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15 Days Omo Valley Tribes Safari Tour with Boat Trips and Blue Nile Falls Visit in Ethiopia

The Mosaic Hotel, Bole Medhanialem, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Exhilarating Safari Tour Ethiopia

This tour combines an itinerary of nature, culture, and history. On the Danakil tour, you will experience the desert life, salt miners, the long line of camel caravans, the colorful sulfur of Lake Dalol, the active volcano of Erta Ale, trekking around the desert community, etc. Then, you’ll go to the Rock-Hewn Lalibela to visit the Monolithic Lalibela churches. The trek to the Simien Mountains can be taken as a big opportunity to experience the safari tour. The trek will include a visit to the top view of the mountains, a visit to the Chelada baboons, the walia ibex in which both are endemic to Ethiopia, the Jinbar Waterfall, etc. The tour will continue to Bahir Dar (the lakeside city) to visit the 1000-year monasteries, the Blue Nile Falls, and then to the south. Come to experience this exhilarating safari!

Overview

  • Starting point and ending point: The journey starts and ends in Addis Ababa.
  • Main wildlife to be viewed: Hippos, crocodiles, Chelada baboons, walia ibex, and birdlife
  • Group size: minimum of 3 persons required

Highlights

  • 2 Lake Chamo and Tana boat trips
  • See the hippos, crocodiles, Chelada baboons, walia ibex, and birdlife
  • Cultural visits and tours in Blue Nile Falls, Danakil, Lalibela, Gonder, and Bahir Dar
  • Surface transport expense with four-wheel drive Land-Cruiser
  • Breakfasts, lunches, dinners, and drinks
  • All entrance fees and licenses
  • 14 nights’ accommodation
  • Airport transfers

Styles


15 activity days
Airport transfer included: Bole International Airport
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Accommodation

You will be accommodated in various accommodations provided by Tobia Hagere Tour and Travel Agency PLC. The accommodations will be at The Mosaic Hotel on day one and ten, a campsite at Lake Afdera on day two, camps at Erta Ale on day three and Hamed Ela on day four, Planet Hotel on day five, and Lalibela Lodge on day six. Moreover, you will be staying at a camp Sankaber on day seven, Goha Hotel on day eight, Grand Resort and Spa on day nine, Paradise Lodge on day eleven, fourteen, and fifteen, Buska Lodge on day twelve, and Jinka Resort on day thirteen.

Program

Day 1: Arrive in Addis Ababa

You will arrive in the sunny city of Addis Ababa. Upon your arrival, the driver and guide will wait for you at the airport holding a sign of your group name written on it so that you can easily spot him. They will transfer you to the hotel and right after your check-in, the guide will explain the tour details in brief. This day, you will have a welcoming coffee ceremony in the hotel. Based on your arrival time, you are going to visit places in Addis.

  • Overnight: The Mosaic Hotel

Day 2: Addis Ababa to Mekele

You will take the first morning flight from Addis to Mekele departing at 07:00 and arrive in Mekele at 08:15 to join the tour directly from the airport. You will start your tour into the Danakil to Erta Ale, the famous volcano with its bubbling lava lake and the rare possibility of experiencing the nomadic tribe living in this desert - the Afar people, survivors, and warriors in the hottest and one of the lowest places on earth. Today, you will drive from Mekele to Lake Afdera. The Danakil Depression can be said to ‘begin’ here. It is one of the most spectacular and also absolutely inhospitable regions of the world.

Today will be a 4-hour drive on an asphalt road (220 kilometers) with a few stops, for instance, having a coffee with the locals and lunch prepared by your own cook. The landscape starts to become more and much drier and less and less inhabited; you will be passing the odd local on the way, but not many people are to be seen. You will reach the local village Afdera, a 15-minute walk from the Lake Afdera, around 16:30, and have a stop there to explore it and yet another coffee or coke with the inhabitants.

