Ethiopia

Tour Highlights

Ethiopia (known as the “Birthplace of the Human Race”) has a long and rich history, 9 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, stunning landscapes, cultural diversity and fascinating traditional tribal groups. 
In fact, last year the European Council on Tourism named Ethiopia the World’s Best Tourist Destination.

We will explore the 12th-century rock-hewn churches in Lalibela, the ruins in Aksum (reputed home of the Queen of Sheba), the scenic mountains and valleys in Simien National Park and the amazing tribes of the Oma Valley. In the village of Ari we’ll meet potters, blacksmiths and women grinding grain, and enjoy a taste of bunaketele - a delicious drink made from coffee, chillies and lemongrass. 

*** This adventure of a lifetime is suited only for the fit, active and adventurous traveller. 
*** The group size is guaranteed to be under 20.
*** Ethiopia is still quite primitive and outside the capital of Addis Ababa hotels are simple, roads are rough and food choices might be limited. 

Tour Highlights

  • Labial plated women of the Mursi tribe 
  • 14th-century island Monasteries of Lake Tana
  • Simien Mountains National Park (UNESCO Site) 
  • Rock hewn churches of Lalibela (UNESCO Site)  
  • The ornate body decorations of the tribesmen in Desanech (Geleb) tribal village
  • Ancient kingdom of Aksum (UNESCO Site) 
  • Lake Chamo – huge crocodiles and colourful birds  
  • Konso Village (UNESCO Site) - famous for their grave markers and hardwood statues of the deceased 
  • Traditional Ethiopian coffee ceremony at a local house
  • Special Ethiopian Farewell Dinner with traditional food and a cultural dance show

Tentative Itinerary

We depart on our direct flight to Addis Ababa. Upon arrival we are met and transferred to our hotel.
Ethiopia’s modern capital is the country’s commercial and cultural hub. On our city tour we will visit the market and Selassie Cathedral.
We fly to Jinka in the Omo River Valley, home to 8 different tribes that have lived here for centuries. In the afternoon we visit the Jinka Ethnographic Museum and Ari village, where we will meet potters, blacksmiths and women grinding grain.
We drive to a Mursi Village to meet the most celebrated residents of South Omo, known for their unique item of facial adornment - lip plates. The women of Mursi wear circular clay plates in their lower lip (the bigger plate a woman can wear, the greater her value when she gets married). Then we depart for Turmi, stopping enroute to visit the Bena people.
We cross the Omo River by boat and visit the Desanech (Geleb) tribal village. Later we meet the Hamer tribe whose diverse selection of body decorations include beads, cowries, leather and thick copper necklaces.
We depart for Arba Minch, stopping at the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Konso Village. The Konso are famous for their unique terracing grave markers and hardwood statues carved to mimic the deceased.
This morning we enjoy a boat cruise on Lake Chamo to see some of the largest African crocodiles, hippos and beautiful aquatic birds including the Kingfisher and African Fish Eagle. Later we visit a Dorze Village.
We fly to Bahir Dar, home to the vast inland Lake Tana and origin of the Blue Nile.
We take a boat ride on Lake Tana to visit two of the ancient 14th-century island monasteries. The 37 islands of Lake Tana shelter 20 monasteries - surviving remnants of an ancient tradition.
We drive to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Simien Mountain National Park in northern Ethiopia. The rugged and beautiful terrain of escarpments, deep valley gorges and a high plateau is home to rare Walia ibex and Gelada baboons.
Today we explore the Simien Mountains. Along with the local baboons we will enjoy stunning views from Sankaber and Jimba River Falls. The panoramic views of sheer cliffs and the lowlands below are breathtaking.
We drive to Gondar. Founded in 1635 by Emperor Fasileda, this magnificent UNESCO World Heritage Site is famous for its many medieval castles and often referred to as the “Camelot” of Africa.
We take a short flight to Aksum. Known for its tall, carved obelisks and relics of the ancient Kingdom of Aksum, this city is the birthplace of Ethiopian civilization, and the reputed home of the Queen of Sheba.
We fly to Lalibela, a UNESCO World Heritage Site known for its distinctive rock-hewn churches dating from the 12th and 13th centuries. The churches are pilgrimage sites for Coptic Christians that are still active today. We will visit the subterranean monoliths carved out of rock, including the enormous Bete Medhane Alem, and cross-shaped Bete Giyorgis. This evening we enjoy a traditional Ethiopian coffee ceremony at a local house.
We continue our visit of the second group of rock-hewn churches, many of which are joined by tunnels and trenches with bas-reliefs and coloured frescoes inside. In the afternoon we transfer to the airport for our flight back to Addis Ababa.
Today we visit the National Museum, which includes prehistoric fossils with replicas of the famous early hominid "Lucy." Our next stop is the burial place of the 20th-century emperor, Haile Selassie. In the evening we enjoy a special Ethiopian Farewell Dinner Party with traditional food and a cultural dance show. Late tonight we transfer to the airport for our flight home.
We arrive home after a trip of a lifetime!

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