Ethiopia: A journey through Abyssinia – ONLY 3 PLACES REMAIN!

Ethiopia

Ethiopia: A journey through Abyssinia – ONLY 3 PLACES REMAIN!

From $ 12,895 AUD

Description

Ethiopia: A journey through Abyssinia

Experience a country with a unique combination of culture, wildlife, history and nature. Search for the rare Ethiopian wolf, spend quality time learning from the local tribes and visit some incredible historical sites. You’ll leave no site un-explored as you embark on this all encompassing, 30 day escorted small group tour.

30 days departing Adelaide – escorted by Cathy Elliott

10 October – 8 November 2019 – – ONLY 3 PLACES REMAIN!

$12,895* per person twin share departing Adelaide (includes return international flights)

Single Supplement available for $2,500pp*

Maximum group size 12

Download the tour brochure

 

Trip Name
Ethiopia: A journey through Abyssinia
Days
30
Capacity
12
Overview
Experience a country with a unique combination of culture, wildlife, history and nature. Search for the rare Ethiopian wolf, spend quality time learning from the local tribes and visit some incredible historical sites. From the capital of Addis Ababa, to the dramatic landscapes of the Simien Mountains, to the ancient cities of Bahir Dar - Ethiopia will leave you in awe.
You’ll leave no site un-explored as you embark on this all encompassing, 30 day escorted small group tour.

Itinerary

Day 1 – Thursday 10 October

Depart Adelaide

Day 2 – Friday 11 October
Addis Ababa

Arrive in Addis Ababa in the morning, where you are met and transferred to your hotel. The rest of the day is at leisure. Addis Ababa is a bustling city that is very young in comparison to the rest of the country. Founded in 1886 by Menelik II, Addis Ababa is located nearly 8,000 feet (2,500 m) above sea level in one of the highest parts of the Entoto mountain chain (10,000 ft/3,000m above sea level). Thanks to its altitude, the city enjoys an excellent climate all year round, with an average temperature of 25°C.
Addis Ababa is a pleasant city with wide jacaranda-lined avenues, friendly locals and well-kept examples of Italian colonial and Oriental Orthodox Christian
architecture.

Accommodation: Jupiter Hotel or similar
Meals: Dinner

Day 3 – Saturday 12 October
Addis Ababa

After having breakfast, you will enjoy a city tour of Addis.  First, visit Mount Entoto, a historic place where Emperor II first built his palace when he came from Ankober and founded Addis Ababa. Considered sacred, the mountain has many monasteries and is situated at an altitude of between 2,600 and 3,100 metres, offering magnificent views of the city.
Afterwards, drive to the National Museum. This museum houses the nation’s artistic treasures and many precious archaeological finds, such as the fossilised remains of early hominids, the most famous of which is “Lucy,” the partial skeleton of an early female known as Australopithecus afarensis, said to be 3.2 million years old.

After visiting the museum, continue to Trinity Cathedral Church, the highest ranking Orthodox cathedral in Addis Ababa. It was built to commemorate Ethiopia’s liberation from Italian occupation and is the second most important place of worship in Ethiopia, after the Church of Our Lady Mary of Zion in Axum.

This afternoon, visit The Ethnological Museum. This museum is set within Haile Selassie’s former palace and is surrounded by the beautiful gardens and fountains of Addis Ababa University’s main campus. Even if you’re not usually a museum fan, this one is worth your time as it’s easily one of the finest museums in Africa. Later, tour the Mercato, the largest open market in Africa. (Please be advised that walking as a group is not recommended here due to crowds and chaos; therefore you will drive through the market.) Mercato covers several square miles and employs an estimated 13,000 people in 7,100 business entities. The primary merchandise passing through the Mercato are locally-grown agricultural products — most notably coffee. Following your tour you will return to your hotel.

In the evening you will attend a dinner where you will have a chance to taste several local dishes and watch dance performances by Ethiopia’s various ethnic groups. You will also experience a traditional coffee ceremony.