After that, you will continue your journey to the ending point of today: Lake Afdera where is also your campsite. Meanwhile, the sun is setting we go for a swim, floating on the surface of the salt lake and enjoying the nearby hot springs, experiencing an incredible view. Dinner and a campfire before falling asleep right underneath a star-full nightly sky with thousands and thousands of stars will brighten up your dreams.

  • Overnight: A campsite at Lake Afdera

Day 3: Drive to Dodom and trek to Erta Ale

Today’s aim will be first Dodom ('tree planting') - the base of the Erta Ale volcano and later at night, Erta Ale itself. After a breakfast at 10:00 at the lake, there will be a 70-kilometer drive on a sandy ground and over cold lava rocks. On the way, you will visit the salt miners which are local Afar people. They pump salt water over the surface and let it evaporate to create a salt crust. Lunch will be served in Dodom Village surrounded by many local people. Here, you also have to show your permission to climb Erta Ale ('the smoking mountain') and get the needed camels for transporting the goods and more scouts.

Dinner time will be already at 17:00-ish since you have to start trekking up to the volcano around 18:00 to 19:00. Dodom is approximately 8.5 kilometers away from Erta Ale and this stretch will take about three hours of trekking. Camels will transport all the camping materials and some food to the rim of the volcano where you will spend the night watching the dramatic actions of the boiling lava. The Volcano is 613 meters high. The lava lake contains actually two caters, one of them, the northern one, is inactive with no Magma. It is notable for being the longest existing lava lake on this planet.

Erta Ale ranks as one of the most alluring and physically challenging natural attractions anywhere in Ethiopia. It is a shield volcano with a base diameter of 30 kilometers and one kilometer square caldera at its summit. The volcano contains the world’s only permanent lava lake. You will then set your camp a little bit away from the rim on the other side of the wind so you won’t have to inhale the toxic gases. After enjoying this great, special, sometimes smelly, sometimes loud and hot experience, you will overnight in your camp, again with a brilliantly shining night sky.

  • Overnight: A camp at Erta Ale

Day 4: Sunrise at Erta Ale and trek down Erta Ale to Dodom to Hamed Ela

For enjoying the very special sunrise (at 06:00), you have to get up early but you will see that it is of course very well worth it. A short stroll will take you to the northern crater; from here, you will descend around 07:00 in the direction Dodom which you will reach after two hours. Here, breakfast will be served and you may have some time to relax. You will start your drive to Hamed Ela, your next destination - 100 kilometers / 7 hours). Lunch will be served en-route and you will reach Hamed Ela at around 16:30, a bigger village with a total population of about 500. Lake Asale (lake 'Red Mountain'), a huge salt lake, is in walking distance where you will take a deep breath and a wine or beer for sunset, taking in the many reflections. Your tonight camp will be in Hamed Ela.

  • Overnight: A camp at Hamed Ela

Day 5: Hamed Ela to Dallol to Mekele

You will get served an early breakfast at 06:00 and around 07:00, you will start driving the short distance (approximately 30 minutes) to Dallol ('a colorful place') via Asebo ('the salt desert') where - you can guess it - they mine salt. 1,200 kilometers square of the Afar Depression is covered by salt. You can watch the workers breaking the salt from the ground, cutting it into rectangular pieces and loading it onto camels.

The caravans start here. This is also the lowest point of the Danakil - 116 meters. You will continue driving ahead to Dallol and stroll through the different landscapes formed by volcanic activities. Incredible, moon-like, colorful creations of the sulfur and huge salt mountains are to be found here. From here, you will proceed to Mekele (180 kilometers around four hours), leaving the lowland and make your way up (Mekele is situated at 2,100 meters), having wonderful mountains on your side, reaching civilization at around 17:00.

  • Overnight: Planet Hotel

Day 6: Mekele to Lalibela (full day visit)

You will take the morning flight from Mekele to Lalibela to spend more time. Upon arrival, you will be picked up by the driver and start the Lalibela Churches visit right after checking-in to the hotel. This day, you will visit the Lalibela Churches which are located north of a small stream named Jordan River. These Churches were carved during the time of King Lalibela (1181 - 1221) and are registered by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.

