Adventure Associates

Ethiopia is a journey of discovery to the lands once traversed by caravans of the Queen of Sheba. Few nations, if any, can boast the historic splendour of Ethiopia. From its rock-hewn churches, still places of living worship, to the ancient historical traditions and magnificent cultures.

Ethiopia, is a nation of surprises, full of diversity and contrast, from the ancient to the modern. Legend has it that Emperor Menelik I, the son of the Queen of Sheba and King Solomon, brought the Ark of the Covenant from Jerusalem to Aksum, where he settled and established one of the world’s longest known, uninterrupted monarchical dynasties

Our journey is one of ease and comfort and full of fascinating cultural legacies. It is a tour offering superb value and over and above the extensive sightseeing programme, we have included virtually all meals, leaving little additional expenditure throughout the tour.

We look forward to you joining us on this spectacular tour, designed especially for our direct clientele. Your camera will capture images never to be forgotten.

  • Exploring the south Omo and learning about the amazing ethnic groups
  • Walking in the wild alpine meadows of Bale Mountain in search of the elusive Ethiopian wolf
  • Seeing the Rift Valley and its extraordinary string of gem-like lakes abundant in birdlife
  • Discovering all the clusters of  rock-hewn churches in and around Lalibela 
  • Viewing the Gheralta escarpment and its cluster of rock-hewn churches
  • Sitting in the breathtaking Simien Mountains surrounded by Gelada (bleeding heart baboons)
  • Walking the grounds of Gondors ancient castles
  • Visiting the historical giant stelae field of Axum
  • Admiring the monasteries of Lake Tana and The Blue Nile Falls


6 September to 2 October 2020

DURATION27 days/26 nights
PRICES per person

US$8,490 twin share rate

US$9,490 single rate

GROUP SIZE4 to 12 Guests
Adventure Associates Escort
local English speaking guide
All Accommodation at the best available lodges
All Meals as specified
All transfers, sightseeing, boat trips, domestic flights and touring as indicated
Bottled water
Entrance fees sightseeing tours/park entry fees
All currently applicable service charges and taxes
International air-tickets and taxes
Guide gratuity
Excess baggage on any flight
Vaccination costs
Passport or Visa fees
Travel Insurance
Items of a personal nature such as drinks, laundry
Any other meals or sightseeing not specified in the detailed itinerary

Additional information


Days 1-2

Join Addis Ababa (2355m)

On arrival in Addis Ababa you will be met at the airport by a representative of Adventure Associates and transferred to the group hotel.  We spend the remainder of the day sightseeing in the capital, and visit the Fistula Hospital.

 – Addis Ababa, Ethiopia’s sprawling capital in the highlands bordering the Great Rift Valley, is the country’s commercial and cultural hub. Its National Museum exhibits Ethiopian art, traditional crafts and prehistoric fossils, including replicas of the famous early hominid, “Lucy.” We will also visit the burial place of the 20th-century emperor Haile Selassie, and the copper-domed Holy Trinity Cathedral, a neo-baroque architectural landmark. B,L,D


Day 3

Addis Ababa – Jinka

Following breakfast we take a flight south to Jinka. After checking into our lodge we will visit the Ari village. Ari people are privileged to have the largest territory of all the tribes in the area. They have the most fertile land for growing coffee and corn. The women are known for selling pottery and wearing skirts made from banana trees. B,L,D


Day 4


Today we visit the South Omo Museum which contains cultural displays from the 16 different ethnic groups living in the region. After lunch, experience the famous Saturday market in Jinka, which is the largest in the region. The predominant ethnic group here is the Ari, however it also attracts a variety of ethnic groups including Banna, Mursi and sometimes Bashada all attending to exchange their products.  B,L,D


Day 5

Jinka – Turmi (925m), drive 2-3 hrs

After breakfast we drive to Turmi via Key Afer, and check in to our Lodge. Late in the afternoon we will visit the Hamar village. The Hamar women are striking; wearing beautiful colorful beaded skins, ornate necklaces, and metal bangles around their wrist and ankles. Famous for their hairstyle — a crown of long dread-lock braids covered in ocher, these women are the most colorful of the Omo people. The Hamar are known for their unique custom of “bull jumping,” which initiates a boy into manhood. First, female relatives dance and invite whipping from men who have recently been initiated; this shows their support of the initiate, and their scars give them a right to demand his help in time of need. The boy must run back and forth twice across the backs of a row of bulls or castrated steers, and is ridiculed if he fails. B,L,D


