A trip to Ethiopia that combines the north of the country with the south. In the north of Ethiopia we will get to know its historical part with a route that passes through the most important places in the region, where the Orthodox cult of a large part of the people of the Amhara ethnic majority flows on a daily basis. We will visit the city of Bahar Dar, on the shores of Lake Tana, known for its churches nestled on small islets located within the lake, or the famous Tissisat waterfalls, the sources of the blue Nile. The city of Gondar will welcome us with all its medieval buildings, castles and fortresses, declared a World Heritage Site. Lalibela will be the highlight of the trip: its rock-cut troglodyte churches make up a unique and incomparable monument. There we will be able to learn about the life of the monks who watch over the well-kept relics.
The southern region is the most intense part ethnically speaking. We will mix with the Mursis, Hamer, Karo, Dassanech, Ari, Arbore, etc. tribes, and we will live a unique experience due to its great human appeal. Likewise, we will be able to enjoy contact with the Male and Gamo population and go on a safari through the Maze National Park, one of the most unknown in the country.
This trip to Ethiopia will transport us to the time of the legendary Queen of Sheba and to primitive Africa in the 21st century.
MINIMUM GROUP 2
Guaranteed groups Vamos Africa Tours from 2 people, is a bet to offer the traveler guaranteed departures from a minimum of two people to a maximum of 12 people, and always with a local accompanying guide. We have selected some of the most authentic and desired destinations by our travelers. Best of all, they are groups designed for the Vamos Africa Tours traveler, made with our philosophy and essence. Departures throughout the year and with an important component of flexibility, which even offers you the possibility of adding trip extensions to your desired island, beach or hidden place.
Highlights of the trip to Ethiopia
DAY 01 // FRIDAY: DEPARTURE FOR ADDIS ABEBA
DAY 02 // SATURDAY: ADDIS ABEBA
DAY 03 // SUNDAY: ADDIS ABEBA – CLOSE – KOMBOLCHA (360 KM, 5-6 HRS)
DAY 04 // MONDAY: KOMBOLCHA – BATI – WOLDYA
DAY 05 // TUESDAY: WOLDYA – LALIBELA (180 KM. 4 H.)
DAY 06 // WEDNESDAY: LALIBELA
DAY 07 // THURSDAY: LALIBELA – GONDAR (290 KM)
DAY 08 // FRIDAY: GONDAR – BAHAR DAR (185 KM, 3 HRS.)
DAY 09 // SATURDAY: BAHAR DAR
DAY 10 // SUNDAY: BAHAR DAR – ADDIS BEBA – WOLAYITA SODO (FLIGHT) (340 KM, 5-6 HRS APROX)
DAY 11 // MONDAY: WOLAYITA SODO – PN MAZE – SAULA – ASHEKER – JINKA (270 KM, 5-6 HRS APROX)
DAY 12 // TUESDAY: JINKA – P.N. DEL MAGO – ALDUBA MARKET – TURMI
DAY 13 // WEDNESDAY: TURMI – OMORATE – KARO – TURMI (270 KM, 5-6 HRS APROX)
DAY 14 // THURSDAY: TURMI – KEY AFER – KONSO
DAY 15 // FRIDAY: KONSO – ARBA MINCH
DAY 16 // SATURDAY: ARBA MINCH (FLIGHT) – ADDIS ABEBA – RETURN FLIGHT TO SPAIN
DAY 17 // SUNDAY: ARRIVAL TO HOME CITY
Itinerary of the trip to Ethiopia
(B) BREAKFAST (L) LUNCH (D) DINNER
DAY 01 // FRIDAY: DEPARTURE TO ADDIS ABABA (-, -, -)
Departure from Spain according to schedules of the different airlines.
