Mysteries of Ethiopia

Ethiopia stands at the cultural crossroads of Africa and the Middle East. Discover its dramatic landscapes and diverse cultures on a 13-day adventure. Trek into the stunning Simien Mountains, explore the rock-hewn churches of Lalibela, and introduce yourself to the residents of the progressive village of Awra Amba. In this unique country, surprises await around every turn of the dusty road.

  • Duration: 13 Days
  • Guaranteed Departure: Yes
  • For lovers of:
  • Physical rating: Average
  • Accommodation standard:   Moderate%
  • Traveller Tour Rating: 0%  
  • Your Guide: English speaking
  • Supplier Tour ID: DEHNG/155191
  • Starts: Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
  • Finishes: Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
You will Visit
  • Addis Ababa



Day 1: Addis Ababa

Arrive at any time. Arrival transfer included.
Addis Ababa, founded more than a century ago, means “new flower” in Amharic. At an elevation of 2,400m (7,874 ft), it's the third highest capital in the world and the climate is pleasantly cool. The city mixes past and present, the streets a mishmash of expensive cars, old Russian (Lada model) taxis, along with donkeys, sheep, and goats. Traditional mud houses stand not far from austere fascist architecture and private-sector banks.


Day 2: Addis Ababa/Bahir Dar

Take a late morning flight to Bahir Dar. Enjoy a guided hike to the Blue Nile Falls. The falls are some of Africa's most scenic and are known as Tis Issat, which means “smoking water.”


Day 3: Bahir Dar

Take a boat trip on Lake Tana to enjoy stunning views and visit monasteries including Ura Kidane Mehret and Azwa Maryam. In the afternoon, take a city tour with a visit to the Bahir Dar market.


Day 4: Bahir Dar/Gondar

Visit the egalitarian community of Awra Amba with a local expert. You'll learn about the unique way of life that sets men and women equally in all community, social, and labour matters. After a tasty local lunch provided by some of the community members, continue to Gondar and visit the Kusquam Castle.


Day 5: Gondar

Explore Gondar and visit Debre Berhan Salassie Church, Fasiladas's castles, bath, and gardens. Visit the Ploughshare Women Crafts Training Centre in a Falasha village where underprivileged single mothers can learn pottery, weaving, and other technical skills that enable them to make a living independently. There may be some free time in Gondar in the afternoon, where you can opt to visit the local market.


Day 6: Gondar/Simien Mountains NP

Visit the Kossoye Community where you'll learn about the staples of Ethiopian food and have an Injera making demonstration and tasting, then travel to Debark, our base for visiting Simien Mountains National Park. Relax at the scenic lodge with views of the stunning mountain ranges.


Day 7: Simien Mountains NP

Spend the day in Simien Mountains National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Enjoy guided hiking excursions around Sankaber campsite, the Jinbar waterfalls, and Chenek campsite with its scenic views and wildlife. Return to our comfortable lodge for the evening.
The scenic Simien Mountains are a good break from the busy cities. Rising high above an eroded landscape of deep gorges and valleys, they rank as one of the continent's most beautiful (and unusual) mountain ranges. A number of peaks reach well over 4,000m (13,123.4 ft), and Ras Dashen, the highest peak in Ethiopia, is one of Africa's highest mountains. Here, you can see some of Ethiopia's remarkable flora and fauna, including Gelada baboon, Walia ibex, and, if you're lucky, the Ethiopian wolf. The huge lammergeyer is also found soaring over the valleys here.


Day 8: Simien Mountains NP/Axum

Drive to Axum, Ethiopia's oldest and holiest city, which was once the home of the Queen of Sheba.


Day 9: Axum

Spend the day exploring Axum, Ethiopia's oldest city. The Ethiopian Orthodox Church was founded here in the 4th century and it remains the holiest city in the country. Visit archaeological sites and Axum Tsion church.


Day 10: Axum/Lalibela

This morning, head out for a flight to Lalibela. Upon landing, we head out to visit historical sites, including St. George Church, and other rock-hewn churches.
Lalibela is a good place to taste the local beverage, tej (honey wine) accompanied by local traditional song and dance.


Day 11: Lalibela

In the morning, enjoy a hike to Asheton Maryam, for panoramic views of the town and countryside. In the afternoon, we'll continue our tour of the second group of churches.


Day 12: Lalibela/Addis Ababa

Take a late morning flight to Addis Ababa. Opt to enjoy a farewell dinner at a local restaurant.


Day 13: Addis Ababa

Depart at any time.

    • National Geographic Journeys Exclusives: Awra Amba Community Visit and Lunch, Gonder National Geographic Journeys Exclusives: Ploughshare Women's Association Visit, Gonder National Geographic Journeys Exclusives: Community Injera Making Demonstration and Tasting, Gonder
    • Arrival transfer
    • Excursion to Blue Nile Falls
    • Boat trip on Lake Tana
    • Bahir Dar market visit
    • Guided tour of Debre Berhan Selassie Church, Fasiladas's Bath, and historic castles in Gondar
    • Simien Mountains trek
    • Visit to Axum historical sites
    • Guided tour of the rock-hewn churches of Lalibela
    • Asheton Maryam hike
    • Internal flights
    • All transport between destinations and to/from included activities
    • Hotels (12 nts)
    • 12 breakfasts, 1 lunch
    • Plane, minivan/bus, boat, walking, hiking
    Group Leader
    • Chief Experience Officer (CEO), driver, local guides
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Tour Highlights:
  • Discover rock-hewn churches in Lalibela and castles in Gondar
  • Visit the Awra Amba community and learn about the local way of life
  • Enjoy a traditional coffee ceremony at the Ploughshare Women's Crafts Training Center
  • Learn how to make injera (Ethiopian flatbread) before a delicious traditional dinner