Africa Adventure Consultants - vacations and travel

Cultural Adventure: Northern Ethiopia & The Lower Omo Valley

from $3,326* per person 12 Days October
Comfort accommodations Exertion level: 3
Operator: Africa Adventure Consultants 12 people max
  • Addis ababa, ethiopia
  • Culture & Nature trips
National Geographic Traveler's Tours of a Lifetime 2010
Ethiopia is a destination like no other—exotic, foreign, mysterious, historical… Boat across Lake Tana, visiting the historic island monasteries, wander among Gondar’s medieval castles before heading underground to explore Lalibela’s rock-hewn churches. After traversing the Historic North, extend your journey deep into the Lower Omo Valley to Turmi where the tribes still live as they did hundreds of years ago. Stay at the new Buska Lodge—the only lodge in the area—with easy access to the Hamer, Karo, and Dassanech peoples.

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Day 1 – ADDIS ABABA: Upon arrival, after clearing customs and immigration you will be met and transferred to the Ghion Hotel Addis Ababa. Overnight here. (Airline meals)

Day 2 – LAKE TANA: Fly to Bahir Dar and boat across Lake Tana, visiting several island churches including Azwa Mariam, and Debre Sina. On arrival in Gorgora drive to Gondar for overnight. (B, L, D)

Day 3 –GONDAR:  Tour the Royal Enclosure with its medieval buildings and unique architecture, the Bath of King Fasilades and the Debre Berhan Selassie church. Overnight in Gondar. (B, L, D)

Day 4 – LALIBELA:  Fly to Lalibela. Once the thriving capital of the medieval dynasty, Lalibela boasts 13 rock-hewn churches cut out of a solid red volcanic rock. Some of the churches lie almost completely hidden underground. Visit the first and third groups of churches. Overnight here. (B, L, D)

Day 5 – LALIBELA: Optional excursion to Ne’akuto Le’ab Cave church or Asheten Mariam on mule-back.  Return to Lalibela to visit the second group of churches. Overnight here. (B, L, D)

Day 6 – ADDIS – LANGANO: Morning flight to Addis and depart for the Rift Valley with its chain of picturesque lakes. Stop at Lake Ziway, famous for its birdlife, then take a dip in the tea-colored waters of Lake Langano—this is Ethiopia’s bilharzias-free lake and the water is great for swimming!  Overnight at Sabana Beach Resort in a quaint bungalow with a view of the lake.  (B, L, D) Drive time: approx 4-5 hrs

Day 7 –ARBA MINCH: Begin the journey into the Lower Omo Valley, driving to Arba Minch. En route, visit the Alaba, Wolita and Dorze. The Dorze are known for their beehive-shaped huts. Arba Minch offers stunning vistas of mountains, lakes and jungle. The lodge was built from local rock and offers simple, but comfortable rooms. Overnight at Paradise Lodge. (B, L, D) Drive time: approx 5-6 hrs.

Day 8 – TURMI: Drive into the Lower Omo Valley to Turmi, the home of the Hamer people, famous for their bull jumping and the women’s hairstyle made from ochre and butter. Attend the weekly market before arriving at the Buska Lodge. With simple, clean rooms and easy access to local villages, the lodge is the first of its kind in the area. Thatched bungalows are en suite and offer mosquito nets. The bonfire burns nightly. Overnight Buska Lodge. (B, L, D) Drive time: approx 4 hrs.

Days 9 &10 – OMORATE - MURELLE: Visit Omorate and the Dassanech people, famous for their scarification practices. Then drive about 15 miles on rough roads to Dimeka to visit another vibrant market. Tomorrow visit the Karo people with their chalk body painting in Murelle. Enjoy a coffee ceremony and stargazing at the lodge—some of the best on Earth in the Lower Omo Valley’s clear skies.  Overnights at Buska Lodge. (B, L, D)

Day 11 – ARBA MINCH: Return to Arba Minch, visiting the Konso and Arbore tribes en route. Enjoy sundowners with a beautiful view. Overnight Paradise Lodge. (B, L, D) Drive time: approx 4 hrs.

Day 12 – ADDIS – FLIGHTS: From Arba Minch, fly to Addis and enjoy a short city tour. Evening farewell dinner party with traditional Ethiopian song and dance. Airport transfer for flights home. (B, D)

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