Adventure Associates

Ethiopia northern highlights 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


September to May

Due to the ongoing conflict in Ethiopia all of our tours have been suspended until it is safe to travel again.

DURATION 15 days/14 nights
PRICES per person

US$7,190 twin share rate

US$7,990 single rate

GROUP SIZE Private tours    2+
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 (altitude 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. You will spend the day in Addis Ababa exploring the many sites of capital, and experience an authentic Ethiopian cooking class and coffee ceremony.

– 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.

Overnights: Zeist Lodge  B,L,D


Day 2

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


Days 3-4

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



Day 5

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


Day 6

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



Days 7-8

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



Day 9

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



Day 10

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


Day 11

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


Day 12

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


Days 13

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


Days 14

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


Day 15

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 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 departure US$500 per person
Between 99 and 75 days prior to departure Full loss of deposit per person
Between 74 and 31 days prior to departure 75% of tour cost per person
On or within 30 days prior to departure No 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 Northern Highlights
Ethiopia South to North

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