A compelling journey into Ethiopia's intriguing timeline

Personalised journeys from start to finish

Every trip helps support Conservation

Every detail taken care of

  • Personalised journeys from start to finish

  • Every trip helps support Conservation

  • Every detail taken care of

Itinerary highlights

  • Explore the city of Addis Ababa and its many museums
  • Seek out Fasiledes Castle and Fasil Bath
  • Drive through the magnificent Simien National Park, spotting wildlife
  • Discover the rock churches of Lalibela and Gheralta
  • Venture into Omo Valley and gain insight into the culture of the Kara people

What's included

  • Accommodation throughout
  • Private transfers
  • Private tours and experiences
  • Full support from your travel designer and concierge before, during and after your trip
  • Expert guides in each destination
  • Internal flights
Use this itinerary to inspire your bespoke journey

At a glance

Designed to highlight the most noteworthy historical wonders and cultural spectacles of Ethiopia, this tour is an ideal overview of this remarkable destination.

Addis Ababa, the far-reaching capital of the country, is your starting point, and it’s here that you can enjoy a guided tour, visiting the National Museum, home to a vast array of bone fossils. The Ethnological Museum is another must-see along with the city’s striking cathedrals, followed by a traditional coffee ceremony.

Leaving the bustle far behind, the tour will head into the Simien Mountains, a World Heritage Site encompassing the Simien Mountains National Park. You’ll traverse this magnificent expanse of  landscape, interspersed with gaping valleys, passing the remains of the 17th-century Fasiledes Castle and Fasil Bath. The tour will then enter the park in search of geladas and ibex, pausing to soak up the incredible views.

Lalibela, a town renowned for its rock-cut churches, which date back to the 12th and 13th centuries, is next on the itinerary. You’ll be led around these beguiling structures that serve as pilgrimage sites for Coptic Christians before relaxing at a local wine bar, sampling the delicacy, Tej.

The tour then continues to Axum, a city scattered with carved obelisks and several ancient sites. Gheralta is another place of interest, with its own collection of 120 rock-hewn churches, and you can walk around here while observing the exquisitely colourful frescos.

Continuing on to Omo Valley, you’ll experience authentic camping in the wilderness of Africa. During this time, you’ll also explore the Mago National Park, visiting villages, learning about their culture and witnessing a traditional dance by the Kara people.

Before returning home after a wonderful Ethiopian adventure, you’ll have another day in Addis Ababa to pick up some trinkets and dabble in the delicious local cuisine.

 

 

Example trip itinerary

Days 1-2

Addis Ababa

Flights & transfers

Transfer

Meet and greet at Addis Ababa airport

Transfer

Private transfer to your hotel in Addis Ababa

Accommodation in Addis Ababa

Addis Ababa city tour Addis Ababa city tour

This interesting tour includes a visit to the National Museum, which houses several hundred pieces of bone fossils representing 40% of the skeleton of a female of the hominin species, known as Lucy. You'll also see the Ethnological Museum and get the chance to witness a traditional coffee ceremony, as well as discover the city's churches, Unity Park and Merkato.

Flights & transfers

Transfer

Private transfer to Addis Ababa airport

Transfer

Flight from Addis Ababa to Gondar airport

Transfer

Meet and greet at Gondar airport

Transfer

Private transfer to your lodge in Simien Mountains

Days 2-4

Simien Mountains

Accommodation in Simien Mountains

Baths of Fasiladas in Gondar, Noth Ethiopia, Africa
Sightseeing at Fasiledes Castle and Fasil Bath Sightseeing at Fasiledes Castle and Fasil Bath

Built for Emperor Fasilides, this grand castle helped to establish Gondar as the capital of the Ethiopian empire during this period. Also known as the Royal Enclosure, Fasil Ghebbi, the egg-shaped domed roofs of this castle and huge towers have a more mediaeval European style than African. The view from to top of the castle also offers incredible views over the city.

During your visit, you’ll also see the 300-year-old Fasil Bath that was once used by Ethiopian royalty. The pool is ceremoniously filled every year for the Timkat celebration that plays an important role in the spiritual lives of Ethiopian Orthodox Christians.

Exploring Simien National Park Exploring Simien National Park

Today, you'll drive into the Simien National Park for a day of exploring while keeping an eye out for geladas (early morning is the best as they warm up on the cliff edges) and ibex. In the afternoon, you'll stop and tuck into a packed lunch.

