Ethiopia

A Signature Trip led by Suzanne Al Houby

Level

Moderate

Duration

13 days

Our adventure gives you the opportunity to discover the unique and enchanting culture, history and nature on a journey through the heart of Ethiopia. The trip starts with exploration of Adis Ababa- Ethiopia’s capital city-rich in Impressive monuments that are scattered among stretches of sun-bleached shacks.

A short domestic flights takes you Arbamintch and Nech Sar National Park for a memorable adventure – walk under the canopy of a Rain Forest Jungle, one of the few remaining of its type in Ethiopia. On our way to Konso  a boat trip on Lake Chamo  give us the chance to sight hippos and the Nile crocodiles at closer range; we then proceed to Jinka and take time to explore the beautiful villages of Ari Tribe, one of the 16 tribes of the Omo Valley Region. 

We continue our journey through Mago National park to visit the Mursi tribe. We will intermingle with the locals tribes, observe daily lives and even participate in some of their daily routines. Next we visit the Dassenech tribe and the famous Omo River enjoying the traditional way of crossing Omo River with a dugout wooden canoe to visit one of their villages.

Trekking through the beautiful villages and fantastically scenic landscape of Konso territory and Dorze people gives you the opportunity to get closer to the  extraordinary tribes.

We then return to Adis Ababa before we fly to Mekele for another exciting adventure – the Ertale Volcano.  Erta Ale is a caldera found at the top of the mountain that measures 613 m a.s.l.  and it is one of the few most active volcano lava lakes in the world. A 3 hour walk takes you to   the rim of the volcano where you will witness the dramatic action of the boiling lava-  a place to be seen once in life time.  Proceed to Hamedela through a changing landscape of solidified lava, rock, sand and the occasional palm lined oasis.

You will also attend the salt excavation process at   Dallol ( 116 m b.s.l) it is the deepest place in Africa and is the hottest place in the world;  you will visit Assale saline lake, the sulphur lakes and witness  photogenic caravans consisting of numerous camels.

We then drive north and visit some of the fascinating ancient churches returning to Mekele and flying back to Adis Ababa for a night rest before we embark on another exciting  adventure in   Simens Mountains National park and enjoy a  hike in the ragged Mountains. The Park is famous for its exclusive landscape, afro-alpine vegetation and unique wildlife. Our last stop is historic Gondar-visit the Royal Compound, where enchanting 17th century castles stand, Debre Berhan Selassie Church(best for mural paintings), and the Bath of Emperor Fasiledes, where the annual Timiket/epiphany celebration takes place.After we return back to Addis, we will be enjoying the Ethiopian cuisine accompanied by traditional dances at one of the cultural restaurants.

Facts:

  • Activities: trekking, cultural sightseeing, nature and wildlife, boating, canoeing, cultural interaction, game drives, community service.

 

  • Our operation:

All Rahhalah’s ground handlers and guides are locally employed ensuring more authentic experience for travelers, as well as sensitivity and understanding of the local culture and environment.

Our staff is highly experienced and has excellent knowledge, committed to provide exceptional service at all times.

  • Sustainability:

    • We run a low impact operation and we leave no traces behind, contributing to the efforts of protection of the local land, its people and culture.
    • We are committed to employing local people to the maximum extent possible. We pay our staff well and, just as important, we provide them with periodical training. In addition we emphasize on making extensive use of local products and enhance maximum economic benefits to the local communities.
    • As you all know 1% of our revenue go back to a local cause and Rahhalah directly takes care of that. This is our pay back promise.

DETAILED ITINERARY

Day 01: Arrival Addis Ababa- City Tour in Addis Ababa - Fly to Arbamintch ( ~ 20 Kms/ 2:30Hrs )

Morning Arrival in the Addis Ababa. Recommended arrival time is 7 am.

If your flight arrives later than 11:30 am please arrive one day earlier. Optional: extra hotel night can be arranged at extra cost.

In the morning, Explore Addis Ababa and we visit the National Museum of Ethiopia, home to the remains of Lucy (the most ancient hominid fossil yet discovered). Lucy was found in the Danakil Depression of Rift Valley Region. The museum also houses the remains of many other ancient hominids.

