Last Modified: 01 Oct 2014
Lost Tribes of Ethiopia
Trip code: YOKL
Validity: 27 Jan 2014 to 31 Dec 2014
A region of rugged landscapes, iconic wildlife and some seriously isolated people, travelling in Ethiopia's Omo Valley often feels like a journey into old-world Africa. Lake Chamo's fishermen casually clean their catch by the riverbank as humungous crocs skulk offshore, traditional initiation rites and superstitions prevail over every aspect of village life and, to the people of the Mursi, Hamer and Karo tribes, the outside world seems to exists as an aside. Not only is English as alien a language as the country's national tongue of Amharic, but the hallmarks of Western culture take on markedly different appeals. Soft drink bottle caps are woven into necklaces, mobile phone recharge vouchers are fashioned into earrings and elaborate body-paint and hairstyles are favoured over clothing. As far as exotic, intercultural encounters go, this is a trip as fascinating as it is mind-blowing.
This trip is run by our experienced sister company Peregrine Adventures. Your group is therefore likely to be a mixture of Intrepid passengers and other like-minded international travellers.
Warning - this is a new trip for us!
While we have thoroughly researched this area to put together this trip, it still must be remembered that this is a relatively new trip for us. To be frank, we expect some things to go wrong. When we head to new destinations, we usually find there are more pleasant surprises in store than unpleasant ones, but the warning is sincere. If it concerns you then we recommend that you wait for a year until we get any bugs ironed out.
Table of Contents
The great land of Ethiopia is one of Africa's veiled treasures. Archaeological, cultural and natural riches await for travellers keen to delve into this ancient yet often overlooked destination. Trekking rugged ranges, visiting simple mountain villages, marvelling at time-worn relics dipped in mysticism and meeting genuine, unaffected people who have overcome famine and war makes for a life-affirming journey.
Taste sweet Ethiopian coffee in Addis Ababa
- Comfort is your style of travel if you want the whole grassroots experience with more inclusions, meals and creature comforts. While accommodation is predominantly tourist class (3-4 star), on some itineraries there is the opportunity to stay with a local family, spend the night on a train or camp out in exotic places (without putting up your own tent of course). Along the way, you'll really experience the destination up close. You'll mingle with locals, enjoy a taste of their way of life and gain special insights from your leader. This is not luxury travel, but real world experiences - just with a softer landing!
Day 1 Addis Ababa
Teanastellen! Welcome to Ethiopia.
An airport arrival transfer is included. This transfer is only valid if arriving on Day 1 or if you have booked pre-trip accommodation through Intrepid. Please provide your flight details at the time of booking, or at a minimum 15 days prior to travel (note - we may not be able confirm request made within 15 days of travel). Once you have provided your details a transfer representative will be booked to meet you at the airport and transfer you to your hotel.
This afternoon we take an afternoon city tour which includes the Ethnographic Museum and St George Church.
Addis Ababa is a bustling city, dotted with Italian architecture, interesting churches and friendly inhabitants. It is also a city of immense contrasts – the Addis Sheraton, with its ‘singing fountain’ is one of the most luxurious in all of Africa, yet you only need to travel a few streets away to find yourself among busy markets, dirt roads and the odd goat or two wandering the streets.
The city is relatively new– established by the Emperor Menelik II in 1887, and at 2,400m has the distinction of being the third highest capital in the world. Although Ethiopia was the only African nation never to be colonised, parts of it, including Addis, were briefly occupied by the Italians in the twentieth century, and in many parts of the city their legacy lives on in the form of old art deco buildings and coffee shops, particularly in the area known as the Piazza.
Addis can seem daunting at times, but even the briefest foray into the busy streets can reveal interesting new insights.
Hotel (1 nt)
Days 2-3 Bale Mountains
On the morning of Day 2 we depart Addis Ababa for our next stop - the Bale Mountains.
On the way we'll stop off at Dinsho, headquarters of the National Park for some game viewing before reaching the lodge in the afternoon.
Bale Mountains National Park is situated on a high plateau surrounded by mountain peaks which soar to over 4000 metres in height. As you climb into the hills the terrain changes from forest on the lower slopes through junipers and heather to the exotic moorlands of the plateau, criss-crossed by fast-flowing streams. This beautiful park is home to three species unique to Ethiopia; the Simien red fox, Menelik's bushbuck and the mountain nyala. There are some 200 species of bird within the park including 13 of Ethiopia's 23 endemic species.