Accommodation: Jupiter Hotel or similar
Meals: Breakfast and Dinner

Day 4 – Sunday 13 October
Bahir Dar

This morning fly from Addis Ababa to Bahir Dar. You will be met on arrival and transferred to your hotel.
Enjoy a boat cruise on beautiful Lake Tana, the largest lake in Ethiopia and the source of the Blue Nile. There are 37 islands on the lake and 20 of them have churches and monasteries of considerable historical and cultural interest. Some of the islands are forbidden to women. Visit the monastery church of Ura Kidane Mihret which is the most famous of the Zege Peninsula monasteries. This rather rudimentary building contains a very beautifully painted maqdas (central core) and a priceless collection of crosses, books as well as crowns.

In the afternoon take a tour to the waterfalls of “Tis Isat” also known as the Blue Nile Falls (please keep in mind that due to the construction of the new dam being built within the vicinity, the water levels could be very minimal). If time permits, a city tour will follow, including the “Bezawit Palace.”
Accommodation: Kuriftu Resort & Spa or similar
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Day 5 – Monday 14 October
Gondar

This morning, drive to Gondar (182 km – 4 hours). En route you will visit the village of Awra Amba. This unique settlement is considered to be a prime model for self-help and above all, gender equality. Women have equal rights to men and there is no distinction in divisions of labour. Men cook, women plough, and religion has no place. They believe in hard work and being good to all people.

Set in a landscape of incomparable beauty, Gondar was once the Royal Capital of Ethiopia. Founded by Fassiladas, this medieval city subsequently became the capital of the Abyssinian Empire. A tour will include the distinctive Fassiledes Castle along with the Fassiledes Bath. Once thought to be the grand swimming pool of the Emperor, the Fassiledes Bath now plays an important part in Timkat (Epiphany) celebrations, as it symbolises the holy waters of the River Jordan in Israel where Jesus Christ was baptised.

Accommodation: Mayleko Lodge or similar
Meals: Breakfast and Dinner

Day 6 – Tuesday 15 October
Simien Mountains

This morning, you will travel to the Simien Mountains National Park (140 km – 4 hours). En route, stop at Felasha Village and enjoy the view of Befeker Kossoye. Observe the magnificent scenery with unique flora. The drive proceeds to Sanqaber where you may encounter threatened birds like the bearded vulture (also known as the Lammergeier) as well as the endemic Gelada “bleeding heart” monkey.

Accommodation: Limalimo Lodge or similar
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

 

Day 7 – Wednesday 10 October
Simien Mountains

This morning after breakfast, you will drive & trek to Chenek. There are beautiful views on both sides of the escarpment and this is a great place to spot the Walia ibex and if you are very lucky, the rare Ethiopian Wolf.

From the plateau, enjoy a view of Imet Gogo and Inatye.

Accommodation: Limalimo Lodge or similar
Meals: Breakfast, lunch and Dinner

Day 8 – Thursday 17 October
Gondar

Drive back to Gondar this morning. This afternoon, visit the church of Debre Birhan Selassie (Light of the Trinity), which is located at the summit of a hill and surrounded by fortified walls. Its walls and ceilings are ornately decorated with scenes of Biblical lore and medieval history.

Accommodation: Mayleko Lodge or similar
Meals: Breakfast , Lunch and Dinner

Day 9 – Friday 18 October
Axum

Fly to Axum. Ethiopia’s most ancient city, Axum was once the centre of a great empire and the seat of learning for the ancient Ge’ez language and literature. Famous long before the time of Christ, Axum was one of the oldest African empires, and a crucial link between Africa and Asia for almost a thousand years.

Enjoy a city tour of Axum which includes the Stelae Park, full of granite monoliths dating from pre-Christian times decorated with symbolic engravings. Mussolini took one of the largest ones during the Italian invasion of Ethiopia, erecting it in a piazza in central Rome. In 2005, the obelisk was returned and re-erected on its original site. Visit the tombs of King Caleb & Gebre Mesket, the ruins of Queens Sheeba’s palace and Chapel Ark. During lunch, you will be part of a traditional Ethiopian coffee ceremony. Culminate this exciting day with a visit to the Church of Saint Mary of Zion, which contains the crowns of Ethiopian Kings and is supposedly the repository of the Ark of the Covenant.

