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Ethiopia in Depth

From £1999 for 13 days
Trip Overview
In the northeast of Ethiopia is the little visited region of Tigrai. Over the centuries a series of churches of differing sizes and architectural styles were carved into cliff-faces and rocky-outcrops, many still in use today. Whilst following Ethiopia’s classic northern circuit through Lake Tana’s monasteries, Gondar’s castles, the Simien Mountains and Lalibela’s monolithic churches, we get off the beaten path and explore this beautiful region in the heart of Ethiopian history.
Essential Info
Starts: Start Addis Ababa; city tour.
Ends: Fly to Addis Ababa. End.
Ages: Min 16
Theme: Discovery, Culture & Festivals
Trip Code: EAYF
Activity Level:     
Countries visited: Ethiopia
What's Included

Meals

All breakfasts Hotel meals are generally good although they can lack variety

Transport

10 nights comfortable hotels, 2 nights basic hotel, most with en suite facilities Travel by mini or coaster bus

Accommodation

Trip Highlights

•    Rock hewn churches of Tigrai and Lalibela

•    Castles of Gondar

•    Spectacular scenery in the Simien Mountains

•    Stelae of Axum

•    Monasteries on Lake Tana

Dates & Availability
Start date
End date
Price
Availability
Departing: 27th Sep 2019
Returning: 9th Oct 2019
£1,999pp
G
Availability: Good
Departing: 7th Oct 2019
Returning: 19th Oct 2019
£2,209pp
G
Limited Availability
4 spaces
Departing: 14th Oct 2019
Returning: 26th Oct 2019
£2,209pp
G
Limited Availability
1 space
Departing: 21st Oct 2019
Returning: 2nd Nov 2019
£2,259pp
G
Availability: Good
Departing: 28th Oct 2019
Returning: 9th Nov 2019
£2,259pp
G
Limited Availability
2 spaces
Departing: 11th Nov 2019
Returning: 23rd Nov 2019
£2,259pp
G
Fully Booked
Departing: 25th Nov 2019
Returning: 7th Dec 2019
£2,359pp
G
Availability: Good
Departing: 28th Dec 2019
Returning: 9th Jan 2020
£2,509pp
G
Availability: Good
Departing: 6th Jan 2020
Returning: 18th Jan 2020
£2,379pp
Availability: Good
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Itinerary & Notes
Early morning arrival in Addis. Please note that if you are being picked up at the airport (either on the group transfer or private transfer) you will have to exit the terminal to find our representative with the Exodus board. You may see people with signs inside the terminal but they are generally people with special permission such as the UN, Government or hotels with desks inside the terminal. After a leisurely morning to relax we will spend the afternoon on a site-seeing tour of Addis Ababa. We will visit the National Museum which houses some of the country’s historic treasures. The collection of fossils and bones of early hominids discovered in Ethiopia include the 3.5 million year old remains of ‘Lucy’, the oldest hominid every found. We will also visit the Holy Trinity Church, Ethiopia’s main cathedral and home to the remains of the last emperor, Haile Selassie. Finally we will visit Menelik’s Mausoleum. **Magnolia *Hotel or similar*
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TRIP CODE
ETYE

GROUP TOUR from £2749 for 13 days

HIGHLIGHTS

- Castles of Gondar
- Trekking through dramatic scenery
- Endemic flora & fauna
- Remote mountain communities
- Led by an experienced Ethiopian guide and a UK trekking leader

TRIP CODE
IYOZE

GROUP TOUR from £2325 for 13 days

HIGHLIGHTS

- Enjoy a dinner in Bahir Zaf restaurant and support a project that opened its doors to train young people in catering services, thereby generating an income and creating employment opportunities after training.
- Search for the source of the Blue Nile on a boat cruise at Lake Tana, then discover the churches and unique castles of the regal city of Gondar.
- Trek the majestic series of undulating amethyst peaks that make up the Simien Mountains, looking out for the distinctive red-hearted Gelada.

TRIP CODE
TMHE

GROUP TOUR from £2750 for 11 days

HIGHLIGHTS

- See the amazing rock-hewn churches of Lalibela
- Visit Axum, the seat of the legendary Queen of Sheba
- Explore the extensive castles and forts of Gondar
- Hike in the stunningly beautiful Simien Mountains
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Reviews
       
Poor food, worse wine, fantastic scenery, friendly people, a plethora of birds, some unique endemic species of flora and fauna, some very dodgy hotel service and the worst Exodus arrivals procedure ever because the local Exodus guide is not allowed into the arrivals area!
       
