Ref MSA 6140

Safari Highlight : Addis Ababa / Bahir Dar / Gondar / Simien Mountains / Axum / Hawsen / Makele / Lalibela / Arba Minch / Jinka / Turmi / Konso / Addis Ababa

We combine the highlights of Northern and Southern Ethiopia. In the north, we see Blue Nile Falls, Bahir Dar Boat trip on lake Tana with unique island monasteries and nature, Former imperial town of Gondar (UNESCO world heritage site), landscapes of the Simien Mountains with endemic animals (UNESCO world natural site), Former imperial town of Axum with many relicts of a several thousand-year-old civilizations (UNESCO world heritage site), Famous Rock-hewn churches of Tigray in the Gheralta mountains and Lalibela the unofficial 8th wonder of the world (UNESCO world heritage site). In the south, we see Stelae of Tyia (UNESCO world heritage site), Boat ride in Lake Chamo with the Africa’s biggest crocodiles, hippos and numerous bird species, Mago National Park and Omo Valley (UNESCO world heritage site) with unique tribes, Visit of the colourful markets of Key Afer and Dimeka in the Omo Valley, Authentic encounters with locals during visits of several communities, Visit of the Konso region (UNESCO world heritage site)

17 Days out of Africa tour itinerary

Day 1: Addis Ababa city tour

Morning drive to discover the city of Addis Ababa, founded in 1886 by Menelik II and situated at an elevation of around 2438m making it the 3rd highest capital city in the world. It enjoys an excellent climate all year round, with an average temperature of 25°C. Our city tour takes us to visit the National museum housing some of the country’s historic treasures like the 3.5 million year old remains of ‘Lucy’, the oldest hominid ever found. We proceed to 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. Dinner and overnight at Monarch Hotel ( or Golden Tulip Hotel or similar

Day 2: Bahir Dar

After breakfast, transfer to the airport for your local domestic flight to Bahir Dar where you will be met by our team and transferred to your hotel. Later, proceed to enjoy a boat ride on Lake Tana to explore the nearby monastery of Ura Kidane Mihret on the Zege peninsula known for its 14th century, round, grass-roofed churches and their magnificent wall murals, the Azoa Mariam and Ura Kidane Mihret churches. Its architectural styles with mud plastered round wall and a conical thatched roof are typical examples of ancient Ethiopian orthodox churches. The monastery is found hidden in the forest of the Zege peninsula. Ura is especially well known for its fine frescoes, manuscripts, ecclesial objects, such as the crown of various emperors dating from the 14th century, gold and silver processional crosses, silver drums and royal vestments. After lunch, you will drive for some 35km (1hr) to visit the magnificent Blue Nile Falls where water plunges for 45m (148ft). Later, drive back to Bahir Dar and visit the market where you may buy some souvenirs here like jewellery, woven and embroidered garments, ox-horn cups or grass baskets (Agelgil). Bahir Dar is well known for these souvenirs. Dinner and overnight at Kuriftu Lodge ( or Jacaranda Hotel ( or similar

Day 3: Gondar

After breakfast, drive for some 170 kms to Gondar which is a 17th century royal city of Ethiopia, affluent in the imperial structure of a Castle Compound and the spectacularly painted Debre Birhan Selassie Church. After lunch, we visit the royal enclosures of Fassil Ghibe and all the castles of the Gonderian emperors, the famous Debre Berhan Selassie Church, which is completely covered in murals, with the angels’ faces on the wooden ceiling that have become a trademark of Ethiopian art and design. Dinner and overnight at Goha Hotel or Fasil Lodge ( or Gondar Hills Resort or Taye Belay Hotel or similar