Day 6

Turmi – Konso (1650m), drive 3-4 hrs

Today we drive to Konso. Known for its stone wall village and cultural landscape, Konso society is largely agricultural involving the irrigation and terracing of mountain slopes. It is recognised for it’s communal and sustainable terrace system which is registered by UNESCO. Staple crops include sorghum and corn, with cash crops including cotton and coffee. Cattle, sheep, and goats are raised for food and milk. Their village is also well known for traditional wooden totem “waka” as a symbol of grave marks for their clan chief and warriors. Although there are today marked differences in customs between the Konso and their Oromo neighbours, Konso society has also retained some commonalities with traditional Oromo culture. The latter include the gadaa generation-grading system of social organisation, similar high priests and a cult of phallicism. Polygyny is an accepted practice among the Konso. B,L,D


Day 7

Konso – Arba Minch (1285m) 

En-route to Arba Minch we take a boat trip on Lake Chamo. Lake Chamo is one of the lakes of the famous Rift Valley with a surface area of 317 km2the lake is fringed with beds of Typha (Cattail). It is fed by the Kulfo River and several small streams as well the overflow from Lake Abaya. During the boat ride, we will have the opportunity to spot Hippo, Nile crocodile and aquatic birds. In the afternoon we continue to Arba Minch. B,L,D


Day 8

Arba Minch –  Dorze Village (2300m)

Today we explore the Dorze Village located in the Guge Mountains. The Dorze occupy the Eastern edge of the Gamo Highlands above Lake Abaya, about 2600m above sea level. The Dorze people are famous for their unique beehive houses built from bamboo tree, dancing, traditional weaving and authentic life style. We take lunch at Dorze Lodge and then take a picturesque walk overlooking the Rift Valley and its lakes. Today happens to be the ETHIOPIAN NEW YEAR (11 September), and we will celebrate over dinner this evening. B,L,D


Day 9

Arba Minch – Lake Mangano (1585m), drive 4-5 hrs

Today we journey to the Hara Lodge, located on the shore of Lake Langano, another of the Rift Valley lakes. En-route we stop in Sodo town for lunch. On arrival we check-in to the lodge, and afterwards explore the area which is rich in bird and other wildlife. B,L,D


Days 10-12

Lake Mangano – Bale Mountains (3000m), drive 6-7 hrs

Enroute to the Bale Mountains we visit the park’s headquarters and hope to see two endemic mammals, the Mountain Nyala and Menelik’s bush buck. Afterwards proceed to the Bale Mountain Lodge via the Sanetti Plateau where we spend the next two days. Bale Mountain National Park also contains the Harenna forest, situated to the south of the mountains, which is a largely unexplored area thought to contain many undiscovered species of reptile and a wealth of birds including the endemic white-backed black tit, Abyssinian catbird and woodpecker. The park offers some wonderful trekking opportunities and the largest population of Ethiopian wolves is found here. Other mammals we might see are olive baboon, guereza monkey, bushbuck and if we are lucky the Bale monkey. B,L,D


Day 13

Bale Mountains – Addis Ababa, drive 6-7 hrs

Early morning drive to Hawassa via the beautiful countryside of Bale and Arsi massifs. Then we take an afternoon flight back to Addis Abba. B,L,D


Day 14

Addis Ababa – Lalibela

After breakfast we take a morning flight to Lalibela, on arrival transfer to our accommodation. We have a little time to rest before lunch at the hotel. In the afternoon visit the Southern cluster of the rock-hewn churches. Lalibela was the 3rd capital of Ethiopia from 11th to 13thcentury and it was during this period that King Lalibela excavated the magnificent rock-hewn churches (an official 8th Wonder of the World). B,L,D


Day 15

Lalibela – Yemrehanne Kirstos Monastery, drive 2-3 hrs

Lalibela is one of Ethiopia’s holiest cities, and a centre of pilgrimage. The population of Lalibela is almost completely Ethiopian Orthodox Christian. Ethiopia was one of the earliest nations to adopt Christianity in the first half of the fourth century, and its historical roots date to the time of the Apostles. The churches themselves date from the seventh to thirteenth centuries, and are traditionally dated to the reign of the Zagwe dynasty King Gebre Mesqel Lalibela.

Following breakfast we visit the northern cluster of rock churches, here we find the famous church of Saint George. After lunch, we drive through the picturesque Lasta mountains to the monastery of Yemrehanna Kirstos. This ‘cave church’ predates the rock-hewn churches of Lalibela, and is one of the most beautiful and colorful of the cave churches. Built from marble, wood it is beautifully decorated from inside and outside with remarkable architectural skill. The cave also contains many mummified bodies of pilgrims from centuries gone. B,L,D


Days 16-18

Lalibela – Gerhalta, Tigrai region – drive 9-10hrs

It will be a very long 9 -10 hour drive north to Gerhalta. The scenary during the drive is stunning, and will more than make up for the long journey.

