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Mysterious Ethiopian Nature & Culture

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. An incomparable scenic beauty awaits you on this trip. The itinerary takes you into a breathtaking mountain world in the Simien Mountains, further to the falls of the Blue Nile and the south of the country, where a lush subtropical flora reveals itself and you meet the Sidama people.

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This trip is accompanied by German-speaking tour guide that shows you the nature and history of Ethiopia. The tour mixes active hikes in some of Northern Ethiopia's most beautiful nature destinations such as Simien Mountains National Park or at the Blue Nile waterfall with some historical classics and must-sees like the medieval churches of Lalibela or the emperors castles in Gondar, recognized by UNESCO. A short excursion to the south gives you a glimpse of Ethiopia's ethnic variety while visiting the Sidama coffee farmers and the different nature in the Great African Rift Valley.

Some fine lodging such as Simien Lodge or Aregash Lodge make this trip a very comfortable experience.

Dates:

  • GR10-01: November 6 to 20, 2020
  • GR10-02: March 20 to April 3, 2021
  • GR10-03: October 9 to 23, 2021
  • GR10-04: November 6 to 20, 2021

Tour code: GR10

Operator: Partner of SimienEcoTours

Gallery

Itinerary & In/Exclusions

Day 1

Flight to the old Abyssinia

Flight time: 7 h

Flight with Ethiopean Airlines from Frankfurt to Addis Ababa. Arrival at Bole International Airport in the morning of the next day. Here you are welcomed by our tour guide and transferred to our hotel in Addis Ababa.

Meals: during flight

Day 2

Sightseeing and museums in the capital

Travel: 1-2 h, 50 km

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, colorful traditional markets next to supermarkets. Besides the most important historical monuments you visit the National Museum, where the famous skeleton Lucy is kept.

Meals: B/L/D

Accommodation: Heyday Hotel or similar (check-in after 12pm), Addis Ababa

Day 3

Flight to the holy city of Lalibela

Flight time: 1 h

Travel: 1-2 h, 50 km

Early morning flight to Lalibela. The village is named after King Lalibela and is situated at 2,600 meters above sea level and was not wrongly declared a world heritage site by UNESCO. Nowhere else you will find the typical Ethiopian rock-hewn churches in such concentration and quality. A play of light and shadow, colors and shapes. The whole day is available for sightseeing these incredibly impressive monuments.

Meals: B/L/D

Accommodation: Cliff Edge Hotel or similar, Lalibela

Day 4

High above Lalibela in the Lasta Mountains

Travel: 1 h, 30 km

Hiking: 5 h, 7 km (difficulty: easy/moderate, altitude difference: ↑300m, ↓300m)

Today you go for a hike in the surroundings of Lalibela. You will climb to the foot of the Asheten Mariam Mountain, which is enthroned high above the city. At about 3,000 to 3,300 meters above sea level you start your hike through picturesque mountain villages and over fields with views over the Lasta Mountains.

Meals: B/L/D

Accommodation: Cliff Edge Hotel or similar, Lalibela

Day 5

Flight to the imperial city of Gondar

Flight time: 0.5 h

Travel: 1 h, 50 km

Flight to Gondar, the Ethiopian imperial city in the 17th and 18th century. You visit the Imperial Palace District, the Bath of King Fasilidas and the church Debre Berhan Selassie. Overnight stay in the beautifully situated Goha Hotel high above the city.

Meals: B/L/D

Accommodation: Goha Hotel or similar, Gondar

Day 6

Drive to the Kossoye Escarpment and hiking

Travel: 1 h; 35 km

Hiking: 4 h, 7 km (difficulty: easy/moderate, altitude difference: ↑300m, ↓300m)

Short drive of only about 35 km to reach the Kossoye escarpment from Gondar, on the way there, short stop at a former settlement of the Falasha (Ethiopian Jews), where today pottery and clay figures are sold. The second stop on the way to the lodge serves for the first hike with a wide panoramic view over the western mountain ranges. After lunch, further hikes in the surroundings of Kossoye. Overnight stay in the Befiker Kossoye Lodge (located at 3,000 masl.)

Meals: B/L/D

Accommodation: Befikir Eco-Lodge or similar, Kossoye

Day 7

Simien Mountains National Park - an oasis of diversity

Travel: 2 h; 100 km

Hiking: 6 h, 15 km (difficulty: moderate/medium, altitude difference: ↑550m, ↓200m)

Beautiful drive through the highlands to the Simien mountains. This rugged mountain region is home to numerous animals that are only found in Ethiopia, such as the Walia ibex, the Ethiopian wolf and the Gelada baboon. After a short stopover in Debark you will hike in the area of Sankaber, where you will enjoy the first impressions of this spectacular mountain region at the edge of a huge canyon landscape. Today you will encounter troops of Gelada baboons. Overnight stay at Simien Lodge for 2 nights (located at 3260 m).

Meals: B/L/D

Accommodation: Simien Lodge or similar, Simien Mountains National Park

Day 8

Excursion day to go deeper in the park up to the summit of Ras Bwahit

Travel: 1.5 h; 40 km

Hiking: 6 h, 10 km (difficulty: medium/difficult, altitude difference: ↑850m, ↓850m)

Drive to Chennek. Ascent of the Bwahit, the second highest mountain of Ethiopia (4,430 masl). From the summit, magnificent views of the surrounding mountains and the peak of Ras Dashen, the highest mountain in the country (4,543 masl) are the major views. Here you are very likely to see the endemic mammals for the area called walia ibexes. If this climb is too strenuous for you, you can go for a short hikes in the area around the camp - the camp site in Chennek is one of the best wildlife observation possibilities in the park and located right at the edge of the fabulous views.

