Addis Ababa - Gondar - Simien Mountains - Axum - Lake Tana - Blue Nile Falls - Addis Ababa
Spend time exploring the historical cities, monuments and rugged mountains of the north.
This trip combines the rich Christian heritage of Ethiopian churches and monasteries with the perfect spots to admire its breathtaking mountainous landscape and the authentic villages of the region.
This memorable journey combines the rich heritage of northern Ethiopia, with the untouched culture of the southern tribes. Explore monasteries, churches, castles, villages and indigenous markets.
Ethiopia is home to one a unique region of natural beauty, the Great Rift Valley, the largest geographic trench in the planet. Visit its legendary lakes, discover indigenous villages, and contemplate an array of bird species and other wildlife.
Experience the most romantic honeymoon in one of the most original destinations. Relax at Ethiopia's serene lakes as you spot its beautiful wildlife amidst candle-lit dinners and wine-sampling sessions.
Discover the inspiring landscapes and elaborate architecture of Ethiopia. Contemplate the frescoes of its immaculate churches and monasteries, and lose your breath at its evoking mountains.
From the lush plantations of the birthplace of coffee Yirgachefe, to sublime crater lakes, to Bale Mountains National Park, this trip is a nature aficionado's dream come true offering a unique variety of natural treasures.
Crown your wedding with an unforgettable honeymoon to a country blessed with breathtaking nature. Unwind at the shore of the lakes of the Great Rift Valley, and get a glimpse of the life of the southern tribes.
Get off-the-beaten path and discover the traditions of the Ethiopian Omo Valley most representative tribes. Look into the daily life and beliefs of the Doze, Mursi, Karo, Konso in their villages and markets.
Journey to the cradle of hominids, the Denakil Depression. Discover this geology paradise gone-wild as you stand in awe at its flaming volcanoes, burning magma lakes, mineral deposits, and acid pools.
Spend time exploring the historical cities, monuments and rugged mountains of the north.
With a seven day itinerary you can explore the culturally-rich Omo Valley in Ethiopia’s south, visiting the many different tribal communities that still live according to ancient customs.
The Great Rift Valley stretches southwest, marked by a series of seven lakes which can easily be explored on a 7-day itinerary.
Considered the birthplace of the coffee plant and the largest producer in Africa, Ethiopia is also one of the world’s most fascinating countries when it comes to coffee culture.
With epic landscapes to discover and an intoxicating history like nowhere else, Ethiopia is home to tribal communities that live according to ancient customs together with environments that range from fiery pits to lush highlands.
Ethiopia is not your classic safari destination. But for Africa returnees, it is fast earning a reputation as ‘the place to go’ for alternative wildlife where endemic species offer once-in-a-lifetime safari opportunities.
Expect traffic jams as you wait for huge herds of zebra to meander across roads as part of the annual migration, while magnificent flocks of soft-pink flamingos fossick in shallow pools of water.
Make a pilgrimage to the ancient Coptic Christian churches of Lalibela to marvel at the cross-shaped monolith of Bete Giyorgis which has been carved underground. Then witness the bas-reliefs and religious frescoes which adorn the interior of Bete Medhane Alem, home to the precious Lalibela Cross.
Embark on a tour to meet the Mursi people of the Omo Valley, famed for their lip-plates, and witness the bull jumping ceremony of the Hamer tribe, before traveling to see the unique bee-hive huts of the Dorze people. Then immerse yourself in the colour of the weekly tribal markets at Key Afer, Dimeka and Turmi.
Bear witness to the colourful sulphur springs, fiery pit craters and Erta Ale’s lava lake on a 4x4 trip to the Afar Triangle’s Danakil Depression. Then photograph salt-loaded camel caravans as they traverse this surreal landscape in what is one of the hottest places on earth.
Hike beneath Ethiopia’s highest peak, Ras Dashan (4,550 metres), through the alpine forests and montane savannah of the Simien Mountains National Park. Then spot endemic gelada baboons preening themselves on the escarpment, backed by jagged pinnacles that have eroded from the plateau.
Explore the ancient walled fortress of Fasil Ghebbi in the northern city of Gondar which once served as the seat of Ethiopia’s emperors and admire the 17th-century castle of Fasilides which exhibits a fusion of Portuguese, Indian and Ethiopian architectural influences.
Watch as green coffee beans are roasted over an open flame, then ground using a wooden mortar and pestle during a traditional Ethiopian coffee ceremony. After being brewed in a ceramic jebena, enjoy the three different coffees which result - awel (the first brew), kale'i (the second) and baraka (the third).
Witness the ritualistic baptism reenactments of the Timkat festival, held across Ethiopia each year on January 19 to celebrate Jesus’ baptism in the Jordan River. Watch as a model of the Ark of the Covenant is wrapped in cloth and paraded on the head of an Orthodox priest before traditionally dressed devotees celebrate through music and dance.
Trek across an ancient Portuguese bridge and through rural Ethiopian villages to take in the views towards Tis Abay, or "Great Smoke", as the falls tumble spectacularly over the Blue Nile River during the wet season. Then explore the nearby town of Bahir Dar whose palm-lined boulevards have seen it nicknamed the "Ethiopian Riviera".
Join a boat tour to explore the forested peninsulas and islands of Lake Tana which are home to remote monasteries of the Ethiopian Orthodox faith. Witness the ancient manuscripts of Debre Maryam and Tana Cherkos where the Ark of the Covenant was hidden for 800 years, then soak up the peace and tranquility from the church of Narga Selassie.
Embark on a game drive safari in Arba Minch Nechisar National Park to spot hippos and baboons, while watching as fish eagles soar above. Then witness the immense Nile crocodiles which congregate where the Kulfo River flows into Lake Chamo on a boat cruise.
