Ethiopia Explorer

Ethiopia Explorer

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10 Days
From

$2714

$2579

Ethiopia Explorer

10 Days Starting and ending in Addis Ababa

Visiting: Ethiopia

Tour operator:

World Expeditions

Tour code:

ETT

Guide Type:

Fully Guided

Group size:

4 - 15

Physical rating:

Adventure touring

From:
$2714
$2579 (USD) The Big ADVENTURE Sale: -$136

This tour is no longer available, please see similar tours below or send an enquiry

Tour Overview

Ethiopia is an African enigma, combining a rich history, mosaic of cultures and incredible geographic diversity. The highlands strong Orthodox Christian heritage has been formidably maintained over the millennia, alone amongst Islam and tribal cultures in surrounding African countries. From the colourful chaotic sprawl of the capital Addis Ababa, medieval castles of Gondar, to the tranquil island monasteries of Lake Tana, it is indeed a land of contrasts. This itinerary includes walking in the Simien Mountains for a look at highlands life as well as time to take in the greatest of the ancient churches including the 12th century rock-hewn churches of Lalibela. The tremendous ethnic diversity of Ethiopia is evident as we explore the only country in Africa to have escaped colonialism.

Highlights

  • Discover the medieval castles in the old capital of Gondar

  • Marvel at the monolithic churches of Lalibela

  • Day walk in the Simien Mountains

  • Cruise to the tranquil island monasteries of Lake Tana and Blue Nile Falls

  • Sightseeing in Bahir Dar

  • Explore the capital, Addis Ababa

Itinerary

Expand All
Day 1 : Join Addis Ababa
Meals Included: D

On arrival in Addis Ababa you will be met at the airport and transferred to the group hotel for overnight. Remainder of day at leisure. Addis Ababa is the third highest capital city in the world. Located at 2,400 metres above sea level in one of the highest parts of the Entoto mountain chain, the altitude may fatigue you, so take it easy today.

Day 2 : In Addis Ababa, City Tour
Meals Included: B, L, D

After breakfast we have a full-day city tour, which departs at 9:00am from the hotel. We take time to explore the city and lunch out is included. We will visit the National Museum (home of the remains of the famous hominid fossil, “Lucy”) and the Ethnological Museum at the Addis Ababa University (housed in the former palace of Emperor Haile Selassie). Overnight hotel.

Day 3 : Fly To Lalibela
Meals Included: B, L, D

This morning we take a flight from Addis Ababa over the Ethiopian plateau to Lalibela (approx 1 hr - flight at own expense), located at an altitude of 2,600 metres above sea level. The city contains 11 monolithic churches that were built in the 12th century and are carved out of the local pink basaltic scoriae rock; they have been classified as a UNESCO World Heritage site. Each church has a unique architectural style and all are superbly carved. On arrival in Lalibela we will have some time to relax. During the afternoon opening session we will spend time admiring and exploring the rock-hewn churches. Overnight hotel. (Please note: flight schedule is subject to change and availability).

Day 4 : In Lalibela
Meals Included: B, L, D

Today is dedicated to visiting a hill-top monastery and the city itself. Lalibela is situated amongst a series of flat-topped mountains; there is a difference in altitude of 1500m between the lower lying airport and the city. This morning there is an excursion to the Church of Asheton Maryam, about 7km outside the city. After driving a short distance, the monastery itself (3150m) is reached on foot by means of a 3-hour return walk (some steep sections) or by riding on a mule (done at own risk and own expense). In the afternoon we will visit the market place, where a colourful mix of people from the surrounding region gather. Overnight hotel.

Day 5 : Drive To Gondar (Approx 6-7Hrs)
Meals Included: B, L, D

An early start for the 6-7 hours drive to Gondar, the capital of Ethiopia in the 17th and 18th Centuries. Gondar is still one of Ethiopia’s most impressive cities, with its walled Royal Palace Enclosure (listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage monument). This enclosure lies at Gondar’s centre and contains several well preserved castles and other buildings. Overnight hotel.

