Omo Valley Tribes

Visit Bahir-Dar, Gondar, Simien Mountains 45 Days

Visit Bahir-Dar, Gondar, Simien Mountains

Visit Bahir-Dar, Gondar, Simien Mountains

Visit Bahir-Dar, Gondar, Simien Mountains, Axum, Mekelle, Lalibela, Hamed Ela, Danakil Depression, Arte Ale, Afrera/Afdera, Awash National Park, Harar, Babile

Itinerary

Program: History, Nature and Culture Tour

Tour Code: Combined Tour 07

Duration: 44Nights (45 Days)

Transportation: Air & Land (4WD)

Tour starts: Addis Ababa

Tour ends: Addis Ababa

Day1: Arrival/ Addis Ababa & City Tour of Addis Ababa

Arrive in the morning and transfer to your Hotel and after Breakfast, we drive to the Entoto Mountain (3300m) for a panoramic view of Addis, Entoto Museum with historical and royal exhibit, The Church of St. Mary, built in 1885 and the old palace of emperor MenelikII. Take some images at Mount Entoto and we drive back to Addis for Ethnological Museum that exhibits the culture and handicrafts of various Ethiopian ethnic groups, the National Museum in which you are visiting different archaeological findings (including Lucy’s replica Skeleton). After lunch, visit the Trinity Cathedral, Mausoleum of emperor MenelikII at Bààta Church and finally Merkato – the largest open market in Africa. Overnight – at chosen hotel– Addis Ababa

Day2: Addis – Ambo – Nekemete

Morning; drive from Addis to Nekemete. On the way, visit the Crater Lake – Wonchi, the Guder waterfalls, overlook Oromo Villages. Overnight – at chosen hotel – Nekemete

Day3: Nekemete – Gambela.

Drive from Nekemete to Gambela through the lowland region. Overnight – at chosen hotel – Gambela

Day 4: Gambela –Itang

Full day Excursion for the Agnuak & Nuer Tribes. Overnight – at chosen hotel – Gambela

Day 5: Gambela –Mizan Teferi

Drive from Gambela to Mizan Teferi. This route is a fertile region so coffee is being produced. Overnight – at chosen hotel – Mizan Teferi/ Bebeka Guest House

Day 6: Mizan Teferi – Kibish

Drive from Mizan Teferi /Bebeka to Kibish, overlooking the wild coffee in the forest, Dizi, Menit and Surma tribes. Overnight – camped tent – Kibish

Day 7: Full day for Surma Tribes. Full day excursion

Discover the life style of The Surma people in their villages. The Surma women are best known for inserting round clay plates in their lips. Night-Camping – Kibish

Day 8: Tum – Maji – Surma Market

Morning; drive from Tum to Maji. On the way visit some villages of Dizi. At the middle of the day; attend the Saturday market in Maji. This Market is most popular amongst ethnical markets in the River Omo region. Explore Surma and Menit tribes in the market.  Overnight – Tented Camp – Maji

Day 9: Maji to Bebeka Guest House/Mizan Teferi

Drive from Maji to Bebeka/Mizan Teferi. Overnight – at chosen hotel – Bebeka/Mizan Teferi

Day 10: Maji to Jima

Drive from Bebeka/Mizan Teferi to Jimma. Visit the Aba Jifar Palace in the town of Jimma. Overnight – at chosen hotel – Jimma

Day 11: Jima – Sodo – Arba Minch

Drive from Jima to Arba Minch via Sodo, and people of Welayta. Overnight – at chosen hotel/lodge – Arba Minch

Day 12: Nechsar National Park & Lake Chamo

Drive to Nechsar National Park for bird watching and game viewing. Nechsar is the home of some mammals like the endemic Swayne’s Hartebeest (the park was primarily established to protect the endemic Swayne’s Hartebeest), Thomson’s gazelle, Berchule’s Zebra, Greater Kudu, Dik-Dik, and Baboons. Afternoon; boat trip on Lake Chamo. This Lake is known for its enormous population of Crocodiles and Hippopotamus. Overnight – at chosen hotel/lodge -Arba Minch

