstos and different villages of the Agwe tribal people.
 
Day 12: Lalibela

In the morning, we visit the first group of rock-hewn churches in Lalibela dating from 1200 AD. In the afternoon, we continue visiting the rock-hewn churches in the second group.
 
Day 13: Lalibela, Asheten Mariam

In the morning, we take a mule ride and trek to the top of Asheten Mariam Monastery.
 
Day 14: Lalibela, Addis Ababa, Departure

After breakfast, we transfer to Lalibela airport for the flight to Addis Ababa. For the rest of the day, we take a city tour of Addis Ababa that includes the National Museum, Ethnographic Museum, and Mercato, the largest open-air market in Africa.

In the evening, we enjoy a traditional dinner with a live cultural dance show of the different tribes. At the end of the farewell dinner, transfer to Addis Ababa airport for the flight back. End of tour.

 

Isolated for millennia from the rest of the world, the beautiful Omo Valley is home to an exciting mix of many small and distinctive tribal groups. Amongst others, we find the Karo, the Mursi, and the Hamer — all of whom have retained their own unique customs and traditions.

Lifestyles are as varied as the tribes themselves. Lacking any material, culture and artifacts common to other cultures, these tribes find unique ways in which to express their artistic impulses. Both the Surma and the Karo, for example, are experts at body painting, using clays and locally available vegetable pigments to trace fantastic patterns on each other's faces, chests, arms, and legs. These designs are created purely for fun and aesthetic effect, each artist vying to outdo the others.

Trip Highlights

  • Meet various ethnic groups.
  • Experience the natural beauty of the country from the stunning savannah plains and elaborately terraced hillsides to the vast coffee fields.
  • See the elaborate hairstyles and personal adornment.
  • Visit colorful and exuberant African markets.
  • Tour the vibrant city of Addis Ababa.
  • Meet your ancestor Lucy at the National Museum in Addis Ababa.
  • Try the varied Ethiopian food.
  • Attend an Ethiopian coffee ceremony.

Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive Addis Ababa

Arrive at at Bole airport, Addis Ababa, and the transfer to the hotel. In the afternoon, we take a city tour of Addis Ababa.

Day 2: Addis Ababa, Arbaminch

In the morning, we will drive south of Addis Ababa through the Great Rift Valley to Arba Minch enroute visiting the Rift Valley lakes of Ziway, Abiata, and Shalla.

Day 3: Arba Minch, Nechsar National Park, Lake Chamo

In the morning, we will have a game drive around Nechsar National Park. In the afternoon, we will take a boat cruise on Lake Chamo to see some of the biggest African crocodiles and hippopotamuses.

Day 4: Arba Minch, Turmi

After an early breakfast, we will drive to Jinka enroute visiting different cultural peoples and their villages, including the Konso.

Day 5: Turmi, Omorate

In the cool morning, we will drive to Omorate to visit the Desanech (Geleb) tribal village after crossing the Omo River by boat.

In the afternoon, we will visit the Hamer village. At the same village, we will enjoy seasonal cultural activities including the famous Evangadi (Hamer dancing).

Day 6: Turmi, Keyafer, Jinka

After breakfast, we will drive to Jinka through Keyafer. At Keyefer, we will visit the colorful weekly Keyafer market.

Day 7: Jinka, Mursi, Jinka

After having an early breakfast, we will drive from Jinka to Mursi village. After our visit to the Mursi village, we will have our picnic lunch in Mago National Park and continue driving back to Jinka through the park.

Day 8: Jinka, Yabello

After breakfast, we will start driving to Yabello through Konso with brief stops at different sites and villages.

Day 9: Yabello, Yirgalem

After breakfast, we will visit the “Singing Well”, a remarkable feature of the Borena culture and drive to Yirgachefe.

Day 10: Yirgalem, Awassa, Langano

After breakfast, we drive to Langano through Awassa.

Day 11: Langano, Addis Ababa

After spending part of the morning relaxing around the beautiful lake, we will continue driving to Addis Ababa with brief stops at different towns like Mojo and Debre Zeit.

Day 12: Addis Ababa

Today you will take a full-day city tour of Addis Ababa which includes the Ethnological Museum, the national museum and the Mercato.

In the evening, there will be farewell dinner party with traditional special buffet and local drinks. After the farewell dinner, transfer to Addis Ababa airport for the flight back. End of tour. 

 

Isolated for millennia from the rest of the world, the beautiful Omo Valley is home to an exciting mix of many small and distinctive tribal groups. Amongst others, we find the Karo, the Mursi, and the Hamer — all of whom have retained their own unique customs and traditions.

Lifestyles are as varied as the tribes themselves. Lacking any material, culture and artifacts common to other cultures, these tribes find unique ways in which to express their artistic impulses. Both the Surma and the Karo, for example, are experts at body painting, using clays and locally available vegetable pigments to trace fantastic patterns on each other's faces, chests, arms, and legs. These designs are created purely for fun and aesthetic effect, each artist vying to outdo the others.

Trip Highlights

  • Meet various ethnic groups.
  • Experience the natural beauty of the country from the stunning savannah plains and elaborately terraced hillsides to the vast coffee fields.
  • See the elaborate hairstyles and personal adornment.
  • Visit colorful and exuberant African markets.
  • Tour the vibrant city of Addis Ababa.
  • Meet your ancestor Lucy at the National Museum in Addis Ababa.
  • Try the varied Ethiopian food.
  • Attend an Ethiopian coffee ceremony.

Itinerary

Day 1: Addis Ababa

Arrive in Addis Ababa and take a tour of Addis Ababa in the afternoon.

Day 2: Addis Ababa, Arba Minch

In the morning, we drive to Arba Minch through the Great Ethiopia Rift Valley.

Day 3: Arba Minch, Nechsar National Park, Lake Chamo

In the morning, enjoy a game drive around the Nechsar National Park. In the afternoon, we will take a boat ride on Lake Chamo.

Day 4: Arba Minch, Turmi

After an early breakfast, we drive to Jinka enroute visiting different tribes and their villages.

Day 5: Turmi, Omorate

In the cool morning, we drive to Omorate to visit the Desanech (Geleb) tribal village after crossing the Omo River by boat.

In the afternoon, we will drive to the Hamer village. Here we will enjoy seasonal cultural activities including the famous Evangadi (Hamer dancing).

Day 6: Turmi, Keyafer, Jinka

In the morning, we drive to Jinka through Keyafer. At Keyefer, we will visit the colorful weekly Keyafer market.

Day 7: Jinka, Mursi, Jinka

After an early breakfast, we will drive from Jinka to Mursi village. The Mursi, undoubtedly the most celebrated residents of South Omo, are a distinctive group of pastoralists.

Day 8: Jinka, Arba Minch

In the morning, we will drive back to Arba Minch with brief stops to visit different villages including Erbore and Tsemay.

Day 9: Arba Minch, Chencha, Langano

After breakfast, we drive north to Langano enroute visiting different villages and some of the most beautiful Rift Valley lakes.

Day 10: Langano, Addis Ababa, Departure

After spending part of the morning relaxing around the lake, we will drive to Addis Ababa with brief stops at different towns like Mojo and Debrezeit. For the rest of the day, we will have a city tour of Addis Ababa.

In the evening, there will be a farewell dinner party with a traditional special buffet and local drinks. There will also be a cultural dance show of the different ethnic groups living in the country — the perfect end to the trip. After a farewell dinner, transfer to Addis Ababa airport for the flight back. End of tour.

Isolated for millennia from the rest of the world, the beautiful Omo Valley is home to an exciting mix of many small and distinctive tribal groups. Amongst others, we find the Karo, the Mursi, and the Hamer — all of whom have retained their own unique customs and traditions.

Lifestyles are as varied as the tribes themselves. Lacking any material, culture and artifacts common to other cultures, these tribes find unique ways in which to express their artistic impulses. Both the Surma and the Karo, for example, are experts at body painting, using clays and locally available vegetable pigments to trace fantastic patterns on each other's faces, chests, arms, and legs. These designs are created purely for fun and aesthetic effect, each artist vying to outdo the others.

Trip Highlights

  • Meet various ethnic groups.
  • Experience the natural beauty of the country from the stunning savannah plains and elaborately terraced hillsides to the vast coffee fields.
  • See the elaborate hairstyles and personal adornment.
  • Visit colorful and exuberant African markets.
  • Tour the vibrant city of Addis Ababa.
  • Meet your ancestor Lucy at the National Museum in Addis Ababa.
  • Try the varied Ethiopian food.
  • Attend an Ethiopian coffee ceremony.

Itinerary

Day 1: Addis Ababa

Arrive at Bole airport in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and the transfer to hotel. If you arrive in the morning, we can arrange an optional city tour.

Day 2: Addis Ababa, Arba Minch

In the morning, we drive south of Addis Ababa through the Great Rift Valley to Arba Minch enroute visiting the Rift Valley lakes of Ziway, Abiata, and Shalla.

Day 3: Arba Minch, Nechsar National Park, Lake Chamo

In the morning, will have a game drive around the Nechsar National Park. In the afternoon, we will take a boat ride on Lake Chamo to see some of the biggest African crocodiles and hippopotamuses.

Day 4: Arba Minch, Turmi

After an early breakfast, we will drive to Jinka enroute visiting different cultural peoples and their villages including the Konso.

Day 5: Turmi, Omorate

In the cool morning, we will drive to Omorate to visit the Desanech (Geleb) tribal village after crossing the Omo River by boat.

In the afternoon, we will visit to Hamer village. Here, we will enjoy seasonal cultural activities including the famous Evangadi (Hamer dancing).

Day 6: Turmi, Keyafer, Jinka

After breakfast, we will drive to Jinka through Keyafer. At Keyefer, we will visit the colorful weekly Keyafer market.

Day 7: Jinka, Mursi, Jinka

After an early breakfast, we will drive from Jinka to Mursi village. After our visit to the Mursi village, we will have a picnic lunch in Mago National Park and continue driving back to Jinka through the park.

Day 8: Jinka, Arba Minch

In the morning, we will drive back to Arba Minch with brief stops to visit different villages including Erbore and Tsemay.

Day 9: Arba Minch, Tia, Addis Ababa, Departure

After breakfast, we drive to Addis Ababa through Butajira enroute visiting different tribal villages and seeing the typical housing styles of the Gurage and the Oromo.

In the evening, there will be farewell dinner party with a traditional special buffet and local drinks (flight schedule permitting). After the farewell dinner, transfer to Addis Ababa airport for the flight back. End of tour.

Willkommen auf der fantastischen "Historischen Route" Äthiopiens! Die großartigen Kulturen und Landschaften sind Ausdruck einer außergewöhnlichen Vergangenheit. Diese hat Spuren im Land, bei den Menschen und ihren Monumenten hinterlassen. 

Äthiopien ist alt; alt jenseits der Vorstellungskraft – bis zur Entstehung der Menschheit. Es ist auch das Land der Königin von Saba, ein Ort legendärer Regenten, fabelhafter Königreiche und altertümlicher Geschichte. Die historische Route umfasst einige der bemerkenswertesten Sehenswürdigkeiten, unter denen vier von der UNESCO als Weltkulturerbe anerkannt wurden.

Staunen Sie über die 2000 Jahre alten Stelen von Axum, die berühmten Felsenkirchen von Lalibela aus dem 12.Jahrhundert, die Schlösser von Gondar, die Inselklöster im Tana See, den Blauen Nil-Fall und nicht zuletzt über die überwältigenden Semien Berge.

Die freundliche Bevölkerung trägt dazu bei, Rundreisen in Äthiopien zu einem unvergesslichen Erlebnis zu machen!

Itinerary

Day 1: Addis Ababa

Arrive in Addis Ababa. Welcome to Ethiopia! For the rest of the day, take a city tour of Addis Ababa that will include the view from Mount Entoto, the National Museum, the Ethnographic Museum, Trinity Church, and the Mercato.

Overnight: Hotel in Addis Ababa

Day 2: Addis Ababa, Jimma

After breakfast, head southwest to Jimma enroute visiting the coffee growing area of Ethiopia and the Gurage villages.

Overnight: Hotel in Jimma

Day 3: Jimma, Mizan

In the morning, we drive to Mizan enroute visiting different tribal villages like the Yem and Keficho tribal villages.

Overnight: Hotel in Mizan

Day 4: Mizan, Kibish

After breakfast, we drive to Kibish enroute enjoying the stunning view that unfolds in front of us every minute of our drive. On our drive from Mizan to Kibish, we will stop at different tribal villages including the Diz and Minit.

Overnight: Camping in Kibish

Day 5: Kibish, Surma

We will have a full day in Kibish to visit the Surma tribe and their villages. The Surma are found on the west bank of the Omo. Like their cousins on the other bank of the Omo River, they do body painting and the women wear lip plates.

Overnight: Camping in Kibish

Day 6: Kibish, Omo National Park

Today, we drive to Omo National Park and have an afternoon game drive in the national park. Here you will have an opportunity to see unspoiled wilderness of the Omo National Park.

Overnight: Camping in Omo

Day 7: Full Day in the Omo National Park

We have a full day exploring the Omo National Park. Here we can expect to see some of Africa’s big mammals including buffalo and elephants.

Overnight: Camping in Omo

Day 8: Omo, Kibish

In the morning, we will drive to Kibish enroute enjoying the stunning views of Kibish area and visiting different tribal villages. If possible, we will witness their seasonal rituals, dance, and Donga stick fighting.

Day 9: Kibish, Mizan

In the morning, we drive back to Mizan enroute visiting different coffee farms and tribal villages.

Day 10: Mizan, Jimma

Today we drive from Mizan to Jimma. For the rest of the day, we will take a city tour of Jimma including the palace of Aba Jifar and the Jimma market.

Day 11: Jimma, Addis Ababa

After breakfast, we drive to Addis Ababa enroute visiting the beautiful Wonchi Crater Lake and Suba Forest.

In the evening, there will be a complimentary Ethiopian traditional dinner with folkloric tribal dances. After the farwell dinner, transfer to Addis Ababa airport for the flight back. End of tour.

 

This trip is the perfect introduction to Ethiopia’s incredible diversity of lesser-known and lesser-visited ancient civilizations, culture, and nature. Here, the incomparable scenery of the Abune Yosef Mountains contrasts with some of the most beautiful scenery of the low lands of Bilbala and Wag Yimra. This trip is truly off the beaten track!

This trek offers a unique and unrivalled combination of history, culture, and spectacular scenery. We wind our way from the Abune Yosef Mountains to the Afro-Alpine forest, through small remote villages and farm lands, as we  explore ancient cave churches and rock-hewn churches that date back to the 6th and 12th centuries.

