Exploring the cradle of mankind with star MTS guide Barbara Wagner
With a history dating back to the origins of humanity, a rugged landscape of towering mountains and rolling savannahs, and a variety of highly unique cultures and traditions, Ethiopia is one of the world’s most interesting—but less frequented—destinations. Led by renowned MTS guide Barbara Wagner, who has spent years visiting this country, honing the itinerary, and developing genuine relationships with villagers, your journey takes you from animistic communities in southern Ethiopia, with their resplendent body decorations and austere lifestyles, to the Amharic people of the north, with their distinctive traditions of ancient Ethiopian Christianity. You’ll travel across terraced hillsides and winding mountain pathways, marvel at the rock-hewn churches of Lalibela and the medieval castles of Gondar, boat across Lake Chamo for exciting bird- and crocodile-watching, and decipher histories of Egyptian pharaohs, Muslim conquerors, and early Christian mystics on the mural-covered walls of island monasteries. Our 2013 itinerary adds a day in Axum, reputed homeof the sacred Ark of the Covenant for the last 2400 years.
Walking, cultural touring
- Explore the deep history and diverse cultures and religions of the "Cradle of Mankind," with renowned MTS guide Barbara Wagner!
- Meet the Hamar, Bumi, Karo, Bena, Arbore and Mursi people, known for their unique rituals and striking body decorations
- Visit the stunning, rock-hewn churches of Lalibela, the holy city of Axum, and the former royal capital of Gondar
Duration: 15 days Start Location: Addis Ababa End Location: Addis AbabaDownload Detailed Itinerary
Day 1 : Arrive in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Arrival in Addis Ababa and transfer to hotel.
Day 2 : Arba Minch
Fly south to Arba Minch in the Rift Valley, home of over 80 different ethnic groups. We’ll then drive south through the tribal lands of the Konso and the Derashe.
Day 3 : Lake Chamo
We take a boat ride on Lake Chamo, home to crocodiles and hippos, before visiting a Dorze village, known for their weaving skills and their bamboo domed houses.
Day 4 : Konso to Turmi
Today we drive into the semi-arid region of the Weyto, home of the small ethnic groups of the Arbore and Tsemay tribes.
Day 5 : Turmi
Spend the day around Turmi, visiting the colorful Omotic tribes of the Hamar and Benna.
Day 6 : Turmi to Jinka
Visit to dense bush territory of Mursi tribes. Continue driving south to trade village of Dimeka. Encounter with Ari, Hamar and Benna peoples, and overnight in Omo Valley.
Day 7 : Jinka to Arba Minch
Today we visit a Mursi village in the Mago National Park area.
Day 8 : Langano Lake
We drive to the lake region of the Great Rift Valley and overnight along the shores of Lake Langano.
Day 9 : Bahir Dar
We drive to Addis Ababa, then take a short flight to the town of Bahir Dar and Lake Tana, source of the Blue Nile.
Day 10 : Tissisat Falls
Morning boat tour of the Ura Kidana Mehret island monastery, followed by an afternoon walk up to the dramatic Tissitat Falls.
Days 11 - 12 : Lalibela
Short flight to Lalibela, a highland town renowned for its historic ,12th century rock-hewn churches.
Day 13 : Gondar
Scenic drive through the Ethiopian Highlands, then a visit to city of Gondar, a Portuguese-influenced, bygone cultural hub founded in the 17th century.
Day 14 : Axum
We fly to Axum, the oldest city in Ethiopia, and visit the seven stone obelisks, the religious center of Coptic Ethiopia and rumored home to the sacred Arc of the Convenant.
Day 15 : Return to Addis Ababa, later flight home
Return flight to Addis Ababa, day rooms at group hotel, and farewell dinner. Evening transfer to airport for return flights home.
DATES: Best time to go: January, September - October, December Departures: Oct 29, 2013 - Nov 12, 2013
$5,095 (9-14 members)
Harmony HotelAddis Ababa
Located in central Addis Ababa, the Harmony Hotel is near the airport and close to Medhane Alem Church, ECA Conference Center, and Addis Ababa National Archives and Library. The 68 rooms offer city or mountain views. Beds come with pillowtop mattresses, down comforters, and premium bedding.