Day 13: Konso – Key Afer (ethnic market) – Jinka

Drive from Arba Minch to Jinka- roughly 240km. At key Afer; there is a colorful every Thursday market where you can see the Tsemay, Ari and Bena etc people. Drive further to Jinka. Overnight – at chosen hotel/lodge – Jinka

Day 14: Mursi tribes and Mago National Park

Drive to Mago National Park. Visit the Mursi village, the insertion of wooden and terracotta discs into the ear lobes is a widespread custom and Mursi women also progressively split and stretch their lower lips to make room for similar discs(Mursi tribes have the same culture with Surma tribes settled at upper Omo). In Mago Park; there are no many animals visible during the day, but during night time, thousands of sounds, among which is the trumpeting of elephants may be heard.  Afternoon; visit the ethnological museum of Jinka. Overnight – at chosen hotel/lodge – Jinka

Day 15: Jinka – Dimeka market and Turmi (139 Km)

After breakfast; drive to Turmi (roughly 139km from Jinka). On the way; visit the colorful Dimeka Market (Every Saturday). Note that information will be gathered in advance if there is bull jumping ritual, or a Hamer wedding party in the neighborhood during your stay in Turmi. Overnight – at chosen lodge – Turmi

Day 16: Turmi – Dus, Karo & Nyangatom/ Nyangatom tribes

After breakfast; drive from Turmi to Karo others ethnics (60 km rough road). You will have packed lunch with you for you will be there for full day. Visit some of Karo villages of Dus and Korcho. The Karo tribes are mainly known for their special hairstyle and body paintings. Take your time here, discover & experience their lifestyle. Drive from Karo some kms and cross the Omo Rive for the Nyangatom/ Nyangaten tribes. Late afternoon; drive back to Turmi. Overnight – at chosen lodge – Turmi

Day 17: Omorate – Dassenech/Galeb –Turmi market

The area around Turmi is where the Hamer & Bena people live, famous for their bull-jumping ceremonies and great body decoration. There is a popular Hamer and Bena market held in Turmi on every Monday, this is what you have to  schedule your  visit for, but the market  will not be full until mid-afternoon, so this morning, after early breakfast, first drive to Omorate (75km),nearby the Omo River and cross the river by local boat. This area is inhabited by the Dassenech (Galeb) people, known for their very interesting house design and body painting. You will stay with them for a couple of hours, then cross the river again and drive back to Turmi, for lunch and a short break from the heat &  visit the Turmi Market. The Hamers dominate this market. The Hamers are a fine looking people, both men and women take great pride in their appearance, shaving and coloring their hair, oiling their bodies and decorating themselves with beads and bracelets worn around arms and legs. Late afternoon; approach to some Hamer villages to discover their lifestyle at home and attend the Evangadi Dance. Overnight – at chosen hotel/lodge – Turmi

Day 18: Turmi – Konso

Drive from Turmi to Yabello via Arbore. Visit the Arbore people at their town named Arbore and proceed to Konso. Visit town of Konso (UNESCO World Heritage Site) – The people of Konso are well known for their intricately terraced hillsides, fine woven materials, carved totems made of wood, decorated graves (mainly the king & his wife), impressive village and etc. Explore The Konso King, totems, Konso villages, and Gesergiyo (New York)-magnificent rock formation.  Overnight – at chosen hotel/lodge – Konso

Day 19: Konso – Yirgalem

After breakfast; drive from Konso to Yirgalem via Yabello (366km from Konso). On the way; visit Borena Tribes at Dublock, Elsod and Singing Wells, overlook landscapes and the town of Yabello. Lunch at Yabello Motel. And continue to Yirgalem. On the way at Wenago, visit the Tutu Fella stelae field – a unique collection of carved stones. Arrive to Yirgalem after crossing the fertile land, mainly cultivating with bananas, and coffee plantation by the Sidamo people. Visit the forest nearby the Aregash Lodge. At Aregash Lodge, the hyenas appear to the lodge, feeding by people so you can see them at near distance.  Overnight – at chosen hotel/lodge – Yirgalem