Enjoy a full day game drive to the plateau of the Bale Mountains on Day 3, as well as the opportunity to get out and stretch your legs on a nature walk in the Harenna Forest.
Hotel (2 nts)
Days 4-5 Arba Minch
Today we head to the south of Ethiopia, a region noted for its enormous variety of peoples and cultures.
Many of these populations are nomadic or semi-nomadic and, far from the influence of the modern world, their ancient traditions have remained intact. Set in dramatic surroundings, Arba Minch is a small southern Ethiopian town lying at an altitude of 1,300m above sea level, on a cliff overlooking Lake Chamo and Lake Abaya. To the west, mountains form a backdrop rising to 4,000m. Although there's not much to do in town, it is the gateway to Nechisar National Park.
Stop along the way to visit the local villages, before arriving at our hotel in the early evening.
With some of the most dramatic scenery in Africa, Nechisar National Park lies at the heart of the Rift Valley, covering Lakes Chamo and Abaya and the mountainous causeway between them known as the 'Bridge of God'. On Day 5 drive out and spend the day at Nechisar National Park.
The Nechisar Plain offers the best game viewing, with Burchellis zebra, gazelle and kudu. Lions are also found in the park but are rarely seen. Waterbuck are found near the lake shore, and there are many smaller species of buck found in the forest areas.
Today we will visit Nechisar, to view the wide variety of wildlife and take a boat trip on Lake Chamo, inhabited by hippo and crocodile.
Hotel (2 nts)
Days 6-7 Jinka
Today we pass through the territories of several different tribes on your way to Jinka including the Dorze, who are famous for their beehive huts. Jinka is a small mountain town set apart from the country. It’s both remote and rustic, accentuated by the grass airstrip in the middle of town.
People come from across South Omo to visit the local markets, particularly Ari, Bana, Besheda and Besketo people. Probably the best known tribe in Ethiopia, the Mursi people are most famous for their practices of extending their lower lips with clay discs, and stick fighting. You will visit a Mursi village to learn more about this fascinating group.
When a Mursi woman reaches 20 years old, a slit is made beneath the lower lip and a clay plate inserted. Each year a larger plate is added, stretching the lower lip until it juts out so far that a 15cm plate can be worn and the woman can pull her lip right over her head. This is considered the height of attractiveness.
Mursi men do not escape entirely unscathed, as they take part in stick fights which in the past sometimes ended in the death of one of the participants. Decorated with white clay, they whack each other with 2 metre long poles. There are consolations; the winner is carried off by a group of eligible girls who then decide which one of them will marry him.
Hotel (2 nts)
Days 8-9 Turmi
Today we visit a colourful local market and mingle with different tribes like the Karo, Hamer and Benna. There are many interesting handicrafts to be found too - don’t forget to bargain. Hopefully you will also be invited into a couple of homes. Dimeka is the principal town in Hamer country, with an impressive market on Saturdays, Hamer villagers make their way to it from miles around. Dimeka borders different tribal areas, and you're likely to encounter several different tribes mingling together in the market. A visit to one of the villages in the area is also rewarding; made entirely of mud, the small thatched huts are tidily arranged with very few outside influences to be seen, offering a glimpse into another way of life.
The highlight of the year in the Hamer calendar is the Bull Jumping Ceremony. This is the culmination of a three day initiation ceremony, where 15 bulls are lined up and the initiate has to jump onto each one, all the way down the line, before turning round and coming back the same way. The ceremony is usually held around December/January and August, right after the harvest season.
On Day 9, here the track stops. Travelling through open savannah and often encountering herds of buffalo, giraffe and gazelle, you will head towards Murulle. You'll visit the Karo tribe, masters of body decoration who use chalk to paint themselves. Murulle (also spelled Muelle and Murli) lies on the banks of the Omo River, and is a popular base for exploring what is essentially a rugged area.
There is a fair amount of wildlife in the area, and a good chance of seeing some form of antelope and possibly raptors overhead. The two main tribes who live in the area are the Karo and the Hamer, both of whom practice scarification and have elaborate hairstyles.
