What to Expect
Explore Ethiopia’s picturesque landscapes, amazing geography, rich history, and cultural traditions on this adventurous 16-day tour. See the Simien Mountains, visit ancient tombs and villages, and get to know fascinating local tribes, with comfortable accommodation and meals included.
Day 1: Arrival in Addis Ababa (B & D)
Upon arrival, meet the Off-Road Ethiopia tour staff and take a city tour of Addis Ababa. Stop for a lunch break before continuing with the city tour to discover more of the capital’s best sights and cultural landmarks. Stay overnight at the Dream Liner or Siyonat Hotel.
Day 2: Addis Ababa - Bahir Dar (B & D)
After breakfast, drive to Bahir Dar, a city on the shores of Tena Lake in Ethiopia’s northwest. Visit the 13th century monastery of Debre-Libanos en route, and stop to admire the amazing Blue Nile gorge, which divides Ethiopia’s north and south. Stay overnight at a local hotel or at the Abay Minch lodge.
Day 3: Bahir Dar (B & D)
Have breakfast in the morning and head out for a boat trip on lake Tana, the largest lake in Ethiopia. Visit the island monastery of Ura Kidanemheret, home to colorful murals and historic embroidery. After a lunch break, head to the breathtaking Blue Nile falls, just a short distance downstream from Bahir Dar. Overnight will be in the Home land Hotel or the Abay Minch Lodge.
Day 4: Bahir Dar-Gonder (B & D)
After breakfast, head to Gondar, making a few stops along the way to admire the great scenery. Upon arrival, take a lunch break and continue to explore the 16-17th century castle compound and bathing pool of King Fasilades, the emperor of Ethiopia until 1667. Then, visit the nearby basket market of Gondar. Overnight at Quara Hotel or Toha Hotel.
Day 5: Gonder to Simien National Park (B & D)
Early in the morning, drive from Gondar to Simien Mountains and with a visit to the Ethiopian Jewish village at Weleka on the way. Upon arrival in Sankaber, visit a colony of Gelada Baboons, a species found only in this part of the world. Then, take a break to relax and admire the peaceful grassland scenery. Overnight at the Simien Park hotel in Debark.
Day 6: Simien National Park-Lalibela (B & D)
Drive from the Simien Mountains to Lalibela via the Debre-Tabor road. En route, visit a village inhabited by Awramba people and admire magnificent views the Simien Mountain range, a UNESCO World Heritage site in the heart of the Ethiopian countryside. Stay overnight in Tukul village or the Mountain View Hotel.
Day 7: Lalibela (B & D)
After breakfast, visit the first group of 6 monolithic rock-cut churches. After lunch, continue on to visit the remaining five of churches; each group of churches is believed to symbolic representations of Jerusalem. Later, finish the visit by stopping the Church of St. George, the most famous of these remarkable places of worship. Stay overniht in Tukul Village or the Mountain View Hotel.
Day 8: Lalibela to Axum (B & D)
Board a morning flight to Axum, at the northern tip of Ethiopia. Upon arrival visit the Stele field and the ancient Tomb of Kaleb, King of Axum until the middle of the 6th century, the tomb of his son Meskel, and the stone inscription of King Ezana, the 4th century king of Ethiopia. Have lunch and head to Axum’s St. Mary of Zion Church, where the original ark of the covenant given to Moses is believed to be, as well as the ruined palace of Queen Sheba. Overnight at the Remhai Hotel or the Consular Hotel.
Day 9: Aksum - Addis Ababa - Awassa
Board a flight from Axum back to Addis Ababa. Upon arrival meet your vehicle transfer and drive to Awassa. Visit the crater lakes in Debre-Zeit en route, and keep your eyes open for the rich variety of aquatic birds.
Continue driving and visit to the rift valley lake of Zeway, and admire the bird varieties that make their home around the shores of the lake. Then, continue driving to Awassa. Upon arrival, take a walk in this newly bustling city, currently the capital of the country’s Southern region. Later, visit the picturesque rift valley lake of Awassa. Overnight at the Lewi resort.
Day 10: Awassa - Arba Minch (B & D)
After breakfast, take a boat trip on Lake Awassa to visit the region’s biggest open air fish market, followed by a drive to Arba Minch. Before getting to the town, make a detour to Chencha to visit the Dorze tribes, best known for their bee-hive shaped houses made of bamboo, and their cotton woven clothing. From here, head back to Arba Minch for an overnight stay at the Paradise Lodge or Swaynes hotel.
Day 11: Arba Minch - Jinka (B & D)
Have an early breakfast and drive to Jinka, one of the largest towns in the Omo Valley. This will be a day to admire the spectacular topography that continues down to the Omo and is characterized by a mild and warm temperature.
Before arriving in Jinka, take a boat trip on Lake Chamo and visit the local markets. If this travel day falls on Thursday, there will be a colorful market in Key Afer where you’ll have the chance to see different tribes and their artisanal crafts, such as the Ari and Bena. Stay overnight in the Jinka resort or the Orit Hotel
Day 12: Jinka - Mago - Mursi – Jinka (B & D)
After an early breakfast in the hotel, take a day excursion to the settlement of the Mursi people, known for their lip plating, body decorating and stick fighting culture. Take your time to get to know the local people and get an insight into their culture before heading back to Jinka. The trip to Mago includes a picnic lunch en route. Spend the night at a Jinka resort or the Orit Hotel
Day 13: Jinka – Turmi (B & D)
After breakfast at the hotel, drive to Turmi, a settlement for the Hamer people renowned for their colorful hair styles and bull jumping tradition during wedding ceremonies. The women of the tribe normally wear leather skirts decorated with pearls and with gleaming aluminum fixed to their neck. If this travel day falls on a Saturday, there will be a colorful market in Dimeka where you’ll have the chance to see the Hammer people. Stay overnight in Buska or the Turmi Lodge.
Day 14: Turmi - Murulle – Turmi (B & D)
After an early breakfast at your hotel, head to Murulle, a settlement for the Karo people famous for their unique body decorating culture. Enjoy a light picnic lunch on the way. Once in Murelle, go for a sightseeing tour through villages and drive back to Turmi for an overnight stay at the Buska or Turmi Lodge.
Day 15: Turmi - Konso - Arba Minch (B & D)
After breakfast, head to Arba Minch, visiting the unique Erbore tribe and their village along the way. Upon arrival in Konso, a settlement for the Konso people, have a lunch break followed by a sightseeing tour of the village. The Konso are made up of nine different clans and have a tradition of nominating their own King, who is said to be the symbol of peace and integrity within the clan.
Learn more about the Konso’s fascinating culture and traditions. Overnight stay at the Paradise Lodge or the Swaynes Hotel.
Day 16: Arba Minch – Addis Ababa
Drive from Arba Minch to Addis Ababa via the Hosanna Road, visiting a village of the Gurage people en route. The Gurage are an Ethiopian-Chinese culture, and have become a major player in the region’s economy and trade through their hard work.
Spend some time at a local home and backyard farm as you interact with the Gurage and learn more about their culture. Take a lunch break in the town of Hosana before having some free time until the evening. Then, enjoy a complimentary traditional dinner with a live dance show before your transfer to Addis Ababa airport for your departure.