Drive to Entoto Mountain (for views over Addis Ababa city) and the Entoto Maryam Museum (with royal garments, coins, drums and the royal crown used by Menelik II). For those interested, we can also choose to visit several ancient churches, the very old palace of Menelik II and Merkato (the largest open air market in Africa). There are many interesting monuments and historic sites that can be visited along the way, and opportunities to go souvenir shopping in the diverse and interesting markets of Addis Ababa.

In the afternoon, catch a domestic flight to Arbamintch.

Afterwards, drive into Nech Sar National Park, where you will visit the 40 springs after which the name Arbaminch has been given for the town. Here, you will enjoy the drive and conduct an about 2 hours walk under the canopy of a Rain Forest Jungle, one of the few remaining of its type in Ethiopia. This might be one of the most fascinating and memorable experience of nature based adventure in your life time.

Eventually, drive to your lodge which is based on the most spectacular view point of Arbaminch city. And from here you will have a rewarding view towards the Jungle you have walked in, and Abaya & Chamo, the twin lakes of the Great Rift Valley of Ethiopia.

Overnight stay in Arbamintch

Accommodation: Paradise Lodge or similar

Day 02: Drive Arbamintch - Konso - Jinka (220 Kms/ 5Hrs)

After breakfast, we begin a boat trip on Lake Chamo for the chance to sight hippos and crocodiles at close range. Often large numbers of crocodiles can be viewed at a place known as “Azo-Gebeya” meaning Crocodile Market (this is one of Africa’s most impressive crocodile gatherings).

Then, proceed  the drive to the town of Karat Konso, where we will have a stopover for lunch. Afterwards, continue the drive towards Jinka. On the way, we will be visiting the traditional villages of  Benna, and Tsemay with their daily life activities.

Late in the afternoon, take time to explore the beautiful villages of Ari Tribe, one of the 16 tribes of the Omo Valley Region. The Aris are renowned for their traditional Houses, decorated by simple Art mainly made by women, and  encircled by Coffee and Enset (False Banana) plants. Here, we will make about 2 hours walk with stops by different household compounds for observing diversified activities of the locals.

A walk deep into the village will give you a chance to appreciate village life and observe the Liquor making process through local distillation techniques, Blacksmithing, pottery, house painting and more.

It’s also here we seat with locals to test their food and drinks, get the lecture, and do demonstrations. Therefore, we will have special arrangements to let us have a try to make coffee and bake Enjera (a local traditional bread) in a tipical Ethiopian way.

In Jinka we can visit a special orphanage called the OMO Child, a place where Kids that are out casted by some tribes because the kids are considered to be unclean (Mingi) and would bring bad luck to the society.

Overnight stay in Jinka

Accommodation: Eco-Omo Lodge or similar

Day 03: Jinka - Mursi - Turmi (260 Kms / 6 Hrs)

This morning drive will take us to Mago NP to visit the Mursi tribe. Depending on luck, we would encounter with some game animals who suddenly emerge on the road sometimes. The Mursi are know internationally for their lip plating, earlobes, and stick fight (Donga ) – a form of initiation. Return back to Jinka for lunch. The drive will continue to Turmi after having lunch in Jinka. En route, visit Benna tribe. Then, spend the rest of the day exploring around the villages and environment of HAMAR people. Depending on luck ,we would attend the Bull Jumping ceremony, an initiation of Hamer tribe in which a man should run on the back of lined up cattle.

Here, there will be a visit to a Primary School which will let us understand the teaching learning process in a tipical school environment and how it is organized. It creates a chance for recollections of our schooling years and meeting with teachers and the future hope kids.

At evening, we will go to one of the nearby Hamar Villages to attend Evangadi, an impressive Traditional Evening Dance Performance, and be served a local cuisine called Wetele. It’s an old practice of grilling goat in a unique and traditional technique. It will also be our opportunity to intermingle with locals and try their dance.

Overnight in Turmi

Accommodation : Buska Lodge or similar

Day 04: Drive Turmi - Omorate - Konso ( 300 Kms/ 6Hrs)

In the morning, drive southward to reach Omorate, the border town between Ethiopia and Kenya.

Note : Please make sure that we bring your Passport with us for an emigration office registration.

