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.
|DEPARTURE/RETURN LOCATION||Addis Ababa – Ethiopia|
September to May
|DURATION||27 days/26 nights|
|PRICES per person|
US$9,590 twin share rate
US$10,480 single rate
|GROUP SIZE||Independent/Private Tour 2+|
Addis Ababa (2355m)
On arrival in Addis Ababa you will be met at the airport and transferred to the hotel. You will spend the remainder of the day and following 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.” You 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
Addis Ababa – Jinka
Following breakfast take a flight south to Jinka. After checking into the lodge you 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
Today you will 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
Jinka – Turmi (925m), drive 2-3 hrs
After breakfast drive to Turmi via Key Afer, and check into Lodge. Late in the afternoon you can 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
Turmi – Konso (1650m), drive 3-4 hrs
Today 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
Konso – Arba Minch (1285m)
En-route to Arba Minch 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, you will have the opportunity to spot Hippo, Nile crocodile and aquatic birds. In the afternoon continue to Arba Minch. B,L,D
Arba Minch – Dorze Village (2300m)
Today 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. After lunch take a picturesque walk overlooking the Rift Valley and its lakes. B,L,D
Arba Minch – Lake Mangano (1585m), drive 4-5 hrs
Today journey to the Hara Lodge, located on the shore of Lake Langano, another of the Rift Valley lakes. En-route stop in Sodo town for lunch. On arrival check-in to the lodge, and afterwards explore the area which is rich in bird and other wildlife. B,L,D
Lake Mangano – Bale Mountains (3000m), drive 6-7 hrs
Enroute to the Bale Mountains 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 you 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
Bale Mountains – Addis Ababa, drive 6-7 hrs
Early morning drive to Hawassa via the beautiful countryside of Bale and Arsi massifs. Then take an afternoon flight back to Addis Abba. B,L,D
Addis Ababa – Lalibela
After breakfast take a morning flight to Lalibela, on arrival transfer to your accommodation. There is 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
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 visit the northern cluster of rock churches, here you find the famous church of Saint George. After lunch, 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 colourful 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
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. 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. Depending on time you can explore the Abune Yemata at Guh, Abuna Adraham Debre Tsion and the Teka Tesfai cluster of churches. B,L,D
Gerhalta – Axum (2131m), drive 5-6 hrs
After breakfast 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 you reach the historic city of Axum. B,L,D
Axum – Limalimo (2950m), drive 6-7 hrs
There is much to see in Axum. After breakfast visit the Axum obelisks; the largest single pieces of stone standing anywhere in the world and a UNESCO listed site. You will ] 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 travel by road to Limalimo Lodge. The drive to the lodge is especially scenic as you travel through the lowlands of the Tekezze Valley and the Semien Mountains National Park. B,L,D
Semien Mountains (highest peak 4550m), drive 1 hr
In the morning, you will take a walk in Limalino searching for birds and gazing at the awe inspiring views. After lunch at the lodge, 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 you will spend your 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
Semien Mountains – Gondar (2133m), drive 2-3 hrs
Following breakfast take a final walk to see the Gelada Baboons and then drive to Gondar. On arrival check into 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
Gondar – Bahir Dar (1800m), drive 3-4 hrs
In the morning see a little more of Gondar, before driving to Bahir Dar. Along the way you will stop at the Bezawit Palace area for great views of the Blue Nile River leaving Lake Tana. B,L,D
Bahir Dar – Lake Tana – Blue Nile Falls, drive 1-2 hrs
In the morning drive 32 km southwest of Bahir Dar, to the small town of Tiss Abay, along the way there is an abundance of birdlife, so have your camera at the ready. On arrival in Tiss Abay you 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 you may spot Hippo and other wildlife such as aquatic birds as the sunsets.
The following day you 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 dinner. B,L,D
Depart Addis Ababa
Your final morning in Addis Ababa before transferring to the airport for your return flight home. B
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.
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.