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Ethiopia Tours & Holidays

Small Group Tours & Tailor-Made Holidays

Overview

Ethiopia is an undiscovered gem for the willing traveller, it has the cultural diversity, archaeological pedigree and natural beauty to match anywhere in the world. Our range of Ethiopia tours and holidays take in the rugged peaks of the Simien Mountains, Lalibela’s extraordinary rock-hewn churches, ancient castles at Gondar and the bustling capital of Addis Ababa. This is a country of unique depth and grandeur.

Occupying a plateau, some 2,500 metres above sea level, Ethiopia’ ...

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Group tours

GROUP TOUR

Ethiopia: Northern Explorer

Cross the Northern territory boasting the gems of Lalibela, Gonder, Bahir Dar and the Simien Mountains. Drive through the stunning Eastern Tigray Region. Participate in the community walks to see local villages
13 days from $5,103
GROUP TOUR

Ethiopia: Harar and the Danakil Depression

Venture into the Danakil - the hottest and lowest place on earth. Trek to the top of the Erta Ale volcano and view the salt landscapes of Dallol. Visit the Hyena man in the walled city of Harar
9 days from $4,375

TAILOR-MADE HOLIDAYS

SUGGESTED ITINERARIES

TAILOR-MADE

Classic Northern Ethiopia

Taking in the very best of northern Ethiopia, this spectacular journey transports you back in time as you explore a land rich in history, archaeology, culture, wildlife and more.
12 days from $6,405
TAILOR-MADE

Classic Southern Ethiopia

Immerse yourself in the beliefs and traditions of the Omo Valley’s colourful tribes, as you explore local villages and meet with communities to learn about this fascinating region.
9 days from $4,109
TAILOR-MADE

Wild Ethiopia

This fascinating journey uncovers some of Ethiopia’s wildest and most extreme landscapes, from the arid landscapes of the Danakil Depression to the lush plains of Awash National Park.
11 days from $7,329

HIGHLIGHTS OF ETHIOPIA

BEST EXPERIENCES

TOP PLACES TO VISIT

Addis Ababa

Ethiopia's capital is located more or less in the dead centre of the country and is the world's third highest capital at 2,400 m. Its name means 'New Flower' and it is a relatively modern city, founded ...

Axum

This fascinating town was the centre of the Axumite Empire, one of the most important and technologically advanced civilisations of its time and a major force in world trade between the 1st and 7th centuries ...

Gonder

Up until the beginning of the 17th century Ethiopia had what was is locally referred to as a 'mobile capital'. But in 1632 Fasilidas took the throne and proclaimed Gonder as his capital, where it remained ...

Lalibela

The isolated town of Lalibela, situated high up in the Lasta Mountains, is famous throughout the world for its incredible rock-hewn churches. At 2,630 m and perched among wild mountains, the setting is ...

Simien Mountains

Climbing to an altitude of 4,620m, stretching 100 miles east to west, the Simien Mountains are one of the largest ranges in Africa. With their vaulting granite columns, towering escarpments and plummeting ...

OUR FAVOURITE PLACES TO STAY

Gheralta Lodge, Gheralta

An oasis of comfort and originality in the heart of the unspoilt Tigray region, Gheralta Lodge adds something unique and special to any visit to Ethiopia. This Italian owner-managed lodge blends…

Kuriftu Lodge & Spa, Bahir Dar

The Kuriftu Lodge & Spa offers a tranquil oasis on the banks of Lake Tana and is far and away the best option in Bahar Dar. The twenty-eight spacious en suite guestrooms are constructed of local…

Limalimo Lodge, Simien Mountains

The wonderful Limalimo Lodge is a luxurious yet sustainable and eco-friendly lodge located just on the edge of the Simien Mountain National Park. The lodge has been built across 10 acres of land using…

Maribela Hotel, Lalibela

Maribela is Amharic for Lalibela and this hotel offers a great location on the escarpment with fabulous views. Guest rooms are simple yet comfortable with en suite facilities. The staff are very…

Simien Lodge, Simien Mountains

Situated at 3260 metres and one of the highest lodges in Africa, Simien Lodge offers some of the best mountain scenery in the world. Set up by Nick Crane to combine his passion for mountains and…

