North & Omo Valley - 15 days
This program encompasses Addis Ababa and the famous historical places of Axum, Lalibela, Gondar, Lake Tana and the Omo Valley.
Arrive in Addis Ababa (the capital city of Ethiopia) and embark on sightseeing including the Trinity Cathedral, the National and Ethnographic museums and the Merkato (the largest open-air market in Africa). Stop for lunch at Dashen Ethiopian Restaurant for your introduction to enjera (the Ethiopian staple food). Overnight hotel.
The National Museum in Addis Ababa houses the famous 3.2 million old fossil of Lucy
In the morning fly to Axum and visit its archaeological sites and the church of Maryam Tsion, which houses the Ark of the Covenant. Axum was the capital city of Ethiopia from the 1st to 10th century A.D. At present it is regarded as the holiest city in Ethiopia as it was here Christianity was introduced first in the 4th century. Overnight hotel.
The granite obelisks of Axum are evidence of the greatness of the Ancient Ethiopian civilization. The fallen obelisk is the single largest piece of rock ever carved by a human being.
Fly to Lalibela and visit the famous 12th century rock-cut churches of Lalibela, regarded as one of the wonders of the ancient world. Overnight hotel.
In the morning drive to the 12th century cave church of Yimrhane Kirstos considered to be the masterpiece of built up churches from the medieval period of Ethiopian history. Drive back to Lalibela to visit the remaining rock churches of Lalibela. Late afternoon you will attend coffee ceremony in a private home. Overnight hotel.
Carved out of a single sold rock, the 12th century rock-hewn church of Bete Gyorgis at Lalibela is likely to be the most photographed church in Ethiopia.
Fly to Gondar and drive to the Simen Mountains National Park which is called by many as the “Grand Canyon of Ethiopia”. Overnight at Simen Lodge, the highest hotel in Africa at 3200 meters above sea level.
The “Roof of Africa” is the other name of the Simen Mountains
The endemic Gelada Monkeys are one of flagship species of the Simen Mountains NP
Today you will explore the Simen Mountains National Park to appreciate its landscape and rare wildlife particularly the Gelada Monkeys, endemic to Ethiopia. Overnight Simen Lodge.
Drive to Gondar and in the afternoon visit the 17th and 18th century castles of Gondar and the church of Debre Birhan Sillasse, famous for its murals. Continue to Bahri Dar. Overnight hotel.
The 17th century castle of Fasiledes at Gondar
The church of Debre Birhan Sillasse is known as the Sistine Chapel of Ethiopia
In the morning drive to the Blue Nile Falls. In the afternoon you will have boat excursion on Lake Tana to visit one of the churches famed for its murals. Overnight hotel.
The magnificent Blue Nile Falls
In the morning fly to Addis Ababa and connect to Arba Minch. Drive to the Dorze Mountains to visit the Droze people who are known for building bamboo-made basket like huts. Overnight hotel.
In the morning you will have boat trip on Lake Chamo. Drive to Jinka across the land of the Konso, Tesemai, Bena and Aari people with stops to meet locals. Overnight hotel.
The Mursi are famous for their unusual decoration of wearing clay lip plate
Drive to the land of the Mursi people across the Mago National Park. The Mursi whose women are known for decorating with clay lip-plate are the most famous of the Omo Valley people. In the afternoon you will visit the South Omo Cultural Museum. Overnight hotel.
Drive to the land of the Hamer people who have kept their traditional way of living. Hamer girls wear goat skin dresses which they decorate with beads. They fashion their hair with mixture of butter and red ochre. The men are known for braiding their hair and carrying stool/head rest. In the afternoon visit a Hamer village. Overnight hotel.
A Hamer woman. Her projected neck-ring indicates that she is the first wife for her husband. The Hamer are polygamous.
Drive to the land of the Kara people on the bank of River Omo. They practice body painting for important occasions. Overnight hotel.
A Kara woman at the bank of Omo River
Drive to the land of the Konso people. After lunch break, visit a traditional Konso Village. Traditional Konso villages and terraced farms are registered as UNESCO world heritage sites. Continue to Arba Minch. Overnight hotel.
Fly to Addis Ababa.You will fly out of Addis this evening or the following morning.