Trip Highlights

  • Be amazed at the rock-hewn churches of Lalibela.
  • See Abune Yosef Mountain, the third-highest peak in Ethiopia.
  • Explore cave churches, castles, and waterfalls.
  • Enjoy mountain trekking in the beautiful Lasta Mountain Range.

Itinerary

Day 1: Addis Ababa

Arrive in Addis Ababa. In the afternoon, take a city tour of Addis Ababa that includes the National Museum, Ethnographic Museum, and the Mercato.

Overnight: Hotel

Day 2: Addis Abab, Lalibela (2500m)

In the morning, fly to Lalibela. For the rest of the day, visit the first group of rock-hewn churches dating from 1200 AD.

Overnight: Hotel

Day 3: Lalibela, Merebarbu (3500m)

In the morning, visit the second group of rock-hewn churches. In the afternoon, trek to Merebarbu enroute visitng Asheten Mariam Monastery dating from the 13th century.

Overnight: Camping at Merebarbu

Day 4: Merebarbu, Wedebye (3700m)

Start the 4-hour trekking from Merebarbu to Wedebye (3600m to 3800m).

Overnight: Camping at Wedebye

Day 5: Wedebye, Abune Yosef (3900m)

Continue the trek for approximately 4 hours to Abune Yosef (4130m). Enroute, enjoy the stunning views of Afro-Alpine vegetation as you spot endemic mammals like the Gelada Baboon and the Simen Fox.

Overnight: Hotel

Day 6: Abune Yosef, Degosach, Yimrhane Kirstos

From Abune Yosef, the third-highest pick in Ethiopia, we will trek on the plateau of Degosach enroute visiting different villages. At Yimrhane Kirstos, you will visit the 12th-century cave church that is famous for its unique style of architecture, construction, and interior decor.

Overnight: Hotel

Day 7: Yimrha, Arbatu Ensesa, Lalibela

In the morning, walk downhill to visit Arbatu Ensesa, a rock-hewn church from the 4th century AD. Then meet your driver for the drive to Lalibela enroute visiting Bilbala Cherkos.

Overnight: Hotel

Day 8: Lalibela, Addis Ababa, Departure

Fly back to Addis Ababa. In the afternoon, take a city tour of Addis Ababa and prepare for the flight back home. End of tour.

This tour is a wonderful trekking opportunity for those who seek a unique trekking experience in the isolated mountains of Ethiopia. Trekking in the Bale Mountains gives the trekker the chance to interact with the local community and witness their culture and way of life.

The secluded Bale Mountains are some of the most unspoiled and exceptionally beautiful in the country. The peaks here rise more than 4000 meters, and Mount Tullu Deemtu, with an altitude of 4,377 meters above sea level, is the second-highest peak in Ethiopia. 

Itinerary

Day 1: Addis Ababa

Arrive at Addis Ababa airport and be met and welcomed by a Grand Holidays Ethiopia Tours representative and transferred to your hotel.

Overnight: Hotel, Addis Ababa

Day 2: Addis Ababa, Ethiopian Rift Valley, Dinsho

After breakfast, drive through the Ethiopian Great Rift Valley and the spectacular mountain scenery and the Muslim-Oromo culture to Dinsho, the headquarters of Bale Mountain National Park. For the rest of the day, walk around the national park to see the endemic mammals and birds.

Overnight: Lodge or camping

Day 3: Dinsho, Geysay Valley, Dinsho

Trek to Geysay Valley through the dramatic highland scenery of Afro-Alpine vegetation, which covers a vast mountainous area. Enroute, you can spot endemic birds and mammals.

Overnight: Lodge or camping

Day 4: Dinsho, Sentie Platue, Goba

Drive from Disnho to Senetie plateau, one of the highest peaks in the national park. For the rest of the day, trek around Senetie to discover the endemic African Wolf, Red Jackal, and other mammals.

Later in the afternoon, drive to Goba for an overnight stay.

Overnight: Hotel, Bale Goba

Day 5: Goba, Wendogenet

In the morning, drive to Wondogent. For the rest of the day, trek in the forested mountains.

Overnight: Hotel, Wendogenet

Day 6: Wendogenet, Addis Ababa

After breakfast, drive back to Addis Ababa. For the rest of the day, take a city tour of Addis Ababa. End of tour.

 

The secluded Bale Mountains are some of the most unspoiled and exceptionally beautiful in the country. The peaks here rise more than 4000 meters, and Mount Tullu Deemtu, with an altitude of 4,377 meters above sea level, is the second-highest peak in Ethiopia. 

This tour is a wonderful trekking opportunity for those who seek a unique trekking experience in the isolated mountains of Ethiopia. Trekking in the Bale Mountains gives the trekker the chance to interact with the local community and witness their culture and way of life.

Itinerary

Day 1: Addis Ababa

Arrive at the Addis Ababa airport and be welcomed by a Grand Holidays Ethiopia Tours representative and transferred to your hotel.

Overnight: Hotel, Addis Ababa

Day 2: Addis Ababa, Ethiopian Rift Valley, Dinsho

After breakfast, drive through the Ethiopian Great Rift Valley enroute enjoying the beautiful Rift Valley lakes and  spectacular mountain scenery.

For the rest of the day, walk through the juniper forest and explore the area with high concentrations of the Bale Mountains Nayal, Menelik's Bushbuck, and other mammals.

Overnight: Camping at Dinsho

Day 3: Dinsho, Geysay Valley, Dinsho (3250m)

Trekking time: 5–6 hours

Trek to Geysay Valley, the northerly extension of the park. Here, while trekking in the indigenous forest, it’s possible to spot the endemic Menelik's Bushbuck, Mountain Nyala, Ethiopian Wolf, and other mammals.

Overnight: Camping at Dinsho

Day 4: Dinsho, Weib Valleys, Finch Abera

Trekking time: ~6 hours

Trek and pass through the lovely Weib Valley, and finally reach the beautiful waterfall of Finch Abera.

Overnight: Camping

Day 5: Finch Abera, Merero, Wasmea

Trekking time: 8 hours

Trek beneath the peaks of Merero, see and taste the strange mineral springs before making the steep ascent out of the valley onto the Senetie Plateau.

Overnight: Camping

Day 6: Wasama Valley, Batu, Garba Guracha Lake

Trekking time: 9 hours

Climb Batu (4203 m), and then trek on across the arms of the Batu horseshoe to a camp beside lovely Garba Guracha Lake — set beneath towering cliffs at the head of the Tegona Valley.

Overnight: Camping at Garba Guracha

Day 7: Garba Guracha, Konthe, Goba

Trekking time: 3 hrs

Trek across the plateau enjoying the stunning highland scenery full of small lakes, and the reach at the peak of Konthe (4100m). Then drive to Goba.

Overnight: Wabe Shebele Hotel

Day 8: Goba, Wendogenet

In the morning, drive to Wondogent. For the rest of the day, enjoy a relaxing trek in the forested mountains.

Overnight: Hotel, Wendogenet

Day 9: Wendogenet, Addis Ababa

After breakfast, drive back to Addis Ababa. For the rest of the day, take a city tour of Addis Ababa. End of tour.

 

This trek leads through landscapes covered by deep gorges, jagged plugs, and striking rock towers. Enroute, we climb some of Africa's highest peaks: Ras Dashen (4620m), Buyit Ras (3250m), and Bwahit (4430m). This park is a haven to many endemic species of wildlife and flora, including the Gelada Baboon, Walia Ibex, and many bird species. The park has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

This trip is a perfect combination of Ethiopia’s incredible diversity of history and ancient civilization, culture, and nature. On this trekking adventure, you will also have the chance to interact with the local host community and witness the lifestyle and culture of the people living isolated in the mountains with a unique and ancient farming style. 

Itinerary

Day 1: Addis Ababa

Arrive in Addis Ababa and transfer to the hotel. If you arrive in the morning, we can arrange an optional city tour for the afternoon.

Overnight: Hotel

Day 2: Addis Ababa, Bahirdar

In the morning, we drive to Bahirdar through the Great Blue Nile Gorge with a stopover at different small towns like Dejen, Chancho, and Goha Tsion.

Overnight: Hotel, Bahirdar

Day 3: Lake Tana, Blue Nile Falls, Bahir Dar

In the morning, we will take boat ride on Lake Tana and visit the ancient 14th-century island monasteries of Lake Tana. After lunch at the hotel, we will drive 35 km to visit the majestic Blue Nile Falls.

Overnight: Hotel, Bahirdar

Day 4: Bahir Dar, Gondar

After breakfast, we drive to Gondar through the beautiful countryside scenery and will arrive around lunchtime. After lunch, we tour the ancient city of Gondar.

Overnight: Hotel

Day 5: Gondar, Simien Mountains

After an early breakfast, we will drive to Simien Mountains National Park. For the rest of the day, we trek to explore the surrounding area of Sankaber, part of Simien Mountains National Park.

Overnight: Camping in Sankaber

Day 6: Sankaber, Geech (3,550m)

Trek for 5 to 6 hours from Sankaber to Geech enroute enjoying the stunning views.

Overnight: Camping

Day 7: Geech, Imetegogo, Chenek (3600m)

Today we take a 7- to 9-hour trek through the beautiful mountains to Intaye (4000 m)

Overnight: Camping in Chenek

Day 8: Chenek, Gondar

In the morning, we trek around Chenek then proceed to Gondar by vehicle.

Overnight: Hotel

Day 9: Gondar, Lalibela

Today we fly from Gondar to Lalibela and visit the most important rock-hewn churches of Lalibela.

Overnight: Hotel

Day 10: Lalibela, Addis Ababa, Departure

In the morning, we transfer to Lalibela airport for the flight to Addis Ababa. Depending on your departure, we can arrange an optional city tour in Addis Ababa.

In the evening, there will be a Grand Holidays Ethiopia Tours complimentary farewell dinner party with special traditional buffet and local drinks (flight schedule permitting). At the end of the farewell dinner, transfer to Addis Ababa airport for the flight back. End of tour.

 

This trek leads through landscapes covered by deep gorges, jagged plugs, and striking rock towers. Enroute, we climb some of Africa's highest peaks: Ras Dashen (4620m), Buyit Ras (3250m), and Bwahit (4430m). This park is a haven to many endemic species of wildlife and flora, including the Gelada Baboon, Walia Ibex, and many bird species. The park has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

This trip is a perfect combination of Ethiopia’s incredible diversity of history and ancient civilization, culture, and nature. On this trekking adventure, you will also have the chance to interact with the local host community and witness the lifestyle and culture of the people living isolated in the mountains with a unique and ancient farming style. 

Itinerary

Day 1: Addis Ababa

Arrive in Addis Ababa and transfer to the hotel. If you arrive in the morning, we can arrange an optional city tour.

Overnight: Hotel

Day 2: Addis Ababa, Gondar, Sankaber (3,200m)

Today we fly from Addis Ababa to Gondar and drive 136 km north to Sankaber.

Overnight: Camping

Day 3: Sankaber, Geech (3,550m)

Trek for 5–6 hours from Sankaber to Geech enroute enjoying the stunning views.

Overnight: Camping

Day 4: Geech, Imetgogo (3,986m), Geech

Trek 6 hours to Imetgogo to enjoy some of the best views in Simien Mountains National Park.

Overnight: Camping

Day 5: Geech, Chenek (3,600m)

Trek for approximately 7 hours from Geech to Chenek to spot some of the endemic mammals including the Walia Ibex.

Overnight: Camping

Day 6: Chenek, Ambiqo

Trek 6–8 hours from Chenek to Ambiqo climbing Buhit Mountain, the second-highest peak after Ras Dashen, in the Simien Mountain range.

Overnight: Camping

Day 7: Ambiqo, Ras Dashen (4,620m), Ambiqo

Trek 7–9 hours from Ambiqo climbing Ras Dashen, the highest peak in Ethiopia (4620 m), and return to Ambiqo.

Overnight: Camping

Day 8: Ambiqo, Cheneck

Trek 6–8 hours back to Cheneck. Enroute you may see the Simien Fox and/or the Ethiopian Wolf.

Overnight: Camping

Day 9: Chenek, Gondar

Drive back to Gondar. For the rest of the day, you will have a sightseeing tour of Gondar.

Overnight: Hotel

Day 10: Gondar, Addis Ababa

In the morning, fly back to Addis Ababa. Depending on your departure, we will take an optional city tour. In the evening, there will be farewell dinner party with a live traditional music show (flight schedule permitting). At the end of the farewell dinner, transfer to Addis Ababa airport for the flight back. End of tour.

 

On this tour, we explore the main sites of Ethiopia's ancient culture including the steles of Axum, the temple of Yeha, the Palace of the Queen of Sheba, and the amazing rock-hewn churches of Lalibela as well as experience one of Ethiopia's most colorful festivals. Join us on this journey of discovery and get to know one of Africa's most fascinating ancient civilizations. 

Trip Highlights

  • Celebrate Meskel "The Finding of the True Cross" with the bonfire and its processions. 
  • Visit four UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
  • Be amazed by the rock-hewn churches of Lalibela, one of "the living wonders of the world".
  • Enjoy the magnificent nature and endemic wildlife of the Simien Mountains.
  • Travel back in time to explore the ancient city of Axum, the last resting place of the Ark of the Covenant.
  • Discover the fairytale castles of Gondar.
  • Take a cruise on Lake Tana to visit the ancient island monasteries.
  • See the source of the mighty Blue Nile River and Blue Nile Falls.
  • Visit the vibrant city of Addis Ababa.
  • Meet your ancestor Lucy at the National Museum in Addis Ababa.
  • Try the varied Ethiopian food.
  • Attend an Ethiopian coffee ceremony.


Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive Addis Ababa

Arrive in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Welcome to Ethiopia! Upon arrival at Addis Ababa Bole International Airport, you will be welcomed and assisted by your tour guide and driven to Kaleb Hotel (4*). If you arrive in the morning, we can arrange an optional city tour.

Day 2: Addis Ababa, Bahir Dar

In the morning, drive to Bahirdar through the Great Blue Nile Gorge with a stopover at different small towns like Dejen, Chancho, and GohaTsion.

Day 3: Lake Tana, Nile Falls

In the morning, we will take a boat cruise and visit some island monasteries from the 13th and 14th century. After having lunch at the hotel, we will drive 35 km to visit the majestic Blue Nile Falls.

Day 4: Bahir Dar, Gondar

After breakfast, we drive to Gondar through the beautiful countryside scenery and arrive at Gondar around lunchtime. After lunch, we tour the ancient city of Gondar.