This was a busy and varied trip through northern Ethiopia. I had a great time and met lots of friendly, interesting and kind people. We bonded as a group and with our guide, which made it really special. The Simien Mountains are stunning and we got to see them from the national park, during the long drives and on the mule trek and climb up to a church in Lalibela. Our guide let us stop frequently on the long drives to take pictures, which broke up the journey and made it interesting. The unique paintings in the monastery churches in Lake Tana were breathtaking when we first saw them and the rock hewn churches in Lalibela were a true wonder. When we were there, the Ethiopians celebrated their Christmas and we experienced the pilgrimage that thousands of people make to Lalibela for the Christmas Day service. On Christmas Eve, we went up to the church in the Simiens by mule and on foot, which was dangerous and crowded coming down, but which was an amazing and unforgettable experience. We managed because of paid helpers who were mostly young lads trying to earn money for their education and I did not begrudge this at all. Also, the Ethiopians were kind, understanding and allowed us to pass safely, amazed that foreigners were there at all. In the evening, at 10 pm, some of us went to the rock hewn church of St Mary and joined thousands of pilgrims who were spending the night there, some holding candle wicks and watching the night time service. It was really atmospheric. Thankfully, we went back to the hotel to sleep. Others got up at 7 am to make it to the Christmas Day service itself and were seen in the crowd on Ethiopian tv! The accommodation was varied, some ok and some below standard. The wifi is unreliable and weak, even if the hotels say that it is available. The functionality of the plumbing, general cleanliness and availability of hot water is varied amongst all the hotels where we stayed and were the main problems. The availability of clean and functional toilets outside the hotels during the day was sparse. Be prepared to tolerate all of this when you go on this trip.
       
Overall it was an excellent trip for those who enjoy exploring history, current culture, scenery and wild life and who are happy to spend at times many hours riding in mini buses sometimes over dirt roads. Welcome from local people was genuine, some begging, some bartering but never felt under pressure to buy or give money. Mountain scenery was amazing, historic churches and pre christian sites were fabulous and with relative few visitors competing for space, views and photos. Local food was interesting and European particularly Italian options were available for those less adventurous. Tour description of climbs to some of the Rock churches and mountain walks under-estimated the toughness but were worth the challenge for those who were fit enough. Hotels generally pretty good except in Harar and there were more cash machines available than tour description suggested. We saw no sign of political unrest although aware of difficulties due to government cutting off wi-fi as several points in the holiday.
       
Kipling wrote of Burma to the effect that it was like no other country you have seen. Had he visited Ethiopia, and there is no evidence that he did, he might well have come to a similar conclusion; I did. Overall we had a very comprehensive insight into the country; taking in the fabulous and varied scenery, the religious settlements, the wildlife, food, markets and the way people live.
       
This was the most amazing holiday. Our guide Gabre was excellent. Scenery was beautiful. We had a very good driver who negotiated some terrible roads with great care. Hotels were good considering it is such a poor country,pot luck sometimes . People were so friendly, which made the holiday for us. It is cool in the evening, jacket needed.Good strong trainers or walking shoes for very uneven surfaces around churches. Ethiopian airways were excellent. Ethiopian food is an acquired taste. !! One of our most memorable holidays.
       
This was a fascinating journey through northern Ethiopia. We saw churches and monasteries galore, each one interesting for its paintings or architecture, often hewn out of the living rock. The road journeys were long but the scenery and the sheer engineering feats involved made it worthwhile. Accommodation throughout was much better than I'd anticipated; we had en suite facilities in all hotels and hot water was usually available.
       
A thoroughly enjoyable holiday with many memorable moments
       
Fascinating trip learning about a culture I didn't know much about. The West has a distinct impression of Ethiopia and is was great to challenge those ideas.
       
A very enjoyable trip in a very interesting country. Ethiopia is a fast growing and exciting country, and within Africa, a population second only to Nigeria. The infrastructure is improving fast and its mainly young population are starting to enjoy the freedoms of an education and an emerging confident country. The rural areas remain very poor, but infrastructure, including electricity and improved irrigation and transport links, mean that Ethiopia is no longer the barren, drought prone region imagined by most westerners. In fact, during the rainy season, it must be one of the greenest countries in Africa, and the people are generally very friendly and welcoming. Addis in particular is something of a building site, but most of the other towns have concrete shells intended as future apartment blocks and hotels, and there are apparently more university graduates than jobs in many areas - so the future of the country appears bright - although there are still challenges with over-population and the amount of available land for farming. Most people are still subsistence farmers, and the economy is yet to open fully (you can't own land for example), and if the population is to continue growing, more efficient methods of farming will need to be adopted. However, Ethiopia is already a generally good place to travel. The hotels are good and clean, and despite the worries of others, hot water is generally available, and most places have Wi-Fi of varying quality. The country also yet, hasn't become a tourist mecca, meaning you will not have the place to yourself, but you certainly won't be experiencing the crowds of other more well known destinations. The scenery is wonderful - I hadn't realized quite how mountainous most of the country is. We were there in the dry season, but it was clear that following the rains, when everything greens up, it must be spectacular. Ethiopia is also very culturally distinct from anywhere else I've been in Africa - things start to look very "Ethiopian" quite quickly, being a blend of Jewish, Arabic and both north and southern African, as well being close to Sudan, so it comes across as a real melting pot of cultures and ideas.
       
Amazing culture, history and scenery.
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