The Dassenech tribe and the famous Omo river will be visited this morning. Dassenech is a tribe found in the most southerly part of Ethiopia and settled along the river bank of Omo. Here, we will enjoy the traditional way of crossing Omo river with a dugout wooden canoe to visit one of their villages.

Afterwards, drive northward and stop at Karat, the Capital of Konso, to visit the traditional villages of the tribe.

On the way, we can visit one of  the weekly colorful local markets attended by different people from different ethnic background. They bring all items of different values. It’s an ideal place to observe a unique and photogenic interaction among people and even between animals and people. It is a wonderful opportunity to wonder real life activities and capture incredible and live pictures.

Overnight stay in Konso

Accommodation : Kanta Lodge or similar

Day 05: Explore Konso - Trekking - Drive to Arbaminch ( 85 Kms/ 5 Hrs)

In the morning, depart from Karat town for a visit to the traditional villages of Konso People. Konso is a tribe renowned for it’s collective labor work and terraces built by human labour all over their land. Hence, the fascinating villages, the scenic full landscape, and their unique old aged culture has been registered by UNESCO as the 9th World Heritage Site of Ethiopia.

Then, conduct a half day trekking through the beautiful villages and fantastically scenic landscape of Konso territory.

En route, you will stop to take great pictures, visit the traditional Houses, and attend their agricultural filed activities.

In our special arrangement of intermingling with locals, here we have a chance to seat with the locals and perform a question and answer session. This is one of our techniques in which we bring the locals and tourists together and help them via translators to ask each others regarding to what they are wondering about and answer questions. Eventually, return back to Karat Konso for lunch and continue the drive to Arbaminch.

Overnight stay in Arbamintch

Accommodation : Paradise Lodge or similar.

Day 06: Explore Dorze - Trekking and Drive to Shashemene (270 Kms/ 5Hrs)

After breakfast, depart Arba Minch (Forty Springs), the largest town in Southern Ethiopia. The town lays at an elevation of 1,300m in the foothills of the Rift valley wall. Proceed the drive to ascend the west side escarpment of the Rift Valley. This escarpment has also mountains rising to almost 4000m to the west. This makes Arbaminch a more perfectly suited town anywhere in east Africa. On the way stop at a view point for overlooking the whole town of Arbaminch and it’s surrounding areas. From here, it’s possible to overlook to mountains sliver, which is known by the locals as God’s Bridge, that separate the twin lakes of Chamo and Abaya.

Once we reach on the top of the mountain, stop at Chencha, the capital of Dorze tribe. Here, we will make a Half day trekking through trails that connects different traditional villages. This trekking will provide us a chance to explore the beautiful villages and fantastically scenic landscape of Dorze people.

Since the area is Highland the air is so clean, the environment is very neat.

The Dorze are famous for their huge beehive huts, among the most distinctive traditional structure to been seen anywhere in Africa. Every Dorze compound is surrounded by enset (false banana, coffee and other crops.

They are also renowned for producing the country’s best-woven cotton clothes, which most of Ethiopian people would like to be dressed up with for holidays. We can also visit the local Cloth Making Associations, who make finely handmade woven clothes to be exported all over Ethiopia.

It is also worth to take time to intermingle with the locals by seating with them. After a lesson session, girls will participate in a demonstration of spinning cotton and preparing Kocho, a tipical Dorze bread made out of the branches and roots of Enset (False Banana) plant.

Whereas, Boys will take part and be tasted of weaving cottons, harvesting crops, and other agricultural activities

Afterwards, continue the drive on the floor of the Great Rift Valley of Ethiopia to reach the Rastafarian Town of Shashemene. En route, you will visit the villages of Halaba people and their water wells where you can see a big size of people and cattle herd waiting their turn to get water. The Hallaba Villages are full of beautifully designed Tukul houses whose internal and external walls are nicely painted with natural colours.

Then, proceed the drive to Shashemene, take a break to try the great locally growing coffee. Depending on time convenience, either in this afternoon or the next morning, we will make a visit to the famous and colourful villages of the Ras Teferian community of Jamaican origin. Also, visit their Museum, and an excellent private Banana Art Gallery. 

