Ethiopia: An uncharted cultural, historical and natural wonderland

Explore Africa’s oldest independent nation with this unique trip, which takes in its stunning diversity both in terms of anthropology and natural beauty.

 

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Day 1-2: Addis Ababa

One of our representatives will greet you at the airport and transfer you to the Jupiter International Hotel in downtown Addis Ababa, where you will be spending one night.

With more than 120 international missions and embassies in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia’s capital city is something of a hub for diplomacy in Africa. Take the opportunity to soak in the city’s unique and diverse setting by walking from Meskel Square to Sidest Kilo, where you will pass the Africa Hall and parliament buildings. In order to begin to understand Ethiopia and its rich history, you will want to visit the Ethnological Museum, which showcases the county’s ethnic diversity through costumes and artefacts.

 

 

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Day 2-3: Bahir Dar

Today you will fly to Bahir Dar, spending the night in the beautiful 5 star Kuriftu Resort. Allow your mind and body to drift as you soak up the gorgeous natural surroundings, with stunning views across Lake Tana, the source of the Blue Nile, and take advantage of the luxurious services on offer, including a spa and a world-class lakeside restaurant.

 

 

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Day 3-4: Gondar

Following a leisurely breakfast, you will be transported 100 miles north to Gondar, where you will spend the night on the hilltop Goha Hotel.

Gondar is an old Ethiopian royal city, steeped in history ranging from the 12th century all the way through to the 20th. You will take a tour of the Fasil Ghebbi (Royal Enclosure), which harbours the remains of a fortified city that emperors and princesses through time called their home. You can also visit the royal Fasilides Bath, which today people from around the country flock for religious services. The Debre Birhan Selassie Church is also worth seeing for the beautiful religious artistry that adorns its walls and ceilings.

 

 

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Day 4-5: Axum

Today you will fly further north to Axum, where you will stay one night at the luxurious Sabean International Hotel.

Axum remains the capital of the Ethiopian church, and was the empire’s administrative headquarters for almost 800 years. With its clean, cobbled streets, it is one of the more pleasant towns, but its historical roots remain the predominant attraction. In particular, the Tsion Maryam is said, according to Ethiopian legend, to be the repository of the Ark of the Covenant, which is believed to have been stolen by the Queen of Sheba. Legend then blends into mystery with the Northern Stelae Field. Constructed from granite, the function of the stelae is not known, though it is suspected they were related to the burials of emperors.

 

 

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Day 5-7: Lalibela

Today you will catch a 40 minute flight south to Lalibela, where you will spend two nights at the Mountain View Hotel, which has spacious rooms with fantastic views across the Lasta Mountain range.

Lalibela, a small rural town elevated at 8500ft (2,600m), presents a perfect opportunity to unwind. Aside from the dramatic mountain vistas, Lalibela is also renowned for its unique churches, which were furnished from the pink volcanic rock more than 900 years ago. An early wake up call is necessary (ticket office opens 6.00am) if you want to hear the beating of the church drums and the eerie singing of the priests as they announce mass, with the added bonus that you’ll avoid the bulk of the crowds.

 

 

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Day 7-9: Kombolcha

Today you will make the long scenic drive through the mountains to Kombolcha, where you will spend two relaxing nights at Sunny Side Hotel.

On your journey, you will pass close by to the site of the Battle of Magdala, where, in 1868 at the height of Victorian dominance, General Napier led a British contingent from India to rescue 10 missionaries that had been imprisoned by the Abyssinian emperor Tewodros II in what was then the capital city. The British were victorious, suffering only two casualties, while Tewodros committed suicide as his forces lost control of the military fortress.

 

 

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Day 9-10: Langano

Today, you will catch a flight back to the capital, Addis Ababa, and will be transported by car to Langano, where you will the night at the Sabana Beach Resort.

Take full advantage of the sandy beach and the lake, which is one of the very few lakes within Ethiopia which is safe enough to swim in. You can also relax and enjoy the beautiful blue backdrop of the Arsi Mountains, and you’ll likely be fortunate enough to spot some of the varied wildlife around the lake, including hippos, monkeys, baboons and many different bird species.

 

 

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Day 10-11: Arba Minch

This morning you will travel south to Arba Minch, where you will spend one night at Paradise Lodge, which offers lovely views over the lakes and valley from the rooms and its restaurant. The hotel is actually built largely from locally sourced material, giving it an authentic and rustic feel.

During your stay in Arba Minch, you will also be given a guided visit to the Dorze people, a small ethnic group numbering less than 30,000. You will have the chance to learn about their unique way of life, including their history and culture.

 

 

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Day 11-12: Jinka

This morning you will take a boat trip on Lake Chamo, which is enveloped by Typha and wetlands, which is teeming with wildlife. It’s possible to see Nile crocodiles, as well as hippos and pelicans.

After lunch, you will make the long drive to Jinka, where you will stay one night at the Eco-Omo Safari Lodge. Located in the remote heartland of the Omo Valley, the eco-friendly safari tents of the lodge complement the stunning natural diversity, as well as the 18 different tribes, untouched by modern civilisation, that call this unique expanse home.

 

 

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Day 12-14: Turmi

This morning, you will be taken to visit the Mursi people to learn about their customs and language that continue to this day enclosed within the valley’s interior.

After lunch, you will make the drive south to Turmi, stopping off at Dimeka Market, where you will have the unique opportunity to trade with the tribes.

Finally, you will arrive at Turmi, where you’ll spend the next two nights at the Buska Lodge. In Turmi, there’s another market that sells authentic goods of the Harmer people, and you’ll get the opportunity to witness the local dance culture.

 

 

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Day 14-15: Arba Minch

Today, you’ll drive back to Arba Minch, spending another night at Paradise Lodge.

 

 

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Day 15: Return to Addis Ababa, Return Home

Today, you will return to Addis Ababa, and will have day-access to a room at the Jupiter International Hotel, allowing you to relax before being transferred to the airport for an evening flight back home.

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