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Classic Northern Ethiopia

Tailor Made Itinerary

12 Days From $6,405

Overview

One of Africa's most beautiful countries, Ethiopia truly is one of the continent's undiscovered gems. Taking you from the bustling streets of its capital to the source of the Blue Nile, this comprehensive journey through its northern highlands reveals the country's staggeringly rich cultural pedigree, from the Queen of Sheba to Haile Salassie.

Begin your journey with the spectacular rock-hewn churches of the Tigray region, before travelling on to Axum, a city steeped in the legends of ...
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TRIP HIGHLIGHTS

  • Explore the extraordinary rock churches of Lalibela and Tigray
  • Listen to live Ethio-jazz in Addis and drink delicious local tej (honey wine)
  • Go in search of the Ark of the Covenant in the UNESCO city for Axum
  • Soak up the dramatic scenery of the Simien Mountains, one of the highest ranges in Africa
  • Discover the ancient city of Gonder, famed for its medieval castles and churches
  • Enjoy a private boat trip across Lake Tana and explore its many little islands and Blue Nile Falls

ITINERARY

This is a suggested itinerary. Our experts have all travelled widely in the region and will be happy to tailor any of our itineraries to suit your tastes, or build a trip from scratch.

EXPAND ALL ITINERARY DAYS
COLLAPSE ALL ITINERARY DAYS

DAY 1: ARRIVE ADDIS ABABA

DAY 1: ARRIVE ADDIS ABABA

On arrival at Addis Ababa airport you will be met by a Wild Frontiers representative and transferred to your hotel.

Jupiter International Bole

DAY 2: ADDIS ABABA - TIGRAY REGION

DAY 2: ADDIS ABABA - TIGRAY REGION

A morning flight takes us to Mekele from where you'll drive north to your lodge. En route explore some of this fascinating region of Ethiopia, which is home to the stunning rock-hewn churches of Tigray, including Wukro Chirkos church and the church of Abreha Atsbeha, considered among the country's earliest churches and architecturally one of its finest. Enjoying the dramatic scenery of the Northern Tigray region you then complete your journey to our lodge.

Gheralta Lodge
Breakfast

DAY 3: TIGRAY REGION

DAY 3: TIGRAY REGION

This morning you will get to visit two of Ethiopia's most striking churches, known for their unique location and stunning views. Miriam and Daniel Korkor are rock hewn churches located in the heart of the Gheralta Mountains. These unique churches are found in splendid isolation on remote rocky outcrops and involve a strenuous (but highly rewarding!) walk up to reach them. At the top you are not only rewarded with the epic vistas but also a wealth of 17th century paintings and church treasures.

Gheralta Lodge
Breakfast

DAY 4: TIGRAY REGION - YEHA - AXUM

DAY 4: TIGRAY REGION - YEHA - AXUM

You'll turn west to Axum today, stopping en route at the Yemeni influenced Yeha temple. On arrival in Axum, a town steeped in more than 2,500 years of history, you'll visit some of the key sites such as the palace and tomb of King Kaleb, the extraordinary stelae field (UNESCO World Heritage Site), the tomb of King Remhay, and the church of St Mary of Tsion, in which the Ark of the Covenant is allegedly hiding! Depending on time you will also visit the Queen of Sheba's Palace.

Sabean Hotel
Breakfast, Lunch

DAY 5: AXUM – SIMIEN MOUNTAINS

DAY 5: AXUM – SIMIEN MOUNTAINS

After breakfast head towards the Simien Mountains.  With recent improvements the average time on the road is approximately 5-6 hours, much of which is on a winding, often dusty road ascending into the mountains. Expect a long and bumpy, though staggeringly beautiful drive today. Once you've settled into your park lodge, in the late afternoon enjoy an orientation walk around the nearby area.