The Tigray region is homeland to the Tigrayans, Irob and Kunama people. We take time to explore the Tigrai rock-hewn churches that are unique and predate those of Lalibela. Many Tigraian churches are carved into what were exisiting caves or crevices in impregnable-looking cliff faces. We hope to explore the Abune Yemata at Guh, Abuna Adraham Debre Tsion and the Teka Tesfai cluster of churches. B,L,D



Day 19

Gerhalta – Axum (2131m), drive 5-6 hrs

After breakfast we drive to Axum via Adigrat, and on the way take time to explore the Temple of Yeha. This is the site of the famous Temple of the Moon, Ethiopia’s oldest standing structure. It is also famed for it’s amazing rectangular stone temple, the oldest known sacred site in Ethiopia dated from around 500 BC. In the afternoon we reach the historic city of Axum. B,L,D


Day 20

Axum – Limalimo (2950m), drive 6-7 hrs

There is much to see in Axum. After breakfast we visit the Axum obelisks; the largest single pieces of stone standing anywhere in the world and a UNESCO listed site. We also visit castles of former monarchs, the Axum Museum and Mariam Sion Church – built on the site of Ethiopia’s first church AD, Palace of Sheba and the Pundit stelae field, King Evan’s inscriptions and the tombs of Kings Kaleb and Gebre Meskel. Following lunch we travel by road to Limalimo Lodge. The drive to the lodge is especially scenic as we travel through the lowlands of the Tekezze Valley and the Semien Mountains National Park. B,L,D

21 -22

Days 21-22

Semien Mountains (highest peak 4550m), drive 1 hr

In the morning, we will take a walk in Limalino searching for birds and gazing at the awe inspiring views. We take lunch at the lodge before the drive to Semien Mountains National Park via Debark, and Sankaber at 3230 metres. The Semien Mountains National Park is a UNESCO listed World Heritage Site and we will spend our days here exploring the exceptional mountainous scenery, and viewing the endemic fauna and flora along the way. It is here that the Gelada Baboon (bleeding heart Baboon) is found. B,L,D


Day 23

Semien Mountains – Gondar (2133m), drive 2-3 hrs

Following breakfast we take a final walk to see the Gelada Baboons and then drive to Gondar. On arrival we check in to the lodge and in the afternoon visit the castle compound and Debre Birhan Sellassie church. Gondar was the first capital city of the Ethiopian empire, which began in 1632 with the reign of King Fasilledes. In Gondar there are dozens of castles built by various emperors over the course of 236 years. Our time in Gondar includes visits to the palaces, residences and open air baths of King Fusillades; (UNESCO listed), the monasteries of Qusquom, and the church of  Debre Berhan Sellassie (Light of the Trinity) with its 16th century paintings and frescoes, which is located at the summit of a hill and surrounded by fortified walls. B,L,D


Day 24

Gondor – Bahir Dar (1800m), drive 3-4 hrs

Today is MESKEL CELEBRATION DAY (27 September)– to commemorate the finding of the true Cross over which Jesus Christ was crucified. A Bonfire will be burned as part of the celebration accompanied by singing and chanting of the believers. In the morning we experience the celebration, before driving to Bahir Dar. Along the way we will stop at the Bezawit Palace area for great views of the Blue Nile River leaving Lake Tana. B,L,D


Days 25-26

Bahir Dar – Lake Tana – Blue Nile Falls, drive 1-2 hrs

In the morning we will drive 32 km southwest of Bahir Dar, to the small town of Tiss Abay, along the way there is an abundance of birdlife and so have your camera at the ready. On arrival in Tiss Abay we will walk for about 30 minutes to the Blue Nile Falls. The falls are estimated to be between 37 and 45 meters high, consisting of four streams that originally varied from a trickle in the dry season to over 400 meters wide in the rainy season. The falls isolate the ecology of Lake Tana from the ecology of the rest of the Nile, and this isolation has played a role in the evolution of the endemic fauna of the lake. In the evening we take a boat trip to the point where the Blue Nile River leaves Lake Tana. Here we may spot Hippo and other wildlife such as aquatic birds as the sun sets.

The following day we will take a boat excursion in Ethiopia’s largest water body, Lake Tana (3,600 sq km) to visit the monasteries of Ura Kidane Mihret and Azwa Mariam which are found on the largest peninsula of the lake. These monasteries are known for the colourful frescoes of religious scenes, different ancient types of crosses, paintings, murals and an impressive display of illuminated Bibles written in Ge’ez, Ethiopia’s oldest language. In the afternoon fly back to Addis Ababa and enjoy a final group dinner. B,L,D


Day 27

Depart Addis Ababa

Our final morning in Addis Ababa before transferring to the airport for your return flight home. B

Please note: The proposed itinerary is just a guide and changes could be made due to domestic flight schedule changes and hotel availability.

