5 Questions to help plan your adventure in Ethiopia
Ethiopia is most famous for its soaring mountain ranges, particularly the Simien Mountains National Park. The Danakil Depression in the extreme North of the country boasts alien landscapes and bubbling lava lakes, and is another common favourite among first-time visitors of Ethiopia. Heading South, the Omo Valley and the incredible tribal communities that call it home are often visited. All of these destinations is incredible, but there’s plenty more to experience so combining some/all of the big 3 with other regional delights makes for a really special adventure.
There is ample trekking opportunities in Ethiopia. In the North, you can explore the Simien Mountains National Park at a pace that works for you. If you’re an active hiker, you can try your hand at the mighty Ras Dashen, standing tall at over 4000m. If you’re keen to find some of the best views in the world, but don’t want anything too strenuous, there are plenty of more gentle trails that still pass through all the best spots.
In Tigray, you can do some authentic community trekking and gain an insight into rural Ethiopia few get to experience. Hike up near-vertical cliffs to discover the Debre Damo Monastery, or trek through the rolling hills of Lalibela, stopping for dinner at the incredible Ben Abeba restaurant.
Further South, the Bale Mountains offer some fantastic hiking opportunities, and it’s here that you’re most likely to spot the endemic Ethiopian Wolf (and maybe even a lion or two).
None of these treks are technical, and can be as intense (or not) as you want them to be. We don’t presume any fitness level on our travellers and we can tailor the itinerary so that it feels perfect for you.
The North of Ethiopia is distinctly different from the South. Both are equally wondrous, with the North bursting with history and stunning views, and south home to over 88 cultural communities, and, well, more stunning views! You can combine the North and South into a single itinerary thanks to Ethiopia’s extraordinary domestic flight system, but if you are limited on time your best bet is to focus on one region and really get the most out of it.
There are plenty of incredible experiences to be had off the beaten track. The South of Ethiopia is less developed than the North, which means accommodation is often basic lodging. In the North, accommodation options include luxurious 5 stars in the capital, modest and comfortable 3 stars, and basic but beautiful home-stays. If you’re heading in the Danakil Depression, be prepared for accommodation at its most basic – a sleeping bag and starlight!
If you're going to Ethiopia, you definitely want to visit some of the must-sees, that includes the big 3 but also incredible places like Lalibela, Gondar, Bahir Dar, Bale Mountains National Park, and countless others. Combine these with some more off the beaten track destinations, like the ancient city of Harar or some trekking in Tigray.
With so much to do in Ethiopia, it can be hard to know where to start and what to include. Ethiopia is a big country, and although it’s well-connected, journey times can add up if you’re travelling across the country. Therefore, how long you have to play with is a huge factor in what you can do.
If you only have a week or so, you should think carefully about what you’re most excited about seeing and doing. Let us worry about all the logistics, and focus on deciding what you want to see most – we’ll then craft you an itinerary to match.
If you’ve got between one and two weeks, you’ll be able to combine the classic sites in the North with other places like the Danakil Depression or the Rift Valley Lakes.
If you’ve got 2 weeks or more, you can start thinking about a comprehensive tour of the country. Of course, the longer you’re travelling for, the more expensive it gets – consider bringing friends and family to keep the costs down and share the memories!
There's something really special about planning holidays in Ethiopia. With such a breadth of opportunity, crafting the perfect trip is a real art, and we still get excited every time the phone rings.