Ethiopia,

Highlights of Ethiopia in Comfort

Tailor-Made Tour
14 Days
From £4491
GEOIP Not Available
Primate Watching
Culture and Archaeology
Photographic

Tour Introduction

14 Days from £4491
GEOIP Not Available
per adult. All trip details below can be tailored just for you

Keeping internal travel to a minimum and staying in Ethiopia’s best wildlife lodges, this is the perfect itinerary for those keen to combine Ethiopia’s top wildlife and historical attractions. Starting with the Simien Mountains there will be outstanding endemic wildlife to see with Walia ibex and majestic lammergeiers soaring against stunning mountain backdrops. One of the world’s most expressive primates, the gelada baboon can also be seen here in exceptional numbers and at so close range that you can hear them chewing the montane grasses. There will also be a visit to the historic city of Gondar, with its famed castles and impressive artwork in the Debre Birhan Selassie Church. After travelling through more sensational scenery, there is the awe inspiring rock and cave hewn churches of Lalibela, one of the wonders of the world. Then fly down to the Bale Mountains for a completely different mountain landscape with wild boulder strewn plateaus, rolling grasslands and ancient moss covered cloud forests. Here there will be more unforgettable wildlife experiences with a range of endemic and exciting mammals, birds, reptiles and plant life. The world’s rarest canid, the elegant Ethiopian wolf is very much at home in Bale’s high altitude moorlands and can routinely be watched hunting another endemic mammal; the giant mole rat during the day. Finish with the tranquil Lake Awassa for hippos, birdlife and one of the country’s best hotels. Offering unique wildlife and historical experiences to treasure, this trip offers the very best of Ethiopia.

 

 

Full Itinerary

Price from £4491
GEOIP Not Available
per adult. Based on sharing double / twin rooms
Day 1
Addis Ababa

Arrive Addis Ababa. Met on arrival and transfer to your hotel. Morning at leisure to recover from your flight and in the afternoon take a guided city tour of Addis including a visit to the National Museum to see the Lucy exhibit which houses the remains of one of the oldest humans ever discovered. Return to the hotel for the evening.

Staying at Washington Hotel. Includes Breakfast.

Day 2
Simien Mountains

Morning transfer to the airport and take domestic flight to Gondar. Met on arrival and drive into the wonderful Simien Mountains National Park. Afternoon guided excursion for your first encounters with geladas, highland birds and some magnificent scenery. The volcanic Simien Mountains date back nearly 20 million years and offer some of the most rugged and dramatic mountain landscapes in Africa. The altitude will mostly be between 3,300 and 3,500 meters above sea level.

Staying at Simien Mountain Lodge. Includes All Meals.

Day 3
Simien Mountains National Park

This morning enjoy a full day to explore the Simien Mountains National Park perhaps with a packed lunch, enabling you to reach the remote Chennek Valley. Here you will hopefully find the endemic and agile walia ibex which are surprisingly at home on the craggy ledges of the mountains. Look out too for the impressive lammergeier or “bone breaker vulture” here alongside numerous other species of birds of prey, croaking thick-billed ravens and nimble Ethiopian klipspringers. One of the highlights of the day will be spending time with a troop of habituated geladas (or bleeding heart baboons) as they graze on the montane grasslands of the Park.

Staying at Simien Mountain Lodge. Includes All Meals.

Day 4
Gondar

This morning perhaps enjoy some birdwatching around the lodge grounds. Later drive south to the historic town of Gondar to visit its seven castles of Fasil Ghebbi, built by Emperor Fasilides in the 17th Century. Later visit the impressive Debre Birhan Selassie Church; one of the most beautiful churches in all of Ethiopia with intricate ceiling and wall paintings dating back to the 17th Century.

Staying at Goha Hotel. Includes All Meals.

Day 5
Lalibela

Transfer to the airport. Take a 30 minute flight in the morning to Lalibela. Met on arrival and transfer to the hotel. Enjoy an afternoon guided visit to Lalibela churches.

Staying at Sora Lodge. Includes All Meals.

