Situated in the Horn of Africa, Ethiopia boasts extraordinary natural features, a vast range of wildlife, and a captivating historical and cultural heritage. An increasing number of visitors are frequenting this treasure trove filled with unique attractions. Popular attractions include: the medieval castles of Gondar; the walled city of Harar; and Lalibela, a pilgrimage site known for its ancient monolithic churches, hewn into the area’s steep rocky hillsides. Ethiopia’s stunning natural landscapes are the real tourist drawcard. From the lush Simien Mountains to the sulphur vents of the Danakil Depression, the country’s outstanding natural environment is unforgettable. Bahir Dar, located on Lake Tana, is popular as a base from which to explore the fascinating monasteries situated on the numerous islands dotted around the lake, as well as the Blue Nile Falls, which are arguably the most spectacular falls in North Africa.
Days 1 - 2
Located in the highlands fringing the Great Rift Valley, Addis Ababa serves as the political, cultural and commercial centre of Ethiopia. This sprawling city rests in the foothills of the Entoto Mountains and features a mix of traditional homes, elegant villas, and tall office buildings. Visitors can look forward to a selection of wonderful activities including: visiting the National Museum, displaying local art, traditional crafts and prehistoric fossils; exploring the copper-domed Holy Trinity Cathedral, a Neo-Baroque architectural landmark; and sampling rich Ethiopian coffee as well as the memorable cuisine featuring spicy stews and Ethiopia’s signature Injera bread.
Days 2 - 3
Situated in the Ethiopian region of Oromia, Lake Langano is one of the few bilharzia-free lakes in Ethiopia. Stretching for over 200 square kilometres, Lake Langano is popular among tourists and locals alike for swimming, watersports and offers spectacular hippo viewing. The area surrounding the lake is home to baboons, warthogs, hippos and a variety of birds that makes for good bird watching. More wildlife can be found in East Langano Nature Reserve on the eastern shore of the lake; here visitors can spot Colobus monkeys and more than 300 bird species living in the beautiful lakeside forest. Other popular activities include: camping, mountain climbing, biking, fishing and photography.
Days 3 - 5
Situated in southern Ethiopia at the base of the western side of the Great Rift Valley, the city of Arba Minch is the largest city in the Gamo Gofa Zone. Surrounded by forested mountains and home to two of Ethiopia’s largest Rift Valley Lakes, Arba Minch is named after the abundant springs found in the area. This resort town rests on the edge of Lake Chamo where it has a stunning view of the aptly named ‘Bridge of God’, an isthmus that separates Lake Chamo from the neighbouring Lake Abaya. This stretch of land is home to zebras, gazelle, kudus and other wildlife. The Dorze village is also a popular attraction in Arba Minch – here tourists can visit the famous beehive huts built by the Dorze tribe.
Days 5 - 7
Located in southwestern Ethiopia, near the borders of Sudan and Kenya, Jinka is the largest town in the Debub Omo Zone. It serves as an excellent base from which to explore the surrounding area. This remote market town is home to the Mursi people, who are well known for their elaborate lip plates made of clay. At the South Omo Research Center and Museum, visitors can learn more about the Mursi, as well as other groups in the region, through a series of exhibits detailing the cultures and customs of local tribes. Nature enthusiasts will enjoy the nearby Mago National Park, where abundant wildlife finds shelter in the dense acacia woodland.
Days 7 - 9
This small market town in southwestern Ethiopia functions as a central transport hub as well as an important meeting point for the area’s weekly Monday market. The local Hamer inhabitants of the surrounding villages flock here to buy and sell local produce and handicrafts. Visitors to the area can enjoy culturally fascinating guided tours of the surrounding villages. Popular cultural attractions include traditional Hamer dance performances and exhilarating ‘Jumping of the Bulls’ ceremonies which form the culmination of a three-day long rite of passage for any young man within the Hamer tribe.Turmi is a great choice of destination for travellers in search of a unique and authentic African experience in one of the most remote places on the continent.
Days 9 - 10
Situated in the Oromia region of southern Ethiopia, Yabello is a quiet rural town surrounded by vast desert plains, dotted with unusually shaped and impressive termite mounds. The friendly people here welcome visitors, making this a good place for getting to know the local culture. The ‘singing wells’ are an incredible man-made feat to see: deep wells in the hard dirt dug by the local people by hand, which require the men to stand on top of each other along the steep edges in a tower up to 17-people-long to retrieve the water. Don’t miss a visit to the scenic Yabelo Wildlife Sanctuary, home to Burchell's and Grevy's zebras, endemic Ethiopian bush crow, Abyssinian hornbill and white-tailed swallow. The spectacular crater at El Sod is also worth a visit, where you can see people extracting black salt.
Days 10 - 11
Situated on the shores of Lake Awassa, Hawassa serves as the capital of southern Ethiopia. Also known as Awassa or Awasa, it is one of the country’s fastest growing settlements and is establishing itself as a popular resort town with a variety of attractions including a bustling market, a vibrant nightlife and impressive cultural sites like the St. Gabriel Orthodox Church. Visitors are also treated to splendid views of the lake and the Great Rift Valley beyond it. The lake offers great opportunities for fishing, bird watching and even catching a glimpse of some lurking local hippos.