Southern Cultural Route
Depart south from Addis Ababa via Butajira. On the way you will visit the archeological sites of Tiya (ancient stelae field and UNESCO World Heritage Site),Adadi Maryam (a rock-hewn church similar to those in Lalibela) and Melka Kunture (pre-historic tool-making site). Final destination for the day is Awassa. Overnight in Awassa.
In the morning after breakfast, visit the fish market on the shores of Lake Awassa and then proceed driving to Dorze, set in the highlands above Arba Minch. The Dorze people are known for their tall beehive-like houses and their fine cotton weaving. You will visit the village and learn about the daily lives of these industrious people. If today is market day (in Dorze village on Monday and Thursday and in nearby Chencha on Tuesday and Saturday), that will be visited. Overnight in Dorze in traditional Dorze hut (shared toilet facilities) or continue to Arba Minch for overnight.
In the morning, visit the local market in Dorze (Monday and Thursday) or Chencha (Tuesday and Saturday). Afterwards, continue driving to Arba Minch. In the afternoon, take a boat trip on Lake Chamo to visit the “crocodile market” and the local hippos. Overnight in Arba Minch.
After breakfast, depart from Arba Minch to Turmi. On the way you will pass through the village of Weyto (market day Saturday), which is home to the Tsemai tribe. Continue through the Weyto Valley to Erbore, where you will have a brief visit to a local Erbore village (market day is Saturday). Finally, proceed to Turmi, home of the Hamer tribe. At night, you can see the traditional night dancing of the Hamer tribe, known as evangadi. Overnight in Turmi .
In the morning, take a day trip to Omorate to visit the Dassenech tribe. Here you will cross the Omo River by local boat and enter a Dassenech village. Afterwards, return to Turmi (Monday is market day) for a visit to a local Hamer village. If there is Jumping of the Bulls traditional Hamer coming-of-age ceremony, that will be visited. Overnight in Turmi.
Depart for Jinka, via Dimeka and Key Afar. Tuesdays and Saturdays are market days in Dimeka, which is one of the most colorful markets in the area and is visited by many tribes, including Hamer, Benna and Karo. Afterwards, continue to Jinka. Overnight in Jinka.
In the morning, drive through the Mago National Park to a local village of the Mursi tribe. The Mursi are known for their lower lip and earlobe plates. In the afternoon, after returning to Jinka, you can visit the South Omo Museum & Research Center to learn more about the local tribes. Alternatively, take a hike in the surrounding hills to visit a local Ari village. Overnight in Jinka.
After breakfast, depart from Jinka to Konso, via Key Afar. Thursday is market day in Key Afar, where you will see the Benna and Tsemai tribes trading goods. This is another very popular market in the region. After the visit, proceed to Konso (market days are Mondays and Thursdays). The Konso people are known for their wooden statues, known as wakas, which are erected in honor of dead heroes as well as their innovative agricultural terracing. Today you will have the opportunity to visit a local village and the cultural museum displaying many waka statues. Time permitting, you can also visit the “natural New York Village”, named after the tall sand formations resembling skyscrapers. Overnight in Konso.
After breakfast, depart from Konso to Lake Langano. On the way you will visit the Senkele Wildlife Sanctuary, which was established to protect the endemic Swayne’s Hartebeest. Continue to Lake Langano. Overnight at Lake Langano .
After a morning swim in the lake, depart north to Addis Ababa. On the way, you may visit the Abiatta-Shala National Park. Lake Shala, with its deep blue waters is the deepest lake in Ethiopia at 236m. Lake Abiatta is a soda lake at which thousands of flamingos can be seen at various times of the year.
End of the tour
Northern Historical Routes
Bahir Dar – Gondar – Simiens – Axum – Tigray – Lalibela
Early in the morning, depart north to Bahir Dar via Debre Markos. On the way visit the Portuguese bridge,said to have been the first bridge in Ethiopia. Afterwards, you will pass through the spectacular Blue Nile Gorge. The gorge extends nearly 400km and reaches depths up to 1500m. Overnight in Bahir Dar.
In the morning, take a boat trip on Lake Tana to visit a selection of the monasteries hidden on the islands and shores of this sacred lake. Visit the Zege Penninsula and the monasteries of Azuwa Maryam and Ura Kidane Mehret and the island monastery of Debre Maryam near the outlet of the Blue Nile River. In the afternoon, drive out to the Blue Nile Falls for a short hike in the area. Finish the day with the sunset over the lake. Overnight in Bahir Dar.