DAY 02 // SATURDAY: ADDIS ABABA (B, -, -)
Arrival at Addis Ababa International Airport. Customs procedures and visa. Reception by our correspondent after passing the baggage control. Transfer to the hotel and departure to visit the most important points of the city. We will visit the National Museum where the fossil remains of Lucy are exposed, the Church of Saint George and the famous Merkato and if there is time in the afternoon, we will climb Mount Entoto to see a view of the city from its 3,300 meters high. Hotel accommodation
DAY 03 // SUNDAY: ADDIS ABABA – SEMBETE – KOMBOLCHA (360 KM, 5-6 HRS) (B, L, D)
Early departure to head north of the country on a good paved road through the Shoa region, with its beautiful landscapes and towns of both Amaras and Oromos. The Amara have been the historically dominant people of Ethiopia, and the root of their language is Semitic, unlike the Oromo, the majority Ethiopian language group, whose root is Hamitic. Shoa is where the restoration of the so-called Solomonic dynasty originated in the 13th century, as the kings proclaimed themselves descendants of the sovereigns of the kingdom of Aksum whose origin dates back to Menelik I, son of King Solomon and Queen of Sheba.
Stop in Sembete where every Sunday a colorful market takes place where we will immerse ourselves in the colors and the bustle of people, animals, spices,… Pic-nic food. Arrival in Kombolcha. Hotel accommodation
DAY 04 // MONDAY: KOMBOLCHA – BATI – WOLDYA (B, L, D)
Early departure to Bati, one of the most interesting markets in all of Ethiopia, which is mainly attended by Oromos but also by Afars from the deserted plains of the Danakil desert. The Afar come with their camels and their loads of salt (bars of salt called “amole” continue to be the currency of exchange in some places). In the case of the Afar it is important to request permission to take any photograph. Here we will find a camel market and all kinds of cattle.
After lunch we will continue towards the most emblematic place of the Ethiopian historical route: Woldya. En route we will make stops to take some photos of the beautiful landscapes of the Wollo region. Hotel accommodation
DAY 05 // TUESDAY: WOLDYA – LALIBELA (180 KM. 4 H.) (B, L, D)
Departure to Lalibela, called the Black Jerusalem and the old Roha. Located at 2,600 m. altitude, it is undoubtedly the most impressive of the 8 Ethiopian cities classified as World Heritage Sites. It was founded at the end of the 12th century by the Zagüe dynasty in response to the progressive advance of Islam that surrounded the imperial capital of Axum and as a consequence of the occupation of Jerusalem by Saladin’s troops. They tried to create in a single city the new imperial capital and a new Holy Land, since Christian pilgrimages to Jerusalem were becoming a dangerous adventure. The new city totally evokes its inspiration with names as common as Mounts Golgotha and Sinai or the Jordan River that separates the city into two parts.
Lunch and day dedicated to the visit of the 11 monolithic churches literally excavated in the rock and divided into two blocks, separated by the Yordanos (Jordan) River. The first group symbolizes the earthly Jerusalem and the second group the heavenly one. Separated from both groups is Bete Giorgis, which symbolizes Noah’s Ark and was built in honor of Saint George, patron saint of Ethiopia. Inside all the churches there are beautiful Byzantine-influenced wall paintings, manuscripts, prayer sticks and numerous antiquities. They continue to be a place of worship mainly during religious calendar festivals. Hotel accommodation
DAY 06 // WEDNESDAY: LALIBELA (B, L, D)
Breakfast and departure for an excursion to the famous Asheten Mariam monastery that is located on a mountain of almost 4000 m. of altitude and that will allow us to appreciate an impressive panoramic view. Afternoon visit to the Yemrehana Kristos Church, 38 km from the city, undoubtedly the most beautiful of the surroundings. Back to the hotel.
DAY 07 // THURSDAY: LALIBELA – GONDAR (290 KM) (B, L, D)
After breakfast, we will leave in our vehicles towards the imperial city of Gondar, following the new Chinese highway. On the way we will visit the town of Awra Amba.
We will continue the path that runs through a mountainous area, above 3,000 m. with beautiful landscapes, until reaching Gondar. The imperial city of Gondar was for two hundred years (17th-18th centuries) the center of the Solomonic sovereigns, commercial and capital center of Christian Ethiopia. Its imperial enclosure is a monument declared a World Heritage Site (Capital of Ethiopia from the 17th century and founded by Emperor Fassilades in 1632)
Awra Amba. Visit this small community of 460 people, which was created in 1972 by Zumra Nuru and since then, the number of members has been growing. Neither Christianity nor Islam, which are the majority religions in Ethiopia, reign there. They are governed by equality. They thus break with tradition: any form of sexism is prohibited. The values on which this community is based are equality and solidarity. Domination and the search for one’s own benefit are suppressed. During the visit we will find a visitor center where they will tell you the history of the foundation of the community and the values they share. In addition, they have built a hostel and a cafeteria for tourists and other visitors. Thus they get an additional source of income. The average salary of its inhabitants is double that of the surrounding towns.