Day 6
Lalibela

Today visit Ethiopia’s “must see” historical attraction; the rock-hewn churches of Lalibela. These stunning churches carved out of and also built into solid volcanic rock are a masterpiece of archaeological work and have been attracting pilgrims and visitors for over 800 years. There are 12 main churches to explore; some remarkably sculpted out of the hard volcanic rock by hand in the 12th Century and others skilfully built into the side of caves. Bet Medhane Alem and St George’s are two of the most impressive. Your expert guide will help you make the most of this extraordinary site.

Staying at Sora Lodge. Includes All Meals.

Day 7
Addis Ababa

Today transfer to the airport and take flight back to Addis Ababa. Met on arrival and transfer to your hotel.

Staying at Washington Hotel . Includes All Meals.

Day 8
Lake Langano

Enjoy a morning bird walk and hippo watching at Lake Langano. Visit the Abjita-Shalla National Park.

Staying at Hara Langano Lodge. Includes All Meals.

Day 9
Lake Langano

Enjoy another day at Lake Langano.

Staying at Hara Langano . Includes All Meals.

Day 10
Bale Mountains

Enjoy a full day to explore the Bale Mountains. Perhaps explore more of the biodiverse Harenna Forest or just relax in the beautiful settings. There are various trails leading out from the lodge where waterfalls and wildlife including the locally endemic Bale monkey, African crowned eagle and Bale nose-horned chameleon may be seen. Other activities could include a visit further south to the Sof Omar Caves and habitat of the rare Prince Ruspoli’s turaco, or visits to local villages, a honey harvesting experience or wild coffee collection and processing.

In the evening perhaps take a game drive through the interior of the Harenna Forest in search of secretive forest dwellers such as the huge giant forest hog, bushpig, Menelik’s bushbuck and maybe even the rare Abyssinian lion.

Staying at Bale Mountain Lodge. Includes All Meals.

Day 11
Bale Mountains

Enjoy another full day to explore the Bale Mountains. Perhaps explore more of the biodiverse Harenna Forest or just relax in the beautiful settings.

Staying at Bale Mountain Lodge . Includes All Meals.

Day 12
Bale Mountains

Enjoy another full day to explore the Bale Mountains. Perhaps explore more of the biodiverse Harenna Forest or just relax in the beautiful settings.

Staying at Bale Mountain Lodge . Includes All Meals.

Day 13
Addis Ababa

A final morning to explore from Bale Mountain Lodge. Drive to Bale Robe Airport. Take a short flight to Addis arriving mid afternoon, Met and transfer to the hotel. Enjoy an evening visit to Yod Abyssinia Restaurant for a final dinner.

Staying at Washington Hotel . Includes Dinner.

Day 14
Addis Ababa

Transfer to the airport to take flight home.

Staying at In-flight. Includes Breakfast.

Tour Accommodation

Washington Hotel

Overview

The Washington Hotel is a comfortable four star hotel in the centre of the downtown Bole are of Addis Ababa. Since 1984, owners Asfaw Amde and Worknesh Getachew established a superb reputation in hospitality management in the food & service industry at their Addis Ababa Restaurant, Washington DC. Following the success of bringing Ethiopian cuisine to the states, they decided to upgrde to a hotel, this time bringing Washington back to Ethiopia.

Room options include single and double standard rooms, one bedroom suites and the impressive two storey, five bedroom Presidential suite. The hotel’s two restaurants have different themes: the District is an international fusion restaurant; whilst the Addis Ababa serves traditional Ethiopian cuisine and a traditional communal Ethiopian coffee hut at which the coffee ceremonies are performed each night. There is also a lobby bar – Chista Lounge – and a rooftop terrace bar and grill with fabulous city views.

Swimming Pool
Yes
Air Conditioning
Yes
Rooms
70
Facilities

Rooms all provide safety deposit box, free Wi-Fi, mini bar, coffee and tea facilities, iron and ironing board, hair dryer, 24 hour room service, and laundry service. The hotel has two restaurants, two bars, 24 hour concierge, gym, spa, underground parking, business centre, travel desk, gift shop and is accessible for disabled guests.