Accommodation: Sabean Hotel or similar
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Day 10 – Saturday 19 October
Axum

Today you will visit the 5th century Temple of Yeha, which dates back to about seven or eight hundred years before the birth of Christ. The temple is believed to be the oldest standing building in the country. Beside the remarkable temple is a church dedicated to Abba Aftse, one of the famous nine saints who came to Ethiopia in the 6th century from the east Roman Empire to teach the Gospel. The church shares the same compound as the Temple of Yeha. After the tour, you will return to your hotel in Axum.

Accommodation: Sabean Hotel or similar
Meals: Breakfast and Dinner

Day 11 – Sunday 20 October
Lalibela

A short flight today takes you to famous Lalibela, which is located at an altitude of 2,600m above sea level. Lalibela, also known as ‘Africa’s Petra’, is Ethiopia’s crown jewel. It is the home of the most famous churches in the country and is the site of many major religious ceremonies.

This afternoon you will have an excursion to Asheton Mariam. The 13th Century rock hewn monastery of Asheton Mariam is about 8 km from Lalibela.

Note that one should be fit to trek to Asheton Mariam, the road is very steep and looks like twisted rope hugged on the wall. However, if you don’t feel up to making the walk you can also use a mule to help you complete your journey. This walk is a rewarding and beautiful scenic experience. You will then drive back to Lalibela.

Accommodation: Mountain View Hotel or similar
Meals: Breakfast and Dinner

 

Day 12 – Monday 21 October
Lalibela (full day sightseeing of the first and second rock hewn churches)

Visit Lalibela’s monolithic churches including the cross-shaped Church of St George. They were carved in the 12th century out of pink granite. Lalibela is referred to as the 8th wonder of the world and listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Each church has a unique architectural style; all are superbly carved and most of them are decorated with well preserved paintings. The entire city is so elaborate that it can be described as a sculpture dedicated to the glory of God.
Accommodation: Mountain View Hotel or similar
Meals: Breakfast

Day 13 – Tuesday 22 October
Harar

Fly from Lalibela to Dire Dawa in the east of the country (change planes in Addis Ababa). On arrival you will be transferred by road to the walled town of Harar (55 km – 1 ½ hours).

Accommodation: Rewda Hotel or similar
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Day 14 – Wednesday 23 October
Harar

Explore the old walled town of Harar. Harar is a labyrinth of small streets surrounded by old city walls. Its architecture reflects a strong Islamic influence. Visit the markets, Rimbaud House, which was the home of famous French poet Arthur Rimbaud, the Harari Museum and the tomb of the Emir Abdulahi who built the Harar walls, which are known as “Jugol”.

This evening you will visit the famous hyena man, who feeds the hyenas every night just outside the walls of the city. This tradition was started long ago to prevent these wild hyenas from hunting for food in town.

Accommodation: Rewda Hotel or similar
Meals: Breakfast and Dinner

Day 15 – Thursday 24 October
Awash

After breakfast, you will depart from Harar to Awash (315 km – 5 hours). This is a scenic drive with views of the mountains of eastern Ethiopia.

Accommodation: Awash Falls Lodge or similar
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

 

Day 16 – Friday 25 October
Langano

Early this morning, you will visit the Awash Waterfalls and go in search of some of the local wildlife. There is a variety of different habitats for birds, flowers, and plants – the revered forest by the Awash River, wetlands, acacia woodlands and savannah grasslands, rocky hills, cliffs, and escarpments.

Species in the area include Beisa oryx, kudu, Defassa waterbuck, Summering’s gazelle, warthog and baboon. The park is also a great place for birdwatchers and the landscapes in the park are beautiful looking over the Awash Gorge. Later you will continue on to Langano (215 km – 4 hours). En route visit Lake Ziway, the largest of the upper Rift Valley lakes with an area of 400 sq. km. Its shores are lined with reeds and water lilies, sheltering a variety of water birds. From there, proceed towards Lake Langano. The lake is a place to relax and enjoy water activities. Though its mineral content gives it a brown colour, the water is clean and pleasant for swimming. Later, you can swim and relax on its shores.