In the afternoon, you will have an excursion trip to the cave-built up a church of Ne’akuto Le’ab (13th Century AD) which is famous for its wide collection of ancient crosses, manuscripts, and icons. If this day is Saturday, you can spare some time at the interesting weekly market of Lalibela. In the city of Lalibela, you will see about Eleven Rock Churches organized into groups of three. The churches are:

  • Biete Medhane Alem
  • Biete Maryam
  • Biete Golgotha Mikael
  • Biete Maskal (House of the Cross)
  • Biete Denagel (House of Virgins)
  • Biete Giyorgis
  • Biete Amanuel
  • Biete Qeddus Mercoreus
  • Biete Abba Libanos (House of Abbot Libanos)
  • Biete Gabriel-Rufael
  • Biete Lehem (Bethlehem Hebrew: בֵּית לֶחֶם, House of Holy Bread).

This night, Tobia Hagere Tour and Travel Agency PLC will reserve your dinner at the beautiful Ben Abeba Restaurant.

  • Overnight: Lalibela Lodge

Day 7: Lalibela to Gondar to Debark to Sankaber (a day trip to the Simien Mountains)

You will wake up in the morning at 07:30 and have breakfast in the hotel and transferred to the airport and fly to Gondar. Upon your arrival in Gondar, you will be picked up from the airport and depart to the Simien Mountains. You will drive from Gondar to Debark. Here, you will obtain a permit from the park headquarters and collect your obligatory scout before continuing to Sankaber (3250 meters ASL) for the first overnight camp. An early start is needed as the drive from Gondar will take for two to three hours. The trek will begin at Buytras (Simien Lodge), taking about three to four hours to walk to the Sankaber campsite is usually possible. During the walk, there will be a good chance of seeing your first Gelada baboons.

  • Overnight: Camping at Sankaber

Day 8: Sankaber to Jinbar Waterfall to Gondar

In the morning of day two, you will walk to Geech via the spectacular Jinbar Waterfall. The trek will take approximately three to four hours. After descending down to the Jinbar Wenz (which feeds the waterfall), a short ascent remains to Geech Village and then trek back to the point to meet the car. You will drive back (about three hours) to Gondar and arrive there around 17:30. After check-in and have a short break, Tobia Hagere Tour and Travel Agency PLC can take you to the traditional restaurant four sisters hotel. There, you can enjoy the food and music.

  • Overnight: Goha Hotel

Day 9: City tour of Gondar and go to Bahir Dar

You will have to wake up in the morning and then have breakfast in the hotel and start your city tour of Gondar at 08:00. Among the dozen edifices found on the precinct of the royal compound, the earliest of the castles was created by Fasilidas himself and is still in such an excellent state of repair that it is still possible to climb its stairs all the way to the roof which commands a breathtaking view over much of the city.

It is enough time if you can stay in Gondar until 15:00 or 15:30. Then, you will drive to Bahir Dar for about three or three and half hours. You will arrive around 19:30 and transfer to the hotel. This night, you can go out for dinner and walk after a short break or stay in the hotel. Bahir Dar is a beautiful lakeside city for a walk.

  • Overnight: Grand Resort and Spa

Day 10: Boat trip on Lake Tana and Blue Nile Falls visit (Bahir Dar to the Blue Nile Falls to Lake Tana to Addis Ababa)

You will be picked up from the hotel in morning at 07:30 to go to the Blue Nile Falls. The afternoon will be hot to go to the falls so it would be better to do it in the morning. You will start your tour with Blue Nile Falls visit. About 30 kilometers after Blue Nile Falls, there exists Lake Tana that plunges over a 45-meter high rock face to form one of Africa's most spectacular waterfalls. Lake Tana with the surface area of 3673 square kilometers is the largest lake in Ethiopia. Besides being the source of the Blue Nile, Lake Tana is renowned for its varied birdlife as well as housing on its islands and peninsulas more than 20 monastic churches most of which were founded in or before the 15 the century and are still in service today.

