Small group holidays in Ethiopia

“From the earliest Christian rock-hewn churches to the source of the Blue Nile, Ethiopia provides a unique experience of ancient history, fascinating culture and magical landscapes.”

Highlights

Addis Ababa | Gonder | Simien Mountains National Park | Axum | Queen of Sheba's Palace and the Ark of the Covenant | Yeha | Lalibela | Eastern Tigray | Village homestays and community activities | Bahir Dar | Lake Tana | Blue Nile source and falls

Description of Small group holidays in Ethiopia

Ethiopia is a treasure trove of breathtaking landscapes, unique culture and ancient history that includes some of the earliest mementoes of Christianity. This unforgettable trip serves up the very best of the country's northern historical circuit plus hidden treasures offered by few, if any, other operator.

After taking in some sights in the capital Addis Ababa, you'll fly to Gonder where medieval fortifications mingle with religious beacons like the Light of Trinity Church – a blessed pause before entering the breathtaking scenery of the Simien Mountains national park.

A spectacular drive to Axum ushers in a new phase of the trip as you delve deep into Ethiopia's unique heritage, beginning with the Queen of Sheba’s Palace - and the alleged hiding place of the fabled Biblical Ark of the Covenant!

Heading via Yeha to the World Heritage town of Lalibela – considered by some to be the Eighth Wonder of the World – you'll pass through Eastern Tigray, a visually stunning landscape that is home to a host of rarely visited ancient rock churches.

You'll also visit local villages, spending 2 nights with local communities in conjunction with the charity TESFA (Tourism in Ethiopia for Sustainable Future Alternatives). Highlights include a traditional family coffee ceremony. Driving to Yemrehana Kristos, combine visits to early Christian places like the Church of St George with meeting locals on a village trek.

The trip concludes in Bahir Dar on the shores of the Lake Tana. The shores and islands of this vast inland waterway are dotted with medieval monasteries - the Ura Kidane Mihret is particularly famed for its elaborate murals. You'll also stroll beneath the Blue Nile Falls and take a boat ride to see the source of the Blue Nile, flowing out of the lake to begin its own epic journey. .

**Price includes all activities/equipment, tour leaders, local guides and drivers, meals, transport (excluding international flights), accommodation and entrance fees as outlined in the itinerary.

Travel Team

If you'd like to chat about this holiday or need help finding one we're very happy to help. The Travel Team.

01273 823 700 Calling from outside the UK?

Map

Check dates, prices & availability

Date
Price
Basis
21 Dec 2019
£3650
excluding flights
7 spaces left
Click here to enquire about or book the 21 Dec 2019 departure
Pricing:
The currency converter above works on today’s interbank exchange rate. We do take bookings in a variety of currencies, but the rates are often set months in advance and may therefore differ from those shown above which are for guidance purposes only. Please enquire for details.
Vouchers
Accepted
Holiday type

What this trip includes

Trips are on full board basis, and include transport as outlined in itinerary, twin-share accommodation, mineral water and entrance fees.

Responsible tourism

Small group holidays in Ethiopia

Carbon reduction

Your holiday will help support local people and conservation. We must also reduce CO2. Learn about the CO2 emissions of this holiday and how to reduce them.

Environment

Life for the majority of Ethiopia’s 73 million people is harsh, even by the standards of Africa’s poorest nations. The average Ethiopian person earns less than $100 per year and will not live beyond 44 years of age. North Wollo is amongst the poorest areas of the country, depending largely on rain fed subsistence agriculture. Our guide Mark established TESFA - a local charity organisation that was set up in 2003 with the specific aim of developing community-based tourism in Ethiopia WITH communities.

By putting communities in charge of their own tourism resources, payment goes directly into the communities - 60% for the communities, 25% to a local guides service (that also transmits bookings to the communities), and 15% to cover administrative costs. After the communities have paid their staffing costs and for the consumables (food, toiletpaper, soap etc) the remainder is split between profit and a fund to allow for reinvestment and depreciation. The profit is then put into a community fund for the whole community to decide how it should be spent, such as the purchase of a community grain grinding mill.