Accommodation: Hara Langano or similar
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

 

Day 17 – Saturday 26  October
Langano

Today you will have an excursion to Abiatta-Shala National Park. Visit Lake Shala, a very deep crater lake, over 260 meters deep and Lake Abiatta, a soda lake that attracts flamingos.

Accommodation: Hara Langano or similar
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Day 18 – Sunday 27 October
Bale Mountains

Drive to the Bale Mountains National Park (280 km – 6 hours). This park protects Ethiopia’s second-highest mountain range and provides the best
opportunities to see a cross-section of the country’s unique species including the Ethiopian Wolf, Mountain Nyala, and 16 endemic bird species. Bale was one of the last parts of Africa to attract serious scientific exploration.

It remains sufficiently out of the way, even today, attracting far fewer visitors than the Simiens. The main attraction of the park is the wild alpine scenery, particularly on the 4,377m high Sanetii Plateau.

Accommodation: Bale Mountain Lodge or similar
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Day 19 – Monday 28 October
Bale Mountains

Explore the wild wonders of the Sanetti Plateau and Harenna Forest. This vast highland region contains the world’s largest expanse of Afro-alpine moorland, a montane habitat with an average elevation above 4,000 metres.
The plateau is renowned for supporting the largest remaining population of Ethiopian Wolf, which you will hopefully get to spot on wildlife drives in 4×4 vehicles. A walk atop the plateau reveals exhilarating views all the way to the Harenna Forest, one of the most extensive natural forests remaining in Ethiopia. At the southern end of the plateau, the Harenna escarpment affords an astounding view over the forest well over a mile below – deeper than the Grand Canyon. This forest has a similar appearance and composition to the forests found in other East African mountain landscapes. Though unlikely to see them, lions are actually known to live in this densely wooded region.

Accommodation: Bale Mountain Lodge or similar
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Day 20 – Tuesday 29 October
Awassa

After breakfast, drive to Awassa (205 km – 5 hours). Arrive in Awassa in the afternoon and check into your hotel. Later, you can walk along the lake shore to enjoy a nice evening sunset and see a variety of aquatic birds such as Saddle-billed stork, greater jacana, African fish eagle, darter, herons and darters.

Accommodation: Haile Resort Hotel or similar
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Day 21 – Wednesday 30 October
Arba Minch

Browse the Hawassa fish market in the morning. Then journey to Arba Minch observing the beautiful landscape. Arba Minch is Amharic for the “forty springs” and the abundance of this groundwater has supported the growth of beautiful forest. Along the way visit a Dorze Village in the Guge Mountains. The Dorze are known for their tall, beehive-shaped bamboo houses. This design is such that if the base becomes infested with termites, the entire house may be lifted and moved to another location.

Accommodation: Haile Resort or similar
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Day 22 – Thursday 31 October
Turmi

This morning after breakfast, cruise Lake Chamo. A highlight of your boat trip is the ability to view hippos and crocodiles from very close range.

In the afternoon drive to Turmi via Konso, visiting a Hammar village along the way.

Accommodation: Buska Lodge or similar
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Day 23 – Friday 1 November
Turmi

Today visit the Karo people, who reside along the banks of the Lower Omo River. The Karo incorporate rich cultural symbolism into their rituals and use ornate body art, intricate headdress, and body scarification to emphasize beauty and status within their community. This small but lively tribe numbers under 1,000, but they are the primary non-nomadic agriculturalist group in the Lower Omo Valley. The Karo are differentiated from neighbouring tribes as they place a high emphasis on body and face painting. They paint themselves daily with coloured ochre, white chalk, yellow mineral rock, charcoal and pulverised iron ore – all resources found in this area. Karo body painting is a key aspect of their culture as it is both a means of communication and decoration.

Meeting people of this incredibly rich, proud, yet adapting culture provides amazing insight into the lives of Ethiopia’s indigenous peoples.

Accommodation: Buska Lodge or similar
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Day 24 – Saturday 2 November
Turmi

On Saturday there is a big market in Dimeka (30km from Turmi) where the Hammer and Karo people get together to buy and sell commodities. Observe one of these colourful markets. In the afternoon venture to Murulle and Omoratte where you will have a cultural experience with the Geleb / Dassenech people, inhabitants of lower Omo River Valley.

