Adventure Associates

 Ethiopia Ancient Abyssinia

– A boutique adventure to an ancient land of wonders

We are thrilled to offer an amazing journey of discovery to the Horn of Africa; lands which were once traversed by the caravans of the Queen of Sheba. Few nations, if any, can boast the historic splendour of Ethiopia, with its rock-hewn churches of living worship and traditions. 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.

We have assembled a superb mix of features and attractions for this adventure – including the Bale and Simien Mountains and the colourful Omo Valley. Our journey is one of ease and comfort, full of fascinating cultural legacies. It is a tour offering exceptional value. Over and above the extensive sightseeing programme, you’ll have very little additional expenditure throughout the journey.

We look forward to welcoming you!

HIGHLIGHTS
  • 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 Aksum
  • Admiring the monasteries of Lake Tana and The Blue Nile Falls

DEPARTURE/RETURN LOCATIONAddis Ababa – Ethiopia
DEPARTURE DATES

6 September to 2 October 2020 (2 places still available)

25 April to 21 May 2021

5 September to 1 October 2021

DURATION27 days/26 nights
PRICES per person

2020 prices

US$8,490 twin share rate

US$9,490 single rate

2021 prices

US$9,490 twin share rate

US$10,990 single rate

GROUP SIZE2 to 12 Guests
INCLUDED
Adventure Associates Escort with 6 + guests
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
1 x Bottle of water per person per day
Entrance fees sightseeing tours/park entry fees
All currently applicable service charges and taxes
NOT INCLUDED
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

DestinationEthiopia
1-2

Days 1-2

Join Addis Ababa (altitude 2355m)

On arrival you will be met at the airport by a representative of Adventure Associates and transferred to the group hotel. We will spend these days exploring the capital and be treated to an authentic Ethiopian cooking class and coffee ceremony. We also plan to visit the Fistula Hospital.

Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital (also known as “Hamlin Fistula Hospital“) and its regional Hamlin Fistula Centres provide comprehensive care for women who suffer from incontinence, physical impairment, shame and marginalisation as a result of an obstetric fistula. The hospital was created by the Australian obstetrician and gynaecologists Catherine Hamlin and her husband Reginald Hamlin to care for women with childbirth injuries and has been in operation since 1974.

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 fossils, including replicas of the famous early hominid, ‘Lucy’. We also visit the burial place of the 20th-century emperor Haile Selassie and the copper-domed Holy Trinity Cathedral, a neo-baroque architectural landmark. 

Overnights: Zeist Lodge  B,L,D

 
3

Day 3

Addis Ababa – Jinka

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

Overnight: Eco Omo Lodge  B,L,D

 
4

Day 4

Jinka – Turmi

This morning we visit the South Omo Museum, which contains cultural displays from the 16 different ethnic groups living in the region. After lunch, we drive to Turmi and on the way visit a Banna village.

Overnight: Turmi Paradise Lodge  B,L,D

 
5

Day 5

Turmi – Omorate – Turmi

After breakfast we drive to Omorate and visit the Dassanach people. The Dassanach are traditionally pastoralists, but in recent years have become agro-pastoralist, which means they grow crops and raise livestock. Back to Turmi for lunch and in the late afternoon we visit the Hamar village. The Hamar women are striking, wearing beautiful colourful 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 ochre. These women are the most colourful of the Omo people. The Hamar are known for their unique custom of “bull jumping,” that 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.

Overnight: Turmi Paradise Lodge  B,L,D

 
6

Day 6

Turmi – Konso – Arba Minch

Today we drive to Arba Minch and on the way visit Konso. Known for its stonewalled village and cultural landscape, Konso society is largely agricultural, involving 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 totems “waka”, used to mark graves of their clan chief and warriors. Although today there are marked differences between the Konso and their Oromo neighbours.

Overnight: Arba Minch Paradise Lodge  B,L,D

 
7

Day 7

Arba Minch – Lake Chamo – Dorze – Arba Minch

Today 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 km2. The lake is fringed with beds of Typha (Cattail). During the boat trip, we will have the opportunity to spot Hippo, Nile crocodile and aquatic birds. We will also journey to 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 lifestyle. We take lunch at Dorze Lodge and then take a picturesque walk overlooking the Rift Valley and its lakes.

Overnight: Arba Minch Paradise Lodge  B,L,D

 
8

Day 8

Arba Minch – Lake Langano

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 Shshamene for lunch and transfer into 4WDs. After checking into the lodge, we can explore this water sanctuary, which is rich in bird and other wildlife.

Overnight: Hara Lodge  B,L,D

 

 
9

Day 9

Lake Langano and Chitu Crater Lake

This day is dedicated to exploring more of the Rift Valley lakes. We will take a drive to Chitu Crater Lake. The lake is nestled within a tuff explosion crater that formed some 10,000 years ago due to volcanic activity. The surface of the 20m deep Lake stands a full 80m below the crater rim and its saline algae-rich shallows harbour a semi-resident flock of 10,000-20,000 flamingos.

Overnight: Hara Lodge  B,L,D

 
10-12

Days 10-12

Lake Langano – Bale Mountains (altitude 4000m)

En-route to the Bale Mountains we visit the park’s headquarters and hope to see two endemic mammals, the Mountain Nyala and Menelik’s Bushbuck. We proceed to the Bale Mountain Lodge via the Sanetti Plateau where we spend the next two days. Bale Mountain National Park contains the Harenna forest, a largely unexplored area situated to the south of the mountains and 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 and if we are lucky the Bale monkey.

