Ethiopia - Historic North and Danakil

Ethiopia - Historic North and Danakil

This magnificent ride takes us through one of Africa's most beautiful areas. Old beyond all imaginations Ethiopia is a country of contrasts and extremes; a land of remote and wild places. Many people visit Ethiopia - or hope to do so one day - because of the remarkable manner in which ancient historical traditions have been preserved. And, indeed, the ceremonies and rituals of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, open a window on the authentic world of the Old Testament. In no other country is it possible to find yourself so dramatically transported back in time or to participate with such freedom in the sacred rituals of an archaic faith.

♦ The rock-hewn churches of Lalibela, considered the 8th wonder of the world;
♦ The royal buildings and beautiful churches of Gonder, a town also named the African Camelot;
♦ The jaggedly carved Simien Mountains, offering landscapes reminiscent of America's Grand Canyon;
♦ Danakil Depression known as as the “gateway to hell”.

View Route Map


Day 1. Arrival
For those arriving in the morning an optional visit to the Ethnographic Museum, Trinity Cathedral the resting place of Emperor Haile Selassie and the Mercato, one of Africas largest outdoor markets. Hotel in Addis -/-/-

Day 2. Addis Abeba - Bahirdar
Morning flight to Bahirdar on Ethiopian Airlines. .After arrival we will enjoy short excursion to Blue Nile Falls. The falls are estimated to be between 37 and 45 meters high, consisting of four streams that originally varied from a trickle in the dry season to over 400 meters wide in the rainy season.A boat trip on Lake Tana in the afternoon to visit the island of monastery of URA Kidane Mihret at Zegue peninsula. Hotel in Bahirdar. B/-/-

Day 3. Bahirdar - Gondar
Drive through the countryside to Gondar. Tour the Royal Enclosure, a UNESCO World Heritage site featuring five castles built by a succession of Ethiopian Kings beginning in the early 17th century. The city tour in the afternoon includes Gondar Castle, dubbed the Ethiopian Camelot, is not a single castle, but instead is the name given to the entire complex of six castles and palaces in the area. After that we continue to perhaps the finest of the Gondarine churches - Debre Birhan Selassie or 'Light of the Trinity'. B/-/-

Day 4. Gondar. Timket Festival (January departure)
At dawn the water is blessed and sprinkled on the participants, some of whom jump in the water to renew their baptismal vows. The second day of Timkat marks the main celebrations, with Orthodox Ethiopians from every segment of society merrily march through the streets in a riot of colour, singing, dancing and feasting. All but one of the Tabots are returned to their respective churches. B/-/-

Day 5. Gondar - Lalibela
A long drive to Lalibela through the spectacular Gaynt and south Welo high mountain districts. B/-/-

Day 6. Lalibela
We spend the day visiting the 11 rock-hewn churches cut out of a solid red volcanic rock, some completely hidden in deep trenches, while others stand in open quarried caves and a complex series of tunnels and narrow passageways. Most prominent churches in the group are Bet Medhanealem, Bet Mariam, Bet Meskel, Bet Denagil, Bet Mikael/Golgotha, and Bet Ghiorgis. Overnight in Lalibela. B/-/-

Day 7. Lalibela - Semera
Today we drive to Semera through the low and Arid land of Wollo and Afar. Late afternoon arrival in Semera. Hotel overnight B/-/-

Day 8. Semera - Erta Ale (Danakil Depression)
Early morning drive to Erta Ale (which means smoky mountain in Afar language). Erta Ale ranks one of the most alluring and physically challenging natural attractions anywhere in Ethiopia. It is a shield volcano with a base diameter of 30 km and 1km square caldera at its summit. Camels transport all the camping materials and some food, sleeping materials, mattresses,and water, to the rim of the volcano, where we spend the night watching the dramatic action of the boiling lava  B/L/D

Day 9. Erta Ale - Hamed Ela
Our trip continues to the mythical Lake Giulietti (or Lake Afrera), a salt water lake located more than100 meters below sea level, in one of the deepest depressions of the planet. We visit the salt flats where the Afar people obtain the salt by evaporating the water of the lake. B/L/D

Day 10. Hamed Ela - Dallol Depression - Semera. Fly to Addis Abeba
Morning tour to Ragad (Asebo), the place where the localities are mining salt. The workers break salt from the ground, cutting in to rectangular pieces and loading on camels. We continue to Dallol (116 meter below sea level, one of the lowest places in the world) before coming back to Semera to catch the afternoon flight to Addis Abeba  B/L/-

Day 11. Departure

Practical information: All nationalities require a full passport that must be valid for 6 months beyond the intended length of stay. Visas can be obtained prior or at arrival. The following web site, provides information about plugs and electricity in the country. January and February are the hottest and driest months. The places we will visit are high and despite the powerful sun, temperatures are pleasant.

Price Includes:
Airport transfers
all transport services during the program
8 nights in midrange hotels rooms with private bath and WC
2 days camping
all meals acc itinerary
flight tickets Addis-Bahirdar and Semera-Addis
Local English speaking guides
boat trip on Lake Tana
Penguin tour leader at 8 participants

Not Included:
International flight ticket
Visa obtained either at the airport or in advance at an Ethiopian Embassy depending on your citizenship
mineral water
alcoholic drinks and drinks off meal time
video camera fee
tips and any other expenses related to personal nature


Ethiopia - Historic North and Danakil (Rated 4.87 / 5 Based on 366 Reviews.)

No special experience is needed; everyone who is in condition to cope with long Saturday walks in the forest can also cope with these tours. As a rule, the trips are short and at a low altitude. Often, it is your choice to join or skip a day-tour. The routes follow a hilly terrain without steep ascents and descents. Normally we walk 3/5h a day.

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