Day 5: Gondar, Simien Mountains National Park, Axum

After an early breakfast, we will drive to the Simien Mountains National Park. For the rest of the day, we trek to explore the surroundings of Sankaber, part of the Simien Mountains National Park.

Day 6: Simien Mountains National Park, Axum

After breakfast, we will drive to Axum through the beautiful Simien Mountains and Tekeze River Gorge.

Day 7: Axum

After breakfast, we will visit the ancient city of Axum and the Stele Square, Kaleba Tombs, 4th-century Christian inscription of King Ezana, Queen of Sheba’s Palace, Archeological Museum, and Tsion Mariam Church, where the original Ark of the Covenant is housed.

Day 8: Axum, Mekele

In the morning, we drive to Mekele through the stunning and historical mountains of Adwa enroute visiting the pre-Christian temples of Yeha and Wikro Cherkos.

Day 9: Mekele, Lalibela

After breakfast, we drive north to Lalibela through Sekota. Enroute you will visit Yimrhane Kirstos and different villages of the Agwe tribal people.

Day 10: Meskel Eve at Lalibela

In the morning, we visit the first group of rock-hewn churches. The rock-hewn churches that we will visit today include Bete Medhani Alem, Bete Mariam, Bete Meskel, and Bete Denagil.

Day 11: Meskel Festival at Lalibela

In the morning, we will witness one of the most colorful festivals held in Ethiopia — the Meskel Festival at Lalibela.

For the rest of the day, we will continue our journey into Ethiopia’s long and marvelous past with a visit to other of Lalibela’s remarkable churches. The rock-hewn churches that we will visit this afternoon include Bete Gebriel, Bete Mercorios, Bete Amanuel, Bethlehem and Bete Aba Libanos.

Day 12: Lalibela, Kombolcha

In the morning, we will drive to Kombolchaon to the top of the amazing Yeju Wadla Delanta land bridge, a high land plateau that adjoins the Wello and Gondar regions and the beautiful Lasta Mountains. We will also drive through the towns of Weldia and Dessie.

Day 13: Kombolcha, Addis Ababa, Departure

In the morning, we return to Addis Ababa through Kemise, Ataye, Shewarobit, and Debresina. At Kemiise, we will have the chance to see a multi-tribal local market.

In the evening, there will be Grand Holidays Ethiopia Tours complimentary farewell dinner party with a traditional special buffet and local drinks (flight schedule permitting). At the end of the farewell dinner, transfer to Addis Ababa airport for the flight back. End of tour.

 

On this tour you will also visit the classic Historic Route of Ethiopia that includes Axum, Lalibela, Gondar, the island monasteries of Lake Tana, the palace of the Queen of Sheba, and the last resting place of the Ark of the Covenant. Cruise along Lake Tana, the source of the Great Blue Nile River; trek along the spectacular Simien Mountains, "the chess pieces of gods"; and see the Gelada "Bleeding Heart" Baboon. And last, but not least, get to know the friendly and charming people of Ethiopia.

Trip Highlights

  • Celebrate at the Sebaratmu (St. George) festival.
  • Experience Ethiopian Orthodox Christian doctrines and traditions.
  • Visit four UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
  • Be amazed by the rock-hewn churches of Lalibela, one of "the living wonders of the world". 
  • Enjoy the magnificent nature and endemic wildlife of the Simien Mountains.
  • Travel back in time to explore the ancient city of Axum, the last resting place of the Ark of the Covenant.
  • Discover the fairytale castles of Gondar.
  • Take a cruise on Lake Tana to visit the ancient island monasteries.
  • See the source of the mighty Blue Nile River and the Blue Nile falls.
  • Visit the vibrant city of Addis Ababa.
  • Meet your ancestor Lucy at the National Museum in Addis Ababa.
  • Try the varied Ethiopian food.
  • Attend an Ethiopian coffee ceremony.

Itinerary

Day 1: Addis Ababa

Arrive in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Welcome to Ethiopia! Upon arrival at Addis Ababa Bole International Airport, you will be welcomed and assisted by your tour guide and driven to your hotel. If you arrive in the morning, we can arrange an optional city tour in Addis Ababa.

Overnight: Hotel, Addis Ababa

Day 2: Addis Ababa, Bahirdar

In the morning, drive to Bahirdar through the Great Blue Nile Gorge with stops at different small towns like Dejen, Chancho, and Goha Tsion.

Overnight: Hotel, Bahirdar

Day 3: Lake Tana, Blue Nile Falls, Bahir Dar

After breakfast, we will take a boat cruise on Lake Tana to visit the ancient 14th-century island monasteries of Lake Tana.

After lunch at the hotel, we will drive 35 km to visit the majestic Blue Nile Falls.

Overnight: Tana Hotel, Bahirdar

Day 4: Bahir Dar, Gondar

After breakfast, we drive to Gondar through the beautiful countryside scenery to arrive at Gondar around lunchtime.

After checking into Goha Hotel and having lunch there, we will start our tour of Gondar that includes the Royal Enclosure and the pool of King Fasilidas. We will also visit the famous Debre Berhan Sellassie church adorned with brilliant frescos inside.

Overnight: Goha Hotel, Gondar

Day 5: Gondar, Simien Mountains National Park

After an early breakfast, we will drive to Simien Mountains National Park. Enroute we will visit the "Felasha", or Black Jewish village.

As we drive from Gondar up to Simien Mountains National Park, you will be astounded by the spectacular scenery that awaits at the top of the massif. For the rest of the day, we trek around the park to explore the stunnining views and wildlife of the park and Sankaber.

Overnight: Simien Lodge, Buit Ras

Day 6: Simien Mountains National Park, Axum

After breakfast, we will drive to Axum through the beautiful scenery of the Simien Mountains and the Tekeze River Gorge.

Overnight: Hotel, Axum

Day 7: Axum

After breakfast, we will visit the ancient city of Axum. Your visit in Axum includes the Stele Square, Kaleba Tombs, 4th-century Christian inscription of King Ezana, Queen of Sheba’s Palace, Archeological Museum, and Tsion Mariam Church, where the original Ark of the Covenant is housed.

Overnight: Hotel, Axum

Day 8: Axum, Hauzien

In the morning, we drive to Hauzien, the center of some of the most ancient rock-hewn churches, through the stunning and historical mountains of Adwa.

Overnight: Lodge, Hauzien

Day 9: Hauzien, Mekele

In the morning, we drive to Mekele enroute visiting some of the most ancient Tigray rock-hewn churches including Wikro Cherkos, Abrha We-atsbeha, and Dugum Selassie.

Overnight: Hotel, Mekele

Day 10: Mekele, Lalibela, Sebaratmu Giorgis Eve at Lalibela

After breakfast, we drive north to Lalibela through Sekota. Enroute you will visit Yimrhane Kirstos and different villages of the Agwe tribal people.

Late in the afternoon, we will drive to Bete Giorgis to attend the eve of Sebaratmu. Here, the priest and deacons will be chanting with their drums and sistras to celebrate the eve of St. George.

Overnight: Hotel, Lalibela

Day 11: Lalibela, Sebaratmu Festival at Lalibela

After breakfast, we will drive to the Tabot Maderia, where the replica of the Ark of the Covenant has rested overnight. The next morning, the Ark will be taken to Bete Giorgis, with a lot of feasting, singing, and dancing along the way. When the Tabot reaches the church, there will be dancing by the priest along the cliff edge of the church while the faithful continue to dance forming different groups.

Overnight: Hotel, Lalibela

Day 12: Lalibela, Asheten Mariam

In the morning, we take a mule ride to the top of Asheten Marima to visit the monastery church from the 12th century.

After lunch and a rest at the hotel, we will continue our journey into Ethiopia’s long and marvelous history with a visit to other of Lalibela’s remarkable churches. The rock-hewn churches that we will visit this afternoon include Bete Gebriel, Bete Merkorios Bete Amanuel, Bethlehem, and Bete Aba Libanos. At the end of the tour, there will be a special Ethiopian traditional coffee ceremony for the group prepared at a local house.

Overnight: Hotel, Lalibela 

Day 13: Lalibela, Addis Ababa, Departure

After breakfast, we transfer to Lalibela airport for the flight to Addis Ababa. Depending on your departure time, we can arrange an optional city tour.

In the evening, there will be a Grand Holidays Ethiopia Tours complimentary farewell dinner party with traditional special buffet and local drinks (flight schedule permitting). At the end of the farwell dinner, transfer to Addis Ababa airport for the flight back. End of tour.

Upcoming Dates

January 15–29, 2019

On this trip of discovery, you will visit the major sites of Ethiopia’s Historic Route — four of them UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Explore Axum, Lalibela, Gondar, the island monasteries of Lake Tana, the Palace of Queen of Sheba, and the last resting place of the Ark of the Covenant. Cruise on Lake Tana, the source of the Great Blue Nile River, trek in the spectacular Simien Mountains "the chess pieces of gods", see the Gelada "Bleeding Heart" Baboon, and more.

Trip Highlights

  • Celebrate Timket ("Ethiopian Epiphany").
  • Experience Ethiopian Orthodox Christian doctrines and traditions.
  • Visit four UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
  • Be amazed by the rock-hewn churches of Lalibela, one of "the living wonders of the world".
  • Enjoy the magnificent nature and endemic wildlife in the Simien Mountains.
  • Travel back in time to explore the ancient city of Axum, the last resting place of the Ark of the Covenant.
  • Discover the fairytale castles of Gondar.
  • Take a cruise on Lake Tana to visit the ancient island monasteries.
  • See the source of the mighty Blue Nile River and Blue Nile Falls.
  • Discover the old walled city and the fourth holiest city of Islam.
  • Visit the vibrant city of Addis Ababa.
  • Meet your ancestor Lucy at the National Museum in Addis Ababa.
  • Try the varied Ethiopian food.
  • Attend an Ethiopian coffee ceremony.

Itinerary

Day 1: Addis Ababa

Arrive in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Welcome to Ethiopia! Upon arrival at Addis Ababa Bole International Airport, you will be welcomed and assisted by your tour guide and driven to your hotel. If you arrive in the morning, we can arrange an optional city tour in Addis.

Overnight: Hotel, Addis Ababa

Day 2: Addis Ababa, Bahirdar

In the morning, drive to Bahirdar through the Great Blue Nile Gorge with stops at different small towns like Dejen, Chancho, and Goha Tsion.

Overnight: Hotel, Bahirdar

Day 3: Lake Tana, Blue Nile Falls, Bahir Dar

After breakfast, we will take a boat cruise on Lake Tana to visit the ancient 14th century island monasteries of Lake Tana.

After lunch at the hotel, we will drive 35 km to visit the majestic Blue Nile Falls.

Overnight: Hotel, Bahirdar

Day 4: Bahir Dar, Gondar

After breakfast, we will drive to Gondar through the beautiful countryside scenery to arrive at Gondar around lunchtime.

After checking into the hotel and having lunch there, we will start tour of Gondar which includes the Royal Enclosure, the pool of King Fasilidas, and the famous Debre Berhan Sellassie adorned with brilliant frescos inside.

Overnight: Goha Hotel, Gondar

Day 5: Gondar, Simien Mountains National Park

After an early breakfast, we will drive to Simien Mountains National Park. Enroute we will visit the "Felasha", or Black Jewish village.

Driving from Gondar up to the Simien Mountains National Park, we will experience the spectacular scenery culminating at the top of the massif. For the rest of the day, we will trek around the park and Sankaber to explore the stunnining views and wildlife.

Overnight: Simien Lodge, Sankaber

Day 6: Simien Mountains National Park, Axum

After breakfast, we will drive to Axum through the beautiful scenery of the Simien Mountains and the Tekeze River Gorge.

Overnight: Hotel, Axum

Day 7: Axum

After breakfast, we will visit the ancient city of Axum. Your visit in Axum includes the Stele Square, Kaleba Tombs, 4th-century Christian inscription of King Ezana, Queen of Sheba’s Palace, Archeological Museum, and Tsion Mariam Church, where the original Ark of the Covenant is housed.

Overnight: Hotel, Axum

Day 8: Axum, Hauzien

In the morning, we drive to Hauzien, the center of some of the most ancient rock-hewn churches, through the stunning and historical mountains of Adwa.

Overnight: Lodge, Hauzien

Day 9: Hauzien, Mekele

In the morning, we drive to Mekele enroute visiting some of the most ancient Tigray rock-hewn churches including Wikro Cherkos, Abrha We-Atsbeha, and Dugum Selassie.

Overnight: Axum Hotel, Mekele

Day 10: Mekele, Lalibela, Timket Eve at Lalibela

After breakfast, we will drive north to Lalibela through Sekota. Enroute you will visit Yimrhane Kirstos and different villages of the Agwe tribal people.

In the afternoon, we will attend the Timket eve ceremony called Ketera. During Ketera, the priests take out the Tabots — replicas of the original Ark of the Covenant — from each church and bless the water of the pool where the next day's celebration will take place.

In the evening, we will return to the Taboat Maderia to attend the night celebrations.

Overnight: Hotel, Lalibela

Day 11: Rock-Hewn Churches of Lalibela, Timket Festival at Lalibela

Early in the morning, we will again walk to the Tabot Maderia to witness the early morning baptism ceremony. The water, which symbolizes the Jordan River, is blessed by the priest and the patriarch then a golden cross is dipped in the water and a burning consecrated candle is extinguished in the alter. Then water is sprinkled on the assembled congregation in commemoration of Christ's baptism.

Following the baptism, the procession of the Tabots to their respective rock churches begins as the people feast, sing and dance.

Overnight: Hotel, Lalibela

Day 12: Lalibela, Asheten Mariam, Second Day of Timket

In the morning, we attend the second day of Timket around the first group of rock-hewn churches.
After lunch and a rest at the hotel, we will continue our journey into Ethiopia’s long and marvelous history with a visit to more of Lalibela’s remarkable churches

The rock-hewn churches that we will visit this afternoon include Bete Gebriel, Bete Merkorios Bete Amanuel, Bethlehem, and Bete Aba Libanos. At the end of the tour, there will be a special Ethiopian traditional coffee ceremony for the group prepared at a local house.

Overnight: Hotel, Lalibela

Day 13: Lalibela, Addis Ababa, Departure

After breakfast, we transfer to Lalibela airport for the flight to Addis Ababa. Depending on your departure time, we can arrange an optional city tour.

In the evening, there will be Grand Holidays Ethiopia Tours complimentary farewell dinner party with traditional special buffet and local drinks (flight schedule permitting). At the end of the farwell dinner, transfer to Addis Ababa airport for the flight back. End of tour.

