Ethiopia Hiking Tours

Join us for a Hiking Tour in Ethiopia!

November 6th - 18th, 2022

November 5th - 17th, 2023

Registration: OPEN (Max 16 participants)

(This itinerary is designed for group travel, but may be modified for private groups. Please contact us if you want to arrange for separate dates for your private group)

Arrive-Depart Addis (airport designation ADD).

Travel: This is a 14-day (14 nights inclusive) hiking tour in Ethiopia, focused on the northern highland regions where we will visit national parks and UNESCO heritage sites. Travel is overland, combined with 4 domestic flights.

Visas: obtained online ($52 for US passport holders)

Group Size: maximum 14 guests (only a deposit secures a place in this small-group tour)

Tour Leaders: Christian Sefrin, plus local guides, drivers, scouts, and porters

Brochure:

Contact us for the invitational tour brochure and registration form. Email: admin@johngrahamtours.com

Registration:

Submit registration form
Send deposit of $1000 to secure your place (details in registration form)

Accommodation will be in the best available hotels and lodges. Ethiopia is not renowned for its accommodation, but we will stay in comfortable 3-star hotels and lodges with ensuite facilities. The locations include Addis, Gondar, Simien national park, Lalibela, Gheralta. Request brochure for details.


Travel will be overland only locally around cities. Otherwise we travel by short domestic flights between regional centers.

John Graham Tours map of Ethiopia Genna cultural tour map

 

 

Fees:

See brochure for details including domestic flights, single supplements, and extension tours

Tamada Club:

Gold: 5% discount
Silver: 5% discount

 

 

Pre-Tour Options

Add a 3-day extension trip to the medieval Islamic city of Harar! Details in the brochure.

Post-Tour Options

Add a 5-day extension trip to the federation of indigenous people's region in southern Ethiopia! Details in the brochure.

 

 

Included:

Accommodation in high quality best-available boutique hotels specially vetted for comfort and location
All ground transportation including airport transfers
All meals with wine/beer as noted in itinerary
All entrances
Guides
Entertainment (traditional singers)
Water on the bus, snacks (we pamper our guests!)

Not Included:

Airfare
Tips for primary guides and driver
Personal services (laundry)

Mobility-Fitness:

Standard: 8/10 on the mobility scale (10 being the most demanding).

This tour is organized for people of reasonable fitness level to be able to accomplish all hikes. A typical hike is 3-4 hours round trip (though a couple will be 6 hours round trip), with frequent stops, with support vehicles not far away and easier alternatives for those that do not feel up for the longer walk.

Participants should feel comfortable walking 5-6 miles in a day, and going up/down 1500 feet. The hikes on this itinerary are relatively flat, but altitude will be a factor: we will be above 7,000 feet for the duration of the tour, with most of the hikes happening between 7,500-9,000 feet altitude. Since we are this altitude for the whole trip, it will not feel too extreme as we allow several days after arrival before attempting any serious walking. In the Simien national park, the optional walks are at higher elevations (see brochure for details).

All hikes are described in detail in the brochure.

 

 

Special Notes:

Flagship itinerary, most popular destinations
This will be dry season, expect lots of sunshine
Best available hotels
Lots of arts and music on this itinerary
Plenty of walks. Optional vigorous walks.

Weather:

We will expect dry season weather. Lots of sunshine! The mountains will be green after the summer rainy season has drenched the land. In general, prepare for temperatures between 65-85F, dropping to 60F at night. In the Simien National Park, where we spend three nights, the temperatures will be similar during the day time but drop to 40F at night because of the altitude.

 

 

Tour Videos (Ethiopia hiking trips)

Travel Program...

Our tour begins and ends in Addis, the thriving cultural and business capital city of Ethiopia. During our brief time in Addis, we will tour two fascinating museums and visit one of the sprawling marketplaces where the commerce of the city is conducted.