Hotel (2 nts)
Day 10 Konso
Today’s drive will offer spectacular panoramic views of the surrounding scenery including the terraced hills of Konso. Along the way, you may be lucky enough to see beisa oryx, dik-dik, and lesser kudu.
We visit Gersale Village Nursery and Konso village where the people are known for their colourful, traditional dress and the unusual engraved wooden statues or totems they use as grave markers. Today you will be able to pay a donation of $20USD to plant a tree at Gersale - this covers the planting of one tree including water and care for two years, and a commemorative donor name tag displayed in the nursery. Drought has put pressure on natural resources leading to deforestation, soil erosion and a loss of native wildlife.
All roads into South Omo pass through Konso, and this unprepossessing small town of 3000 inhabitants is a good base for exploring the hillside villages in the surrounding countryside. The Konso people themselves live in walled hilltop settlements with maze-like fences. There is a central communal building called a mora, the ground floor of which is used by the men and boys as a social area; women are excluded.
Carved wooden grave markers are a Konso tradition, with the deceased warrior's features enhanced by using teeth made from animal bones.
Hotel (1 nt)
Day 11 Yabello
Take a very scenic drive to El Sod village. Here we will take a short hike to visit 'the house of salt', on the edge of a deep crater lake.
We will also drive to Dublock to visit the 'singing wells'. The singing wells are named as such thanks to the chanting that occurs as people form human chains to pass buckets from hand to hand to when collecting water from wells in the area. This activity only ever takes place in the dry season, when herders will travel for several hours to ensure their livestock are watered.
Some 20km to the south, El Sod is the site of Chew Bet, or the 'house of salt', a saline crater lake that lies at the bottom of a 200m deep crater. The lake is almost black in colour and has a vaguely sinister air as a result; villagers collect the salt formed by evaporation on a rota system to ensure levels are kept sustainable.
Hotel (1 nt)
Day 12 Lake Awassa
Awasa is one of the largest cities in southern Ethiopia but manages to retain an easy-going feel, making it a pleasant place to spend some time. There is a bustling central market as well as a separate fish market. Tabor Hill offers good views across the lake, which is the main draw; it has an imposing mountainous backdrop with the lakeshore itself fringed with lush vegetation where monkeys are frequently seen.
Hippos are found out in the lake itself - they emerge onto the shore to graze after dark. The lake has excellent birdlife, with many species of waders present, as well as heron, stork, and pygmy geese. Fish eagles are also found here, their haunting cry often heard at dusk.
On the way to Awasa we stop at Wenago to visit the Tutu Fella stelae field - an unusual collection of carved stones.
We then continue to Lake Awasa, which is surrounded by mountains and populated by countless species of birds. On arrival, take a walk along the shores of the lake to see birds and possibly hippos.
Hotel (1 nt)
Days 13-14 Addis Ababa
Today we visit the fish market of Awasa before heading back to Addis Ababa. The rest of the day will be free for to explore or perhaps indulge in a bit of last minute shopping. You may like to enjoy an optional final dinner at a well known local Ethiopian restaurant. Here you will able to put your new-found dancing moves to the test by joining in with the traditional dancers.
There are no activities planned for the final day and you are able to depart the accommodation at any time.
- St George Cathedral - Free
- National Museum - USD1
- Merkato - Free
- Africa Hall - Free
Hotel (1 nt)
Also available to purchase
For many of our trips we have other services or experiences that are also available to purchase to extend your trip or to make your holiday a little easier. Below is a list of other travel products you can purchase in conjunction with this trip.
- YOKL Single Supplement (YOKL)
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Occasionally our itineraries are updated during the year to incorporate improvements stemming from past travellers' comments and our own research. The information given in this itinerary may be slightly different to that in the brochure. It's very important that you print and review a final copy of your Trip Notes a couple of days prior to travel, in case there have been changes that affect your plans. For the latest updated Trip Notes please visit our website: www.intrepidtravel.com
Please note that while we operate successful trips in this region throughout the year, some changes may occur in our itineraries due to inclement weather and common seasonal changes to timetables and transport routes. This can happen with little notice so please be prepared for modifications to the route.
