Join us on this tour for the Culture and Nature of Ethiopia!
14 Day, 13 Night
This 14-day tour provides an in-depth look into the unique culture and long history of Ethiopia. You’ll visit important archaeological sites in the ancient city of Axum and the impressive rock-hewn churches of Lalibela, and the castles of Gondar. Along the way, you’ll have the opportunity to interact with local people and tribes and learn more about their way of life. You’ll leave with a better understanding of this country’s 3,000-year history and how the diversity of cultures has made its mark throughout generations.
In addition to these incredible experiences, you will have the opportunity to witness some of the natural beauty and native wildlife that make Ethiopia unique. From the Simien Mountains to Lake Chamo, you’ll be in awe of the stunning landscapes found here.
We are happy to customize this trip to make the most out of your Ethiopian journey. Let us explore the beautiful country of Ethiopia together!
**Please note, due to the current conflict in Ethiopia, this itinerary might be subject to changes. Please reach out to us to learn more and discuss. Thank you!**
Welcome to Ethiopia! Upon arrival at Addis Ababa International Airport, you will be met by an Off Season Adventures representative and transferred to your hotel. Depending on your arrival time and energy level, you may be able to explore the city. Often referred to as Africa’s capital because both the United Nations Economic Commission of Africa and the African Union reside here, Addis Ababa is not without numerous things to see and do. A city tour will take you to such sites as the National Museum, home to the oldest hominid fossil of ‘Lucy’ and the top of Mount Entoto for a scenic view of the skyline. Enjoy dinner back at your hotel and think about the fantastic Ethiopian journey ahead!
- Arrive at Addis Ababa Airport (ADD) and meet a representative of the Off Season Adventures team
- Transfer to your accommodation
- Depending on your arrival time you may be able to take a city tour
- Overnight and dinner at Best Western Plus
Today will be a full schedule of sightseeing, giving you a proper introduction to the history of Addis Ababa. Visit the beautiful St. George’s Cathedral, which contains architecture showcasing different periods of Ethiopia’s history. It is most famous for its octagonal design and stunning mosaics. Then head to the Ethnographic Museum, which contains many important cultural and historical artifacts from all over the country. Complete your day just outside the city center with a visit to the Merkato. It may be the largest open-air market in Africa and contains stalls where you can buy silver jewelry, spices, and products made from recycled goods. This evening you’ll enjoy dinner at either Mimi’s Kitchen or Beer Garden Inn, both of which are incredibly popular with locals.
This morning take a flight north to the mythical town of Gondar. It is known as the ‘Camelot of Africa’ because of all the castles located here. After lunch, wander around the grounds and visit the iconic Debrebirihan Silase Church. Famous for its traditional paintings and frescoes, particularly the angels’ faces on its ceiling, the church is a beautiful site. If there is extra time at the end of the day, you may visit the Qusqam Monastery to observe the traditional church schooling system unique to Ethiopia.
After breakfast, travel to the UNESCO World Heritage Site, Simien Mountains National Park. Take in the spectacular views and observe the Walia ibex, the gelada baboon, the bearded vulture, various species of birds, and other native animals. Enjoy dinner and stay overnight within the park.
Wake up early and take a scenic drive to the ancient town of Axum on the country’s northern border. Located at the center of ancient Ethiopia, this town was once the most powerful state between the Roman Empire and Persia. The meandering drive through the Simien Mountains crosses the Tekeze River and is full of beautiful scenery along the way.
On this day, you will travel through more than 3,000 years of history while touring the town of Axum. First visit St. Mary’s Church, the famous location of the original ‘Ark of the Covenant’ said to be made by Moses’s hands. Make stops at Stelae Park, the coronation yard, King Ezana’s inscriptions, the tombs of Kaleb and his son Gebremeskel, and the ruins of the Queen of Sheba’s Palace.
Enjoy breakfast at your hotel before you depart to Lalibela. The town is small but home to one of the world’s most breathtaking sacred sites, the rock-hewn churches. There are eleven located here, including the legendary St. George Church and the tomb of Adam. Marvel at the incredible architecture as all have been carved entirely out of a single block of granite with their tops located at ground level.
Today fly back to Addis Ababa before heading south. Spend the afternoon in the city or relax in your hotel to prepare for the rest of your journey.
