Our tour starts with the tribal cultures of Ethiopia on an exploration of the country’s south. Passing from Addis Ababa to the Omo Valley, you’ll visit the archaeological sites of Tiya, see hippos on Lake Chamo, and stop off at the Mursi and Dorze villages to meet local peoples and learn about their distinct tribal cultures.
Then we continue with the historical sites of Ethiopia on the country’s north. Passing from Addis Ababa to Axum and Gondar, you’ll see towering obelisks, visit iconic rock-hewn churches and medieval castles, and learn about the long and storied history of this ancient land.
- Experience a truly ancient land
- Visit some of the most unusual and unique tribes in the world
- Learn about and shop for acclaimed Ethiopian textiles
- Be in awe of breathtaking landscape
Welcome to Ethiopia!
On arrival you will be met by your local representative and transferred to your hotel. Addis Ababa, which means "New Flower" is Ethiopia's capital city. The city, which is located at 2,700m above sea level, is a pleasant city with wide avenues, interesting museums and one of the largest open-air markets in Africa. It was founded by Emperor Menelik II in 1887 and he selected the site because its location within the Entoto hills has long been the center of Shoan politics.
It is Africa's diplomatic capital with headquarters for the Organization of African Union and the United Nation Economic Commissions for Africa. The capital is rich in impressive statues and monuments of different architecture.
After freshening up, drive to the Entoto Hills for stunning views of the city and surrounding areas. This is the highest peak in Addis Ababa reaching 3,200 meters above sea level. It was the first settlement in Addis Ababa where Emperor Menelik II resided and he built his palace here in 1887. The compound at the peak hosts the palace, the Entoto Mariam church and an Ethiopian artefact museum.
On the way up roadside stalls offers fresh Ethiopian coffee. If you have an interest in Ethiopian traditional clothes there is time to stop at Shero Meda Market where you'll find a wide variety of beautiful fabrics, shawls, scarves, dresses, tops and jewellery.
After lunch visit the Ethnographic and National museum which is an ideal place to start learning about Ethiopia's rich ethnic diversity. The museum has an impressive array of religious crosses, triptychs and murals, as well as Haile Selassie's bedroom and bathroom. It is famous for housing the 3.5 million-year-old bones of Lucy.
Accommodations - Sapphire Addis Hotel
After breakfast transfer to the airport for your flight to Arba Minch. Arba Minch (Forty Springs), is the largest town in Southern Ethiopia. The town lies at an elevation of around 1,300m in the foothills of the Rift valley wall, above a cliff overlooking the mountains that separate the lakes of Chamo and Abaya. Wherever you walk there are stunning views in all directions.
The rest of the day will be dedicated to visiting the home of the Dorze people at Chencha. The Dorze are renowned cotton weavers whose tall beehive-shaped dwellings are among the most distinctive traditional structures to be seen anywhere in Africa. The main occupations of the region are subsistence farming and weaving. The shama cloth produced around Chencha is regarded to be the finest in Ethiopia. Plain white Gabbi robes and brightly colored scarf-like netalas are sold along the roadside.
Accommodations - Paradise Lodge
After breakfast, enjoy a boat trip on Lake Chamo. Attractions include viewing a large number of hippos and crocodiles from a close range. The place known as "Azo-Gebeya", meaning Crocodile Market, offers one of Africa's most impressive displays of big crocodiles.
Then Proceed to Jinka (260km, around 4 and a half hours drive) through Weito village. Visit South Omo Research Center (Museum) and find out about the tribes that live in Lower Omo. Drive to Yetnebersh village to visit the Ari tribe and see how they make local liquor from Sorghum, Garlic and maize. If you are here on a Thursday you will have the opportunity to attend the Thursday market, Key Afer, which is attended by many decorated tribes of the lower Omo valley.
Accommodations - Eco-Omo Lodge
Today after breakfast drive to Mursi Village (70kms). The Mursi have become a cultural symbol of the Lower Omo Valley. They are the most renowned of the Omotic speakers, famed for their practice of inserting large clay plates behind the lower lips of their women, and for their colourful dresses.
