Ethiopia Safari in Context
When you think of safari in East Africa, you probably imagine vast savannah plains, open-top jeeps and elephants, giraffes, and big cats just a few hundred feet away. This is the quintessential Africa safari experience, and the reason thousands flock to the Maasai Mara and the Serengeti every year.
While there are fantastic wildlife experiences to be had in Ethiopia, for the most part, they don’t fit this typical safari mould.
You won’t find big cats, elephants and giraffes roaming the grasslands of Ethiopia (unless you're in a few very specific regions at the right time). What you will find is troops of Gelada Monkeys playing in the Simien Mountains, the endemic Ethiopian Wolf patrolling the Sanetti Plateau in the Bale Mountains, and charming, lo-fi wildlife experiences all across the country - crocodiles and hippos in the shallows as you explore the monasteries on Lake Tana, raptors soaring in the thermals of the Simiens, and hungry Hyenas outside the ancient walls of Harar.
Ethiopia Safari Experiences
These destinations have great wildlife densities with high chances of sightings.
While these are the best wildlife destination in the country, you’ll find charming wildlife encounters all over the country on your journey across Ethiopia.
Simien Mountains Safari
The Gelada Monkeys is the symbol of the Simien Mountains. Endemic to Ethiopia, these monkeys are known as ‘bleeding heart monkeys’ due to the distinct heart-shaped print on their chests. The Gelada’s in the Simiens are accustomed to humans, so you can stand amongst them as they roam and play around the plateaus.
Near the Chennek campsite in the Simiens, you have the best chances of spotting the Walia Ibex - another endemic species to Ethiopia. Walia Ibex are a threatened species, with population numbers only in the hundreds. Unlike the Gelada Monkeys, you have to be lucky to spot these beasts roaming the mountains (and it helps if you’re visiting on a clear day!).
Alongside the Gelada and Walia, the Simiens are home to a variety of birdlife, including raptors, Lammergeyer, and thick-billed ravens. The elusive and endemic Ethiopian Wolf also roams these highlands, but sightings in the Simiens are very rare.
Bale Mountains Safari
The Bale Mountains is the best place to find the Ethiopian Wolf, an endemic canid that is best found in the Sanetti Plateau at 4000 metres in the Bale Mountains. Sightings here are quite common, but of course never guaranteed.
The Bale Mountains are one of Ethiopia’s best wildlife destinations in terms of accessibility and wildlife densities. You’ll find baboons, Bale and Colobus monkeys, chameleons and warthogs.
Lions, hyenas and leopards also roam the forests, but sightings are extremely rare.
Gambella National Park
On the western edge of Ethiopia, Gambella has the highest concentrations of wildlife anywhere in Ethiopia, but due to poor management over the years, the park is rarely visited due to limited access routes and lodging options. Those that visit Gambella will be rewarded by a true wild Africa experience.
Gambella is famous for its huge antelope and buffalo migrations. Elephants, lions, giraffes, cheetahs, leopards and many other safari favourites can be found here. Birdlife in the park is also plentiful.
If you’re visiting Gambella, you will stay in tented camps run by specialist operators. Gambella can only be accessed via charter flight, which means costs are much higher than other national parks in the country.
Popular Safaris in Ethiopia
Bale Mountains Safari
Hike across electric landscapes of thick forests, Afro-alpine moorland, peaks and plateaus, and jungle thickets. An extraordinary outdoor adventure, with high altitude hikes unlocking staggering viewpoints, beautiful clearings, and endemic wildlife. At night, the sky is ablaze with starlight in…
- 7 Days
Classic Simiens Safari
The Simien Mountains are one of Ethiopia’s most stunning destinations. With its diverse flora and fauna, immense views and extraordinary geography, it’s an exceptional place that can be enjoyed by hardy trekkers and afternoon strollers alike. A couple of nights…
- 5 Days
Historic North and Luxury Lodges
Experience Ethiopia's northern circuit in style. Explore the incredible highland scenery, visit ancient monuments, discover unique cultural traditions, and break up your journey at luxury lodges set amongst incredible backdrops.…
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Historic North Circuit
Explore the Simien Mountains from a luxury lodge perched high in the escarpment, discover the architectural remains of ancient civilisations, and watch the sun set over the sandstone cliffs of Tigray. The Historic North Circuit is a flagship itinerary in…
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Ethiopia From The Skies
This remarkable adventure takes you to a selection of Ethiopia's most dramatic destinations by private helicopter. Soar above the rock churches of Tigray and Lalibela, the stunning landscapes and diverse wildlife of the Simien Mountains, and the volcanoes and acid…
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Private Helicopter Expedition
This two week luxury adventure takes you across the Northern and Southern Highlands of Ethiopia, into the kaleidoscopic landscape of the Danakil Depression, and to the farthest corners of the Lower Omo Valley. You'll travel by private helicopter providing exclusive…
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Ethiopia Frontier Safari
Some trips are more than just adventures. Some trips are life-changing, frontier-breaking, once-in-a-lifetime experiences. Luxury lodges, exclusive camps, and charter aircraft into Ethiopia's most remote, exotic, and humbling destinations.…
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Remote Corners of Ethiopia
Those willing to journey into Ethiopia's most remote regions will find some of the most extraordinary experiences on offer in the country. This itinerary takes you into the heart of Gambella National Park, one of the wildest places anywhere in…
- 6 Days
Simien Mountains and Northern History
This trip packs in a myriad of history, culture and some of the best scenery in Africa. Explore the palaces of Gondar, the world-famous rock-hewn churches in Lalibela, and the sweeping plateaus of the Simien Mountains. Leave enough time either…
- 7 Days
Historic North Circuit and Community Trekking
Fusing history, culture, landscapes and wildlife along a perfectly paced circuit, this trip is a synthesis of the very best experiences on offer in Ethiopia’s northern highlands. Explorations of the ancient cities Axum, Gondar, Bahir Dar and Lalibela are broken…
- 12 Days
2 Day Simien Trek
An introduction to the Simien Mountains, this 2 day trek takes you to some of the major viewpoints of the primary escarpment, with one night spent camping at the beautiful Gich campsite.…
- 2 Days
3 Day Simien Trek
This 3 day Simien Trek is the perfect introduction to the national park. Enough time to hike to all the major viewpoints, see the wildlife, and enjoy the beauty of these highlands.…
- 3 Days
4 Day Simien Trek
This 4 day trek in the Simien Mountains starts and ends in Gondar. Hike from camp to camp, across the sweeping plateaus and down into the valleys.…
- 4 Days
6 Day Simien Trek
6 days trekking in the Simien Mountains, across the vast plateaus and down into the valleys to discover some of the most exciting regions of the park. A proper wilderness escape.…
- 6 Days
Camping in the Simien Mountains
The classic 3-night camping circuit in the Simien Mountains. This trip is usually included as part of a wider itinerary in the country.…
- 4 Days
Trekking in the Simien Mountains
Discover the beauty of the Simien Mountains with this one week trekking adventure. Our Brilliant local guides know all the hidden gems to get the most out of your time on the 'Roof of Africa'. Easy to incorporate into a…
- 7 Days
Birds of the Rift Valley and Southern Highlands
Discover the extraordinary bird life in Ethiopia that includes dozens of endemic species. Explore the national parks, rift valley lakes, and highland peaks and valleys that make Ethiopia a world-class birding destination. Boutique and eco lodges place you in the…
- 19 Days