In the afternoon, you will start the day by a boat trip on Lake Tana to visit the island monasteries such as those on the Zege Peninsula and Kibran Gabriel (not allowed for women and many other thousand year monasteries) - about three to four churches on Lake Tana. You will finish the Bahir Dar trip around 17:00. The last flight to Addis will depart from Bahir Dar at 20:40 and arrive in Addis at 22:05. Since you have time, you will be taken to the view side to see the sunset. You can also have dinner until 18:40. Finally, Tobia Hagere Tour and Travel Agency PLC will transfer you back to the airport.

  • Overnight: The Mosaic Hotel

Day 11: Addis Ababa to Arba Minch

You will wake up morning around 08:00 and have breakfast at the hotel and visit some part of Addis before your Arba Minch flight time. Your flight will depart from Addis at 13:25 so it is enough if you can arrive at the airport at 12:00.

National Museum

It comprises many archaeological and historical findings including the famous complete hominid fossil remain of “Lucy” locally known as “Dinkinesh” meaning wonderful. The Museum offers a comprehensive overview of the country's natural, political, and art histories. Visitors can easily spend a full morning or afternoon here soaking in the "edutainment." A cast of the bones of the Australopithecus afarensis Lucy are here of course, but so is the throne of Emperor Haile Selassie, traditional tools and textiles, and displays about Ethiopia's different tribes. It's worth it to engage one of the Museum's guides on a tour.

Merkato

This is the greatest open-air market in East Africa. Here, you will be presented with confusing, but fascinating, glimpse of the vast range of goods and artifacts available from all parts of the country and you will enjoy the Ethiopian trade exchange tradition in the open air, you can purchase anything you desire.

Finally, you will be transferred to the airport and fly to Arba Minch. Upon your arrival, the driver will pick you and transfer you to your hotel or directly proceed driving to Dorze which is 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. If today is the market day (in Dorze Village on Monday and Thursday and in nearby Chencha on Tuesday and Saturday), that will be visited.

  • Overnight: Paradise Lodge

Day 12: Arba Minch and drive to Turmi

In the morning, you will take a drive to Turmi to visit the Hamer Village and Dassenech tribe. Here, you will cross the Omo River by local boat and enter a Dassenech Village. Afterward, you will return to Turmi (Monday is the market day) for a visit to a local Hamer Village. If there is jumping of the bulls traditional hammer coming-of-age ceremony, that will be visited.

  • Overnight: Buska Lodge

Day 13: Mursi Village visit (Turmi to Mursi to Jinka)

In the morning, you will 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, you may take a hike in the surrounding hills to visit a local Ari Village.

  • Overnight: Jinka Resort

Day 14: Dimeka Market visit (Jinka to Arba Minch)

You will depart to Arba Minch from 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. Afterward, you will continue to Arba Minch.

  • Overnight: Paradise Lodge

Day 15: Boat trip on Lake Chamo and fly back to Addis (Arba Minch to Addis Ababa)

You will wake up in the morning around 07:30 and have breakfast and start your last day visit in Arba Minch. In this morning, you will depart to Arba Minch for a boat trip on Lake Chamo to visit the “crocodile market” and the local hippos, enormous crocodiles, and possibly even hippopotamus before returning to the airport. The driver will drop you off at the airport fly back to Addis.

You will arrive back in Addis at 16:35. In this night, Tobia Hagere Tour and Travel Agency PLC will arrange you a goodbye farewell dinner before you will be transferred to the airport at a traditional restaurant with cultural food and traditional dance. Finally, you will be transferred to the airport and fly back home.