After breakfast, continue north to Gondar. The four-hour drive will take you through rural villages, offering wonderful insight into the Amhara culture. After briefly settling in your hotel, explore the sites of Gondar, including a visit to the Royal Enclosure, with six castles and several other buildings. Additionally, visit Fasilidas’s Pool, still used forTimket celebrations today, Ras Gimb Palace Museum and the Debre Birhan Selassie church, with the most famous ceiling in Ethiopia. Overnight in Gondar .
Depart early in the morning from Gondar (7am at the latest), driving to Sankober. We will stop along the way at Debark to handle park fees, etc. We will drop you near to Buyit Ras for a 3-4 hour hike to Sankober, which passes close to the escarpment edge. Nearing Sankober, you will have beautiful views on both sides of the escarpment ridge and where you will likely see the endemic Gelada baboons. In Sankober, you will be met with your supplies. Overnight camping in Sankober.
From Sankober, depart into a valley, through which the Wazla (or Koba) River runs. (This river is often dry). Coming out of the valley you will have views of the Jinbar River waterfalls falling into the Geech Abyss. Continuing along, you will cross the Jinbar River and ascend into the village of Geech. Total trekking time: 4-5 hours
After an early breakfast, depart from Geech to the peak of Imet Gogo at 3926m. Here you’ll have spectacular views over the lowlands – one of the highlights of the trip. As you continue to Chenek, you will pass Korbete Metia, a solid rock wall which opens up exposing beautiful views over the lowlands and the escarpment. This is also a good place for spotting lammergeyers. Overnight camping in Chenek. Total trekking time: 7 – 9 hours
After breakfast, depart north for Axum, enjoying spectacular views of the Simien Mountains. After stopping for lunch in Adi Arkay, proceed driving through the dramatic Tekeze Valley, offering some of the best landscapes in the country. Proceed to Axum, home of the ancient Axumite Empire, the Queen of Sheba, and the Ark of the Covenant. Overnight in Axum.
Today will be a full day visiting the sites of Axum, including the famous obelisks (one that was recently erected after being returned from Italy) and the archeological museum, the Queen of Sheba’s Bath (which supplies water to Axum year-round), Ezana’s enscription, King Kaleb’s tomb, King Bazen’s tomb, and the Queen of Sheba’s Palace. You can also visit the St. Mary of Zion church, where the Ark of the Covenant is kept. Men only are allowed to enter the old church. Unfortunately, no one (except one specially chosen guardian monk) is allowed to enter the chapel where the Ark is kept. Overnight in Axum.
After breakfast, drive to visit the ruins of Yeha, dating from the 8th to 5th centuries BC, and thought to be the capital of Ethiopian civilization before Axum. Afterwards, visit the Debre Damo monastery, where the men (sorry! No women allowed.) must climb up a 15-m rope to enter. Proceed through the state of Tigray, stopping en-route for a visit to the rock-hewn church of Medhane Alem Adi Kesho. Overnight in Hawsein .
In the morning, visit either Abuna Yemata Guh or Maryam Korkor. Both churches involve an approximate one-hour hike but offer commanding views of the surrounding area. After lunch, continue your visit with the more easily-accessible churches of Abreha we Atsbeha and Chirkos. Afterwards, proceed driving to Mekele for overnight.
Early in the morning, embark on a full day of driving to Lalibela. Here you will pass through several small villages, with typical sandstone homes of the Tigray people. Proceed through this rural area for the stunning approach to the home of Ethiopia’s most prized destination – Lalibela. Overnight in Lalibela .
In the morning, start your tour of the rock-hewn churches of Lalibela, visiting the Northwestern Cluster of churches – Bet Medhane Alem, Bet Maryam, Bet Meskel, Bet Danaghel, Bet Mikael & Bet Golgotha (entry not permitted for women). After lunch, continue with the Southeastern Cluster of churches – Bet Gabriel-Rufael, Bet Merkorios, Bet Amanual, and Bet Abba Libanos. Finally, you will visit the most famous of all the churches – Bet Giyorgis, constructed in honor of the patron saint of Ethiopia – Saint George. Overnight in Lalibela.