Tukul Village LodgeLalibela, Ethiopia Tukul Village is a new hotel with attractive views of Lalibela and its surroundings. It is within walking distance of many of the ancient churches, including the Church of St George.
Swayne's HotelArba Minch, Ethiopia
Swaynes Hotel is located in Arba Minch which, in Amharic, means “forty springs”. The hotel enjoys a spectacular hilltop setting overlooking Rift Valley basin, with views of the forest of Netch Sar National Park, Lake Chamo, and Lake Abaya. The location makes an ideal base from which to explore, and is the gateway to the remote villages and unspoiled cultures of the magnificent Omo Valley.
Buska LodgeOmo Valley, Ethiopia
Situated in the heart of Southern Ethiopia in the Omo Valley, Buska Lodge is an unpretentious eco-lodge offering travelers the best accommodation and meal service in this region.
Buska Lodge overlooks the plains of Buska Mountain and has been constructed to blend beautifully in to the natural surroundings. Covering a total of 30,000 sq. meters area, the Lodge’s compound is a fascinating green area with about 120 species of plants.
Buska Lodge offers the rare opportunity to learn about and experience the culture and traditions of the local Hammer community offering a rare glimpse into the cultures of the Omo Valley. The Hammer are famous for their Evangadi dance and “Bull jumping” ceremony where a young man who wants to marry jumps over a line of bulls in order to show that he is worth to the pride’s family. The Hammer share traditions and rituals with surrounding people like the Tsemai, Ari, Karo, and Bena.
Jinka Eco-LodgeJinka, Ethiopia
A new eco-lodge located on the outskirts of Jinka town across the Neri River, one of the tributaries to the great Omo River and near the Arie village, one of the main tribes of Jinka. The lodge offers horse back riding, trekking in the beautiful mountains surrounding Jinka, home-cooked meals from their own garden, plus eco-friendly tented cabins with great views.
Abay Minch LodgeBahar Dar, Ethiopia
Abay Minch Lodge is situated in the outskirts of Bahar Dar, close to Lake Tana. The rooms are in small bungalows and the garden is well kept and peaceful.
Sabana ResortLangano, Ethiopia
The best resort on the shores of Lake Langano. Bungalows are situated on a cliff top, each having their own distinctive view over the expansive Lake Langano with the Arsi Mountains in the background and are built with local materials and simple designs. Surrounded by green grass, acacia and palm trees, local flowers and a sandy beach area.
Kanta LodgeKonso, Ethiopia
A new eco-lodge with solar-heated water and Ethiopian style bungalows located on a hillside with lovely views.
Overlooking Axum’s exceptional northern Stelae field, and the Queen of Sheba’s bathing pool, the Yeha boasts the best location in Axum.
Properties shown are representative of the accommodations we use on this trip, may not be inclusive of all accommodations we use, and are subject to change.
Expert leadership is the key to an exciting, unforgettable experience. Our trips feature gifted leaders for whom leading trips is a true vocation. Besides showing you wonders you'd never find on your own, they make sure everything runs smoothly and safely without a hitch. They are knowledgeable about all aspects of your trip, and take great pleasure in sharing their insights with you. More than just guides, they positively elevate your experience by being teachers, companions, and the best of friends. You'll be in good hands with them every step of the way.
Barbara Wagner was born in Germany and did her university studies at the Sorbonne in Paris and at the University of Pennsylvania. She has since been involved in international travel for most of her career with a focus on Africa, the Middle East and Asia. Barbara developed a number of tours for Mountain Travel Sobek including trips in Ethiopia, Yemen, Mali, Ghana, Togo and Benin. She speaks German, French and English fluently as well as some Urdu, Hindi and Arabic. Her passion for tribal and cultural travel helped her to define a unique niche for exotic travel to remote and often endangered tribal groups. Her guiding experience has taken her from the high Hindu Kush Mountains of Pakistan to the searing heat of the Sahara. Her knowledge and involvement with local cultures has gained her the respect of chiefs and leaders while providing her clients with exceptional travel experiences.