Day 4: Simien Mountains National Park

After early breakfast, drive for some 120kms to the Simien Mountains National Park and proceed to Simien Lodge which is the highest lodge in Africa. After lunch, we we shall explore the Simien Mountains National Park. It was declared a UNESCO world nature heritage site in 1996 due to its unique landscape and its endemic fauna the park. It is home to the friendly Gelada Baboons. Proceed to Sankaber (3,220m) and view the impressive scenery with its deep gorges and valleys and the highest waterfall in Ethiopia. You will take a 2-hour walk as we see the Walia Ibex and the Simien fox. Dinner and overnight at Simien Lodge or Limalimo Lodge or Walia Lodge in Debark or Simien Lodge ( or similar

Day 5: Axum

After breakfast, we drive for some 240 kms (7 hours) to Axum city, which has stunning views. It is located at an altitude of 1637m and is considered as a holy city in Ethiopia where Christianity begun over 2000 years ago. The Axumite kingdom was also the cradle of Ethiopian civilization. Dinner and overnight at Sabean Hotel ( or Atranos Fantasy Hotel or Yared Zema International Hotel ( or similar

Day 6: Full day in Axum

Today, you have full day in Axum to visit Axum stelae or obelisks, the largest single piece of stone erected by human beings anywhere in the world, castles of former monarchs, Mariam Tsion Church built on the site of Ethiopia’s first church, the Palace of Queen Sheba, the inscriptions King Ezana and the tombs of the kings Kaleb and Gebre Meskel. Dinner and overnight at Sabean Hotel ( or Atranos Fantasy Hotel or Yared Zema International Hotel ( or similar

Day 7: Hawsen

After breakfast, we drive for 50 kms (1 hour) to visit the temple of Yeha via a town called Adwa where the famous battle between the Ethiopians and Italians tool place in 1896. Yeha was a pre-axumite settlement and is famous for its well-preserved stone temple with 12 m high walls estimated to be 2,500 years old. In the afternoon, we drive for some 150 kms (3 hours) to arrive at Hawsen. Dinner and overnight at Gheralta Lodge ( or similar

Day 8:  Mekele

After breakfast, we either to visit the famous rock-hewn churches of Tigray or do a spectacular ½ day trek on the Gheralta Mountains around Hawzen to explore the churches of Maryam and Daniel Korkor built on top of very high cliffs. The views from the top over the plains of Hawzen are simply breath-taking. After lunch, we may visit the famous historic churches Abreha We Atsbeha as we do a 120km drive to Mekele. Dinner and overnight at Axum Hotel ( or Planet Hotel or similar

Day 9: Lalibela

After breakfast, we drive for 370 kms (8 hrs) through the ever-changing landscapes to Lalibela where we arrive late in the afternoon. Dinner and overnight at Panoramic View Hotel ( or Mountain View Hotel ( or Maribela Hotel or Top 12 Hotel ( or similar

Day 10: Full Day in Lalibela

After breakfast, we shall visit the 11-renowned rock hewn churches of Lalibela which are also known as the “8th wonder of the world”. The churches are physically carved from the rock. Some are sculptured out of a solid volcanic rock, others are connected by long underground tunnel and mazes, while others are quarried enlargements of caves. The first group of 6 churches lies in rock cradles, one behind the other i.e Bet Golgotha, Bet Mikeal, Bet Mariam, Bet Maskel, Bet Dangal and Bet Medhanealem. Bet Medhanealem is the largest rock hewn church in the world and is built like a Greek temple.
After lunch, we will visit the 2nd group of churches located to the south of the river Jordan. The 2nd group comprises Bet Giyorgis which is the most elegant of all the Lalibela churches. Bet Giyorgis is isolated to the south-western part of the village on a slopping rock terrace and can only be reached through a tunnel. The group of 4 churches on the south of the river comprises Bet Emanuel, Bet Mercurios, Bet Aba Libanos and Bet Gabriel & Rufeal. Dinner and overnight at Panoramic View Hotel ( or Mountain View Hotel ( or Maribela Hotel or Top 12 Hotel ( or similar

Day 11: Arba Minch

After breakfast, we visit the Ne’akuto Le’ab Monastery outside Lalibela. After lunch, transfer to the airport for your domestic flight to Arba Minch. In the afternoon, we relax at Haile Resort in Arba Minch with some fantastic scenery including the best spot to view the 2 rift valley lakes namely: Lake Abaya to the north and Lake Chamo to the south. The views from the terrace are spectacular. Dinner and overnight at Paradise Lodge ( or Dorze lodge or Haile Resort or similar

