Encounter the stunningly diverse landscapes and tribes of Ethiopia

Often overlooked, Ethiopia’s spectacular nature reserves and diverse tribal communities are ripe for exploration. Go off the beaten track and visit remote tribes in the Omo Valley, or take to the high road in search of Ethiopian wolves in the Bales Mountain range. Spot crocodiles lazing on the shores of Lake Chamo and explore the five islands of Lake Ziway. This is a raw and immersive journey into the hidden heart of Ethiopia.

TRIP CHANGES 2018:
• Omo Valley taken out of itinerary
• 3 nights in Harar added
• 1 night in Awash National Park Added
• 2 nights in Wendo Genet taken out and replaced with 2 nights in Awassa


Start
Arba Minch, Ethiopia
Finish
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Country
Ethiopia
Style
Basix
Theme
Overland, Wildlife
Code
YDOO
Physical rating
Ages
Min 18
Group size
Min 6, Max 22

Why we love this trip

  • Meet friendly tribespeople in the Omo Valley and learn about the many different tribal identities in the region.

  • Visit the Awassa Children's Project and see how donations get put to good use.

  • Look for the elusive Simien red fox in Bale Mountains National Park and climb the summit of Tulu Dimtu for spectacular views.

Is this trip right for you?

  • Travel from each destination to the next on one of Dragoman's purpose-built trucks, this is an overland adventure! There are some long travel days, venturing away from cities and into remote areas, but the rewards are immeasurable.

  • Dragoman overland journeys are designed to offer freedom, and many of our routes have a degree of flexibility depending on the destination.

  • Dragoman uses a broad range of accommodation on our trips from good hotels, basic hostels, family-run guesthouses, well-equipped campsites, local family homestays, or wild camping in more remote areas. Note: some routes are non-camping routes, depending on the nature of the destination. Please see the day to day itinerary for more detailed information about accommodation on the trip.

  • On a Dragoman overland trip you're more than just a passenger - you're part of the team! Everyone on the journey will get involved to help with setting up camp, pitching tents, shopping for food, and cooking. The more you put it the more you get out!

Itinerary

This itinerary is valid for departures from 01 October 2018 to 30 September 2019. Other seasons in this trip:

Border Information: If you are joining in Arba Minch, you will most likely enter Ethiopia at Arba Minch Airport (IATA code: AMH). Welcome to Ethiopia! Today is the arrival day for those joining in Arba Minch, and will be a free day to explore the town. There will be an important meeting with your crew at 6:00pm today. Look out for a note from them at the hotel reception letting you know where to meet. In Arba Minch we will stay in a basic local hotel.
Hotel for the night: Zebib Pension
Zebib Pension
Secha
Arba Minch
Ethiopia
Tel - +251 4688 14788

Activity Approximate Cost
Hire bicycles to explore the stunning surrounds of Arba Minch ETB 200
Boat trip on Lake Chamo to see the crocodile 'market' ETB 450
Visit the fascinating village of Chincha to learn all about the culture of the Dorze people ETB 100

About Arba Minch:
Meaning 'forty springs', Arba Minch takes its name from the streams found between the two Rift Valley lakes of Abaya and Chamo. The town has stunning views over the lakes and surrounding forested areas, and also has an excellent and vibrant market. Lake Chamo National Park is home to what the locals refer to as the 'crocodile market'. This is a place on the shores of the lake where vast numbers of crocs congregate, some of which reach over 7 metres in length. The lake is home to the Guji and Ganjule people who traditionally hunt hippos and are famed for their 'ambatch boats', which resemble the boats carved in the tombs of the ancient
Egyptians. 
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Today we have time for optional activities such as taking an optional boat trip on Lake Chamo to the view the crocodiles that reside there (known locally as the crocodile market) or to take bike rides around the city.
Accommodation
  • Lodge (1 night)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Today we will head north to the small town of Awassa, where we can visit the local fish market. After our visit we will head to Wendo Genet, a small town in the hills above Awassa, where we will stay for the night.
Estimated Drive Time - 4-6 hours.