You then drive to Turmi (140km which takes about 2 hours). Turmi is the home of the Hammer who are known for their body decoration, moonlight dance (Evangedi Dance) and bull-jumping. Bull jumping marks the rite of passage from childhood to adulthood. Bull jumping is not done every day so it is not guaranteed that you will see this ceremony.
Accommodations - Buska Lodge
Today after a short drive, visit the nearby village of Kolcho which overlooks the Omo River. Home to the Karo people, this tribe excels in face and body painting. They often decorate their bodies with the spotted plumage of a guinea fowl. Feather plumes are inserted in their clay hair buns to complete the look. The clay hair bun can take up to three days to construct and is usually re-made every three to six months. Their painted facemasks are spectacular. Karo women scarify their chests to beautify themselves. Scars are cut with a knife and ash is rubbed to produce a raised welt.
If the date falls on a Monday or Saturday you will visit the vibrant market of the Hammer people at Turmi.
Accommodations - Buska Lodge
After breakfast drive to Arba Minch (270km, around 5hrs drive). Pass through the Konso village which is known for their intricately terraced hillsides, fine woven materials and the carved totems with which they decorate their graves. Rest of day is at leisure.
Accommodations - Paradise Lodge
Today after breakfast drive to Langano (305km, around 5hrs drive). Langano is located in the Great Rift Valley at an elevation of 1,585 meters to the east of Lake Abijata. Lake Langano is 18 kilometres long and 16 km wide, with a surface area of 330 square kilometres and a maximum depth of 46 meters.
Accommodations - Sabana Beach Resort
Drive back to Addis (270km, around 6hrs drive) via Butajira Road. En route you shall visit Tiya, classified by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. Here you will see the northernmost example of a peculiar type of engraved, standing stellae which stretch across parts of southern Ethiopia. These stellae are believed to have been erected between the 12th and 14th centuries and are almost certainly grave markers. Recent excavations at Tiya have revealed the remains of young people of both sexes, aged between18 and 30, buried in frontal positions.
You will also have the chance to visit the rock hewn church of Adadi Mariam, contemporaneous with those of Lalibela. In fact local tradition ascribes it to King Lalibela who is said to have had it built on his visit to Mount Zuqwala in 1106. Damaged during the wars with Ahmed Gragn in the 16th century, it fell into disuse and was only reopened in the time of Menelik II. It is in regular use today.
Accommodations - ISapphire Addis Hotel
After early breakfast you'll transfer to the airport for your flight to Bahir Dar, upon arrival you will be transferred to Avanti Blue Nile Hotel. Bahir Dar means "by the side of the sea" in the Amharic language.
After taking a rest, you'll drive to the Blue Nile Falls - known locally as Tissiat - which means "The Smoking Water." The Falls are 328 feet wide and the water plunges some 150 feet, giving rise to picturesque stream clouds and rainbows.
After lunch you'll embark by boat to Lake Tana to visit two of the renowned Island Monasteries of the Lake, namely: Ura Kidane Mihret and Azua Mariam. Both have wonderful wall paintings which depict scenes from the Old and the New Testaments of the Holy Bible.
Accommodations - Avanti Blue Nile Hotel
Today you'll drive to Simien Mountains National Park which will take approximately 5 hours. Upon arrival check in to Simien Lodge.
The Simien Mountains are an area of highlands in the northern part of Ethiopia consisting of some of the most spectacular mountain scenery in the world. It was added to the World Heritage Site list in 1978. With a total area of 190km/sq., the Simien Mountains boast 57 tree species, a wealth of herbaceous plants, 22 large and 13 small mammals and about 180 recorded bird species. Of these, the Walia ibex, Ethiopian wolf, Menelik's Bushbuck and the Gelada baboon are endemic.
After lunch you'll drive to Sankaber. Here you can observe the beautiful landscape and animals like the Gelada Baboon (or the 'bleeding-heart' Baboon) and the lion monkey.