Expect some culture shock. You'll be exposed to signs of poverty and access to services may be sporadic. The food will be quite different to home and English speakers harder to find. Respecting the local culture will make it easier to fit in and really experience the location.
This trip will raise your heartbeat. Moderate physical activities are included and a good level of fitness is required.
Included activities are listed in the day-to-day itinerary, all other activities are optional and at your own expense. If you choose not to participate in the included activities on this itinerary, the cost will not be refunded.
A selection of optional activities are listed in the day-to-day itinerary. This isn't an exhaustive list and should be used as a guide only. Prices are approximate and are for entrance only and don’t include transport to and from the sites or local guides unless indicated. All activities are subject to availability and it may not be possible to do all the activities listed in the time available at each destination.
Where activities are considered medium or high risk, we work with operators whose safety and credentials we have sighted and assessed. This means that it is possible that you may find the same activity cheaper with another operator on the ground, however we cannot vouch for the safety or quality of that operator. Activities not listed above have not been assessed by us and as such our staff and leaders are unable to assist you with booking these activities. The decision to partake in any activity not listed is at your own discretion and risk.
The receipt of commissions or kickbacks in exchange for recommending particular shops or services is ingrained in the culture of the tourism industry. Rather than turning a blind eye to this unavoidable issue in some areas, Intrepid has established a centralised fund whereby contributions from recommended suppliers are collected and distributed back into the business. Intrepid aim to provide the best value trips in the market, and this fund assists in keeping operating costs and trip prices low to you.
A priority in establishing this fund is that the experience of our traveller - you - is not compromised in any way. Please let us know via the feedback form completed after your trip if we are successfully meeting this objective.
The official currency of Ethiopia is the Birr (ETB). There are some ATMs which accept international Visa cards in the major cities. Check with your bank for information on international ATM fees. When leaving home don't forget your PIN and make sure you know the telephone number for cancelling your card if it's stolen. Keep this in a safe place. We recommend that you carry some foreign currency cash for when ATMs can not be accessed, have broken down or run out of cash. There are few problems changing money at the many banks and currency exchange facilities. Cash in USD are the easiest to exchange, although EUR can also often be exchanged. Traveller's cheques are not recommended and while some banks and five-star hotels will change travellers cheques, the process is time consuming, commissions can be high (up to 10%) and it can be difficult to change on weekends and public holidays.
The best way to manage your money in Africa is a mixture of cash and an ATM card (best to have both Visa and MasterCard).
Cash is easily changed at exchange bureaus and they generally offer the best rates.
***PLEASE NOTE: MANY BUSINESSES AND BANKS IN EAST AFRICA DO NOT ACCEPT US DOLLAR NOTES OLDER THAN 2006. IF YOU ARE BRINGING USD, WE STRONGLY RECOMMEND LARGE BILLS IN GOOD CONDITION, 2006 SERIES ONWARDS ONLY. ANY OLD OR DAMAGED NOTES MAY NOT BE ACCEPTED. IF YOUR KITTY PAYMENT IS REQUIRED TO BE PAID IN USD, IT MUST BE PAID WITH BILLS NO OLDER THAN 2006 SERIES***
EUR or GBP are also widely accepted. The South African Rand can also be used widely in countries of Southern Africa. When changing money, only use reputable authorised money exchange vendors and never anyone on the street. There are many instances of travellers being given counterfeit notes or being tricked when money is being counted out.
Some people like to carry traveller’s cheques for back up emergency cash. While traveller’s cheques are undoubtedly the safest way to carry money, they are becoming harder to cash around the world and can often result in unfavourable exchange rates and commission charges. They are no longer accepted in many locations in Kenya & Tanzania. It can also be tricky to reach banks during banking business hours which are often short in many African countries. Note: Receipts for traveller’s cheques are required by banks and money changers.
VISA AND MASTERCARD:
With ATMs being increasingly available in the many major towns and cities and even some campsites, credit or debit cards are a convenient way to access money. Throughout Africa, cards with the Visa logo are most readily recognised, although MasterCard is also accepted in most places. A charge is made for each international transaction - please check with your bank how much this fee will be. Check with your bank before leaving home that your card can be used as a debit card in Africa. You may also want to notify your bank that you are visiting Africa as it's not unknown for banks to freeze cards which show sudden transactions in other countries. If you're on a multi-country tour, your tour leader will be able to give you an approximate idea of how much money you may need for your stay in each country.