Optional Activities

As with all capital cities, there is a great variety of attractions and activities nearby. There is a Tour Awash travel guide desk within the hotel lobby, and the staff here is able to direct guests in how to make their most of their time in the Ethiopian capital.

Simien Lodge

Overview

Simien Lodge is the self-proclaimed highest lodge in Africa, sitting at 3,300 meters above sea level. Located on the edge of an escarpment just inside the boundary of the Simien Mountains National Park, the lodge boasts incredible scenic views as well as easy access into the Park. Herds of geladas and thick-billed ravens often frequent the lodge grounds and can be very approachable here.

Rooms are in traditional Ethiopian style Tukels – meaning house.

The round buildings have thatched rooves and each contain two rooms and two ensuite bathrooms. Main rooms can be arranged with double or twin beds and have enough space for an extra bed if required. Being at high altitude, temperatures can be quite cold at times. Therefore, the Tukels have solar powered underfloor heating to take the edge off the cold and hot water bottles can be provided. Extra blankets are also available to ensure guests comfort as there are often power cuts up here.

The restaurant in the main building serves mostly international dishes in buffet format during busy times and as a set menu at quieter times. Traditional Ethiopian cuisine can also be requested and there is a wide selection of wines and other drinks, although the stocks are not always available. Packed lunches can be prepared for guests embarking on a day’s trekking or visits to other parts of the park such as the Chennek Valley as well. The bar is proud to be the highest place to get a drink in Africa and is comfortably furnished for a warm and inviting atmosphere.

They remain open until the last guests have left, and there will often be some sort of evening entertainment occurring, such as a film about the local area or wildlife. Please note that electricity supply can be very hit and miss at this location and torches are very useful to have for the evenings. Please also be aware that the paths between the Tukels can be a little uneven and you will likely feel the effects of the altitude. The lodge has also been long involved with the local community and supports many projects such as school initiatives, monastery restoration, transportation for the local village and mostly recently a community health centre.

Swimming Pool
No
Air Conditioning
No
Rooms
26
Facilities

Rooms have ensuite bathrooms with showers and required amenities, underfloor solar powered heating and extra blankets and hot water bottles can be provided for cold nights. The main lodge has a spacious restaurant and bar area. There is no Wi-Fi or reliable phone reception at the lodge and power cuts are frequent due to the remote location.

Local Wildlife

The wonderfully expressive geladas are usually the highlight of a visit to the Simien Mountains. Sitting in amongst a herd of geladas provides a fascinating and intimate wildlife experience as these wonderful, endemic primates graze, groom and chatter around you. The highly endangered Walia ibex is another key species that is most often seen in the remote Chennek Valley of the Park. Other wildlife includes the agile Ethiopian klipspringer, Menelik's bushbuck and a small population of Ethiopian (Simien) wolf, leopard and golden jackal, although these species are rare to see here. The birdlife is very impressive including the aptly named thick-billed raven, lammergeier, tawny and steppe eagles, Ruppell’s, white-backed and Egyptian vultures, Erckel’s francolin, greater blue-eared starling, Abyssinian Longclaw, moorland chat and Abyssinian wheatear.

Optional Activities

Exploring the Simien Mountains National Park to see its exciting wildlife and landscapes. There is a wide range of treks to choose from and mountain bikes can also be hired. For those interested in culture visits to local churches and villages can also be arranged.

Sora Lodge

Overview

Sora Lodge Lalibela was built in October 2013 and is run by a German-Ethiopian family. It is located on the edge of the village and positioned on the edge of a hill overlooking rolling mountains ideal for watching sunsets and passing birdlife. The lodge is a 35-minute drive from the Lalibela airport and is either a walk or short drive from both the Northern and Southern groups of rock hewn churches.

Accommodation is split between 9 rooms in the main three storey building and five in Ethiopian round Tukul stone huts which add to the appearance of the site. The main building has three floors and all rooms have verandas and private bathrooms with hot water showers.

The lodge’s restaurant, Liya’s Hall, is also built in the shape of a Lalibela round tukul hut, with a grass roof and the ceiling painted with the faces of angels. The restaurant uses a lot of local produce from its garden and offers a good selection of both Ethiopian and Western cuisine and the staff can give cooking classes too if interested.