Daniel Ademe Tire

Daniel is the Managing Director of our partner company in Ethiopia and will be our guide on tour, he is also passionate about delivering a quality travel experience. Daniel has a vast knowledge of all aspects of Ethiopia, having been a high school teacher prior to developing an interest in tourism. The combination of his knowledge as a teacher, travel consultant and a naturally gregarious personality, makes him the ideal tour guide. Daniel has travelled widely, attending workshops and training sessions in Africa and other parts of the world, as well as obtaining his MA degree in Social Anthropology at Addis Ababa University, deepening his knowledge of the diverse cultures and peoples of Ethiopia. Daniel’s vision is to provide an authentic experience of his country, conserve the fragile environment, and to help boost the income of local communities through sustainable travel practices.


Sue Werner

Sue graduated as a veterinary nurse before embarking on a more adventurous life as a professional outdoor guide. Over the past 25 years she has worked as an expedition leader, photographer and tour guide. Throughout that time she has been at the cutting edge of developments in adventure travel, mainly specialising in Antarctica and the High Arctic. Her enthusiasm has taken her to many remote corners of the world, including Ethiopia, Madagascar, the Amazon, Africa and the Himalaya. Spending three months living in Grytviken, working for the South Georgia Heritage Trust and was a highlight of Sue’s career. In January, 2015, Sue purchased Adventure Associates and continues to plan even more exciting journeys to remote destinations.

How to Book

To ensure your place on this exciting adventure, please contact us to reserve a place 02 6355 2022 or , then complete the Adventure Associates Booking Form and return to us with your USD 1000 per person deposit.

Deposit required per person:US$1000 per person
Balance due:75 days prior to departure
If booking within 74 days of departure:Full payment must be made.

Reservations are established when you receive written confirmation and acceptance of the deposit and Booking Form. Travel insurance is strongly recommended at the time of booking.


Cancellations must be advised in writing to Adventure Associates. Cancellation charges are subject to regulations of airlines, coach and tour operators, hotels and other principals involved. If it is necessary to cancel your arrangements, the following non-refundable charges will apply.

More than 100 days prior to departureUS$500 per person
Between 99 and 75 days prior to departureFull loss of deposit per person
Between 74 and 31 days prior to departure75% of tour cost per person
On or within 30 days prior to departureNo Refund

If the cancellation charge is more than your advance payment you remain liable for the difference. For these and other reasons mentioned above you are strongly recommended to take out Travel Insurance. Once the Land Tour has departed there will be no refund for any unused portions of the trip.

Tour Reviews

5.00 based on 3 reviews
September 22, 2018

If it is anything like the Madagascar trip it will be fantastic!

October 21, 2019

Travelled with Daniel & Sue in September 2019 through Ethiopia. I had memories of seeing an National Geographic article on Ethiopia/Abyssinia as a child and when the opportunity arose I jumped at it. The trip was outstanding- scenery/wildlife/people/culture/accommodation/food/company. When one can only complain about the perforations in the toilet paper – one knows it was an outstanding Journey. I can only congratulate Sue for finding Daniel and her organisation of the whole journey. Best parts were possibly seeing Ethiopian Wolves/walking with bands of Geladas/ viewing the Meskel ceremony in Bahir Dar, the numerous church paintings, Gondar castles and the lalibela chuches. Thanks Sue for this wonderful opportunity.

December 7, 2019

Ethiopia is unlike any other African country I have ever visited and full of surprises. Sues comprehensive coverage gave us a window into the lives of the local people as well as the fascinating history that shaped the country. According to Daniel our gentle and knowledgeable guide, September was a great time to see the country, as it was lush and green at the tail end of the wet season. I was especially glad to have travelled on the 27 day Ethiopia – Ancient Abyssinia trip Adventure Associates offered. There was so much to learn about the mountain wildlife, the tribal peoples and their traditions in the south and the ancient history of remarkable rock-hewn churches and religious festivals of the north.
Our driver Solomon was exceptional and safe, we had several flights to ease the distances. Sue chose delightful accommodation in all the places we stayed and mostly all meals were included. One of the secrets of the itinerary was that in many cases we had 2 to 3 nights in the one place which is a huge bonus in my opinion.
Truly an extraordinary adventure, thank you Sue, Daniel and Solomon.

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