Visit the highlights of the northern historical route and the tribes of the Omo Valley in this comprehensive and exciting 15-day itinerary.

This itinerary is flexible , and will likely change in order to coordinate visits with market days in the south, which is a great opportunity to mingle with the local people, many of whom travel long distances on foot to attend.

After an early flight to Bahir Dar, we’ll take a boat trip on Lake Tana to visit a selection of the monasteries hidden on the islands and shores of this sacred lake. We’ll see the Zege Peninsula and the monasteries of Azuwa Maryam and Ura Kidane Mehret , as well as the island monastery of Debre Maryam near the outlet of the Blue Nile River . In the  afternoon, we’ll drive out to the Blue Nile Falls for a short hike in the area and finish our day with the breathtaking sunset over the lake.

Overnight in Bahir Dar (resort or hotel).

After breakfast, we continue north to Gondar . The four-hour drive will take you through rural villages , offering wonderful insight into the Amhara culture . After briefly settling in our hotel, we’ll explore the sites of Gondar, including a visit to the Royal Enclosure . We’ll visit Fasilidas’ Pool, still used for Timket celebrations today, the Ras Gimb Palace Museum and the Debre Birhan Selassie church , with the most famous ceiling in Ethiopia.

Overnight in Gondar (hotel).

We’ll catch an early morning flight to Axum where you’ll be met by your guide and transferred to your hotel. Today will be a full day visiting the sites of Axum, including the famous obelisks (including one that was recently erected after being returned from Italy), the archeological museum , The Queen of Sheba’s Bath (which supplies water to Axum year-round), Ezana’s inscription , King Kaleb’s tomb , King Bazen’s tomb , and The Queen of Sheba’s Palace . You can also visit the St. Mary of Zion church , where The Ark of the Covenant is kept. Although unfortunately, only men are permitted to enter the old church, and no one (except one specially chosen guardian monk ) is allowed to enter the chapel where The Ark is kept.

Overnight in Axum (hotel).

Depart on a morning flight to Lalibela , the most famous of all of the Ethiopian historical sites. After lunch, start your tour of the rock-hewn churches of Lalibela, visiting the Northwestern Cluster of churches: Bet Medhane Alem , Bet Maryam , Bet Meskel , Bet Danaghel , Bet Mikael and Bet Golgotha.

Overnight in Lalibela (hotel).

In the morning, we’ll visit the church of Yemrehanna Kristos , the most popular of the churches outside of Lalibela , built with layers of wood and granite and set in the entrance to a large cavern. After the visit, we’ll return to Lalibela for lunch and, in the afternoon, visit the Southeastern Cluster of churches : Bet Gabriel-Rufael , Bet Merkorios , Bet Amanual, and Bet Abba Libanos .

Finally, you will visit the most  famous of all the churches, Bet Giyorgis ,
constructed in honor of the patron saint of Ethiopia, Saint George.
Overnight in Lalibela (hotel).

In the morning, we’ll proceed to the airport for our return flight back to Addis Ababa . After arrival, we’ll depart south from Addis Ababa to Awassa .
On the way, we will stop at Lake Ziway to visit the vibrant birdlife.

Overnight in Awassa (hotel).

In the morning, after breakfast, we’ll pay a visit the fish market on the shores of Lake Awassa and then proceed driving to Dorze , set in the highlands above Arba Minch . The Dorze people are known for their tall beehive-like houses and their fine cotton weaving. You will visit the village and learn about the daily lives of these industrious people. We will visit a market if one is on.

Overnight in Dorze (traditional Dorze hut with shared toilet facilities), or Arba
Minch (camping, hotel or lodge).

In the morning, we’ll visit the local market in Dorze (Monday and Thursday) or
Chencha (Tuesday and Saturday). Afterwards, we can continue driving to Arba
Minch . In the afternoon, we’ll take a boat trip on Lake Chamo to visit the
‘ crocodile market ’ and the local hippos .

Overnight in Arba Minch (camping, hotel or lodge).

After breakfast, we’ll depart from Arba Minch to Turmi . Passing through the
village of Weyto on the way, which is home to the Tsemai tribe . We continue through the Weyto Valley to Erbore , where you will have a brief visit
to a local Erbore village . Finally, we’ll proceed to Turmi , home of the Hamer tribe . At night, you can see the traditional night dancing of the Hamer tribe, known as evangadi .

Overnight in Turmi (camping, hotel or lodge).

In the morning, we take a day-trip to Omorate to visit the Dassenech tribe ; you’ll will cross the Omo River by local boat and enter a Dassenech village . Afterwards, we return to Turmi for a visit to a local Hamer village . If we are lucky, we may see a traditional Hamer coming-of-age ceremony called the ‘ Jumping of The Bulls ’.

Overnight in Turmi (camping, basic hotel or lodge).

Depart for Jinka , via Dimeka and Key Afar . Tuesdays and Saturdays are market days in Dimeka , which is one of the most colorful markets in the area and is visited by many tribes, including Hamer , Benna and Karo .

Overnight in Jinka (camping, hotel or lodge).

In the morning, we’ll drive through the Mago National Park to a local village of
the Mursi tribe . The Mursi are known for their lower lip and earlobe plates. In the afternoon, after returning to Jinka , you can visit the South Omo Museum & Research Center to learn more about the local tribes. Alternatively, we can
arrange to take a hike in the surrounding hills and visit a local Ari village .

Overnight in Jinka (camping, hotel or lodge).

After breakfast, we’ll depart from Jinka to Konso , 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.

The rest of this day will be spent visiting the Konso people , in their village which has recently been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site.

A highland people, the Konso are known for the wooden statues, known as wakas, which are erected in honor of dead heroes as well as their innovative agricultural terracing.

Today you will have the opportunity to visit a local village and the cultural museum displaying many waka statues . If there is enough time, we can also visit the natural ‘New York Village’ , named after the tall sand formations resembling skyscrapers.

Overnight in Konso (camping, hotel or lodge).

After breakfast, we’ll depart from Konso to Lake Langano . On the way you will
visit the Senkele Wildlife Sanctuary , which was established to protect the
endemic swayne’s hartebeest . We’ll then continue on to Lake Langano.

Overnight at Lake Langano (camping or lodge).

After your morning swim in the lake, we’ll depart north to Addis Ababa . On the
way, you may visit the Abiata-Shala National Park . Lake Shala , with its deep blue waters, is the deepest lake in Ethiopia at 236m. Lake Abiata is a soda lake at which thousands of flamingos can be seen at various times of the year.