Dates

Jan. 9–21, 2019

 

This tour takes you deep into the land that used to be one of the greatest kingdoms of the world. In this fascinating land, the past comes alive in the form of beautiful, exotic monuments and ruins built centuries ago. Moreover, it is a past that began as the cradle of mankind. Marvel at the spectacular 2,000-year-old stele at Axum, the rock-hewn churches of Lalibela built more than 800 years ago, the castles of Gondar, the island monasteries of Lake Tana, the magnificent Simien Mountains, the less-visited rock-hewn churches of Tigray, the great Blue Nile Falls, and last but not least, the friendly and charming people.

Trip Highlights

  • Celebrate Ethiopian Easter Festival in the ancient way around the rock-hewn churches of Lalibela.
  • Experience Ethiopian Orthodox Christian doctrines and traditions.
  • Visit four UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
  • Be amazed by the rock-hewn churches of Lalibela, one of "the living wonders of the world".
  • Enjoy the magnificent nature and endemic wildlife of the Simien Mountains.
  • Travel back in time to explore the ancient city of Axum, the last resting place of the Ark of the Covenant.
  • Discover the fairytale castles of Gondar.
  • Take a cruise on Lake Tana to visit the ancient island monasteries.
  • See the source of the mighty Blue Nile River and the Blue Nile Falls.
  • Discover the old walled city and the fourth holiest city of Islam.
  • Visit the vibrant city of Addis Ababa.
  • Meet your ancestor Lucy at the National Museum in Addis Ababa.
  • Try the varied Ethiopian food.
  • Attend an Ethiopian coffee ceremony.

Itinerary: Ethiopian Easter Festival Tour 2019

Travel dates: April 9 to April 21, 2019 

Day 1: Addis Ababa

Arrive in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Welcome to Ethiopia! Upon arrival at Addis Ababa Bole International Airport, you will be welcomed and assisted by your tour guide and driven to your hotel. If you arrive in the morning, we can arrange an optional city tour.

Accommodation: Kaleb Hotel, Addis Ababa

Day 2: Addis Ababa, Bahirdar

In the morning, drive to Bahirdar through the Great Blue Nile Gorge with stops at different small towns like Dejen, Chancho, and Goha Tsion. The majestic and enormous Blue Nile Gorge is one of the most captivating gorges in Africa.

Accommodation: Hotel, Bahirdar

Day 3: Lake Tana, Blue Nile Falls, Bahir Dar

In the morning, we will take boat cruise on Lake Tana to visit the ancient 14th-century island monasteries of Lake Tana.

After lunch at the hotel, we will drive 35 km to visit the majestic Blue Nile Falls.

Accommodation: Hotel, Bahirdar

Day 4: Bahir Dar, Gondar

After breakfast, we will drive to Gondar through the beautiful countryside scenery to arrive at Gondar around lunchtime.

For the rest of the day, you will have a city tour of Gondar. Today you will visit the Royal Enclosure and the famous Debre Berhan Sellassie church.

Accommodation: Hotel, Gondar

Day 5: Gondar, Simien Mountains

After an early breakfast, we will drive to the Simien Mountains National Park. Enroute we will visit the "Felasha", or Black Jewish village. For the rest of the day, we trek to explore the area of Snakaber, part of the Simien Mountains National Park.

Accommodation: Simien Lodge, Buit Ras

Day 6: Simien Mountains National Park, Axum

After breakfast, we drive north to Axum through the beautiful scenery of the Simien Mountains and the Tekeze River Gorge.

Past the Tekeze River Gorge, whilst enjoying the beautiful Simien Mountains scenery from a distance, you will have your picnic lunch under the shade of a tree and continue driving to Axum.

Accommodation: Hotel, Axum

Day 7: Axum

After breakfast, we will visit the ancient city of Axum. Our visit in Axum includes the Stele Square, Kaleba Tombs, 4th-century Christian inscription of King Ezana, Queen of Sheba’s Palace, Archeological Museum, and Tsion Mariam Church, where the original Ark of the Covenant is housed.

Accommodation: Hotel, Axum

Day 8: Axum, Hauzien

In the morning, we will drive to Hauzien, the center of some of the most ancient rock-hewn churches, through the stunning and historical mountains of Adwa.

Accommodation: Lodge, Hauzien

Day 9: Hauzien, Mekele

In the morning, we will drive to Mekele enroute visit some of the most ancient Tigray rock-hewn churches including: Wikro Cherkos, Abrha We-Atsbeha, and Dugum Selassie.

Accommodation: Hotel, Mekele

Day 10: Mekele, Lalibela

After breakfast, we drive to Lalibela through Sekota. Enroute you will visit Yimrhane Kirstos and different villages of the Agwe tribal people.

Accommodation: Hotel, Lalibela

Day 11: Good Friday at Lalibela

After having an early breakfast, we will drive to the site where we find a concentration of some of Ethiopia’s most famous rock-hewn churches, mostly referred to by many as one of "the living wonders of the world". The rock-hewn churches that we will visit today include: Bete Medhani Alem, Bete Mariam, Bete Meskel, Bete Denagil, Bete Golgotha Michael, and Bete Giorgis.

In the afternoon, witness the Good Friday ceremony at Bete Mariam rock-hewn church. This is a special day for the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, and it is celebrated with great devotion and in a very ancient way. On this day, the faithful who have been fasting the whole day without any water or food, dressed in their dazzling white cloths, walk to St. Mary’s church to attend the prayers and performance of the priest and deacons. It is a special opportunity to witness the devotion of the faithful and their practices remembering the suffering of Jesus Christ when he was crucified. Every performance of the priest and the deacons as well as the devotion of the people takes you back centuries.

Accommodation: Hotel, Lalibela

Day 12: Lalibela, Asheten Mariam, Ethiopian Easter Eve at Lalibela

In the morning you will continue your journey into Ethiopia’s long and marvelous past with a visit to more of Lalibela’s remarkable churches. The rock-hewn churches that you will visit this afternoon include Bete Gebriel, Bete Mercorios, Bete Amanuel, Bethlehem, and Bete Aba Libanos.

In the afternoon, you will visit one of the most colorful annual Easter markets at Lalibela. In the evening, you will witness one of the most important ceremonies of Easter in one of the biggest rock-hewn churches of Lalibela, Bete Medhanialem. In the evening all the rock-hewn churches will be filled with people who have been fasting for 55 days. None of them have eaten or drank anything at least for a day and half. They are here to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ, and there will be prayers and candlelight ceremonies accompanied by chanting and dancing of the priest until 3:00 in the morning. It’s only after the ceremony is over that everybody goes home to break the fast with the special Easter meal. The feast that began at the church continues all day long and for weeks to come.

Accommodation: Hotel, Lalibela

Day 13: Ethiopian  Easter Lalibela, Addis Ababa, Departure

After breakfast, we transfer to Lalibela airport for the flight to Addis Ababa. Depending on your departure, an optional city tour can be arranged. 

In the evening, there will be Grand Holidays Ethiopia Tours complimentary special Easter farewell dinner party with traditional special buffet and local drinks, flight schedule permitting. There will also be cultural dance show of the different ethnic groups living in the country — the perfect ending to your trip. At the end of the farewell dinner, transfer to Addis Ababa airport for the flight back. End of tour.

This is one of the greatest and most colorful festivals on the Ethiopian calendar. At Lalibela, it is celebrated with greater devotion, chanting, dancing, and singing around the rock-hewn churches that were built more than 800 years ago. The ancient city of Lalibela will be filled with tens of thousands of pilgrims who come from all directions of Ethiopia and from all walks of life.

Most of the pilgrims reach Lalibela from far off hamlets and inaccessible valleys, walking on their bare feet for days, weeks, and even months to share the blessing on Christmas day. Although Ethiopian Christmas is on January 7, there will be different ceremonies held around the rock-hewn churches starting the night of January 4th. This is an ancient Christian tradition that has remained unchanged over the years. Witnessing this event, you feel like you are transported centuries back in time. 

Discover the world of the ancient Ethiopians as you visit the unmatched sites of the Historic Route of Ethiopia — Axum, Lalibela, Gondar, the island monasteries of Lake Tana, the Palace of Queen of Sheba, and the last resting place of the Ark of the Covenant. Cruise along Lake Tana, the source of the Great Blue Nile River; trek along the spectacular Simien Mountains, "the chess pieces of gods"; and see the Gelada "Bleeding Heart" Baboon.

Trip Highlights

  • Celebrate Ethiopian Christmas around the rock-hewn churches of Lalibela 
  • Experience Ethiopian Orthodox Christian doctrines and traditions.
  • Visit four UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
  • Be amazed by the rock-hewn churches of Lalibela, one of "the living wonders of the world".
  • Enjoy the magnificent nature and endemic wildlife of the Simien Mountains.
  • Travel back in time as you explore the ancient city of Axum, the last resting place of the Ark of the Covenant.
  • Discover the fairytale castles of Gondar.
  • Take a cruise on Lake Tana to visit the ancient island monasteries.
  • See the source of the mighty Blue Nile River and Blue Nile Falls.
  • Discover the old walled city and the fourth holiest city of Islam.
  • Visit the vibrant city of Addis Ababa.
  • Meet your ancestor Lucy at the National Museum in Addis Ababa.
  • Try the varied Ethiopian food.
  • Attend an Ethiopian coffee ceremony.

Itinerary: Ethiopian Christmas Festival

Day 1: Addis Ababa

Arrive in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Welcome to Ethiopia! Upon arrival at Addis Ababa Bole International Airport, you will be welcomed and assisted by your tour guide and driven to your hotel. If you arrive in the morning, an optional city tour can be arranged.

Overnight: Hotel, Addis Ababa

Day 2: Addis Ababa, Bahirdar

In the morning, drive to Bahirdar through the Great Blue Nile Gorge with stops at different small towns like Dejen, Chancho, and Goha Tsion.

Overnight Hotel, Bahir Dar

Day 3: Lake Tana, Blue Nile Falls, Bahir Dar

After breakfast, we will take a boat cruise over Lake Tana to visit the ancient 14th-century island monasteries of Lake Tana.

After lunch at the hotel, we will drive 35 km to visit the majestic Blue Nile Falls.

Overnight: Hotel, Bahir Dar

Day 4: Bahir Dar, Gondar

After breakfast, we drive to Gondar through the beautiful countryside scenery to arrive at Gondar around lunchtime.

After check in to Goha Hotel and lunch there, we will start tour of Gondar that includes the Royal Enclosure, the pool of King Fasilidas, and the famous Debre Berhan Sellassie church adorned with brilliant frescos inside.

Overnight: Goha Hotel, Bahir Dar

Day 5: Gondar, Simien Mountains National Park

After an early breakfast, we will drive to Simien Mountains National Park. Enroute we will visit the "Felasha", or Black Jewish village.

On the drive from Gondar up to Simien Mountains National Park you will enjoy the spectacular scenery including at the top of the massif. For the rest of the day, we will trek around the park and Sankaber to explore the stunnining views and wildlife.

Overnight: Simien Lodge

Day 6: Simien Mountains National Park, Axum

After breakfast, we drive to Axum through the beautiful scenery of the Simien Mountains and the Tekeze River Gorge.

Overnight: Hotel, Axum

Day 7: Axum

After breakfast, we will visit the ancient city of Axum. Your visit in Axum includes the Stele Square, Kaleba Tombs, the 4th-century Christian inscription of King Ezana, Queen of Sheba’s Palace, Archeological Museum, and Tsion Mariam Church, where the original Ark of the Covenant is housed.

Overnight: Hotel, Axum

Day 8: Axum, Hauzien

In the morning, we drive to Hauzien, the center of some of the most ancient rock-hewn churches, through the stunning and historical mountains of Adwa.

Overnight: Lodge, Hauzien

Day 9: Hauzien, Mekele

In the morning, we drive to Mekele enroute visiting some of the most ancient Tigray rock-hewn churches including Wikro Cherkos, Abrha We-atsbeha, and Dugum Selassie.

Overnight: Hotel, Mekelle

Day 10: Mekele, Lalibela, Celebration at Bete Emanuel

After breakfast, we drive north to Lalibela through Sekota. Enroute you will visit Yimrhane Kirstos and different villages of the Agwe tribal people. In the evening, we will drive to Bete Emanuel to attend the special celebration of Emanuel with chanting and dancing by the priests and deacons. The ceremony will be accompined by a capacity crowd of piligrims who came to witness this event from far off hamlets and inaccessible valleys on their bare feet walking, for weeks and even months.

Overnight: Hotel, Lalibela

Day 11: Rock-hewn churches of Lalibela, Ethiopian Christmas Eve

In the morning, we will drive to the sites with the highest concentration of rock-hewn churches of Lalibela from 1200 AD. At night, we will attend the Christmas Eve ceremony to be held at Bete Mariam church. This evening, you will attend the Ethiopian Christmas Eve Ceremony with the pilgrims. The dancing by the deacons and the priests continue throughout the night while the pilgrims clap and ululate to the drum beat. At midnight, there will be a candlelight ceremony to commemorate the birth of Jesus Christ.

Overnight: Hotel, Lalibela

Day 12: Lalibela, Asheten Mariam, Ethiopian Christmas

In the morning, we will once more drive to Bete Mariam to witness the final ceremony of Ethiopian Christmas. On this day, as it has been for centuries, the priests will be lined up with their drums on the cliff edge of Bete Mariam and others at the bottom, representing the shepherds and the angels announcing the birth of Jesus. 

After lunch and a rest at the hotel, we will continue our journey into Ethiopia’s long and marvelous history with a visit to more of Lalibela’s remarkable churches. The rock-hewn churches that we will visit this afternoon include Bete Gebriel, Bete Merkorios Bete Amanuel, Bethlehem, and Bete Aba Libanos. At the end of the tour, there will be a special Ethiopian traditional coffee ceremony for the group prepared at a local house.

Overnight: Hotel, Lalibela

Day 13: Lalibela, Addis Ababa, Departure

After breakfast, transfer to Lalibela airport for the flight to Addis Ababa. Depending on your departure time, we can arrange an optional city tour of Addis Ababa.

In the evening, there will be Grand Holidays Ethiopia Tours complimentary farewell dinner party with traditional special buffet and local drinks (flight schedule permitting). At the end of the farwell dinner, transfer to Addis Ababa airport for the flight back. End of tour.

 

For our expertly designed tours and the quality of service that Grand Holidays Ethiopia Tours provides, National Geographic Adventure magazine ranked Grand Holidays Ethiopia Tours as the "Best Outfitter on Earth" in 2009.

