Best of Ethiopia, 29 days
This tour is a
combination of a 14 day tour to the north and a 14 day tour to the south, with
an addition of Harar and Awash National Park sites in the east.
Day 1 (Sa) Addis Ababa
guides will meet you and you will be transferred to your hotel for check-in. We
will spend the first day in Addis Ababa. Depending on your time of arrival we
will take you on a half day or full day city tour to visit some sites; like the
Ethnographic Museum, National Museum, Trinity Cathedral, Mercato (the largest
market in Africa) and the Entoto Hills just outside Addis Ababa.
Day 2 (Su) Addis Ababa
- Bahir Dar
will have an early breakfast in Addis Ababa before heading for a long drive to
the north. This journey leads us through the rolling hills of the Ethiopian
Highlands where a lot of agricultural activity is carried out. We will enjoy
the natural beauty of the Blue Nile Gorge on the way before reaching Bahir Dar.
Day 3 (Mo) Bahir Dar
we will go on a boat trip on Lake Tana to explore some of the beautiful
churches. Before that we will head to the source of the Blue Nile to see
hippoes and birds.
It takes about an hour by boat to reach Zeghe
Peninsula. Once there we will visit the famous church of Uhre Kidane Mehret. We
will then enjoy a walk on the forested peninsula to the other churches and
might even meet monkeys and exotic birds on the way. On the other side of
peninsula, a boat will take us to Kibran Gabriel Island (unfortunately women
are not allowed). Finally, we will go back to Bahir Dar in
the late afternoon. And at the end of the day we will enjoy the panoramic view
and sunset from Bezawit Hill.
Day 4 (Tu) Bahir Dar -
After an early
breakfast we drive for about one hour to reach the small village of Tissisat.
Here we enjoy a lovely walk in the cooler morning hours. We cross the Nile by
the 17th century Portuguese Bridge and continue the walk to the falls, meeting
local people on the way. After admiring the falls we cross the Nile by small
boat to find our car waiting for us. We willl head back to Bahir Dar for lunch
and proceed to our next destination Gondar.
Day 5 (We) Gondar -
We will spend the
morning to visit the highlights of Gondar: the Royal Enclosure,
Fasilidas Bath and Debre Birhan Selassie, the church with the angel faces
painted on the ceiling. After lunch we proceed towards the Simien Mountains
encountering spectacular scenery on the way as a good preparation for tomorrow.
Day 6 (Th) Simien
will spend the whole day today enjoying the beauty of the Simien
almost guaranteed that we will see the gelada baboon, although the walia ibex
and the Ethiopian wolf are much more difficult to locate.
is possible to add any number of days for additional hiking in the Simien
Day 7 (Fr) Simien
Mountains - Axum
long but spectacular day takes us to Axum. Just outside Debark we will head down
Lima Limo road until we finally cross the Tekeze River gorge. The scenery there
is just beautiful.
Day 8 (Sa) Axum
In Axum, we will take you in the
footsteps of the famous Queen of Sheba and Ezana, the emperor who converted to
Christianity. You will see the spectacular stelae of Axum and visit the Maryam
of Tsion churches which unfortunately is not open to woman. You can experience
the rest of the day visiting other sites or have a leisure time.
Day 9 (Su) Axum -
we continue our journey through the breathtaking scenery of Tigray. We will visit the Yeha Temple
- the oldest structure found in Ethiopia on the way. A small detour that leads
us to the Abreha Atsheba church - one of the best examples of the rock-hewn
churches of Tigray. It is also possible to visit Debre Damo, the monastery on
the top of a cliff only accessible by a 15 meter long rope and unfortunately open
for only men.
Day 10 (Mo)
Mekele - Lalibela, 335 km/ ~7,5 hr
long but mesmerizing drive takes us to the best part of your visit to Ethiopia
- Lalibela. If the day goes as planned we
might have time to visit Yemrehane Kristos church en route.
Day 11/ 12 (Tu/We)
12th century rock-hewn churches are the legacy of King Lalibela. History says
that it’s his visit to Jerusalem that inspired him to build the 11 churches. Therefore
to take it all in, we need a full day to get a good impression of these truly
amazing places of worship. It is also possible to add additional days to
explore more of Lalibela, excellent hiking opportunities are available.
Day 13 (Th) Lalibela -
Harar (by plane to Dire Dawa)
Today we will take two
domestic flights to reach Harar. A 45 minute flight takes us to Addis Ababa and
later that day a one hour flight will take us to Dire Dawa where our
driver will be waiting for us to take us to Harar. This journey is about 55
km long and will take close to 1.5 hrs.
Day 14 (Fr) Harar
The city of Harar is a fascinating
town to explore. We will go through the maze like layout of this 4th holiest
town of Islam. There are many mosques and shrines to discover and it is a
lively town too. The Harari market is popular. In the evening we will see the
Hyena man, feeding the hyena by hand. You can give it a try if you dare.
Day 15 (Sa) Harar -
We will first travel
on the mountainous and fertile areas, famous for their coffee and qat. Later
on, we will head to the plains of the Rift Valley and Awash National Park. In
the late afternoon we go out for our first game drive in the park.
Day 16 (Su) Awash NP
This is a day to
explore Awash National Park.