Day 20: Yirgalem – Langano

Drive from Yirgalem to Langano (about100km). Check- in at your /lodge and enjoy with swimming or other activities. Afternoon; Discover  the rift valley lakes of Abijata  & Shalla,  the Ostrich Farm, different species of Aquatic birds like the Pink Flamingos(abundant), Dukes, Gosse, and many others.  Overnight – at chosen lodge – Langano

Day 21:  Awash National Park

Drive to Awash National Park (277km modern asphalt road). Lunch in Nazreth. Then drive to Awash Park and stopover at Lake Beseka (Nearby the park) for several birdlife. Game view after having entrance tickets at the head office of the Awash National Park. Sites to be visited: Kudu Valley, the hot springs, Ilala Sala (Oryx) plains, and Awash River Falls. Overnight – at chosen hotel/lodge – Awash National Park

Day 22:  the Hyena Man show

Early morning; game view in the Awash National Park & drive from Awash Park to Harar (300km). After lunch; visit the walled city of Harar. In the evening, attend the most astonishing and bizarre Hyena Man show. That Man feeds as many as 30 hyenas with his bare hands and with a wooden steak- holding by his mouth. Hyenas in Harar are considered as domestic dogs that anybody has no hesitation to fear them. Overnight – at chosen hotel –Harar

Day 23: Babile and the Valley of Marvels & Dire Dawa

Morning; drive from Harar to Babile on the Jijga Road. There are General Market on every Saturday, Camel Market on every Monday & Thursday at Babile. Visit the market if your schedule coincides with the market day otherwise proceed to the Valley of Marvels. The most visited one is the rock formation of Dakatta Rock, sited at 7km from the town of Babile. Drive back to Harar for lunch and drive about 51km for Dire Dawa. The main attraction of Dire Dawa known also as Queen City of the Rift Valley is: Taiwan Market, the stimulant leaf knows as “Chat or khat” Market and the big market place which is frequented by Oromo, Somali Issa and Afar people. Based on the current information, possible to visit the Lega Oda (Laga – Oda) cave paintings considered to be painted 7thousand years ago (38km from Dire Dawa).  Visit the city of Dire Dawa. Overnight – at chosen hotel –Dire Dawa

Day 24: Dire Dawa –Kombolcha

Drive from Dire Dawa to Kombolcha, crossing the Yangu Di Rassa National Park (in Afar Region) and Afar huts/ villages. Overnight – at chosen hotel – Kombolcha

Day 25: Senbete Market

Drive to the small town of Senbete for every Sunday Market in which Oromo, Afar, Amhara and other tribes to be seen together. Overnight – at chosen hotel – Kombolcha

Day 26: Kombolcha – Afdera

Drive from Kombolcha to Afdera. Visit the salt lake – Afdera (in the town of Afdera). Overnight – at chosen hotel – Afdera

Day 27: Afdera –Kursewat – Dodom (at the bottom of Arte Ale)

Drive on the desert sand to Kursewat- Waydodom -Dodom. Overnight – camping – Dodom / Arta Ale Bottom

Day 28: the Eternal fire of Arte Ale, Active Volcano Lake

Morning; Trek to Arte Ale with your camping and cooking gears being loaded by Afar Camels (3-4hrs trek). After lunch, explore the extraordinary lava that bounce from its mouth of Arte Ale volcanic fire. During night time the volcano will be fully seen with its magnificent color of zigzagging fire, produced from huge rocks. Therefore; in the evening, descend from your Camping site to the drama of the volcano.  Overnight – camping – on the rim of Arte Ale

Day 29: Hammed Ela

Trek down to Dodom and drive to Hammed Ela. Overnight – under the Afar Village – Hammed Ela

