Ethiopia: South to North
- Addis Ababa, the vibrant city and political capital of Africa
- The rock-hewn churches, hidden crypts, and grottoes in Lalibela
- The elegant castles of Gondar
- The Simien Mountains, the rooftop of Africa
- Southern region, Ethiopia’s fascinating place famous for its natural and cultural spectacles and the famous Omo Valley tribes
This 15-day itinerary combines a trip to the famous Northern Ethiopia Historic Route and the fascinating Southern region. The first part of this trip takes you to Ethiopia’s fascinating Southern region, famous for its natural and cultural spectacles and the famous Omo Valley for the chance to meet and discover some of the more remote, colorful, and enigmatic ethnic groups of this incredibly diverse area of Ethiopia.
This is a great itinerary then takes you to the famous Northern Ethiopia Historic Circuit. The discovery begins in Addis Ababa, the amazing rock-hewn churches, hidden crypts and grottoes in Lalibela, the 500-year-old monastery islands of Bahir Dar on Lake Tana and taking in views of the Blue Nile and its fall, and the elegant castles of Gondar, The majestic geological formations of the Simien Mountains. Finally, this tour ends with the Ethiopian traditional dinner and live spectacle.
Day 1: Arrive in Addis Ababa, city tour.
Day 2: fly to Jinka, learn about the local tribes
Day 3 & 4: Visit the Turmi and the Omo Valley and learn about the local tribes
Day 5 & 6: Visit the Konso, Dorze and boat trip on lake chamo
Day 7: Visit the Great Rift Valley and explore the breathtaking scenery of the Langano Lakes
Day 8: Depart for Addis for flight to Gondar, the historical capital of Ethiopia.
Day 9: Travel to the Simien Mountains National Park
Day 10: Visit Gondar's castle and drive to Bahir Dar
Day 11: Explore Lake Tana and the Blue Nile falls
Day 12: Travel to Lalibela, the sacred town of Ethiopia
Day 13: Explore the ancient churches of Lalibela
Day 14: Depart for Addis for flight home.
- Day 1 - Welcome to Ethiopia, Addis Ababa and city tour
Arrive at Addis Ababa Bole International Airport. Upon arrival, you will be met by GishAbay Ethiopia Tours representative and transferred to your reserved hotel. After time to refresh, take a guided city tour of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia’s capital and the third-highest capital in the world. Head to the National Museum, home to one of the world's most important paleontological exhibits in the world; 'Lucy'. Then visit the Holy Trinity Cathedral Church. As the final resting place of much-loved Emperor Haile Selassie, Holy Trinity Cathedral is one of the country's most sacred places of worship. Then Mount Entoto, the highest peak in the city. Entoto Mountain was the site of a palace and the royal court to Emperor Menelik in the 1800s. Here you will visit the palace of the Mighty King Menelik II and the Natural Park of Entoto.
Today’s city tour will end with an exploration of the colorful Merkato, Africa’s largest open-air market.
- Day 2 - Fly to Jinka
Today catch a flight to Jinka Town. Arrive in Jinka and upon arrival, you will be met by GishAbay Ethiopia Tours representative. Then, drive through the Mago National Park to a local village of the Mursi tribe. Famous around the world for their instantly recognizable 'lip plates', the Mursi is one of Ethiopia's most famous tribal people. They are pastoralists who keep herds of cattle and goats and are most famed for the lip-piercing custom of their women who, at the coming of age, insert clay disks into incisions made in their lower lips. In addition, they are the warrior tribe of the Omo Valley.
- Day 3 - Drive to Turmi, the land of hammer tribe
In the morning you will visit the South Omo Tribes Museum (South Omo Research Center). Then transfer to Turmi town, home of the famous Hamar tribe and center to explore the Omo Valley Tribes. Late in the afternoon, you will visit the Hamer Tribe. The Hamar people are best known for their Bull-Jumping ceremony and to be the friendliest tribe of the Omo Valley. The Hamer women, with their magnificent ochre-colored hair braids, skirts of cowrie-decorated goatskin, and tight copper bracelets, rank amongst the most beautiful of all South Omo ethnic groups. Finally, transfer to your Accommodation in Turmi.
On the way, you will visit the Famous Dimeka or Keyafer Market, where many tribes get together.
- Day 4 - Turmi
On today's morning excursion from Turmi, you will visit the village of the Karo people. They are experts in skin scarification and body painting artistry, using white chalk, black charcoal, and red and ochre earth for their works of art. After exploring the Karo culture, you will travel to Omorate to visit the village of the Dassenech tribe. These semi-nomadic people live in the fertile Omo River delta near Kenya and Lake Turkana, where they hunt crocodiles. To reach their village, you will cross the Omo River on a local boat. After exploring the unique culture of the Dassenech people, you will return to Turmi.