Game drives and walks are available to encounter the wildlife and enjoy the
scenery. You are likely to see the beisa oryx, kudu, defassa waterbuck,
Soemmering's gazelle, warthog and baboon. The park is also a great place for
(if you want to
explore more of the park you might add another day)
Day 17 (Mo) Awash NP -
Today we leave the
park behind for our next destination. En route we will stop at Lake Ziway for
some birdwatching. You can take the afternoon for leisure. However we would
like to take you to the Shala-Abiata National Park, these twin lakes offer
great scenery and abundant birdlife. Overgrazing by cattle seriously damaged
the area and few larger mammals are found now, but it is still worth a visit.
Day 18 (Tu) Langano -
We leave the resort to visit the Senkele Game
Sanctuary. Here we will get the chance to see the endemic Swayne's hartebeest
and other savanna animals.
Day 19 (We) Arba Minch
(visit Dorze and Nech Sar NP)
will travel 36 km from Arba Minch to the highland town of Chencha enjoying the beautiful
sceneries of Lake Abaya and Lake Chamo on the way. We will then visit the Dorze
people in their famous beehive like huts. We will watch the preparation of
their staple food made of false banana and of course we will indulge in
their food as well. After a relaxing lunch, we will depart for a boat trip on
Lake Chamo where you can witness big crocodiles, water birds and hippopotamus.
Day 20 (Th) Arba Minch
Today we will travel
further south and traverse the areas where Konso, Tsamay, Banna and Ari people live.
We will visit the Thursday market of Key Afar, one of the biggest
in the region. Banna, Ari and Tsamay people travel from far to attend this
market. A wide selection of goods and fresh produce is sold here. After
visiting the market we proceed to Jinka.
Day 21 (Fr) Jinka
(visit Mursi and Ari people)
Today we explore more
of the area around Jinka. In the morning we will go to the Mago National Park
on our way to probably the most well known people of the Omo Valley: the Mursi.
After about a 2 hour drive, we will reach one of the villages where the Mursi
people live. We will then head back to Jinka for lunch and visit the Ari
people in the afternoon. The Ari people adopt a more 'western' lifestyle and
live on small compound where they grow a selection of crops.
Day 22 (Sa) Jinka -
Today, we will first
visit the museum at the South Omo Research Centre and then proceed to Dimeka,
where Saturday is a market day. Just like the other markets its open from
morning until the evening. At the market, you will find mainly Hamar people but
also Karo, Bashada and Banna travel here too. After visiting the market we
proceed to Turmi. During our stay in Turmi we might be lucky to witness an
Evangadi dance or maybe even a Bulljumping ceremony.
Day 23 (Su) Turmi
(visit Dassanech and Hamar people)
the morning, we will drive to Omerate at the east bank of the Omo River, about 72
km/ 1,5 hr from Turmi. We will cross the Omo River by local canoe to visit one
of their villages, this is the area where the Dassanech people live.
Day 24 (Mo) Turmi -
Before departing for
Yabello, we will enjoy a walk around Turmi to explore the area on foot. When there's
no water running in the Keske River (most of the time) we follow the riverbed
and find almost always the black and white colobus monkey and many kinds of birds.
After the walk will drive and visit an Arbore village on the way. After
lunch we visit the Konso people with
their maze like villages and terraces for agriculture. They are also well known
for their Waga stelae, grave markers for the brave and important men of the
people. The cultural landscape of Konso is the youngest World Heritage Site of
Day 25 (Tu) Yabello
(visit 'singing well' and El Sod)
Yabello is the
heartland of the Borana people - pastoralist
who travel around with their camels and cattle. They live in semi arid savanna
and with their "singing wells" they provide water for both the
animals and themselves when water elsewhere is absent. You might be lucky to
witness the chain of people bringing the water up, meanwhile singing to keep
the spirits up. The crater of El Sod with a salt lake at the bottom offers
great scenery and a challenging walk down (and up again) to see the harvesting
process of the salt.
Day 26 (We) Yabello -
we will travel into the fertile hills of Yirgalem, where a lot of the famous
Ethiopian coffee is grown. We will stay the night at the Aregash Lodge situated
at a coffee plantation. The lodge is a fine example of an eco-lodge. The huts
are built in the same style as the surrounding Sidamo people. Delicious organic,
home grown, food is served in the restaurant. It is a great place to spend an
Day 27 (Th) Yirgalem -
Goba 274 km/ ~5 hr
On our way to
the Bale Mountains we visit the
fish market in Hawassa. We will enjoy a beautiful walk in the surrounding area.
Here we have a very good chance to see the endemic mountain nyala and Menelik's
bushbuck. After the walk we proceed to Goba.
Day 28 (Fr) Goba
(visit Bale Mountains NP)
The whole day today is
spent to explore the Bale Mountains. This is going to be a day of extraordinary
scenery and of course we continue our search for endemic species of which many
are found in this area. Among them the Ethiopian wolf and many endemic birds.
Day 29 (Sa) Goba -
We are leaving the
mountainous area behind to travel down to the bottom of the Rift Valley again
by a different, very scenic road, via Asela. The last day of your unforgettable
visit to Ethiopia brings us back to Addis Ababa.
will have a complimentary dinner at a cultural restaurant to enjoy Ethiopian
food, traditional music and dance from all over the country. After diner we will
take you to the airport for your flight back home.