Situated in the Horn of Africa, Ethiopia boasts extraordinary natural features, a vast range of wildlife, and a captivating historical and cultural heritage. An increasing number of visitors are frequenting this treasure trove filled with unique attractions. Popular attractions include: the medieval castles of Gondar; the walled city of Harar; and Lalibela, a pilgrimage site known for its ancient monolithic churches, hewn into the area’s steep rocky hillsides. Ethiopia’s stunning natural landscapes are the real tourist drawcard. From the lush Simien Mountains to the sulphur vents of the Danakil Depression, the country’s outstanding natural environment is unforgettable. Bahir Dar, located on Lake Tana, is popular as a base from which to explore the fascinating monasteries situated on the numerous islands dotted around the lake, as well as the Blue Nile Falls, which are arguably the most spectacular falls in North Africa.
Days 1 - 2
Located in the highlands fringing the Great Rift Valley, Addis Ababa serves as the political, cultural and commercial centre of Ethiopia. This sprawling city rests in the foothills of the Entoto Mountains and features a mix of traditional homes, elegant villas, and tall office buildings. Visitors can look forward to a selection of wonderful activities including: visiting the National Museum, displaying local art, traditional crafts and prehistoric fossils; exploring the copper-domed Holy Trinity Cathedral, a Neo-Baroque architectural landmark; and sampling rich Ethiopian coffee as well as the memorable cuisine featuring spicy stews and Ethiopia’s signature Injera bread.
Days 2 - 3
Situated on the southern shores of Lake Tana in northern Ethiopia, Bahir Dar serves as the capital city of the Amhara region. The city features palm-lined avenues and was awarded the 'UNESCO Cities for Peace Prize' in 2002, for addressing the challenges of rapid urbanisation. Bahir Dar is a popular tourist destination in Ethiopia offering a wonderful selection of attractions in the surrounding area. Visitors can enjoy a wide selection of interesting sites including: visiting some of the world’s oldest medieval monasteries and churches on the islands scattered within the Lake Tana, and discovering the spectacular Blue Nile Falls, featuring a 45-metre drop, an impressive 400-metre width and an array of misty rainbows.
Simien Mountains National Park
Days 3 - 5
Situated in northern Ethiopia, the Simien Mountains National Park is one of the very first natural UNESCO World Heritage Sites. It has been compared to the Grand Canyon with its spectacular landscape featuring rugged peaks, deep valleys and plunging waterfalls. Renowned as Ethiopia’s highest Peaks, the Simien Mountains reach up to 4000 metres high. This area is home to remote local communities as well as rare and endangered fauna and flora. Some of these rare species include: gelada baboon, the Simien fox and the only walia ibex population in the world. Don’t miss the panoramic views from Ras Dejen, the highest point in Ethiopia.
Days 5 - 6
Situated southwest of the Simien Mountains, north of Lake Tana, Gondar once served as the royal capital of the ancient Ethiopian Empire. Known as the ‘Camelot of Africa’, Gondar is home to the World Heritage Site of Fasil Ghebbi, a fortress-city previously inhabited by to the Ethiopian emperor Fasilides. Visitors can enjoy a wide selection of wonderful activities including: discovering the ancient Gondar Castle, a medieval castle and palace complex, exploring the 17th century Church of Debre Sina, featuring biblical murals on every wall and visiting the nearby Simien Mountains National Park. Don’t miss a visit to Ras Dashen, the highest mountain in Ethiopia.
Days 6 - 8
Situated in northern Ethiopia, the town of Lalibela is named after King Lalibela of the Zagwe Dynasty. The town is considered Ethiopia’s cultural capital and one of Ethiopia’s holiest cities, it serves as a centre of pilgrimage. The undeniable highlight of this ancient capital is dubbed the ‘Eighth Wonder of the World’ and includes eleven rock-hewn churches dating back to the 13th century. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is carved out of solid rock and includes subterranean monoliths, a network of interconnected tunnels, and chambers featuring magnificent frescoes. Lalibela also plays host to some of the most famous church festivals in Ethiopia.
Days 8 - 9
Situated in northern Ethiopia, Axum, also Aksum, is the ancient capital of the old Kingdom of Axum, one of the most important historical sites in sub-Saharan Africa. The town of Axum is the centre of a myriad of religious mysteries. It said to be the home of the biblical Ark of the Covenant, the previous home of the Queen of Sheba and it is believed to be the resting place of one of the wise men. Axum's historical archaeological sites have been added to the UNESCO World Heritage List. The undeniable highlight of this ancient city and its most renowned surviving monuments is a group of memorial monolithic obelisks, or stelae, built between the third and fourth centuries A.D.
Days 9 - 10
Situated in the Ethiopian region of Oromia, Lake Langano is one of the few bilharzia-free lakes in Ethiopia. Stretching for over 200 square kilometres, Lake Langano is popular among tourists and locals alike for swimming, watersports and offers spectacular hippo viewing. The area surrounding the lake is home to baboons, warthogs, hippos and a variety of birds that makes for good bird watching. More wildlife can be found in East Langano Nature Reserve on the eastern shore of the lake; here visitors can spot Colobus monkeys and more than 300 bird species living in the beautiful lakeside forest. Other popular activities include: camping, mountain climbing, biking, fishing and photography.
Days 10 - 12
Situated in southern Ethiopia at the base of the western side of the Great Rift Valley, the city of Arba Minch is the largest city in the Gamo Gofa Zone. Surrounded by forested mountains and home to two of Ethiopia’s largest Rift Valley Lakes, Arba Minch is named after the abundant springs found in the area. This resort town rests on the edge of Lake Chamo where it has a stunning view of the aptly named ‘Bridge of God’, an isthmus that separates Lake Chamo from the neighbouring Lake Abaya. This stretch of land is home to zebras, gazelle, kudus and other wildlife. The Dorze village is also a popular attraction in Arba Minch – here tourists can visit the famous beehive huts built by the Dorze tribe.
Days 12 - 13
Located in southwestern Ethiopia, near the borders of Sudan and Kenya, Jinka is the largest town in the Debub Omo Zone. It serves as an excellent base from which to explore the surrounding area. This remote market town is home to the Mursi people, who are well known for their elaborate lip plates made of clay. At the South Omo Research Center and Museum, visitors can learn more about the Mursi, as well as other groups in the region, through a series of exhibits detailing the cultures and customs of local tribes. Nature enthusiasts will enjoy the nearby Mago National Park, where abundant wildlife finds shelter in the dense acacia woodland.
Days 13 - 15
This small market town in southwestern Ethiopia functions as a central transport hub as well as an important meeting point for the area’s weekly Monday market. The local Hamer inhabitants of the surrounding villages flock here to buy and sell local produce and handicrafts. Visitors to the area can enjoy culturally fascinating guided tours of the surrounding villages. Popular cultural attractions include traditional Hamer dance performances and exhilarating ‘Jumping of the Bulls’ ceremonies which form the culmination of a three-day long rite of passage for any young man within the Hamer tribe.Turmi is a great choice of destination for travellers in search of a unique and authentic African experience in one of the most remote places on the continent.