Day 30:  Dallol Depression and Lake Asalé

Early morning; excursion to the Danakil depression. On this day; surely, you will be overwhelmed with a strong feeling of admiration, because of the awesome of Dallol. After Dallol; proceed to the traditional salt extraction site from where too many camels are waiting to be loaded rock salts just nearby the Salt Lake of Asalé. Then approach to Lake Asalé. Late afternoon (when temperature cools down), explore the Afar village of Hammed Ela. Overnight – camping (at Afar House) – Hammed Ela

Day 31: – Hammed Ela – Mekelle

We drive from Hammed Ela to Mekelle. On the way, you will discover too many camel caravans, transporting rock salt from Lake Asalé to the town of Mekelle at many spots. Overnight – at chosen hotel –Mekelle

Day 32: –Mekelle – Geralta oldest Rock Churches – Hawzen

Drive from Mekelle to Geralta Rock Churches built in 6 century and on wards. On the way, visit Wukro Cherkos, Abraha we Atsbeha, Debre Tsion, Dugum / Dugem Silassie Churches. Overnight – at chosen hotel /lodge – Hawzen

Day 33: –Geralta oldest Rock Churches

Full day visit of churches nearby Hawzen. Overnight – at chosen hotel /lodge– Hawzen

Day 34: Hawzen – Axum

Drive from Geralta Lodge to Axum. On the way, visit The Debre Damo Monastery (you need to climb the hill with a rope provided by a monk. Debre Damo monastery is a fabulous monastery so every tourist wishes not to miss this site. Women are not allowed to get in), Yeha Temple. Overnight – at chosen hotel /lodge- Axum

Day 35: the birth Place of Ethiopian History

A full day visit of the city – Axum. Axum treasures the ancient Ethiopian history. The attractions of Axum include: the archaeological museum, monolithic steles, the tombs of King Kaleb, and the legendary Bath and the ruins of ancient palace of the Queen of Sheba, St Mary of Zion and the sanctuary that houses the original Ark of the Covenant. Almost all  Ethiopian Orthodox Christians and some scholars believe firmly about the presence of the original Ark of God for centuries here in Axum,  at the chapel in the middle of St Mary of Zion and Emperor Fassiladas’ Castle of Axum. Visit also the monastery of Abba Pantelion at the hill side of Axum (prohibited for women). Overnight – at chosen hotel –Axum

Day 36: Rock Hewn churches of Lalibela

After breakfast; fly from Axum to Lalibela. After lunch and a short siesta, Visit the first group of six churches: 1.Bet Golgotha, 2.Bet Mikael, 3.Bet Mariam, 4.Bet Meskel, 5.Bet Danaghel and 6.Bet Medhane Alem. Bet Medhane Alem is the largest monolithic rock hewn church in the world, built like a Greek temple! In a corner there are three empty graves symbolically dug for biblical patriarchs Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Overnight – at chosen hotel – Lalibela

Day 37:  full day in Lalibela

Early morning; Hike to Asheten Mariam Mountain Church (optional) .After lunch and a short siesta, visit Second groups: After lunch and a short siesta, continue exploring the fascinating churches (Second group): 7.Bete Amanuel, 8.Bete Marqorewos, 9.Bete Abba Libanos, 10.Bete Gabriel -Rufael and11 Bet Giyorgis. Bet Giyorgis is the most elegant of all Lalibela churches, which lies somewhat isolated in the southwest part of the town on a sloping rock terrace. Drive for the cave church of Nakuto Làabe (5kms away from Lalibela. Overnight – at chosen hotel – Lalibela

Day 38: Yimrahine Kristos amazing cave church

Drive to the cave church called Yimrahine Kristos (42 km from Lalibela). This Church has been constructed by King Yimrahine Kristos during the13th Century. In the church, there are more than 5000 (five thousand) dead human skeletons (Bones) lying without any coverage for the past 700 years. They are supposed to be pilgrimages from Syria, Egypt and Ethiopia. The murals on the dark walls of the church, the year round spring water descending from the top of the church and the forest around are very impressive and worthy to be visited.  Overnight – at chosen hotel – Lalibela