Activity Approximate Cost
Relax in the Hot Springs at Wendo Genet Free
Head out on a short walk to the waterfalls near Wendo Genet ETB 100
Experience the true local culture at this fish market. If you would like to try the soup make sure you bring your own bowl! Included in Kitty

About Awassa:
Awassa is a small town near the Ethiopian city of Shashemene, and was the capital of the former Sidamo Province. During our time in Awassa we will visit the Awassa Children's Project, which promotes sensible, culturally responsible relief work aimed at assisting children primarily orphaned by AIDS, educating people in Africa's Sub-Saharan region about AIDS prevention, and offering a proactive and immediate approach towards the resolution of serious health and social issues facing the region. The project runs a children's centre that provides housing, food and education for over 60 children orphaned by AIDS, the One Love
Theatre AIDS education theatre company, and the Awassa Youth Campus community centre in downtown Awassa. For further information on the project please go to http://www.awassachildrensproject.org/.

About Wendo Genet:
Wendo Genet is a resort town in Ethiopia located near Awassa. Wendo Genet is known for its hot springs and is surrounded by primary Ethiopian forests. The Wendo Genet hotel was established in 1964, on land used as recreation site for the royal family until 1975 - Emperor Haile Selassie bequeathed its name, meaning "Wendo Paradise", in reference to the beautiful panorama with a rich endowment of forests, wildlife and abundant water.
Accommodation
  • Basic Camping (1 night)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Today we will leave Wendo Genet and drive to the stunning Bale Mountains National Park. Estimated Drive Time - 4-6 hours. We will enjoy 2 full days to explore the National Park. We will keep one day completely free to head out for optional guided walks - there are several possibilities for routes, including highland routes up the hills and moorlands searching for mountain nyalas, or lowland walks through the forest areas to look for Bale monkeys! On the other day we will drive in the truck up to the Sanetti Plateau, all the way to the second-highest point in Ethiopia (the 4359m summit of Tulu Dimtu) to explore the primeval landscape and search for Ethiopian wolves. In the Bale Mountains we will stay in dorms in a basic lodge near the entrance to the National Park.

Activity Approximate Cost
Horse/mule treks or guided hikes through Bale Mountain National Park Included in Kitty
Head up to the incredible Sanetti Plateau on a day trip with our overland truck, stopping to explore the area on foot and search for Ethiopian Wolves Included in Kitty

About Bale Mountains National Park:
The Bale Mountains National Park is situated on a high plateau surrounded by mountain peaks which soar to over 4,000 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 Ethiopian wolf, Menelik's bushbuck and the Mountain nyala. There are some 200 species of birds within the park, including 13 of Ethiopia's 23 endemic species. There are many different trekking routes around the National Park, through the forests and mountains and up onto the moorlands. The high Sanetti Plateau is accessible to vehicles, so we can also explore this high moor in our overland truck. 
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Today we will leave the Bale Mountains and head to the small town of Ziway. The following day we will take an included boat trip across Lake Ziway to Tulu Gudo Island, where we will have a short guided tour of the ancient monastery there and view some of the old religious manuscripts. In Ziway we will stay in a small local hotel. Estimated Drive Time - 4-5 hours.

Activity Approximate Cost
Take a boat trip across Lake Ziway to Tulu Gudo Island, and explore the old Coptic monastery on the island Included in Kitty

About Lake Ziway:
Lake Ziway, about 100kms south of Addis Ababa, nurtures an array of wildlife. Birds, hippopotamuses and fish roam the lake, which is dotted with five islands. One of the islands, Tulo Gudo, is home to an atmospheric and colourful old Coptic Christian monastery which is said to have housed the Ark of the Covenant in the 9th Century CE.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (2 nights)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
In the morning we will leave early and head for Awash National Park. In the afternoon we will take a park scout out with us to explore the surrounding area and to try to find game or just to enjoy the stunning scenery of this lovely national park. We overnight in the lovely Awash Falls Lodge; who said Luxury was not part of overlanding! This is a stunning place to experience this great little national park . Estimated drive time - 7 - 8 hours 

Activity Approximate Cost
Follow the scout to explore the trails of this National Park. Who knows what wildlife you will encounter?! Included in Kitty

About Awash National Park:
Awash National Park is named after the Awash river which run along the southern boarder of the park. Along the river are many beautiful waterfalls that can be viewed in multiple locations. The park is over 700 kms squared and is a hive of birding activity ranging from the ostrich to the hornbill. The volcanic landscape is also
a sight to behold.
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Today we will have a long drive east through the mountains to the ancient trading city of Harar. We will stay in a charming small hotel in the old city inself. Estimated Drive Time - 8-10 hours The following day we have a free day in ancient Harar and will have an included guided city tour of the walled city of Harar (Harar Jugol). Enjoy its colourful markets, mosques and shrines. In the evening you can visit the Hyena Men who feed the hyenas every night just outside the walls of the city. Our final day in this incredible city is a free day to explore this amazing city on your own. It is one of the most important historic sites on this trip and one not to be missed.