Accommodations - Simien Lodge
In the morning you'll drive to Gondar, which is 135km distant and will take around 2hrs. On arrival, you'll check in to Mayeleko Lodge before embarking on your exploration of Gondar, the imperial city of Fasilides. The city was the first capital of the Ethiopian empire, which began in 1632, with the reign of Fasilides; and the kings of Ethiopia based their power there for over two centuries.
In Gondar, there are a dozen castles built by various emperors over the course of 236 years. Many picturesque ruins lie in the royal enclosure, like fairy-tale castles dating back to the 17th century. The castles reflect the glory of Gondarine kings and are characterized by their distinctive architectural style. The other place of interest is the Fasilides pool, in which pilgrims still take a plunge during the Timket (Epiphany) celebrations. You'll then proceed to Debre Birhan Trinity Church, rewarding for its magnificent murals adorning the roof and the walls.
Accommodations - Goha Hotel
After breakfast you'll transfer to the airport for your flight to Axum. Upon arrival you'll be transferred to the Sabean Hotel, where you can refresh before starting to explore Axum.
Axum is renowned for its cathedral of St. Mary Zion, where legend has it, the original Ark of Covenant is housed. There are several standing monolithic stelae which are made of single pieces of granite, on which three have identical decoration. The site of the Queen of Sheba's Palace contains the remains of what was once a massive palace with finely mortared stonewalls, deep foundations and its own impressive drainage system. It is believed to be the oldest building in Axum.
Accommodations - Sabean Hotel
Transfer to the airport for your flight to Lalibela on arrival be transferred to Mountain View Hotel.
Lalibela is rightly acknowledged as being one of the Wonders of the World. At the end of the 12th and beginning of the 13th centuries King Lalibella of the Zaghwe dynasty built a series of rock hewn churches in this spot, calling it New Jerusalem. Crafted from the rock in which they stand, these towering edifices seems to be superhuman creation in scale, workman ship and concept. 11 churches in the town are named after the King.
After checking in to your hotel, you'll begin your tour of the first group of six churches in town. This group of churches lie in rock cradles, one behind the other: Bet Golgotha, Bet Mikael, Bet Mariam, Bet Meskel, Bet Danaghel and Bet Medhane Alem.
Accommodations - Mountain View Hotel
In the morning you'll visit the second group of the rock churches. The south-east cluster of churches is more irregular in design than the north-western cluster. Several of the individual churches in this cluster are thought to have been secular in origin, and some predate the reign of King Lalibela by five centuries. The churches in the south-east cluster include Bet Gebriel-Rafael, Bet Abba Libanos, Bet Lehem, Bet Emanuel, and Bet Mercurios. According to legend, Bet Abba Libanos was built overnight by Lalibela's wife, Meskel Kebre, who was assisted by a group of angels.
Finally you'll visit Bet Giyorgis, possibly the most elegant and majestic of all the Lalibela churches, which lies somewhat isolated in the southwest part of the village on a sloping rock terrace. It can only be reached through a tunnel.
After lunch, you'll visit the monastery of Nakuto Laab, located six kilometers outside Lalibela and accessible by car. It is a simple, yet fascinating example of Lalibela's eastern group of rock hewn churches.
In the late afternoon, you'll visit the open market of Lalibela, after which you will experience Ethiopian hospitality, at a traditional coffee ceremony.
Accommodations - Mountain View Hotel
Today after breakfast, you'll transfer to the airport for your flight to Addis Ababa. You'll have day use room at Sapphire Hotel. Your last night in Ethiopia will be a memorable farewell dinner at one of Addis Ababa's wonderful cultural or international restaurants before transferring back to the airport in time for your onward flight.
**Prices are subject to change and availability. Space is limited and activities and specific hotels are subject to change. Travel insurance is strongly recommended.
Pre-book now to hold your spot. As soon as we have full details and pricing we will let you know. At that time you can decide if you would like to confirm this tour. If you do book you will save $100 off the tour as a thank you for showing us your interest.
Double Occupancy - TBA per person (sharing a room)
Single Occupancy - TBA per person (your own room)
If you would like the double occupancy rate but don't have a roommate we will match you with a suitable roommate. The single occupancy rate will give you your own room. Single occupancy very limited.
Deposit of TBA per person due at time of booking.
