Border Information: if joining in Gondar, you will most likely enter Ethiopia at Gondar Atse Tewodros Airport (IATA code: GDQ).There will be a group meeting at the joining hotel at 6:00pm. Please look out for a note from your tour leader at the reception when you arrive giving more details about this important meeting. If you are continuing to Kenya or beyond, your leader will need to check the validity dates of your Ethiopian visa.
Today, we will have an included half day guided tour of the historical sites of Gondar, including Gondar Castle, the King Fasilades' Baths and the Debre Birhan Selassie church.
Today marks the start of our 3-day excursion into the Simien Mountains NP. We will first drive to Debark, where we will have a briefing from our local mountain guide explaining the various trekking options we will have during our excursion, before heading into the NP.
The area is home to some of Africa's most jaw-dropping mountain scenery and is a great opportunity to enjoy some incredibly beautiful treks and breathtaking views!
The area is also home many indigenous animals, and during our time here we hope to spot Lammargeyer vultures, geladas, Walia ibex, and (if we are very lucky) klipspringers and Ethiopian wolves.
We will spend 3 nights in the incredible Simien Mountains NP. On each day we aim to provide an option for a long trek (of 5-8 hours), a short trek (2-5 hours) or no trekking.
On our first day, we aim to wild camp at the area of Sankaber. On our second and third days, we aim to wild camp at the area of Chenek (underneath Ras Bwahit, the second-highest mountain in the Simiens, which we hope to get the opportunity to summit).
Please note that we must keep a flexible itinerary in the Simien Mountains, as our options will largely be determined by the weather.
Please also note that the camping areas in the NP are very basic, and are essentially wild camps with long drop toilets. Please also note that the food and provisions available in Debark and the NP are very limited, and it is also likely to be very cold at night (often dropping below freezing), so please be prepared! You will need to bring a suitable sleeping bag and mat with you from home to ensure you are ready for this environment.
Today we once again have the choice between joining a short trek or a long trek. Each one will have a guide and a superb route showing off the best the Simiens have to offer.
This is our final day of treking in the National Park. Once again there will be a choice between short and long routes as we soak in the final moments of the mountains.
Today is our final day in the Simien Mountains NP, and we make our way back to Debark for the night.
Leaving Debark behind us, we continue our journey with a full day of driving through the foothills of the Simien Mountains to reach the ancient town of Axum in the far north of Ethiopia. The roads here are very tough, but we are rewarded with more truly breathtaking scenery!
Today we will have an included half day guided tour of the incredible historical sites of Axum, the capital of the once-mighty Axumite Empire - included in this tour will be seeing the Stelae Field, the Tomb of King Kaleb, and the Palace of the Queen of Sheba.
We will have a free afternoon to have the time to optionally visit other places such as the Church of St. Mary of Zion, the supposed resting place of the Ark of the Covenant.
Today we will continue through the breathtaking mountain scenery of the Adwa mountains and visit one of the famous rock-hewn churches of Tigray (either the Abraha Atsbeha or Wukro Chirkos church) near to Mekele.
After breakfast meet your 4 x 4 vehicles and drive to Hamed Ella. On the way you will pass through the beautiful Tigre Villages and the escarpment of the Afar depression, this is commonly known as the cradle of mankind and is part of the Great East African Rift Valley. Along the way you will see camel caravans going to the traditional salt mine or to the North Eastern highlands of the country, loaded with salt bars in the old traditional way. We will also stop at Brehalle where we will get our permits and scouts for the trip into the Danakil Depression.
On the second day we drive to Dallol. Here in Dallol you will visit the beautiful land covered by salt, sulfur and different minerals that gives the area a spectacular colour. We will then continue on to Lake Asale to witness the beautiful salt flats.This is an extremely intense environment and a very adventurous three days, certainly a once in a lifetime experience. However, if you feel like your personal fitness can not withstand this pressure then there is a chance this may not be the trip for you.Today we will make our way back to Mekele ending our time in the stunning Danakil Depression.
Today we will have a full day drive to the town of Lalibela.
On our first day in Lalibela, we will have an included full-day guided tour of its world-famous 13th-century rock churches. Our guide will be able to explain the fascinating history of Lalibela and its churches, and there will be plenty of time to explore, absorb the haunting atmosphere inside the churches, and take plenty of photographs of the incredible architecture and the religious rituals within.
