Ethiopia – Land of Contrast
- Small and exclusive group
- A diverse and dynamic expedition like no other
- Highly knowledgeable and English-speaking guide
- Visit the most beautiful and unique places of Ethiopia
- Expert supervision from Wild Eye photographer and expedition leader.
- Unique experience of sitting with gelada baboons and searching for the Walia Ibex in the Simien Mountains
- Explore the holy city of Axum
- Explore the Gheralta Mountains and the hidden churches within
- Camp in the lowest point in Africa, visit the Sulphur lakes and the volcanoes in the surrounding areas of the Danakil Depression.
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Vacation Style Holiday Type
Activity Level Challenging
Group Size Medium Group
An adventure would simply not do this journey from Ethiopia’s highest peaks to its lowest depression. A conglomerate of the stunning peaks of the Simien mountains and the endemic animals found within, the churches and mountains of Gheralta to the Danakil depression. Few safaris in the world combine such unique wildlife, landscapes and history.
Our journey start with a visit to the famous remains of the hominid known as “Lucy” in the national museum. After this we fly to Gondar where our 4x4’s carry us high into the Simien mountains where over the course of three days we spend quality time with Gelada Baboons that are completely habituated and allow you to wo der these huge families at ease. Enjoy their antics and photograph these fascinating animals until your hearts content. We will also be spending time in the higher parts of the Simien Mountains searching for the Walya Ibex. With only 500 left it is a true privilege to spend time with this endemic species.
From the Simein mountains we travel through mountain range after mountain range and through the ancient city of Axum where we explore its old structures and learn of its significance. Axum is said to be the resting place of the arc of the covenant. It also has the ruin palace of the queen of Sheba, which thought to be the residence of the 6thcentury Axum nobles according to the current archaeological evidences.
After Axum we travel to the Gheralta mountains in the Tigrai region and visit the extraordinary churches that are carved into the sandstone cliffs.
Lastly, we visit one of the lowest points on earth. The Danakil Depression. Here we move between the long camel salt caravans that head into the depression to collect salt, the beautiful blue and yellow sulfur lakes and the Erta Ale Volcanic hills where we will view one of the most dramatic lava flows on earth. Rounding off this truly unique, diverse and dynamic adventure!
Arrive at Bole international airport and meet our representative and transfer to your hotel. If you arrive in the morning, you will have half day city tour of Addis Ababa that includes the National Museum that comprises of many archaeological and historical findings including the famous complete hominid fossil remain of ‘Lucy’. The Merkato is also an option and is the largest open-air market in Africa. Overnight at Golden Tulip Hotel.
Fly to Gondar and drive to Simien
After breakfast, transfer to the airport and fly to Gondar. On arrival meet your drivers and head to Sankaber- the headquarters of Simien Mountains National Park- passing rural villages and crossing mountain passes with stunning vistas. The spectacular highlands of Simien Mountains National Park are a haven for endemic and endangered species and our photographic targets here are without a doubt the magnificent Waalia Ibex and incredible Gelada Baboon. These verdant moorlands encompass the largest single area of Afro-alpine habitat in the world, forming ”an island of mountains in a sea of lowlands”, truly a photographer’s dream destination.
Spend the afternoon walking near your lodge to spot troops of the endemic Gelada baboon and appreciate the breath-taking scenery.Overnight at Simien lodge.
The next two days will be spent exploring and photographing the legendary Simien Mountains and its unique inhabitants. The landscape in the area is remarkably picturesque with panoramic vistas overlooking the deep gorges of the Escarpment. Overnight at Simien Lodge.
Drive Simien Mountains NP- Axum
In the morning drive to Axum – the earliest Capital of Ethiopia, crossing the beautiful Tekezze River Gorge. On the way enjoy the beautiful land scape. Overnight at Sabean Hotel or similar.
Drive to Gheralta
In the morning you will havea sightseeing tour of Axum that includes visiting the archaeological museum, the stele park where the giant monolithic steles are erected, the church of Tsion Mariam where the original arc thought to be rested, the ruin palace of the queen of Sheba, which thought to be the residence of the 6thcentury Axum nobles according to the current archaeological evidences. And finally visit the tombs of the king Kaleb and his son Gebre Meskel, the kings of Axum in the six-century and Ezana’s inscription written in three languages, Ge’ez, Greek and Sabean.
In the afternoon you will drive to Hawzen and on the way visit Yeha which is the 5th century B.C imposing ruins of Yeha’s temple; also called the temple of moon. The temple is believed to be the oldest standing building in the country. Overnight at Gheralta Lodge.
In the morning we will make our way towards Mariam Korkor church, which is one of the biggest rock churches of Tigrai. It is located 8Km (20Min drive) from the lodge and involves additional 1hr climb. While climbing up to the church you will enjoy the panoramic view of the Hawzein plain to the north and the east and the far off to the west. In the afternoon, if you have the energy, you will have another excursion to Yohannes Maikudi, which is situated southeast of Debre Tsion. It is described as the most interesting and memorable church dedicated to Yohnnes. Overnight at Gheralta Lodge or similar.
Drive to Hammed Ella
In the morning you will drive to Agula and continue driving to Hamed Ella passing through the beautiful Tigre villages and the escarpment of the Afar depression commonly known as the cradle of mankind. On our drive we will encounter long camel caravans going to the traditional salt mining. After lunch you will visit the salt lake of Asale and discover how people get salt in traditional ways. Overnight Camping at Hamed Ella (full camping gear will be provided)
Excursion to Dallol
In the morning, drive to one of the lowest points on earth, Dallol (116 meters below sea level) to see the wonderful and colorful formation of sulfur and phosphorus. Dallol has exceptionally magnificent landscape including the sulfur bed and Lake Asale, which is the lowest point in Africa (less than 126 m below sea level). Overnight Camping at Hamed Ella (full camping gear will be provided)
Drive to Ertale
In the early morning drive to Ertale. On arrival at Dodom, continue walking to the Erta Ale Volcanic hills (613 meters above sea level) and visit the most spectacular lava lakes on earth. Erta Ale, meaning the smoking Mountain, is famous for being the longest existing lava lake. You will spend the evening visiting and photographing the volcano.Overnight Camping at Erta Ale (full camping gear will be provided). Overnight Camping at Erta Ale (full camping gear will be provided).
Drive to Mekelle and fly to Addis Ababa
In the morning continue visiting the volcano and walk down to Dodom where you can have breakfast, after breakfast dive to Mekele via Abala. Take late afternoon fligjht to Addis Ababa. Evening departure
Dates & Prices
All dates are confirmed. Prices are quoted per person.
|February 8 - 18, 2021||Sold out|
|Guide: Andrew D|