Simien Lodge
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 6: SIMIEN MOUNTAINS

DAY 6: SIMIEN MOUNTAINS

Spend the day exploring with your local guide in the spectacular Simien Mountains National Park. The length of the trek is flexible dependent on your fitness and your guide will discuss this with you upon arrival. You may decide on a 2-3 hour walk around the Sankaber region of the National Park, or take a longer full day walk with a picnic lunch - the choice is yours! Tracing the edge of the escarpment the views are simply breathtaking and with any luck you will get to see the Gelada monkeys or Walia Ibex which are endemic to the region.

Simien Lodge
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 7: SIMIEN MOUNTAINS - WOMEN'S PLOUGHSHARE SCHEME - GONDER

DAY 7: SIMIEN MOUNTAINS - WOMEN'S PLOUGHSHARE SCHEME - GONDER

After a relaxed morning free, continue to Gonder. En route you'll have the opportunity to visit the Women's Ploughshare Scheme, a good place to pick up traditional black pottery, weavings and other small handicrafts. The scheme supports disadvantaged women by providing them with lodgings and a new skill which they can pass on to their villages. For over twenty years the scheme has helped 1200 women with disabilities and who are affected by HIV. Arrive in Gonder, freshen up at your hotel and then enjoy a delicious dinner at Four Sisters Restaurant.

Goha Hotel
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 8: GONDER - BAHIR DAR

DAY 8: GONDER - BAHIR DAR

This morning will be spent exploring the historic sights of Gonder, famous for the excellent preservation of its 17th century castles. If there is time you can travel 2km out of town to Fasilida's Pool, a 2,800 sqm pond, reputedly used by the Emperor for bathing, and also visit the Debre Birhan Selassie Church with its wonderful interior paintings. The angels' faces on the ceiling have become a common motif in Ethiopian design. Mid-afternoon, from Gonder you will be driven south around the east edge of Lake Tana to the town of Bahir Dar, en route stopping to look around the lesser-known Guzara Castle, located just south of the small town of Emfraz.

Kuriftu Lodge & Spa
Breakfast, Lunch

DAY 9: LAKE TANA AND BLUE NILE FALLS

DAY 9: LAKE TANA AND BLUE NILE FALLS

This morning you can enjoy a private boat trip on Lake Tana, the largest lake in Ethiopia. The islands and peninsulas of Lake Tana host more than 20 monastic churches which you can explore. This afternoon enjoy a visit to the Blue Nile Falls, known locally as Tis Abay (Smoke of the Nile) or Tis Isat (Water that Smokes), located not far from Lake Tana.

Kuriftu Lodge & Spa
Breakfast, Lunch

DAY 10: BAHIR DAR - LALIBELA

DAY 10: BAHIR DAR - LALIBELA

Travel the scenic journey from Bahir Dar to Lalibela today, to experience one of the highlights of your trip. 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 fantastic, and this afternoon you have your first taste of these unusual and striking churches, including Bieta Medhane Alem, the largest rock-hewn church in the world.

Maribela Hotel
Breakfast, Lunch

DAY 11: LALIBELA

DAY 11: LALIBELA

Return today and explore the second cluster of rock-hewn churches, amongst these is the much photographed St George Church, or Bete Giyorgis. Carved out of the ground, and shaped from the inside out, it is one, unbroken piece of stone, and is connected to the other sunken stone churches through a series of elaborate tunnels. Late afternoon you will discover the traditional methods of producing Ethiopia's unique culinary delights. Your host will welcome you into their home and show you how to cook typical Ethiopian food, usually a spicy vegetable and lentil stews and slow-simmered meats. They will also show you an Ethiopian coffee ceremony before you sit down with your host family to feast on the meal you have helped prepare. End the evening with a visit to the lively Tej (honey wine) bar.

Maribela Hotel
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 12: LALIBELA - ADDIS ABABA - DEPART

DAY 12: LALIBELA - ADDIS ABABA - DEPART

This morning fly to Addis, where you can enjoy some sightseeing this afternoon. The third highest capital in the world, Addis Ababa is a fascinating city to explore. Spend some time in the National Museum - one of the most important Sub-Saharan museums in Africa, the Ethnological Museum - located in the former Emperor Haile Selassie's palace grounds, and the Merkato - the largest open-air market in Africa. What better way to then end your trip than by listening to some of Addis's famous modern jazz in a lively local jazz bar. From here you will be taken to the airport for your late evening flight.