Day 6 : Gondar Sightseeing
Meals Included: B, L, D

Gondar was once the capital city of the Ethiopian empire, which began in 1632 with the reign of Fasiladas. Gondar is still one of Ethiopia’s most impressive cities, with its walled Royal Palace Enclosure (listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage monument). This enclosure lies at Gondar’s centre and contains several well preserved castles and other buildings. In Gondar, there are a dozen castles built by various emperors over the course of 236 years. The city seems more European than African and also has Islamic influences. We will visit the palaces, residences and baths of Fasilidas and also the church of Debre Berhan Selassie (Light of the Trinity) which is located at the summit of a hill and surrounded by fortified walls. The interior is decorated with beautiful frescoes. Overnight hotel in Gondar.

Day 7 : Drive To Debark For Day Walk In Simien Mountains, Return To Gondar In The Late Afternoon (One Way - 100Km, 2.5Hrs Drive)
Meals Included: B, L, D

This morning we drive from Gondar to Debark (approx 2.5 hrs, 100 kms). In Amharic, ‘Simien’ means ‘north’. Six hundred million years ago, the mountains were an enormous volcanic mass. Rain and ice have carved deep fissures into them and rivers have continued the erosion, creating one of the greatest sculptures on the planet. The landscape is stunning with peaks, canyons, gorges, clefts and pointed, amethyst-coloured pinnacles like obelisks making dramatic panoramic vistas. We have the opportunity to walk in the area and take in the immense beauty of these mountains. We can try to spot some of the region's endemic wildlife, which includes various species of monkey. We will return to our hotel in Gondar in the late afternoon (approx 2.5 hrs, 100 kms).

Day 8 : Drive To Bahir Dar, Afternoon City Tour (175Km, Approx 4Hrs)
Meals Included: B, L, D

This morning we will drive to Bahir Dar, which is one of the most well-planned cities in Ethiopia. Located at 1,800 metres above sea level it is situated on the shores of Lake Tana, the largest lake in the country. This afternoon we will undertake a city tour. Overnight hotel in Bahir Dar.

Day 9 : Lake Tana Boat Trip And Blue Nile Falls
Meals Included: B, L, D

This morning we take a boat trip on Lake Tana to fully appreciate the sheer size of this waterway. There are a myriad of monastaries and churches on the islands; some are private and not accessible to the public. We will visit Ura Kidane Mihret church on Zeghie peninsula with its rich history and ornate frescoes. In the afternoon we visit Tissisat to marvel at the Blue Nile Falls - or “Smoke of Fire”. The falls are located about 2hrs drive (on a rough, dusty road) from Bahir Dar but the result is worth it. The Falls are 400 metres wide when in flood and fall over a sheer chasm more than 45 metres in height. We return to Bahir Dar in the evening. Overnight hotel.

Day 10 : Fly To Addis Ababa, Trip Concludes On Arrival
Meals Included: B

This morning we fly from Bahir Dar to Addis Ababa (about 50 mins - flight at own expense) where trip arrangements conclude on arrival at the airport in Addis Ababa. Transfers to the city and additional nights can be arranged (extra cost applies). Please ask your consultant for details. (Please note: flight schedule is subject to change and availability. We recommend not booking onward flights before 16:00hrs).

What's Included

  • Accommodation
    9 nights hotel

  • 9 breakfasts, 8 lunches and 7 dinners

  • 2 nights in 3 star hotel in Addis and 7 nights in best available hotels elsewhere on a twinshare basis

  • airport transfer Day 1 only

  • private road transport

  • boat trip on Lake Tana

  • site entrance and national park fees per itinerary

  • local guides at each location (English speaking tour leader throughout for 6 or more guests)

What's Not Included

  • international flights

  • internal flights Addis Ababa/Lalibela and Bahir Dar/Addis Ababa. *we recommend booking these flights with World Expeditions as it is easier to manage any schedule changes locally

  • arrival and departure transfers in Addis Ababa (other than airport transfer on Day 1 only). NOTE - The Addis Ababa group hotel (Jupiter Hotel) offers a free airport to hotel shuttle service upon arrival or departure. This shuttle must be pre-booked prior

  • items of a personal nature such as phone calls, internet, laundry, etc.

  • bottled water, aerated and alcoholic drinks

  • travel insurance

  • visa

  • tips

Accommodation

9 nights hotel
All accommodation is on a twin share basis, unless single rooms are requested and paid for in advance. All rooms have ensuite bathroom. In Addis Ababa we use a 3-4 star hotel. Outside of the capital the accommodation can be basic. We will use the best available properties in these instances. In Ethiopia, power cuts can occur at any time and hot water supply can be erratic.

