The Wildlife and Cultural Highlights of Ethiopia

# Tailor-Made Tour

The Wildlife and Cultural Highlights of Ethiopia

19 Days from £6,197 per adult. All trip details below can be tailored just for you
19 Days
Tailor-Made Tour
Primate Watching
Culture and Archaeology

An extensive 17 day itinerary focusing on Ethiopia’s most exciting wildlife, historical sites and unique landscapes. This diverse tour begins with the rugged Simien Mountains – home to Ethiopia’s most expressive primate; the Gelada as well as shore footed Walia ibex. There is also the historic Fasil Ghebbi Castle and Debre Birhan Selassie Church in Gondar well as fascinating culture at the Awra Amba community. Then marvel at the incredible architecture of the rock hewn churches at Lalibela where magnificent lammergiers also soar. There is also typical East African wildlife on the plains of Awash, Ali Deghe and lakes at Langano in the Great Rift Valley. Finally, no trip to Ethiopia would be complete without experiencing the remarkable landscapes and incredible wildlife of the Bale Mountains where sightings of the wonderful Ethiopian wolf are usually a daily occurance.

Itinerary

Price from £6,197 per adult. Based on sharing double / twin rooms

Day 1 - Depart UK

Take overnight flight from London to Addis Ababa.

Staying at In-flight. Includes In-flight Meals.

Day 2 - Addis Ababa

Met on arrival and transfer to the hotel. Morning at leisure to recover from your flight and in the afternoon take a guided city tour of Addis including a visit to the National Museum to see the Lucy exhibit which houses the remains of one of the oldest humans ever discovered. Return to the hotel for the evening.

Staying at Getfam Hotel. Includes Breakfast.

Day 3 - Simien Mountains

Morning transfer to the airport and take domestic flight to Gondar. Met on arrival and drive north to Debark and into the wonderful Simien Mountains National Park. Afternoon guided excursion for your first encounters with geladas, highland birds and some magnificent scenery. The volcanic Simien Mountains date back nearly 20 million years and offer some of the most rugged and dramatic mountain landscapes in Africa. The altitude will mostly be between 3,300 and 3,500 meters above sea level.

Staying at Smien Lodge. Includes All Meals.

Day 4 - Simien Mountains

This morning enjoy a full day to explore the Simien Mountains National Park perhaps with a packed lunch, enabling you to reach the remote Chennek Valley. Here you will hopefully find the endemic and agile Walia ibex which are surprisingly at home on the craggy ledges of the mountains. Look out too for the impressive lammergeier or “bone breaker vulture” here alongside numerous other species of birds of prey, croaking thick-billed ravens and nimble Ethiopian klipspringers. One of the highlights of the day will be spending time with a troop of habituated geladas (or bleeding heart baboons) as they graze on the montane grasslands of the Park.

Staying at Simien Lodge. Includes All Meals.

Day 5 - Gondar

This morning enjoy some birdwatching around the lodge grounds. Later drive south to the historic town of Gondar to visit its seven castles of Fasil Ghebbi, built by Emperor Fasilides in the 17th Century. Later visit the impressive Debre Birhan Selassie Church; one of the most beautiful churches in all of Ethiopia with intricate ceiling and wall paintings dating back to the 17th Century.

Staying at Goha Hotel. Includes All Meals.

Day 6 - Lalibela

After perhaps some early morning birdwatching in the hotel grounds, transfer 4 hours south to visit the Awra Amba Community. This fascinating community of approximately 450 people was founded in 1980 by Zumra Nuru who wanted to create a fairer society than the one he was growing up in. The community is unique in Ethiopia in that its members all share the same vision of promoting equality among men and women without following any religion. Learn about the history of the community and its beliefs and impacts around Ethiopia and the world. Continue the drive through beautiful highland landscapes, rural villages and dry open country to Lalibela arriving in the late afternoon.

Staying at Maribela Hotel. Includes All Meals.

