Day 1: Meet in Addis Ababa
Our small group tour starts with a relaxed afternoon city tour and a visit to the National Museum that exhibits many archaeological and historical findings. Its collection is considered one of the most important in sub-Saharan Africa. View the palaeontology exhibit, including two remarkable casts of Lucy. The real bones are preserved in the archives of the museum.
We also visit Addis Ababa University campus and the Ethnological Museum (Institute of Ethiopian Studies) in the same compound.
Day 2: Axum
Visit the city of Axum, once the centre of one of the oldest African empires with many interesting archaelogically significant monuments and architecture. It is rumored that the Ark of the Covenant remains in Axum preserved in a sanctuary.
November Group Attend Hidar Tsion (Maryam Zion)
Day 3-5: Lalibela
Our group of intrepid Ethiopia travelers enjoy a guided, in-depth exploration of the holy city of Lalibella. Including the UNESCO World Heritage Site listed church buildings (created by carving down into solid rock) the entire city could be described as a sculpture dedicated to the glory of God. Early morning brings an opportunity to attend mass at one of the Lalibella churches.
Day 6: Gondar
We'll explore the splendid Gondar Royal castles, churches and other sites in and around Gondar town. Gondar was the first capital city of the Ethiopian empire, which began in 1632 with the reign of King Fasilledes.
January Group Attend Timket Festival
Day 7: Semien National Park
En-route to Semien National Park, visit the former Felasha (Ethiopian Jewish) village at Wolqayt where you can still purchase pottery in the Felasha style. Enjoy a safari through Semien National Park with its breathtaking scenery and abundant wildlife viewing.
Day 8-9: Bahir Dar
A short drive, en-route visit the unique Awra-amba people in the Amhara regional state, their village and culture.
Bahir Dar is a pleasant city located on the southern shore of Lake Tana, the largest lake in Ethiopia with 37 islands and 20 of them have churches and monasteries of considerable historical and cultural significance.
We board the boat docked on the lakeside of the hotel property, for a half-day boat trip on Lake Tana to the Zeghe Peninsula, known for its 14th century, round, grass-roofed churches with their magnificent wall murals. You will walk through dense forest with prolific bird life.
In the afternoon, we visit Blue Nile waterfalls passing through several small villages along the way. We can stop to visit the school in the main village, if it is open.
Day 10: Addis Ababa
Enjoy a leisure morning and return to Addis Ababa. Those departing today will transfer to airport.
CONTINUE TO OMO VALLEY
Day 11:Fly to Arba Minch
We start our Omo Valley adventure with a short flight to Arba Minch on the shores of Chamo Lake, one of the Rift Valley lakes.
On arrival, we will stop in the Guge Mountains to visit the Dorze and Chencha villages.
Day 12: Arba Minch-Konso-Turmi
Explore the Chencha villages, observing traditional lifestyles. Enjoy a boat trip on the clear blue waters of Lake Chamo to see crocodiles, hippos and aquatic birds.
Day 13: Turmi-Omo Rate-Dimeka-Turmi
We cross the Omo River in a primitive dug out canoe to visit the village of the Dasenech (formerly known as Geleb) people. In the afternoon, we visit the colorful main market day for Hamer tribe at Dimeka. The Hamer are good looking people, especially the women; they have very nice handmade crafts beside selling local agricultural products. For photography lovers it will be endless visual candy for the lens.
Day 14: Turmi - Murulle
Another beautiful drive, this time to Korcho village with stunning views over the Omo River to visit the Karo tribe, experts in body painting.
Day 15: Mago National Park-Mursi-Key Afar-Konso
Mago National Park. Our tour group will visit the Mursi, the most illustrious of Ethiopia's unique tribes. The women are known all over the world for their decorative lip plates. We end the day in Konso.
Day 16: Konso
We'll enjoy the colorfully dressed Konso people, the impressive terracing of the land as well as cultural traditions. We shall visit the Chief of Konso’s palace and should Chief Kala Gezahegan be in residence, we may be granted an audience. An excellent day to meet the people, take photographs and learn of a culture that has had very little outside influence.
Day 17: Elsod Crater Lake - Konso
An excursion to Elsod Crater Lake where the Borena people traditionally extract salt for their cattle. Also see the “singing well” practice of the young Borena men.
Day 18: Hawasa
A scenic drive to Hawasa, located on the edge of the lake surrounded by mountains. Enjoy some independent time. Pending confirmation—visit Hawasa Children’s Center vocational program. In the morning, rise early if you want to stroll about the local fish market in Awasa. A scene of colorful boats, massive storks, pelicans and other birds and, of course, a great people-watching place.
Day 19: Addis Ababa - Depart
Enjoy the magnificent landscape of the Rift Valley as we drive back to Addis Ababa, bringing our small group tour of Ethiopia to a close.
Optional Extension to Harar
Visit the unique medieval walled town of Harar and see the famed hyenas.