The survey research was conducted and sponsored by well-respected travel and tourism experts, including National Geographic editors, the Adventure Council, Adventures in Travel Expos, the Adventure Travel Trade Association, and others.

In recognition of our contribution to responsible tourism and quality of service, The Ethiopian Ministry of Culture and Tourism has also awarded Grand Holidays Ethiopia Tours an award. 

The awards motivate us to work even better, to make sure our clients have a lot of fun memories to share when they go back home, as we also understand a traveler’s most important decision is not always where to go but who to go with.

We are looking forward to making your holiday to Ethiopia a very special travel experience.

 

On this expedition, you will take a lava trek to visit one of few most permanent lava lakes on the planet, Erta Ale. You will also have the chance to witness an ancient tradition of extracting salt from the salt fields and transporting the salt bars with endless lines of camel caravan for days from the depression to the highland towns. This adventure tour is truly a trip of a lifetime! 

Itinerary

Day 1: Addis Ababa

Arrive in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Welcome to Ethiopia! Upon arrival at Addis Ababa Bole International Airport, you will be welcomed and assisted by your tour guide and driven to Jupiter Hotel (4*). If you arrive in the morning, we can arrange an optional city tour.

Overnight: Jupiter Hotel, Addis Ababa

Day 2: Addis Ababa, Awash National Park (B, L, D)

After breakfast, we drive south of Addis Ababa to Awash National Park through the Great Rift Valley. In the afternoon, we will take a game drive around Awash Park and then drive to Blien.

Overnight: Buffet de La Gare, Awash

Day 3: Awash, Semera (B, L, D)

In the morning, we drive to Semera town, the center of the Afar regional state. On the way to Afar from Awash, you will visit different Afar villages.

We will pick up our permission and local guide at Semera.

Overnight: Erta Ale Hotel, Semera

Day 4: Semera, Lake Afdera (103 meters below sea level) (B, L, D)

Today we will drive northeast to Afrdera. The landscape and climate will change dramatically on this drive.

We will set up camp around Lake Afrera and explore the salt extraction area as we enjoy the stunning view of the desert at sunset.

Overnight: Camping at Lake Afdera

Day 5: Afdera, Dodom (Kurseywad), Erta Ale (B, L, D)

After enjoying the lovely sunrise on Lake Afrera while having breakfast, we will drive to Kursuawd then to Erta Ale.

Once we get to the base of the crator, we will rest and pack for the trek to the lava lake on the lava fields. At night, you will experience the amazing view down the creator where the fire comes gushing to the surface. It is simply spectacular!

Overnight: Camping at Erta Ale

Day 6: Erta Ale, Dodom, Hamedela (B, L, D)

Early morning, we will trek back down to the Kursuad campsite before it starts to be too hot. Upon arrival at the camp, we will have breakfast and get ready for the drive downhill and on to the sand and salt fields

In the evening, we will walk for a few minutes following the camel caravan carrying salt bars from the depression to the highlands.

Overnight: Camping at Hamedela

Day 7: Hamedela, Dallol, Hamedela (B, L, D)

Today will be a full-day exploration of the Dallol area, including the salt extraction area, the sulfer field, and other mineral fields. After visiting the springs, we will drive back to the campsite at HamedEla.

Overnight: Camping at Hamedela

Day 8: Hamedela, Berahile, Hawzien (B, L, D)

Today we will leave the Danakil depression and drive 48 km southwest to reach Berahile. While driving from Berhale to Hauzien, we will see the landscape changing gradually from a desert and salt field to rocky mountain chains.

On this route, you will have the chance to visit some of the rock-hewn churches of Tigray.

Overnight: Gheralta Lodge, Hawzien

Day 9: Hawzien, Mekele (B, L, D)

In the morning, we will walk around the lodge to enjoy the stunning views with the morning sun and spot different species of beautiful birds. You can also visit a Tigre village near the lodge.

Later on, we will also visit some more of the rock-hewn churches from the Teka Tesfai cluster in this area.

Overnight: Axum Hotel, Mekele

Day 10: Mekele, Kombolcha (B, L, D)

In the morning, we drive from Mekele to Kombolcha. On the way, you will still see some camel caravans and we will stop at different places for short visits.

Overnight: Sunnyside Hotel, Kombolcha

Day 11: Kombolcha, Addis Ababa, Departure (B)

In the morning, we drive to Addis Ababa, from Kombolcha, through Kemise, Ataye, Shewarobit, and Debresina. At Kemise, we will have the chance to see a multi-tribal local market.

In the evening, there will be Grand Holidays Ethiopia Tours complimentary farewell dinner party (flight schedule permitting) — the perfect end to the trip! At the end of the farewell dinner, transfer to Addis Ababa airport for the flight back. End of tour.

Welcome to the beauty of Ethiopia’s Historic Route! The magnificent cultures and landscapes are indicative of an extraordinary past that has left its mark on the land, the people, and their monuments. In this fascinating land, the past comes alive in the form of strange and beautiful monuments and ruins, built centuries ago in what used to be one of the greatest kingdoms of the world. Moreover, it is a past that began as the cradle of mankind.

Discover the world of the ancient Ethiopians/Africans as you visit the unmatched sites of the Historic Route of Ethiopia North and East — Axum, Lalibela, Gondar, the island monasteries of Lake Tana, the palace of the Queen of Sheba, and the last resting place of the Ark of the Covenant. Cruise along Lake Tana, visit the source of the Great Blue Nile River, explore the walled city of Harar, trek along the spectacular Simien Mountains "the chess pieces of gods", see the Gelada "Bleeding Heart" Baboon, and much more. 

Itinerary

Day 1: Addis Ababa

Arrive in Addis Ababa. In the afternoon, we will take a city tour of Addis Ababa that includes the National Museum, the Ethnographic Museum, and the Mercato.

Overnight: Hotel

Day 2: Addis Ababa, Axum

In the morning, we fly to Axum. For the rest of the day, we vist the ancient city of Axum.

Overnight: Hotel

Day 3: Axum, Yeha

After breakfast, we drive out of town to the pre-Christian temple of Yeha. In the afternoon, we will walk around to explore the ancient city of Axun and interact with the local people.

Overnight: Hotel

Day 4: Axum, Lalibela

Today we fly to Lalibela and visit the first group of rock-hewn churches.

Overnight: Hotel

Day 5: Asheten Mariam, Lalibela

In the morning, we take a mule ride and walk to the top of Asheten Mariam Monastery. In the afternoon, we visit the second group of rock-hewn churches in the town.

Overnight: Lodge

Day 6: Lalibela, Gondar

After breakfast, we transfer to Lalibela airport for the flight to Gondar. For the rest of the day, we tour the imperial compound of Gondar and Debre Berhan Selassie Church.

Overnight: Hotel

Day 7: Excursion to Simien Mountains, Gondar

Today we have a full-day excursion to the amazing Simien Mountains National Park.

Overnight: Hotel

Day 8: Gondar, Bahirdar

In the morning, we drive to Bahirdar through the beautiful countryside scenery of Fogera and Gojam to arrive at Bahirdar around lunchtime. In the afternoon, you will take a boat cruise on Lake Tana.

Overnight: Hotel

Day 9: Blue Nile Falls, Bahirdar

After breakfast, we drive 35 km to visit the majestic Blue Nile Falls. The rest of the day is at your leisure.

Overnight: Hotel

Day 10: Bahirdar, Addis Ababa

In the morning, we walk around the city. In the afternoon, we will fly back to Addis Ababa.

Overnight: Hotel

Day 11: Addis Ababa, Diredawa, Harar

In the morning, we fly to Diredawa and continue driving to Harar. For the rest of the day, we will visit the ancient city.

Day 12: Harar

In the morning, we visit the colorful open-air African markets and walk around the ancient city. After lunch, we visit the Hadere villages.

Overnight: Hotel

Day 13: Harar, Addis Ababa

After breakfast, we will drive to Diredawa for the flight to Addis Ababa. In the evening, there will be a farewell dinner party with a live traditional music show. At the end of the farewell dinner, transfer to Addis Ababa airport for the flight back. End of tour.

 

This tour takes you to one of the most magnificent cultures and landscapes on Ethiopia's Historic Route. In this fascinating part of Africa, the past comes alive in the form of strange and beautiful monuments and ruins, built centuries ago in what used to be one of the greatest kingdoms of the world. 

Marvel at the spectacular 2,000-year-old stele at Axum, the rock-hewn churches of Lalibela built more than 800 years ago, the castles of Gondar, the island monasteries of Lake Tana, the magnificent Simien Mountains, the Great Blue Nile Falls, and last but not least, the friendly and charming people. This is truly a trip of a lifetime!

Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive Addis Ababa

Arrive in Addis Ababa and take an afternoon city tour of Addis Ababa. 

Overnight: hotel

Day 2: Addis Ababa, Bahirdar

In the morning, drive to Bahirdar through the Great Blue Nile Gorge.

Overnight: hotel

Day 3: Lake Tana, Blue Nile Falls, Bahir Dar

In the morning, visit the ancient island monasteries of Lake Tana. In the afternoon, visit the Blue Nile Falls.

Overnight: hotel

Day 4: Bahir Dar, Gondar

After breakfast, drive to Gondar through the beautiful countryside scenery. In the afternoon, visit the castle compound from the 17th century and Debre Berhan Selassie church.

Overnight: hotel

Day 5: Gondar, Simien Mountains National Park

After an early breakfast, we will drive to the Simien Mountains National Park. The rest of the day, trek around the park.

Overnight: lodge

Day 6: Sankaber, Chenek, Simien Mountains

Today, you will do a relaxing trek in some of the most dramatic scenery of the park — the Ginbar River Falls and Wolkafit Mountains.

Overnight: lodge

Day 7: Simien Mountains National Park, Axum

After breakfast, drive to Axum through the beautiful Simien Mountains, Limalimo, and Tekeze River Gorge.

Overnight: hotel

Day 8: Axum, Yeha

After breakfast, we will visit the ancient city of Axum. In the afternoon, we will go to the pre-Christian temple of Yeha.

Overnight: hotel

Day 9: Axum, Lalibela

In the morning, fly to Lalibela and visit the first group of rock-hewn churches from 1200 AD.

Overnight: hotel

Day 10: Lalibela, Asheten Mariam

In the morning, we go on a mule ride and trek to the top of Asheten Mariam Monastery. In the afternoon, we will visit the second group of rock-hewn churches.

Overnight: hotel

Day 11: Lalibela, Addis Ababa

In the morning, fly to Addis Ababa. The rest of the day city tour of Addis Ababa which include Mercato, Entoto, and Piassa. In the evening, there will be a traditional dinner and live cultural dance show. At the end of the farewell dinner, transfer to Addis Ababa airport for the flight back. End of tour.

 

Welcome to the beauty of Ethiopia’s Historic Route! The magnificent cultures and landscapes are indicative of an extraordinary past. It has left a mark on the land, the people, and their monuments. In this fascinating land, the past comes alive in the form of strange and beautiful monuments and ruins, built centuries ago in what used to be one of the greatest kingdoms of the world. Moreover, it is a past that began as the cradle of mankind.

This tour provides a look at the 3,000 years of Ethiopia's history including the stelaes of Axum, the temple of Yeha, the Palace of the Queen of Sheba, the rock-hewn churches of Lalibela, the castles of Gondar, the island monasteries of Lake Tana, the source of the Blue Nile, the Great Blue Nile Falls, the Simien Mountains, and last but not least, the charming and friendly people of Ethiopia. Moreover, it is a past which began as the cradle of mankind and is truly a trip of a lifetime!

Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive Addis Ababa

Arrive at Bole International Airport, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and transfer to hotel. If you arrive in the morning, you can arrange an optional city tour of Addis Ababa.

Day 2: Addis Ababa, Axum

In the morning, transfer to Addis Ababa Airport for your flight to Axum. For the rest of the day, tour of the ancient city of Axum.

Your day’s visit in Axum includes the Stelae Field, Kaleba Tombs, the 4th-centaury Christian inscription of King Ezana, the Queen of Sheba’s Palace, the Archeological Museum, and Tsion Mariam Church, where the original Ark of the Covenant is housed.

Day 3: Axum, Yeha, Debre Damo

After breakfast, you will visit the pre-Christian temple of Yeha.

Day 4: Axum, Lalibela

After breakfast, transfer to Axum airport for the flight to Lalibela. In the morning, fly to Lalibela and visit the first group of rock-hewn churches, from 1200 AD.

Day 5: Lalibela, Asheten Mariam

In the morning, take a mule ride and trek to the top of Asheten Mariam Monastery. In the afternoon, visit the second group of rock-hewn churches.

Day 6: Lalibela, Gondar

After breakfast, transfer to Lalibela airport for the flight to Gondar. In the afternoon, you will take a tour of Gondar.

Your tour includes the Royal Enclosure, the pool of King Fasilidas, and the famous Debre Berhan Selassie church.

Day 7: Excursion to Simien Mountains, Gondar

Full-day excursion to the Simien Mountains National Park.

Day 8: Gondar, Bahirdar

In the morning, drive to Bahirdar and take an afternoon boat cruise on Lake Tana to visit the island monasteries.

Day 9: Blue Nile Falls, Bahirdar

After breakfast, drive 35 km to visit the majestic Blue Nile Falls. In the afternoon, walk around the town and visit the colorful local market.

Day 10: Bahirdar, Addis Ababa, Departure

In the morning, transfer to the airport for the flight to Addis. Optional city tour depending on your departure time.

In the evening, there will be Grand Holidays Ethiopia Tours complimentary farewell dinner party (flight schedule permitting) — the perfect end to your tour. At the end of the farewell dinner, transfer to Addis Ababa airport for the flight back. End of tour.

 

Comming Soon . . .

Grand Holidays Ethiopia Tours is your reliable local filming logistics provider and production fixer in Ethiopia, Djibouti, and Kenya for all your filming and production logistical needs.


For more than 14 years we have developed the reputation and won the trust of many international film production and television companies around  the world. We have the highest standard of logistics for television filming, documentary filming, photography expeditions, photo safaris, and ariel photography throughout Ethiopia.

We have worked with the following international companies: BBC Television, Art Line Films, National Geographic, and World Race Productions INC (for the Amazing Race in Ethiopia) among others.

We look after the finer details of logistics, transportation, accommodation, location scouting, and coordination, so that your crew can concentrate on their skills.

What is There to Film in Ethiopia?

Film production in Ethiopia is like no other place in the world. Ethiopia provides an exciting and rare chance for film makers/photographers to document pure, exotic, centuries-old ethnic traditions, colorful festivals, ancient African civilizations, amazing nature, and exciting wildlife different from the usual African wildlife safari. Because of this unique mix of attractions and uncommon photography opportunities, traveling to Ethiopia is like traveling to multiple countries on one trip.

