A grand tour of Ethiopia that takes you to the rich history of the north to the culturally diverse south. Experience history and culture while enjoying the majesty of the birthplace of humanity.
The tour starts in Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia, but the adventure starts with travelling to the north towards Lake Tana, the source of the Blue Nile. You will be visiting the monastery of Debre Libanos founded in the 13th century and take in the view of the Blue Nile Gorge. Then take a boat to visit the peninsular monastery of Ura Kidane Mehret that contains beautiful murals and embroidery.
You will see the Blue Nile Falls. The Blue Nile flows from Lake Tana to the south and from the Blue Nile Falls makes it way west and then north into Sudan. The Blue Nile then meets with it’s sister tributary in Sudan, the White Nile from Lake Victoria. The two rivers together make up what is most commonly known as the Nile River that flows all the way through Egypt. Most of the silt that made farming possible in Egypt came from the Blue Nile.
You will then travel further north to the city of Gondar to see the Fasil Ghebbi, the Royal Enclosure, a castle complex founded by Emperor Fasilides in the 17th century and continually built upon by succeeding emperors. The castle complex is known as the “Camelot of Africa.”
Then you travel to the Simien Mountains, plateaus separated by valleys and rising to pinnacles a place that posses a unique and unearthly beauty. You will visit a colony of Gelada Baboons, also known as “bleeding-heart monkeys” for the red patch of skin on their chest that looks like a scarf.
See the rock-cut monolithic churches of Lalibela, Ethiopia. Churches carved out of standing stone, the most notable being the Church of Saint George in the shape of a cross.
The adventure takes you to the air with a flight to the farthest north of Ethiopia to the Stelae Fields of Axum. There you will visit the Tomb of Kaleb, the 6th century King of Axum, then the Tomb of Gebre Meskel, Kaleb’s son and succeeding emperor. Then you will see the Ezana Stone, an inscription telling the story of King Ezana of the 4th century and his conversion to Christianity.
You will visit the most important church in Ethiopian Orthodoxy, the Church of Our Lady Mary of Zion, it is said to contain the original Ark of the Covenant.
After this tour of the north, you fly back to Addis Ababa, travel south by car to the Omo Valley in the south where a diverse group of people reside.
During the adventure you may come in contact with eight different tribes, like the Mursi with their lip plating or the Hamer with their hairdressing and “bull jumping” wedding traditions. You will also get to shop at various markets, immersing yourself in the local culture.
The various tribes you may meet are:
- Awra Amba a community not in the Omo Valley but between Gondar and Bahir Dar that promotes egalitarianism between men and women and does not promote any specific religion in contrast to other people in Ethiopia.
- Dorze are known for the their cotton weaving and their bee-hive shaped Dwellings.
- Arbore are pastoralist and have connections to the Konso. In local legend the Arbore are said to have resisted the devil granting Arbore Priests a special strength that other tribes will brings gifts to ask for their help.
- Gurage are an agricultural people that are seen as skilled traders. They are said to be descendents of the Aksumite Empire.
- Hamer are known for their “bull jumping” wedding traditions that are an initiation for a boy into manhood. The Hamer are also known for their body decorations.
- Karo are related to the Hamer in sharing most of the same language and culture but have focused on decorative body painting
- 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 clans.
- Mursi are known for their lip plating and stick fighting tradition called Donga, a ritual duel that sometimes ends in broken bones.
During your stay in Oma Valley, you will get to see the Rift Valley Lakes of Ziway and Awasa. The Rift Valley Lakes span the entire east of Africa from north to south. Lake Ziway has many species of birds and also contains hippopotamus. Lake Awasa boasts having the region’s largest open air fish market.
Your grand tour concludes in Hosanna where you will partake in a traditional dinner and a live dance show before heading back to Addis Ababa, bringing back with you memories that will last a lifetime.
- Accommodation (double room as stated in the itinerary)
- All surface transportation including transfers
- Half board meal with soft drinks in Hotels
- All entrance fees
- English-speaking guide
- Local guides and scout fee
- Boat trip on Lake Tana
- All government taxes
What’s Not Included
- International airfare
- Any airport taxes
- Visa fee and departure taxes
- Camera or video fee where required
- Any alcoholic drinks
- Tips and other personal expenses
Any cancellation of a confirmed booking must be done in writing. Cancellations are subject to the following charges:
- 49 days or more prior to departure: a handling fee of 75 USD.
- 29 days to 48 days prior to departure: 20% of the total confirmed tour price
- 8 days to 28 days prior to departure: 50% of the total confirmed tour price
- 7 days or less prior to departure: 100% of the total confirmed tour price
Special cancellation fees may apply for third party bookings.
Lion of Judah Travel reserves the right to cancel the tour without prior notification in case of circumstances beyond its control and in such an event only agrees to refund all money already paid and received from the client.
Bole International Airport, Addis Ababa (Open in Google Maps)
Know Before You Go
A guarantee deposit of 25% of the total payment is needed at the time of trip confirmation. The remaining 50% of the total payment is required a minimum of one month prior to the arrival of the tour group, which will be placed directly towards the deposits for hotels, coach companies, ferries and other travel arrangements. The final 25% of the package price should be paid upon arrival and commencement of the tour. In case of late confirmation where the trip begins in 2 weeks time or sooner, we require 100% payment be paid in cash to our account.
A 50% refund of the advance payment will be offered in the even of cancellations made 2 weeks or more before arrival. We will refund 25% of the advance payment made in case trips are canceled in 1 week before arrival. Cancellations made less than 1 week before arrival are non-refundable.