Discover the highlights of Ethiopia on this 15-day overland group tour which travels southbound from the capital Addis Ababa to Arba Minch. Explore the ancient trading city of Harar, enjoy a guided game walk in Awash National Park and cruise on the shimmering waters of Lake Ziway. Search for the rare Ethiopian wolf in Bale Mountains National Park, take a dip in the hot springs of Wendo Genet and spot huge Nile crocodiles on the banks of Lake Chamo in Arba Minch.
Welcome to Ethiopia!
Welcome to Addis Ababa! On arrival, make your way to our start hotel. There's a Welcome Meeting at 6pm where you'll meet your group and crew. The rest of the day before and after this meeting is at leisure. You could visit some of the city's museums or browse the colourful and lively Addis Ababa Mercato - one of the largest markets in Africa.
Overnight: Addis Ababa
Exploring Addis Ababa
Today we enjoy an included guided tour of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia's diverse and lively capital city. Highlights of the tour include the National Museum, which is home to 'Lucy', one of the oldest complete hominid skeletons in the world. We also visit the beautiful St George's Cathedral and the Menelik Mausoleum, the resting place for Ethiopia's historical emperors. After today's tour, the rest of the day is at leisure.
Overnight: Addis Ababa | Breakfast
Journey to Harar
Addis Ababa - Harar. Today we climb aboard our overland truck for the first time and depart Addis Ababa. We have a long but scenic drive over the mountains to the ancient trading city of Harar. Our hotel is situated within the old walled city, which was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2006. Harar is known as the fourth holy city of Islam and is home to more than eighty mosques, including three that date back as far as the 10th century.
Overnight: Harar | Breakfast
On day 4 we enjoy a guided tour of ancient Harar. Explore narrow winding streets, marvel at the city walls and take in centuries old mosques and shrines. In the evening, there's an optional visit to meet the Harar Hyena Men.
Spotted hyenas have been a part of life in Harar for more than 500 years. They sanitise the city by feeding on its waste and farmers feed them meat to discourage them from attacking livestock. The intelligent hyena recognises these farmers as a friend and it's a truly amazing sight to see. Harar is the only place in the world where man and hyena live so easily alongside each other. The following day is free to further explore Harar at your own pace.
Overnight: Harar | Breakfast x 2
Awash National Park
Harar - Awash National Park. Departing Harar, we drive to Awash where we spend the night in a comfortable lodge on the outskirts of Awash National Park.
Overnight: Awash National Park | Breakfast
Awash National Park game walk & Lake Ziway
Awash National Park - Lake Ziway. On the morning of day 7 we head out on a guided walk with a national park scout. The terrain of Awash National Park is largely acacia woodland and grassland. Some of the animals we may spot on our walk include oryx, gazelles, warthogs, ostrich and baboons. Lions, leopards and other predators can occasionally be seen in the park, although this is infrequent. After our exploration of Awash National Park, we drive across the country to Lake Ziway.
On day 8 there's an optional boat trip across Lake Ziway to Tulu Gudo Island. There's a short tour of the ancient monastery and you can see some of the old religious manuscripts. The monastery was reportedly once the home of the Ark of the Covenant. Alternatively, spend the day relaxing lakeside, watching the local fisherman going about their work, or spotting lazy hippos on the banks of the lake.
Overnight: Lake Ziway | Breakfast x 2
Bale Mountains National Park
Lake Ziway - Bale Mountains National Park. On day 9 we drive to Bale Mountains National Park, where we spend the next two days. One of these days will be kept free so you can explore the national park independently. There are many trails into the highlands, moorlands and forests. Many animals in the Bale Mountains are found nowhere else in the world, including Bale monkeys and the Mountain nyala. Iconic species such as lions, leopards and African wild dogs are also at home here.
On the other day we will take an included excursion in our overland truck up to the Sanetti Plateau. We ascend to the fourth-highest point in Ethiopia, the summit of Tulu Dimtu. The landscape here is simply stunning and as well as taking in the view, we will be looking for the very rare Ethiopian wolf, another endemic species.
This endangered animal is found only in the Ethiopian Highlands and is considered one of the rarest and most threatened large mammals in the world. Fewer than 500 individuals are thought to exist in the wild, in fragmented populations. Despite their rarity, the wolves are actually quite easy to spot on the open plateau, and we have a good chance of seeing them, which is sure to be a highlight of your trip.
Overnight: Bale Mountains National Park | Breakfast x 3, Lunch x 3, Dinner x 3
Bale Mountains National Park - Awassa - Wendo Genet. Today we journey to the small city of Awassa in the Great Rift Valley. Located on the shore of Lake Awassa, fishing is the main industry here. We browse the local fish market before continuing our journey to Wendo Genet, a town in the hills above Awassa.
In Wendo Genet we have an included visit to the nearby hot springs and you can choose to take a short walk through the forest to the triple-tiered waterfall. Tonight we camp within the grounds of a local hotel.
Overnight: Wendo Genet | Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Wendo Genet - Arba Minch. On day 13 we complete our journey to the town of Arba Minch, which overlooks Lake Chamo. Arba Minch is famous for it's fruit harvests and its crocodiles. On day 14 there's an optional boat trip to the 'crocodile market'. Unlike other markets, the animals here are alive and well - the crocodile market earned it's nickname due to the sheer numbers of gigantic Nile crocodiles, which can be seen lazing on the banks of the lake. Hippos can also be spotted during the boat cruise.
Overnight: Arba Minch | Breakfast x 2
Today your Ethiopian adventure comes to an end after breakfast.
Prices & Dates
Departure dates noted with a 'G' are guaranteed to operate. All other departure dates are guaranteed with a minimum of 4 persons. Prices shown above are per person travelling. Single travellers will be paired up in tents with another person of the same gender.