29 Days Ultimate Ethiopia Tours

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Itinerary

Day 01: Arrival – Sightseeing Addis (The new Flower)

You will be met upon arrival and transferred to your hotel. Refresh and begin your sightseeing of Addis and drive up to Mount Entoto for a panoramic view of Addis. Descend down and drive to the National Museum where you will have a chance to spot the oldest hominids of ‘Lucy’ fossil. Visit and proceed to the Holy Trinity built during the WWII. Then proceed to the Ethnographic museum, which use to be the palace of Emperor Hailesellase. To wrap up, you’ll drive to the merkato, the biggest market in East Africa. 

Overnight in Addis

Day 02: Drive Addis – Bahir Dar  Via The Town Of Motta & Bichena

This day, after having an early breakfast, we will drive to Bahir Dar passing through the wonderful chain mountains and dense forest of Mount Entoto then after two hours driving, we will be arriving at one of the respected monasteries of Ethiopia. Debre Libanos is a monastery in Ethiopia which is lying northwest of Addis Ababa and it was founded in the 13th century by Saint Tekle Haymanot. We will visit the museums that have a lot of ancient bible collection with religious crosses. Later, we will see the internal parts of the church then we will be passing through the wonderful landscape of Blue Nile George. We will have a stopover at Dejen for lunch then drive to Bahir  Dar.

Overnight Bahir Dar

Day 03: Bahir Dar (Lakeside Town)

After breakfast, you will take a boat cruise on Lake Tana to visit the 14th-century Monastery of Ura Kidane Mihret which is the most famous of the Zege peninsula monasteries. In the afternoon, you’ll drive to the village of Tis Isat to see the Blue Nile falls ((Note that the volume of the water could be minimal because of the construction of the new dam.) 

Overnight in Bahir Dar

Day 04: Drive Bahir Dar – Gondar (The Camelot of Africa)

After having your breakfast, you will begin your journey to Gondar, the Royal Capital of Ethiopia. Gondar was founded in 1636 by Emperor Fassiladas. In the afternoon, you will visit the city of Gondar with the drive to the Castles and Churches built by Emperor Fassiladas and his descendants.  Proceed to the fascinating Debre Birhan Selassie (The Enlightening of Trinity) with Wonderful murals art in Qusquam Church.

Overnight in Gondar

Day 05: Gondar – Excursion to Semien Mountains (122 km 4 – 5 hrs  drive)

Today, you will drive to Buyit Ras, a segment of the Semien Mountain. This is a sight, which is termed as the wildest and magnificent view of all Ethiopian landscapes. The Semien Mountains National park is the only place in Ethiopia registered by UNESCO as a natural beauty.

Overnight Debarq

Day 06:Debarq Axum (Mysterious Monoliths)

After an early breakfast, we will be driving to  Axum. A city more than 2500 years of history, once the center of a great empire and ancient civilization, home of the original Ark of Covenants. Axum is the prime historical site in the northern part of Ethiopia. Take a city tour that includes a visit to the St. Mary’s Church, the sanctuary Chapel which is the repository of the ‘Ark of Covenant’, the coronation yard, Stelae Park, Tomb of Kaleb and his son Gebre Meskel, Ezana’s Inscriptions, Queen of Sheba’s Bath, Queen of Sheba’s palace ruins and Axum Museum.

Overnight in Axum

Day 07: Axum – Hawzen Or Geralta

This day, after breakfast, we will be driving to Hawzen on the way we will stop at the temple of Yeha and the Rock-Hewn Churches Of Tigray (Adikisho Medhanyalem Or Wukero Cherkos).

Overnight in Hawzen or Geralta

Day 08: Hawzen Or Geralta – Mekelle

After having your breakfast, you will visit the monastery of St. Abune Yemata, a 5th-century Monolithic Tigray Church then after a few minutes walk from Maryam Korkor, you can visit the small rock church known as Abba Daniel’s Prayer room. Then drive back to Hawzien.