There is a small souvenir shop below the main rooms with many Lalibela inspired gifts and artefacts and where free Wi-Fi is also available.

Swimming Pool
No
Air Conditioning
No
Rooms
15
Facilities

Modern, spacious single, double, twin, family or suite rooms with ensuite showers and toilets. Restaurant serving Ethiopian, Western and German cuisine. Free high speed Wi-Fi and a table tennis court in the landscaped gardens.

Local Wildlife

Lammergeiers are widespread in Lalibela's mountains and often soar past the lodge. Tawny and steppe eagles, white-billed starlings, white-winged cliff chats and Ruppell's black chats can also be seen in the lodge area.

Optional Activities

Visiting the impressive Rock Hewn Churches of Lalibela is the top attraction, but cooking classes, walking trails, visiting other local cultural attractions and churches and birdwatching.

Overview

Hara Langano Lodge is a lovely peaceful lodge and one that will make you feel like you’re surrounded by nature. It was rebuilt in 2014 which means for Ethiopia the facilities are relatively contemporary and are thoughtfully designed as well as environmentally conscious.

Each room, or gojo as they are known locally, is built in a bungalow style and very well secluded giving you your own little personal piece of nature. Surrounded by forest; you will be able to enjoy the numerous birds and colobus monkeys which thrive in the grounds. Many of the rooms are lakeside where you’ll be able to watch the sunset as you relax on your own veranda. Once the sun has set, the lodge is lit with lanterns (guests are also given their own) giving it a remote and romantic atmosphere.

All the rooms are quite basic and rustic in appearance but are all ensuite with more modern high-pressure showers. The lodge’s main source of power comes from a powerful solar and battery system; however, they do still have a quiet generator to ensure that the electricity supply is on 24/7.

Set back from the shore, you’ll find the lodge restaurant. Whether you want to sample local delicacies such as firfir, doro wat or tibs, or if you prefer something more European, all of the food is cooked from fresh, local ingredients often grown on site. The fish comes straight from the lake and you can even try your hand at fishing its rich waters and have your catch expertly prepared. The lodge also works closely with the local community, providing employment, staff accommodation and clean water supplies and they have also recently set up a tree nursery to help re-forest the surrounding landscape.

This lodge is particularly ideal for those interested in birds and wildlife as the nearby forests support a fantastic array of species and this is one of the best locations in Ethiopia to watch hippos. The Ethiopian bee-eater, yellow-fronted parrot, white-cheeked turaco, silvery-cheeked hornbill, banded barbet and grey-headed bush shrike are among some of the resident birds. The lodge’s resident naturalist is a fantastic guide and knows the area and its wildlife in great detail.

Swimming Pool
No
Air Conditioning
No
Rooms
1
Facilities

A bar and lounge, a selection of boats to take out onto the lake, room service, laundry service, free wifi, babysitting and a shuttlebus service.

Local Wildlife

The lodge has been thoughtfully landscaped so that it blends into the natural environment and still provides a habitat for the local fauna and flora. The lodge grounds are a haven for much of Ethiopia’s dry country birdlife and the lodge offers the best viewing of hippos anywhere in the country. The lodge even manage the lakeshore and grassland habitats to attract and boost the local hippo population.

In addition to hippos, mantled guereza colobus monkeys, bush duikers and occasional aardvarks are found in the area. However the birdlife is particularly exciting with a wide range of both forest and wetland species. Highlights include the yellow-fronted parrot, Ethiopian bee-eater, white-cheeked turaco, silvery-cheeked hornbill, black-headed batis, fiscal shrikes, Senegal thick-knees, Great white pelicans and African fish eagles.

Optional Activities

Given its location the lodge serves as a base for numerous activities in the surrounding area and excursions to Abijatta-Shalla National Park as well as bird and wildlife watching in the lodge grounds. Boat trips on the lake are available to guests wildlife spotting or fishing.

Overview

Within the Harenna Forest of the Bale Mountains National Park, one of the largest remaining Tropical Cloud Forests in Africa and Ethiopia’s premier National Park, you’ll find the warm and welcoming Bale Mountain Lodge.