The fact that its members work together, are diligent, disciplined and self-confident makes the Awra Amba community stand out from other Amhara communities. Women have the same rights as men and there is no distinction in the division of labor between men and women. They believe in hard work and being good to people. They keep their houses and surroundings clean. Theft is seen as very obscene.
The community is ostracized as it does not belong to either of the two main religious groupings: Islam or Christianity. Therefore, members of the Awra Amba community were not given agricultural land to cultivate, but instead were pushed into the most infertile and malaria-ridden corner of the district. Unable to live off farm activities, they have diversified into the weaving business, using both traditional and modern looms. In addition, the use of three grinding mills provided by the Regional Business Development Agency allows them to offer a grinding service to neighboring farmers. With all this, the town hopes to earn more money to build potable water and sewage systems, fix access roads and create an education fund for children.
The village is unique, not only for its attitudes towards gender, religion and education, but also for the social security it provides to members in need. There are formal committees to provide services including education to care for patients, the elderly and children. They have established an adult literacy campaign, a library and a preschool classroom. Despite living in a culture that practices early marriage, the Awra Amba people have decided that girls should marry only after they turn 18, and boys at 22 or older.
The town’s success has made it the center of numerous studies. Many Christian and Muslim leaders from all over the northern Amhara region of Ethiopia and some from outside have visited the village as it is famous for its efforts to eliminate poverty.
DAY 08 // FRIDAY: GONDAR – BAHAR DAR (185 KMS, 3 HRS.) (B, L, D)
After breakfast, we will start the day with a visit to the Debre Birhan Sellassie Church, which means Light of the Mountain of the Trinity and is famous for its richly decorated walls and its ceiling full of angels’ faces. We will also visit the castles of Fasilades. In its imperial enclosure, a World Heritage Site, various sovereigns erected their castles, palaces and churches, although due to various earthquakes, looting and even bombings have destroyed a large part of its buildings. It suffered continuous attacks and looting during its decline, but today it does not cease to amaze with its buildings such as the castles of Fasilades, Iyassu, Bakaffa in the imperial enclosure, palaces and the Baths of King Fasilades, where the festival of King Fasilades is celebrated annually. the Epiphany (Timkat).
Departure to Bahar Dar by paved road (185 km). Hotel accommodation.
DAY 09 // SATURDAY: BAHAR DAR (B, L, D)
Today, we will leave early for a beautiful boat excursion on Lake Tana (the largest lake in Ethiopia) to see its famous monasteries on the islands in the interior of the lake. We will especially see the two monasteries of the Zaghe peninsula: the church-monastery of Ura Kidane Mehret and that of Aswa Mariam.
In Lake Tana there are about 20 monasteries dating from the fourteenth to the seventeenth century. The churches are covered by paintings with clear religious messages, although their base is Coptic Byzantine. Most of the paintings date from the 17th to the 19th century, with a clear influence of Ethiopian folk art, an African naif art.
After lunch we will go by car (about 30 kms) to visit the Tissisat falls on the Blue Nile. On the short walk to the falls we will pass through a Portuguese bridge built in the 16th century and an interesting Amara village.
If there is time left, we will take a walk through the interesting city of Bahar Dar, located on the southern shore of Lake Tana, with its market, alleyways, etc… To finish, we will see a beautiful sunset from the old palace of Haile Selassie. Hotel accommodation
DAY 10 // SUNDAY: BAHAR DAR – ADDIS ABABA – WOLAYITA SODO (FLIGHT) (340 KM, 5-6 H. APPROX)
(B, L, C)
Breakfast and transfer to the airport to take flight ET 187. 09:00-10:00 in the morning to Addis Ababa. Departure in 4×4 vehicles towards the south of the country by paved road to Sodo. This route allows access to a chain of fascinating historical and archaeological sites on the other side of the Rift Valley. Continue to Butajira to visit the Tiya stele field, declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO and to Wolayta Sodo. The Wolaytas are a hard-working people who own the most fertile land in the Rift Valley. Hotel accommodation
DAY 11 // MONDAY: WOLAYITA SODO – P. N. MAZE – SAULA – ASHEKER – JINKA (270 KM, 5-6 HR APPROX) (B, L, D)
Breakfast very early. Departure in 4×4 vehicles to the west to the Maze National Park, through the territory of the Wolayta and after the Gamo. The journey passes through an area little frequented by tourists that offers spectacular landscapes with forests and the false “ensete” banana, typical of southern Ethiopia.