Overnight in Mekele

Day 09:Mekelle – Dodom – Erta Ale

We drive from Mekele to Dodom. We start an early drive to Dodom (at the base of Erta Ale). Leave after an early breakfast, possible at 07:30. This is maybe one of the worst roads in the world. The 70 km distance may take about 5 hrs passing through changing landscape of solidified lava, rock, sand and occasional palm lined oasis. After you pass several small hamlets scattered here and there in this desert land, Dodom is about 9.5km from Erta Ale and it takes about 3 hrs trekking. Early dinner around 17:00 and trek up to Ertale at 20:00 hours. Camels transport all the camping materials and some food (sleeping materials like light mattresses, mat, and water) to the rim of the volcano, where we spend the night watching the dramatic action of the boiling lava. Erta Ale ranks one of the most alluring and physically challenging natural attractions anywhere in Ethiopia. It is a shield volcano with a base diameter of 30 km and 1km square caldera at its summit. Erta Ale contains the world’s only permanent lava lake. Erta Ale is 613 meters, with a lava lake, one of only five in the world, at the summit. It is notable for being the longest existing lava lake, present since the early years of the twentieth century.

Overnight on the top of the mountain

Day 10: Dodom – Hammedele

Descend from Erta Ale around 9 am to Dodom – Hamd Ela. Leave back to Dodom after an early breakfast, if possible at 07:00. You will reach the camp latest at 10:30 am and have some time to relax. After that, we’ll drive to reach Hamad Ela, a village with a total population of about 500 people.

Overnight camping at Hamedela

Day 11:Hamedela – Mekele

Morning tour Drive to Ragad (Asebo), the place where the localities are mining salt. Look at the activity of breaking the salt from the ground, cutting them into rectangular pieces, and loading them on camels. You drive ahead to Dallol and visit the unique landscape formed by volcanic activity, Dallol + Lake Assal + camel caravans. Excursion to Dallol (116 meters below sea level, one of the lowest places in the world) colorful salt mining, then visit Lake Assal, follow up with camel caravans and walk with the Afar people. Drive back to Hamedela and proceed to Mekele.

Overnight in Mekele

Day 12:Mekele – Lalibela

This day, after breakfast, we will be driving to the town of Lalibela on the way you will see the beautiful landscapes of the Tigray region and you will have a stopover at Alamata to see the markets of the Wello and Tigray people. Later, we will be stopping at Weldya for lunch and we will continue our driving to Lalibela.

Overnight Lalibela

Day 13: Lalibela (The Eighth Wonder of the World)  

You will be transferred to the airport for your flight to Lalibela. Be met upon arrival and transferred to your hotel. The eighth wonder of world Heritage’ Lalibela is famous for its underground rock-hewn cathedrals.  In the afternoon, you will visit the top attractions of Lalibela that will simply stagger you.

Overnight in Lalibela

Day 14: Excursion to Yimrehane Kristos – Drive to Welidya

In the morning, you will take an excursion to visit Yimrehane Kristos, located in a mountain ridge, in the peak of Abuna Yosep. This exquisite church, a masterpiece of Axumite wood and stone construction and renewed for its interior decoration. The walls are subdivided vertically with recessions and projections. In the afternoon, you will visit the remaining churches: Bete Gabriel, Bete Marqorios, Bete Emmanuel, and Bete Aba Libanos.

Overnight in Lalibela

Day 15: Welidya – Awash National Park

After having breakfast, we will be driving to Awash National Park via Mile Serdo Wildlife Reserve and stop for game views as well as in Yangude Rasa National Park. If we will be lucky, we will see some antelopes, ostrich, wild donkey and plenty of birds and later after we stopped for lunch, we will arrive in Awash and our lodge. You will have a chance of seeing some birds and ostrich also then you will enjoy your time with the natural hot springs in the lodge.

Overnight Awash Doho Lodge

Day 16:Awash National Park – Harar 

After having breakfast, you will have more game viewing and sightseeing on your way to Harar. Visit the Hyena man in the evening. 

Overnight in Harar

Day 17: Harar – Dire Dewa

After having breakfast, you will have a city tour in Harar that includes Harari house and museums, with the colorful market, Arthur Rambau’d house, and ancient mosques.  Later in the afternoon, we will drive to Dire Dawa.

Overnight in a hotel in Dire Dawa

Day 18: Dire Dewa – Awash Falls Lodge

After having your breakfast, you will be driving to Awash and you will stay the night at the lodge of Awash waterfalls.