Meals: B/L/D

Accommodation: Simien Lodge or similar, Simien Mountains National Park

Day 9

Return back to Gondar and rural hikes

Travel: 3 h; 130 km

Hiking: 3 h, 8 km (difficulty: moderate, altitude difference: ↑200m, ↓250m)

Bus ride back to Gondar (about 4 hours). Short hike near Kossoye. After a short descent you hike in gentle ups and downs through rural areas against the magnificent backdrop of the Simien Mountains. Again and again you pass rustic rural huts.

Meals: B/L/D

Accommodation: Goha Hotel or similar, Gondar

Day 10

Lake Tana Biosphere Reserve and its monasteries

Travel: 3-4 h; 200 km

Hiking: 0.5 h, 3 km (difficulty: easy, altitude difference: ↑50m, ↓50m)

Drive to Bahir Dar on Lake Tana. Boat trip on the enchanting Lake Tana. You cross over to the  Zeghe peninsula, where you will visit typical round churches from the 17th century with interesting paintings during a short walk.

Meals: B/L/D

Accommodation: Shimela Lodge or similar, Bahir Dar

Day 11

The Blue Nile Waterfalls

Flight time: 1 h

Travel: 2 h; 90 km

Hiking: 3 h, 5 km (difficulty: moderate, altitude difference: ↑150m, ↓150m)

In the morning drive to Tis Abay and hike to the falls of the Blue Nile. A short ascent to a hill opposite the falls, from here you have a wonderful view of the waters of the Blue Nile, which plunge about 45 m - an unforgettable natural spectacle. The falls are called Tissisat, which means steaming water. In the afternoon drive to the airport and flight to Addis Ababa. Overnight stay in the capital.

Meals: B/L/D

Accommodation: Heyday Hotel or similar, Addis Ababa

Day 12

Savannas and birds in Abijata-Shalla National Park

Travel: 6 h; 310 km

Visit to the crater lakes of Debre Zeyt. Afterwards drive south on an asphalt road. Short stop at Lake Ziway and in the Abijata-Shalla National Park, where you can occasionally (seasonally) observe thousands of flamingos as well as Marabu Storks, cormorants, pelicans, ospreys and other birds. The further south you go, the greener the landscape gets. Finally, after a drive of about 6 hours through diverse landscapes you reach your lodge at Yirga Alem - an idyllic place to relax on the last days of the trip.

Meals: B/L/D

Accommodation: Aregash Lodge or similar, Yirga Alem

Day 13

The coffee farmers of Sidama

Hiking: 3 h, 8 km (difficulty: moderate, altitude difference: ↑150m, ↓150m)

Hike through the gentle hilly country. The dense flora stands in stark contrast to the rather barren north of the country. A variety of different fruits grow and prosper here, a large part of the rural population lives from coffee cultivation, which has a long tradition here. Here you learn a lot about the traditional way of life of the locals, who also like to let us have a look inside their round huts. In the afternoon you have the opportunity to relax in the garden of the lodge.

Meals: B/L/D

Accommodation: Aregash Lodge or similar, Yirga Alem

Day 14

Return flight to Addis Ababa and home

Flight time: 1h

Travel: 1-2 h; 60 km

Drive to Hawassa and fly to Addis Ababa, where you have the 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 return flight to home.

Meals: B/L/D

Accommodation: ---

Day 15

Early arrival in Europe

Flight time: 7 h

Arrival in Europe. Early morning arrival in Frankfurt.

Meals: during flight

Included

Our services include:
  • Scheduled flight from Frankfurt to Addis Ababa and back (other airports on request and possibly extra charge);
  • Airport tax / security fees;
  • all (3) domestic flights with Ethiopian Airlines (Addis Ababa-Lalibela, Lalibela-Gondar, Bahir Dar- Addis Ababa);
  • Transfers and rides in private bus and if necessary in four-wheel drive vehicle;
  • all accommodations in double rooms with private toilet/shower in hotels or lodges (4x high-range, 8x mid-range);
  • full board (1 drink per meal included, alcoholic drinks excluded);
  • Voucher for travel literature;
  • all entrance fees and permissions at tourist attractions, churches, museums and national parks;
  • for Simien Mountains National Park: entrance fees, guide, scouts and rangers;
  • all persons for safety and security (when prescribed);
  • all taxes and administrative fees;
  • all tips for meals;
  • all (mandatory) local guides in the single destinations;
  • 24/7 emergency assistance;
  • experienced SimienEcoTours Mountain Guide (fluently German & Amharic speaking).

Excluded

Our services do not include:
  • travel to and from Frankfurt Airport (Rail&Fly tickets available on request)
  • sleeping bag;
  • visa for Ethiopia (currently € 46);
  • alcoholic beverages;
  • tips;
  • photo and video fees (if applicable);
  • all extras and personal expenses and meals (approx. € 50 to € 100);
  • possible increases of fees and/or kerosene surcharges.