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Harar & the Bale Mountains
SAVE UP TO $254 on this tour

The Rift Valley and its tribes are at the heart of this journey, and we have plenty of time to explore the lakes and towns. We spend time in the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Harar where we go on a guided tour. This historic gem is also infamous for the butchers who feed the wild hyenas at night at the edge of the town. The Bale Mountains are one of Ethiopia’s best trekking areas and home to many endemic species of plants and animals; we spend three nights here to really get under the skin of the place and go in search of the elusive Ethiopian Wolf on the Sanetti Plateau.

  • Duration: 15 Days
  • Guaranteed Departure: Yes
  • For lovers of: Active/Adrenaline, Community Project, Trekking, Hiking, Local Culture & Cuisine, Historical Sites, Parks & Nature Reserves
  • Physical rating: Moderately Active
  • Supplier Tour ID: ZAO1/162961
  • Your Guide: English speaking
  • Starts: Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
  • Finishes: Arba Minch, Ethiopia
  • Age requirement: 18 +
You will Visit
  • Addis Ababa
  • Harar
  • Awash National Park
  • Lake Ziway
  • Bale Mountains National Park
  • Wendo Genet
  • Awassa
  • Arba Minch



Day 1: Addis Ababa

Border Information: If joining in Addis Ababa, you will most likely enter Ethiopia at Addis Ababa Bole International Airport (IATA code: ADD).

There will be a group meeting at the joining hotel at 6:00pm. Please look out for a note from your tour leader at the reception when you arrive giving more details about this important meeting.

The rest of the day before this meeting will be free to explore Addis Ababa and visit the city's many museums - we recommend that you arrive early (or the night before) if you would like the chance to fully explore the sights of Addis Ababa. Please note that many of the options listed below will only be possible for those with extra time in Addis Ababa before the start of your trip with us - please contact the Sales team if you would like to book pre-tour accommodation with us to have extra time exploring Addis Ababa.

In Addis Ababa we will stay in a comfortable hotel with good facilities.


Day 2: Addis Ababa

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.


Day 3: Harar

Today we will leave Addis Ababa and 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 (please note that all drive times given here are the approximate number of hours that the truck will be in motion only, and does not include any time taken for coffee or lunch stops, border crossings, photo stops, activities en route, comfort breaks, shopping stops, toilet stops, etc. The times given are approximate estimates only and whilst given with the best of intentions, the drive times are heavily dependent on traffic, road conditions, weather, police roadblocks, and many other factors - flexibility is essential on any overland trip!).


Day 4-5: Harar

Today 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.

On the following day we have a free day to explore this amazing city on your own. It is one of the most important historic sites in Ethiopia.


Day 6: Awash National Park

Today we will drive to Awash and overnight in the lovely Awash Falls Lodge. Who said Luxury was not part of overlanding! This is a stunning place to experience a great little national park.

Estimated Drive Time - 8-10 hours hours


Day 7-8: Lake Ziway

In the morning we will take a park scout out with us to explore the national park and to try to find game or just to enjoy the stunning scenery of this lovely national park.

Then we will head to lake Ziway for the night. Estimated drive to lake Ziway 6 hours

On the following day, we will take an optional 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.


Day 9-11: Bale Mountains National Park

Today we will leave Ziway and drive to the stunning Bale Mountains National Park.

Estimated Drive Time - 5-7 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 fourth-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.


Day 12: Wendo Genet

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.

During our stay here we may have time to explore the region, go on an optional walk to some nearby waterfalls, or take a dip in the nearby hot springs.

In Wendo Genet we will camp in the grounds of a small local hotel.


Day 13-14: Arba Minch

Today we will travel to the town of Arba Minch, a small town overlooking Lake Chamo.

Estimated Drive Time - 7-9 hours

On the following day we will have a free day to relax and explore the scenic area, or to take an optional boat trip on Lake Chamo to the view the crocodiles that reside there, known locally as the crocodile market.

In Arba Minch we will stay in a basic local hotel.


Day 15: Arba Minch

If you are leaving in Arba Minch, you will most likely exit Ethiopia at Arba Minch Airport (IATA code: AMH).

Today is the end day for passengers finishing their trip in Arba Minch. Please note there is no accommodation included on the trip tonight

    • Full day guided tour of the city taking in stops at many of the cities major highlights.
    • Take a guided tour for half of the day through the winding streets of this ancient city
    • Head out with a scout to explore the trails of this National Park
    • Guided hikes through Bale Mountain National Park
    • 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
    • Relax in the Hot Springs at Wendo Genet
    Tour Staff
    • 2 Dragoman crew, Local guides where necessary, 1 local crew in certain areas
    • 5% Camping - 95% Hotels
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Tour Highlights:
  • Adventure Activities
  • Community Project
  • Hiking & Trekking
  • History & Culture
  • Nature & Wildlife