Then, we get back to the hotel for a refreshing break and at Night time you will attend the Reggae Jamming session with the Rastas. This tour will provide you an opportunity of intermingling yourself with the locals and experience their real life activities.

Overnight stay in Shashemene

Accommodation : Haile Resort or similar

Day 07: Drive from Shashemene to Addis Ababa (251 Kms/ 5Hrs)

After breakfast, start the drive back to the capital of Ethiopia, Addis Ababa. On the way, you will visit Abijata-Shalla NP, where you will see Somalian Ostriches, Warthogs, and Gazelles. This park is well known for supporting the life of hundreds of bird specious.

Continue the drive and stop by Koka, an artificial lake created after the construction of the Hydroelectric Dam over River Awash and Mojo, the dry port town of Ethiopia. Stop at Debre Zeyt / Bishoftu for lunch and continue the drive to Addis Ababa.

Once we reach at Addis Ababa, we will have an opportunity to spend the rest of the day either by going for shopping to a few markets to buy souvenirs, by taking a rest, or having more visits in Addis Ababa.

Overnight stay in Addis Ababa 

Accommodation : Raddison Blu or similar

Day 08: Fly to Mekele and Drive to Ertale Volcano (230Kms/5Hrs)

In the morning, take a flight to Mekele in the Tigrayan Highlands, around 780 kilometers north of the Ethiopian capital.

Then, drive down from the edges of Rift Valley escarpment to its floor. This drive will eventually take you to Dodom a village at the base of Erta Ale.

Late in the afternoon, when the temperature gets cooler, you will walk up to the top of a gentle mountain for about 3 hours. Settle by the rim of the volcano and spend the night wandering the dramatic action of the boiling lava. It is a place to be seen once in life time.

Erta Ale is a caldera found at the top of the mountain that measures 613 m a.s.l. As one of the few most active volcano lava lakes in the world, Erta Ale is the most fascinating and physically challenging natural attractions anywhere in Ethiopia. It is simply a place that brings nature into a closer view of people.

Overnight stay at Ertale

Accommodation: Camping

Day 09: Erta Ale - Hamedela - Dallol ( 70 kms/ 4Hrs)

Rise up at dawn and walk around the rim of the active and dormant volcanoes found at the top of Erta Ale. This will give you a chance to have a daylight visit on the attraction and to keep an amazing pictures in your camera. Afterwards, walk back to the camping site. After breakfast, Set off to Hamedela through a 70km most challenging and adventure full road. This drive will take you through a changing landscape of solidified lava, rock, sand and the occasional palm lined oasis.

Late in the afternoon, you will see very long caravans with hundreds of camels one tied with the other and loaded with salt to be taken to the highlanders. The sunset behind the caravans is one of the most fascinating moments in the Denakil.

Overnight stay at Hanedela

Accommodation: Camping

Day 10: Drive Hamedela - Dallol - Wukiro (190Kms/ 4Hrs)

Dallol ( 116 m b.s.l) is the deepest place in Africa and is the hottest place in the world. This place once was a sea bead of saline water and today it is a salt plain from which local people extract salt bars called Amolle, that has been used as currency for 1600 years in Ethiopia. After attending the salt excavation process, you will visit Assale saline lake, the sulphur lakes and photogenic caravans consisting of numerous camels. Since the place has a strange nature, this day will be one of your fascinating and adventurous day ever. Finally, return to Hamedela and continue the drive to Wukiro.

On arriving, we can visit the rock-hewn church of Wukiro Cherkos (one of the finest works in Ethiopia from the 4th century). The church is chiselled into the face of a vertical sand stone cliff. Afterwards, we check into a local hotel (back at the lush, temperate altitude of 2,100m), and can relax, recovering from our desert adventures.

Overnight stay in Wukiro

Accommodation: Wukiro Lodge

Day 11: Wukiro - Gheralta - Mekele - Fly to Addis Ababa (120 Kms/ 5Hrs)

After breakfast, we drive northward from Wukiro and stop to visit the fascinating ancient churches of Abreha and Atsbeha.