  • Photograph the amazing rock-hewn churches of Labella from 1200 AD, which are referred to by many as one of the living wonders of the world.
  • Document some of the most colorful religious festivals on the classic Historic Route of Ethiopia.
  • In remote villages of the Omo Valley, meet and photograph exotic and diverse tribal cultures.
  • Visit and document colorful  tribal markets and attend rituals and ceremonies.
  • Follow the most endangered and the last surviving wolf of Africa and its beautiful puppies in the Bale Mountains.
  • Document the last grazing primates on the spectacular roof of Africa, the Simien Mountains.
  • Go on a photography expedition and adventure to the bubbling lava lakes of Erta Ale.
  • Experience the surreal landscape of Denakil Depression, and much more.

Whatever filming you want to do in Ethiopia, Djibouti, and Kenya — be it  feature films, television series, documentaries, web series, advertising films, adventure sports, fashion shoots, etc. — we will seamlessly arrange all the logistics for you. When it comes to location scouting and doing research before the filming, we have an unequalled knowledge of the best spots and the best time to be there. 

Please contact us for more information: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., call +251911428006, or Skype: desalegrandholidays

We will immediately advise what steps to follow to begin your filming in Ethiopia, Djibouti, or Kenya.

Country Topographic Profile

With an area of 1,112,000 square kilometers, Ethiopia is as large as France and Spain combined.

From the north and running down the center are the Abyssinian highlands; to the west of the chain, the land drops to the grasslands of Sudan; to the east, the deserts of the Afar and the Red Sea. South of Addis Ababa, the land is dominated by the Rift Valley Lakes. The main rivers are the Blue Nile, the Tekezze (which joins the Nile in Sudan) the Awash, the Wabe Shebelle, the Omo, the Baro, and the Birbir.

Population

The population is estimated at 100 million, over 50% of whom are under 20 years old. The average number of inhabitants per square kilometer is 99.

Language

Ethiopia is a multi-ethnic state with a 83 languages and 200 dialects spoken in the country. The main three languages are Amharic, Tigrigna, and Oromigna. English is also widely spoken. Amharic is the most prominent of the local languages. The name originates from the Amhara people, who live in the highlands of Ethiopia.

Ethiopian languages belong to one of four main language groups: Semitic (such as Amharic and Tigrigna), Cushitic (such as Afar Oromo), Omotic, and Nilo-Saharan. A useful phrase book will provide phonetic guides to aid pronunciation.

Government

The former military regime was overthrown in 1991. Ethiopia is now a Federal Republic made up of 14 regions, mainly based on ethnicity. (In southern Ethiopia, five regions have combined to form the Southern Region.) The present government was elected in 1995 for a 5-year term.

Economy

About 90% of the population earn their living from the land, mainly as subsistence farmers. Agriculture is the backbone of the national economy, and the principal exports from this sector are coffee, oil seeds, pulses, flowers, vegetables, sugar, and foodstuffs for animals. There is also a thriving livestock sector, exporting cattle on the hoof and hides and skins.

Ethiopia's Resources

Ethiopia is the "water tower" of the region (the Blue Nile contributes to 85% of the main Nile flow) and plans are now in progress to better exploit the country’s water resources both to boost agricultural production and for power generation.

Mineral exploration and mining has stepped up in recent years — there are reserves of natural gas, coal, gold, copper, tantalum, potash, zinc, iron ore, marble, and precious and semi-precious stones.

The export of livestock, skins, and hides (Ethiopia has the largest domestic livestock population in Africa) oilseeds, pulses, and animal feed makes up the rest of Ethiopia’s foreign currency earnings, with tourism set to make an increasingly important contribution.

When to Come to Ethiopia

This depends on where you are going. In most of the country, the main rainy season runs from June to the end of September, with short rains in March.

In the Omo and Mago parks however, in Southern Ethiopia, the seasons are different with the main rains from March to June, and shorter rains in November.

With the upgrading of the airports along the historic route (Axum, Lalibela, Gondar, and Bahir Dar), it is now possible to visit the northern route even in the rainy season. For travellers who do not mind waiting out a downpour (usually followed by brilliant sunshine), there are certain rewards — a green countryside full of crops and flowers, and the sites largely to yourselves.

Time

Ethiopia is in the GMT+3-hours time zone. Ethiopia follows the Julian calendar, which consists of twelve months of 30 days each and a thirteenth month of five or six days.

Visa and Immigration Requirements

Visa applications may be obtained at Ethiopia's diplomatic missions overseas. However, nationals of 33 countries are now allowed to receive their tourist visas on arrival in Ethiopia at the regular charge. The list includes Argentina, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Republic of Korea, Kuwait, Luxembourg, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Russian Federation, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, United Kingdom, and United States.
New: E-Visa for Ethiopia. Check out if you are eligible for the E-Visa at https://www.evisa.gov.et

Climate and Clothing

  • Because of the elevation, the temperature rarely exceeds 25 degrees Celsius (77 degrees Fahrenheit) in most of the country. Although in some of the lower-lying areas (Awash, Omo, and Mago parks), it can get considerably hotter.
  • Pack light clothes for the daytime, a jacket or sweater for the evenings, and a good pair of walking shoes even if you are not going trekking — paths around historic sites are usually uneven and stoney.
  • Trekkers in the Simian and Bale Mountains will need warm clothes, waterproof gear, and 3/4 seasons sleeping bags.
  • A cultural note: Ethiopians are generally modest dressers and visitors should be sensitive about going underdressed into places of worship. Shoes must always be removed before entering churches and mosques — airline socks are very useful for sites like Lalibela with its many churches.

Health and Medical

  • All visitors should have a valid yellow fever vaccination certificate if coming from an infected area. Immunizations for Hepatitis A and B, Typhoid, and Polio are recommended. Malaria: In many sites, including Axum, Gondar, and Lalibela, malaria is not a problem because of the elevation. But it can occur in Bahir Dar at the end of the rainy season and after unseasonable rains. Chloroquine-resistant strains have been identified in some areas, so you should consult your doctor about the prescription.
  • Alternatively, you can keep mosquitoes and other insects at bay with repellent creams and sprays. Climatic changes and phenomena such as el Nino has meant the appearance of Malaria at unseasonable times. And it has spread to areas that were previously malaria free.
  • Visitors should take a simple first aid pack, which would include different-size plasters, antiseptic cream, anti-histamine cream and/or tablets for insect bites, sun barrier cream (while temperatures are moderate, the sun is strong) and anti-diarrhoea tablets such as Imodium for emergencies (they will not cure the problem, but will control the symptoms). Generally, visitors should take out standard holiday health insurance in their home countries.

Food and Drink

With people from so many different ethnic groups, the food and drinks of Ethiopia are varied. A typical dish is wot, a hot spicy stew of meat or vegetables, seasoned with a blend of Berbere. It is often made with doro (chicken), and normally served with injera, the traditional spongy pancake made from a fermented teff flour batter. In most good restaurants, or in the local coffee house, you will find delicious dishes that reflect the customs and ingredients of the region. In Addis Ababa, as in most of the larger cities, visitors will also find a wide range of restaurants that reflect the influences of other cuisines. All large hotels have international restaurants, but elsewhere in the city you can sample Chinese, Indian, Middle Eastern, Italian, French, Greek, and other cuisines. Ethiopia produces its own wines. Dukam and Gouder are fine reds, Axumite is sweeter, and Crystals is a dry white wine. For a few years, the french company Castel has been producing excellent wines in the Ziway region. Ethiopia´s famous honey wine, or Tej, is found all over the country as is Tela, a local beer and Katikala, a distilled liquor. Excellent beers are brewed in the country (Heineken, St. George, Dashen, Habesha, and many more)

Accommodation

  • Addis Ababa has hotels that cater for all budgets, from the luxurious Sheraton, Hilton, and Intercontinental hotels to a growing number of 4-star and tourist-standard hotels.
  • Standards for lodges and hotels vary outside the capital, and there are very good standard lodges and hotels in all parts of the country. There are also a number of recently built ecolodges.

Transport

Roads: Traveling by road allows visitors to experience Ethiopia’s wonderful scenery. The total road network has grown by some 20,262 km to 46,812 km, of which 54% is now in a good and serviceable condition.

Railway: There is a plan to construct a new railroad that connects Ethiopia to the Red Sea port of Djibouti.

Air: Ethiopian Airlines has an extensive domestic network flying to 43 airfields and an additional 21 landing strips. There are also many international airlines flying to and from Addis Ababa for the international flights.

Money Matters

Currency Converter for all Currencies

The local currency is the Ethiopian birr, made up of 100 cents. Visitors may import an unlimited amount of foreign currency, providing declaration of such currency (on the appropriate blue-coloured form) is made to customs upon arrival. Foreign currency may only be changed at authorized banks and hotels. The currency declaration form must be attained, as this will be required by customs on departure. Visitors, however, will be able to change back any excess Ethiopian birr to foreign currency at the airport before departure. If you do have Ethiopian birr to cash at the airport, you must bring with you, in addition to the currency declaration form, all the receipts for exchange transactions. Credit cards are accepted in bigger hotels. On a tour in the countryside cash is the best option. There are ATMs in every tourist destination (for visa and mastercard)

Duty-free Imports

Permitted for up to:

  1. 400 cigarettes or 250 g of tobacco
  2. 2 litres of alcoholic beverages
  3. 600 ml of perfumes

Visitors may export souvenirs with a value not exceeding 500 birr, although some articles (such as animal skins and antiques) require an export permit.

Electricity

220 volts

Souvenirs

Many antiques cannot be exported and may be confiscated if found in airport searches. The National Museum in Addis Ababa can issue a clearance certificate.

Photography

As a matter of courtesy, permission should be sought before photographing individuals. In many parts of the country, particularly among the Afar and among the ethnic groups living by the Omo River, people will demand a fee.

In some sites (Blue Nile Falls for example) there is a charge for video photography.

 

A) Rates

Tour prices are available on request.

B) Accommodation

According to the preference of clients, we book rooms in hotels ranging from the luxurious, fine first-class and tourist-class hotels in major tourist areas, to simple rustic inns in remote areas, most with private baths.

C) Transportation

We have a fleet of 4WD vehicles for tours to the countryside, coaster buses, minibuses, and deluxe big buses for sightseeing tours in and around Addis Ababa.

D) Guides

English-, French-, Italian-, and German-speaking guides are available. We can provide other languages upon request.

E) Liabilities

  1. Grand Holidays Ethiopia Tours acts only as agents of passengers in all matters relating to accommodation and transportation. However, Grand Holidays Ethiopia Tours shall not be liable for injury, flight schedule changes, and delay, loss or damage arising from any cause and in any manner whatsoever.
  2. The laws of Ethiopia govern the liability of Grand Holidays Ethiopia Tours to passengers carried in its own vehicles, and all claims are subject to the jurisdiction of the court of Ethiopia in which the cause of action arises. All vehicles of Grand Holidays Ethiopia Tours are comprehensively insured.
  3. Grand Holidays Ethiopia Tours reserves the right to employ subcontractors whenever necessary to carry out all or any part of the services agreed to be supplied and in any event of the exercise of such right the terms of clause (ii.) related to Grand Holidays Ethiopia Tours’ liability shall apply.

F) Payment

Payment can be made through bank transfer, in cash, or with credit card. Other methods of payment can be discussed in advance.

G) Cancellation

Grand Holidays Ethiopia Tours will charge a percentage of the tour cost for a cancellation:

a) Up to 30 days before arrival: 25% of the tour price. 
b) From 29 to 14 days before arrival: 50% of the tour price.
c) From 13 days to to the day of arrival: 100% of the tour price.

H) Changes in Service Performances

In the case of considerable modifications to travel services agreed upon in the travel contract that become necessary after conclusion of contract and are not brought about by Grand Holidays Ethiopia Tours contrary to the principles of good faith and trust are only permissible if the modifications are not substantial and do not impair the overall travel arrangements.

Possible warranty claims remain unaffected as far as the modified travel services are impaired by deficiencies.

Grand Holidays Ethiopia Tours is obligated to inform the customer of substantial modifications to travel services immediately after learning about the reasons of the modification.

In the case of a considerable modification to a significant travel service, the customer is entitled to withdraw from the contract free of charge or to demand participation in another trip of equivalent value, provided that Grand Holidays Ethiopia Tours is capable of offering the customer such a trip without extra charges. The customer must assert these rights without delay after being informed by Grand Holidays Ethiopia Tours of the modification to the travel service or the cancellation of the journey.

I) Force Majeure

In the event that the journey is hindered, endangered, or impacted due to force majeure that was not foreseeable at the time of conclusion of contract, both Grand Holidays Ethiopia Tours and the customer are entitled to terminate the contract.

J) Passport, Visa, and Health Regulations

The customer is responsible for attaining and carrying the required travel documents and any necessary vaccinations as well as for adhering to customs and currency exchange regulations. Any penalties due to non-observance of these regulations (e.g. payment of withdrawal costs) are at the customer's expense.

K) Choice of Law and Place of Jurisdiction

The legal and contractual relationship between the customer and Grand Holidays Ethiopia Tours is entirely subject to Ethiopian law.

L) Insurance

We highly recommend buying a travel insurance policy when booking the trip.

Ethiopia — an inexhaustible source of wonder for travelers, a sprawling country with an ancient African civilization, colorful festivals, breathtaking landscapes, diverse tribal culture, and amazingly friendly people

Dating back to the very beginnings of mankind, Ethiopia is old…old beyond imagination. It is also the land of Queen of Sheba, a place of legendary rulers, fabulous kingdoms, and ancient histories. Mother Nature was in a playful mood when she created Ethiopia. The result is a land that varies greatly from one region to the next. With more than 80 languages and some 200 dialects, each ethnic group preserves its own unique customs and traditions.

There are many reasons to visit this fascinating country. Following are only some of them.

Ethiopia, "the Origin of Mankind"

Ethiopia is the earliest known home of humankind. What are believed to be the oldest remains of a human ancestor ever found, which have been dated as being some 5 million years old, were discovered in the Awash Valley in Ethiopia. This recent discovery beats the discovery of "Lucy", a 3.2-million-year-old 40%-complete skeleton of a 20-year-old female Australopithecus Afarensis, which was discovered in 1974 in Hadar, in the Afar region. Registered by the United Nations Education, Science, and Culture Organization (UNESCO) as a World Heritage Site, Hadar is situated 160 kilometers northeast of Addis Ababa. The skeleton is now found in the National Museum in Addis Ababa.

