Adventure Associates

Ethiopia’s ancient north 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. Your camera will capture images never to be forgotten.

  • 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


18 September to 2 October 2020

DURATION15 days/14 nights
PRICES per person

US$4,990 twin share rate

US$5,690 single rate

GROUP SIZE4 to 12 Guests
Adventure Associates Escort
local English speaking guide
All Accommodation
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


Day 1

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.

 – 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. L,D


Day 2

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, following lunch visit the South cluster of the rock churches. Lalibela was the 3rd capital of Ethiopia from 11th c – 13th c, 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 3

Lalibela – Yimrhane 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 Yimrhane 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


Day 4

Lalibela – Gerhalta, drive 9-10hrs

Today we start early as we have a long drive north to Gerhalta. The views of the mountains during the drive are stunning, and more than make up for the long journey.  B,L,D


Days 5-6

Gerhalta, Tigray region

Tigray is the homeland of the Tigrayans, Irob and Kunama peoples, its capital is Mek’ele. We take time to explore the Tigrai rock churches, that are unique and pre date those of Lalibela. We also explore the  Abune Yemata at Guh and Mariam Korkor churches. We will then break for lunch at the lodge and in the afternoon visit the churches in the forest, and the Teka Tesfai cluster of churches. B,L,D


Day 7

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 8

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

9 -10

Days 9-10

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 11

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 12

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

Today is MESKEL CELEBRATION DAY– 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 13-14

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 15

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 2 reviews
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 both trips 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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