Every traveller is different and therefore spending money requirements will vary. Some travellers may drink more than others while other travellers like to purchase more souvenirs than most. Please consider your own spending habits when it comes to allowing for drinks, shopping, participating in optional activities, and tipping. Please also remember the following specific recommendations when planning your trip.
If you are happy with the services providing a tip - though not compulsory - is appropriate. While it may not be customary to you, it is of great significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels, inspires excellent service, and is an entrenched feature of the tourism industry across many Intrepid destinations.
The following amounts are based on local considerations and feedback from our past travellers:
Restaurants: Please check the bill and if there’s an addition of 10% service charge, there’s no requirement for tipping. Otherwise, 10% of the total bill amount is appropriate.
At local markets and basic restaurants: Leave the loose change.
Local guides/Porters: Throughout your trip you may at times have a local guide in addition to your leader. We suggest US$1 per person, per day for local guides/porters.
Your crew (including the leader and driver, and perhaps cook depending on your trip): You may also consider tipping your crew for outstanding service throughout your trip. The amount is entirely a personal preference; however as a guideline US$2-3 per person, per day can be used. Of course you are free to tip more or less as you see fit, depending on your perception of service quality and the length of your trip. Remember, a tip is not compulsory and should only be given when you receive excellent service.
In total, we recommend you budget approx US$5-US$10 per day of your trip to cover tipping.
Over the years we have found that many of our travellers find the need for tipping to be both tiresome and embarrassing, especially if they don't have the correct small change. To overcome this, we have established a tipping kitty system. At your group meeting, your tour leader may discuss the idea of running a group tipping kitty, whereby everybody contributes an equal amount and then your tour leader pays the tips while keeping a running record of all monies spent (except restaurant tips). The record can be checked at any time and any money remaining at the end of the tour returned to group members.
Please don't tip with coins, very small denomination notes, or dirty and ripped notes. This is regarded culturally as an insult
All departure taxes should be included in your international flight ticket.
OUR LOCAL PARTNER:
This trip is operated by Peregrine Adventures and you will be joined by other like minded Intrepid and non Intrepid travellers. Single travellers will share accommodation with another traveller of the same sex.
Maximum of 16 travellers per group.
A single supplement is available on this trip, please refer to your booking agent for further information.
Hotel (13 nts)
13 Breakfasts, 9 Lunches, 11 Dinners
Please budget for additional meals and expenses while on your trip. Our suggestion is based on past traveller feedback but you may choose to spend more or less.
On this trip you will be accompanied by 2 crew members, a Group Leader and a Driver.
Your Intrepid Group Leader’s role involves organizing the overall operation and smooth-running of the trip and managing trip logistics.
Your Group Leader will work towards making the trip as safe and enjoyable as possible for all travellers. Intrepid trips are built around the co–operation and participation of all the group members under the supervision of the group leader.
While not being guides in the traditional sense you can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the countries visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious and social aspects. We also use local guides where we think more specific knowledge will add to the enjoyment of the places we are visiting, especially when tracking and identifying game - we think it's the best of both worlds.
Our Group Leaders are chosen for their leadership skills and are wonderful ambassadors for our company and our beautiful continent and its people.
Your Driver’s main responsibility is to get you to your destination safely; they are also responsible for the maintenance of the vehicles along the way.
We endeavour to provide the services of an experienced leader and driver; however, situations may arise where your leader is new to a particular region or training other group leaders.
Debre Zeid Road
Phone: 251 11 6181313
We don't expect any problems (and nor should you) but if for any reason you are unable to commence your group trip as scheduled, please contact your starting point hotel, requesting that you speak to or leave a message for your group leader.
Please also make sure have a copy of the local operator's emergency phone numbers from our Emergency Contact section of these trip notes.
Debre Zeid Road
Phone: 251 11 6181313
Please also make sure you have access to an additional US$400, to be used when unforeseen incidents or circumstances outside our control (eg. a natural disaster, civil unrest or an outbreak of bird flu) necessitate a change to our planned route.
Visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller. The visa requirements for your trip vary depending on where you are from and where you are going. As a general rule most countries expect that you will have at least 6 months' validity on your passport. On arrival visitors may be asked to present return tickets and evidence of means to cover your intended stay.
We keep the following information up to date as much as possible, but rules do change - it's important that you check for yourself. Residents from other countries must consult the relevant embassies or your travel agent.
Most nationalities require a visa for entry to Ethiopia. Please see this website to find your closest embassy or consulate: http://www.embassiesabroad.com/embassies-of/Ethiopia. If you are flying into Addis Ababa you can obtain a visa on arrival. You'll need two passport photos and approximately US$40. You may be asked for proof of a return ticket - please carry your tour notes as proof that you are leaving overland. If you are entering at any border other than Addis Ababa airport you MUST obtain your visa in advance.
Issues on your trip
While we always endeavour to provide the best possible holiday experience, due to the nature of travel and the areas we visit sometimes things can and do go wrong. Should any issue occur while you are on your trip, it is imperative that you discuss this with your group leader or our local representative straight away so that they can do their best to rectify the problem and save any potential negative impact on the rest of your trip.
We recognise that there may be times when your group leader/local partner may not be able to resolve a situation to your satisfaction - if this is the case, please ask the leader to speak to their direct manager.
You may also choose to provide details in your online feedback, which we ask you to complete within 30 days of the end of your trip. But we do ask you to be aware that it is very difficult for us to provide any practical help after the trip is complete.
What to take
What you need to bring will vary according to the trip style you have chosen, the countries you are visiting and when you are travelling. Generally speaking you should pack as lightly as possible. On the vast majority of our trips you are expected to carry your own luggage and although you won't be required to walk long distances with your luggage (max 30 minutes).
Most travellers carry their luggage in a backpack, although an overnight bag with a shoulder strap would suffice if you travel lightly. Smaller bags or backpacks with wheels are convenient although we recommend your bag has carry straps. You'll also need a day pack/bag to carry water and a camera etc for day trips.
You can find Intrepid's Ultimate Packing List on our website. It should be used as a guide only and isn't intended to be a complete packing list.
The size of baggage that can be brought on this tour is limited by the packing space available on the truck. Different trucks have different sized packing compartments, however to be safe we recommend that your bag be no larger than 66cm deep, 30cm wide and 30cm high. The weight limit for luggage on all trucks is maximum 20kg per person. Backpacks shouldn’t have an external frame unless it can be easily removed and stored separately to avoid damaging other people’s luggage. For valuables, like passports, we offer a safe on each vehicle, that is shared by all passengers to keep their documentation safe during the journey.
You will need to bring a mixture of lightweight clothing, some warm items for the evenings, and long shirts and pants for protection against mosquitoes in the malaria areas. Clothes should be easy to wash and dry. Some people like to take jeans for evenings out but they can be tough to dry and should not be used for trekking. Avoid nylon and other synthetics, which can be very uncomfortable in hot weather. Ex-military or military style clothing and equipment is NOT recommended.
Consider bringing your own water bottle to refill along the way. We recommend at least a 1.5litre capacity. The sale of bottled water contributes to an enormous environmental problem around the world. In addition to the water in bottles, the production of a 1 litre plastic bottle takes 2 litres of water and 200ml of oil. A large proportion end up in limited landfill or discarded in waterways and natural environments.
Most of our trips have access to power to recharge batteries for phones and cameras every couple of days. We always recommend that you carry an extra battery for your camera just in case. Your vehicle will be equipped with a 12 volt “cigarette lighter” socket which may be used at the crew’s discretion, however, do bear in mind that only one piece of equipment can be charged at a time and it will not be allowed if there is a risk of running the vehicle’s batteries low. Batteries may also be recharged from hotel room wall sockets. We suggest you bring a mix of normal and rechargeable batteries and the appropriate recharging unit. Hotels and many campsites have electricity and charging of batteries is advised before checking out the following day.
Please try to avoid bringing unnecessary valuables, and use your hotel safe and the safe on the overland truck to store the bulk of your money, passport, and airline tickets. It’s also a good idea to purchase a money belt or pouch that is easily hidden.