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

SUGGESTED ACCOMMODATION

Hotel Rating

Ultra
The best of the best, the ultimate in luxury
Luxury
Outstanding service and facilities, giving you the 5* experience
Premium
Excellent standards without the big price tag
Superior
Good quality service and overall comfort
Simple
No frills, basic accommodation, but often in the most exciting of places

Hotel Rating

Ultra
The best of the best, the ultimate in luxury
Luxury
Outstanding service and facilities, giving you the 5* experience
Premium
Excellent standards without the big price tag
Superior
Good quality service and overall comfort
Simple
No frills, basic accommodation, but often in the most exciting of places

Hotel Rating

Ultra
The best of the best, the ultimate in luxury
Luxury
Outstanding service and facilities, giving you the 5* experience
Premium
Excellent standards without the big price tag
Superior
Good quality service and overall comfort
Simple
No frills, basic accommodation, but often in the most exciting of places

Hotel Rating

Ultra
The best of the best, the ultimate in luxury
Luxury
Outstanding service and facilities, giving you the 5* experience
Premium
Excellent standards without the big price tag
Superior
Good quality service and overall comfort
Simple
No frills, basic accommodation, but often in the most exciting of places

Hotel Rating

Ultra
The best of the best, the ultimate in luxury
Luxury
Outstanding service and facilities, giving you the 5* experience
Premium
Excellent standards without the big price tag
Superior
Good quality service and overall comfort
Simple
No frills, basic accommodation, but often in the most exciting of places

Hotel Rating

Ultra
The best of the best, the ultimate in luxury
Luxury
Outstanding service and facilities, giving you the 5* experience
Premium
Excellent standards without the big price tag
Superior
Good quality service and overall comfort
Simple
No frills, basic accommodation, but often in the most exciting of places

Hotel Rating

Ultra
The best of the best, the ultimate in luxury
Luxury
Outstanding service and facilities, giving you the 5* experience
Premium
Excellent standards without the big price tag
Superior
Good quality service and overall comfort
Simple
No frills, basic accommodation, but often in the most exciting of places

Accommodation listed here is intended as a guide only, to give you a taste of what we can do. Our experts can tailor any aspect of this itinerary and accommodation to suit your budget and tastes.

GUIDELINE PRICE & WHAT’S INCLUDED

CLASSIC NORTHERN ETHIOPIA (12 DAYS) $6,405

MEALS

As specified in the itinerary, sampling some of the country's finest cuisine.

TRANSPORT

Private air-conditioned vehicles with experienced, dedicated drivers.

ENTRANCE FEES

Tours and admission fees, including tickets specified in the itinerary.

EXPERT TEAM

Licensed English-speaking guides and a support team available 24/7.

ACCOMMODATION

As specified in the itinerary, using some of our favourite local properties.

ACCOMMODATION

Ultra
The best of the best, the ultimate in luxury
Luxury
Outstanding service and facilities, giving you the 5* experience
Premium
Excellent standards without the big price tag
Superior
Good quality service and overall comfort
Simple
No frills, basic accommodation, but often in the most exciting of places

CARBON CONTRIBUTIONS

If you book international flights through Wild Frontiers.

This itinerary is aimed to give you an idea of what we can offer. The price shown above is based on two people travelling outside of peak periods. As this itinerary is only a suggestion and can be tailor-made to suit your interests and budget, your final price may differ.

START PLANNING YOUR TRIP

Our team of experts have a wealth of knowledge and experience to help you plan your adventure of a lifetime.

WHEN TO GO

WHY WILD FRONTIERS?

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!

OTHER ITINERARIES IN ETHIOPIA