If you are looking for the definitive Ethiopian experience then this is definitely the tour for you. 4 weeks exploring huge amounts of what the country has to offer. Our personal highlight of this trip is the overnight stay on Erte Alla Volcano, this is an unrivalled experience that will live in your memories forever. Amazing This tour simply has something for everyone. Nature, Culture, Unique Architecture, Camping, Lodges, Tribal Visits, a Boat Cruise, Wildlife, Shopping and a whole host of UNESCO World Heritage sites.
Prices from £5125pp based on 2 sharing mid-range accommodation
You will be met at Addis Ababa Bole Airport and transferred to your chosen hotel for 1 nights. On arrival you will be presented with a full detailed and timed itinerary of your tour and you will be given the opportunity to ask any questions you have prior to the start of the tour. For morning flights you have the option of touring the Ethnographic Museum and/or the Mecuto one of Ethiopia's largest markets.
Fly to Bahar Dar on Ethiopian Airlines. Visit the marketplace in Bahar Dar. Take a boat tour on Lake Tana, the source of the Blue Nile, and tour ancient island monasteries.
Drive through the countryside to Gondar. Tour the Royal Enclosure, a UNESCO World Heritage site featuring ﬁve castles built by a succession of Ethiopian Kings beginning in the early 17th century. Having survived several wars, including air raids during World War 2, the castles are a testament to the resilience of this once mighty African Empire. Visit the church of Debre Birhan Selassie, famous for its religious art and especially its iconic ceiling depicting angels.
Drive to Sankabar the gateway to the Simien Mountains National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Take in the spectacular scenery and view wildlife such as the Gelada baboon. Light hiking in the afternoon in the park.
Take a scenic drive to Axum, capital of the ancient Axumite Empire and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Frequent stops at viewpoints along the way. Arrive in Axum late afternoon.
Tour the ancient stelae ﬁelds, standing for 2000 years. Visit the new and impressive Archeological Museum. See St. Mary Tsion Church, which houses the Ark of the Covenant according to the Ethiopian Orthodox Church (no one is allowed to see the Ark.) Visit other tombs and archeological sites as time permits.
Drive to the Gheralta Lodge passing the Adwa battleﬁeld, site of Emperor Menelik II's 1895 victory over the invading Italians. Visit the 2,500 year old ruins of Yeha, an ancient moon temple. Continue past Adigrat and visit Aba Gerima and Petros Paulos, two of the Tigray region's oldest and ﬁnest rock churches.
Visit more of Tigray's remote and ancient rock-hewn churches: Abraha Atsbeha, dating from the 10th century; the beautiful Wukro Chirkos; and Medhane Alem Kesho. Following these vsits continue to Mekele.
Meet support vehicles and drive to Ahmedela via Berhaile. Make camp, and see camel caravans passing against a backdrop of dramatic sunsets.
Visit Lake Asale and watch the salt workers as they cut bricks of salt from the lake bed. The bricks are then sold on the market and loaded on camel caravans for transport to the highlands. Proceed to Dalol and view the dramatic and colorful geological formations caused by the hot springs rich in sulfur, potash, and salt.
Drive to Dodom and then trek 15 kilometers to the Erta Alle volcano lake, 613 meters above sea level. Arrive at Erta Alle around midnight and walk to see the spectacular volcanic eruption. Set up camp and rest.
Return trek to Dodom. Drive to Mekele. Planet Hotel
Drive on a scenic road to Lalibela. Arrive at your hotel in the late afternoon and enjoy the sunset from the terrace.
Tour the magniﬁcent rock-hewn churches of Lalibela, a UNESCO World Heritage site. This group of eleven monolithic and semi-monolithic structures were carved directly into the stone of the mountainside at least 800 years ago. This complex boasts the largest monolithic church in the world, a maze of passageways and tunnels, intricately carved reliefs, and fabulous examples of icon paintings.
Fly to Dire Dawa via Addis Ababa on Ethiopian Airlines. Visit the large and colorful Dire Dawa Market.
Stroll through the 16th century walled city of Harar, the fourth most important city in the Islamic World. See the home of Arthur Rimbuad, renowned French poet who worked and lived in Harar as a "gun-runner" during the 19th century. Visit the National and Harari museums; the house of Ras Mekonnen (father of Haile Selassie); and a traditional Harari home. In the evening see the "Hyena Man" feeding the hyenas that gather nightly outside the town.
Drive to Awash National Park. Take an evening game drive in Awash National Park and visit an area frequented by hyenas.
Drive to Langano, one of the Rift Valley Lakes for relaxation at the Sabana Lodge. Lake Langano is Bilharzia free and safe for swimming and has fantastic birdlife.
Drive to Arba Minch, one of the main towns in Southern Ethiopia. On the way, visit a Dorze Village in the Guge Mountains. The Dorze are known for their tall, beehive-shaped bamboo houses. If the base becomes infested with termites, the entire house can be lifted and moved to another location.
Take a boat trip on Lake Chamo and view some of the largest crocodiles in the world sunning on the banks of the lake. Hippopotami and birdlife are also abundant. Drive to Jinka visiting various peoples such as the Gamo and Derashe. Stop at Key Afar's weekly market (if on a Thursday) and wander among the various tribes such as the Benna and Ari that have gathered to barter their goods.
Early morning drive to the Mago National Park to visit the Mursi people. The Mursi women are known for the clay plates they insert into their lower lips. Time permitting, visit the Omo Valley Museum in Jinka.
Drive to Turmi, home of the Hamer people, stopping to see the various tribes such as the Ari, and the Benna. The Banna are known for decorating their bodies with clay. The Hamer are known for their body decorations and the clay and ochre that they put in their hair.
Excursion to Omorate visiting the Dasanch Tribe. Return to Turmi in the evening.
Drive to Konso, recently designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site. A highland people, the Konso are known for the ancient and intricate terraces that encircle their well-planned villages.
Drive to the lakeside town of Hawassa. Relax and recover from your journey at one of Hawassa's ﬁne resorts.
Drive to the Bale Mountains National Park and meet with park guide. Arrive at the park headquarters in the afternoon, in time for a leisurely afternoon hike, possibly spotting two endemic mammals that frequent the area: Menelik's Bushbuck and the Mountain Nyala. Birds in this area include the Blue-Winged Goose, the Spot-Breasted Lapwing, the Abyssinian Long Claw, the Wattled Ibis, the Black-Headed Siskin, Rouget’s Rail, and numerous other species.
Relax and recover in Bishangari. This area is known for its nature and Birding. Swimming and other activities can also be arranged.
Drive back to Addis Ababa with stops on the way at Rift Valley Lakes. Enjoy a Farewell dinner at a traditional Ethiopian restaurant featuring dancers and musicians representing some of the country’s many ethnic groups. Transfer to airport for late night departure or additional hotel night booked upon request.