On this day, begin your journey south to Arba Minch. The drive is very scenic and passes by the Great Rift Valley’s lakes and other natural wilderness attractions. You’ll visit local establishments, including the Dorze Village of Chencha Town, along the way. Located 3,000 meters above sea level in the Guge Mountains, this site contains many famous bamboo houses resembling elephant faces. The Dorze people are also known for their traditional weaving, dancing, and lifestyle. This evening you’ll enjoy dinner in Arba Minch.
This morning visit the shores of Lake Chamo and the ‘crocodile market.’ This Lake is known for its enormous aquatic life population, such as the giant Nile crocodile, hippopotamus, and several bird species. After lunch, travel to Jinka Town. Along the way, visit the Konso villages and the Benna and Tsemai tribes known for their attire made of beads and attractive ornamentation.
After breakfast, visit one of the largest tribes in the Omo Valley, the Ari. They occupy fertile lands that allow them to have several crops, including coffee, nuts, cotton, fruit, and honey. Learn more about these hard-working people and have the opportunity to see some of these diverse crops. In the afternoon, visit the Ethnographic Museum of Jinka and learn more about the history and culture of the tribes located in this region. Then make your way to Turmi, making stops at the markets of the Keyafer or Dimeka villages.
Today travel to the home of the Dassanech tribe, Omorate. The tribe has settled along the banks of the Omo River next to the border of Kenya. You will make your way to the village by crossing the river in a traditional canoe. The people of the Dassanech tribe are best known for their intricate body paintings. In the afternoon, visit the Hamar tribe. They are famous for the large quantities of colorful beads and clay hair buns with ostrich feathers that they wear. If you are lucky, you will be able to observe their bull-jumping ceremonies and Evangadi dances (seasonal).
This morning make your way back to Arba Minch. On the way, stop at the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Konso. This area is known for its stonewall village, intricately terraced hillsides, and other cultural landscapes. You’ll also have the opportunity to meet the local villagers known for their fine woven materials and traditional wooden carved totem. These “waka,” as they are known to the locals, are a symbol for their clan chiefs and warriors.
Today marks the end of your Ethiopian journey. In the morning, fly back to Addis Ababa. Spend the afternoon at your leisure and have the opportunity to do some shopping. Enjoy a farewell dinner of traditional cuisine with a live folk show before heading to the airport for your departure.
- Breakfast at your hotel
- Flight to Addis Ababa
- Afternoon at your leisure
- Farewell dinner
- Transfer to airport for flight home
- Your local, experienced driver with many years of guiding tours in Ethiopia
- Lodging in Ethiopia on a full room and board basis
- Entrance fees for all National Parks and Conservation Areas
- All cultural activities and excursions on the itinerary
- Contribution to the 501(c)(3) organization Second Look Worldwide and World Resources Institue for sustainable urbanization, climate policy and analysis, forest restoration and access to information issues
- Beverages while in transit, excluding while in the airports
- Driver transfers to and from airports
- Wire Transfer and other banking fees
What’s Not Included?
- International flights to & from Ethiopia
- Tips for your drivers, tour guides, and lodges, highly encouraged
- Alcoholic beverages
- Traveler’s insurance, required
- Souvenirs and gifts
- Baggage weight overages if applicable
- Any incidental expenses
- Anything from room service or the hotel minibar
- Any visas required for entry into Ethiopia
- Any Covid-19 tests required for entry into Ethiopia
Best Western Plus Hotel: 3 nights, Full Room & Board Basis
Goha Hotel: 1 night, Full Room & Board Basis
Simien Park Lodge: 1 night, Full Room & Board Basis
Sabian Park Lodge: 2 nights, Full Room & Board Basis
Mountain View Hotel: 1 night, Full Room & Board Basis
Haile Resort: 2 nights, Full Room & Board Basis
Eco-Omo Resort: 1 night, Full Room & Board Basis
Paradise Lodge: 2 nights, Full Room & Board Basis
THIS 14 DAY, 13 NIGHT TOUR PACKAGE IS ONLY $6360 PER PERSON, DOUBLE OCCUPANCY/FULL ROOM AND BOARD.
50% of the total package cost must be paid 90 days before travel to retain your reservation, and the balance must be paid 60 days prior to the date of arrival.