LOST CIVILISATIONS, NATURAL BEAUTY AND WELCOMING TRIBES
Ethiopia offers an authentic trip into the past, meeting the oldest hominid, exploring old civilisations that raise questions of their demise and seeing some of the natural beauty that abounds. Old powerful cities will be visited like Addis Ababa, Bahir Dar, Lalibela, Gondar, Axum covering much of the Ethiopian countryside and visiting the Simien Mountains and seeing the famous Gelada baboons. We will also meet the people of Ethiopia: the Dorze, the Konso tribes, the famous Mursi, the Ari tribes and the lovely tribes of the Hamer, the Karo, the Benna and others.
3 to 4 star hotel twin bed shared accommodation – breakfast, lunch and dinner included.
Meet & greet at airport and hotel transfer; transfers and all ground transportation; accommodation twin bed sharing; all meals incl. bottled water & soft drinks; English guide and guide fees; all entry fees where required; Govt. taxes; portage; boat trip on Lake Tana and farewell dinner in Addis Ababa.
- Explore Addis Ababa, Gondar & Axum
- Boat trips on Lake Tana & Lake Chamo
- Rock hewn churches of Lalibela
- Gelada Baboons & Lammergeyer Vultures
- Visit the Doze, Konso, Ari, Mursi & other tribes
- Enjoy the markets of Omo Valley
- Visit the burial place of Haile Selassie
On arrival, explore Addis Ababa, the third highest capital city in the world visiting the National Museum and meeting the 3,5million year remains of the oldest hominid ‘Lucy’. Two major highlights of the city are the Ethnographic Museum and the church of the Holy Trinity, Ethiopia’s main cathedral and home to the remains of the last emperor, Haile Selassie. Overnight Saro Maria Hotel.
Flying North to Bahir Dar we explore Lake Tana and her monasteries by boat. We visit Ura Kidane Mihret church on Zeghie peninsula, with its distinctive colourful paintings of religious scenes, and an impressive display of illuminated bibles written in Ge’ez, the religious language from which Amharic is derived. Later we visit Tississat Falls. Overnight Abay Minch Lodge. Overnight Goha Hotel.
Driving to Gondar we visit 17th century castles and King Fasilidas’s ancient baths at which thousands of Ethiopians celebrate the Timkat festival every January followed by a stop at Debre Birhan Selassie church (Light of Trinity) with its angelic ceiling and murals. This area is a UNESCO Heritage site.
We visit the Simien Mountains and reach a height of 3250m, and explore the Sankaber region of the National Park. We will visit the endemic Gelada baboons and can see Klipspringers, Lammergeyer vultures and bushbuck. Return to Gondar for overnight at Goha Hotel.
We take a flight to Axum, once a powerful port city at the centre of the trading routes as well as the origin of Christianity in Ethiopia and believed to be the resting place of the Ark of the Covenant. View the 330AD ruins of the church of St Mary of Zion and visit the famous monolithic stelae of Axum, the tallest one still standing reaches over 21 meters. The subterranean tombs, stone inscriptions of ancient Axumite kings and the small archaeological museum are also living witness of the ancient Axumite history. We will also visit the ruined palace of the Queen of Sheba who is said to have given birth to Menelik the First, fathered by King Solomon, the founder of Ethiopia’s ruling family until the late Emperor Haile Selassie. Overnight Yeha Hotel.
Fly to Lalibela, also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Visit the rock hewn churches of Lalibela, the “New Jerusalem’, constructed some 800 years ago by King Lalibela and classified as one of the wonders of the world. The most impressive is Bet Giorgis, carved in the form of a Greek cross and exceptionally well preserved. Overnight Mountain View Hotel.
We further explore Lalibela and visit the church of Yimrhane Kristos, a masterpiece of Axumit wood and stone construction renowned for its interior. Visit the remaining rock-hewn churches of Lalibela that include the churches of Bete Gabriel and Rafael, Merkorous, Emanuel and Abba Libanos. Overnight Mountain View Hotel.
Return to Addis Ababa by air. On arrival we will drive directly to Lake Langano and enjoy more of the Rift Valley landscape and the stunning views over the Lakes of Abijatta and Shala. We may visit the Ostrich farm at Abijatta Shala National Park. In the afternoon we will relax on the shore of Lake Langano where we will overnight at Sabana Lodge.
Drive via Arba Minch to the Guge Mountains to visit the Dorze and Chencha Villages. Once warriors, the Dorze have now turned to farming and weaving to earn a living. They speak an Omotic tongue, live in beehive-shaped houses of organic material and the Dorze name is synonymous with the best woven cotton cloth. Some of Ethiopia’s best woven cottons come from Chencha, which is located 8 km northwest of Dorze Village. Return to Arba Minch. Overnight at Paradise Lodge.
Ethiopia has eight cultural heritage sites and Konso where we head today is another we visit. The Konso are pure agriculturists, famed for their use of the stone terraces that they utilise to such good effect in this dry and barren region of basalt hills. The age of each town is classified by a generation pole and each family lives in compounds that are accessible only through gateways that require the visitor to enter on all fours thereby rendering any potential attackers vulnerable. Thereafter we head to Key Afer in the hope of seeing the Ari, Bena, Hamer and Tsemay people and their traditional dress. If we arrive on the Thursday it will coincide with their colourful market. From there we drive on to Jinka, referred to as the gateway to the Omo Valley. Overnight at Eco-Omo Lodge.
It’s the turn of the illustrious Mursi tribes today as we head out early to Mago National Park and the Mursi highlands. The Mursi are known all over the world for their decorative lip plates that adorn the lower lips of the Mursi women as pride and desirability is determined in direct proportion to the size of the plate. The Mursi warriors have deep crescent incisions on their arms that represent each enemy they have killed in battle. Any photographs taken will incur a fee. We return to Jinka for lunch and then visit the Ari Village nearby and the Ari tribe who will demonstrate how they make their traditional alcoholic drinks. Overnight Eco-Omo Lodge.
We will continue driving through the Omo Valley region to Turmi via Dimeka. The Hamer tribe is one of the largest groups in the Valley. The Hamer are farmers producing tobacco and cotton and well known for their fine pottery and interesting hairstyles. Overnight Buska Lodge.
We go from Turmi to the Murulle area. We will visit the Korcho village with beautiful views over the Omo River to see the Karo ethnic group, experts in body painting, using clay and locally available vegetable pigments to paint fantastic patterns on each other’s faces, chests, arms and legs. We will return to Turmi for the night at Buska Lodge.
We return to Arba Minch where we will lunch. In the afternoon we will enjoy a boat trip on clear blue waters of Lake Chamo to see the crocodiles for which it is famed, hippos & aquatic bird species. The lake is about 32km long and provides a lush wetland habitat for many species of flora and fauna.Overnight at Paradise Lodge.
We transfer to the Arba Minch Airport and fly back to Addis Ababa. We will arrive in Addis Ababa in late afternoon and transfer to the Hotel and have a room as a day use in preparation for your return flight. The afternoon is free for shopping. Enjoy a traditional farewell dinner before your flight home.
*$552 single room supplement
International and domestic flights; travel insurance; personal expenses incl. laundry, phone calls, tips, alcoholic drinks (except at the farewell dinner); filming and photographic fees.
Note: Malaria precautions should be taken; Yellow Fever vaccination required if transferring through a South African border.
While everything possible is done to ensure the accuracy of information supplied, all rates and packages published on this site are subject to change as a result of fluctuating exchange rates, seasonal differences, availability and other factors, and cannot be taken as binding on www.tribaltourist.com