• Gondar ethiopia simien eco tours

From the Northern Highlands to the Danakil Depression

Such a fascinating trip has rarely been taken as it is a fusion of part of the highest and lowest in the country which enables one to experience the actual nature of Ethiopia. As the tour extends to somehow adventurous and compels you to stay in the tents for a few days.

Fantastic mountain landscapes, the heritage of a culture more than 3,000 years old, and the traditional way of life of the various tribal and ethnic groups make the former Abyssinia one of the most impressive and mysterious countries in Africa. In this trip we Combine the classical sights in Ethiopia  just on one vacation. This tour is a good mix of Ethiopia's cultural and natural diversity. You will feel like traveling to different countries on just one journey. 

Tour code: CU32

Operator: SimienEcoTours



Day 1

Addis Ababa, city sightseeing

Arrival in the morning. Transfer to the hotel (if the rooms are ready for occupancy). Sightseeing tour through the capital, which is located at an altitude of up to 2,450 masl. A city of contrasts with modern skyscrapers next to corrugated iron huts, donkey and horse carts next to modern means of transport, colourful traditional markets next to supermarkets. Besides the most important historical monuments you visit the National Museum, where the famous skeleton Lucy is kept.

Meal: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Accommodation: Hotel Heyday or similar hotel in ,Addis Ababa


Day 2

Sight seeing the Royal enclosure

Today you will fly to the ancient capital of Gondar. Gondar’s 17th century castles are listed as UNESCO World Heritage. You will visit the Royal enclosure with its 5 palaces. The late afternoon sun puts them in a good light on your guided tour through the compound. In the evening you will have a good traditional dinner in one of the local restaurants. Anyone who feels like dancing is welcome to visit one of the bars around town where the Ethiopian shoulder dance (‘eskista’) is pretty famous.

Gondar is also the most common starting point for Simien Mountains Trekking. So tomorrow you will head towards the national park from here.

Meals: B/L/D

Accommodation: Inn of the Four Sisters or similar, Gondar

Day 3

Full day excursion in the Simien Mountains National park

In the morning the drive takes you through the Ethiopian highlands towards the north-east into the Simien Mountains National Park. At a stop in Debark, a small town with about 60,000 inhabitants at an altitude of 2,800m, the formalities are completed at the park's headquarters. In Debark there is the possibility to visit a school for disabled children, which is also supported by the local agency. After leaving Debark behind, you will ride on a bus for a while to the entrance of the national park. Already here you have several views of this imposing, wildly rugged mountain landscape. We meet the endemic Gelada monkeys, a trusty baboon species, which nibble on grasses and roots in packs of up to 100 animals.

Meals: B/L/D

Accommodation: Inn of the Four Sisters or similar, Gondar

Day 4

Drive to Gorgora, boat trip, relax on Lake Tana

Your driver meets you at your hotel  then, you drive through green hilly landscapes in the Lake Tana basin. Your lodge is located off the track just at the lake shore without any disturbance. The setting is mesmerising! A green garden oasis right at the lake. Depending on your arrival time there will still be a chance to go for an activity. The lodge has kayaks to discover the lakeshore with its waterbirds and historic monasteries. Or you take a walk to the village where the 14th century Debre Sina Mariam church offers colourful religious paintings. For later arrivals (due to late arrival at Gondar Airport) the pleasant lodge restaurant will serve you dinner and you will rest in peace under a starry sky.

Meals: -B/L/D

Accommodation: Tim & Kim Village, Gorgora

Day 5

Fly to Lalibela and sightseeing the rock-hewn churches of Lalibela

Domestic flight to Lalibela, the place of pilgrimage and holy city for the Ethiopian Orthodox Christians. In the afternoon you will visit some of the world famous rock-hewn churches . The 11 monolithic churches were carved out of the rock by 16,000 Ethiopians in 23 years of construction in the 12th/13th century and are also part of the UNESCO World Heritage.

Meals: B/L/D

Accommodation: Lalibela Lodge or similar, Lalibela

Day 6

Visit of the churches and explore Lalibela town

In the morning you will visit the second group of rock churches in the town and then will have a free afternoon or optionally can hang out in the small town and interact with the people.