Tesfa Village Homestays, Meket

Set up by former WF guide Mark Chapman, Tesfa village homestays are a wonderful way of getting off the tourist circuit and experiencing the hospitality of rural communities. Although simple, the…

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WHEN TO GO

INSPIRATION

60 SECOND GUIDE TO ETHIOPIA

Ethiopia is an undiscovered gem. Home to one of the oldest Christian civilisations in the world, it has an archaeological pedigree to match any and a cultural and natural diversity that can compare w…

Meet the expert, Jamie

Jamie is our Sub Saharan expert, who has travelled extensively in the region.

Speak to Jamie by calling
+44 (0)20 3944 6258

Spend at least 3 nights in the Simien Mountains – ancient monkeys, Scottish-like highlands, and fantastic hiking. Also try honey wine- it is delicious and always made locally!

USEFUL INFORMATION

Health and Vaccinations 

There are no mandatory immunisations for travellers to Ethiopia though you should be up-to-date with Typhoid, Tetanus, Polio and Hepatitis A. There is a risk of yellow fever transmission and Malaria is present in some parts of Ethiopia, so we recommend you seek advice from your local GP or travel centre as to the correct immunisations and preventative treatments. 

Currency 

In Ethiopia the official unit of currency is the Birr.   

To check out the latest exchange rate for the places that you are visiting you can go to www.oanda.com

Cultural Sensitivity 

On our tours you will frequently interact with local people, each with their own distinct customs and traditions. We therefore ask you to be considerate and to treat them with respect. Your tour-leaders and guides will always be able to advise you accordingly.  

In the churches and cathedrals women should cover their heads with a scarf or hat, while men should take their hats off. 

Language & Religion 

Ethiopia has 83 different languages with up to 200 different dialects spoken. The largest ethnic and linguistic groups are the Oromos, Amharas and Tigrayans.  Amharic is the official national language of Ethiopia. English, Arabic, Italian and French are widely spoken by many Ethiopians. 

The main religions in Ethiopia are Christianity, Islam, Judaism and Paganism. Ethiopia is a predominantly Christian country, and the majority of Christians are Orthodox Tewahedo Christians.  There are a minority of Christians who are Roman Catholic or Protestant. 

Time 

The Julian calendar is used in Ethiopia and their current year is 7 years behind us. Christmas is celebrated on 7th January and New Year on 11th September. Some Ethiopians set their clocks from dawn to dusk and there is a six-hour difference between Ethiopian time and Western time i.e. 6 o’clock can mean 12 o’clock. 

Ethiopia is 3 hours ahead of GMT. 

A useful website to check the time zone differences is www.worldtimezone.com.  

Food and drink 

Ethiopian food is an exotically spicy mix of vegetables, slow-simmered meat and grain stews. 

Dining in Ethiopia is characterised by sharing food from a common plate, signifying the bonds of loyalty, family, and friendship.  The traditional Ethiopian meal is served on a large platter that is draped with the crepe-like injera bread, with the selection of foods decoratively arranged around the centre dish.  To eat, you simply tear off a piece of injera, use it to scoop up some of the various dishes and pop it into your mouth.  Extra injera is usually served on the side.  A word of warning for those left-handed people amongst us, injera should only be eaten with the right hand! 

The Ethiopian Highlands are predominantly Orthodox Christian with ‘fasting’ each Wednesday, Friday and during Lent when only vegetarian dishes are available. The main hotels do not worry about this and therefore it should not be something that affects you. 

As far as alcohol is concerned everything is available but the quality is sometimes questionable. For a decent shot of Scotch at sundown it’s probably best to buy it duty free. Beer is very good and wine – of a reasonable quality – is available but will need to be carried in the vehicle – just let the guide know. If you fancy a G&T, tonic is not always so easy to get so again let the guide know to get a small supply in, reasonable local gin is widely available, and a bottle can be bought in most towns. 

Vegetarians or those with special dietary needs can also be catered for though the type of food can be limited. 

ETHIOPIA REVIEWS