Accommodation: Buska Lodge or similar
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

 Day 25 – Sunday 3 November
Jinka

This morning travel to Jinka. Upon arrival, you will take a tour of the town. Jinka is one of the larger outposts in the area. Despite its location on the main road, the town of Jinka seems to exist in virtual isolation from the rest of Ethiopia. High, cool, and green, Jinka sits at the edge of the highland plateau, standing guard over the vast Omo Valley to its west. From Jinka, drive a short distance up into the hills to the South Omo Research Centre and Museum to inspect their collections of tribal artefacts and learn more about the interactions and history among tribes of the area.

Accommodation: Eco-Omo Lodge or similar
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

 Day 26 – Monday 4 November
Jinka

Take a day excursion to Mago National Park to visit the Mursi village. The Mursi are one of the most original ethnic groups. They live in very low huts made of straw.

Their tribe is renowned for their fierce warrior disposition and wildly decorative appearance, with large circular clay labrets that the women wear in their lower lips. The larger the lip plate, the greater the woman’s value when she is married. She removes her plate for eating and sleeping.

You may see some women, especially elder women, without their lip plates. They are easily distinguished by how their long, distended lips hang down from their mouths.

Accommodation: Eco-Omo Lodge or similar
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner 

Day 27 – Tuesday 5 November
Addis Ababa

This morning you will visit the Research Centre Museum in Jinka. The Museum will help you to understand the life of locals from a European perspective, dedicated to preserving certain aspects of traditional tribal life in the Omo Valley. Chronicling the transformation of the tribes, the museum exhibits a number of tools and clothing items in its hall. The German-funded centre focuses on raising awareness about issues like female circumcision and scarring of women, and presents some of these topics through video material and leaflets. Set in a stone hilltop building overlooking the city, the research centre also has a library, a large garden, and excellent views of Jinka.

Afterwards in the afternoon you will catch your flight back to Addis Ababa.

Upon arrival, you will transfer to your hotel. In the evening, attend a folklore dinner where you will have a chance to taste several local dishes and watch dances by Ethiopia’s various ethnic groups.

The traditional coffee ceremony will also be held.

Accommodation: Jupiter Hotel or similar
Meals: Breakfast and Dinner

Day 28 – Wednesday 6 November
Tour Ends

Transfer to the airport for your flight home.

Day 28 – Thursday 7 November
Travel Day

Day 30 – Friday 8 November
Arrive home into Adelaide

Important Information

These trip notes are only a guide to what you may expect to do and see on your tour. It is important to understand that the itinerary may be changed due to political, climatic or other reasons, or the order of sightseeing may be varied. Your accommodation is detailed in your itinerary.

Accommodation

Accommodation throughout this tour is in hotels of good standard (or the best available), all with private facilities. Note that accommodations in some of the remote southern locations may be of a simple standard.

Climate & Altitude

Although Ethiopia is close to the Equator, the massive Ethiopian Highlands cover a large portion of the country and have a moderating effect on the climate. Most of the time spent on our “Historical Ethiopia” tour is between altitudes of 4,000 and 8,000 feet, so nights and early mornings can be cold. October to May is the dry season and the most popular time to visit.

These trip details have been provided as a guide to what you may see and do during your trip. Please be aware that these are subject to change based on local conditions.



Trip Dates

StartEndPrice FromRoom Type
10-10-201908-11-2019AUD $ 12,895-

Inclusions

    Inclusions:

    • Return economy airfares departing Adelaide
    • Internal flights
    • English speaking national guide throughout the tour
    • Hotel accommodation as specified
    • Meals as per itinerary including non-alcoholic beverages
    • Snacks in vehicles
    • All airport, arrival and departure transfers and ground transportation as per itinerary
    • All entrance fees as per the itinerary
    • Tips for local guides
    • Boat trip on Lake Tana and Lake Chamo
    • Water refills*
    • 15% government tax

    * Travel Ethiopia is an eco-minded Tour Operator and a member of Responsible Tourism. In order to reduce the use of plastics, in particular the small bottles that are polluting the environment, we kindly request you to please bring your own reusable water container so that we will be able to refill it from the large container that holds twenty litres of water.

     

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