Day 12: Lake Chamo

After breakfast, we visit Dorze people as we enjoy some fantastic scenery including the Wolayta farmlands with views of the lush green hills and valleys. The Dorze village is found high in the Guge Mountains overlooking Lake Abaya and Lake Chamo. In the afternoon, we shal enjoy a boat cruise on Lake Chamo as we search for the Africa’s biggest crocodiles measuring upto 6m long, hippos and a large variety of bird life. Dinner and overnight at Paradise Lodge ( or Dorze Lodge or Haile Resort or similar

Day 13: Jinka

After breakfast, we shall drive for some 240 kms (4 hours) to Jinka. On the way, we shall visit Konso which is a UNESCO Cultural Heritage site, visit the village compound and the local museum and the Konso chief’s compound which includes the family graveyard and house mummies. The Konso people have a rich agrarian culture of constructing ingenious terraces and walls that encircle their fields and villages for protection against livestock and flooding. We shall arrive at Jinka in the late afternoon. Dinner and overnight at Jinka Resort or Eco-Omo Lodge ( or similar

Day 14: Mago National Park / Turmi

After breakfast, we shall drive for some 2 hours to visit the Mago National park as we see different mammals and birds enroute. Later, proceed to Muris to visit the Mursi tribe and their villages. Their women use huge round lip-plates for beauty reasons. After lunch, we shall drive for another 3 hours to arrive at Turmi to visit the fascinating Hamer tribe. Turmi area shall be our base of residence as we explore the Southern tribes of the Omo Valley. The whole region of the Southern Omo is UNESCO world heritage site since 1980. Dinner and overnight at Turmi Lodge or Buska Lodge ( or Paradise Lodge or similar

Day 15: Omorate within Turmi

After breakfast, we shall drive for some 70 kms to Omorate to visit the Dassanech Ethnic group. This community is famous for their nomad lifestyle and very interesting decoration on their bodies. We shall cross the Omo River on a dug-out canoe to enjoy the fantastic views of the river. In the afternoon, we shall drive for some 70 kms back to Turmi area.  Turmi is well known for its traditional events and we shall visit the Hamer village to witness the local lifestyle like a Hamer marriage ceremony which is done by jumping ontop of bulls, a moonshine dance called Evangadi or a traditional dance of young Hamer men and women. Dinner and overnight at Turmi Lodge or Buska Lodge ( or Paradise Lodge or similar

Day 16: Dimeka / Konso

After breakfast, we drive for some 180 kms (3.5 hrs) back to Konso with a visit enroute to the colorful market in Dimeka (Saturdays only). It is frequented by several tribes of the Omo valley. In the afternoon, if time allows, we shall visit the spectacular “New York“gorge near Konso which was formed by erosion. Dinner and Overnight at Kanta Lodge or similar

Day 17: Addis Ababa

After breakfast, we drive from Konso to Arba Minch (1 hr) and transfer to the airport for domestic flight to Addis Ababa.

Group Size per vehicle (adults)- 2 Pax ,3 Pax ,4 Pax ,5 Pax ,6 Pax

What is Included on the safari price:-

  • 16-night accommodation & meals as per the program
  • All tours as per the itinerary
  • Transport as per program
  • English speaking guide
  • Entrance fees to all sites as per the itinerary
  • One-way domestic regular flights as follows: (i)Addis /Bahir Dar (ii)Lalibela/Arba Minch (iii)Arba minch/Addis
  • Bottled water during the tours
  • All service charges and taxes.

What is Excluded on the safari price:-

  • International flights and taxes
  • Entry visa to Ethiopia
  • Addis airport transfers
  • Personal expenses
  • Optional activities not as included above
  • Gratuities and tips
  • Personal insurance cover
  • Deviation from above program

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