You'll then return to Limalimo and have evening drinks paired with amazing views. As the temperature in the park and at the lodge in the evenings can be cool, a warm fleece is recommended

Flights & transfers

Transfer

Private transfer from Simien Mountains to Gondar airport

Transfer

Flight from Gondar to Lalibela airport

Transfer

Meet and greet at Lalibela airport

Transfer

Private transfer to your lodge in Lalibela

Days 4-6

Lalibela

Accommodation in Lalibela

St. George Church in Lalibela Ethiopia
Discovering Lalibela's rock churches Discovering Lalibela's rock churches

Lalibela is Ethiopia's holiest city and a site of pilgrimage for many Orthodox Christians. The 900-year-old church of Bet Giyorgis - church of St. George - is located on the western side of the cluster of 11 churches. It was carved from a single piece of rock 40 feet into the ground in the shape of a Greek cross. There is a curtain that shields the Holy of Holies, in front of which usually stands a priest displaying scripture and paintings.

Yemrehana Krestos is a stone and wood church in the Aksumite style, located inside a dark cave 12 miles north east of Lalibela. Until 15 years ago, this church, could only be reached after a long and difficult journey by foot or donkey. You will also enjoy the sunset from Ashetan Monastery, with truly remarkable views.

Ethiopia tej wine
An evening at Torpido Tej House wine bar An evening at Torpido Tej House wine bar

Mingle with the locals in this popular bar where you can taste the local delicacy, Tej. This libation is a kind of Ethiopian mead, a delicious honey wine with a herby flavour. Patrons can also enjoy a traditional azmari song and dance until the early hours.

Flights & transfers

Transfer

Private transfer to Lalibela airport

Transfer

Flight from Lalibela to Axum airport

Transfer

Meet and greet at Axum airport

Transfer

Private transfer to your lodge in Tigray Region

Days 6-8

Tigray Region

Accommodation in Tigray Region

axum-tigray-ethiopia
Sightseeing in Axum Sightseeing in Axum

This city in northern Ethiopia is known for its tall, carved obelisks which date back to the ancient Kingdom of Aksum. Spend some time sightseeing in the city and you'll discover many of them in the Northern Stelae Park. Other highlights include the ancient St. Mary of Zion church which is a pilgrimage site and is believed to have housed the Ark of the Covenant. Many believe the neighboring Chapel of the Tablet contains the Ark today.

The rock-hewn churches of Gheralta The rock-hewn churches of Gheralta

Very little is known about the origin of the 120 churches carved into the rock and cliffs, or their architectural history. Local tradition attributes most of the churches to the 4th century Aksumite Kings, Abreha and Atsbeha. Access to the churches involves some interesting hikes up the steep, and sometimes sheer, cliff faces. Inside many of the churches are colourful frescoes, hundreds of years old. The priests who live on these mountains follow a simple life that revolves around the Orthodox Christian calendar.

Abuna Yemata is known as Gheralta's church in the sky and is one of the most inaccessible place of worship on earth, perched on top of a vertical spire. Carved by hand from the rock in which it stands, this 5th century monastery is decorated in exquisite frescoes, and is so sacred that mothers bring their newborn babies up here to be baptised, and bodies have been laid to rest on this mountain.

The monastery of Abune Gebre Mikael has a modest whitewashed entrance set within the natural rock, with old wooden window frames. It opens into a beautiful and classical place of worship, cruciform in plan with dome ceilings, pillars and arche, covered in amazing unspoiled frescos of Christian saints and biblical scenes.

Rectangular in shape with six freestanding pillars, Debre Zion is known for its architectural features, including decorated dome ceilings, bas-reliefs and carved crosses on the walls. It also has beautiful, though faded murals and a unique ancient ceremonial fan.

Flights & transfers

Transfer

Private transfer to Mekele airpot

Transfer

Flight from Mekele to Addis Ababa airport

Transfer

Flight from Addis Ababa to Murulle airport

Transfer

Meet and greet at Murulle airport

Transfer

Boat transfer to your camp in Omo Valley

Days 8-11

Omo Valley

Accommodation in Omo Valley

Mago National Park, Omo valley, Etiopia
Mago National Park and Kara dance Mago National Park and Kara dance

The Mago National Park is a vast national park in the south of Ethiopia and on your morning walk you may spot dik-diks, baboons, waterbucks and many other mammals. You'll head back to camp for lunch and then you'll also have a chance to visit the Mursi villages and expereince an evening dance from the Kara people. The Kara tribe occupy the left bank of the Omo River and are known for their intricate body art and face painting. The vibrant white chalk, red ochre and yellow mineral rock colours used are spectacular to behold and can be designed in dots, spirals and patterns that change every day. The Kara are incredibly social and it’s always great fun when they throw an evening dance in the village.

Flights & transfers

Transfer

Private transfer to Jinka

Transfer

Flight from Jinka to Addis Ababa airport

Day 11

Addis Ababa

Day room at the Sheraton Addis Day room at the Sheraton Addis
addis-ababa-aerial
One final day in Addis Ababa One final day in Addis Ababa

Enjoy your last day wandering around this city, picking up some trinkets to take home and feasting on delicious local delicacies.

Flights & transfers

Transfer

Private transfer to Addis Ababa airport

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A Historical and Cultural Exploration of Ethiopia

11-Day Example Trip
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