Overnight Awash Waterfalls Lodge

Day 19: Awash National Park Drive – Bale Mountains National Park

After breakfast, we will be driving to Bale Mountains National Park and arrive at the park headquarters. In the afternoon, you’ll hike for an hour possibly spotting two endemic Ethiopia mammals that are frequently seen in the area such as Mountain Nyala and Menelik’s Bushbuck and endemic forest birds. 

Overnight in Dinsho

Day 20: Excursion to Sanetti Plateau and Harrena Forest (100 km 6 – 7hrs drive)

Today, you will have an excursion to Sanetti Plateau, the highest plateau in Africa. Here, you may encounter the endemics of Ethiopian Wolf. Visit and proceed to Harrena Forest, the second dense forest in Ethiopia. 

Overnight in Dinsho

Day 21:Drive to Awassa

Today, after breakfast, we will be driving to the town of Awassa via Shashemne for lunch and for seeing the Jamaican people and later we will arrive in Awassa. In the afternoon, and after checking in at your resort, we will watch Lake Awassa with the stunning sunset views.

Overnight Awassa

Day 22: Awassa – Chencha – Arba Minch 

In the morning, you will visit the fish markets of Lake Awassa and its birdlife then drive to the town of Arba Minch visiting en route the Doreze Village who are experts in weaving cloth called Shammas. The shape of their house looks like an elephant that reminiscence the existence of these animals around the area many years ago. Enset “fake banana” is the staple food for these peoples.

Overnight in Arba Minch

Day 23: Arba Minch – Konso – Jinka

After having your breakfast, you will take a boat cruise on Lake Chamo, the third biggest Lake in Ethiopia. While on the lake, you may have a chance to see the Nile crocodiles, hippos and different types of birds. Proceed to the Bana village. The Banas are indigenous pastoral and semi-nomadic people living in the harsh environment of lower Omo Valley. The men often have their hair dressed up with a colorful clay cap that is decorated with feathers. Later, we’ll drive to the Ari people, the largest population in the Lower Omo Valley. The women wear skirts from the banana-like tree, called Enset and are experts in pottery.

Overnight in Jinka

Day 24: Drive Jinka – Mago – Jinka – Turmi

Today is an excursion day to Mago National Park to visit the Mursi village. The Mursi are one of the exotic ethnic groups in Ethiopia. They live in very low huts made of straw leaves. The women like to wear terra cotta on their enormously stretched lower lips and ear lobes. Drive back to Jinka for lunch then proceed to the Turmi where the Hamer people live.

Overnight in Turmi

Day 25: Excursion to Karo

This day, you will drive to Murulle where you can find the Karo people.  Karo people are very famous for their splendid body decoration. They paint their bodies and faces with white chalk to prepare for a ceremony. The women scar their chest believing it makes them beautiful. The men’s scars represent an enemy or dangerous animal killed. Visit and proceed to Nyangatom people, 17 km away from the Murulle area. To adore their long and lean bodies, the Nyangatom women wear numerous necklaces and long skirts from goatskins that are richly decorated.

Overnight in Turmi

Day 26: Turmi – Omorate

After breakfast, we will be driving to the small village of Omorate near to the Kenyan border and we will show you the tribes of Dasenach, one of the Omo Valley tribes which live near the river shore of Omo. Later, we will go back to Turmi and if there is a tribe market, you visit that too.

Overnight in Turmi

Day 27: Turmi – Konso – Arba Minch

We will be driving to Konso village today, one of the UNESCO sites in Ethiopia known by their terracing. One of the best types of coffee in the country is also from this village.

Overnight in Konso

Day 28: Arba Minch – Addis Ababa

After breakfast, you will be driving back to Addis Ababa. On the way, you will see the UNESCO site of Tiya.

Overnight in Addis Ababa

Day 29: Addis Ababa Departure

This day, you will have shopping time in Addis then in the evening, you’ll attend a folkloric dinner where you will have a chance to taste several national dishes and watch dances of the various ethnic groups of Ethiopia. The traditional coffee ceremony will also be served.  Later, you will be transferred to the airport for your departure.

What you can expect during your visit

  • Face masks required for travelers in public areas
  • Face masks required for guides in public areas
  • Hand sanitizer available to travelers and staff
  • Social distancing enforced throughout the experience
  • Regularly sanitized high-traffic areas
  • Transportation vehicles regularly sanitized
  • Guides required to regularly wash hands
  • Regular temperature checks for staff