On our second day, we will have a free day for further exploration or optional activities. We will have opportunity to hike up the nearby mountains to the Asheten Monastery, visit the Yemrehana Kristos cave church outside the town, or freely explore the Lalibela churches again at your own pace.
Today we will drive to the ideological village of Awra Amba. Run by the infamous Zumra Nuru the village operates with the belief that everyone is equal and should have a say in how their home is run. We will take a tour of the village and camp on the outskirts.
Today we will drive to Bahir Dar, a small town on Lake Tana, the source of the mighty Blue Nile.
On our first day in Bahir Dar, we will have an included boat trip on Lake Tana to visit the famous old monastery of Gabriel Ure Kideth and to visit the spot where the lake outflows into the start of the Blue Nile.
On our second full day, we will head off in the truck to visit the Blue Nile Falls and take a short walk around the area to the historic Portuguese Bridge. We will have some free time in the afternoon to visit some other spots around Bahir Dar such as the 'Hippo bridge' and the Tigray war memorial.
Today we will continue our journey south towards Addis Ababa. We will break the journey with a nightstop in a basic local hotel in the small town of Debre Markos en route.
Today we will complete our journey to the bustling Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa. En route we will drive to the bottom of the dramatic Blue Nile Gorge and up the other side!
Border Information: If joining in Addis Ababa, you will most likely enter Ethiopia at Addis Ababa Bole International Airport (IATA code: ADD).
There will be a group meeting at the joining hotel at 6:00pm. Please look out for a note from your tour leader at the reception when you arrive giving more details about this important meeting.
The rest of the day before this meeting will be free to explore Addis Ababa and visit the city's many museums - we recommend that you arrive early (or the night before) if you would like the chance to fully explore the sights of Addis Ababa. Please note that many of the options listed below will only be possible for those with extra time in Addis Ababa before the start of your trip with us - please contact the Sales team if you would like to book pre-tour accommodation with us to have extra time exploring Addis Ababa.
Today we have a free day in Addis Ababa and will organise an included guided tour of the city including visiting St. George's Cathedral, The Menelik Mausoleum, The National Museum and the colourful city market.
Today we will leave Addis Ababa and we will have a long drive east through the mountains to the ancient trading city of Harar. We will stay in a charming small hotel in the old city itself.
Today we have a free day in ancient Harar and will have an included guided city tour of the walled city of Harar (Harar Jugol). Enjoy its colourful markets, mosques and shrines. In the evening you can visit the Hyena Men who feed the hyenas every night just outside the walls of the city.
Today we have a free day to explore this amazing city on your own. It is one of the most important historic sites in Ethiopia.
Today we will drive to Awash and overnight in the lovely Awash Falls Lodge. Who said luxury was not part of overlanding! This is a stunning place to experience a great little NP.
In the morning we will take a park scout out with us to explore the Awash NP and to try to find game or just to enjoy the stunning scenery of this lovely National Park. Then we will head to Lake Ziway for the night.
Today, we will take an optional boat trip across Lake Ziway to Tulu Gudo Island, where we will have a short guided tour of the ancient monastery there and view some of the old religious manuscripts.
Today we will leave Ziway and drive to the stunning Bale Mountains NP. We will enjoy 2 full days to explore the NP.
We will keep today completely free to head out for optional guided walks - there are several possibilities for routes, including highland routes up the hills and moorlands searching for mountain nyalas, or lowland walks through the forest areas to look for Bale monkeys!
Today we will drive in the truck up to the Sanetti Plateau, all the way to the fourth-highest point in Ethiopia (the 4359m summit of Tulu Dimtu) to explore the primeval landscape and search for Ethiopian wolves.
Today we will head north to the small town of Awasa, where we can visit the local fish market.
After our visit we will head to Wendo Genet, a small town in the hills above Awasa, where we will stay for the night.
During our stay here we may have time to explore the region, go on an optional walk to some nearby waterfalls, or take a dip in the nearby hot springs.
Today we will travel to the town of Arba Minch, a small town overlooking Lake Chamo.
Today we will have a free day to relax and explore the scenic area, or to take an optional boat trip on Lake Chamo to the view the crocodiles that reside there, known locally as the crocodile market.
If you are leaving in Arba Minch, you will most likely exit Ethiopia at Arba Minch Airport (IATA code: AMH).
Today is the end day for passengers finishing their trip in Arba Minch. Please note there is no accommodation included on the trip tonight