Exploration of the Maze National Park with an average height of between 1,000-1,200 meters. The park is one of the few sanctuaries where the ‘Swayne’s hartebeest’ (Swayne’s buffalo), an endemic species of antelope in the country, is still protected. After visiting the park we will head towards Saula on a journey that will take us through an area of idyllic landscapes of the Gamo peoples, divided into different clans and each one with its specific traditions.
We will continue the road to Asheker, where the Bezo River is the border between the territories of the Gamo and the peoples of Male. There is the first village where we will visit the people of Male of the Omotic language, who live in a region with varied altitudes. The inhabitants in the highlands are dedicated to agriculture, while in the lowlands to livestock. Some women still follow the custom of tattooing their faces. After the visit, we will follow the path of the road that goes up the slopes of the mountains of Senegal, until we reach the pass that gives entrance to the green valleys inhabited by the “Ari” peoples, farmers of Cushite origin and we will visit their very well organized villages, and their decorations with natural paints. Jinka arrival. Hotel accommodation
JINKA is a city in southern Ethiopia. Located in the hills north of the Tama Plains. It is located at 1,490 m above sea level. It is one of the three cities of the “woreda” BakoGazer. It has an estimated total population of 22,475 inhabitants. It is the last big city in the south of the country.
DAY 12 // TUESDAY: JINKA – P.N. DEL MAGO – ALDUBA MARKET – TURMI (B, L, D)
Breakfast. We will leave first thing in the morning to enter the P.N. of the Magician
Winding tracks will lead us to the Mursi, an ethnic group of the Surmic family (Nilo-Saharans) characterized by the large labial and lobular plates that women wear. The corpulent and semi-nude bodies of the men are covered with symbolic or decorative paintings, scarifications, necklaces, etc. We will continue the visit to Alduba (Tuesday market) where we will find different ethnic groups such as the Banna, the Ari and some Hamer. Arrival in Turmi. Hotel accommodation
The Mursi: they speak a Nilotic language and form a group of about 4,000 people. They build villages with small huts made of branches superimposed on a precarious structure of flexible poles. They were hunter gatherers, then shepherds, and because of the endemic Tsetse fly that inhabits the banks of the Omo River and an epidemic that decimated the animal population in the 1970s, they have gradually become farmers and shepherds. They have occasional exchanges with neighboring towns, but they also fiercely defend their territory from theft of cattle and women, until recently with spears, but now with a Kalachnikov, which has become a tool everyone must carry, as a symbol of strength. . They fight regularly with the Nyangatom, and the Hamer, but they don’t get along with the Bodi who live on the other side of the river. They have initiation rites, and men must fight among themselves in the Donga (not to the death) fight in which they use long sticks and for this they paint and decorate their bodies.
Adolescent women are incised in the earlobes and lower lip where they place a clay plate, getting bigger and bigger until it is so deformed that a couple of teeth have to be knocked out for it to fit. It really has an aesthetic function and only high caste women can wear them. Everyone, men and women, shave their heads and for this reason they love razors with which men also scarify their skin. They are very proud and reluctantly accept the visit.
DAY 13 // WEDNESDAY: TURMI – OMORATE – KARO – TURMI (270 KMS, 5-6 HRS. APPROX.) (B, L, D)
Breakfast. Day dedicated to delving into other Nilotic ethnic groups of the Omo Valley. Route to Omorate where we will meet the Dassanech who build cabins with metal sheets, USAID sacks, and everything they find in the urban population of Omorate. This region is undergoing a transformation due to the discovery of oil. In the afternoon, departure to the Omo River to visit the Karo in the village of Korcho located on the Omo River, in a strategic place where the river makes a bend.
