Lungo Local Tour Ethiopia
Summary: Eastern Ethiopia
Duration: 30 days 29 nights
Day 1 Addis Ababa
We will meet you at the airport and take you to your hotel for check-in. The first day we spend in the fascinating capital of the country: Addis Ababa. Depending on your time of arrival, we take you on a half-day or full-day city tour visiting sites of your choice. Some of the options are the Ethnographic Museum, National Museum, Trinity Cathedral, Mercato (the largest market of Africa) or the Entoto Hills just outside Addis Ababa. Overnight at hotel in Addis Ababa.
Day 2 Addis Ababa – Debre Markos, 298 km/6 hrs
After a relaxing breakfast, we leave Addis Ababa to the north. Our first stop will be at Debre Libanos and Ras Darge’s bridge. After lunch we continue towards Debre Markos, enjoying the natural beauty of the Blue Nile Gorge on the way. Late afternoon we arrive at our destination. Overnight in hotel or lodge.
Day 3 Debre Markos – Bahir Dar, 255 km/4.5hrs
It is a half day drive to reach Bahir Dar. After lunch we visit the pleasant town and its vibrant market. At the end of the day we enjoy the panoramic view and the sunset from Bezawit Hill. Overnight at hotel or lodge.
Day 4 Bahir Dar
Today we have a full-day boat trip on Lake Tana to explore some of the beautiful churches. Before we head to the churches, the boat takes us to the the source of the Blue Nile where we find many water birds and maybe a hippo. It is about one hour by boat to reach Zeghe Peninsula where we visit the most famous church, Uhre Kidane Mehret. We enjoy a walk on the forested peninsula to the other churches and might meet monkeys and beautiful birds on the way. At the other side of the peninsula, the boat is waiting and takes us to Kibran Gabriel Island (unfortunately women are not allowed) and finally back to Bahir Dar in the late afternoon. (It is possible to visit churches further afield, such as those on Dek Island). Overnight at hotel or lodge.
Day 5 Bahir Dar – Gondar, 174 km/3hrs
After an early breakfast, we drive for about one hour to reach the small village of Tissisat. Here we enjoy a lovely walk in the cooler morning hours. We cross the Nile by the 17th century Portuguese Bridge and continue the walk to the falls, meeting local people on the way. After admiring the falls, we cross the Nile by small boat to find our car waiting for us. We are heading back to Bahir Dar for lunch and proceed to our next destination Gondar. Overnight in hotel or lodge.
Day 6 Gondar – Simien Mountains, 122 km/3hrs
We will spend the morning visiting the highlights of Gondar: the Royal Enclosure, Fasilidas Bath and Debre Birhan Selassie, the church with the angel faces painted on the ceiling. After lunch we proceed towards Simien Mountains National Park encountering spectacular scenery on the way. We enjoy the sunset at our destination the Simien Lodge. (budget/ tourist class accommodation is available in Debark, a 45 minutes drive outside the park).
Day 7 Simien Mountains National Park
This is a full day visit to enjoy the natural beauty of the Simien Mountains. There are several opportunities to explore the park, on foot or by car. Depending on your interest and fitness, we choose where to go. It is almost guaranteed you will see the gelada baboon. The walia ibex and Ethiopian wolf are much more difficult to find. (It is possible to add any number of days for additional hiking in the Simien Mountains.) Overnight camp, lodge or hotel.
Day 8 Simien Mountains – Axum, 274 km/10hrs
A long, but spectacular day takes us to Axum. Just outside Debark we start our first decent down the Italian build Lima Limo road and the rest of the day goes up and down until we finally cross the Tekeze River gorge. The scenery is awesome. Overnight in hotel or lodge.
Day 9 Axum
Axum is the place where facts and legends meet. Is the Ark of the Covenant found in Axum? We take you in the footsteps of the famous Queen of Sheba and Ezana, the emperor who converted to Christianity. You will see the spectacular stelae of Axum and visit the Maryam of Tsion churches. (unfortunately the old church is not open for woman). Many more sites are available to visit or you might take a couple of hours at leisure to digest your many experiences of Ethiopia. Overnight at hotel or lodge.