Grading

Although there is no commitment to extended walking on this journey we nonetheless want to keep the ‘accent on the active’, with a walk in the Simien Mountains and our visits to the various sights of historic and cultural significance. Ethiopia is for the most part a mountainous country so even a stroll around the towns and cities we visit can involve walking up and down hills, there are also regular early mornings and late evenings throughout the trip and we therefore advise that any physical training you complete before undertaking the trip will be to good effect. The fitter you are the more this will enhance your experience.

What You Carry

In your daypack you will need to carry extra warm clothing (depending on the altitude, location and weather), a rainjacket, water bottle, camera gear, valuables and personal items such as sunscreen, lip balm etc.

Check out our Q&As

  • Who will be my travelling companions on the tour?

    We have offices on three continents which means your travelling companions will be just that – international and wonderfully eclectic. Part of small group travel means that although travellers come from various locations and backgrounds, you will be travelling with like-minded companions who, like you, are keen to share the experience and forge lifelong friendships.

  • What about environmental impact?

    We believe that adventure travel revolves around establishing a strong relationship with the people and environments in which we operate. Our responsible travel policies have been carefully developed to ensure that we minimise the impact of our presence and help to protect the regions we visit while contributing positively to the local community.

  • What should I pack?

    Your pre-departure documents include a detailed packing list with items that you need to bring. While most of the equipment for daily activities is included in your tour cost, some items like helmets and hiking boots are best brought from home. The pre-departure documents also include information on layering and recommended brands for various items to ensure you are fully prepared for your trip.

  • Do you operate a “single share” option and how does it work?

    Yes. World Expeditions does not require single travellers to pay a surcharge for travelling alone on the vast majority of our trips. Our holidays are primarily on a twin share basis, so if you are joining the group as a solo traveller, we will match you with someone of your own gender. The choice is yours however; if you prefer not to share, we do offer single supplements for private occupancy.

  • Are tips included in my trip price?

    Tips are not included in the tour cost. Tipping is a personal thing, do not worry about how much, or when, to tip. Tipping guidelines are provided for certain destinations in our pre departure information upon booking, however the best advice will be provided by your tour leader.

  • Am I suited to small-group travel?

    We recognise that many of our travellers have not been on a ‘group trip’ before. Yet what our departures provide is both structure and flexibility, allowing you plenty of freedom within the framework of the itinerary. You’ll find that with our maximum group size at 16, you’ll travel in a minimal impact style with a great group of like-minded travellers.

  • Can you advise which vaccinations are recommended?

    While our pre-departure kit provides information on vaccinations, we suggest that you consult your doctor, local government inoculation centre or a travel medical specialist in order to get the most current advice regarding vaccination requirements.

Reviews from Travellers on this Tour

N. Grande(UK)  

Ethiopia Explorer

01 Nov 2018

We had several trip leaders. Abraham was our first driver/guide for the first week and very fun, knowledgeable, experienced and pleasant.

Janet Terry(Rankin Park, NSW)  

Ethiopia Explorer

03 Nov 2016

This trip exceeded my expectations. Fascinating country, excellent tour guide, very friendly people.

Dates & Availability

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Thursday - Saturday

Sep 25, 2025 - Oct 04, 2025
$2714 $2579 (USD)

The Big ADVENTURE Sale: -$136 (USD)

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Sunday - Tuesday

Oct 26, 2025 - Nov 04, 2025
$2714 $2579 (USD)

The Big ADVENTURE Sale: -$136 (USD)

Instant Booking Available

Sunday - Tuesday

Dec 07, 2025 - Dec 16, 2025
$2714 $2579 (USD)

The Big ADVENTURE Sale: -$136 (USD)

Book with Confidence

  • Transfer as credit to Future Tours

    World Expeditions allows you to transfer existing payments to a future tour to avoid cancellation fees if you can't travel and inform world expeditions, 70 days before departure.

  • Low Deposit

    World Expeditions requires a minimum deposit of 250 GBP per person or the full booking value, whichever is less, with the final balance not due until 70 days before departure.

  • Cancellation Policy

    We don't charge a cancellation fee, here is a summary of world expeditions charges.

    Up to 70 days before tour starts: Forfeit 100% of deposit.

    At 69 days before tour starts: Forfeit 50% of booking price.

    At 35 days before tour starts: Forfeit 100% of booking price.

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