Ancient Culture and Civilization

Ethiopia has the most extensive historic sites in Sub-Saharan Africa. These include the rock-hewn churches of Lalibela, often referred to by many as "a living wonder of the world", and the oldest hominid remains (Australopithecus Ramidus, a new species, 4.4 million years old).

Diverse Tribal Culture and Friendly People

With more than 80 ethnic groups and some 200 dialects, Ethiopia is filled with various cultures preserving their own unique customs and traditions. In the remote mountains and in the Great Ethiopian Rift Valley you will find unique tribes living a lifestyle they were living thousands of years ago. You will also find many of the major religions of the world in Ethiopia. But for all the exotic variety, the people of Ethiopia are as one in their friendliness and hospitality.

Unique Calendar

In 1582 when the rest of the Christian world adopted the Gregorian calendar, Ethiopia stayed with the Julian calendar. With the passage of time, seven and a half years have somehow dissolved in the intervening centuries.

Unique Language and Writing

Ethiopia is the only African country with its own alphabet and numbers that trace their origin back to a very ancient time. The alphabet consists of 33 letters, each with 7 forms.

Diverse Religions

The Ethiopian Orthodox Church is the oldest Christian church in Africa and officially the third oldest in the world. Christianity became the state religion in the Axumite Empire in 330 AD., even before Rome.

Muslim refugees were given asylum in Ethiopia, established communities, and were free to worship before Islam triumphed in its birthplace Arabia.

3000 Years of Independence

Ethiopia is the oldest independent country in Africa with 3000 years of independence.

Origin of Coffee

The story of coffee has its beginnings in Ethiopia, the original home of the coffee plant, coffee Arabica, which still grows wild in the forest of the Ethiopian Western Highlands including Kaffa. Those who can’t face their day without a cup of coffee may be surprised to know that in its birthplace in Ethiopia’s Kaffa region — from which it gets its name — the berries were originally only eaten, never roasted and ground for a drink. Only since the 13th century has coffee has been made as a hot drink. Holding a coffee ceremony is a traditional Ethiopian way of welcoming a guest and giving the guest the best hospitality. It is probably one of the most celebrated and widespread Ethiopian traditions.

Varied Geography

In elevation, Ethiopia ranges from 120 meters below sea level in the harsh salt flats of the Danakil Depression, to the 4624-meter peak of Ras Dashen in the Simien Mountains.

Literary References

Ethiopia was well known to the ancient writers. It is mentioned in the Bible more than 38 times by both Old Testament and New Testament writers. So, in accordance with the Biblical traditions of ancient Israel, Ethiopia is described as the land of "Cush", which was located by the "River Nile" (Gen. 2:13). The Septuagint (The Greek Translation) also describes it with the name of "Ethiopia", which has the same location.

Many historians knew Ethiopia from The Bible and described its geographical location, referring to the south of Egypt, which was populated by both Hamitic and Semitic stocks of people. According to the ancient Egyptian tradition, it was known as the "Land of Punt" located at the end of the world, as well as "Land of Ghost."

Homer (Greek poet of the 8th century B.C.) knew of this historical land and its people when he said "Ethiopia, the land of sun burned face." He described the inhabitants as "the blameless race."

Herodotus (Greek historian, 485–25 B.C.) praised the nation of Ethiopia as "the most just men". The legal Source of Ethiopia starts with the introduction of Judaism to Ethiopia, recorded in the Kebre Negest (The Glory of the Kings). This book focuses primarily upon two historical topics:

  • The birth of Menelik, son of Solomon, the King of Israel, and the Queen Sheba of Ethiopia (970–33 B.C.)
  • The Ark of the Covenant, which was brought to Axum from Jerusalem by the Levites (946–B.C.?)

Ethiopia, then called Abyssinia, has beckoned explorers, writers, and adventure seekers for thousands of years. It's as exotic and exciting as it sounds. After all, this is the land where all began. Now, it's your turn to experience this truly magical land!

Program: Cultural tour to the Historic Route of Ethiopia (Axum and Lalibela)

Tour ID: GHET-035

Duration: 5 Days 

Transport: Air

Activities: Ancient history, age-old culture, breathtaking highland scenery, waterfalls, castles, rock churches, and much more

This is a journey to Ethiopia’s past and present. This cultural tour takes you to the two ancient cities of Ethiopia in Ethiopia’s Historic North. Both are listed on UNESCO’S World Heritage Sites.

Axum is the birthplace of Ethiopian civilization. By the first century, Axum was a major trading center for exotic goods from Egypt, Rome, Nubia, Greece, Syria, and India. The Holy Ark of the Covenant was brought here before the destruction of the temple, and Axum is reputed to be the second Jerusalem.

The rock-hewn churches of Lalibela are some of the world's most incredible manmade creations, commonly referred to by many as one of the “living wonders of the world”. These remarkable edifices were carved out of solid rock in a region where the rugged landscape still protects the churches from mass tourism. The 11 manmade churches in Lalibela are a lasting monument to man's faith in God.

If you only have a couple of days and would like to combine ancient African civilization with a unique cultural experience, this tour is for you!

Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive Addis Ababa

Arrive in Addis Ababa. Afternoon city tour of Addis Ababa.

Overnight: hotel

Day 2: Addis Ababa, Axum

Fly to Axum. Full day to explore the ancient city of Axum. In the afternoon, you will go on an excursion to the pre-Christian temple of Yeha.

Overnight: hotel

Day 3: Axum, Lalibela

In the morning, fly to Lalibela. In the afternoon, visit the first group of rock-hewn churches from 1200 AD.

Overnight: hotel

Day 4: Lalibela, Asheten Mariam

In the morning, take a mule ride and trek to the top of Asheten Mariam Monastery. In the afternoon, visit the second group of rock-hewn churches.

Overnight: hotel

Day 5: Lalibela, Addis Ababa

In the morning, fly to Addis Ababa. For the rest of the day, take a city tour of Addis Ababa which includes the Mercato, Entoto, and Piassa. In the evening, there will be traditional dinner and live cultural dance show. At the end of the farewell dinner, transfer to Addis Ababa airport for the flight back. End of tour.

Overnight: hotel

 

This cultural tour takes you to one of the world's most incredible manmade creations, commonly referred to by many as one of the “living wonders of the world” — the rock-hewn churches of Lalibela. These remarkable edifices were carved out of solid rock, in a region where the rugged landscape still protects the churches from mass tourism. The 11 manmade churches in Lalibela are a lasting monument to man's faith in God.

If you have only a couple of days and you have to choose one site in Ethiopia, this UNESCO World Heritage Site is truly a must-see. 

Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive Addis Ababa

Arrive in Addis Ababa. Afternoon city tour of Addis Ababa.

Day 2: Addis Ababa, Lalibela

In the morning, fly to Lalibela. In the afternoon, visit the first group of rock-hewn churches from 1200 AD.

Day 3: Lalibela, Asheten Mariam

In the morning, go on an excursion to Yimrehane Christos. In the afternoon, visit the second group of rock-hewn churches.

Day 4: Lalibela, Addis Ababa, Departure

In the morning, fly to Addis Ababa. For the rest of the day, take a city tour of Addis Ababa, which includes the Mercato, Entoto, and Piassa. In the evening, there will be traditional dinner and live cultural dance show. At the end of the farewell dinner, transfer to Addis Ababa airport for the flight back. End of tour.

 

 

This cultural tour focuses on ancient history and culture as well as the people and nature on the classic Historic Route of Ethiopia. Among other things, on this tour, you will visit four UNESCO World Heritage Sites as we follow the footsteps of the legendary Queen of Sheba.

As you travel by road on the classic Historic Route of Ethiopia, you will be able to explore more of the country's less-visited beautiful nature and culture as this unfolds in front of you each and every mile you drive. As you start driving from Addis Ababa, you will be passing through many villages and small towns. On this route, you will stop at Jemma River Gorge and you drive through the magnificent Blue Nile River Gorge, Ethiopia’s own Grand Canyon.

Trip Highlights

  • Visit four UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
  • Be amazed by a visit to the rock-hewn churches of Lalibela, one of “the living wonders of the world”. 
  • Explore the ancient city of Axum, the last resting place of the Ark of the Covenant. 
  • Visit the ruins of the Queen of Sheba.
  • Discover the fairytale castles of Gondar.
  • Visit the breathtaking Simien Mountains National Park, “the Roof of Africa”.
  • Discover the ancient island monasteries of Lake Tana.
  • Visit the source of the mighty river, the Blue Nile and Blue Nile Falls.
  • Visit the vibrant city of Addis Ababa.
  • Meet your ancestor Lucy at the National Museum.
  • Visit various lesser-visited sites and meet with the local people. 
  • Try the varied Ethiopian cuisine.
  • Attend an Ethiopian Coffee Ceremony.

Accommodation

Depending on the category of hotel you booked for this trip, you will be staying in either a 3- or 4-star hotel in Addis Ababa. For the rest of the trip to the Historic Route, you will be staying in high-quality hotels or in the best-available tourist-standard hotels, lodges, and resorts, which are selected and inspected by our team regularly.

Planned Hotels

In case these hotels are not available, we will provide accomodation of similar quality and standard.

Comfort:

  • Addis Ababa: Jupiter Bole
  • Bair Dar: Avanti Blue Nile
  • Gondar: Goha
  • Axum: Sabaen
  • Lalibela: Tukul Village

Budget:

  • Addis Ababa: Venetian or Heyday
  • Bahir Dar: Rahnile
  • Gondar: AG-Hotel
  • Axum: Consular
  • Lalibela: Harbe

Tour Guide

This tour will be led by our experienced A-rated friendly cultural tour guides who have led many tours to the Historic Route of Ethiopia and who know the history, culture, nature, and wildlife of Ethiopia well.

Our Drivers

Our drivers are well trained and well travelled in the area. They know all the terrain and the valleys you will be traveling to. They always make sure you are comfortable and safe. They have been rated excellent by many travelers who have been on the road with them for long periods of time.

Transportation

On this cultural tour to the Historic Route of Ethiopia, you will be primarily traveling by coaster bus. We have  excellent condition, well-maintained buses suitable for the road condition you will be traveling on. All our vehicles have air conditioning and seat belts.

*Note: On this trip there will be a domestic flight from Axum to Lalibela and then to Addis Ababa. The domestic flight has to be arranged separately.

Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive Addis Ababa

Arrive in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Welcome to Ethiopia! Upon arrival at Addis Ababa Bole International Airport, you will be welcomed by your tour guide and driver and transported to Jupiter Hotel (4*). The rest of the day, you will have a city tour of Addis Ababa including the National Museum, one of the churches in Addis Ababa, the Piassa, and the Mercato, and you will enjoy the view from Mount Entoto. If you arrive later, the city tour will be on the last day. 

Accommodation: Hotel

Day 2: Addis Ababa, Bahirdar (B, D)

In the morning, drive to Bahirdar through the Great Blue Nile Gorge with a stopover at different small towns like Dejen, Chancho, and Goha Tsion. The Blue Nile Gorge is a majestic and enormous river gorge which has magnificent, alluring physical features and natural beauty. It is referred to by many as “the Grand Canyon of Ethiopia” It’s one of the most captivating gorges in Africa.

Accommodation: Hotel

Day 3: Lake Tana, Blue Nile Falls, Bahir Dar (B, D)

In the morning, we will take boat cruise over Lake Tana to visit the ancient 14th-century island monasteries of Lake Tana. The 37 islands of Lake Tana shelter 20 monasteries — surviving remnants of an old, contemplative tradition. After having lunch at the hotel, we will drive 35 km to visit the majestic Blue Nile Falls.

Accommodation: Hotel

Day 4: Bahir Dar, Gondar (B, D)

After breakfast, drive to Gondar through the beautiful countryside scenery of Fogera to arrive at Gondar around lunchtime. This UNESCO World Heritage Site, founded by Emperor Fasiledas around 1635, is famous for its many medieval castles and the design and architecture of its churches. In particular, Debre Berhan Selassie represents a masterpiece of the unique Ethiopian school of traditional art. This afternoon, you will visit the ancient city.

Accommodation: Hotel

Day 5: Gondar, Simien Mountains National Park (B, D)

After an early breakfast, we will drive to the Simien Mountains National Park. Driving from Gondar up to Simien Mountains National Park, nothing prepares you for the spectacular scenery that awaits you at the top of the massif. The rest of the day, we will take a short trek to explore the surroundings of Sankaber, part of the Simien Mountains National Park, and likely encounter endemic Gelada Baboons. 

Accommodation: Simien Lodge, Buyit Ras

Day 6: Simien Mountains National Park, Axum (B, D)

After breakfast, we will drive to Axum through the beautiful scenery of the Simien Mountains, Limalimo, and the Tekeze River Gorge. On the way from Simien Mountains to Axum, you will have a brief stop at different parts of the park for the best view. You will have a picnic lunch under the shade of the tree past the Tekeze River Gorge whilst enjoying the beautiful Simien Mountains scenery from a distance. 

Past the Tekeze River Gorge whilst enjoying the beautiful Simien Mountains scenery from a distance, you will have a picnic lunch under the shade of a tree and continue driving to Axum.

Accommodation: Hotel

Day 7: Axum, Yeha (B, D)

After breakfast, we will start to visit the ancient city of Axum. This is the birthplace of Ethiopian civilization and the last resting place of the Holy Ark of the Covenant. This morning we will visit the ancient city and explore the ancient steles, the ruins of the palace of Queen of Sheba, and its major attractions. In the afternoon, you will have an excursion to the pre-Christian temple of Yeha.

Accommodation: Hotel

Day 8: Axum, Lalibela (B, D)

After having an early breakfast at the hotel, transfer to Axum airport for your flight to Lalibela. After checking into your hotel, we will drive to the site where we will find a concentration of some of Ethiopia’s most famous rock-hewn churches, referred to by many as one of “the living wonders of the world”. These churches are, and they have been for at least 800 years, an active Christian shrine, the spiritual center of the country’s religious life. The monolithic churches were carved out of a 2,600-square-meter natural rock terrace in the 12th century AD by King Lalibela.

Today, we will visit the first group of rock-hewn churches. In the evening, there will be a traditional Ethiopian coffee ceremony for the group prepared at a local house.

Accommodation: Hotel

Day 9: Asheten Mariam, Lalibela (B, D)

In the morning, take a mule ride and/or walk to the top of Asheten Mariam Monastery, famous for its 12th-century monastery church and beautiful views at 10,298 ft. above sea level. After having lunch and resting at the hotel, you will continue your journey into Ethiopia’s long and marvelous history with a visit to another Lalibela’s remarkable churches. Its architecture and artistry must be seen to be believed!