After breakfast, visit the nearby monastery of Na’akuto La’ab, set on the side of a cliff. After the visit, proceed driving to Kombolcha via Woldia. On the way you will stop for a rest in Hayk where you can enjoy the views of this stunning lake, visit the local monastery (open for men only) and enjoy the birdlife. Overnight in Kombolcha.
Return driving to Addis via Debre Birhan. On the way you pass the Mezezo Escarpment, with a good chance to see the endemic gelada baboons. If today is a Sunday, you can stop in the town of Senbete to visit the lively market including the interesting camel market.
End of tour
Awash National Park – Babile, Harar and Dire Dawa
In the morning drive to Awash National Park to visit the wonderful bird life and wildlife, such as Onyx, Baboons, greater and lesser Kudu, Warthogs, Gazelles, Colubus Monkeys. Additionally, you’d be very lucky to see Leopards, Lions, and other cats. The landscapes in the park are beautiful, looking over the Awash Gorge Awash Falls.Overnight at Hotel or Lodge in the park
After breakfast drive to Dire Dawa and visit the city. After that drive to Harar. At night visit the Hyena Men who feed the hyenas every night just outside the walls of the city. You can even give a try at feeding the hyenas — with your mouth.Overnight at Harar In the morning, drive out to Babile and the Valley of Marvels. The Valley of Marvels has wonderful landscapes, famous for its balancing rock formations. Additionally, the town of Babile has a very large market on Saturdays and a camel market on Mondays and Thursdays. And we will visit Babile Elephant Sanctuary, before continuing back to Harar,Overnight at Harar
Harar, the medieval walled city, worth of mosques, mints, colorful markets, baskets and center of Muslim learning. Visit the colorful market, house of the French poet Arthur Rimbaud, the grand market, beautifully decorated Harari traditional houses.Overnight at Harar
In the morning, start driving back to Addis, Overnight at Addis Ababa.
End of Tour
Bale Mountain National Park
Early in the morning from Addis Ababa, driving to Bale mountains National Park. Visit many of the endemics like Blue-winged goose, Spot-breasted lapwing, Abyssinian long claw, Wattled ibis, Black-headed siskin, Rouget’ s rail, Banded barbet and of course other species too.Overnight at Goba.
In the morning drive towards Sanete Plateau. While crossing a lush green forest, you will enjoy the Semien Wolves, endemic mammals. Also you will walk slightly down and down across a moorland landscape dotted with white and yellow cushions of flowers, colorful lichen covered rocks and sparse Giant Lobelias. You will visit many water birds in the small lakes.Overnight at Goba.
Morning after breakfast drive to Awassa. Awassa is a bustling Ethiopian town in the heart of the Great Rift Valley.Overnight at Awassa.
After breakfast visit the daily local fish market at lake Awassa.On the way to Addis Ababa You will get the chance to visit Lake Ziway then back to Addis Ababa.
End of Tour
Afar Danakil Depression
Fly to Mekele and drive to Hamdela, Beginning the tour to DanakilDesert. Early in the morning after breakfast transfer to airport to fly to Mekelle and meet the vehicle and guide at the airport and short break coffee bars in Mekelle. Then continue driving to Hamedela. At Berhale where we arrange the permits and police escort. On the way you will also admire some local Tigrean and Afar tribes village and camel caravan carrying the salt bars to transport it to the nearest local town.
In the morning drive to Dodome. Here we will arrange camels to transport your luggage and water, and then you will start hiking to the Erta Ale Volcanic hills (613 meters above sea level) which is 15km one way, and walk to see the volcanic eruption. The eruption is so colorful and spectacular. At night, we will camp nearby the eruption, on the crater rim above the active lava lake.
More excursions in Dodom and drive back to Hamadela Climbing again early in the morning to the rim to see the sun set., then drive to Hamedela. Late afternoon visit camel caravan.
After early breakfast drive to the Lake Asale, salty Lake and visit the salt workers and the merchant, then head to Dallol/Denakil Depression, which listed as the hottest and active place on the earth surface with an average temperature of 40 – 50 degrees Celsius. Then drive back to Mekelle.
Fly back to Addis .
End of Tour
Bole Medhanialem, Cameroon avenue, Oromyia Building , 1st Floor Addis Ababa ,Ethiopia
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