See some of the world’s oldest human remains at Ethiopia’s National Museum where the 3.2 million-year-old fossilised bones of an Australopithecus afarensis are exhibited. Known as "Lucy", their discovery in the Afar Triangle’s Awash Valley in 1974 was considered one of the greatest moments in world archaeology.
Watch as wild hyena are fed by the "hyena men" of the holy Islamic city of Harar, where 99 mosques stand alongside the Medhane Alem Cathedral and the former home of French poet Rimbaud. The hyena feeding tradition dates back to the 19th century, with the animals called to in a "hyena dialect" that blends English and Oromo.
Visit the humble church of Saint Mary of Zion in the sacred town of Aksum, believed by many to hold the Ark of the Covenant which contains the ten commandments given by God to Moses atop Mount Sinai. Then admire the 1,700-year-old Obelisk of Aksum within its stelae park which was recently repatriated from Rome.
Hike through stunted vegetation in the Afromontane landscapes of the Ethiopian Highlands’ Bale Mountains National Park to spot endemic giant mole-rats and mountain nyala, together with sightings of endangered Ethiopian wolves, the world’s rarest canid.
Learn about Rastafari culture and religion in the colourful town of Shashemene near the Rift Valley lakes of Abijatta and Shalla. The land on which it stands was gifted by Emperor Haile Selassie I to encourage Caribbean Rastafarians to return to their roots in Africa, with the Reggae in the Rift Valley festival held here each year.
Soak up the panoramic highland views across one of Africa’s most spectacular geographical features from one of Lake Langano’s resorts. Relax in the hot springs of Wendo Genet which are set amidst old growth Ethiopian forest, then spot hippos, marabou storks and great white pelicans from the banks of Lake Ziway.
One of Ethiopia’s smallest tribal groups, the Lower Omo Valley Karo people are renowned for their intricate face and body painting. Both men and women adorn themselves in animal motifs and traditional designs using white chalk, charcoal and yellow mineral rock.
The Hamer tribe inhabit the pastoral plains of the Omo River Valley and are famed for their "bull jumping" ceremony, which acts as a rite of passage as boys enter manhood. Female relatives adorn themselves in beads and ochre hair to dance and whip themselves in a show of support.
Living in an isolated region of the Omo River Valley, the Mursi are distinguished by the "saucer" lip plates worn by their women. Ceremonial duelling is still performed by unmarried men, while they have retained unique animist beliefs in a greater being known as Tumwi.
Famed for their bee-hive-shaped dwellings which can easily be transported from one location to the next, the Dorze live a semi-subsistence lifestyle in the highlands of the Guge Mountains and produce beautiful textiles made from cotton.
Suri tribesmen perform an elaborate donga stick fight at the end of each harvest to impress potential partners, often drinking the blood of their cattle in the lead-up. While the men traditionally adorn their bodies in mud, women of this Omo Valley tribe beautify themselves with lip plates and skin markings.
Inhabiting the mountain slopes of southeast Ethiopia, the Konso are a largely agricultural tribe known for their wagas stelae carvings. They are erected in memory of those who have been killed by an animal or enemy and are arranged in groups, with monuments to men surrounded by those of their multiple wives.
An Ethiopian curry made from chicken, beef or lamb, wat is unique in that it begins with onions being dry cooked in a skillet. Niter kibbeh (a seasoned, clarified butter) is then added, together with vegetables and berbere spice, before being served in a communal bowl with injera.
Featuring chunks of meat stir-fried with onion, garlic, pepper and rosemary, tibs is a hearty stew found on most Ethiopian menus and normally eaten with injera bread to soak up the juices.
Ful is an Ethiopian breakfast dish that is particularly popular at Lent, made from mashed fava beans, onions, tomatoes and chillies. It’s often seasoned with berbere spice, cumin, lemon juice, yoghurt and olive oil, and eaten with freshly-baked bread.
Ethiopia is considered by many to be the birthplace of coffee and the plant still grows wild across the country, with hundreds of different varieties to sample. Addis Ababa has a good espresso culture (influenced by the Italian occupation of the country) while brewing beans over a charcoal brazier is the preferred method in rural areas.
While most tourist destinations in Ethiopia have handicraft markets and souvenir shops where you can purchase traditional crafts, Addis Ababa boasts the most extensive range. Head to the capital’s Piazza area which is renowned for its shopping, with handicraft shops lining the narrow streets, or the Shiro Meda Market where locals come to purchase traditional clothing and blankets.
Ethiopia has a long weaving tradition, with dresses, blouses, blankets and cushion covers beautifully embroidered, many with Orthodox cross designs. Hand-woven blankets known as gabbi are great for those living in cold climates and there is a good selection at the cluster of textiles shops on the road to Entoto in the northern outskirts of Addis Ababa.
The ancient, walled town of Harar is renowned for its hand-woven baskets which were originally made to carry flat injera bread or other food items. Today they are created in all different sizes, with colourful designs (and some adorned in shells) to be hung on the wall.
The Oromo people are renowned for their elaborate stools, chairs and beds carved from a single piece of wood, while those living in the southern lowlands are famed for making wooden neck rests, allowing them to stop and sleep on the ground without being bitten by snakes or scorpions. Orthodox Christians also carve richly decorated wooden book stands for studying holy scriptures.
Jebena is the local name for the clay coffee pots with an elongated pouring spout which are used in traditional Ethiopian coffee ceremonies and they make for a practical souvenir. They are often engraved with traditional motifs or colourfully painted, with woven stands a great accompaniment to help balance their rounded bottoms on tables.
Jewellery made from silver is widely available across Ethiopia, with crosses belonging to the Orthodox Christian religion among the most prominent designs. They can be found in tourist markets throughout the country and in the jewellery shops of Addis Ababa’s Piazza.