Day 39: Gondar Castles, Churches

After breakfast; we fly from Lalibela to Gondar and visit the 17century church of Debre Birhan Silassie (Light of Trinity) unique in its murals, the Castles of emperor Fassiladas and his swimming pool, and palace of Empress Mentewab. Overnight – at chosen hotel – Gondar

Day 40: Gorgora – Debre Sina Church

Excursion to Gorgora (48km from Gondar) for emperor Susenyos, Debre Sina Church and Lake Tana on Gondar side. Overnight – at chosen hotel – Gondar

Day 41: Simien Mountains National Park

Excursion to the Simien Mountains National Park – Chennek (158km rough but good road). On the way near the town of Gondar; short visit of Weleka – a place of the Felasha or the black Jewish people for their synagogue and black pottery shop. Jews have amazing histories in Ethiopia even before the time of Gonderine Civilization (17-19century).The history of the Original Ark of the Covenant, supposed to be in Axum now is one to mention. Then continue driving to Debark (101km from Gondar). At Debark; we collect entrance tickets and a scout for the park. Leaving the town of Debark, we will proceed to Chennek (about 57km from Debark).  On the way; appreciate the majestic and chained mountains of the Simien Park and Gelada baboons feeding on the ground at many places. At Chennek, walk around for Walia Ibexes, more Gelada Baboons and the fabulous landscapes of the mountain (please note that the camping site of Chennek is the most rewarding place in the Mountain). Overnight – at chosen hotel – Gondar

Day 42: Awra Amba, Wanzaye natural hot Spring site – Bahir Dar

After breakfast; drive to Bahir Dar (187km best asphalt road.) on the way; visit Awra Amba village (Awra Amba community are famous in their work activity) and Wanzaye, a place for natural hot spring water (9kms from the main route to Bahir Dar). It is very important for the local people (a curing spa against some diseases).People will immerse into the hot spring bath (a big room that accommodates from 40 to 80 people together) for about 6 hours (3 hours morning and 3hours afternoon) per day. In doing so, the patient will be cured or will have seen changes from his disease within a weak. Lunch, at Wanzaye Hotel and drive to Bahir Dar. Visit the Bezawit Hill tops and the palace of Emperor Haile SellassieI (entering is prohibited). Overnight – at chosen hotel – Bahir Dar

Day 43: The Tis Issat of the Blue Nile and Monasteries on Lake Tana

After breakfast; drive to the small town of Tiss Abay (32km rough road) to visit the impressive Blue Nile Falls, locally known as Tis Isat means in Amharic: ‘Smoke of Fire’. Much of the water is diverted for Hydro electric Generation plant but it is still worth visiting for remaining waterfalls, trekking around and to see a Portuguese Bridge (17Century) and the country side. The area around the waterfall is amazingly fertile and the Amhara people who live here farm wheat, sorghum and Teff (from which Injera, the national bread, is made). After the fall, return to Bahir Dar & make city tour of Bahir Dar which includes: market where you can find the pottery, traditional hand-made woven clothes, and Woito Basket market.

Afternoon; take a chartered boat trip on Lake Tana to visit monasteries (constructed during 14 up to 18 century). You will visit only the most accessible and representative of the monasteries on the lake, still serving their original function: Ura Kidane Mehret, and Azwa Maryam (in Zeghie Peninsula), Kibran Church (prohibited for women) & Entos Eyesus. Evening, visit the hill of Bezawit (roughly 5km after Gojjam – Gondar border Bridge). At this point, you are visit the Palace of Emperor Haile SellassieI( entering is prohibited), the source of the Blue Nile- leaving Lake Tana and panoramic view of Bahir Dar and the full  sunset. Overnight – at chosen hotel – Bahir Dar

Day 44: Blue Nile Gorge

After an early breakfast; drive to Addis (563km best Asphalt Road). This route (Gojjam province) is famous in Teff production. Teff is stable food of Ethiopians. On the way; enjoy with the fabulous Blue Nile Gorge, 17th Century Portuguese Bridge and the 13th Century monastery of Debre Libanos. Overnight – at chosen hotel – Addis Ababa

Day 45: Departure

Notice: This itinerary can be amended up on request 

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