Day 7 - Lalibela

Today visit Ethiopia’s “must see” historical attraction. One of the most important pilgrim sites for followers of the Orthodox Church Lalibela’s incredible rock hewn churches are also a masterpiece of archaeological work. There are 12 rock hewn churches to explore; some remarkably sculpted out of the hard volcanic rock by hand in the 12th Century and others skilfully built into the side of caves. Bet Medhane Alem (the largest) and St George’s churches are two of the most impressive. Your expert guide will help you make the most of this extraordinary site.

Staying at Maribela Hotel. Includes All Meals.

Day 8 - Awash National Park

Today transfer to the Lalibela airport and take flight to Addis Ababa. Met on arrival back in Addis and transfer 4 hours to Awash National Park in the Great Rift Valley. The region is thought to be one of the earliest homes of mankind. In the evening visit a hyena cave at the base of Mount Fentale to watch spotted hyenas emerge as the sun sets.

Staying at Awash Falls Lodge. Includes Breakfast and Dinner.

Day 9 - Awash National Park

This morning perhaps take a pre-breakfast bird and wildlife walk around the lodge grounds next to the thundering Awash waterfall. Nile crocodiles and monitor lizards sun themselves on the river banks, inquisitive grivet and guereza colobus monkeys frequent the fig trees and birds are abundant including the beautiful Abyssinian roller, dark chanting goshawk, African grey hornbill and orange-bellied parrot.

Later take a safari across the semi-arid bush and grasslands of the Illala Sala Plains in the south of the Park. This area supports small but important populations of elegant Besia oryx, Soemmerring's gazelle, lesser kudu, Salt’s dik dik, warthog, olive baboon and a huge diversity of birds including the Kori bustard. Leopard tortoises are also common here and in the afternoon transfer 2 hours north to the eastern edge of the park.

Staying at Doho Lodge. Includes All Meals.

Day 10 - Ali Deghe Plains


Today take morning and afternoon safaris on the Ale Deghe Wildlife Reserve and Plains where larger herds of oryx and Soemmerring's gazelle can be seen. This is large open grassland with scattered areas of acacia scrub holds other exciting species such as the exceptionally long necked gerenuk antelope and endangered Grevy’s zebra. You may also encounter the newly described African golden wolf (previously thought to be a golden jackal), warthogs and bat-eared foxes and if very lucky even a pride of lions, cheetah or caracal. In the evening perhaps take a night walk for waterbuck, owls and nightjars around the lodge.

Staying at Doho Lodge. Includes All Meals.

Day 11 - Ali Deghe Plains

Take another morning safari on the Ale Deghe Plains. This area is also famed for its birdlife and has been called the bustard capital of the world with at least 5 species of bustard regularly seen. Colourful northern carmine bee eaters, delicate scissor-tailed kites, blue-legged Somali ostriches and camouflaged double-banded coursers are among some of the many other avian specialities. Perhaps also visit a local Afar village to learn about the lifestyle of this nomadic tribe. Return to the lodge for lunch and a visit to the hot springs where groups of Hamadryas baboons gather to sunbathe. In the afternoon transfer to Adama (Nazret) for the evening.

Staying at La Residence Hotel. Includes All Meals.

Day 12 - Bale Mountains National Park

Today depart on a long drive through changing landscapes as you head into the Bale Mountains National Park. Stop in the rolling Gaysay Grasslands to enjoy the herds of endemic mountain nyala, bohor reedbuck, warthog and olive baboons. Look out too for servals hunting rodents in the tall grasslands of this valley. A stop in the Park headquarters at Dinsho can also provide an opportunity to see the rare Abyssinian long eared owl. Continue the drive to the lodge, arriving in the late afternoon.

Staying at Bale Mountain Lodge. Includes All Meals.

Day 13 - Bale Mountains National Park

Enjoy a full day to explore the Bale Mountains National Park. Perhaps begin with a pre-breakfast bird walk through the lush Harenna Forest close to the lodge. You may see black and white guereza colobus monkeys, white-cheeked turaco, African emerald cuckoos and Abyssinian catbirds here.