Overnights: Bale Mountain Lodge  B,L,D

 
13

Day 13

Bale Mountains – Goba – Addis Ababa

After breakfast we drive back across the beautiful countryside of Sanetti Plateau and take an early afternoon flight from Goba back to Addis Ababa.

Overnight: Zeist Lodge  B,L,D

 
14

Day 14

Addis Ababa – Mekele – Wukro – Gheralta

After breakfast we take a morning flight to Mekele and then drive to Gheralta. On the way we visit the Wukro Chirkos church, a semi-monolith that juts out from a low cliff and is one of the most accessible rock-hewn churches in Tigray. Time permitting we also plan to visit the Wukro Archaeological Museum, famous for its incredibly well-preserved 2,800-year-old Adi Akaweh sacrificial altar, which was discovered as recently as 2007 and ranked amongst the ten most significant ancient artefacts from Ethiopia.

Overnight: Korkor Lodge  B,L,D

 
15-16

Days 15-16

Gheralta – Tigray region

The scenery of Gheralta and the Tigray region is stunning. The Tigray is the homeland of the Tigrayans, Irob and Kunama people. We take time to explore the Tigray rock-hewn churches that are unique and predate those of Lalibela. Many Tigraian churches were carved into the existing caves and crevices of impregnable looking cliff faces. We hope to explore the Abune Yemata at Guh, Abuna Adraham Debre Tsion and the Teka Tesfai cluster of churches. We will also take some time to just relax around the lodge and admire the breathtaking view.

Overnights: Korkor Lodge  B,L,D

 

 
17

Day 17

Gheralta – Aksum (altitude 2131m)

After breakfast we drive to Aksum via Adigrat, and on the way stop to explore the Temple of Yeha -site of the Temple of the Moon, Ethiopia’s oldest standing structure. It is also famed for its 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 Aksum and will visit the obelisks, the largest single pieces of standing stones anywhere in the world and a UNESCO listed site. Time permitting we also plan to visit the Aksum Museum and Mariam Sion Church – built on the site of Ethiopia’s first church AD. The Palace of Sheba; Tombs of Kings Kaleb and Gebre Meskel.

Overnight: Yared Zema Hotel  B,L,D

18

Day 18

Aksum – Limalimo (altitude 2950m)

There is much to see in Aksum, so if we missed some of the sites on the previous day, we will have a little time this morning before driving to Limalimo Lodge. This drive is especially scenic, travelling through the lowlands of the Tekezze Valley and then climbing up into the Simien Mountains National Park.

Overnight: Limalimo Lodge  B,L,D

 

19-20

Days 19-20

Simien Mountains (highest peak 4550m)

During these two days we spend our time exploring and viewing the endemic fauna and flora of the Simien Mountains National Park at over 3200 metres. The Simien Mountains National Park is a UNESCO listed World Heritage Site with exceptional mountainous scenery. It is here that the Gelada Baboon (bleeding heart Baboon) is found.

Overnights: Limalimo Lodge  B,L,D

 

21

Day 21

Limalimo – Gondar (altitude 2133m)

Following breakfast we drive through the beautiful countryside to Gondar. On arrival we will have lunch and then the rest of the afternoon will be spent visiting the castle compound of Fasil Ghebbi UNESCO World Heritage Sites and Debre Birhan Sellassie church (Light of the Trinity) with its 16th century paintings and frescoes. 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.

Overnight: Myleko Lodge  B,L,D

 

22

Day 22

Gondar – Lalibela

In the morning we will take a flight to Lalibela. After lunch we visit the Southern cluster of the rock-hewn churches – Lalibela was the 3rd capital of Ethiopia from 11th to 13th century and it was during this period that King Lalibela excavated the magnificent rock-hewn churches an official 8th Wonder of the World.

Overnight: Mezena Lodge  B,L,D

23

Day 23

Lalibela – Yemrehanne Kirstos Monastery

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 Yemrehanne Kirstos. This ‘cave church’ predates the rockhewn churches of Lalibela, and is one of the most beautiful and colourful of its kind. Built from marble and wood, it is beautifully decorated both inside and out with remarkable architectural skill. The cave also contains many mummified bodies of pilgrims from centuries past.

Overnight: Mezena Lodge  B,L,D

24

Day 24

Lalibela – Gondar – Bahir Dar

We fly back to Gondar and continue driving to Bahir Dar. Along the way we will stop at the Bezawit Palace area for vast views of the Blue Nile River and Lake Tana.

Overnight: Kuriftu Resort B,L,D

25

Days 25

Bahir Dar – Blue Nile Falls 

In the morning we visit the Blue Nile Falls a 32 km drive southwest of Bahir Dar, to the small town of Tiss Abay and then walk for about 30 minutes to a viewpoint of the falls – estimated to be between 37m and 45m high, consisting of four streams that originally vary from a trickle in the dry season to over 400m wide in the rainy season.

Overnight: Kuriftu Resort B,L,D

26

Days 26

Bahar Dar – Lake Tana – Addis Ababa

Today 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, various ancient crosses, paintings, murals and an impressive display of illuminated Bibles written in Ge’ez, Ethiopia’s oldest language. In the afternoon we fly back to Addis Ababa and enjoy a final group dinner.

Overnight: Zeist Lodge  B,L,D

27

Day 27

Depart Addis Ababa

The final morning in Addis Ababa before transferring to the airport for your onward 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

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.

Ethiopia Ancient Abyssinia
Ethiopia Diverse South
Ethiopia Southern Highlights
Ethiopia South to North

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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