Our Ethiopia trips also fund A-Cet (African Childrens Education Trust) a small independent charity helping young Africans to achieve their maximum potential through education. A-Cet supports 1.000 youths with scholarships, 2 rural primary schools and 2 computer training centres.

When you take one of our trips, we make a contribution to “Carbon Clear” – an organisation who work with hundreds of organisations to measure their carbon footprint and reduce their carbon emissions.

We also support several other NGOs around the world such as the Hope Foundation, Tibetan schools trust and Adopt-A-Minefield, which are all carefully selected to improve the standard of living for the communities we visit.

4 Reviews of Small group holidays in Ethiopia

4.5 out of 5 stars
SHOW
2
2
0
0
0

Reviewed on 03 Mar 2019 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


I reckon I am a culture vulture and the churches were amazing. I didn't expect to be bowled over by the scenery of the Simien Mountains and the trek at the end of the holiday which was a real privilege. Also the roads and fields full of busy people, cattle, horses, donkey and sheep. Never boring.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Many of the roads are rough stone or gravel and some are extremely dusty. Altitude was generally quite high (over 3000m in the Simiens) Noone in my group had unexpected breathing problems but if this is a concern you should check very carefully.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Yes, I do. I felt that most of the hotels were Ethiopian owned, we ate in a variety of local restaurants and the trek, of course, benefitted the mountain farmers
who run it and we used local drivers and guides in addition to our truly excellent tour leader.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


Ethiopia is a real one-off country. Encouraging tourism is not a high government priority which, for me, made it all the more interesting.

Reviewed on 31 Jan 2012 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


It was all memorable but - not toooo exciting!

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Follow the instructions for what to take from the tour operator and how to prepare - the instructions were clear and helped a lot.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


I hope so.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


Absolutely fantabulous. I am seriously considering the OMO area for the end of 2012 or early 2013. It is very disappointing to read the news about the Danikil terrorist attack. In some respects it is perhaps 'a good thing' that the UK newspapers did not give it to much coverage; that way, the embryonic Ethiopian tourist industry will hopefully not be too badly affected. I cannot see the point in killing tourists - to what end? Publicity? Certainly they got very little in British newspapers - thank goodness.

Reviewed on 07 Jan 2012 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


The fantastic views from the escarpments and a chance visit at a local school during the TESFA walk, the view over the twin of Ayers Rock from the Ghiralta lodge, seeing the Axum stelae and the rock churches of Lalibela and Ghiralta, the dinner with a local family in Lalibela and New Years bonfire and fireworks on the shores of lake Tana.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Not all goes according to plan or the itinerary but it will be memorable. I would suggest taking more time out and adding on a trip to other regions of the country - this trip is varied and interesting but there's more to see and do!

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


Yes, except perhaps for the plastic water bottles.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


Very good with much more included than most trips to the North.

Reviewed on 26 Jan 2011 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


Celebrating the Timcat festival in a small village where we were welcomed and looked after by the whole village community. A fabulous experience of colour pagentry and humanity.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Make sure you are able to walk on uneven ground in altitude. Easy for most people but must be a consideration for older travellers in particular.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


Without a doubt. The TESFA organisation and holiday operator worked together to ensure this is tourism at its best for both the travellers and the communities.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


This was a wonderful way to see the beauty of Ethiopia, its warm friendly people and to experience one of it's best known festivals in an idyllic rural community setting. The guide was outstanding in her knowledge of the country and was proactive throughout to make sure everything was the best it could be for the group. A travelling group holiday cannot get better than this.

Popular similar holidays

Ethiopia holidays, tailor made

Ethiopia holidays, tailor made

Discover the natural beauty and culture of Ethiopia

From £2250 14 days excluding flights

Ethiopia holiday, tailormade

Ethiopia holiday, tailormade

Discover the people, places and wildlife of Ethiopia

From £2483 17 days excluding flights

Ethiopia holiday, Ethiopia in Depth

Ethiopia holiday, Ethiopia in Depth

Journey along Ethiopia's magnificent northern circuit, including Tigrai

From £2799 - £3299 15 days including UK flights

Ethiopia tour with Timkat festival departure

Ethiopia tour with Timkat festival departure

Take Ethiopia's greatest religious celebration, the Timkat Festival

From £3099 16 days including UK flights

Convert currencies