Later perhaps explore the magical moorland landscapes of the Sanetti Plateau home of the beautiful and critically endangered Ethiopian wolf. For such a rare animal, these unique canids are surprisingly easy to find as they hunt the plateau’s abundant rodent prey during daylight. Bizarre giant mole rats, locally endemic Stark’s hares, klipspringers, blue-winged geese, spot-breasted lapwings and golden eagles could also be spotted up here.

Staying at Bale Mountain Lodge. Includes All Meals.

Day 14 - Bale Mountains National Park

Enjoy another full day to explore the Bale Mountains. Perhaps explore more of the biodiverse Harenna Forest or just relax in the beautiful settings. There are various trails leading out from the lodge where waterfalls and wildlife including the locally endemic Bale monkey, African crowned eagle and Bale nose-horned chameleon may be seen. Other activities could include a visit further south to the Sof Omar Caves and habitat of the rare Prince Ruspoli’s turaco, or visits to local villages, a honey harvesting experience or wild coffee collection and processing.

In the evening perhaps take a game drive through the interior of the Harenna Forest in search of secretive forest dwellers such as the huge giant forest hog, bushpig, Menelik’s bushbuck and maybe even the rare Abyssinian lion.

Staying at Bale Mountain Lodge. Includes All Meals.

Day 15 - Lake Awassa

Today depart for a long drive down into the Great Rift Valley and Lake Awassa, stooping at points of interest along the journey.

Staying at Haile Resort. Includes All Meals.

Day 16 - Lake Awassa

This morning explore Lake Awassa, noted for its abundant birdlife and hippos. Perhaps visit the local fish market for close views of a variety of water birds before taking a boat trip around the lake in search of hippos and different birdlife. After lunch transfer to Lake Langano.

Staying at Hara Langano. Includes All Meals.

Day 17 - Lake Langano

Take a morning bird and wildlife walk with your guide in the acacia woodlands around the lodge. Many colourful and endemic birds such as blue-cheeked bee eater, yellow-fronted parrot, silvery-cheeked hornbill and Narina trogon, and colobus monkeys and reptiles can be seen. A group of hippos can also be seen in the lake right in front of the lodge each morning. Later in the morning visit Abijatta-Shalla National Park and enjoy its flocks of flamingos, pelicans and thermal springs. There is also the option of a night walk when African civets, white-tailed mongooses and even aardvarks are occasionally spotted.

Staying at Hara Langano Lodge. Includes All Meals.

Day 18 - Lake Langano

Enjoy some more early morning birdwatching around the lodge or relax in the tranquil settings. Return to Addis in the afternoon and enjoy a special farewell dinner at a traditional Ethiopian Restaurant with live dance performances from around the country. Transfer to the airport in the evening.

Staying at In-flight. Includes Breakfast and Dinner.

Day 19 - Arrive UK

Depart Addis Ababa on flight to London. Arrive London.

Staying at In-flight. Includes In-flight Meals.

Travel Info

Are Flights Included?
Yes

Flight Info:
There are direct flights from London Heathrow with Ethiopian Airlines. Flights are 7 hours 35 minutes.

Best visited:
October to April

Area Specialist

Ian Loyd

If you have any queries about this tour please feel free to call me directly on +44 (0)1803 866965 or...

Route Map

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Getfam Hotel: 8.905084, 38.781889
Goha Hotel: 12.620579, 37.468306
Awash Falls Lodge: 8.842747, 40.012845
La Residence Hotel and Spa: 8.528245, 39.262111
Bale Mountain Lodge: 6.717658, 39.727922
Haile Resort: 7.079588, 38.479094
Hara Langano Lodge: 7.527194, 38.791105
Maribela Hotel: 12.040946, 39.037489
Haile Resort Hawassa: 7.079606, 38.479095
Simien Lodge: 13.211777, 37.977824