Ethiopia is one of those rare Africa destinations with two distinct diversified regions of historical and geographical uniqueness. Travel to the northern part of the country with its 17 centuries of Christian history. Visit three UNESCO World Heritage sites and learn about interesting historical parallels with Jerusalem and Queen of Sheba, the famous leader of the Axumite Empire. Proceed to southern Ethiopia and be amazed on how the culture and lifestyle is so different from their fellow Ethiopians to the north. Visit four distinct tribal villages and feel as though you have stepped back in time.1
1 . Addis Ababa
Upon arrival in Addis Ababa, our representatives will meet you at Bole International Airport and transfer you to the Harmony Hotel. Enjoy the morning of leisure and enjoy lunch at the hotel. This afternoon visit historical sites including the National Archaeological Museum, to view the 3.6 million year old remains of “Lucy”, whose skeleton was discovered in 1974. Continue to the Ethnological Museum at Addis Ababa University; a great insight into the many different peoples of Ethiopia and their respective cultures. After visiting Holy Trinity Cathedral, we will end the day with a drive to the top of Mount Entoto, which rises to an altitude of 10,500 feet and offers a panoramic view of the metropolis.
Harmony Hotel (L,D) or Similar hotel
2. Gondar UNESCO site
Fly to Gondar, once the old imperial capital founded in 1635 by Emperor Fasillides who built a palace and seven churches. Refered to as the “Camelot of Africa”, visit the royal enclosure containing six castles, a complex network of connecting tunnels and raised walkways. Proceed to the fascinating DebreBirhan Selassie Church with its walls and ceiling decorated with scenes of Biblical lore and medieval history.
Goha Hotel (B, L, D) or Similar hotel
3. Lalibela UNESCO site
This morning fly to the most unique Christian sites of Ethiopia. Lalibela’s churches are collectively referred to as ‘The Eighth Wonder of the World’. Legend has it that Emperor Lalibela had been instructed, in a vision from God, to build the new Jerusalem after returning from Jerusalem which was sacked by the Muslims. Visit the 11 majestic, rock churches that are still used as places of worship by Lalibelans. Since its relatively remote location, Lalibela has yet gained the worldwide exposure and has been compared as the “Petra of Africa”.
Mountain View Lodge (B, L, D) or Jerusalem hotel
Visit the exquisite church of YimrhaneKristos. This is a masterpiece of Axumit wood and stone construction which is renowned for its interior decoration and beautiful wooden coffer ceiling. Notice the inlaid of the hexagons and medallions with both figurative geometric motifs. Return back to Lalibela and revisit the rock churches that were not visited on the day of arrival. Return to the Mountain View Hotel offering expanding views of the region.
(B, L, D)
5. Axum UNESCO site
Fly to the heart of ancient Ethiopia, the capital of the Kingdom of Axum which was the most powerful state between the Eastern Roman Empire and Persia. The archaeological and historical attractions in Axum include monolithic steles or obelisks, the tombs of King Kaleb and King GebreMeskal, the legendary Bath of the Queen of Sheba, and the ruins of her ancient palace. Also visit the new and the old Cathedral of St Mary of Tsion (Zion) and the sanctuary that houses the original Arc of the Covenant. The older of the two cathedrals, built in the 16th century, is believed to be built on the ruins of an earlier 4th century church, and is the holiest site in Ethiopia.
Consular Hotel (B,L, D)
6. Arba Minch
Fly to Addis Ababa and connect with your afternoon flight towards southern Ethiopia and to the town of Arba Minch. On arrival,board your exclusive 4×4 exclusive 4-passenger vehicle for a short drive will to the village of the Dorze tribe. Walk amongst the Dorze people and appreciate their beehive-shaped homes. This tribe are respect as expert weavers. Also, they are expert farmers and witness their ingenious terracing technique, allowing them to farm efficiently along the mountainside and yet prevent soil erosion.
Paradise Lodge (B, D) or Ezana hotel
Visit the colorful village of the Konso tribe. A pagan society, the Konso erect eerie wooden totems, replete with phallic symbols over the graves of the dead. They also have numerous cults based around the breeding and veneration of serpents. The cornerstone of Konso culture, however, is a highly specialized and successful agricultural economy that, through terracing buttressed with stone, enable these people to extract a productive living from the none-too-fertile hills and valleys that surround them. This will be an excellent day to mingle among the people, take photographs with them and learn firsthand about a culture virtually untouched by the outside world. Later in the afternoon arrive in Jinka, located at the foot of Mago National Park.
Eco Omo Lodge (B,L,D) Orit Hotel
This morning drive to a Mursi tribal village. The tribe is renowned for the now-uncommon custom of their women, upon reaching maturity, having their lower lips slit and circular clay discs inserted. Return back to Jinka for lunch and this afternoon proceed to the Ari Village compound. Learn and understand how the local people process different foods and alcohol.
(B, L, D)
This morning proceed to Dimeka to visit the colorful Hamer tribe. They are well known for their remarkable hairstyles made of ochre, water, and binding resin., resulting in copper-colored locks. This is a sign of wealth for this tribe. The Hamers are also considered the masters of body decoration. Continue to the town of Turmi.
Buska Lodge (B, L, D) Turmi lodge
Turmi is our new base as we explore the region and meet the different tribes who share this valley but live a life uniquely their own. Drive to the Murulle area. Murile (also spelled Muelle and Murli) lies on the banks of the Omo River, and is a popular base for exploring this area. The two main tribes who live here are the Karo and the Hamer, both of whom practice scarification and have elaborate hairstyles. The Karo are experts in body painting, using clays and locally available vegetable pigments to trace fantastic patterns on their faces, chests, arms and legs. These designs have no special symbolic significance but instead are created for fun and aesthetic effect, as each artist tries to outdo another. Karo men also sculpt and shave their hair into extravagant shapes, with special ochre “caps” of hair usually containing several ostrich feathers.
(B, L, D)
11. Arba Minch
On the return drive to Arba Minch visit the Arbore tribe who are known for herding cattle and depend on plant cultivation for their basic food. They provide cereal grains for neighboring tribes through trading partnerships. They are considered pastorals and have their own unique physical appearance with the women covering their heads with black cloth and known to wear very colorful necklaces and earrings. Body painting using natural colors are made from soil and stone. Traditional dancing is practiced by the tribe and wealth is measured by the number of cattle a tribesman owns.
Paradise Lodge (B, L, D)
12. Lake Langano
This morning enjoy a refreshing wildife cruise on Lake Chamo. While cruising view crocodiles.hippos and a variety of colorful bird life. After lunch in Sodo, visit AbiyataShalla National Park to view two lakes with its population of flamingos and the hot springs at Shalla. Continue to your Lake Lagano accommodation, a resort offering both a serene beach front as well as as a vast cliff-top with a breath taking view over the lake.
Sabana Beach Resort (B, L, D)
13. Return to Addis Ababa and departure
This morning commence our drive to Addis Ababa and stop at Lake Ziway to view the colorful birds. On arrival in the capital city enjoy an early evening dinner at an Ethiopian restaurant offering a folkloric show and the popular coffee ceremony. After sampling the various national dishes, proceed to the airport for your late night flight back to home.
(B, L, D)