Day 1: Arrive in Addis Ababa. Check into the Geon Grand Hotel or a more budget hotel if you wish to do a budget holiday. The Geon is the perfect green lover’s place to stay for accommodation, safety and tranquility. Hassle free; otherwise the very central Ras Hotel is also good value but has a more downtown vibrancy about the place. Bird life can be good at Ghion and National Hotel for inner city birds. Also gardens are relaxing. In the evening take a tour of Addis Ababa by night or just stay at the hotel to de-jetlag as you like. We can also immediately arrange a city tour if you want.
Day 2: Today you will travel by road to Debre Markos going via the Blue Nile Gorge, heading north to the Blue Nile Falls Road, Bahir Dar City looking over magnificent Lake Tana. We stop of at the Ethio-German Park to look at the so called Portuguese Bridge, waterfalls and magnificent backdrop of the Jamma River and Valley/ You might see baboons and perhaps some birds of prey or other birdlife if lucky. We stay overnight at the Shebel Hotel.
Day 3: Lake Tana and Gonder. Today you will drive to Bahir Dar where you’ll experience a boat excursion on Lake Tana, the largest lake in Ethiopia and the source of the Blue Nile River. You will visit several monasteries on the Lake Tana and Zega Peninsula. After a tour of the island monasteries, continue by road to Gonder for dinner and overnight at the Goha Hotel.
Day 4: Gonder City Castles, the Royal Baths and (Angels Church of Debre Brehan Selassie). Today after the breakfast briefing from our local tour guide Philimont, we visit the main castles of Gonder and then go to the Imperials Baths constructed for the Gonderine Royal Families including Emperor Fasil and his descendants. These castles were in use until the 19th century and were bombed carelessly during the Second World War.
Day 5: Today we fly from Gonder to Lalibela or if add an extra day we can drive. Join our personal guide Masalu for all your Ethiopian tour of the rock carved churches. Masalu is a local guide in Lalibela. Start the tour today and finish in the morning the next day. We stay overnight in this holy city at the Mountain View Hotel with its good views and comfortably furnished rooms. The Mountain View is situated at 9400 feet around the Lasta Mountains. Wait for sunset!
Day 6: Lalibela Visit Continues to the second group of churches and then if you wish, you can visit the Optional morning excursion to the Ne’akuto Le’ab Cave Church, or on mule back to the semi-hewn church of Asheton Mariam, which offers a interest view of the town. Return to Lalibela to visit the remaining second group of rock churches. Overnight we sleep again Mountain View Hotel. We can have coffee at Maslu’s house. His honey beer and coffee are good.
Day 7: Fly from Lalibela to Addis Ababa in the morning. Then transfer to the land-cruiser with Zawdu waiting for you. Start the journey south staying overnight at the Sabana Hotel overlooking Pink Tea Coloured Lake Langano or continue to Lake Awasa and stay at the Pina Hotel instead. Lake Awasa Town has a vibrant nightlife and can be good if you are a night owl. Otherwise relax with camp fire at Lake Langano . Budget options available too; otherwise Sabana lake side lodge is really refreshing and relaxing.
Day 8: Langano - Arba - Minch. Start the journey into the (Lower) Omo Valley, driving to Arba Minch. This is a very long uncomfortable drive in parts. On the way visit the, Wolita and Dorze , Alaba tribes. The Dorze are known for their beehive-shaped huts, constructed of mock banana plants. Overnight at Paradise Lodge.
Day 9: Drive from Arba Minch to Turmi. You enter the lower Omo Valley. Here the tribal visits begin. We visit the Hammer People, famous - for their ladies’ elaborate hairdos and bull jumping at certain times of year. If you come on the right day you can attend the colourful market. We drive for about 4 hours. Drive into the Lower Omo Valley to Turmi, the home of the Hammer people, famous for their bull jumping and the women’s hairstyle made from ochre and butter. Attend the weekly market before arriving at the Buska Lodge for overnight.
Day 10: Omorate. Visit Omorate and the Dassanech people, famous for their scarification practices, before visiting a vibrant local market (market days vary). We return to Buska Lodge for dinner and a traditional coffee ceremony. Again road conditions are very bad. Drive to Murelle to visit the Karo people today with their chalk body painting in Murelle. If time permits, we walk into the town of Turmi or relax at the lodge this afternoon. Tonight enjoy dinner and if the night sky is clear we can have a lesson on astronomy. This is one of the best areas for astro-enthusiasts. The road is bad.
Day 11: Drive on the return to Arba Minch. Have evening sundowners looking over the Bekele Molla Hotel (view is good, hotel is not so good). We stay for overnight again at the Paradise Hotel.
Day 12: Fly from Arba Minch to Addis Ababa. In the afternoon go shopping in the Mercarto – the biggest market at least in East Africa. Road trip option is also available. See below if interested. Or finish here with Addis Ababa.
Day 14: Drive from Rift Valley Lakes via the Lake Zway Hosanna Road to Butajira Road to visit the Tina Stone circles. Return to Addis Ababa in the evening. Overnight in Addis Ababa.
Day 15: Addis Ababa to the Mengesha Suba temperate forest. Nice day’s outing in brilliant African forest with nice unhampered walks. Packed lunch or barbecue. Evening return to Addis Ababa.
Day 16: Departure. Evening dinner with the sister of Haile Gebre-Selassie and coffee ceremony, dinner and cultural dance. Farewell and bon voyage.
Notes: Also we provide tailor-made safari tours.
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