Ethiopian Explorer. Historic North, Harar, Omo Valley, National Parks: 20 Days / 19 Nights

Itinerary, Tour CO-19

This 16 day tour includes all the major historical sites of the north and an excursion to the Simien Mountains National Park.  After visiting the north this tour goes to the Omo Valley via surface.  This tour includes a total of four domestic flights on Ethiopian Airlines.

Day 01  Addis Ababa
For morning Arrivals at Bole International Airport you may begin your tour after checking into your hotel.  For clients arriving in the afternoon or evening, you may begin your tour the following day.  An Awaze Tours representative will meet all clients arriving at the airport regardless of arrival time.

Visit the Ethnographic Museum, a great introduction to Ethiopian culture and history. Tour the Mercato, one of Africa's largest outdoor markets, and Trinity Cathedral, resting place of Emperor Haile Selassie.
Overnight Hotel - Addis Ababa

Day 02  Addis Ababa - Bahar Dar
Fly to Bahar Dar on Ethiopian Airlines. Visit the marketplace in Bahar Dar. Take a boat tour on Lake Tana, the source of the Blue Nile, and tour ancient island monasteries. 
Overnight Hotel - Bahar Dar 

Day 03  Bahar Dar - Gondar
Drive through the countryside to Gondar. Tour the Royal Enclosure, a UNESCO World Heritage site featuring five castles built by a succession of Ethiopian Kings beginning in the early 17th century. Having survived several wars, including air raids during World War 2, the castles are a testament to the resilience of this once mighty African Empire. Visit the church of Debre Birhan Selassie, famous for its religious art and especially its iconic ceiling depicting angels.
Overnight Hotel - Gondar

Day 04  Simien Mountain Excursion
Drive to Sankabar the gateway to the Simien Mountains National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Enjoy an easy hike (2 - 3 hours) to take in the spectacular scenery and spot wildlife such as the endemic Gelada Baboons. Return to Gondar by evening. 
Overnight Hotel - Gondar

Day 05  Gondar - Lalibela
Fly to Lalibela on Ethiopian Airlines 700 kilometers north of Addis Ababa. Tour the magnificent rock-hewn churches of Lalibela, a UNESCO World Heritage site. This group of eleven monolithic and semi-monolithic structures were carved directly into the stone of the mountainside at least 800 years ago. This complex boasts the largest monolithic church in the world, a maze of passageways and tunnels, intricately carved reliefs, and fabulous examples of icon paintings.
Overnight Hotel - Lalibela

Day 06  Lalibela
For the morning you have two choices: Take a morning hike with mules to Mount Asheton, with its 13th century rock-hewn monastery and great views of the town; - OR - Drive to Yemrehanna Kristos, a beautiful church situated in a shallow cave that predates the churches of Lalibela. The drive to Yemrehanna will also give you the opportunity to view the rural countryside and villages of the Ethiopian highlands. Following either option above continue with tour of Lalibela’s churches in the afternoon. 
Overnight Hotel - Lalibela

Day 07  Lalibela - Axum
Fly to Axum on Ethiopian Airlines. Tour the ancient stelae fields, standing for 2000 years. Visit the new and impressive Archeological Museum. Visit other tombs and archeological sites as time permits.  
Overnight Hotel - Axum

Day 08 Axum - Dire Dawa

Fly to Dire Dawa via Addis Ababa.  Tour Dire Dawa’s colorful outdoor market. 
Overnight Hotel - Dire Dawa

Day 09 Harar
Drive to Harar. Stroll through the old city or “Jugal,” considered by many one of the most important cities in the Islamic world.
Overnight Hotel - Harar

Day 10 Harar - Awash National Park
Drive to Awash National Park and take an evening game drive. 
Overnight Lodge - Awash National Park

Day 11 Awash National Park - Langano
After an early morning game, drive to Lake Langano, one of the Rift Valley lakes. Relax at the Sabana Lodge. Lake Langano is safe for swimming. 
Overnight Lodge - Lake Langano

Day 12  Lake Langano - Arba Minch
Drive to Arba Minch, one of the main towns in Southern Ethiopia. On the way, visit a Dorze Village in the Guge Mountains. The Dorze are known for their tall, beehive-shaped bamboo houses. If the base becomes infested with termites, the entire house can be lifted and moved to another location. 
Overnight Hotel - Arba Minch

Day 13  Arba Minch - Jinka
Take a boat trip on Lake Chamo and view some of the largest crocodiles in the world sunning on the banks of the lake. Hippopotami and birdlife are also abundant. Drive to Jinka visiting various peoples such as the Gamo and Derashe. Stop at Key Afar's weekly market (if on a Thursday) and wander among the various tribes such as the Benna and Ari that have gathered to barter their goods.
Overnight Lodge - Jinka 

Day 14  Mago National Park Excursion
Early morning drive to the Mago National Park to visit the Mursi people. The Mursi women are known for the clay plates they insert into their lower lips. Time permitting, visit the Omo Valley Museum in Jinka. 
Overnight Lodge - Jinka 

Day 15  Jinka - Turmi
Drive to Turmi to visit the Hamer people who are well known for the scarring of their bodies, using clay to shape their hairstyles, and the unique practice of "bull-jumping" which every young man must accomplish prior to marriage. En route to Turmi, visit the Benna and Ari people.
Overnight Lodge - Turmi 

Day 16  Omorate Excursion
Excursion to Omorate to visit the Dassanech people, known for their elaborate body-painting.  Cross the famous Omo River by canoe.  Return to Turmi for the evening.
Overnight Lodge - Turmi

Day 17  Turmi - Konso
Drive to Konso, recently designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site. A highland people, the Konso are known for the ancient and intricate terraces that encircle their well-planned villages.
Overnight Lodge - Konso 

Day 18  Konso - Hawassa
Drive to the lakeside town of Hawassa. Relax and recover from your journey at one of Hawassa's fine resorts. 
Overnight Resort - Hawassa 

Day 19  Hawassa - Bale Mountains
Visit the Hawassa fish market in the morning. Drive to the Bale Mountains National Park and take a short walk in the park spotting endemic wildlife.

Day 20  Bale Mountains - Addis Ababa
Drive to Addis Ababa via the Arsi/Bale region, home to many of Ethiopia’s famous distance runners. In the evening, enjoy a farewell dinner at a traditional Ethiopian restaurant featuring dancers and musicians representing some of the country's many ethnic groups. Transfer to airport for late night departure if needed.

  • For arrivals before the tour begins or for later departures, additional hotel bookings can be made upon request. 
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