Afterwards, we continue the drive further to north and stop at a small village which serves as a base for a three hour round trek to Gheralta, known for its tall sand cliffs into which many churches have been chiselled during the last 1,000 years or more. We can climb to the very top of the cliff to visit either Abbune Yemata or Maryam Kurkur (one of the most inaccessible churches of the world built in 4th century), but if climbing is not desired, we can visit more accessible locations close to the base of the cliff. We enjoy a picnic lunch at viewpoints with some of the most spectacular scenery in Ethiopia. After lunch, we will drive to Makele and take a flight back to Addis Ababa.

Overnight stay in Addis Ababa

Accommodation : Raddison Blu or similar

Day 12: Fly from Addis Ababa to Gondar - Drive to and Explore Simen Mountains NP - Drive to Debark (140 Kms/ 7Hrs)

Early in the morning, we will be transferred to the airport for our flight to Gondar and drive northward to Debark, a base to get to the famous Simien Mountains National Park. Then, we will get in to the Park and take time to hike in the jagged panorama of the Simien Mountains National Park, famed for its exclusive landscape, afro-alpine vegetation and unique wildlife. The park is home to many of the endemic animal species of Ethiopia including the gelada baboon (guaranteed to be seen) as well as the Walia ibex and Ethiopian wolf, the rarest animal in Africa. The whole day today will be devoted to explore around the park with the combination of trekking and driving. Here, you will be amazed by the fascinating land form and it’s bio-diversity.

At the end of the day, drive to Debark.

Overnight in Debark

Accommodation : Limalimo Lodge or similar.

Day 13: Drive Debark - Gondar - Explore Gonder - Fly to Addis Ababa ( 100 Kms/ 6Hrs)

Early in the morning, start driving back to the old capital, Gondar. Afterwards, our will be exploring around the historic Gondar. Visit the Royal Compound, where enchanting 17th century castles stand, Debre Berhan Selassie Church(best for mural paintings), and the Bath of Emperor Fasilodas, where the annual Timiket/epiphany celebration takes place. And so much more!!

Eventually, we will be transferred to the airport for a flight back to Addis Ababa.

Once we reach at Addis Ababa, we may have an opportunity to spend the rest of the day either by going for shopping to few markets to buy souvenirs, taking a rest, or having personal activities.

In the evening, there will be a complimentary farewell party with traditional buffet and local drinks accompanied with live cultural dance show from the different ethnic groups of  Ethiopia.

At the end of the farewell dinner, you will either be transferred to Bole international airport for your international flight back to Home.

Departure- 9 pm onwards.

Optional: extra hotel night can be arranged at extra cost.

4,500 USD

per person in group of min 6 pax. Double occupancy 

Trip Dates

9 November 2018

This cost is based on Double Occupancy. Single Supplement Applies.

All services stipulated above are subject to availability at the time of booking / reservation. All prices are subject to change.

This cost is based on domestic flights with Ethiopian considering your international flights are booked with Ethiopian. If your international flights are booked with other airline, extra cost of 800 USD per person for domestic flights will apply.

This includes:

All car transfers with  fuel as described

Every other Transportation costs, like Boat, pack animals and others.

All accommodation  as described based on Double rooms ( or similar depending on the availability)

Three Meals a day with soft drinks, for all travel days

Special farewell party with traditional buffet and drinks

Entrance fees as needed

Escort guide

All payments for Park scouts/Rangers, who will facilitate your park visit. Compulsory park rule.

Every single payment for locals assigned by the government to provide necessary assistance & support

All payments for the Bull Jumping ceremony, if lucky to attend it.

Payments for organising Evangadi, the traditional night dance ceremony of the Hamar Tribe.

All payments for organising the traditional Barbecue of HAMAR people.

All payments related to organising the Jamming Sessions with the Rastas.

All costs camping equipments for Afar and Simien Mountains Adventure Trips

payments for all camping crew members

Unlimited amount of sealed water for every tour day

All forms of local  government taxes

Domestic  flights mentioned in the itinerary based on booking international flights with Ethiopian airlines

This excludes:

International flights

Visa fees

Travel Insurance

Single Supplement

Optional actvities

Personal gear

Meals not mentioned above

Beverages

Tips and gratuities

Personal expenses

5%  UAE VAT on the total cost

 

Important: The itinerary and schedule are subject to change due to weather, road condition and operating conditions. In any case the guide has the RIGHT to change the program for the safety and convenience of the travelers.

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