- Day 5 - Turmi to Arbaminch
Drive to Arbaminch this morning, a town situated grandly on the western side of the Great Rift Valley, with awe-inspiring views of the Abaya and Chamo lakes. On route, stop off at the Konso Tribe village. Famous for its beautiful terraced hills, exquisite woven goods and totem-adorned grave markers, the Konso village is a place of historic significance, demonstrating the tribes' aptitude for survival for many years. Recognized by UNESCO as World Heritage Site, Konso is not to be missed. Then complete the journey to Arbaminch.
- Day 6 - Arbaminch
In the morning, take a 1h-2h boat safari on Lake Chamo to see Nile Crocodiles, Hippos & Birds at the “crocodile market”. In the afternoon, drive to an authentic Dorze village to learn about their weaving abilities & homes (tall beehive-like houses).
- Day 7 - Arbaminch to Awassa
Travel from Arbaminch to Awassa via Yirgalem, home of the Sidama People and UNESCO-recognized calendar. Walk through cultural villages with Enset and Coffee plantations, and experience Hanafa cultural village, traditional coffee ceremony and Sidama food.
- Day 8 - Awassa to Addis Ababa then fly to Gondar
This morning visit Awassa (lake/fish market), drive through Ethiopian Rift Valley (part of Afro-Arabian Rift system with 8 lake chains) to Abijatta-Shalla Lakes Park (2 lakes, hot springs, flamingoes/plenty birds/mammals). Stop at Lake Ziway (Birdlife/Islands).
- Day 9 - Excursion to Simien mountains National park
Excursion via Debark to the Simen Mountains, a World Heritage Site with peaks 4,267m or higher. Enjoy 2-3hr easy walks, exploring Afro-Alpine moorland, the habitat of Gelada Baboons. View the golden manes & bright pink breasts of these friendly baboons in the afternoon & return to Gondar for overnight.
- Day 10 - Gondar to Bahir Dar
This morning explore Gondar, "the Camelot of Africa", known for its castles and churches. Visit the Royal Enclosure's complexes and ruins, Fasilidas' Bathing Pool, and Debre Berhan Selassie Church and its beautiful murals,
The head to Bahir Dar, taking in farmlands and mountains, for the night in Bahir Dar.
- Day 11 - Bahir Dar
In the morning, sail to Ura Kidane Miheret and Azwa Maryam monasteries on Lake Tana and its source, the Blue Nile River. Enjoy Hippos, aquatic birds and the Bahir Dar market in the afternoon, then visit 'Tis Isat' (Amharic for 'Water that smokes'), a 45m-high waterfalls and the 17th-century Alata Bridge with impressive views.
- Day 12 - Bahir Dar to Lalibela
Take a full-day scenic journey from Bahir Dar to Lalibela - one of the world's greatest historical and religious sites. Along the way, enjoy the pastoral scenery, meet locals and visit the Awramba Community Village to learn their principles: equality of women, children's rights, elderly care and avoiding bad deeds, plus "accepting all humans as brothers and sisters". Afternoon arrival in Lalibela brings a visit to several churches and transfer to your accommodation.
- Day 13 - Lalibela
In the morning explore selected rock-hewn churches of Lalibela ("New Jerusalem", "The Eighth Wonder of the World"), 12th-13th century monoliths carved from volcanic rock. Discover the Northwestern group of churches: Bet Medhane Alem, Maryam, Meskel, Danaghel, Mikael and Golgotha. In the afternoon continue exploration.
- Day 14 - Fly back to Addis Ababa
Visit 2nd group of rock-hewn churches (Bete Amanuel, Merkorios, Abba Libanos, Gabriel-Rafael) and Bete Giyorgis, explore Merkato, shopping for souvenirs, farewell dinner at Ethiopian Cultural Restaurant, transfer to Airport.
- All surface transportation (with the latest vehicle)
- Professional English-speaking guide
- Driver allowance, Car maintenance, Fuel expense, parking fees, …
- All domestic flights expense 1. Addis Ababa-Jinka 2. Arbaminch-Addis Ababa 3. Addis Ababa-Gondar 4. Lalibela-Addis Ababa
- All site entrance fees.
- Throughout the journey bottled water will be available
- Boat trips on lake Tana & Chamo
- All hotel accommodations as per the itinerary
- Park Scout/ranger
- Village & community fees
- International flights
- Tourist Visa Fees.
- All Personal Travel Insurance.
- Meal: Lunch and Dinner
- Any Alcoholic Drinks.
- Photo & Video Fees if any
- Tip for Guides, Drivers, Scouts, and Porters.
- Any Other Personal Expenses which are not mentioned in the included list