Activity Approximate Cost
Take a guided tour for half of the day through the winding streets of this ancient city. Included in Kitty
Witness Harar's tradition of feeding wild Hyenas by hand each evening just outside the city walls. Free

About Harar:
Harar is a walled city on a plateau in eastern Ethiopia. It is known for its winding alleyways and traditional houses with wooden balconies hanging over the street. The architecture in this city in wonderfully unique and unlike anywhere else in Ethiopia. The city has many mosques throughout as it is a Islamic city, 82 in total at the last count. Another incredible sight in Harar is the nightly feeding of Hyenas, an experience that has to be seen to be believed!
Accommodation
  • Lodge (1 night)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Today we will have a long drive West through the mountains to the capital city, Addis Ababa Estimated Drive Time - 8-10 hours. In Addis Ababa we will stay in a comfortable hotel with good facilities.

Activity Approximate Cost
Visit "Lucy", one of the oldest complete hominid skeletons ever found, at the National Museum Included in Kitty
Stroll through the Addis Ababa Mercato, one of the largest markets in Africa Included in Kitty
Visit Africa Hall, a symbol of African independence and optimism Included in Kitty
Visit the St. George's Cathedral (Giorgis Cathedral), built to commemorate Ethiopia's victory over the Italians in 1896 Included in Kitty
Visit the Menelik Mausoleum, built to serve as the tombs of emperors and princes Included in Kitty
Explore the fascinating Ethnological Museum, one of the best museums in Africa set in a former palace of Haile Selassie Included in Kitty

About Addis Ababa:
Referred to more commonly as simply "Addis", the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa lies amongst wooded hills at an altitude of about 2,300 metres, giving it a pleasant climate. Addis has many sights to offer visitors - get a fascinating glimpse into Ethiopia's many tribal groups at the Ethnological Museum, see the stunning fossil collection at the National Museum, and don't miss the chaotic bustle of the Mercato, one of Africa's largest open-air markets. All manner of arts and crafts can be found in the souvenir shops on Churchill Avenue, and there is often some excellent live music to be found in the centre of the city!
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Today we have a free day in Addis Ababa and will organise an included guided tour of the city including visiting St. George's Cathrdral, The Menelik mausoleum, The national Museum and the colourful city market. In Addis Ababa we will stay in a comfortable hotel with good facilities.
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Border Information:
if you are leaving in Addis Ababa, you will most likely exit
Ethiopia from Addis Ababa Bole International Airport (IATA code: ADD).
Today is the end day for passengers finishing their trip in Addis Ababa. Please
note there is no accommodation included on the trip tonight - please contact the Dragoman Sales team if you are interested in booking extra nights of
accommodation in order to fully explore and take part in some of the optional
activities listed below.

Activity Approximate Cost

Visit "Lucy", one of the oldest complete hominid
skeletons ever found, at the National Museum ETB 10
Stroll through the Addis Ababa Mercato, one of
the largest markets in Africa Free

Visit Africa Hall, a symbol of African
independence and optimism Free

Visit the St. George's Cathedral (Giorgis
Cathedral), built to commemorate Ethiopia's
victory over the Italians in 1896 Free

Visit the Menelik Mausoleum, built to serve as
the tombs of emperors and princes Free

Explore the fascinating Ethnological Museum,
one of the best museums in Africa set in a
former palace of Haile Selassie ETB 100

Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.

Meals

No meals are included on this tour

Transport

Overland expedition vehicle, Boat

Accommodation

Camping ( 6 nights ), hotel /hostel / lodge / cabin ( 8 nights )

Dates & availability

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Important notes

We recommend that you check your government's advice for their latest information on travelling in Ethiopia before your departure and ensure that your travel insurance covers you for all areas of your itinerary. We have links to prominent government travel advisories and regular updates on issues affecting this trip on our Travel Alerts page - www.intrepidtravel.com/au/travel-alerts

Essential trip information

Want an in-depth insight into this trip? Essential Trip Information provides a detailed itinerary, visa info, how to get to your hotel, what's included - pretty much everything you need to know about this adventure and more.

Reviews

Our Omo to Addis trips score an average of 5 out of 5 based on 1 review in the last year.

Omo to Addis , January 2017

Hermann Mueller