After a short flight, we arrive in Gondar, a regional city that was once the heart of a Jewish kingdom. During the 15th-17th centuries, Christian kings overthrew the Jewish kings and built a series of castle complexes that still dominate the downtown area. In Gondar, we will enjoy a performance of Ethiopian traditional dance by one of the University student groups, and partake in a traditional coffee ceremony that involves roasting the beans, heating the coffee in sand, and serving it piping hot in small cups. We’ll also spend a day bird-watching and walking along the shore of nearby Lake Tana, the headwaters of the Blue Nile River (for details on all hikes, see the itinerary in this brochure).
We spend three days in the Simien National Park, which has been called the “Roof of Africa” for its incredible views. The national park is also home to several unique wildlife species including the herbivorous Gelada monkeys, who ‘graze’ in large herds on the high grassland plateau. They don’t mind humans approaching close enough to take good photographs, so one of our hikes will be aimed at locating and approaching these unique, long-haired monkeys. Other species that we may see include the walia ibex, the Ethiopian wolf, and several raptor species. In addition, the park features unique high altitude flora of all varieties which we will learn about on site. The main hike here will be through grasslands and scrub forests down the flank of Ras Dashen, the tallest mountain in Ethiopia, which affords incredible views towards the lowlands to the north.
After a short flight we arrive in Lalibela, a small city in the hills where a medieval king decided to carve a ‘new Jerusalem’ into the surrounding sandstone rock. The product of this industrious and ambitious undertaking is a UNESCO World Heritage Site where 11 churches were carved in two open-air rock-hewn complexes. We will explore these cultural sites, while also doing some hikes in the region over our three-night stay. The main hike in Lalibela will be a ridge walk above the historical town, with fantastic views in all directions.
After flying south the Great African Rift Valley, we will spend three days hiking in the Sidama and Arba Minch area. Here, the lush forests and coffee plantations border on numerous lakes and national parks where wildlife is plentiful and easily observed. We will also organize cultural programs with the Sidama and Dorze local people to learn about their language, culture, religion, and music. A flight back to Addis concludes our tour!
 

 

Ethiopia Wildlife videos

Tour Map:

John Graham Tours map of Ethiopia Genna cultural tour map

Tour Destinations:

Addis

+ Addis, the capital city of Ethiopia, is a 20th century city situated in the center of the country at an altitude of 7,700 feet. In addition to being home to some four million Ethiopians, it is the headquarters for the African National Assembly and many international organizations working in the African continent. Our visit here will focus on two of the more important museums, as well as one of the large marketplaces.

Gondar

+ Gondar is an ancient city with both a Jewish and Christian heritage. It became an important capital city in the early 1600s, when Christian kings forced out of their northeastern provinces by Ottoman-backed Muslim invaders established their residency in Gondar. To this day, the center of the city is dominated by an impressive array of medieval-looking fortresses.

Simien National Park

+ We will spend three days hiking in the Simien National Park, dubbed the "Roof of Africa" because of its peaks that rise to almost 15,000 feet. Here we will marvel at the spectacular views as the land drops away to the north several thousand feet over the 'escarpment.' On our walk in the region, we will look to find the "red-hearted" Gelada monkeys, ibex, and the Ethiopian wolf which can sometimes be spotted with binoculars.

Lalibela

+ One of the Christian kings declared Lalibela a "new Jerusalem" in the 10th century, and proceeded to sponsor increasingly ambitious construction projects building a series of magnificent churches that are now UNESCO heritage sights. Only, these churches are not built above ground, but dug straight down into the sandstone bedrock. Our visit will coincide with the largest celebration of the year, Nativity ("Genna"), which is celebrated on January 7th. There we will intermingle with thousands of white-clad pilgrims who have traveled from far and wide to witness the important dawn celebration at the iconic Church of St. George. We will explore the UNESCO sites, and spend a full day hiking the high ridge-lines above Lalibela, offering spectacular views in all directions.

Sidama

+ This region of rolling hills is on the rim of the Great African Rift Valley. The predominant agricultural is coffee cultivation, which means lots of shade forests! There are many lakes and national parks in the region, with abundant wildlife.

Arba Minch

+ Further south, we enter the lush sub-tropical region of Arba Minch in order to visit the wildlife refuge at Lake Chamo. We will also spend an afternoon with the Dorze tribe interacting with their local guides, learning about their traditional architecture, cuisine, song, dance, and famous loom textile art.

 

Ethiopia Processions

Tour Videos (Omo Valley, Ethiopia)