Day 10 Axum – Tigray, 193 km/4.5hrs
Today we continue our journey through the breathtaking scenery of Tigray. On the way, we visit the Yeha Temple, the oldest structure found in Ethiopia in the morning. In the afternoon it is possible to visit Debre Damo, the monastery on the top of a cliff. It is only accessible by a 15-meter long rope and unfortunately for men only. When time is available, we visit the Teka Tesfai cluster of churches. Our final destination is the beautiful Gheralta Lodge near Hawzien. (budget/ tourist class accommodation is available in Adigrat)
Day 11 Tigray – Mekele, 95 km/2hrs
En route to Mekele we explore some of the little known rock-hewn churches of Tigray. Some are easily accessible, while others require a strenuous hike. Based on your fitness and interest we choose where to go. (it is possible to add additional days to explore more of Tigray.) Overnight in hotel or lodge.
Day 12 Mekele – Lalibela, 335 km/7.5hrs
A long but beautiful drive takes us to the highlight of your visit to Ethiopia: Lalibela. If the day goes smoothly and you feel energetic we might have time to visit Yemrehane Kristos church en route. Overnight at hotel or lodge.
Day 13/14 Lalibela
The 12th century rock-hewn churches are the legacy of king Lalibela. It is said his visit to Jerusalem inspired him to build the 11 churches. A full day is necessary to get a good impression of these truly amazing places of worship. There are quite a few options to spend the rest of our time. For example, a visit to the Yemrehane Kristos church or a hike to the Asheton Maryam church. On Saturday there is the weekly market in town. Maybe you want to have some time at leisure too. (it is possible to add additional days to explore more of Lalibela and the surrounding area, excellent hiking opportunities are available.) Overnight at hotel or lodge.
Day 15 Lalibela – Kombolcha, 316 km/7hrs
After a remarkable visit to Lalibela, we are on the road again. It is a full day drive to Kombolcha through mountainous area with wonderful vistas. (If you arrive in Kombolcha on a Sunday, it is recommended to add one day to you tour to visit the Bati market on Monday and spent one extra day in Kombolcha.) Overnight in hotel or lodge.
Day 16 Kombolcha – Awash National Park, 450 km /10 hrs
The long drive of today leads us through the Afar region and we are going to meet the brave Afar people. When you are lucky, you might see wild animals while traversing the Yangudi Rassa National Pass, which holds the last population of the African wild ass. Overnight camp, lodge or hotel.
Day 17 Awash National Park
This is a day to explore Awash National Park. Game drives and walks are available to encounter the wildlife and enjoy the scenery. You are likely to see beisa oryx, kudu, defassa waterbuck, Soemmering’s gazelle, warthog and baboon. The park is also a great place for birdwatchers. (If you want to explore more of the park you might add another day.) Overnight camp, lodge or hotel.
Day 18 Awash National Park – Harar, 315 km/7hrs
We are leaving the plains of the Rift Valley behind and traveling through mountainous and fertile area famous for its coffee and qat to Harar. Overnight at hotel or lodge.
Day 19 Harar
The walled city of Harar is a fascinating town to explore. We take you around through the maze-like layout of this fourth holiest town of Islam. There are many mosques and shrines to discover and it is a lively town too. The Harari market is famous. In the evening we are going to see the Hyena man, feeding the hyena by hand. Do you dare to give it a try? Overnight at hotel or lodge.
Day 20. Harar – Addis Ababa, 512 km/10hrs
Early morning drive from Harar to Addis Ababa. Overnight in hotel.
Day 21 Addis Ababa – Arba Minch
We drive to Arba Minch, passing the town of Butajira-Hossana. On the way, we visit the Tiya stone field and Gurage village. After lunch, late in the afternoon we will arrive in Arba Minch. Overnight in hotel or lodge.