The Karo people are made up of about 1,000 people and are the only sedentary people in the area. They are seasonal farmers, herders and honey collectors. They practice fishing, which until recently was taboo and is only done by young singles. Their villages are a bit more sophisticated with well-crafted huts and barns. They get along well with the Hamers whom they hire as herdsmen and sell them sorghum. With the Nyangatom and the Mursi they always have conflicts. Physical beauty has a very important value among the Karo; the men, more presumptuous, decorate their bodies with white and ocher vegetable paints and always carry the “borkota” (a kind of head-resting stool) and a Kalasnikov with cartridge belts full of bullets. The women wear their hair in balls, wear a nail in their lower lip, and are laden with necklaces and bracelets. They are quite sociable and make a mead-type drink that they drink at parties at the end of the harvest. It can last several days and is the occasion to dance, decorate and form a couple. Like the Hamers, the young people practice the Salto del Toro, an unavoidable initiation rite that negatively stigmatizes those who fail. We will return to Turmi where we will spend the night. Hotel accommodation
The Hamer: They are an agro-pastoral tribe that occupies the southwestern lands of the Mago National Park, close to the border with Kenya. They subsist mainly on the cultivation of sorghum, millet, vegetables and some tobacco and cotton, as well as herds of sheep and goats. They usually paint their bodies in many colors and wear lots of beads. Its most significant ceremony is the “jumping of the ox” (ukuli bula) performed by young people after leaving puberty. Days before the ceremony, invitations are distributed in the form of knotted leaves of dry grass. The ceremony lasts three days, but the most important is the last. At sunset thirty bulls are lined up, and the naked young man runs towards them and jumps on the back of the first. Then he starts running over the animals, and at the end of the line he turns around and walks the other way. If the initiate falls, it is considered a symbol of bad luck.
Note: The proposals on these days of Turmi may vary according to the interest of the group. Celebration of a “ukuli bula”, some interesting event.
DAY 14 // THURSDAY: TURMI – KEY AFER – KONSO (B, L, D)
Breakfast. Continuation towards Key Afer (Thursday market) by road, where we will find different ethnic groups such as the Banna, the Ari and some Hamer. We will eat in Key Afer and continue our trip to Konso. A sedentary peasant village in a difficult and mountainous environment, they have worked very hard to build terraces on the slopes of these mountains and grow up to 28 different products. The towns are walled to defend themselves against attacks by wild animals and other ethnic groups. They have a very particular structure because in the labyrinthine interior they have comfortable public spaces for social life. They are animists and practice a cult of the dead and in some cases they embalm them for years before burying them. They also make a wooden totem pole (waga) which they place next to the grave or fields of the deceased. They really are the “civilized” frontier against the semi-nomadic peoples of the Omo River. They are good musicians, blacksmiths, potters and weavers that are highly recognized by neighboring towns. We will arrive at Konso. Hotel accommodation
DAY 15 // FRIDAY: KONSO – ARBA MINCH (B, L, D)
Breakfast. Departure to see some of the interesting Konso villages. We will leave by road (82 km) until we reach Arba Minch. In the afternoon departure to Lake Chamo. Sunset is the best time to get to know this place, through a boat trip to enjoy the beauty of the lake: with its fishermen sailing on top of fragile logs, flocks of pelicans, the occasional group of hippos and, above all, the impressive crocodiles of the Nile, whose size exceeds all imagination. Hotel accommodation.
DAY 16 // SATURDAY: ARBA MINCH (FLIGHT) – ADDIS ABABA – FLIGHT RETURN TO SPAIN (B, L, -)
In the morning we will make an excursion to the nearby mountains of Chencha (3,000 m) where the unique Dorze people live. The vegetation changes and you can see bamboo and false banana plants. Their huts are very tall with sloping roofs topped at the front in the shape of an elephant’s nose or trunk. They are good weavers and farmers and from the false banana trunk they extract a paste called “kocho” which is a very important part of their diet. The “kocho” is wrapped in large leaves and fermented for months to make it edible. From these heights there are spectacular views over the Chamo and Abaya lakes. At the indicated time, transfer to the airport to take our flight to Addis Ababa. Afternoon free to make the last purchases, until the moment of making the transfer to the airport to take the flight back to Spain.
DAY 17 // SUNDAY: ARRIVAL IN THE CITY OF ORIGIN (-, -, -)
Arrival to our city of origin and end of our services.