We strongly recommend that you photocopy all important documents e.g. air tickets, passport, vaccination certificate, etc. and keep the copies separate from the originals. While not valid, a photocopy makes it very much easier to obtain replacements if necessary.
Please bring a photocopy of your passport main page and airline ticket if you will require airline reconfirmation at the end of your trip.
All Intrepid travellers need to be in good physical health in order to participate fully on this trip. When selecting your trip please make sure you have read through the itinerary carefully and assess your ability to cope with our style of travel. Please note that if, in the opinion of our group leader or local guide, any traveller is unable to complete the itinerary without undue risk to themselves and/or the rest of the group, Intrepid reserves the right to exclude them from all or part of a trip without refund.
You should consult your doctor for up-to-date medical travel information or for any necessary vaccinations and anti-malarial requirements before departure. We recommend that you carry a first aid kit as well as any personal medical requirements (including a spare pair of glasses) as they may not easily be obtained at the locations on this trip. For legal reasons our leaders and guides are prohibited from administering any type of drugs including headache tablets and antibiotics. Please ensure that you are adequately prepared.
A valid international certificate of vaccination against Yellow Fever is required in many countries. You may need to present this on arrival at the airport or border crossing. Some countries will refuse entry if you are unable to present your certificate. It's also quite common for your home country to request a Yellow Fever certificate on your arrival back home.
It is your responsibility to check with your doctor well in advance of leaving home about the Yellow Fever requirements for the countries you'll be visiting.
Bilharzia is known to occur in some of the lakes or rivers visited on this itinerary, we therefore advise all to take advice from your guide or leader locally before venturing for a swim.
Dengue fever is a known risk in parts of this country. It is a tropical viral disease spread by daytime biting mosquitoes. There is currently no vaccine or prophylaxis available for dengue, and therefore the best form of prevention is to avoid being bitten. We recommend you take the usual precautions to avoid mosquito bites.
Malaria exists in all areas of Ethiopia below 1800m and it is recommended that you consult your doctor about malaria preventative medication.
Many national governments provide a regularly updated advice service on safety issues involved with international travel. We recommend that you check your government's advice for their latest travel information before departure. Please refer to our website's safety page for links to major travel advisories and updates on safety issues affecting our trip.
We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe-keeping of your passport, air tickets, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewellery at home - you won't need it while travelling. Many of our hotels have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage.
Your leader will accompany you on all included activities, however during your trip you'll have some free time to pursue your own interests, relax and take it easy or explore at your leisure. While your group leader will assist you with the available options in a given location, please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your Intrepid itinerary, and Intrepid makes no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgement when selecting an activity in your free time. Please also note that your group leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it's deemed necessary due to safety concerns.
For more details on the type of conditions and safety standards you can expect on your trip, please refer to Intrepid's operational safety policy on our website. We recommend that you take a moment to read through this information before travelling, and would appreciate any feedback on how well it's being implemented in the field:
Please be aware that local laws governing tourism facilities in this region differ from those in your home country and not all the accommodation which we use has a fire exit, fire extinguishers or smoke alarms.
TRAFFIC AND DRIVING ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE ROAD:
Depending on where you come from please note that drivers in this part of the world may drive on the opposite side of the road from what you are used to. Look both ways before crossing any road. Traffic can be a little more chaotic than you might be used to at home. Be aware!
PETTY THEFT AND PERSONAL SAFETY:
While travelling there is always the risk of pick-pocketing and petty theft, particularly in the more touristy cities. We recommend that you exercise caution when walking alone at night and encourage you to walk together and only on main, well-lit thoroughfares. Be particularly vigilant on public transport. Simple measures like carrying your day pack on your front, not hanging your bag over the back of your chair and wearing a money belt will reduce any chance that your valuables should go missing.
You may stay at hotels with unfenced pools and no life guard on duty.
Some hotel balconies don't meet UK standards in terms of the width of the balcony fence being narrower than 10cm.
Please be aware that local laws governing transportation safety may differ from those in your home country and not all the transport which we use is able to provide seat belts.
In order to avoid fraud, it is advisable that you withdraw money from ATMs located inside banks or guarded shops during business hours only.
Carbon Offset C02-e 609.00 kgs per pax.
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