Day 22 Arba Minch – Chencha – Nechesar National Park – Lake Chamo
We visit the local market in Dorze (Monday and Thursday) or Chencha (Tuesday and Saturday). Afterwards, continue driving to Arba Minch. In the afternoon, we take a boat trip on Lake Chamo to visit the “crocodile market” and the local hippos. Overnight in Arba Minch (camping, hotel or lodge).
Day 23 Arba Minch – Konso – Ginka
After breakfast, depart from Arba Minch to Konso, The Konso people are known for their wooden statues, known as wakas, which are erected in honor of dead heroes. They are also known for their innovative agricultural terracing. Today you will have the opportunity to visit a local village and the cultural museum displaying many waka statues. Time permitting, you can also visit the “natural New York Village”, named after the tall sand formations resembling skyscrapers. After the visit, we continue to Ginka via Key Afar. Thursday is market day in Key Afar, where you will see the Benna and Tsemai tribes trading goods. This is another very popular market in the region. After the visit, proceed to Ginka. Overnight in hotel or lodge
Day 24 Ginka – Mursi – Turmi
We will drive to Mago National Park to visit the Mursi and Bodi tribes. Next we will drive to Jinka. After lunch, we will drive to Turmi through Key Afar. Depending on the day, we will visit the colorful Thursday market in Key Afar, the Tuesday market in Aldabra (Demerara) or Monday market in Turmi. During the night we will visit the Hamer village in the hopes of seeing bull jumping or evangadi dancing. Overnight camping, lodge or hotel.
Day 25 Turmi – Omorate – Turmi
We will drive to visit the Dassenech tribe who live on the other side of Omo River. You will cross the river by local boat to visit their village. Back to Turmi and visit the Hamer market in Turmi (Monday), and a Hamer village. Overnight at a lodge or hotel.
Day 26 Turmi – Karo – Turmi
We visit another Omo Valley tribe, the Karo, who settled on the shores of Omo River. The Karo are agro-pastoralists and considered to be master body painters. Picnic lunch on the way. In the afternoon, arrive in Turmi- home to the Hamer tribes. Having their own typical culture, the Hamer tribes are the most welcoming, friendly and photogenic of the local tribes. Their dressing and hair style make the Hamer women very different from others. Bull Jumping-another typical culture for the Hamer man and evangadi dancing at night are some of the performances not to be missed while you visit these tribes. These performances take place during weddings and after harvesting. Overnight at lodge or hotel.
Day 27 Turmi – Erbore – Konso
Leave Turmi for the drive to Konso. On the way, visit the village of Erbore tribes who have similar culture with the Borena Oromo. Upon arrival in Konso, you will visit the Koso village and the Konsos Chief who has had a remarkable influence on dealing and solving problems for the society. Overnight lodge or hotel.
Day 28 Konso – Yabelo – Chew Bet
After breakfast, we visit “New York in Konso” which is a beautiful land formation made by erosion. Picnic lunch on the way and a late in the afternoon excursion trip to visit Elsod and the singing well. Overnight in hotel or lodge.
Day 29 Yabelo – Awasa
Check out from your hotel for the drive to Yirgalem. On the way, we enjoy the surrounding dense coffee forest. You will visit a coffee farm. Arrive in Yergalem Aregash Lodge situated in the middle of the forest. Walk around to spot many bird species. Overnight lodge or hotel.
Day 30 Awasa – Addis Ababa
Drive to Awassa to visit the fish market on the shore of Lake Awassa. On the way to Addis Ababa, we visit Lake Zeway for its bird species and fish products.Then drive via Langano to Addis Ababa. Lunch stop in Mojo. You will arrive in Addis Ababa after visiting the Crater lakes in Debre Zeit. In the evening, dinner in traditional restaurant and cultural dance. Transfer to airport for your international flight.