On this thrilling Ethiopian adventure, discover "the cradle of humanity" and its spectacular wonders carved by nature, history and time-tested tradition. Marvel at the fossilized remains of early hominids in Addis Ababa and trek the rugged ranges of Simien Mountains National Park, spotting unique wildlife along the way such as the Gelada baboon and Simien fox. Take in the majestic castles of Gondar, the former royal capital of Ethiopian Empire, dive deep into medieval past on a tour of Lalibela's magnificent rock-hewn churches hidden away in grottos, and partake in traditional coffee ceremonies that Ethiopia is famed for.
Trek lodge to lodge in astonishing Simien Mountains National Park, spotting endemic wildlife
Take in the museum highlights of Addis Ababa, including "Lucy," the world-famous early human
Explore the wondrous rock-hewn churches of Lalibela and Yemrehanna Kristos, hidden in a grotto
Arrive in Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia, and meet your MT Sobek representative outside the terminal building of Bole International Airport, for transfers to the hotel. This evening, gather for a welcome dinner at a traditional Ethiopian restaurant and enjoy a captivating folklore dance performance.
Today embark on an Addis Ababa city tour, taking in the highlights. Admire the nation's art and archeological treasures at the National Museum, including the famous "Lucy" skeleton, partial fossilized remains of an early hominid. See the Trinity Cathedral Church, built to commemorate Ethiopia's liberation from Italian occupation, and the Ethnological Museum, one of Africa's finest museums set within the former palace of Haile Selassie (the last Emperor of Ethiopia), surrounded by beautiful gardens. Wander through Mercato, the largest open-air market in Africa, with its colorful stalls laden with coffee.
The September 2020 also include the annual Meskel Festival.
Transfer to the airport for your flight to Gondar and then continue overland into the Simien Mountains National Park. Ethiopia's most popular place for trekking, this spectacular landscape has jagged mountain peaks, deep valleys and a dramatic escarpment with views over the rugged lowlands. Check in at the Simien Lodge, and head out for a short hike in search of the endemic gelada baboons, walia ibex (a horned mountain goat) and the Ethiopian wolf. Return to the lodge for dinner and drinks.
Today explore the Simien Mountains on an extraordinary lodge-to-lodge trek. With its altitude, varied terrain and weather, the full-day hiking adventure is challenging but the rewards make it worthwhile. Hike above plummeting gorges and in the shadows of towering pinnacles, following routes as old as time. Look out for lammergeier vultures, tawny eagles and thick-billed ravens; the park features over 180 species of bird. Arrive at the boutique Limalimo Lodge for a welcome drink on the veranda paired with magnificent views. This evening enjoy dinner by a roaring fire.
Kick off the day with yoga and a hearty breakfast, then set out to explore more of the Simiens with its myriad ecosystems. Dropping off from the escarpment, witness these ecosystems changing from high mountain desert into acacia forest. Enjoy a 2-hour hike through the forest, a prime habitat for birding. In the afternoon, opt for a 30-minute hike to the local community, to learn traditional beer brewing, cooking and coffee making. Or unwind at the lodge, with more yoga, a massage, or simply soaking in the views.
After breakfast, head back out to Simien Mountains National Park for a scenic trek along the escarpment. These mountains are a nature lover's dream, fantastically rich in wildlife, including several endemic mammals that only exist in Ethiopia. Those include the red-chested gelada baboons; hiking with these cliff-dwelling monkeys that hang out in large groups is a treat for wildlife lovers. Along the way, explore more of the park's unique flora, fauna and geology. Return to the cozy comforts of Limalimo Lodge for the final evening atop the escarpment.
After breakfast at the lodge, drive back from the Simien Mountains to Gondar, the former royal capital of the Ethiopian Empire. Have lunch at the traditional Four Seasons Restaurant and set out on a tour of this historic city first founded in 1636 by Emperor Fasilides. Take in the Fasil Ghebbi (Royal Enclosure), with its magnificent castles, and Fasilides Bath, where on January 19 during Timket (Epiphany) hundreds bath to get christened. Visit the 18th-century Debre Birhan Selassie Church, a UNESCO World Heritage Site known for its gorgeous sacral art.
Today after breakfast, fly from Gondar to the town of Lalibela. Check in to your hotel, enjoy lunch and head out to the rarely visited Yemrehanna Kristos, one of Ethiopia's best-preserved late Axumite churches. Set inside a large cave on a juniper tree-dotted ridge 42km outside Lalibela, this spectacular church predates the nearby rock-hewn churches of Lalibela by nearly a century.
Spend today marveling at the rock-hewn churches of Lalibela, the crown jewel among Ethiopia's sights. Ringed by courtyards and trenches and connected via a tangled maze of passages, this series of 11 monolithic churches - a World Heritage Site by UNESCO - was built during the 12th and 13th century. Take in this mind-blowing treasure, including the most famous Church of St George, also known as Bete Giyorgis, carved out of solid volcanic tuff. Enjoy a farewell dinner and coffee ceremony at Ben Abeba Restaurant, known for its Scottish-Ethiopian cuisine and marvelous views.
This morning after breakfast, fly back to Addis Ababa and check in to the day room at a hotel near the airport.
Interested in more opportunities to experience Ethiopia's stunning rock-hewn churches? Call us for a three-day extension options to Gheralta.
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MT Sobek has been pioneering travel in Africa since the early 1970s and works with top travel professionals in Ethiopia.
This trekking adventure through Simien Mountains offers an active way of seeing Ethiopia beyond its famed historic sights.
We expertly combine hiking and cultural experiences to offer an immersive journey through Ethiopia.
Our expert guides and trip leaders are truly the key to our trips' success. Many are locals who live in-country year-round; others have made it their second home—all are passionate, enthusiastic and endlessly knowledgeable. Meet a few of the guides that might be on your trip.
Strenuous hiking on diverse terrain and in varied altitudes, guided city tours and visits to rock-hewn churches.
An upscale city hotel and boutique lodges in stunning natural surrounds.
Mild, sunny climate year around with average temperatures from 59°F-80°F. The dry season prevails Oct-May; the wet season is Jun-Sep.
We spend most of our adventure at altitudes between 5,000 and 8,000ft. Our excursion into the Simiens will take us to around 10,000ft.
While there is malaria in Ethiopia, it is not present in Addis Ababa or at elevations over 8,200 feet, where we will be traveling for the majority of the tour. Review the CDC recommendations carefully and always consult your travel doctor well before your travel dates.
Yes and you can obtain an e-visa in advance or on arrival.
Traditionally, you eat food by using your right hand, so you should wash your hands ahead of time. Typically, a jug of water and a bar of soap are brought to you for that purpose. The country's staple is injera, a flat sourdough pancake made of grain, which is served with meat or vegetable sauces and used to scoop up the sauce.
The two predominant religions in Ethiopia are Christianity - Ethiopian Orthodox, and Islam. Christianity is more common in the northern and central parts of Ethiopia.
Our September departure features the Meskal festival, which is an Ethiopian Orthodox holiday that has been celebrated for over 1600 years and is one of the most important events in the country. It commemorate the discovery of the cross on which Jesus Christ was crucified by St. Helena, mother of Constantine the Great. The event features feasting, dancing, bonfires, and general celebrating.
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