Meals: B/L/D

Accommodation: Lalibela Lodge or similar, Lalibela

Day 7

Drive from Lalibela to Semera, capital of the Afar Region

Early in the morning we will continue our journey by car to the north-east, until we reach the small town of Semera, the last inhabited center before entering the desert regions of the Danakil (Afar). In the evening we will have a typical dinner and then accommodation in the hotel in Semera.

Meals: B/L/D

Accommodation: kuriftu resorts or similar hotel 

Day 8

Drive Semera - Lake Aftera, swim in the salt lake

Today we will enter into the real Afar region and slowly approach the desert of the Danakil. The landscape is getting drier, but it remains hilly until salt lake Aftera. From time to time we pass small oases, where they bring their animals for water supply. On the way we will visit a village of the Afar people. Already from a distance you can see Lake Aftera and its basins used for the production of salt. We spend the night in a tent under the palm trees by the lake. There are hot springs with mineral water. The lake as well as the springs themselves invite you to take a bath.

Meals: B/L/D

Accommodation: Tented or open campsite 

Day 9

Drive Aftera - Erta Ale, see active volcano lava lake

Departure for Kusrewad, from where we are accompanied by military escort and where you can take dromedaries for our luggage and for those who they want to ride. In the late afternoon, we leave on foot or with the dromedary from base camp to reach the crater of the volcano Erta Ale. After about 3 hours of walking (constantly slightly uphill) you get to the edge of the crater. Erta Ale is 613 meters high and on its summit there is a lava lake. This is one of the few permanently active lava lakes in the world. After having seen the night activity of the lava lake, we will spend the night at a certain distance from the crater in simple shelters or outdoors on mattresses and sleeping bags. It is noted that the volcano is constantly evolving and that for safety reasons it is not always possible to visit the main crater.

Meals: B/L/D

Accommodation: Tented or open campsite

Day 10

Drive Erta Ale - Hammed Ela, visit Dallol sulphur formations.

In the morning, if possible, we approach the crater lake again to observe the morning activity. Then we descended from the summit. Around 9 a.m. we reach the base of the volcano, where our cook awaits us with the first breakfast. Strengthened we continue north until we reach in the desert the village of Hammed Ela. Here we rest from the walk of the night previous. 

Meals: B/L/D

Accommodation: Tented or open campsite 

Day 11

Drive Hammed Ela - Semera

Excursion to Dallol, which is located 116 metres below sea level, one of the lowest places on the planet. We visit fields, lakes and colourful springs, a lakeof oil and Lake Assale, where salt extraction is done with Ancient techniques. Salt bars were once used as a coin national. We see the Afar in their hard work of salt extraction.

Meals: B/L/D

Accommodation: kuriftu resort or similar hotel

Day 12

Flight Semera - Addis Ababa, shopping, dinner, departure.

You will be transferred into the airport to Addis Ababa, where you take a day room. Opportunity to buy the last souvenirs in Addis Ababa.

Farewell dinner with traditional music and folk dance groups in a typical restaurant. In the late evening, you will return home.

Meals: B/L/D 

Accommodation: --------


Our services include:
  • All domestic flights in Ethiopia with Ethiopian Airlines in tourist class (extra of $270 if the international flight is not booked with Ethiopian Airlines
  • All accommodations in double rooms with private toilet/shower in hotels or lodges; exception during the trekking and in places where no hotel or lodge is available: nights in tents for 2 persons; supplement for single room $230
  • All transfers and travels in Ethiopia with private car
  • Full board (1 drink per meal included, alcoholic drinks excluded)
  • All entrance fees and permissions at tourist attractions, churches, museums and national parks
  • For the trekking and Danakil: entrance and camping fees, guide, scouts and rangers, mules/dromedaries and mulemen, cook, cooking assistant, cooking and camping equipment (it's recommended to bring your own sleeping bag)
  • All persons for safety and security (when prescribed)
  • All (mandatory) local guides in the single destinations
  • Experienced SimienEcoTours tour guide (fluently English & Amharic speaking); extra for guide speaking another language, to divide among all participants: $260


Our services do not include:
  • International flights
  • Travel insurance
  • Visa in Ethiopia
  • Sleeping bag
  • Alcoholic drinks
  • Tipping
  • Photo and video fees (if any)
  • All extras and personal expenditures