The lodge sits at 2,380 meters above sea level, on a small hill within an eight-hectare plot overlooking a mountain stream and forest clearing. The lodge offers views of the 1500-meter-high Harenna escarpment, with its volcanic outcrops rising dramatically above the forest. It is generally cool and damp from late April to September but warm and drier from October to mid-April.

All of the rooms offer comfortable beds, private decks and wood-burning stoves. Each is hidden from view from any other to permit guests to feel totally isolated whilst being safe and warm. Some rooms are tree houses built on stilts with outside showers and wonderful forest settings but are located a short walk from the main building. There are also disabled and limited access rooms located next to the main building. The lodge is a superb location from which to explore the forest and the nearby Sanetti Plateau, both of which offer walking and 4WD safaris in the company of a knowledgeable guide. The plateau is around a 40 minute drive away and there are trails into the Harenna Forest leading out from the lodge itself.

The lodge is a spectacular spot for viewing a variety of wildlife nearby.

Swimming Pool
No
Air Conditioning
No
Rooms
11
Facilities

An onsite restaurant and bar, firepit, patio deck, free Wi-Fi internet in the main building, laundry service available and guided tours.

Local Wildlife

Around the lodge itself a variety of mammals occur including guereza black-and-white colobus and the endemic Bale monkeys, warthogs, Menelik's bushbucks, tree hyraxes and African golden jackals, while further afield giant forest hog, bushpig, and lion and leopard are even occasionally spotted. Birdlife is also plentiful with white-cheeked turaco, African emerald cuckoo, Abyssinian catbird, silvery-cheeked hornbill, mountain buzzard and African crowned eagle to name just a few. Travelling on to the Sanetti Plateau (around 40 minutes away) it is possible to see Ethiopian wolf, giant mole rats, Ethiopian Stark’s hares, klipspringers, blue-winged geese, spot-breasted lapwings, Rouget's rail, lammergeier, golden eagle, augur buzzard and much more.

Optional Activities

The lodge is most popular for its wildlife viewing and birding but guided hiking, horse riding, fishing and cultural activities such as village and market visits and honey collecting can all be arranged.

Visiting the Rift Valley, with its camel markets and dry, dusty conditions, is a mere 45-minute drive to the south and the Sof Omar caves, Africa’s largest limestone cave system- a return day trip to the North.

Goha Hotel

Overview

Built on a hilltop overlooking Gondar town, the Goha Hotel combines stunning views with a comfortable and traditional Ethiopian yet modern design. All the rooms are elegantly and colourfully designed with local art deco influences. Each room features a private bathroom, comfortable beds, TV, telephone and desk.

The charming Hotel restaurant on the terrace has beautiful views and excellent service, serving both traditional and European food. Every Saturday and Sunday live entertainment with traditional music and dance shows is put on. Wi-Fi is a little patchy and most accessible in the restaurant and reception area. Gondar’s historic attractions are all very accessible from the hotel and the Castles and Royal Enclosure is a 10-minute drive away.

Swimming Pool
Yes
Air Conditioning
No
Rooms
82
Facilities

An outdoor swimming pool, restaurant, bar and terrace and free Wi-Fi in the main building. Room facilities include a TV, telephone and private bathroom.

Optional Activities

A wonderful guided city tour in Gondar. Gondar is a Royal and ancient historical city of Ethiopia.

Take one of the hotel bikes to explore the city.

Tours and hiking through the Simien National Park.

Route Map

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Getfam Hotel: 8.905084, 38.781889
Bale Mountain Lodge: 6.717658, 39.727922
Sora Lodge: 12.022989, 39.038776
Haile Resort Hawassa: 7.079606, 38.479095

Departure Dates

This tour has no set departure date and can be tailored to suit your travel requirements. Contact us for more details.

Travel Information

Are International Flights Included?

No. Please contact us for a quote if required.

Flight Info:

There are direct flights from London Heathrow with Ethiopian Airlines. Flights are 7 hours 35 minutes.

Best Visited:

October to April

Ian Loyd

Area Specialist

If you have any questions regarding this tour, please feel free to contact me on +44 (0)1803 866965