Accommodation: Hotel

Day 10: Lalibela, Addis Ababa, Departure (B, D)

After breakfast, transfer to Lalibela airport for the flight to Addis Ababa. You will have a city tour now if you did not have one on first day. Flight schedule permitting, there will be a special Ethiopian farewell dinner party with traditional buffet and local drinks. There will also be a live cultural dance show of the different ethnic groups living in the country — the perfect ending to the trip! At the end of the farewell dinner party, transfer to Addis Ababa airport for the flight back. End of tour.

B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner

 

 

Rates on request

Group size: 2–8

Extra night in Addis Ababa:
Double: Budget 70.00, Comfort 110.00
Single: Budget 50.00, Comfort 90.00

Included

  • Roundtrip as per program
  • Transport in minibus or coaster bus with AC
  • All necessary transfers
  • 9 nights accommodation in good hotels (4-star in Addis Ababa) in double rooms
  • All meals as stated in the program
  • All entrance fees
  • Boat trip on Lake Tana
  • English-speaking, qualified national tour guide
  • Farewell dinner (flight schedule permitting)
  • Taxes

Not Included

  • Visa fees
  • Tips
  • Meals not stated in the program
  • Any expenses of a personal nature (drinks, laundry, phone calls, etc.)
  • Domestic flights

Tour Duration

10 days

Please call +0251-116-183163 or e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more information.

OverviewItneraryDates & RatesImage

Isolated for millennia from the rest of the world, the beautiful Omo Valley is home to an exciting mix of many small and distinctive tribal groups. Amongst others, we find the Karo, the Mursi and the Hamer — all of whom have retained their own unique customs and traditions. Lifestyles are as varied as the tribes themselves. Lacking any material culture and artifacts common to other cultures, these tribes find unique ways in which to express their artistic impulses. Both the Surma and the Karo, for example, are experts at body painting, using clays and locally available vegetable pigments to trace fantastic patterns on each other's faces, chests, arms, and legs. These designs are created purely for fun and aesthetic effect, each artist vying to outdo the others. You will witness age-old customs and rituals, learning of the symbolism that remains an integral part of everyday life. 

You can book this tour on any date as an individual journey.

Trip Highlights

Accommodation

Depending on the category of hotel you booked on this trip, you will be staying in either a 3- or 4-star hotel in Addis Ababa, and on the rest of the trip to the Historic Route, you will be staying in high-quality hotels or in the best available tourist-standard hotels, lodges, and resorts, which are selected and inspected by our team regularly.

Tour Guide

This tour will be lead by our experienced A-rated, friendly cultural tour guides who have lead many tours to the Historic Route of Ethiopia and who know the history, culture, nature, and wildlife well. Your guide also will check if there is a colorful market in the area to see. 

Our Drivers

Our drivers are well trained and well travelled in the area. They know all the terrain and the valleys you will be traveling to. They always make sure you are comfortable and safe. They have been rated excellent by many travelers who have been on the road with them for long periods of time.

Transportation

On this cultural tour to the Historic Route of Ethiopia you will be traveling primarily by coaster bus. We have well-maintained buses in excellent condition suitable for the road condition you will be traveling on. All our vehicles have air conditioning and seat belts.

Note: On this trip, there will be a domestic flight from Axum to Lalibela and then to Addis Ababa. The domestic flight has to be arranged separately.

Day 1:  Arrive Addis Ababa

Arrive in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Welcome to Ethiopia! Upon arrival at Addis Ababa Bole International Airport, you will met by your tour guide and driver and transfered to the 4-star Jupiter Hotel.

 

Addis Ababa, founded in 1886 by Menelik II, is situated at 2,500 meters (8000 ft.) above sea level. It is the 5th highest capital city in the world. The city enjoys an excellent climate year-round, with an average temperature of 25C (77F). Addis Ababa is a pleasant city with wide avenues of jacarandas, interesting museums, and one of the largest open-air markets in Africa, known as the "Mercato".

You have a half-day tour and visit the National Museum (to see "Lucy"), one of the churches in Addis Ababa, the Mercato, and enjoy the view from Entoto Mountain.

Overnight: Hotel Jupiter Bole

Day 2: Addis Ababa, Arbaminch, Tia Stele (B, D)

In the morning, we will drive south of Addis Ababa through though Butajira and further south to Tiya, where you will see the southern-most example of a peculiar type of engraved, standing stele that stretch across parts of southern Ethiopia. These steles are believed to have been erected between the 12th and 14th centuries and are almost certainly grave markers. Recent excavations at Tiya have revealed the remains of young people of both sexes, aged between 18–30 and buried in fetal positions. Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the stele field at Tiya today comprises more than 45 stones of up to 2m.

After lunch, we will continue driving to Arba Minch on the way visiting the different small villages of Welyita at Sodo and Alaba at Tembaro.

Overnight: Paradise Lodge

Day 3: Arbaminch, Jinka (B, Picnic Lunch, D)

After an early breakfast, we will drive to Jinka visiting different cultural peoples, including the Konso, and their villages enroute.

The Konso are famous for their old and unique terracing and unusual engraved wooden statues of Konso grave markers. Between Konso and Jinka, will also have brief stops to visit several different cultural peoples and their villages.

Overnight: Omo Eco, Jinka

                                               

Day 4: Jinka, Mago, Mursi, Turmi (B, Picnic Lunch, D)

After having an early breakfast, we will drive from Jinka to Mursi Village. The Mursi, undoubtedly the most celebrated residents of South Omo, are a distinctive group of pastoralists. The Mursi are best known for their unique item of decoration — lip plates. Women of Mursi wear circular clay plates on their lower lip and the bigger a woman can wear, the greater her value when she gets married. 

After our visit to the Mursi Village, we will have our picnic lunch in the Mago National Park and drive to Turmi.

Overnight: Buska Lodge

Day 5:  Turmi, Omorate (B, Picnic Lunch, D)

In the cool morning, we will drive to Omorate to visit the Desanech (Geleb) tribal village after crossing the Omo River by boat. The Desanech are nomadic pastoralists found across the western bank of the Omo River south of Lake Turkana very close to the Kenyan boarder.

In the afternoon, we will drive to Hamer Village. The Hamer, display an elaborate and diverse selection of body decorations. They are also identifiable for their high cheekbones and elaborate custom of beads, cowries, leather, and thick copper necklaces. In the same village, we might enjoy the seasonal cultural activities including the famous Evangadi (Hamer Dancing). 

Overnight: Buska Lodge

 Day 6: Turmi, Arba Minch (B, D)

In the morning, we will start driving back to Arba Minch with brief stops to visit different villages including Erbore and Tsemay.

 

In the afternoon, we will have a boat cruise on Lake Chamo to see some of the biggest African crocodiles. Hippopotamuses and many beautiful aquatic birds including the lovely Kingfisher and African Fish Eagle are also easily seen.

Overnight: Paradise Lodge Hotel, Arba Minch

Day 7: Arba Minch, Addis Ababa, Departure (B, D)

In the morning, we drive back to Addis Ababa enroute visiting different small towns like Shashemene, where Rastafarian culture lives; Ziway and one of the Great Rift Valley Lakes.

In the evening, there will be farewell dinner party with a traditional special buffet and local drinks. There will also be a cultural dance show of the different ethnic groups living in the country — the perfect way to end the trip!

At the end of the farewell dinner, transfer to Addis Ababa airport for the flight back home. End of tour.

Your tour guide will keep the tour flexible in order to include different colourful markets, depending on the dates.

B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner

 

 

Rates on request

Dates Status Availibility  
Jan. 12–18, 2019 Confirmed Available Book Now
Jan. 26–Feb. 1, 2019 Confirmed Available Book Now
Feb. 9–15, 2019 Confirmed Available Book Now
Feb. 23–Mar. 1, 2019 Confirmed Available Book Now
Mar. 9–15, 2019 Confirmed Available Book Now
Mar. 23–29, 2019 Confirmed Available Book Now
Apr. 19–25, 2019 Confirmed Available Book Now
May 3–9, 2019 Confirmed Available Book Now
May 24–30, 2019 Confirmed Available Book Now
June 21–27, 2019 Confirmed Available Book Now
July 19–25, 2019 Confirmed Available Book Now
Aug. 16–22, 2019 Confirmed Available Book Now
Sep. 20–26, 2019 Confirmed Available Book Now
Oct. 18–24, 2019 Confirmed Available Book Now
Nov. 1–7, 2019 Confirmed Available Book Now
Nov. 29–Dec. 5, 2019 Confirmed Available Book Now
Dec. 13–19, 2019 Confirmed Available Book Now
Jan. 3–9, 2020 Confirmed Available Book Now

Rate Includes

  • Roundtrip as per program
  • Transport in minibus or coaster bus with AC
  • All necessary transfers
  • Six nights accommodation in good hotels (4-star in Addis Ababa) in double rooms
  • All meals as stated in the program
  • All entrance fees
  • Boat trip on Lake Chamo
  • English-speaking, qualified national tour guide
  • Farewell dinner (flight schedule permitting)
  • Taxes

Not Included

  • Visa fees
  • Tips
  • Meals not stated in the program
  • All expenses of a personal nature (drinks, laundry, phone calls, etc.)
  • Domestic flights


Tour Duration

The tour duration shown above begins and ends in Addis Ababa. With flights into and out of Addis Ababa, the tour duration may be longer.

please call: +0251-116-183163 or e-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

This 13-day tour takes you on the classic Historic Route of Ethiopia and to the tribes of the Omo Valley. On this trip you will witness the ancient African civilization and well-preserved culture of northern Ethiopia with its breathtaking mountainous landscape and the isolated tribes of the Omo Valley and their unique traditions. 

This tour includes a visit to the major highlights of the Historic North of Ethiopia, the Omo Valley, the Great Rift Valley, the rock-hewn churches of Lalibela, the Simien Mountais, Axum, Gondar, and the major tribes of the Omo Valley (Hamer, Mursi, etc.). This tour covers all the highlights of Ethiopia’s Historic Route and Omo Valley. 

Trip Highlights   

  • Visit five UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
  • Discover one of the living wonders of the world.
  • Explore the ancient city of Axum, the last resting place of the Ark of the Covenant.
  • Visit the fairytale castles of Gondar.
  • Take a boat cruise to visit the island monasteries of Lake Tana.
  • Visit the source of the Blue Nile and the Blue Nile Falls.
  • Explore remote tribal villages in the Omo Valley.
  • Attend cultural activities.
  • Visit courful tribal markets in the Omo Valley.
  • Enjoy a city tour of Addis Ababa.

Accommodation

On this trip, you will stay in a 4-star hotel in Addis Ababa, and on the rest of the trip to the Historic Route, you will be staying in the best available tourist-standard hotels, lodges, and resorts, which are selected and regularly inspected by our team.

Tour Guide

This tour will be led by our experienced A-rated, friendly cultural tour guides who have led many tours to the Historic Route of Ethiopia and Omo Valley and who know the history, culture, nature, and wildlife well.

Our Drivers

Our drivers are well trained and well travelled in the areas. They know all the terrain and the valleys you will be traveling to. They always make sure you are comfortable and safe and have been rated excellent by many travelers who have been on the road with them for long periods of time.

Transportation

On this cultural tour to the Historic Route of Ethiopia and Omo Valley, you will be traveling by coaster bus to the north, and for the southern part, in a comfortable 4x4. We have well-maintained buses in excellent condition and 4x4s suitable for the road conditions you will be traveling in. All our vehicles have air conditioning and seat belts.

Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive Addis Ababa

Arrive in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Welcome to Ethiopia! Upon arrival at Addis Ababa Bole International Airport, you will be welcomed by your tour guide and driven to your hotel. 

For the rest of the day, you will take a city tour of Addis Ababa that will include the National Museum, a church, the piassa, and other parts of the city.

Overnight: Hotel

Day 2: Addis Ababa, Bahirdar (B, D)

In the morning, fly to Bahirdar. At Bahirdar, you will be picked up by your driver and transfered to your hotel. After checking into your hotel, we will take a boat cruise on Lake Tana to visit the ancient 14th-century island monasteries of Lake Tana. The 37 islands of Lake Tana shelter 20 monasteries — surviving remnants of an old, contemplative tradition.

In the afternoon, we will drive 35 km to visit the majestic Blue Nile Falls.

Overnight: Hotel

Day 3: Bahirdar, Gondar (B, D)

After breakfast, drive to Gondar through the beautiful countryside scenery of Fogera to arrive at Gondar around lunchtime.

Gondar, founded by Emperor Fasiledas around 1635, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site famous for its many medieval castles and the design and architecture of its churches. In particular, Debre Birhan Selassie represents a masterpiece of the unique Ethiopian school of traditional art. This afternoon, you will visit the ancient city.

Overnight: Hotel

Day 4: Gondar, Axum (B, D)

In the morning, transfer to Gondar airport for your short flight to Axum. After checking into your hotel, you will visit the ancient city of Axum, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This is the birthplace of Ethiopian civilization and the last resting place of the Holy Ark of the Covenant.

The rest of the day you will explore the ancient city and its major attractions.

Overnight: Hotel

Day 6: Axum, Lalibela (B, D)

After having an early breakfast at the hotel, transfer to Axum airport for your flight to Lalibela. After checking into your hotel, we will drive to the site of some of Ethiopia’s most famous rock-hewn churches, often referred to by many as one of “the living wonders of the world”. These churches are, and they have been for at least 800 years, an active Christian shrine — the spiritual center of the country’s religious life. The monolithic churches were carved out of 2,600-square-meter natural rock terrace in the 12th century AD by King Lalibela.

Today, we will visit the first group of rock-hewn churches. In the evening, there will be Ethiopian traditional coffee ceremony for the group prepared at a local house.

Overnight: Hotel

Day 6: Asheten Mariam, Lalibela (B, D)

In the morning, take a mule ride and/or walk to the top of Asheten Mariam Monastery. This is very famous for its 12th-century monastery church and beautiful view at 10,298 ft. above sea level.  

After having lunch and resting at the hotel, you will continue your journey into Ethiopia’s long and marvelous history with a visit to other of Lalibela’s remarkable churches — their architecture and artistry must be seen to be believed.

Overnight: Hotel

Day 7: Lalibela, Addis Ababa, Langano (B, D)

After breakfast, transfer to Lalibela airport for the flight to Addis Ababa. Upon arrival, we will meet our drivers for the drive to the Great Ethiopian Rift Valley and Lake Langano. While driv