Final Payment due - TBA
*All payments are non-refundable Please see full terms and conditions.
Some walking while visiting areas and a few shorter walking tours.
Minimum - 8 ladies
Maximum - 16 ladies
Kirsten is a veterinarian and owns a small animal practice. When she isn't busy looking after adored family pets she loves to explore the world. Kirsten is a fun and very knowledgeable tour leader.
Once your flights are booked please forward a copy of your itinerary to firstname.lastname@example.org.
A Women's Travel Club agent is available to help you book your flights. Please do not book any flights until tour is confirmed. Follow this link to a form to request flight options and quotes. A Women's Travel Club agent will send you back the recommended flight option that best suits you. We are pleased to offer a flight booking service for your tour. As quoting of flights can be a time-consuming endeavor, a service fee of $113 ($100 plus HST) will apply.
Arrive to Addis Abada
Depart from Addis Abada
Out of country medical insurance is required. We strongly recommend that you obtain cancellation and interruption insurance to protect your investment.
Use this link to request an insurance quote.
Sapphire Addis Hotel is a 5 star Hotel that has entered the fast developing hotel market of Addis Abab. It is located in the city’s central zone, one kilometre away from Bole International Airport, 3 minutes drive adjacent to the renowned Bole Medanailam Church.
All huts are built with aserene outdoor verandawith either a breathtakingview of the lakes or thatare set in the lush gardensof the lodge grounds. Each hut is also equippedwith a bathroom withshower, mosquito net,reading table and a minibar.
Eco Omo Safari Lodge. This unique lodge is located in Jinka, in the heart of the Omo Valley, just outside the town and bordering the Neri River on the way to Mago National Park.
Situated in the heart of Southern Ethiopia in the Omo Valley, Buska Lodge is an unpretentious eco-lodge offering travelers the best accommodation and meal service in this region. Buska Lodge overlooks the plains of Buska Mountain and has been constructed to blend beautifully in to the natural surroundings. Buska Lodge offers the rare opportunity to learn about and experience the culture and traditions of the local Hammer community offering a rare glimpse into the cultures of the Omo Valley.
The resort’s unusual landscape offers both a serene beachfront as well as a vast cliff-top with a breathtaking view over the lake. At Sabana you can start your day with the whistling of birds, admiring the sunrise over the lake’s horizon right from the room of your cliff-top bungalow.
The Blue Nile Hotel is Located in the coastal city of Bahir Dar, it offers accommodation with a restaurant and bar. There is a garden and a sun terrace with beautiful views of the surroundings and the Nile River. There is free Wi-Fi connection in all rooms. The rooms of the Blue Nile are equipped with satellite TV, minibar, tea set. and coffee and private bathroom with shower or bath. The rooms offer views of the sea and the lake.
A tukel is the name that Ethiopians give to a house. In the case of Simien lodge, the tukel forms two rooms with two bathrooms. Each room is of a good quality Insidewith 2 large single beds (2m x 1m). There is a bathroom with shower. All rooms have under-floor heating by solar (which of course works when there is sun). Each room has a sheltered balcony. All rooms have fibreglass insulation to the ceiling, walls and floor. Remember we are a mountain lodge and nights can be chilly. So come prepared with warm clothes.
Goha Hotel stands on a hill with an enchanting view of the city. Equipped with the most up-to-date facilities and elegantly furnished rooms, the hotel offers a luxurious retreat for its visitors. You can enjoy a breathtaking view of the panorama stretching away towards the distant Lake Tana.
Sabean International Hotel is a sanctuary of wing suite, Twin suite and Double suite rooms, each presenting a welcoming blend of contemporary texture and subtle Ethiopian motives.
Located on the cliff surrounded by magnificent views of the Lasta Mountains and in close proximity to the Rock-hewn Churches of Lalibela.Discover Lalibela, Stay at Mountain View Hotel.
Often ladies will book a night at the first hotel prior to the tour. This gives them a chance to relax after a long flight and settle in before the tour starts. Let us know if you would like pricing and information on the hotel.
Follow this link to request pre or post tour hotel nights.