This is an adventure of a life time, meeting incredible tribes of the Omo, visiting the Churches of Tigray and Lalibela and the ancient kingdom of Axsum.
Travel through a medieval world of historical treasures, with Christian beliefs and practices little changed in thousands of years. Mountains and plateaus divided by the Great Rift Valley, surrounded by lowlands, semi-desert and tropical forests. The wide range of altitude has given the country a variety of ecologically distinct areas – from the highest point on the Simiens to the Danakil Depression that lies below sea level.
Ethiopia has an outstanding 31 endemic species of mammal, including Galada Baboon, Walia Ibex and Ethiopian Wolf found on the remote mountains of Bale and Simiens.
Day 1 - Addis Ababa
Your expedition begins in the Ethiopian capital – Addis Ababa. Here you will meet your pilot and helicopter. Depending on your arrival time, there is plenty to do during the day with options to enjoy a city tour and go to the National Museum, which houses the 3.5 million year-old skeleton of ‘Lucy’ - the oldest hominid ever found.
Traditional song houses and local markets can also be visited. The Ristorante Castelli restaurant is a great option for dinner - serving excellent Italian cuisine.
Day 2 & 3 - Lalibela
Today we depart for Lalibela, following the Blue Nile Gorge through astonishing landscapes. In the company of an expert guide, we will visit some of the famous 12th century rock-hewn churches.
Accommodation is located on the edge of the Lasta Mountain.
Day 4 - Simiens
We head to the Simien Mountains, enjoying a spectacular flight following the course of the Tekeze River. At 4,543m, the Simiens are Ethiopia’s highest range. A vehicle will meet us, and we will spend time enjoying the unique life in these remote mountains.
Accommodation for the next 4 nights will be in the Tigray region.
Day 5 – Aksum
With a picnic breakfast on board, we embark on a dawn flight to the Simiens. With the sun behind us, the spires and pinnacles are an impressive sight. Lammergerie vultures are found exclusively in mountainous terrain and we often have great sightings of them soaring overhead.
After a picnic breakfast, we continue onto the fascinating town of Aksum - famous for ancient Stellae / monuments.
In the afternoon we will explore the Tigray region and its incredible rock-hewn churches, believed to date back to the 6th or 7th Century.
Day 6 - Danakil
This morning we head to the Danakil Depression - a place of acid lakes, volcanoes and giant salt pans. On route we’ll hopefully have sightings of the camel trains belonging to the Afar nomadic people.
We will visit Irta Ale, an active volcano of bubbling molten lava. In the evening we return to Gheralta.
Day 7 - Tigray
Today we will explore the Tigray region. The amazing rock-hewn churches are perched on top of steep hills, or carved into cliff faces only accessible by narrow foot paths which scale up the edge of the hills.
Day 8 - Harar City
After breakfast we fly to the Eastern Highlands, landing at Dira Dama airport. The 16th century walled city of Harar is Ethiopia’s Holy City for the Muslim community. Its characterised by alleyways, whitewashed walls and more than 90 historic mosques.
Day 9 & 10 – Bale Mountains
Our destination is the Bale Mountains, located within the South Eastern region of Oromia. Known for its abundant wildlife, including dozens of endemic species, the Bale Mountains host Africa’s largest area of Afro-Alpine habitat.
From the high altitude plateau rises massifs of rounded and craggy peaks, including Tullu Deemtu - the second highest peak in Ethiopia (4,377 m).
During our 2 day stay, we will explore the Mountains - walking, horse trekking and scenic drives are all great ways to spot some of the endemic mammals. We will also have an insight into the work of the Ethiopian Wolf Conservation Programme.
Day 11 - 13 - Omo Delta
Morning departure for the Omo Delta via Lumale.
Over the next three days we will have the privilege of meeting some of Africa’s most interesting tribes. We will witness a bull jumping ceremony - where young men of the Hamer tribe prove their adulthood by jumping over bulls. We will also watch the Surma stick fighting and meet the Mursi, Nyangatom and Kara people – all with fascinating beliefs and cultural values.
Accommodation is at a tented camp, located on the upper shores of the Omo.
Day 14 - Addis Ababa
Today we leave for Addis Ababa - the final journey of our adventure follows the western wall of the Great Rift Valley.