Included excursions

  • A chance to attend jumping of the bulls traditional hammer coming-of-age ceremony
  • An excursion trip to the cave-built-up church of Ne’akuto Le’ab (13th Century AD) on day 6
  • Blue Nile Falls visit on day 10
  • Day trip to Simien Mountains on day 7
  • Dimeka Market trip on day 14
  • Dorze Village tour in the highlands above Arba Minch on day 11
  • Lalibela Churches visit on day 6
  • Merkato tour in Addis Ababa on day 11
  • National Museum tour in Addis Ababa on day 11
  • See about Eleven Rock Churches on day 6
  • The Hamer Village and Dassenech tribe visits on day 12
  • The salt miners visit on day 3

Location

This safari tour will cover several places in Ethiopia. The places include Addis Ababa, Mekele, Dodom Village, Erta Ale Mountain, Hamed Ela, Lalibela, and Simien Mountains (Sankaber). Others are Jinbar, Gondar, Bahir Dar, Lake Tana, Blue Nile Falls, Arba Minch, Turmi, Mursi, Jinka, Dimeka Market, and Lake Chamo.

Food

The following meals are included:

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
  • Drinks

The following drinks are included:

  • Water

The following dietary requirement(s) are served and/or catered for:

  • Regular (typically includes meat and fish)
If you have special dietary requirements it's a good idea to communicate it to the organiser when making a reservation

Things to do (optional)

  • A hike in the surrounding hills to visit a local Ari Village on day 13
  • The South Omo Museum & Research Center visit on day 13

What's included

  • 2 boat trips on Lake Chamo and Lake Tana
  • The salt miners visit
  • Lalibela Churches visit
  • An excursion trip to the cave-built-up church of Ne’akuto Le’ab (13th Century AD)
  • See about Eleven Rock Churches
  • Day trip to Simien Mountains on day 7
  • Blue Nile Falls visit
  • National Museum tour in Addis Ababa
  • Merkato tour in Addis Ababa
  • Dorze Village tour in the highlands above Arba Minch
  • The Hamer Village and Dassenech tribe visits
  • A chance to attend jumping of the bulls traditional hammer coming-of-age ceremony
  • Dimeka Market trip
  • Transport using the latest model Toyota with an air-conditioner
  • Experienced English-speaking driver
  • Local guide service
  • Scout and police service throughout the Danakil tour
  • Experienced cook throughout the Danakil tour
  • Cooking and camping equipment for the Danakil and Simien Mountains part
  • Transfers at Addis Ababa Bole International Airport (ADD)
  • Round trip domestic flight ticket only if your international flight will be via Ethiopian Airlines
  • Surface transport expense with four-wheel drive Land-Cruiser including fuel expense and drivers allowance
  • Non-alcoholic beverages with meals and plenty of bottles of water for the trip
  • Breakfasts, lunches, and dinners throughout the tour
  • 14 nights’ accommodation
  • All entrance fees and licenses as per the program
  • All government taxes and VAT

What's not included

  • Any alcoholic drinks
  • Any videographer or camera fee needed
  • Laundry service
  • Any expense of personal items like the internet, fax, and telephone
  • Services which are not mentioned in the above section

How to get there

Recommended Airports

Arrival by airplane

Please book your flight to arrive at Addis Ababa Bole International Airport (ADD). Transfer from and to the airport is included. Tobia Hagere Tour and Travel Agency PLC will pick you up from the airport.

Due to the reason that sometimes flight might arrive early or late than the expected time of arrival, you can call them from The Yellow Cafe. The Yellow Cafe (which is located inside the international terminal) is aware of the situation and they can lend you their mobile to call Ethiopia Hagere Tour and Travel for free.

Airport: Bole International Airport Airport transfer included: Bole International Airport No additional charges. You can request this in the next step.

Cancellation Policy

  • A reservation requires a deposit of 14% of the total price.
  • The deposit is fully refundable if the booking is cancelled before the arrival date.
  • The rest of the payment should be paid on arrival.
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